While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Nov 15 edition

The supermoon rises behind firs near Gryon, Switzerland, on Nov 14, 2016.
The supermoon rises behind firs near Gryon, Switzerland, on Nov 14, 2016. PHOTO: EPA

World looks up to gaze at extra bright 'supermoon'

Skygazers took to high-rise buildings, tourist landmarks and beaches worldwide on Monday (Nov 14) to catch a glimpse of the closest "supermoon" to Earth in almost seven decades.

The unusually big and bright moon happens when the Earth's satellite rock is full at the same time as, or very near, perigee - its closest point to our planet on its monthly ellipsis-shaped orbit.

At a distance of 356,509 kilometres, this is the closest it has been to Earth since 1948, creating what Nasa described as "an extra-supermoon".

The phenomenon was visible first in Asia, sending astronomy enthusiasts and photographers flocking to the best viewing spots, hoping the chronic pollution that blights many of the region's cities would not spoil the fun.


Obama: Trump is pragmatic, not 'ideological'

US President Barack Obama admitted on Monday that he still has concerns about Donald Trump but was comforted that his successor appears pragmatic rather than ideological.

"I don't think he is ideological. I think ultimately he is pragmatic in that way," Obama told reporters at his first news conference since the Republican billionaire won last week's presidential election.

"And that can serve him well as long as he's got good people around him and he has a clear sense of direction," he continued.


US finalises 'quiet cars' rules to prevent injuries

The US government on Monday (Nov 14) finalised long-delayed rules that will require "quiet cars" like electric vehicles and hybrids to emit alert sounds at speeds of up to 18.6 miles per hour(30 km per hour) to help prevent injuries among pedestrians, cyclists and the blind.

The rules, which were required by Congress, will require automakers like Tesla Motors Inc, Nissan Motor Co and Toyota Motor Corp to add alert sounds to all vehicles by September 2019.

The US Transportation Department said it expects the rules would prevent 2,400 injuries a year in 2020 and would require the addition of alert sounds to about 530,000 2020 model vehicles.


Chicago, other US cities, pledge 'sanctuary' for immigrants

Chicago on Monday (Nov 14) joined several major US cities in affirming that it will remain a "sanctuary city" for immigrants, in defiance of President-elect Donald Trump.

Los Angeles, New York, Seattle and San Francisco have made similar affirmations since Trump's election on Tuesday, vowing to refuse to put undocumented immigrants in jail for deportation purposes and pledging that public services will continue to be offered regardless of legal status.

"To all the children and all the families who are unsure of their place because of what happened Tuesday," Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said at a press conference.


Spike in murders seen after Florida self-defense law: Study

Florida saw a significant spike in murders after enacting a "Stand Your Ground" law allowing people to use lethal force in self-defense in public or on private property, international researchers said Monday (Nov 14).

The southern state's 24 per cent rise in homicide from 2005 to 2014 stood in sharp contrast to nationwide homicide rates, which have been declining since the 1990s, according to research published in a special issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Internal Medicine.

"This study highlights how Stand Your Ground is likely to be a cause of the rise in Florida murders, and provides crucial information which may influence future decision-making that affects well-being in the US and abroad," said co-author Antonio Gasparrini of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.