While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Nov 13 edition

US bomber flew near Chinese-built island in South China Sea: Pentagon

A US B-52 strategic bomber flew near artificial Chinese islands in the South China Sea recently and was contacted by Chinese ground controllers but continued its mission undeterred, the Pentagon spokesman said on Thursday.

“We conduct B-52 flights in international air space in that part of the world all the time,” Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook told a news briefing in response to a question about the flight.

“There was one B-52 flight... there was an effort made by Chinese ground controllers to reach out to that aircraft and that aircraft continued its mission unabated. Nothing changed.”


Obama awards 'hero' who tackled suicide bomber top military honour

President Barack Obama on Thursday awarded America's highest military honour to a French-born soldier who tackled a suicide bomber in Afghanistan, maiming himself, but saving several comrades.

While providing a security escort during a second tour of Afghanistan in 2012, retired army captain Florent Groberg hurled himself at a suspicious looking young man who detonated a bomb vest packed with ball bearings.

The blast left Groberg with serious injuries to his left leg and killed three of his colleagues and a US Agency for International Development foreign service officer.


Twin blasts claimed by ISIS kill 41 in Beirut

Twin bomb blasts claimed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group killed 41 people on Thursday on a busy shopping street in a Beirut stronghold of the Shi'ite movement Hezbollah, the worst such attack in years.

Speaking from the scene, Health Minister Wael Abou Faour said more than 200 people had been wounded, many of them in serious condition.

ISIS claimed the blasts in an online statement.


Football: Ouch! China smash 12 goals past Bhutan in World Cup rout

China hammered 12 unanswered goals past hapless Bhutan on Thursday as they ramped up their World Cup qualifying hopes with their biggest win in 15 years.

Australia, Japan and South Korea also enjoyed comfortable wins on a night of few surprises in Asia's round two-apart from the giant scoreline in Changsha.

After Mei Fang's 10th-minute opener, Yang Xu hit four including a penalty and Yu Dabao, Yu Hanchao and Wang Yongpo all bagged braces as China ran riot.


Football: Fifa approves five presidential candidates, Platini pending

Fifa on Thursday approved five candidates to stand in February's vote to replace Sepp Blatter as president of world football's governing body, but Michel Platini has not yet made the list.

The five who met the qualification criteria following a series of integrity tests were: Prince Ali Al Hussein, Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, Jerome Champagne, Gianni Infantino and Tokyo Sexwale, a Fifa statement said.

The candidacy of Platini, the suspended head of European football who had been the favourite to succeed Blatter, will be examined once his 90-day suspension by Fifa's ethics committee is over.