While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Oct 27 edition

US Navy to send USS Lassen destroyer within 12 nautical miles of China build-up in Spratly islands

The US Navy plans to send the USS Lassen destroyer within 12 nautical miles of artificial islands built by China in the South China Sea within 24 hours, the first of more regular challenges to China's territorial claims, a US defence official said on Monday.

The destroyer's patrol would occur near Subi and Mischief reefs in the Spratly archipelago, features that were formerly submerged at high tide before China began a massive dredging project to turn them into islands in 2014.

The ship would likely be accompanied by a US Navy P-8A surveillance plane, and possibly P-3 surveillance plane, which have been conducting regular surveillance missions in the region, according to the official.


Indonesia's President Joko Widodo cuts short visit to the US due to worsening haze

Indonesia President Joko Widodo is cutting short his visit to the United States and will return to Indonesia, possibly flying directly to South Sumatra or Central Kalimantan.

He made the decision after he received news that conditions in the two regions affected by the haze, have worsened over the last two days.

"I decided to cancel my trip to the West Coast and I may fly directly to Kalteng (Central Kalimantan) or Sumsel (South Sumatra)," said Mr Joko, after a telephone conversation on the haze situation with Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Luhut Pandjaitan on Monday.


Death toll rises to nearly 280 after powerful quake jolts Afghanistan, Pakistan

Nearly 280 people were killed Monday when a powerful 7.5-magnitude earthquake centred in the Hindu Kush mountains in Afghanistan ripped across South Asia, toppling buildings, triggering stampedes and knocking out communication lines.

The full scale of the disaster and human toll was unclear when night fell over the remote and rugged terrain as authorities in Pakistan and Afghanistan rushed to mount rescue efforts.

In the most horrifying tragedy to emerge so far from the quake, 12 young Afghan girls were crushed to death in a stampede as they tried to flee their shaking school building.


Royal turnout in London for premiere of latest James Bond film Spectre

James Bond has a licence to thrill once more in new film Spectre, which premiered Monday at a glitzy event attended by second in line to the throne Prince William, his wife Kate and brother Prince Harry.

Broadly praised by critics, the film is directed by Sam Mendes and sees Daniel Craig play the suave, Martini-quaffing MI6 spy 007 in what is Bond's 24th outing since the first - Dr No - in 1962.

"I hate watching myself on screen but I love playing James Bond," Craig said on the red carpet at London's Royal Albert Hall, where he was joined by co-stars Italy's Monica Bellucci and France's Lea Seydoux.


Adele's 'Hello' video smashes Vevo record with 27 million views

 Adele's first music video in four years smashed records at entertainment platform Vevo.com, delivering more than 27 million views in the first 24 hours after its release last week.

Vevo said on Monday that the British singer's Hello video, which debuted exclusively on its site on Friday, dethroned Taylor Swift's Bad Blood video, which was seen more than 20 million times in the first 24 hours after its release in May.

Hello is the first single from a new November album, 25, to be released by Adele, who took a four-year break after her 21 hit album won six Grammy awards and sold more than 30 million copies worldwide.