While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Nov 14 edition

Shattered windows are seen outside shops after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit New Zealand on Sunday (Nov 13).
Shattered windows are seen outside shops after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit New Zealand on Sunday (Nov 13).PHOTO: TWITTER/NICK KINGSTONE

Two dead after New Zealand quake, residents flee tsunami

At least two people were killed and more fatalities were feared after a powerful 7.8 earthquake struck New Zealand just after midnight Monday (Nov 14), while residents in coastal areas fled following tsunami warnings.

As dawn broke there was scant information from many rural villages in the South Island, which were isolated by landslips and fractured telephone communications as strong aftershocks continued for several hours.

Prime Minister John Key confirmed two people had died and said “we cannot rule out” that number will rise, nearly seven hours after the main quake.  Police were trying to reach the scene of one fatality at a remote property 150 kilometres north of Christchurch while another person died in a historic homestead which collapsed at the nearby fishing village of Kaikoura.

“At this point we are unable to give precise details of what caused those fatalities,” Key said, adding that communication problems made it difficult to get information.  Helicopters were taking official workers to the worst-affected area, he said.


Donald Trump picks RNC chairman Reince Priebus as White House chief of staff

President-elect Donald Trump has chosen Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, the establishment favourite and a low-key party insider, to serve as his White House chief of staff, CNN quoted sources as saying on Sunday (Nov 13).

The choice of Priebus, a loyal campaign ally to Trump who has close ties with House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, signalled a willingness to work with Ryan and the Republican-led Congress to get his agenda passed.

The other front-runner for the job had been Stephen Bannon, Trump's campaign chairman and former head of the conservative Breitbart News.


6.2-magnitude quake shakes northwestern Argentina

A strong 6.2-magnitude earthquake hit northwestern Argentina on Sunday (Nov 13), the US Geological Survey said, but there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

The quake, at a depth of 62 miles (100 kilometers), struck shortly after 1400 GMT (10pm Singapore time) about 16 miles north of the city Chilecito in the South American nation’s La Rioja province.

Villagers reported that the movement was felt in the neighboring provinces of Catamarca, Tucuman and Cordoba.  The country’s seismic authority also reported three smaller earthquakes Sunday.


Briton sets off to swim across Atlantic, after delay

After a delayed start, a former British policeman aiming to swim across the Atlantic finally set off Sunday (Nov 13) from Senegal, bound for Brazil more than 3,000 km away.

"Here we go," said 38-year-old Ben Hooper, as he tugged on his goggles and said goodbye to loved ones and supporters on the beach of an hotel in Hann Bay, in the east of Dakar.

"To the whole world thank you very much for your support," he said, before striding into the waves at the start of the record-breaking attempt, expected to take nearly five months.


Formula One: Hamilton wins to take title showdown to final race

The Formula One world championship will go down to the last race of the season after Lewis Hamilton won a chaotic Brazilian Grand Prix from title rival Nico Rosberg on Sunday (Nov 13).

Abu Dhabi in a fortnight will be the scene for the title showdown between the Mercedes team-mates after reigning champion Hamilton survived a race that was repeatedly disrupted by heavy rain and crashes.  Rosberg now needs a podium finish in the final event on Nov 27 to seal his first title triumph.

“I was just chilling up front. When it rains it is usually a good day for me. Today was tricky for everyone,” said the Briton Hamilton, after denying Rosberg the race win the German needed to lift the title.