While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Oct 19 edition

US President Barack Obama orders steps towards lifting Iran sanctions

President Barack Obama ordered the US government Sunday to take steps towards lifting sanctions on Iran, in accordance with the historic nuclear deal struck between six world powers and Teheran.

Obama's directive comes 90 days after the UN Security Council endorsed the accord signed in Vienna in July, a milestone referred to as "Adoption Day".

"I hereby direct you to take all necessary steps to give effect to the US commitments with respect to sanctions," Obama said in a memorandum addressed to the US secretaries of state, energy, commerce and the treasury.


Cologne stabbing victim Henriette Reker elected mayor: early results

Cologne mayoral candidate Henriette Reker, who was stabbed while campaigning by a man opposed to letting migrants into Germany, was elected on Sunday, according to provisional results.

Reker, who is recovering after Saturday's attack which police labelled a "racist political" act, won 52.7 per cent of votes cast, according to the municipal results with three quarters of the ballots counted, putting her on track to becoming the German city's first female mayor.

Standing as an independent, though close to the ruling Christian Democrats (CDU) of Chancellor Angela Merkel, Reker has become Germany's most prominent victim of a growing backlash against a record influx of refugees this year.


Pentagon says Khorasan Group leader killed in Syria air strike

The leader of a group of Al-Qaeda veterans which Washington calls the Khorasan Group has been killed in a coalition air strike in Syria, the Pentagon said on Sunday.

Sanafi al-Nasr, a Saudi national also known as Abdul Mohsen Abdullah Ibrahim al-Sharikh, was killed in an air attack in the northwest of the country on Thursday, it said.

"This operation deals a significant blow to the Khorasan Group's plans to attack the United States and our allies," US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said in a statement.


Rugby World Cup: Late Bernard Foley penalty sinks Scotland as Wallabies win 35-34

 A controversial last-gasp penalty by Bernard Foley earned Australia a 35-34 victory at Twickenham on Sunday that broke Scottish hearts and sent the Wallabies into a World Cup semi-final against Argentina.

Scotland had been on the verge of a stunning upset with 79 minutes on the clock but South African referee Craig Joubert awarded Australia a penalty for offside, despite the ball appearing to come off a Wallaby shirt.

Amid a cacophony of boos, flyhalf Foley kept his composure to split the posts and ensure the World Cup would have four southern hemisphere semi-finalists for the first time.


Former NBA star Lamar Odom makes progress at Las Vegas hospital - reports

Lamar Odom, the retired NBA star and reality TV personality who spent four days in coma after collapsing in a Nevada brothel, is making steady progress at a Las Vegas hospital, though his condition remains tenuous, celebrity media reported on Sunday.

Odom, 35, has become more responsive and was able to get out of his bed at Sunrise Hospital & Medical Centre with assistance and sit in a chair, E! News reported on its website, citing unidentified sources.

Odom, a veteran of 14 seasons in the National Basketball Association, has became a household name as the estranged husband of Khloé Kardashian, a member of reality TV's most famous family.