While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Dec 3 edition

Armed French police secure a street near the travel agency where a gunman took seven people hostage.
Armed French police secure a street near the travel agency where a gunman took seven people hostage.PHOTO: REUTERS

Hostages safe in Paris armed robbery, thief on the run

Several people taken hostage on Friday evening in a Paris travel agency were released safe and sound, police said, but the armed robber who seized them was on the run.

“Armed robbery on Massena Boulevard in Paris: operation over,” police tweeted. “Six people have left. The thief is not on the premises.”

Sources said seven hostages had been “found safe and sound” after the hold-up at the southern Paris travel agency.

Police sources had earlier told AFP that the robber was armed with a handgun and holding seven people.


Philippines’ Duterte gets Trump White House invite during ‘animated’ call

US President-elect Donald Trump invited Philippines leader Rodrigo Duterte to the White House next year during a “very engaging, animated” phone conversation, a Duterte aide said, amid rocky relations between their two countries.

Trump’s brief chat with the firebrand Philippine president follows a period of uncertainty about one of Washington’s most important Asian alliances, stoked by Duterte’s hostility towards President Barack Obama and repeated threats to sever decades-old defence ties.

The call lasted just over seven minutes, Duterte’s special adviser, Christopher Go, said in a text message to media, which gave few details.


British fighters to overfly South China Sea; carriers in Pacific after 2020 - envoy

British fighter planes visiting Japan will fly over the South China Sea and Britain will sail aircraft carriers in the Pacific once they are operational in 2020, given concerns about freedom of navigation there, Britain's ambassador to the United States said.

The envoy, Kim Darroch, told a Washington think-tank that British Typhoon aircraft currently deployed on a visit to Japan would fly across disputed parts of the South China Sea to assert international overflight rights, but gave no time frame.

Speaking at an event also attended by Japan's ambassador to Washington, Darroch said that most future British defence capacity would have to be directed towards the Middle East, but added: "Certainly, as we bring our two new aircraft carriers onstream in 2020, and as we renew and update our defence forces, they will be seen in the Pacific. And we absolutely share the objective of this US administration, and the next one, to protect freedom of navigation and to keep sea routes and air routes open."


Formula One: Rosberg stuns Formula One with retirement bombshell

Nico Rosberg stunned Formula One with the shock announcement that he was retiring only days after achieving a lifetime ambition by winning his first world championship with Mercedes.

“From the moment when the destiny of the title was in my own hands, the big pressure started and I began to think about ending my racing career if I became world champion,” the German said in a statement.

“On Sunday morning in Abu Dhabi, I knew that it could be my last race and that feeling cleared my head before the start. I wanted to enjoy every part of the experience, knowing it might be the last time,” the 31-year-old added.


Usain Bolt wins unprecedented sixth Athlete of the Year award

Sprint king Usain Bolt won an unprecedented sixth IAAF male Athlete of the Year award, with Ethiopian Almaz Ayana picking up the female award after her record-setting 10,000m gold in Rio.

"I live for the moments I walk into the stadium," said Bolt, who will retire next year. "I love competing, I dream of being in the stadium competing against the best."

Bolt, previously winner in 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013, was rewarded for another blistering season that saw him claim three gold medals (100m, 200m and 4x100m relay) at the Rio Olympics for the third consecutive Games.