While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Aug 18


Two arrested after van ploughs through crowd in Barcelona, killing up to 13

A van mowed through crowds of tourists on Barcelona’s most famous avenue on Thursday, killing about a dozen people in an attack that was claimed by Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The head of the Spanish region of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, said at least 80 people had been taken to hospital and around 12 had died. Other reports put the death toll at 13.

He said two people had been arrested. It was still not clear how many attackers had been involved.

Witnesses said the white van zigzagged at high speed down Las Ramblas, a busy avenue thronged with tourists, knocking down pedestrians and leaving bodies strewn across the ground.

Witness Tom Gueller told the BBC: “I heard screams and a bit of a crash and then I just saw the crowd parting and this van going full pelt down the middle of the Ramblas and I immediately knew that it was a terrorist attack or something like that... It wasn’t slowing down at all. It was just going straight through the middle of the crowds.”


Donald Trump again cites dubious Muslim execution story after Spain attack

President Donald Trump appeared on Thursday to endorse the idea of mass executions for Islamist extremists, as he alluded to a widely debunked account of summary punishment by a US general in the Philippines in the early 1900s.

It was another provocative tweet from an increasingly isolated leader who uses Twitter to take shots at perceived opponents - and even announce big policy changes. Thursday's tweet also suggested Trump actually believes a story that many historians say is apocryphal.

Trump tweeted: "Study what General Pershing of the United States did to terrorists when caught. There was no more Radical Islamic Terror for 35 years!"


Model was offered cash to make Grace Mugabe assault 'go away'

The 20-year-old South African model that Zimbabwe's first lady Grace Mugabe is alleged to have assaulted was offered cash to make potential charges "go away", a lawyer said.

Police have said they were also on high alert to make sure that the 52-year-old wife of President Robert Mugabe does not skip the country, with an arrest warrant reportedly being considered.

The first lady is alleged to have hit Gabriella Engels on Sunday at a Johannesburg hotel.


Canadian woman finds long-lost diamond ring on a carrot in garden

An elderly Canadian woman has recovered a diamond engagement ring she lost 13 years ago, after it turned up this week on a carrot pulled from her old garden.

Mary Grams, 84, told local media she lost the ring she'd worn since 1951 while weeding on the family farm near Armena, Alberta in 2004.

This week, Grams' daughter-in-law Colleen Daley, who now lives on the farm, reportedly spotted the ring on a grotesque carrot she'd pulled from the garden while washing dirt off it. The stubby, misshapen carrot had grown through the ring, appearing like a tight band on a chubby finger.


Football: Messi and Ronaldo duel to be world's best again

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi will again be duelling for the title of world's best footballer after their names once again headed the short-list for The Best Fifa Men's Player.

The pair, who have dominated the global award in its varied forms for a decade, will be favourites to collect yet another accolade amid the 24-strong list of the world's best.

Ronaldo enjoyed another remarkable season in which he inspired Real Madrid to a La Liga/Champions League double, while Messi topped him in the Spanish goalscoring charts for Barcelona while going past a career landmark of 500 goals for the club.