While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Dec 26

Thousands attend four-day Sikh festival to celebrate founder’s 550th birth anniversary and renew commitment to religious harmony 

Over the past four days, thousands of Sikhs from Singapore and around the region were at the Singapore Expo for the largest gathering of the Sikh community in South-east Asia that featured speeches, devotional music and a heritage exhibition.

This year’s event took on an added significance as it celebrates the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh faith, who was born in 1469.

Organisers said the event, Naam Ras Kirtan Darbar, from Saturday to Tuesday (Dec 22 to 25), also aimed to remind the Sikh community of the key principles of their religion – appreciation and respect for others, universalism, and inclusiveness – as well as to provide a deeper understanding of the Sikh faith and traditions to non-Sikhs.


Queen warns of ‘tribalism’ in Christmas address

Queen Elizabeth II warned of religious “tribalism” in a Christmas message on Tuesday (Dec 25) delivered against a backdrop of Britain bickering over its impending exit from the EU.

The 92-year-old monarch’s tone reflected a sombre mood sweeping the island nation as it ponders the perils of leaving the European project after 46 years in March.

British royalty traditionally steer well clear of politics – a unifying position that puts them above the daily fray of Westminster and Downing Street.


Trump vows no end to shutdown until wall funded 

US President Donald Trump vowed Tuesday (Dec 24) he would not reopen the government until he gets US$5 billion (S$6.9 billion) to fund his border wall, as the partial government shutdown dragged into a fourth day.

Trump’s demand for a physical barrier on the US-Mexico border – a pillar of his election platform – has been rejected by Democrats and some Republicans.

In retaliation, Trump refused last week to sign a wider spending bill, temporarily stripping funding from swaths of the government.


India’s longest road-rail bridge bolsters defence on China border

India on Tuesday (Dec 25) opened its longest rail-road bridge in a northeastern state as part of efforts to boost defences on its sensitive border with China.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi drove an inaugural cavalcade along the 4.9 kilometre long Bogibeel bridge over the Brahmaputra river to inaugurate the project in Assam state which has taken nearly two decades and US$800 million (S$1.1 billion) to complete.

“The inauguration of Bogibeel Bridge is a historic feat and I am glad to be here in Assam, among you all on this special day,” Modi said in his address.


Guatemalan boy dies after being detained by US border agents

An eight-year-old Guatemalan migrant boy died shortly after midnight on Tuesday (Dec 25) after being detained by US border agents, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said in a statement.

He is the second migrant child to have died this month after being detained at the border between Mexico and the United States.

The boy and his father were in CBP custody on Dec 24 when a Border Patrol agent noticed the child showing signs of illness, CBP said.


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