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

US stocks fall on China worries; Dow loses 1.6 per cent while oil prices also tumble

US stocks opened 2016 on a dreary note Monday (Jan 4), falling sharply on worries about plunging Chinese equities and a brewing diplomatic crisis between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Oil prices also fell in volatile trading.

At the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 276.09 points (1.58 per cent) at 17,148.94.


Obama to force through gun control measures

President Barack Obama is poised to unveil a raft of executive actions to tackle US gun violence, kicking-off his last year in the White House with a show of political power.

Frustrated at the unbending political opposition to gun control, despite the American scourge of mass shootings, Obama is now looking to bypass Congress with executive steps that aides say will focus on regulating gun sales and curbing illegal purchases.

The proposals - being presented to Obama by Attorney General Loretta Lynch at the White House on Monday (Jan 4) - could tighten rules on gun dealers and crack down on "straw purchases" in which potentially suspect individuals buy guns through an intermediary.


Donald Trump unveils first TV campaign ad, urges Muslim ban

Republican frontrunner Donald Trump on Monday (Jan 4) unveiled his first TV ad of the 2016 US election campaign, reiterating his call for a ban on Muslims entering the United States.

The 30-second ad will broadcast in Iowa and New Hampshire from Tuesday, costing US$2 million (S$2.9 million) a week ahead of the first primaries, his campaign said.

"The politicians can pretend its something else but Donald Trump calls it radical Islamic terrorism, that's why he's calling for a temporary shut down of Muslims entering the United States," says the voiceover on the ad.


FBI seeks 'peaceful' end to occupation in Oregon by armed group dubbed 'VanillaISIS'

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation on Monday (Jan 4) sought a peaceful end to the occupation by a self-styled, armed anti-government militia at a US federal wildlife reserve in rural Oregon, as the standoff entered its third day.

The loose-knit band of farmers, ranchers and survivalists - whose action was sparked by the jailing of two ranchers for arson - said they would not rule out violence if authorities stormed the site, although federal officials said they hope to avoid bloodshed.

"The FBI is working with the Harney County Sheriff's Office, Oregon State Police and other local and state law enforcement agencies to bring a peaceful resolution to the situation at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge," the bureau's Oregon office said in a statement late Sunday.


Football: Real Madrid sack Rafael Benitez, hire Zinedine Zidane as coach

Real Madrid sacked coach Rafael Benitez after just seven months in charge on Monday (Jan 4) with club legend Zinedine Zidane replacing the Spaniard.

"We have taken the difficult decision to rescind the contract of Rafael Benitez as coach," said Madrid president Florentino Perez.

"The Real Madrid board has decided to name Zinedine Zidane as coach of the first team."