While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Sept 16

In break with past, UAE and Bahrain sign US-brokered deals with Israel

The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed agreements on Tuesday to normalise ties with Israel, becoming the first Arab states in a quarter century to break a longstanding taboo, in a strategic realignment of Middle East countries against Iran.

US President Donald Trump hosted the White House ceremony, capping a dramatic month when first the UAE and then Bahrain agreed to reverse decades of ill will without a resolution of Israel’s dispute with the Palestinians.

In front of a crowd of several hundred people on the White House lawn, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed accords with Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan and Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al Zayani.

The deals, denounced by the Palestinians, make them the third and fourth Arab states to take such steps to normalise relations since Israel signed peace treaties with Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.

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Trump says he wanted to kill Syria’s Bashar al-Assad

US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he wanted to assassinate Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad in 2017, but that his then-secretary of defence James Mattis opposed the operation.

“I would have rather taken him out. I had him all set,” Trump told the morning show Fox & Friends.

“Mattis didn’t want to do it. Mattis was a highly overrated general, and I let him go.”

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Apple announces new smartwatches that will come without power adapters

Apple unveiled its latest smartwatches with Apple Watch Series 6 and an entry-level Apple Watch SE during the company’s virtual event on Tuesday in the US.

The Apple Watch Series 6 (from S$599) does not look much different from previous generations. But it uses a faster S6 processor and is able to measure blood oxygen levels, in addition to the heart rate monitor and electrocardiogram sensors of its predecessors.

The new smartwatch also comes with an always-on altimeter to provide real-time elevation and now also comes in new colours of blue and red.

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Football: Tottenham in talks with Real Madrid to re-sign Bale, says agent

Gareth Bale’s agents are talking to Tottenham about a deal that would see the Real Madrid forward return to his former club.

Bale has been frozen out by Real manager Zinedine Zidane and the Wales star said earlier this month that he was open to joining a Premier League side.

It had been reported in England that Tottenham and Manchester United were interested in signing Bale.

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Madonna to co-write and direct a movie about her life and music

Pop music superstar Madonna will direct and co-write a movie about her life for Comcast’s Universal Pictures, the studio said in a statement on Tuesday.

Madonna, 62, will team with Oscar-winning Juno screenwriter Diablo Cody on the script, Universal said.

The Material Girl and Express Yourself singer is the best-selling female music artist of all time with global sales of 335 million records.

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