While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Jan 16 edition

90 volunteers took France trial drug that left one brain-dead, five hospitalised

One person has been left brain-dead and three others face possibly irreversible brain damage after they took an experimental drug administered to 90 people in France, Health Minister Marisol Touraine and a neurologist said Friday.

Six volunteers were taken to hospital last week after taking part in the Phase I trial of a new medication meant to treat mood disorders such as anxiety, developed by Portuguese pharmaceutical company Bial.

Touraine said the men, aged between 28 and 49, were part of a group of around 90 people who had taken the drug, while about 30 others had received a placebo.


Water in Nasa astronaut’s helmet cuts short spacewalk

The discovery of water in a US astronaut’s helmet brought an early end on Friday to the first-ever galactic walkabout by his British colleague, astronaut Tim Peake, Nasa said.

“A small water bubble” in American Tim Kopra’s helmet led mission control to wrap up about two hours early out of an abundance of caution, Nasa commentator Rob Navias said.

“The crew is not in any danger whatsoever,” he said. However, the situation brought back memories of a harrowing incident in 2013 when Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano’s helmet began rapidly filling with water and risked drowning him.


Male asylum seekers banned from public pools after women complain of harassment

A town in Germany has banned male asylum seekers from public swimming pools after complaints from women that they were being harassed by migrants, AFP learnt Friday.

A spokesman for the local government of Bornheim said the ban on male asylum seekers above the age of 18 came after six people filed complaints "over the sexually offensive behaviour of some migrant men at the pool".

Officials have gone personally to three asylum seeker shelters near the pools to deliver news of the ban and emphasise how people should behave in swimming pools.


US stocks plunge on worries about oil, China

Wall Street stocks finished decisively lower Friday following a bruising session dominated by worries about tumbling oil prices and the slowing Chinese economy.

But shares finished well off their lows for the day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 390.97 points (2.39 per cent) to 15,988.08, after getting as low as 15,842.11.

The broad-based S&P 500 shed 41.55 (2.16 per cent) to 1,880.29, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index tumbled 126.69 (2.74 per cent) to 4,488.42.


David Bowie dominates British charts after death, with 10 albums in top 40

David Bowie dominated the weekly British charts out on Friday, commanding a quarter of the top 40 albums as mourning fans rushed to buy his music.

The Londoner, who died from cancer aged 69 on Sunday, had 19 albums in the top 100 and 13 entries in the top 100 singles, ranging from songs dating from the 1960s to tracks off his new album.

Bowie released his new album Blackstar last Friday, which was already heading to No. 1 before he died.