While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Feb 2 edition

The US Senate confirmed Rex Tillerson as US secretary of state on Feb 1, 2017.
The US Senate confirmed Rex Tillerson as US secretary of state on Feb 1, 2017.PHOTO: AFP

Former ExxonMobil chief Rex Tillerson confirmed as US secretary of state

The US Senate confirmed former ExxonMobil chief Rex Tillerson as the next secretary of state, handing a major boost to President Donald Trump as he builds his Cabinet.

Tillerson was confirmed by a vote of 56 to 43, with four Democrats ultimately joining all 52 Republicans voting in favour.

Trump has repeatedly blasted Democrats for dragging out the confirmation process, and took to Twitter late on Monday to accuse them of "delaying my Cabinet picks for purely political reasons".

Tillerson, 64, had come in for severe criticism from Democrats who warned that his business approach and lack of government experience would hurt America's standing in the world.


British MPs approve first stage of Brexit Bill

British MPs approved the first stage of a Bill empowering Prime Minister Theresa May to start pulling Britain out of the European Union.

MPs approved the Bill, which would allow the government to trigger Article 50 of the EU's Lisbon Treaty and formally begin two years of exit negotiations, by a margin of 498 to 114.

It was the first Brexit-related vote in the House of Commons, with a second and final vote in the lower house set for next week.


Saudi prince books flight for his 80 hawks

Birds can fly, but planes can fly faster. So what's a Saudi prince to do when he needs to get his 80 hawks from A to B in timely fashion?

Book them a flight, of course.

A photo of a Saudi prince's hawks on board a plane has gone viral, after the flight's captain snapped a pic and sent it to his friend who posted it to Reddit.


Olympics: Tokyo 2020 asks public to donate old phones for medals

Tokyo Olympic organisers called on the Japanese public to donate old smartphones and other old electronic devices to help make medals for the 2020 Games.

In a push to give the Olympics an environmentally friendly hue, Tokyo's organising committee is aiming to collect eight tonnes of gold, silver and bronze at recycling bins across Japan from April, officials said, to make 5,000 Olympic and Paralympic medals.

Recycled metals have been used in previous years to make Olympic medals, including in Rio last year where the silver and bronze medals were 30 per cent made from recycled materials.


Beyonce and Jay Z expecting twins

Pop icon Beyonce and rapper husband Jay Z are expecting twins.

The 35-year-old Lemonade singer made the announcement on Instagram.

"We would like to share our love and happiness. We have been blessed two times over. We are incredibly grateful that our family will be growing by two, and we thank you for your well wishes," she said, posting a photo of herself pregnant and wearing a veil.