While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Aug 3

Trump speaks to reporters before boarding Marine One at the White House.
Trump speaks to reporters before boarding Marine One at the White House.PHOTO: NYTIMES

Majority of US House Democrats favour starting Trump impeachment proceedings

A majority of Democrats in the US House of Representatives now favour launching impeachment proceedings against Republican President Donald Trump, after a California lawmaker on Friday became the 118th Democrat to call for the process to begin.

"In the past few years, our nation has seen and heard things from this president that have no place in our democracy," Representative Salud Carbajal said in a statement that accused Trump of "criminal" behaviour. "I believe it is time to open an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump."

The Democrats have a majority of 235 members in the House of Representatives. Support for an impeachment inquiry has jumped by more than two dozen Democrats since former Special Counsel Robert Mueller testified on July 24 about his probe of Trump and Russian interference in the 2016 election.

But the total of 118 is still far short of the 218 House votes needed to approve an impeachment resolution, and opinion polls continue to show voters sharply divided over the issue.


Bulgaria's Kristalina Georgieva emerges as EU's candidate for IMF head

European Union governments picked Bulgaria's Kristalina Georgieva as the bloc's candidate to lead the International Monetary Fund (IMF) after more than 12 hours of talks on Friday that highlighted the EU's internal divisions.

The 65-year-old chief executive of the World Bank got the backing of a majority of the 28 EU states, defeating the Dutch candidate Jeroen Dijsselbloem after two rounds of voting and prolonged negotiations among EU nations.

Georgieva is a centre-right politician who grew up in Bulgaria under communism before a career that brought her to the top of the World Bank and the European Commission.


Plastic bottle sales banned at San Francisco airport

San Francisco International Airport is banning the sale of single-use plastic water bottles.

The unprecedented move at one of the major airports in the country will take effect Aug 20, the San Francisco Chronicle reported on Friday.

The new rule will apply to airport restaurants, cafes and vending machines.


Paris' packed Louvre to make reservations compulsory

The world famous Louvre museum in Paris on Friday urged visitors to book their visit in advance online after seeing a heavy influx this summer, adding reservations would be obligatory by the end of this year.

The Louvre, which houses the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci and is the most visited museum in the world, has become a victim of its own success and overcrowding is a problem.

The problems intensified this summer due to the heatwave that encouraged tourists to take refuge in cool museum rooms.


Apple says its contractors will stop listening to users through Siri

Apple announced on Friday it would stop using contractors to listen in on users through Siri to grade the voice assistant's accuracy.

An Apple whistleblower had told the Guardian that the contractors responsible for "grading" the accuracy of the digital assistant regularly overheard conversations about doctors' appointments, drug deals and even couples having sex.

Their job was to determine what triggered Siri into action - whether the user had actually said, "Hey, Siri" or if it was something else, such as the sound of a zipper.