While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Nov 1

Police investigate a vehicle allegedly used in a ramming incident on the West Side Highway in Manhattan.
Police investigate a vehicle allegedly used in a ramming incident on the West Side Highway in Manhattan.PHOTO: REUTERS

Several killed in New York City after truck ploughs through bike path in 'act of terror'; driver arrested

A pickup truck struck down multiple people on a bike path in lower Manhattan, killing several and injuring numerous others on Tuesday afternoon, before the driver was shot and taken into custody, the New York City police said.

The pickup truck crashed into another vehicle - said by the New York Times to be a school bus - after striking bicyclists and pedestrians, and the driver got out wielding what police later said were “imitation” guns.

The driver was shot by police before being taken into custody, the New York City Police Department said in a posting on its Twitter account.

The New York Times quoted two law enforcement officials as saying that the man was heard getting out of the truck yelling “Allahu Akbar.” (Arabic for “God is great.”)


Court in Spain summons deposed Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont to charge him

Spain’s top criminal court said on Tuesday it had summoned Catalonia’s deposed leader Carles Puigdemont and 13 other former members of his government to be put under official investigation over the region’s separatist drive.

The National Audience summoned the 14 to appear in court in Madrid on Thursday and Friday and gave them three days to pay a combined deposit against potential penalties of 6.2 million euros (S$9.8 million).

Puigdemont and several of his former ministers travelled to Belgium after they were dismissed by Madrid on Friday as the central government took direct control of the semi-autonomous region whose parliament had just declared unilateral independence.


Official portraits of Donald Trump, Mike Pence are finally in circulation

The White House announced that it has begun releasing official portraits of President Donald Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence to be hung in thousands of government offices nationwide - nine months after they were sworn in.

The portraits had been conspicuously missing from the lobbies of federal buildings and office walls, which have been graced by empty picture frames and hooks that until Jan 20 held the portraits of Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

The changeover is usually a rite of Washington passage from one administration to the next that began after the Civil War. In recent administrations, the change has been relatively prompt: Obama's portrait was hung by the third month he was in office in 2009.


Saudi Arabia to begin issuing tourist visas

Saudi Arabia plans to start issuing tourist visas "soon", authorities said on Tuesday, as the ultra-conservative kingdom seeks to attract international visitors in a radical overhaul of its oil-dependent economy.

Tourism is seen as a major driver of growth as the kingdom attempts to wean itself off its dependence on petrodollars amid a protracted oil slump.

Aside from millions of Muslims who travel to Saudi Arabia for the annual haj pilgrimage, most visitors currently face a tedious visa process and exorbitant fees to enter the kingdom.


Netflix suspends House Of Cards production

Production of award-winning House Of Cards sixth season has been suspended indefinitely in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against its star Kevin Spacey, Netflix announced on Tuesday.

The suspension was "until further notice, to give us time to review the current situation and to address any concerns of our cast and crew," said producer Media Rights Capital and the streaming giant in a joint statement.

Season six, which Netflix had already confirmed on Monday would be the final edition of its flagship production, had been scheduled to air in 2018. It is not yet known whether this will change.