While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, May 31 edition

Concerns raised over trapped civilians as Iraq forces push into streets of ISIS-held Fallujah

Iraqi forces thrust into the city of Fallujah from three directions on Monday marking a new and perilous urban phase in the week-old operation to retake the extremist bastion.

The drive to recapture the first city to be lost from government control in 2014 came as fighting also raged in neighbouring Syria, leaving huge numbers of civilians exposed.

Led by the elite counter-terrorism service (CTS), Iraq's best trained and most seasoned fighting unit, the forces pushed into Fallujah before dawn, commanders said.


Oceans delay warming of Antarctic waters, says new study

Deep, cold ocean currents from the North Atlantic blunt the effect of global warming on Antarctica and slow the rise of sea levels, according to a study published on Monday.

This icy insulation of the snowy continent - covered by a sheath of ice up to four kilometres thick - could last for centuries, the research published in Nature Geoscience said.

That's good news to hundreds of millions of people in low-lying regions who are threatened by seas set to rise up to a metre by the end of the century, according to the latest report by the UN climate science panel.


Anger erupts over Christian grandmother attacked, stripped naked, in Egyptian village

Soad Thabet's house no longer has a door. Inside, its walls are blackened with soot and a television lies shattered on the floor. The remains of a red nightgown stand out among the ashes.

Thabet, 70, describes being dragged outside by Muslim villagers and stripped naked in the dirt roads of Alkarm, the Egyptian village where she spent her most of her adult life.

Her crime? Her son, a married Christian, was rumoured to have had an affair with a married Muslim woman. The woman has since denied the affair took place on national television.


Germany slips out of global competitiveness top 10, study says

Germany has slipped out of the top 10 most competitive economies in the world, falling two places to 12 from last year, a study by Swiss business school IMD showed on Monday.

The study, based on a worldwide survey of 5,400 managers assessing 342 criteria, showed that a diminished assessment of Germany's government and the economy's performance were the main reasons for the drop, IMD director Arturo Bris said. "The biggest danger for Germany is self-satisfaction," Bris said.

"If it rejects that, it will get back into the top ten."


Johnny Depp, facing abuse allegations, gets backing from family, friends

American actor Johnny Depp, facing abuse allegations from his estranged wife Amber Heard, toured with his band in Europe on Monday as family and friends rushed to his defence.

In Stockholm, hundreds of fans lined up all day at the Grona Lund amusement park to see Depp perform with his band, the Hollywood Vampires.

Boycott appeals were launched on social media after Heard, who filed for divorce in Los Angeles last week and appeared in court with a black eye, accused the Oscar-nominated star of assaulting her.