While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Dec 23


US envoy in fight against ISIS quits after Syria pullout

A top US envoy leading a global coalition fighting Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has quit over President Donald Trump's decision this week to pull US troops out of Syria, a source familiar with the matter said.

Brett McGurk, US special presidential envoy for the global coalition to defeat ISIS, submitted his resignation effective Dec 31 to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday, a State Department official said.

In an abrupt policy shift, Trump announced on Wednesday that Washington would withdraw the roughly 2,000 US troops in Syria, upending a pillar of American policy in the Middle East and alarming US allies.

The decision was followed on Thursday by the surprise departure of US Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis, who in a resignation letter to Trump laid bare the growing divide between the two over shaping foreign policy.


Trump has discussed firing Fed chairman Jerome Powell: Sources

US President Donald Trump has privately discussed the possibility of firing Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell, a move that could roil already volatile financial markets, two sources familiar with situation said.

The sources, however, said they do not expect Trump to dismiss the US central bank chief, despite the president's public and private objections to the Fed's interest rate-hiking campaign and his repeated criticisms of Powell, whom he appointed.

An attempt to remove the Fed chairman would be unprecedented and seen as an attack on the US central bank's independence, which is meant to insulate it from political considerations.


New Banksy artwork brings crowds to town in Wales

A new work by enigmatic street artist Banksy has got visitors flocking to the back of a car garage in Port Talbot, causing quite a stir in the south Wales steel town.

Since the image appeared, the local authority has brought in two traffic wardens to manage the crowds packing out a narrow lane in a bid to see it.

The work, in the shadow of the town's dominant steelworks, shows a child seemingly playing in the snow, standing by a sled with his tongue out, tasting the falling snowflakes.


Football: Solskjaer makes dream start as Man United thrash Cardiff

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer enjoyed a dream start as Manchester United's interim manager as his side turned on the style to thrash his former club Cardiff City 5-1 in the Premier League.

Goals from Marcus Rashford, Ander Herrera, Anthony Martial and two from Jesse Lingard gave United an emphatic and a much-needed victory in the Norweigan's first game in charge.

It was the first time United had scored five since Alex Ferguson's last game in charge in May 2013.


Football: Man City suffer shock Premier League defeat by Crystal Palace

Manchester City conceded ground to leaders Liverpool atop the Premier League after a stunning Andros Townsend goal contributed to a jaw-dropping 3-2 victory for Crystal Palace at the Etihad.

The defeat ended City's perfect home form in the league this season and arrived 28 years to the day since Palace last won on the road against the Blues.

City had not lost any of their previous 52 league games against teams outside the traditional "big six", a run dating back nearly two years to a defeat at Everton in January 2017.