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

EPA chief Scott Pruitt is not convinced that carbon dioxide from human activity is the main driver of climate change.
EPA chief Scott Pruitt is not convinced that carbon dioxide from human activity is the main driver of climate change.PHOTO: REUTERS

US environment chief says Congress should weigh whether carbon dioxide is a pollutant

EPA administrator Scott Pruitt said he is not convinced that carbon dioxide from human activity is the main driver of climate change and said he wants Congress to weigh in on whether CO2 is a harmful pollutant that should be regulated.

In an interview with CNBC, Pruitt also said the Trump administration will make an announcement on fuel efficiency standards for cars "very soon", stressing that he and President Donald Trump believe current standards were rushed through.

Pruitt, 48, is a climate change sceptic who sued the Environmental Protection Agency he now leads more than a dozen times as Oklahoma's attorney-general.

He said he was not convinced that carbon dioxide pollution from burning fossil fuels like oil, gas and coal is the main cause of climate change, a conclusion widely embraced by scientists.


Julian Assange says WikiLeaks will share CIA hacking tools with tech companies

Wikileaks will provide technology companies with exclusive access to CIA hacking tools that it possesses so they can patch software flaws, founder Julian Assange said, presenting Silicon Valley with a potential dilemma on how to deal with the anti-secrecy group.

If the offer is legitimate, it would place technology companies in the unusual position of relying on Assange, a man believed by some US officials and lawmakers to be an untrustworthy pawn of Russian President Vladimir Putin, to share cyber vulnerabilities stockpiled by a secretive US spy agency.

It was not clear how WikiLeaks intended to cooperate with the companies. The group published documents on Tuesday describing secret Central Intelligence Agency hacking tools and snippets of computer code. It did not publish the full programs that would be needed to actually conduct cyber exploits against phones, computers and Internet-connected televisions.


Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and wife expecting a second daughter

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, are expecting a second child, a daughter, the billionaire internet mogul said.

The couple were not sure they would be able to have another child after a difficult pregnancy with their first daughter, born in 2015, Zuckerberg, 32, said in a post on Facebook, the world's largest social network.

"I cannot think of a greater gift than having a sister and I'm so happy Max and our new child will have each other," Zuckerberg, who grew up with three sisters, wrote.


Two Malaysians leave North Korea, nine more stranded in Kim Jong Nam murder row

The UN's World Food Programme said two Malaysian employees were permitted to leave North Korea on Thursday (March 9), as Kuala Lumpur negotiates for nine more citizens trapped by a diplomatic row over the murder of Kim Jong Nam.

North Korean barred Malaysians from leaving on Tuesday, prompting a tit-for-tat response from Kuala Lumpur as diplomatic tensions soared over the investigation into Kim's murder with the banned VX nerve agent at Malaysia's main airport last month.

"The staff members are international civil servants and not representatives of their national government," the UN agency said in a statement, adding that the pair, who worked on WFP food programmes in North Korea, had now arrived in Beijing.


Football: Mkhitaryan helps Man United to 1-1 draw in Russia

Henrikh Mkhitaryan bagged a precious away goal as Manchester United came away from their trip to Russia with a 1-1 draw in the first leg of their Europa League last-16 tie against Rostov.

On an awful pitch, the state of which had United manager Jose Mourinho fuming on the eve of the game, Mkhitaryan turned in the opener 10 minutes before half-time.

But Aleksandr Bukharov levelled for the home side in the 53rd minute at the Olimp 2 stadium, keeping Rostov hopes alive ahead of next week's return at Old Trafford.