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

British PM suffers setbacks as Brexit debate starts in parliament

British Prime Minister Theresa May suffered embarrassing defeats on Tuesday (Dec 4) at the start of five days of debate over her plans to leave the European Union that could determine the future of Brexit and the fate of her government. 

May wants to secure parliament’s approval for her deal to keep close ties with the EU after leaving in March, but opposition is fierce, with Brexit supporters and opponents alike wanting to thwart or derail her plan. 

On the first day of debate, before the main vote on Dec 11, her government was found in contempt of parliament and then a group of her own Conservative Party lawmakers won a challenge to hand more power to the House of Commons if her deal is voted down. 


'Zero' doubt Saudi crown prince directed Khashoggi murder: Republican senators 

Two key US Republican senators said Tuesday (Dec 4) after a briefing by the CIA's director they have "zero" doubt Saudi Arabia's crown prince directed the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The explosive new declarations by members of President Donald Trump's party run counter to the White House narrative downplaying possible links between Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the October killing of journalist and palace critic Khashoggi at the kingdom's Istanbul consulate.

"I have zero question in my mind that the crown prince directed the murder and was kept appraised of the situation all the way through it," Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Corker told reporters after CIA director Gina Haspel briefed a small group of senators.


US Republican campaign e-mails hacked ahead of election

E-mail accounts of officials at a Republican group that supports party candidates running for the US House of Representatives were hacked in early 2018, ahead of this year’s Congressional elections, according to a person familiar with the situation. 

Hackers used stolen passwords to access a “small number” of National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) e-mail accounts in a relatively unsophisticated hack discovered around April, said the person, who was not authorised to discuss details of the attack. 

The NRCC quickly fixed the problem by changing the passwords on accounts at its web-based e-mail provider and taking steps to protect the organisation from similar attacks, the person said.  The person declined to name the e-mail provider. 


Michael Avenatti, Stormy Daniels' lawyer, abandons White House bid 

Michael Avenatti, who rose to fame representing porn star Stormy Daniels in her legal wrangling with Donald Trump, announced Tuesday (Dec 4) he would not seek the Democratic nomination for president in 2020.

Avenatti, 47, had flirted recently with taking on Trump two years from now in what most political analysts had said would have been a long-shot bid for the White House.

But Avenatti said Tuesday he had decided not to run.


Thomson Reuters to cut 3,200 jobs in next two years

Thomson Reuters Corp said on Tuesday (Dec 4) that it will cut its workforce by 12 per cent in the next two years, axing 3,200 jobs, as part of a plan to streamline the business and reduce costs. 

The news and information provider, which completed the sale of a 55-per cent stake in its Financial & Risk (F&R) unit to private equity firm Blackstone Group LP, announced the cuts during an investor day in Toronto, in which it outlined its future strategy and growth plans. 

The company, which is focusing on its legal and tax businesses following the Blackstone deal, declined to say where the job cuts were being made.