Winter storms batter large swatches of US
CHICAGO • At least six deaths have been attributed to severe weather in the US as heavy snow and high winds snarled air and ground transportation during a busy holiday travel period.
More than 500 flight cancellations and 5,700 delays were reported last Friday as the winter storm blanketed areas from the north central plains and the Midwest with 20cm to 30cm of snow.
As much snow, if not more, was forecast to fall in the coming days in the south-western state of New Mexico, along with a deluge of rain in some southern and eastern states - ruining New Year travel plans for thousands of Americans.
British divers in UK honours list
LONDON • A team of British divers who helped save a junior football team trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand have been named in Britain's New Year Honours, alongside former model Twiggy and Monty Python's Michael Palin.
The seven underwater specialists involved in the remarkable rescue were joined on the annual achievement list by author Philip Pullman.
Mr Richard Stanton and Mr John Volanthen - the first of the divers to reach the 12 stricken children and their coach - were awarded the George Medal, the country's second highest civilian gallantry award. Mr Stanton had already been made an MBE in 2012 for his rescue services.
Reporters key guests at Times Square's NY party
NEW YORK • Reporters will be the guests of honour at the New Year's Eve party in New York's Times Square tomorrow, in what organisers said was a celebration of press freedom after an unusually deadly year for journalists at US news outlets.
Two attacks in particular weighed on organisers. One was the killing of Saudi Jamal Khashoggi, a columnist for the Washington Post and US resident, inside a Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey.
The other was the mass shooting in June in the newsroom of The Capital, a newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland, in which five employees were killed.
The guests of honour will initiate the ceremonial ball drop just before midnight.