While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Jan 1 edition

Nations ring in 2015 with dazzling firework displays, concerts and light shows

A dazzling display of fireworks lit up Sydney Harbour on Thursday as Australia's biggest city welcomed the New Year in spectacular style, defying terrorist fears days after a deadly siege.

Then in Hong Kong, brilliant bursts of colour over Victoria Harbour launched the party for millions across Asia, as pro-democracy protesters released 100 yellow balloons.

Even North Korea welcomed 2015 in style, with fireworks exploding over high-rise buildings in Pyongyang.

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Shanghai stampede: 35 killed, more than 40 injured at New Year event in Bund district

A stampede by New Year's revellers on Shanghai's historic waterfront killed 35 people and injured some 43 people, the city government said early Thursday.

State media said the incident happened at 11.35 pm local time on the Chenyi Square of Huangpu District around the Bund, a busy waterfront area in central Shanghai, where people gathered to usher in the New Year.

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Singaporeans kick off year of Golden Jubilee with BigBang and big local hits

The 25,000-strong crowd at the Float @ Marina Bay was in awe as fireworks illuminated the night sky to welcome 2015, the New Year which also marks Singapore's Golden Jubilee year of independence.

But it was not before long that fans started chanting for Korean pop sensation BigBang to make their appearance.

The band finally came on at about 12.30am, pumping up the crowd with hits such as Fantastic Baby and Gara Gara Go.

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Family in shock after US toddler shoots mum in the head in Walmart

The accidental fatal shooting of a US woman by her own two-year-old son at a Walmart store has left her family devastated and again raised questions about gun safety in America.

Veronica Rutledge was out shopping with her son and three nieces Tuesday in Hayden, Idaho when the child unzipped her handbag - specially designed to carry a concealed weapon - and the gun went off.

The 29-year-old nuclear research scientist, who held a concealed-carry permit, got the bag last week as a Christmas gift from her husband Colt Rutledge, with whom she shared a passion for guns.

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Sony expands on-demand, theatrical release of The Interview movie

Sony Pictures Entertainment on Wednesday added more viewing options for its controversial comedy The Interview, distributing the film on demand through US pay TV operators and expanding its reach in independent theatres.

The film, blamed for triggering a massive cyber attack on Sony's movie studio, will also be sold through Wal-Mart Stores' digital on-demand service, Vudu, and will be available on Sony's PlayStation Network, Sony said in a statement.

On Dec 17, Sony cancelled the Christmas Day release of The Interview after hackers threatened violence against movie theatres and major theatre chains refused to show it.

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