While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Dec 28

Police officers and firefighters work at the site of an explosion in a supermarket in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
Police officers and firefighters work at the site of an explosion in a supermarket in Saint Petersburg, Russia.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

10 hurt in Saint Petersburg supermarket bombing

A home-made bomb blast at a supermarket in the Russian city of Saint Petersburg injured 10 people, officials said, sparking a probe into attempted murder.

The blast was caused by a “homemade explosive device with the power equivalent to 200 grammes of TNT filled with lethal fragments,” a spokeswoman said.

The incident comes several months after Russia’s second city was rocked with a metro bombing in April which killed 16 people and amid concern that hundreds of Russian citizens who travelled to fight alongside Islamic militant groups abroad could pose a mounting security challenge back home.

Ten people were hospitalised, but their lives are not in danger, officials said.


Rex Tillerson, Sergei Lavrov agree to continue diplomacy over North Korea

The United States and Russia have agreed to continue diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis over North Korea’s development of nuclear missiles capable of hitting the United States and emphasised that neither accept Pyongyang as a nuclear power, the US State Department said on Wednesday (Dec 27).

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke by telephone on Tuesday, after Washington and the United Nations both announced sanctions against North Korea in recent days.

She said both sides agreed to continue working toward a diplomatic way to achieve a denuclearised Korean peninsula.


Israel ambassador asks to meet New Zealand pop star Lorde over cancelled show

Israel's ambassador to New Zealand on Wednesday appealed to the pop star Lorde to meet him after she cancelled a show in Tel Aviv after appeals from activists for her to shun Israel as a protest against its treatment of Palestinians.

Itzhak Gerberg, Israel's ambassador to New Zealand, said in a public letter it was "regrettable" that the concert had been called off and the boycott of his country represented "hostility and intolerance".

"I invite you to meet me in person to discuss Israel, its achievements and its role as the only democracy in the Middle East," Gerberg said on the Embassy of Israel's Facebook page.


Football: Liverpool land Van Dijk in reported £75 million world record for defender

Liverpool signed Southampton's Virgil van Dijk on Wednesday for a reported £75 million (S$135 million) in a deal that makes him the world's most expensive defender.

Van Dijk has been linked with a move to Liverpool for several months and the Anfield club were forced to issue an apology after an alleged illegal approach for the Netherlands international earlier this year.

Reds boss Jurgen Klopp has remained determined to sign Van Dijk as he tries to shore up a leaky defence that has fatally damaged Liverpool's Premier League title ambitions.


Football: Sterling sparkles as Man City claim 18th successive win

Manchester City surged 15 points clear at the top of the Premier League as Raheem Sterling fired the runaway leaders to a 1-0 win at Newcastle.

Pep Guardiola's side head into 2018 looking certain to lift the title after extending their Premier League record winning streak to 18 matches.

Sterling's 31st minute goal ensured City took advantage of second placed Manchester United's costly draw with Burnley on Tuesday.