U.S. PresidentBarackObamaspeaks during a visit to a Phoenix high school January 8, 20REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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While you were sleeping… this happened


Obama prepared to elaborate on plans for free community college education


The president is due to give further details today on his proposal to make the first two years of community college free, a measure that could benefit up to nine million students in the US, saving them an average of $3,800 in tuition a year. He’ll talk about the plans, under which the Federal government would foot 75 percent of the bill, during a visit to Tennessee where the Republican-led state has started a free community college program. It’s a good place to start, since Obama has to convince the Republican-led Congress to pass a law allowing him to free up the funds for the program.


READ MORE: Obama's free community college plan could benefit 9 million students


Incendiary imam Abu Hamza was waiting to be sentenced

Today a New York court will sentence the radical cleric, who is as famous for his eye-patch and hook-hand for the incendiary speeches he notoriously gave at a mosque in North London, UK. The cleric is expected to end his life in jail, after being sentenced for a string of terrorism-related crimes including playing a part in kidnappings in 1998, dispatching two followers to set up a militant training camp in Oregon and sending another to Afghanistan to fight for al Qaeda and the Taliban against the USA.

READ MORE: One-eyed handless imam Abu Hamza to be sentenced for terrorism in NYC

Jackie Chan’s son Jaycee was jailed for drugs charges

Jaycee Chan was sentenced to six months in a Chinese jail after police found 100 grams of marijuana at his home, and found him guilty of "the crime of sheltering others to take drugs" ie letting his friends smoke weed in his home. He’s one of a number of B-listers who have been held in the last year on high-profile drugs-related charges – as part of the government’s crack down on narcotics use. Recreational drug use is on the rise in China, alongside an increase in disposable income of the growing urban middle class. Chan junior is not likely to be behind bars for much more than a month, but in the meantime, it’s an embarrassing situation for his father Jackie, who was a spokesperson for China’s National Anti-Drug Committee in 2009.

READ MORE: Jackie Chan’s son jailed for six months in China on marijuana charge

Thailand’s first woman PM rejected allegations in an impeachment hearing

A hearing started against former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who is accused of squandering state funds in a rice subsidy scheme. Critics say the program was rigged in favour of supporters of Shinawatra and her brother, former premier Thaksin Shinawatra. The former PM, who rejected the claims, was removed from office on corruption charges in May before a military coup ousted her government. It’s the latest chapter in a decade-long struggle for power in the country, between the royalist-military and the wealthy, populist Shinawatra family which is hugely popular with the rural poor.

READ MORE: Thailand’s ousted first woman prime minister in corruption hearing