While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Jan 31


Europe stands against Theresa May’s bid to rewrite Brexit

European leaders moved to head off British Prime Minister Theresa May’s bid to rewrite the Brexit divorce deal, warning they will not budge.

Having thrown out the exit deal May negotiated with the EU, divided British lawmakers voted Tuesday to send her back to get an Irish border “backstop” clause removed.

May seized on this as a chance to prevent Britain crashing out of the European Union on March 29 without an agreement, vowing to return to Brussels to demand changes to the text.

But even she admits she faces a formidable challenge convincing Brussels to re-open an accord that took 18 excruciating months to conclude, and European leaders are so far united in dismissing any such manoeuvre.


In a shift, Fed will be 'patient' on future US rate hikes

The US Federal Reserve held interest rates steady and, in a formal policy shift, vowed to be patient in further lifting borrowing costs, the clearest signal yet the tightening cycle it began in 2015 may have ended.

Citing rising uncertainty about the US economic outlook, Fed chairman Jerome Powell said the case for raising rates had "weakened" and, in a statement, the US central bank dropped its earlier expectation for "some further" tightening.

The Fed also shifted to a more dovish stance on its ongoing shedding of assets, saying it was prepared to adjust its plans based on economic and financial developments.


Apple's reaction to FaceTime privacy flaw being probed by New York officials

New York officials are investigating a recent Apple privacy breach that allowed some users of its FaceTime video-chat service to listen in on people they contacted even before the person accepted or rejected the call.

The joint probe by New York Attorney-General Letitia James and Governor Andrew Cuomo's office will focus on what they say was Apple's failure to warn consumers about the bug and its slow response to one of the biggest privacy-related problems faced by the company.

"This FaceTime breach is a serious threat to the security and privacy of the millions of New Yorkers who have put their trust in Apple and its products over the years," James said in the statement.


Meghan revisits acting past at London theatre as Suits return is ruled out

Meghan, Britain's Duchess of Sussex, visited London's National Theatre as the venue's new royal patron, watching a line-run of a Shakespeare play and meeting aspiring performers.

But as theatre-trained Meghan briefly reconnected with her acting past, a return to her former television series "Suits"was all but ruled out by the show's creator.

Meghan, in a pale pink dress and jacket, met apprentices and staff working with arts and community organisations before being treated to a line-run of a new musical version of Pericles.


Football: Plane cushions found in search for missing soccer player Sala

Investigators searching for a lost plane carrying Premier League soccer player Emiliano Sala said an underwater search would begin after they found two seat cushions on the French coast that likely belonged to the aircraft.

The 28-year-old Argentina-born forward had been en route from Nantes in western France with pilot David Ibbotson to make his debut for Welsh team Cardiff City when the plane disappeared over the English Channel on Jan 21.

Britain's Air Accidents Investigation Branch said it was informed on Monday that part of a seat cushion had been found on a beach near Surtainville on the Cotentin Peninsula in northern France. A second cushion was found in the same area later that day.