While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Jan 10

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US believes Iran brought down Ukraine airliner with anti-aircraft missiles

A Ukraine airliner that crashed in Iran, killing all 176 people aboard, was most likely brought down accidentally by Iranian air defences, US officials said on Thursday, and President Donald Trump said he did not believe the crash was due to a mechanical issue.

Citing an extensive review of satellite data, one US official said the government had concluded with a high degree of certainty that anti-aircraft missiles brought down the plane, on the same day that Iran launched ballistic missiles at US forces in Iraq.

The official said the Ukraine International Airlines plane had been tracked by Iranian radar.

The data showed the Boeing 737-800 was airborne for two minutes after departing Teheran when the heat signatures of two surface-to-air missiles were detected, one of the officials said.


British lawmakers back EU exit deal, turning page on Brexit crisis

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Lawmakers approved legislation on Thursday which will allow Britain to leave the European Union on Jan 31 with an exit deal, ending more than three years of tumult over the terms of the unprecedented divorce.

They voted 330 to 231 in favour of the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill, which implements an exit deal agreed with the EU last year.

That allows Prime Minister Boris Johnson to turn the page on one of Britain's deepest political crises in decades, putting an end to the fears of an immediate disorderly exit which had cast a shadow over the economy and fuelled divisions over the 2016 referendum decision to leave the EU.


Hurt, angry British royals try to find exit route for Harry and Meghan

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Queen Elizabeth and other senior British royals are trying to thrash out a plan for Prince Harry and his American wife Meghan after a shock announcement that they will step back from their royal roles and spend much of their time in North America.

The couple blindsided the Queen and the other Windsors on Wednesday when they said they wanted to lead a more independent life, which they hoped to finance themselves - a move that one royal source said had hurt and disappointed the family.

Neither Queen Elizabeth, who has devoted her life to public duty since succeeding her father in 1952, nor Prince Charles - Harry's father and heir to the throne - had been consulted on the announcement, made on Instagram.


F1 champion Lewis Hamilton donates $500,000 to Australian wildlife rescue

Six-times Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton said on Thursday he was donating $500,000 towards the rescue and care of wildlife caught in bush fires ravaging south-east Australia.

The Briton, who has adopted a vegan lifestyle and become outspoken on the environment, posted a clip on social media of a scorched koala being tended to against a backdrop of smoke and flames.

The bush fires have left 26 people dead and killed or injured an estimated one billion animals.


Iran in 'shock' over missing female Olympic medallist

Concern mounted on Thursday in Iran over the fate of the Islamic republic's only woman to have won an Olympic medal, who is believed to want to settle in the Netherlands.

Kimia Alizadeh clinched a taekwondo bronze medal at the Rio Olympics in 2016, drawing praise from her compatriots including the country's President Hassan Rouhani and even conservatives in the Islamic republic.

There were high hopes she would compete at the Tokyo Olympics later this year and bring home another medal, but it appears this is not to be.


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