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

Shi’ite Muslims worldwide decry execution of Saudi cleric

Saudi Arabia’s execution of a leading cleric from the Shi’ite Muslim minority drew protests from around the world against the ruling Al Saud family and threatened to further intensify a wave of sectarian conflict in the Middle East.

Lebanon’s Supreme Islamic Shi’ite Council called Saturday’s execution of cleric Nimr al-Nimr a “grave mistake”, and the Hezbollah group termed it an assassination as Shi’ites took to the streets in protest from Teheran to Kashmir.

Saudi Arabia executed 47 people including Nimr, whom the government accused of inciting violence against the police. His supporters, however, said he was a peaceful dissident who advocated greater rights for the kingdom’s Shi’ite minority.


Police hunt for gunman after deadly Tel Aviv pub attack

Israeli security forces pressed a manhunt Saturday for the Arab Israeli suspected of killing two people and wounding seven others at a Tel Aviv pub, with the motive still unknown.

The New Year’s Day shooting came amid a wave of Palestinian attacks on Israelis and days after the leader of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria group threatened the Jewish state with violence.

Police partially lifted a gag order on Saturday, naming the suspected shooter as Nashaat Melhem, 31, from the Arab village of Arara in northern Israel. They distributed his picture and encouraged public vigilance, as a massive manhunt continued.


California twins born in two different years

Twin infants born just as New Year's Champagne corks were popping share the same parents, but different birth years.

Maribel Valencia, of San Diego, California made it to a local hospital on Thursday just in time to give birth to a baby girl - Jaelyn - in the final seconds of 2015, at 11.59pm on Dec 31.

Jaelyn's brother Luis was born about two minutes into 2016, local media reported, at 12.02am on Jan 1.


Football: Arsenal go clear at top, relief at last for United

Arsenal and Manchester City showed they have the stomach for a title fight, with the Premier League leaders sinking Newcastle United 1-0 and Manuel Pellegrini’s men launching a late comeback to beat Watford 2-1.

There was celebration at last for Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal as his team ended a dismal six-game league streak without a win by defeating Swansea City 2-1.

Arsenal’s victory was scrappy and nervy but Laurent Koscielny’s 72nd-minute winner was enough to move them two points clear at the summit after Leicester City’s surprise push faltered with a goalless draw at home to 10-man Bournemouth.


Football: Premier League milestone as Rooney ends goal drought

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney rose to second place on the all-time Premier League scoring list with a clever winner against Swansea City.

The England captain ended a run of 553 minutes without a goal for his club by deftly flicking in Anthony Martial's cross 13 minutes from time to secure a 2-1 triumph that ended a run of six league games without a victory for Louis van Gaal's side.

Rooney climbed above former United forward Andy Cole with 188 goals following his instinctive finish, behind only Alan Shearer who netted 260 times for Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United.