While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Jan 13 edition

Oil prices fall below US$30 a barrel for the first time in 12 years

US crude prices fell below $30 (S$43) a barrel for the first time in 12 years on Tuesday as Opec member Nigeria called for an emergency meeting to address collapsing prices.

New York's benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for February delivery fell to US$29.93 a barrel, a level last seen in December 2003.

Prices pulled back slightly at the end of trade to end 97 cents lower at US$30.44 a barrel.


Iran detains 10 US Navy sailors and 2 ships

Two US Navy boats were taken into Iranian custody on Tuesday but Iran has told the United States that the crew will be returned "promptly", US officials said.

"Earlier today, we lost contact with two small US naval craft en route from Kuwait to Bahrain. We subsequently have been in communication with Iranian authorities, who have informed us of the safety and well-being of our personnel. We have received assurances the sailors will promptly be allowed to continue their journey," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif assured US Secretary of State John Kerry that the US sailors would be allowed to continue their journey promptly, another US official said.


Obama to talk about self-driving cars in State of the Union speech

United States President Barack Obama will talk about the prospects for self-driving cars in his final State of the Union address on Tuesday (Wednesday morning Singapore time), according to government officials, the first time the President has used the annual speech to tackle one of the most important issues facing the auto industry.

Mr Mark Rosekind, the head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration told reporters on Tuesday that Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx will be in Detroit on Thursday "to amplify stuff that's coming out of the State of the Union on self driving cars".

Mr Foxx is expected to talk about efforts by the Obama administration to speed the introduction of self-driving vehicles. There is not yet a clear legal framework governing their presence on US roads.


Indonesian energy company plans to resume drilling near mud volcano

Indonesian energy company Lapindo Brantas plans to resume drilling for gas near the site of a mud volcano, its CEO said, referring to a disaster that some scientists say it helped to create around 10 years ago.

The Sidoarjo mud volcano, which started erupting in May 2006 near Indonesia's second-biggest city of Surabaya, inundated 12 villages and has displaced around 60,000 people.

It has now become a tourist attraction. The company, a unit of Energi Mega Persada, has paid off the vast majority of compensation claims it was ordered to pay, helped by a 786 billion rupiah (S$81.7 million) government loan last year.


Airbnb under fire for 'illegal' West Bank listings

Palestinian officials pledged to take action on Tuesday against Airbnb over rooms for rent in settlements in the occupied West Bank being listed on the website as located within Israel.

Dozens of Jewish settlers advertise their homes for rent in a number of locations across the West Bank.

Much of the international community, including the US and the EU, opposes all Israeli settlements built in the occupied Palestinian territory and considers them among the largest obstacles to peace.