While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Dec 24 edition

Two hijackers of a Libyan Afriqiyah Airways Airbus A320 surrender to Maltese military on the runway at Malta Airport, Dec 23, 2016.
Two hijackers of a Libyan Afriqiyah Airways Airbus A320 surrender to Maltese military on the runway at Malta Airport, Dec 23, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

Malta hijack ends peacefully as Gaddafi loyalists surrender

Hijackers armed with what were probably replica weapons forced an airliner to land in Malta before freeing all their hostages unharmed and surrendering, having declared loyalty to Libya’s late leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Television pictures showed two men being led from the aircraft in handcuffs. The prime minister of the tiny Mediterranean island, Joseph Muscat, tweeted: “Hijackers surrendered, searched and taken in custody”.

The Airbus A320 had been on an internal flight in Libya on Friday morning when it was diverted to Malta, 500km north of the Libyan coast, after a man told the crew he had a hand grenade.

Muscat said the grenade and two pistols the hijackers were also carrying appeared to be replicas, according to an initial forensic examination.


Donald Trump shares a ‘very nice’ Christmas letter he received from Vladimir Putin

President-elect Donald Trump, whose expressed admiration of Vladimir Putin has stirred controversy, released a letter from the Russian leader in which Putin offers his “warmest” Christmas greetings and seeks to restore cooperation with the United States.

“A very nice letter from Vladimir Putin; his thoughts are so correct,” Trump said in a statement regarding the Dec 15 letter. “I hope both sides are able to live up to these thoughts, and we do not have to travel an alternate path.”

In the letter, Putin says that he hopes that, after Trump is sworn in, the two can act “in a constructive and pragmatic manner” and “take real steps to restore the framework of bilateral cooperation in different areas as well as bring our level of collaboration on the international scene to a qualitatively new level".


Muslim man found dead after speaking to media in restive Myanmar state

The headless body of a Muslim villager has been found days after he spoke to reporters on a rare government-guided media tour of restive northern Rakhine State, Myanmar police said.

Police did not give a motive for the killing of the 41-year-old man, whose body was found floating in a river, but said he spoke to Burmese journalists on Wednesday in Ngakhura village.

In a statement on Friday, the President's Office confirmed that a man - whom they identified as Shu Nar Myar - had been killed, adding that he had denied stories of military abuse when speaking to the reporters.


Football: Crystal Palace confirm Sam Allardyce’s appointment as manager

Former England boss Sam Allardyce has signed a two-and-a-half-year contract to take over as manager of Premier League strugglers Crystal Palace, the London club said.

Palace, who are fourth from bottom, sacked Alan Pardew on Thursday after a dismal run of results. “We are delighted to be able to make an appointment so quickly and fortunate that someone of Sam’s calibre and experience was available,” club chairman Steve Parish said in a statement.

Allardyce’s first match in charge will be the league game at fellow Londoners Watford on Monday.


Football: Guardiola cancels Christmas to focus on Hull City

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola will not allow his players time off for Christmas as he wants to ensure they are fully prepared for Monday's (Dec 26) Premier League trip to basement team Hull City.

Guardiola, whose side are third and trail leaders Chelsea by seven points, said he consulted his players before taking the decision.

"They gave me good advice about what it means to play on Boxing Day at Hull City," he told a news conference on Friday. "We're going to train tomorrow (Saturday) and on the 25th, then get a bus in the afternoon to Hull. We're going to prepare like it's not Christmas."