While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Dec 21

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Britain on track for Jan 31 Brexit as PM Boris Johnson wins vote on deal

Prime Minister Boris Johnson won approval for his Brexit deal in parliament on Friday, the first step towards fulfilling his election pledge to deliver Britain's departure from the European Union by Jan 31 after his landslide victory.

Lawmakers voted by 358 to 234 to pass the second reading of the legislation, underlining Johnson's large majority in parliament that should ensure a smooth ratification of the divorce deal to implement Britain's biggest policy shift in more than 40 years.

More than three years since Britain voted to exit the EU in a 2016 referendum, the deep uncertainty over Brexit has now been replaced by a firm deadline of the end of January.

Only after that will the prime minister face talks to secure a trade deal with the bloc and another target date of the end of next year.


Newly impeached Trump to deliver State of the Union address on Feb 4

US President Donald Trump has accepted the invitation from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to deliver his state of the union speech on Feb 4, the White House said on Friday.

The invite for the annual presidential speech to Congress comes at a charged political moment, with Trump freshly impeached for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, and facing a trial in a US Senate that is almost certain to acquit him.

It sets up a potentially explosive encounter between Trump and Pelosi, his chief Democratic nemesis in Congress and the woman who launched the formal impeachment inquiry.


Boeing capsule misses space station rendezvous as crisis deepens

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Boeing, already reeling form the nine-month grounding of its best-selling jetliner, suffered another high-profile setback when its CST-100 Starliner crew capsule failed to reach the International Space Station (ISS) on its debut test flight.

An erroneous timer prompted the unmanned Starliner to make out-of-sequence flight adjustments that burned too much fuel after the capsule reached orbit, Boeing and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) told reporters on on Friday.

The vehicle is expected to return to Earth for a parachute landing at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico early on Dec 22.


French surgeon may have raped or sexually abused 349 children: Prosecutor

A retired French surgeon may have raped or sexually abused as many as 349 children over his near 30-year career, a prosecutor investigating what could be France's biggest-ever paedophilia case said on Friday.

Joel Le Scouarnec, 68, is set to go on trial in March for the rape and sexual abuse of four child victims.

Allegations against him cover the three decades he practised in hospitals across central and western France. They include accusations that he raped a six-year-old girl living in his neighbourhood, raped a young relative and sexually assaulted another, abused a child patient, and indecently exposing himself.


Six hurt as Carnival cruise ships collide in Cozumel port in Mexico

A cruise ship scraped another while trying to dock in the Mexican Caribbean resort of Cozumel on Friday, damaging at least one of the boats and resulting in minor injuries to six passengers.

Carnival Cruise Line said in a statement that the Carnival Glory was maneuvering in the port when it "made contact" with the Carnival Legend in the morning.

Videos shot by startled passengers and posted on social media showed the noisy, slow-moving accident, which left part of the Glory visibly mangled at the stern.


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