While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Oct 16 edition

Volkswagen says to recall 8.5 million vehicles across Europe

German auto giant Volkswagen said it will recall a total of 8.5 million diesel vehicles Europe-wide that are equipped with sophisticated software enabling their engines to cheat pollution tests.

Responding to an order from the German KBA federal transport authority earlier to recall 2.4 million vehicles in Germany alone, VW announced in a statement that around 8.5 million vehicles would be recalled in all 28 of the European Union's member states, starting from January 2016.

For countries outside the EU, it would have to be established in detail exactly which vehicles were affected, the statement added.

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Obama abandons pledge to pull troops from Afghanistan

President Barack Obama announced that thousands of US troops will remain in Afghanistan past 2016, retreating from a major campaign pledge as he admitted Afghan forces are not ready to stand alone.

Calling his decision to keep a 9,800-strong US force in Afghanistan through much of next year "the right thing to do," the president acknowledged "Afghan forces are still not as strong as they need to be."

"As commander in chief, I will not allow Afghanistan to be used as a safe haven for terrorists to attack our nation again," he said.

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Starbucks in talks to bring brand to Italy: Source

Starbucks Corp, the world's biggest coffee chain, is in talks with an Italian partner to open branches in Italy, one of the few major markets where it has yet to make an entrance, a source familiar with the matter said.

Corriere della Sera newspaper reported that the US company was negotiating with Italian businessman Antonio Percassi to bring the Starbucks brand to Italy. The paper said a deal was expected to be signed by Christmas.

A source confirmed to Reuters that talks were underway.

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What a nightmare: Sleep no more plentiful in primitive cultures

Maybe we cannot blame late-night TV, endless Internet surfing, midnight snacks, good books, bothersome work deadlines and other distractions of modern life for encroaching on our sleep.

Research showed that people in isolated and technologically primitive African and South American cultures get no more slumber than the rest of us.

Scientists tracked 94 adults from the Tsimane people of Bolivia, Hadza people of Tanzania and San people of Namibia for a combined 1,165 days in the first study on the sleep patterns of people in primitive foraging and hunting cultures.

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Football: Uefa backs Michel Platini's right to defend himself

Uefa said it supports suspended president Michel Platini's right to defend himself against corruption allegations following an emergency meeting in Nyon, Switzerland on Thursday.

However, European football's governing body stopped short of expressing categoric support for their underfire president.

"We support Michel Platini's right to a due process and a fair trial and to the opportunity to clear his name," said secretary general Gianni Infantino at a press conference following the emergency meeting.

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