While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Oct 23 edition

A file photo showing a French Navy "Panther" helicopter chasing a boat carrying suspected Somali pirates.
A file photo showing a French Navy "Panther" helicopter chasing a boat carrying suspected Somali pirates.PHOTO: AFP

Somali pirates free 26 Asian hostages held for nearly five years - mediators

Somali pirates have freed 26 Asian hostages held for nearly five years after the hijacking of their fishing vessel, the last commercial ship seized at the height of the country’s piracy scourge, negotiators said.

The crew of the Naham 3, the second longest held hostage by Somali pirates, were taken captive when their Omani-flagged vessel was hijacked in March 2012 south of the Seychelles.

“We are very pleased to announce the release of the Naham 3 crew early this morning,” said John Steed, the Coordinator of the Hostage Support Partners (HSP) who helped negotiate their release.

Steed, a retired British army colonel who has made it his mission to save “forgotten hostages” told AFP the mission to return the crew to their families still held one obstacle: extracting them from the city of Galkayo, where fighting was raging between forces from the rival regional states of Puntland and Galmudug.


Clashes, artillery fire in Aleppo after truce expires: Monitor

Heavy clashes erupted between regime and rebel forces in Syria’s divided city of Aleppo after a unilateral ceasefire announced by government ally Russia expired.

Moscow had extended the unilateral “humanitarian pause” into a third day until 1600 GMT on Saturday (midnight on Sunday, Singapore time), but announced no further renewal of the truce despite a UN request for longer to evacuate wounded civilians.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported fierce fighting in several areas along the front line dividing the city, with three people wounded by shelling of the rebel-held Salaheddin and Al-Mashhad districts. And the first air strikes since the end of the truce hit the opposition-controlled district of Sheikh Saeed where there was also heavy fighting, the monitor said.


British anti-terrorist police find second 'suspicious item' after London arrest

Counter-terrorism police investigating the discovery of a “suspicious item” on a London train this week said they found another such device when they searched a house in Devon, western England.

The house and neighbouring properties were evacuated and a 200m cordon thrown around the area while specialist officers investigated.

On Thursday morning, the first device was found on a train at North Greenwich station, near the Canary Wharf financial district and close to the O2 music venue. Officers used a stun gun during the subsequent arrest in north London of a 19-year-old who was detained on suspicion of preparing terrorist acts and remains in custody.


Formula One: Hamilton beats Rosberg to US Grand Prix pole

Defending champion Lewis Hamilton powered to pole position for the United States Grand Prix when he out-paced Mercedes team-mate and championship leader Nico Rosberg with a blistering lap in Saturday’s tense qualifying session.

The 31-year-old Briton dominated the action with a record best lap in one minute and 34.999 seconds – to become the first driver to break the 1:35 barrier – to outstrip the German by 0.216 seconds as the Silver Arrows pairing reeled off their 10th front row lockout of the year.

It is the 58th pole position of Hamilton’s career, but his first at the Circuit of the Americas where, despite winning three of the four previous races, he had failed to dominate qualifying.


Football: Liverpool climb to second as Arsenal, Spurs misfire

An 81st-minute Gareth McAuley goal prevented Liverpool from provisionally going top in the Premier League as they defeated West Bromwich Albion 2-1.

Needing a two-goal win to move above leaders Arsenal, Liverpool took a 2-0 lead through Sadio Mane and Philippe Coutinho, but McAuley's strike left them in second place on goal difference.

Arsenal had earlier been held to a 0-0 draw by Middlesbrough, while fourth-place Tottenham Hotspur played out a goalless stalemate at Bournemouth.