While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, May 22 edition

Boost for Asia-Pacific trade accord as Senate backs Obama fast-track powers

The US Senate advanced legislation Thursday to give President Barack Obama fast-track authority to forge a huge Asia-Pacific trade accord, after lawmakers struck a deal on a vote re-authorising the Export-Import Bank.

The measure would allow the Obama administration to conclude negotiations with 11 other Pacific Rim nations and bring a trade accord to Congress for an up or down vote, with lawmakers not permitted to make changes.

“It was a nice victory. We’re going to continue and finish up the Bill this week,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has strongly backed Obama’s expanded free-trade agenda despite opposition from leading Democrats.

A final vote could come Friday or Saturday.

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Boy smuggled into Spain in suitcase allowed to stay

An African boy found hidden in a suitcase that was smuggled across the border into Spain has been granted temporary permission to stay so he can be reunited with his mother, officials said Thursday.

Police found eight-year-old Adou Ouattara on May 7 curled up and covered by blankets inside a suitcase without air vents at a border checkpoint in Ceuta, one of two Spanish enclaves in North Africa.

The suitcase was being taken through a pedestrian border crossing by a 19-year-old woman, whose identity has not been released, when a border security scanner detected the boy inside.

A picture of the boy curled up in the suitcase served as a shocking reminder of the lengths migrants take to try to seek a better life in Europe.

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Europe migrant terror threat overblown: Experts

The arrest in Italy of a terror suspect posing as a boat migrant has fuelled nightmare scenarios of Islamic militant infiltration of Europe, but experts say the threat is overblown and attacks by home-grown extremists are more likely.

Right-wing parties have seized on the incident as proof that groups like Islamic State in Iraq and Syria are taking advantage of Europe's migration crisis, in which thousands of refugees are making the risky Mediterranean crossing to flee war and poverty.

But analysts say extremist groups are more interested in holding territory in the Middle East than risking their men in flimsy dinghies, especially when they can rely on radicalised Europeans to do the work for them in their own countries, they say.

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Golf: Molinari overshadows McIlroy with opening 65 at Wentworth

World No. 1 Rory McIlroy was left frustrated as Italy's Francesco Molinari headed the leader board at the end of the first day of the European PGA Championship at Wentworth on Thursday.

Molinari carded a seven-under par 65 with no bogeys finishing with a flourish with birdies at the 17th and 18th - both par-5s - to leave himself two shots in front of Sweden's Robert Karlsson and six in front of McIlroy who had a 71.

Karlsson is a shot in front of a clutch of players on four-under including 2008 winner Miguel Angel Jimenez, another Spaniard in Jorge Campillo, England's Chris Wood and Korea's YE Yang.

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'Too old' Maggie Gyllenhaal, 37, sparks Hollywood sexism debate

Oscar-nominated US actress Maggie Gyllenhaal was told she was too old at 37 to play the lover of a 55-year-old man, she said in comments published Thursday which went viral online.

"There are things that are really disappointing about being an actress in Hollywood that surprise me all the time," she said in an interview with TheWrap Magazine.

"I'm 37 and I was told recently I was too old to play the lover of a man who was 55. It was astonishing to me. It made me feel bad and then it made feel angry, and then it made me laugh."

The remarks immediately trended on Twitter and Facebook, with salon.com commenting that the incident "lays bare just how delusional and hilariously sexist Hollywood truly is."

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