While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, March 15


Boeing 737 Max jets could be grounded for weeks

Boeing’s 737 Max 8 and 9 planes will be grounded for weeks if not longer until a software upgrade can be tested and installed, US lawmakers said on Thursday, as officials in France prepare to begin analysing the black boxes from a jet that crashed in Ethiopia.

Boeing said on Thursday it was pausing deliveries of its flagship 737 Max aircraft following the grounding.

Investigators in France will be seeking clues into Sunday’s deadly Ethiopian Airlines crash after take-off from Addis Ababa killed 157 people from 35 nations in the second such calamity involving Boeing’s plane since October.

Possible links between the accidents have rocked the aviation industry, scared passengers, and left the world’s biggest planemaker scrambling to prove the safety of a money-spinning model intended to be the standard for decades.


British lawmakers overwhelmingly back Brexit delay

British lawmakers voted on Thursday to allow the government to seek a delay for Britain’s departure from the European Union.

Britain will now, almost certainly, not leave the bloc as initially scheduled on March 29. British Prime Minister Theresa May will request an extension to the Brexit negotiation period known as Article 50 when she attends a European Council meeting on March 21.

However, the extension is not automatic, an EU Commission spokesman reiterated – all 27 of the remaining EU member states must unanimously approve it.


Rockets fired from Gaza at Tel Aviv, no casualties: Israeli military

Two rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip at the Tel Aviv area on Thursday, the Israeli military said, in the first such attack there since the 2014 war in the Palestinian enclave.

TV footage showed what looked like Israeli interceptor missiles streaking into the sky above Tel Aviv, Israel's commercial capital, and detonating.

Explosions rang out, but there were no reports of injuries or damage. Despite the apparent activation of Israel's Iron Dome air defence system, the military said no rockets were shot down.


Empire actor Jussie Smollett pleads not guilty to lying about Chicago attack

Empire actor Jussie Smollett pleaded not guilty in a Chicago court on Thursday to new charges that he falsely reported to police that he was the victim of a racist and homophobic assault on a city street.

Wearing a navy suit and dress coat, Smollett, 36, appeared serious and quiet standing next to his attorneys as Cook County Circuit Court Judge Steven Watkins was assigned to his case.

"Yes, sir," Smollett said in a soft voice as the judge instructed him that he would next return to court on April 12.


Louis Vuitton drop Michael Jackson clothes from new collection

Louis Vuitton said on Thursday they were pulling Michael Jackson-themed clothes from a new collection in the wake of the Leaving Neverland documentary which revived claims that the singer sexually abused children.

The brand's men's autumn winter collection, designed by the label's American designer Virgil Abloh, was designed as a hommage to Jackson's "prodigious talent".

It was shown at Paris fashion week in January on a spectacular set inspired by his Billie Jean video.