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


Mueller report reveals Trump actions to impede inquiry

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on his inquiry into Russia’s role in the 2016 US election described in extensive and sometimes unflattering detail a series of actions by President Donald Trump to impede the probe, raising questions about whether he committed the crime of obstruction of justice.

Thursday’s release of the 448-page report after a 22-month investigation was a watershed moment in Trump’s tumultuous presidency and inflamed partisan passions ahead of his 2020 re-election bid in a deeply divided country.

Democrats said the report contained disturbing evidence of wrongdoing by Trump that could fuel congressional investigations, but there was no immediate indication they would try to remove him from office through impeachment.

Mueller built an extensive case indicating that Trump had committed obstruction of justice but stopped short of concluding he had committed a crime, though the special counsel did not exonerate the president. Mueller noted, however, that Congress has the power to address whether Trump violated the law.


France salutes 'exemplary' firefighters for saving Notre-Dame

French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday hailed as "exemplary" hundreds of firefighters who saved Notre-Dame in the devastating blaze, as efforts intensified to shore up the still fragile cathedral.

Some 600 firefighters worked throughout the night Monday to put out the fire at the Paris landmark and prevent an even worse disaster, in a blaze that felled the spire and destroyed two-thirds of its roof.

Sixty firefighters are still keeping a vigil at Notre-Dame to ensure no further fire erupts while France's culture minister warned that two gables and figurines perched high up in the building were still at risk of collapse inside.


Help each other, Pope tells prisoners at foot-washing rite

Pope Francis washed and kissed the feet of 12 prisoners on Thursday at a traditional service, telling them to shun any inmate hierarchy structure or law of the strongest and to help each other instead.

Francis' predecessors held the traditional Holy Thursday rite in one of Rome's great basilicas, washing the feet of 12 priests.

But to emphasise its symbolism of service, Francis transferred it to places of confinement, such as prisons, immigrant centres or old age homes.


Football: Chelsea beat Slavia Prague to reach Europa League semi-finals

Chelsea were given a fright by Slavia Prague in a 4-3 home win on Thursday that saw them to a 5-3 aggregate victory and a place in the semi-finals of the Europa League.

Already 1-0 up from the first leg, Chelsea were cruising when they scored three more goals in the first 17 minutes at Stamford Bridge courtesy of Pedro, an own-goal by Simon Deli and Olivier Giroud and were 4-1 ahead on the night at half-time.

Meanwhile, in Naples, Italy, Arsenal dispatched Napoli 1-0 to advance to the semi-finals 3-0 on aggregate.


Zombies and gangsters to star at Cannes Film Festival, but no Tarantino

Bill Murray fighting off zombies and an Elton John biopic tracking the singer's early days will be among the highlights at this year's Cannes Film Festival, though Quentin Tarantino's hotly-anticipated latest outing looked set to miss out.

Unveiling the line-up for the 72nd edition of the world's most important cinema showcase on Thursday (April 18), festival director Thierry Fremaux described the selection as a "romantic and political" mix highlighting a colourful array of characters, from the walking dead to painters and migrants.

One major name not to make the list, however, was Tarantino, whose Once Upon A Time In Hollywood was hotly tipped to make it to the festival, held in May on the French Riviera.