While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Dec 19 edition

A Jordanian police armored vehicles stand guard near the entrance of of Karak Castle, near the town of Karak, some 140 km south of Amman, Jordan, on Dec 18, 2016.
A Jordanian police armored vehicles stand guard near the entrance of of Karak Castle, near the town of Karak, some 140 km south of Amman, Jordan, on Dec 18, 2016. PHOTO: EPA

Jordanian police storm castle where gunmen were holding tourists

A security operation to flush out around six “terrorists” holed up in a Crusader-era castle in the southern city of Karak was approaching its end, the Jordanian government said on Sunday (Dec 18), after a shoot-out that killed at least nine people.

A Canadian woman, three other civilians and five police officers were among the nine killed during the exchange of gunfire between the assailants and security forces. At least 29 people were taken to hospital, some with serious injuries, security sources said.

Government minister and spokesman Mohammad al-Momani told state television a manhunt to “eliminate” the gunmen had entered its final phase. He did not elaborate.

“The security forces and gendarme are in the final stage and we don’t want to pre-empt news ... we will be dealing with this group of terrorists and eliminate them,” Momani said.


Electoral College, archaic and unloved, prepares to anoint Donald Trump

Donald Trump's fiercest critics may be dreaming of a last-minute revolt, but the Electoral College, a peculiarly American institution, appears near-certain on Monday (Dec 19) to select the 70-year-old real estate mogul as the 45th US president.

Its detractors - and they are many - have denounced an electoral system that flies in the face of the venerated "one man, one vote" principle, and which perversely encourages presidential candidates to campaign in only a few key states while ignoring whole swaths of the country.

But despite the torrent of criticism this method has faced for decades, no reform attempt has ever succeeded.


Trump team collusion with Russia an 'open question,' says Clinton aide

A top aide to Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign said on Sunday (Dec 18) it was an "open question" whether President-elect Donald Trump's advisers colluded with Russia to hack into Democratic Party emails to try to sway the Nov 8 election.

Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta said there was evidence that Trump associates had contact with a Russian intelligence official and the website Wikileaks before US intelligence agencies accused Russia of being behind computer attacks of Democratic emails, including Podesta's.

"It's very much unknown whether there was collusion. I think Russian diplomats have said post-election that they were talking to the Trump campaign," Podesta told NBC's Meet the Press programme.


Box Office: Rogue One scores massive $224 million debut as Star Wars fans flock to theatres

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story sold out multiplexes around the country and brought fanboys and fangirls out in force over the weekend.

The Star Wars prequel scored the second largest December opening in history, the second largest launch of the year, and one of the top debuts in history, opening to a massive US$155 million (S$224 million).

Globally, the film has earned US$290.5 million, after touching down in nearly every major foreign market save for China and South Korea.


Football: Wenger anger as City stun Arsenal on day of comebacks

Manchester City produced a thrilling second-half comeback to beat Arsenal 2-1 on Sunday (Dec 18) and move above Arsene Wenger's side into second place in the Premier League, seven points behind leaders Chelsea.

Tottenham Hotspur and Southampton also fought back from a goal down, to beat Burnley 2-1 and Bournemouth 3-1 respectively, to reinforce the league's reputation for thrills and spills.

Chelsea are top with 43 points, followed by City on 36 and then Liverpool, who visit Everton in their game in hand on Monday, and Arsenal with 34, Spurs on 33 and Manchester United with 30 after their 2-0 win at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.