While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, June 24 edition

Burned out debris at the scene of a foiled terrorist attack in Mecca, June 23, 2017.
Burned out debris at the scene of a foiled terrorist attack in Mecca, June 23, 2017.PHOTO: EPA

Police foil ‘terrorist action’ in Mecca: State TV

Saudi Arabian police foiled a “terrorist action” against Islam’s holiest site, where millions of faithful from around the world have gathered, the state Al-Ekhbaria news channel said.

Citing the Ministry of the Interior, it said 11 people were injured in the collapse of a three-storey building where a suicide bomber had barricade himself and exploded.

Five of the injured were police.

It said a terrorist attack had been planned against Mecca’s Grand Mosque, where Muslims from around the globe have converged for the conclusion of the holy Ramadan fasting month.

Purported images from the scene that circulated on social media showed an alley filled with bricks and other debris apparently from a blast.

Video showed what appeared to be a bearded man’s head lying among rubble from a collapsed structure.


Five London towers being evacuated over fire safety fears

Five residential London tower blocks were being evacuated on Friday due to fire safety concerns over their external cladding following the deadly Grenfell Tower inferno.

The towers in the Swiss Cottage area of north London, containing around 800 homes, were deemed unsafe following urgent tests on their exterior cladding, which was installed by the same contractor as on the Grenfell Tower.

Following the snap decision, residents were told to muster at the local library. They will then be sent to hotels across London.


Actor Johnny Depp apologises for ‘poor taste’ Trump assassination joke

Johnny Depp apologised for joking about assassinating US President Donald Trump, saying his remarks were in “poor taste.”

The Pirates Of The Caribbean star spoke during an appearance at Britain’s Glastonbury music festival on Thursday when he pondered how long it had been since an actor had killed a US president. His remarks drew rebukes from Trump supporters, and the White House described Depp’s remarks as “sad.”

Depp on Friday said his remarks were not intended maliciously. “I apologise for the bad joke I attempted last night in poor taste about President Trump,” Depp, 54, said in a statement. “It did not come out as intended, and I intended no malice. I was only trying to amuse, not to harm anyone.”


Slip of tongue fuels speculation on Banksy identity

An unguarded moment in an interview has renewed speculation over one of contemporary art’s great mysteries – could elusive graffiti activist Banksy be Robert Del Naja of band Massive Attack?

Goldie, a well-known DJ who was a friend and competitor of Del Naja as the two sprayed Bristol in south-west England with graffiti in the 1980s, made an apparent slip of the tongue in an interview this week.

Del Naja has often been speculated to be Banksy, who as an artist makes only shadowy appearances with his face and voice concealed.


Tennis: Federer cruises past defending champ Mayer into Halle semis

Top seed Roger Federer reached the Halle Open semi-finals, beating defending champion Florian Mayer 6-3 6-4 and edging closer to a ninth title at the Wimbledon tune-up event.

The 18-times grand slam champion, whose last title at Halle was in 2015, skipped the entire claycourt season after winning the Australian Open and claiming titles at Indian Wells and Miami this year, to prepare for grass.

He will face rapidly rising talent Karen Khachanov, who won his all-Russian quarter-final against Andrey Rublev 7-6(8) 4-6 6-3 to reach his first tour semi-final of the year.