While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Nov 12

Alibaba seals $52 billion Singles’ Day sales record

Alibaba Group logged more than 268 billion yuan (S$52 billion) of purchases during its Singles’ Day bonanza, exceeding last year’s record haul after a 24-hour shopping marathon.

An estimated half-billion shoppers from China to Russia and Argentina swarmed the e-commerce giant’s sites to scoop up everything from Apple and Xiaomi gadgets to Ugandan mangoes.

The company again hosted a televised entertainment revue in Shanghai to run alongside the bargain-hunting, this time enlisting Taylor Swift and Asian pop icon G.E.M. to pump up sales.

Alibaba also saw 100 million new users join the shopping festival this year, according to Jiang Fan, president of the company’s e-commerce marketplaces Taobao and Tmall.


EU, France, Germany and Britain urge Iran to reverse nuclear deal breaches

France, Britain and Germany said on Monday they would consider a dispute resolution mechanism enshrined in the 2015 Iran nuclear deal that could lead to United Nations sanctions being reimposed for recent breaches of the pact.

In a joint statement, the three countries, known as the E3, warned Iran that its latest actions were hindering their efforts to defuse tensions in the region.

They added that they were extremely concerned by its decision to resume uranium enrichment at the Fordow plant, though stopped short of directly urging sanctions.


Saudi promo video labels feminism, atheism, homosexuality as extremist ideas

A promotional video published by Saudi Arabia’s state security agency categorises feminism, homosexuality and atheism as extremist ideas, even as the conservative Muslim kingdom seeks to promote tolerance and attract foreigners.

The animated clip posted on Twitter at the weekend by a verified account of the State Security Presidency said “all forms of extremism and perversion are unacceptable”.

It listed those concepts alongside takfir – the Islamist militant practice of labelling followers of other schools of Islam unbelievers.


Liverpool manager Klopp: No pressure to land Club World Cup crown

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says he feels no extra pressure to deliver the team’s first Club World Cup title next month but expects an intense tournament in Qatar amidst a busy run of fixtures across all competitions.

Liverpool enter the tournament at the semi-final stage and face a second-round winner on Dec 18.

The German believes the European champions could be pushed hard by unfamiliar opponents in the seven-team competition.


Patek Philippe watch sells for $42 million in record auction

A Patek Philippe timepiece sold for US$31 million (S$42 million), the highest price for a wristwatch in auction, at a charity sale run by Christie’s in Geneva.

The steel Grandmaster Chime went under the hammer after a 5-minute bidding war in a packed room of more than 300 people.

The watch beat the previous record, set by a Daytona Rolex that once belonged to Paul Newman. That piece fetched US$17.8 million in 2017.


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