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

VIDEO: REUTERS

Donald Trump fires controversial chief strategist Steve Bannon

President Donald Trump fired Stephen Bannon as his chief strategist in the latest high-level White House shake-up, removing a powerful and controversial figure known for far-right political views.

Bannon was a force behind some of Trump’s most contentious policies, including a travel ban on people from several Muslim-majority nations, and has fought with more moderate factions inside a White House riven with rivalries and back-stabbing.

Trump, seven months into his term in office, has become increasingly isolated over his comments following white supremacist violence in the Virginia college town of Charlottesville last Saturday.

As Trump came under fire from prominent fellow Republicans, business leaders and US allies abroad, he faced mounting calls for Bannon’s ouster.

“White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Steve Bannon have mutually agreed today would be Steve’s last day,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement on Friday. “We are grateful for his service and wish him the best.”

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Two dead, six wounded in knife attack in Finland

A man with a knife killed two people and wounded six others in a stabbing rampage in a market square in the Finnish city of Turku, police said.

Police shot the suspected attacker in the leg and arrested him. They said they had yet to establish the identity of the man who was of foreign origin, or his motive.

A witness told Reuters she had seen a man stabbing a woman and other people sobbing at what they had seen after running away in terror.

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South Africa has granted Grace Mugabe diplomatic immunity: Source

South Africa has granted diplomatic immunity to Zimbabwe's first lady, Grace Mugabe, allowing her to return to Harare and avoid prosecution for the alleged assault of a 20-year-old model, a security source said.

South African police had put border posts on "red alert" to prevent Mugabe fleeing and indicated she would receive no special treatment in the case involving Gabriella Engels, who says Mugabe whipped her with an electric extension cable.

A security source, however, said immunity had been granted. The source also said Grace Mugabe had failed to turn up at a Johannesburg court hearing on Tuesday, as agreed with police, because of concerns she could be attacked.

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Solar eclipse to be streamed live for first time, from balloons

Next week's solar eclipse will be streamed live online for the first time, from the vantage point of helium-filled balloons across the United States, providing the public with sky-high views as the moon blocks the sun.

A team of researchers from Montana State University has partnered with Nasa to participate in the Space Grant Ballooning Project to send more than 50 high-altitude balloons 24,384m up to capture the solar eclipse as it crosses the country on Aug 21.

Using a ground station antenna, team members on land will live stream the video online at https://stream.live/

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Taylor Swift goes blank on social media, sending fans into frenzy

Taylor Swift, one of the most popular celebrities on social media, wiped all her accounts on Friday, sending fans into a frenzy over whether the pop singer had been hacked, was preparing to launch a new album, or was about to reinvent herself.

Swift, who has 85 million Twitter followers and 102 million Instagram followers, deleted all of her Instagram photos, her posts on Tumblr, and removed her avatar from her Facebook page where all postings prior to December 2015 were missing.

The Blank Space singer also deleted years of Twitter posts, and her official website showed just a black screen.

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