While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Feb 17 edition

Ailing Thai king under doctors' close watch with high fever: Palace

Thailand's venerated but ailing 88-year-old monarch Bhumibol Adulyadej has been treated for heart trouble, high blood pressure and irregular breathing in recent weeks, the palace said in a statement on Tuesday.

The king is worshipped by many Thais as a near-deity, and his frail health is a subject of significant public concern.

He has spent most of the past two years hospitalised for a series of ailments, with few public appearances or speeches.


Former UN chief Boutros Boutros-Ghali dead at 93

Former UN secretary-general Boutros Boutros-Ghali, a blunt-spoken Egyptian who led the world body through global turmoil as it defined its peacekeeping role and lost his job over disputes with Washington, died on Tuesday. He was 93.

Boutros-Ghali headed the United Nations from 1992 to 1996, chaotic years marked by war in the former Yugoslavia and famine and genocide in Africa. He died at Al Salam Hospital in Cairo on Tuesday, a hospital official said. Egypt’s state news agency Mena said he had a broken leg and heart and kidney problems.

The 15-member UN Security Council observed a minute’s silence after his death was announced.


France's Nicolas Sarkozy placed under investigation in campaign funding probe

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was placed under investigation on Tuesday in a scandal over irregularities in his 2012 re-election campaign finances, the Paris Prosecutor said, dealing a serious blow to his hopes of running again in 2017.

Sarkozy, 61, was questioned all day by magistrates at the Paris financial prosecutor's office before being notified that he was under investigation for "suspected illegal financing of an election campaign for a candidate, who went beyond the legal limit for electoral spending".

The legal move is a prelude to a possible trial but does not lead automatically to prosecution. However, it means he will be tied up in legal proceedings for months to come, making it hard for him to contest a centre-right primary in November ahead of next year's presidential election.


US restores regular flights to Cuba

The United States and Cuba signed an agreement on Tuesday authorising daily US commercial flights to the communist-ruled island for the first time in more than 50 years.

The deal allows up to 110 daily flights to Havana and nine other destinations in Cuba.

“Today is a historic day in the relationship between Cuba and the United States,” said US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in Havana, where he signed the accord with his Cuban counterpart Adel Rodriguez.


Football: Ronaldo laughs off lack of closeness with teammates as Real target Roma win

Cristiano Ronaldo laughed off suggestions that a reported lack of closeness with teammates Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale could affect Real Madrid ahead of their last 16 Champions League tie against Roma.

"I will give you an anecdote: at Manchester I didn't speak with (Ryan) Giggs or (Paul) Scholes, but we still won the Champions League," said Ronaldo on the eve of Wednesday's first leg clash at the Stadio Olimpico.

With Bale still absent due to a calf strain, James Rodriguez is expected to come in for the Welsh winger in a three-pronged attack which also includes striker Karim Benzema.