While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, April 17

Sean Hannity attends The Hollywood Reporter's Most Powerful People In Media 2018 at The Pool on April 12, 2018 in New York City.
Sean Hannity attends The Hollywood Reporter's Most Powerful People In Media 2018 at The Pool on April 12, 2018 in New York City.PHOTO: AFP

Trump's personal lawyer coughs up name of mystery client: Sean Hannity

As adult-film actress Stormy Daniels looked on, a federal judge ordered US President Donald Trump's longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen to cough up the name of client he had hoped to keep secret at a Monday (April 16) court hearing: Sean Hannity.

Hannity is a conservative television host known for passionately advocating for Trump on his Fox News show, and often receiving public praise from Trump in return. Calls to a Fox News spokeswoman were not immediately returned.

Cohen, Trump's fiercely loyal and pugnacious lawyer, was in court to ask a judge to limit the ability of federal prosecutors to review documents seized as part of a criminal investigation. The investigation has frustrated the White House as it has spread to enfold some of Trump's closest confidantes.


US, Britain blame Russia for global cyber attack

The United States and Britain on Monday (April 16) accused Russia of launching cyber attacks on computer routers, firewalls and other networking equipment used by government agencies, businesses and critical infrastructure operators around the globe. 

Washington and London issued a joint alert saying the campaign by Russian government-backed hackers was intended to advance spying, intellectual property theft and other“malicious” activities and could be escalated to launch offensive attacks. 

It followed a series of warnings by Western governments that Moscow is behind a string of cyber attacks.


British PM May defends Syria strikes against parliament critics

British Prime Minister Theresa May defended on Monday (April 16) her decision to launch air strikes against Syria, answering criticism over her bypassing of parliament by saying lawmakers could now hold her to account.

May, who has regained confidence after winning support for her tough stance on Syria and Russia, said she was driven by the need to decide quickly on joining the United States and France in Saturday's (April 14) strikes, made in retaliation for a suspected gas attack.

Saying she had no doubt the "Syrian regime" was behind an attack which she called a "stain on humanity", May told lawmakers she had acted in the national interest and refused to say whether she would seek their approval for further action.


Lawmakers publish evidence that Cambridge Analytica work helped Brexit group

British lawmakers on Monday (April 16) published evidence that Brexit campaign group Leave.EU benefited from work by Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy at the centre of a recent storm over use of Facebook data.

Nigel Oakes, founder of SCL Group, the parent company of Cambridge Analytica, said the consultancy was lined up to do work with Leave.EU in the event that it was designated as the official campaign to leave the European Union, according to transcripts of interviews published by a parliamentary committee.

Oakes said that "there was no contract and no money" but that they did do work to demonstrate their capabilities. A transcript of another interview with Leave.EU official Andy Wigmore says the campaign group copied Cambridge Analytica's methods.


Plastic-eating enzyme holds promise in fighting pollution: Scientists

Scientists in Britain and the United States say they have engineered a plastic-eating enzyme that could in future help in the fight against pollution.

The enzyme is able to digest polyethylene terephthalate, or PET - a form of plastic patented in the 1940s and now used in millions of tonnes of plastic bottles.

PET plastics can persist for hundreds of years in the environment and currently pollute large areas of land and sea worldwide.