While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Feb 7 edition

26-year-old Kayla Mueller in an undated photograph. She is suspected to be the woman killed in a coalition air strike in Syria but this claim by the Islamic group ISIS has not been verified. -- PHOTO: AFP
26-year-old Kayla Mueller in an undated photograph. She is suspected to be the woman killed in a coalition air strike in Syria but this claim by the Islamic group ISIS has not been verified. -- PHOTO: AFP

ISIS claims US female hostage killed in coalition strike in Syria

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militant group said on Friday that an American woman hostage it was holding in Syria had been killed when Jordanian fighter jets bombed a building where she was being held, the Site monitoring group said.

In Washington, US officials said they could not confirm that the woman, who has been identified as 26-year-old aid worker Kayla Jean Mueller of Prescott, Arizona, had been killed.

Mueller was the last-known American hostage held by Islamic State, which controls wide areas of Syria and Iraq and has executed five British and American aid workers and journalists in recent months.

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US invites China's Xi, Japan's Abe for state visits

The United States has invited Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for prestigious state visits, President Barack Obama's top security adviser said Friday, signalling a deepening of his "pivot to Asia".

Early in his presidency, Obama put forward plans to withdraw US military, economic and human resources from Middle East wars, deploying them to emerging Asia instead. But he has sometimes struggled to keep the strategy on course given the Arab Spring, wars in Syria and Ukraine, and the economic crisis in Europe.

The visits - which come on the back of a three-nation trip Obama made to Asia in November - are designed to underscore that the strategy remains on track.

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Uber to launch 'panic button' for users in India

Uber is launching a "panic button" and other safety features for users in India, following news that Mumbai was readying a ban on the ride-sharing service.

The move also follows concerns about Uber's practices in the wake of rape allegations against a driver (above) in New Delhi last year.

Uber said in a blog post that starting Feb 11, riders in India would have an "in-app panic (SOS) button that allows a rider to alert the local police at the push of a button in case of an emergency."

Riders will also have a "safety net" feature allowing them to share their trip details and real-time location with up to five friends and family members.

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Rare Ferrari owned by actor and found on French farm fetches $21 million at auction

An ultra-rare Ferrari that once belonged to actor Alain Delon and was discovered rusting under a pile of old magazines on a French farm fetched €14.2 million (S$21 million) at auction on Friday.

The Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spyder - one of only a few dozen ever made - went under the hammer at the Artcurial auction house in Paris.

It was up for sale alongside a treasure trove of rare classic cars found on the farm in western France last year after lying forgotten for half a century.

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Football: Zidane could be future Real coach, says Ancelotti

Zinedine Zidane is shaping up as a future coach of Real Madrid, present incumbent Carlo Ancelotti said on Friday.

Zidane, who is currently coaching the Real reserve side Castilla, "has all the qualities" required to take the the helm of the club, Ancelotti told a news conference.

After seeing Castilla lose five of their first six initial games, Zidane has turned things around and his young charges have now lost just once in the past four months.

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