While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Dec 21 edition

Air France says bomb threat that led to emergency landing in Kenya was ‘false alert’

A suspicious object made of cardboard and a kitchen timer sparked a bomb scare on an Air France flight on Sunday, forcing it to make an emergency landing in Kenya.

A passenger alerted crew members to the item found inside a toilet cubicle on board the Boeing 777, which was carrying 459 passengers and 14 crew members from Mauritius to Paris.

“After analysis it has been indicated that (the bomb scare) was a false alarm,” Air France chief executive Frederic Gagey told a press conference in Paris.  “All the information we have at this stage shows that the object was not capable of causing an explosion that would damage the plane but was rather a mixture of cardboard, pieces of paper as well as a timer,” he said.


Donald Trump defends Vladimir Putin on journalist deaths, asks media to 'prove it'

US Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump defended Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday, saying it would be "despicable" if the leader actually did kill opposition journalists, as he has been accused of on US television.

But Trump asked his TV interviewer to first "prove" any such allegations.

Trump's statements come just days after a separate talkshow host asked how he felt about Putin, who "kills journalists and political opponents and invades countries".


Spain's ruling conservatives win election, fall short of majority

Spain’s ruling conservative Popular Party won the most votes in a general election on Sunday but lost its absolute majority in parliament, ahead of the Socialists, partial results showed with over 70 per cent of votes counted.

It will need allies if it is to govern for another four-year term.

If confirmed, such results would give way to coalition-building talks that could take many weeks with no easy pact apparently in reach. The Spanish constitution does not set a specific deadline to form a government after the election.


Star Wars: The Force Awakens smashes box office record

Star Wars: The Force Awakens generated a record US$238 million (S$364.34 million) in US and Canadian ticket sales over the weekend as fans of the space saga packed theatres, according to Walt Disney Co estimates on Sunday.

The first Star Wars film in a decade took in a total of US$517 million at box offices around the world, Disney said.

Domestic sales eclipsed the previous US$208.8 million record set by dinosaur adventure film Jurassic World in June.


Football: Suspended Fifa president Sepp Blatter says corruption charges dropped

Fifa's suspended president Sepp Blatter says the world body's ethics watchdog have dropped corruption charges against him over an alleged US$2 million (S$2.83 million) payment.

Fifa have investigated the cash payment which Blatter approved to Michel Platini with both men set to discover their fates when the verdicts are delivered on Monday.

Blatter was interviewed by Swiss daily Blick on Sunday about his eight-hour hearing in front of the chief Fifa judge Hans-Joachim Eckert last week.