While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Dec 21

Rockets hit near US embassy in Iraq as tensions flare

A volley of rockets exploded near the US embassy in Baghdad Sunday (Dec 20), as tensions mount ahead of the anniversary of the US killing top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani on Iraqi soil.

AFP reporters in the capital’s east heard at least five booms on Sunday night, followed by whistling sounds.

A few moments later, they heard thunderous rapid-fire sounds and saw streams of red flares in the dark sky, indicating the US embassy’s C-Ram rocket defence system had been activated.

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Britain, EU tell each other to give way in ‘difficult’ trade talks

London says it will become an independent coastal state from 2021 with full control of its waters.PHOTO: REUTERS

Britain insisted on Sunday (Dec 20) that the European Union should shift position to open the way to a post-Brexit trade pact, drawing a swift response from the bloc’s negotiator defending the union’s right to protect its interests.

Negotiations are expected to continue on Monday, beyond a Sunday deadline set by the European Parliament, and a senior British government source described them as “difficult” because of the “significant differences” in position.

With less than two weeks before Britain leaves the EU’s orbit, both sides are calling on the other to move to secure a deal and safeguard annual trade in goods from tariffs and quotas but so far, neither has budged far enough for a breakthrough.

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Denmark to exhume millions of minks culled over coronavirus

Four million minks culled in Denmark over a mutant coronavirus strain will be dug up next year to prevent pollution, the government said Sunday (Dec 20) in the latest twist to a long-running saga.

If parliament agrees, the mink carcasses will be dug up and burned in six months’ time once the risk of infection is completely passed, the agriculture ministry said in a statement.

“This way, we avoid the mink being treated as dangerous biological waste, a solution that’s never been used before,” the ministry said.

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‘R’ is for Rohingya: Sesame Street creates new muppets for refugees

Aziz and Noor will appear with other famous Muppets in educational programming about math, science, and other topics.PHOTO: SESAME WORKSHOP / FACEBOOK

Six-year-old twins Noor and Aziz live in the largest refugee camp in the world. They are Rohingya Muslims who escaped ethnic cleansing in their native Myanmar for refuge in neighboring Bangladesh. They are also Muppets.

On Thursday (Dec 18), Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit that runs the early education TV show “Sesame Street” and operates in more than 150 countries, unveiled Aziz and Noor as the latest Muppets in their cast of characters.

The twins will appear with Elmo and other famous Muppets in educational programming about math, science, health and other topics that will be shown in the camps.

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Football: United thrash Leeds 6-2 to move up to third

Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes scores the 6-1 in Manchester, on Dec 20, 2020. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Scott McTominay and Bruno Fernandes scored two each as Manchester United turned on the style, thumping Leeds United 6-2 at Old Trafford on Sunday (Dec 20) to move up to third in the Premier League.

United are now on 26 points, above Everton on goal difference and trail from leaders Liverpool by five points, having played a game less.

It was the best display this season from United who responded to Leeds’ well known pressing game and relentless running by playing through the press with crisp, swift passing and matching Marcelo Bielsa’s side for work-rate.

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