While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, March 1

White House communications director Hope Hicks (above) is resigning.
White House communications director Hope Hicks (above) is resigning.PHOTO: REUTERS

Hope Hicks resigning as top Trump aide, says White House

Hope Hicks, the White House communications director and one of President Donald Trump’s longest-serving advisers, said on Wednesday that she was resigning.

Hicks, 29, a former model who joined Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign without any experience in politics, became known as one of the few aides who understood his personality and style and could challenge the president to change his views.

Hicks had been considering leaving for several months. She told colleagues that she had accomplished what she felt she could with a job that made her one of the most powerful people in Washington, and that there would never be a perfect moment to leave, according to White House aides.

Her resignation came a day after she testified for eight hours before the House Intelligence Committee, telling the panel that in her job, she had occasionally been required to tell white lies but had never lied about anything connected to the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.


Britain's royal 'Fab Four' attend first official event together

US actress Meghan Markle made an official appearance alongside fiance Prince Harry and his elder brother William and wife Kate on Wednesday, the first time Britain's royal "Fab Four" have carried out an engagement together.

Queen Elizabeth's grandson Harry, 33 and Markle, 36, have attracted huge attention since they announced last November they were getting married while William, 35 and Kate, 36, have been a major media draw since their wedding in 2011.

The quartet appeared on stage together to take part in the Royal Foundation forum, a new annual event to showcase the projects run or launched by the royals' main charitable and philanthropic vehicle which William and Harry set up in 2011.


At the US Capitol, tributes to preacher Billy Graham

President Donald Trump hailed the Reverend Billy Graham as “an ambassador for Christ” who helped lift up the American spirit, speaking during a memorial service in the Capitol Rotunda to honour the pastor following his death at 99 last week.

Politicians and other well-wishers began gathering at the US Capitol on Wednesday morning to pay tribute to Graham, whose body arrived for a daylong memorial before his funeral in North Carolina on Friday.

Trump laid a wreath at the coffin of Graham, whose global ministry included close relationships with presidents since Harry Truman.


Couples tote AR-15 assault rifles to Pennsylvania church blessing

Hundreds of couples toting AR-15 rifles packed a Unification church in Pennsylvania on Wednesday to have their marriages blessed and their weapons celebrated as "rods of iron" that could have saved lives in a recent Florida school shooting.

Women dressed in white and men in dark suits gripped the guns, which they had been urged to bring unloaded to the church in the rural Pocono Mountains, about 160km north of Philadelphia.

Many celebrants wore crowns - some made of bullets - while church officials dressed in flowing bright pink and white garments to go with their armaments.


Neymar to undergo surgery, will miss Real Madrid clash

Brazilian superstar Neymar will undergo surgery on his fractured foot in Brazil at the end of this week, ruling the world’s most expensive footballer out of Paris Saint-Germain’s do-or-die Champions League clash with Real Madrid.

The 26-year-old suffered a hairline fracture of the fifth metatarsal in his right foot as well as a twisted ankle late in PSG’s 3-0 win over Marseille in Ligue 1 on Sunday.

PSG said Wednesday that Rodrigo Lasmar, the surgeon with the Brazilian national squad, will carry out the operation. On Tuesday, the Brazilian’s father had claimed the player would be out for “at least six weeks”.