While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Feb 23 edition

US homeland security chief worried about Al Shabaab threat against shopping malls

The United States homeland security chief said on Sunday he takes seriously a threat made by Somali-based Islamist militants against shopping malls, including the Mall of America in Minnesota, and urged people going there to be careful.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson was reacting to a video released by al Shabaab appearing to call for attacks on Western shopping areas, specifically mentioning Mall of America, the West Edmonton Mall in Canada and London's Oxford Street.

"This latest statement from al Shabaab reflects the new phase we've evolved to in the global terrorist threat, in that you have groups such as al Shabaab and ISIL publicly calling for independent actors in their homelands to carry out attacks,"Johnson told the CNN programme State of the Union, using an acronym for the militant group ISIS Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. 

Read more here

7-year-old girl believed to have been wired with bomb that kills five in Nigeria

A girl thought to be as young as seven years old was killed along five others in a bombing in northeast Nigeria on Sunday as President Goodluck Jonathan conceded his government had underrated the capacity of the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram.

The attack on a market in the city of Potiskum is the latest in a string of such strikes in which children have been used.

Previous attacks have been blamed on Boko Haram

Read more here

Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat wrestles Palestinian attacker to the ground

A young Palestinian stabbed an ultra-Orthodox Jew in Jerusalem on Sunday before being wrestled to the ground by the city's mayor and his bodyguard, police and the municipality said.

Mayor Nir Barkat said that as he was driving past city hall, his team saw "a terrorist with a knife".

"Along with my bodyguard we immediately jumped out of the car," Barkat said in a statement.

Read more here

Olympic champion Michael Phelps announces engagement to Nicole Johnson

All-time Olympic swimming great Michael Phelps announced on Twitter and Instagramearly today that he and girlfriend Nicole Johnson are engaged.

"She said yes," Phelps wrote below a photo of him and Johnson smiling in a bear hug as they rolled in the snow.

On her Instagram account, Johnson, a former Miss California USA, confirmed the engagement. "I'm gonna be a Mrs," she wrote.

Read more here

Football: Philippe Coutinho rocket sinks seething Southampton as Liverpool triumphs

Philippe Coutinho scored a magnificent goal as Liverpool overcame Southampton 2-0 in a controversial game on Sunday to close to within two points of the Premier League's top four.

Coutinho opened the scoring with a stunning 30-yard effort in the third minute and Raheem Sterling added a second goal towards the end, but it was the performance of referee Kevin Friend that was to prove the biggest talking point on a cold, squally evening at St Mary's.

The official turned down two strong penalty appeals from Southampton and was barracked by their supporters throughout, as Ronald Koeman's side went a third home game without finding the net.

Read more here