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

Panama Papers: Thousands protest demanding Icelandic PM's resignation

Thousands of Icelanders took to the streets late on Monday calling for their prime minister's resignation after leaked tax documents dubbed the "Panama Papers" prompted allegations that he and his wife used an offshore firm to hide million-dollar investments.

Protesters filled the square outside Iceland's parliament in Reykjavik, footage on public television RUV showed, answering a call from opposition parties to demonstrate against Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson.

Police provided no estimate of the size of the crowd, but said the demonstrators outnumbered the thousands who in 2009 brought down the right-wing government over its responsibility in Iceland's 2008 banking collapse.


New York, California raise minimum wages to US$15

The governors of two major American states, California and New York, signed laws on Monday increasing their hourly minimum wage levels to US$15 (S$20.30), saying they would lift earnings for millions of workers.

The rises - which will set the country's highest minimum wage rates - will take place gradually to give businesses time to adjust.

The minimum wage in New York, US$9, is already higher than the national requirement of US$7.25. California's current rate, US$10, is second only to Washington DC's at US$10.50.


Ancient burials revealed at mysterious Plain of Jars in Laos

Archaeologists have uncovered ancient human remains and various burial practices at the mysterious Plain of Jars in Laos, Australian researchers said Monday, as scientists attempt to unravel the puzzle of the stone vessels.

The Plain of Jars in Laos' central Xieng Khouang province is scattered with thousands of stone jars and scientists have long been perplexed by their original use.

"This will be the first major effort since the 1930s to attempt to understand the purpose of the jars and who created them," Dougald O'Reilly from the Australian National University's school of archaeology said in a statement.


US extradites Singapore man for exporting Iraq bomb parts

 A Singapore man accused of illegally exporting US parts found in explosives in Iraq, through Iran, has been extradited to the United States to face charges on Monday, the Justice Department said.

Lim Yong Nam, 42, was indicted in 2010 for sending radio frequency modules from Minnesota to Iran between 2007 and 2008, violating a US trade embargo. The parts were later found in unexploded improvised explosive devices (IED) in Iraq by US coalition forces.

The devices caused the majority of the casualties against Americans fighting in Iraq between 2003 and 2011, according to the US indictment.


US says strike targeted top Al-Qaeda officials in Syria

A US air strike in Syria targeted Al-Qaeda members, reportedly killing its spokesman, and ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) has been forced from a key town in the latest setbacks for the extremists.

Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said the US military conducted an air raid on a meeting of top officials of Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front on Sunday in northeast Syria, targeting Abu Firas al-Suri and other leaders.

"We assess that Al-Qaeda senior leader Abu Firas al-Suri was in that meeting and we are working to confirm his death," Cook said on Monday.