While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Dec 15 edition

US President Barack Obama warns ISIS leaders 'you are next'

US President Barack Obama voiced renewed determination to destroy the ISIS on Monday, vowing to win back territory in the Middle East and kill the group's leaders.

Sounding a notably more strident tone, Obama said that the United States and its allies were taking the fight to ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria).

"We are hitting them harder than ever," said Obama, in a second address following a seemingly ISIS-influenced attack in San Bernardino that has raised questions about his strategy.


Argentina bus crash leaves 43 border patrol officers dead

A bus carrying Argentine border patrol officers blew a tire and tumbled from a bridge into a dry river bed in the northern province of Salta on Monday, killing 43 and injuring eight, authorities said.

The vehicle was part of a three-bus convoy carrying officers of Argentina's gendarmerie, which patrols the country's borders. Salta borders Bolivia, Chile and Paraguay.

Border security has become a hot issue in Argentina as the country has emerged as part of a route used for smuggling Andean cocaine to Europe and for human traffickers sending Syrian refugees through the Western Hemisphere.


Thailand's 88-year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej makes rare public appearance

Thailand's revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej made a rare public appearance on Monday after failing to show up for nationwide celebrations marking his birthday earlier this month.

Local television showed footage of the monarch, who turned 88 on Dec 5, swearing in dozens of judges at a reception room in a Bangkok hospital where he has been convalescing.

The king was last seen in public on Sept 1 and did not make an appearance on his birthday - the second year running he missed the celebrations he would usually take part in.


A blockbuster awakens: 'Star Wars' back on big screen

Hollywood rolls out the red carpet on Monday for the premiere of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," with excitement at fever pitch as the space epic resumes to the delight of die-hard fans.

Ever since 1977, when "Star Wars" introduced the world to The Force, Jedi knights, Darth Vader, Wookiees and clever droids R2-D2 and C3PO, the sci-fi saga has built a devoted global fan base that spans generations.

Fans will rub shoulders with Tinseltown royalty at the star-studded premiere, to be followed by a global roll-out taking in a dozen countries from Wednesday before the film officially reaches US theaters on Friday.


Serena Williams named Sportsperson of 2015 by Sports Illustrated

Serena Williams, who owned the tennis world this year even as she battled illness and injury, was named sportsperson of 2015 on Monday by Sports Illustrated.

The magazine said it was honouring the 34-year-old icon both for her positively stunning numbers and her pluck in achieving what it called one of the greatest late-career runs in the history of any sport.

Williams won three major titles, triumphed in 53 of the 56 matches she played and ranked number one for every week of the season for the second straight year.