While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Feb 12 edition

No negative interest rates in store for US, says Yellen

Janet Yellen said on Thursday that the Federal Reserve had no plans to move towards negative interest rates, following the Swedish central bank's rate cut deep into negative territory.

But Fed chairman Yellen expressed "surprise" at how far European central banks had gone into negative territory, and given the weakness of inflation and the global economy, said the Fed was studying the issues involved "to be prepared."

"I was surprised it was possible to move rates as negative as some countries have done," she said in a Senate hearing. Earlier on Thursday, Sweden's central bank cut its key short-term interest rate to a new low of -0.5 per cent.


Black US lawmakers group endorses Clinton White House bid

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was endorsed by the Congressional Black Caucus on Thursday, a much-needed boost to her campaign as it competes for the important black voting bloc in South Carolina's primary this month.

Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, have built strong ties to the African-American community over the past decades.

Several lawmakers cited Clinton's long history of not only working on issues important to black Americans, but on getting Democrats elected and advancing the party's agenda.


Scientists glimpse Einstein's gravitational waves

In a landmark discovery for physics and astronomy, international scientists said on Thursday they have glimpsed the first direct evidence of gravitational waves, or ripples in space-time, which Albert Einstein predicted a century ago.

When two black holes collided some 1.3 billion years ago, the joining of those two great masses sent forth a wobble that hurtled through space and arrived at Earth on Sept 14, 2015, when it was picked up by sophisticated instruments, researchers announced.

It took scientists months to verify their data and put it through a process of peer-review before announcing it on Thursday, marking the culmination of decades of efforts by teams around the world.


Football: Sunderland sack Adam Johnson after teen sex charge guilty plea

Sunderland sacked Adam Johnson on Thursday after the former England winger pleaded guilty to one count of sexual activity with a 15-year-old girl and one count of grooming.

Johnson, 28, is due to stand trial in Bradford, northern England on Friday on two counts of sexual activity with a child, which he denies.

"In light of Adam Johnson's guilty pleas, the club has today terminated his contract with immediate effect. The club will make no further comment," a statement on Sunderland's website confirmed.


Meryl Streep sparks uproar over 'We're all Africans' remarks

Meryl Streep, the most admired actress of her generation, fuelled Hollywood's diversity controversy on Thursday when she said that all of humanity originated in Africa.

The three-time Oscar winner, who is in Berlin heading up her first international film jury, made the comment at a news conference when she was asked if she was familiar with world cinema, particularly films from Africa and the Middle East.

The remarks from Streep, who has been Oscar-nominated a record 19 times, made headlines around the world and swiftly became one of the top trends on Twitter.