While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, March 14


US joins other nations in grounding 737 Max jets after second crash

The United States on Wednesday joined Europe, China and other countries in grounding Boeing’s 737 Max jets, because of safety concerns after an Ethiopian Airlines plane crash that killed 157 people, the second disaster involving the 737 in less than five months.

The world’s biggest planemaker is facing its most serious crisis in years, as the decades-old 737 programme, one of its most reliable sources of cash and profits, takes a severe blow to its prestige.

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) cited new satellite data and evidence from the scene of Sunday’s crash near Addis Ababa for its decision to ground the planes.

It was the second time the FAA has halted flights of a Boeing plane in six years. It had grounded the 787 Dreamliner in 2013 because of problems with smoking batteries.


British lawmakers reject no-deal Brexit, to vote on three-month delay

British lawmakers on Wednesday rejected leaving the European Union without a deal in any scenario, paving the way for a vote to seek to delay Brexit until at least the end of June.

After a day of high drama, lawmakers voted by 321 to 278 in favour of a motion that ruled out a potentially disorderly "no-deal" Brexit under any circumstances.

It went further than the government’s own planned motion, which noted that parliament did not want to leave without a deal on March 29, the leaving date set down in law, but stressed that the default legal position was to leave without a deal unless one was ratified by parliament.


Outage hits Facebook, Instagram users worldwide

Facebook and Instagram users lost access to the social network’s applications in parts of the world on Wednesday as a result of an outage of undetermined origin.

The California giant which has more than two billion users acknowledged the outage after users noted on Twitter they could not access Facebook or had limited functionality.

“We’re aware that some people are currently having trouble accessing the Facebook family of apps. We’re working to resolve the issue as soon as possible,” a Facebook statement said on Twitter.


Trump wades into Melania 'body double' conspiracy theory

No, President Donald Trump told conspiracy theorists on Wednesday, he does not have a body double of his wife accompanying him on work trips.

A bizarre claim that First Lady Melania Trump is sometimes replaced by another woman hidden behind large sunglasses and similar outfits resurfaced after Trump made a trip to the site of a deadly tornado in Alabama last week.

Days later, Trump leapt on the story, which is an outlier even by the feverish standards of the Washington rumour mill. "The Fake News photoshopped pictures of Melania, then propelled conspiracy theories that it's actually not her by my side in Alabama and other places," he tweeted. "They are only getting more deranged with time!"


US actress Lori Loughlin arrested in college bribery scandal

US actress Lori Loughlin surrendered to authorities on Wednesday and was to appear in a Los Angeles court to face charges in a massive college admissions scam involving other celebrities and top industry chief executives.

The Fuller House star and her husband, designer Mossimo Giannulli, who has also been charged in the case, allegedly paid US$500,000 (S$680,000) in bribes to ensure their two daughters were recruited to the University of Southern California rowing team even though the pair did not participate in crew.

FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller told AFP that Loughlin, 54, surrendered to FBI agents early Wednesday after returning from Vancouver, where she was filming, and she is set to be arraigned later in the afternoon on fraud-related charges.