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

Russia's Putin orders start of Russian forces' withdrawal from Syria

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday ordered the start of the withdrawal of Moscow’s forces from Syria in a shock move, as fresh peace talks began in Geneva.

But hopes for a breakthrough at the talks remained remote with both sides locked in a bitter dispute over the future of President Bashar al-Assad, on the eve of the fifth anniversary of the brutal conflict.

“The task that was set before our defence ministry and armed forces has as a whole been completed and so I order the defence ministry to from tomorrow start the withdrawal of the main part of our military contingents from the Syrian Arab Republic,” Putin told Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu in televised comments.


11 suspects detained over car bomb in Ankara: Turkish PM

Turkish prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu has said that 11 suspects have been detained over the car bombing in Ankara, while evidence points to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) as being behind the attack. 

Turkish police had earlier confirmed that they detained four suspects near the Syria border whom they believe are linked to the deadly car bomb attack in the heart of the capital, according to local media.

Police acted on the tip-off that the car that exploded in Ankara had been bought from a dealership in Sanliurfa, state-run Anatolia news agency reported. The four suspects were due to be taken to Ankara, the agency said.


Myanmar military questions Suu Kyi picks ahead of presidential vote

Myanmar's powerful military questioned Aung San Suu Kyi's picks for president and vice president on Monday, as tension simmered between the two sides a day before parliament votes on who should get the top job.

Relations between the armed forces and Suu Kyi will define the success or otherwise of Myanmar's most significant break from military rule since the army seized power in 1962, even though the constitution bars her from taking the presidency.

The democracy leader says she will run the country whoever becomes president, and her choice looks certain to be confirmed by parliament as her National League for Democracy (NLD) holds a sizeable majority after winning a landslide victory in a general election in November.


From wee rex to T-rex: modest forerunner to huge predator found

Fossils unearthed in northern Uzbekistan's remote Kyzylkum Desert of a smaller, older cousin of Tyrannosaurus rex are showing that the modest forerunners of that famous brute had already acquired the sophisticated brain and senses that helped make it such a horrifying predator.

Researchers said on Monday the horse-sized Cretaceous Period dinosaur, named Timurlengia euotica, that roamed Central Asia 90 million years ago sheds new light on the lineage called tyrannosaurs that culminated with T-rex, which stalked North America more than 20 million years later.

The researchers used CT scans to look inside Timurlengia's braincase and digitally reconstruct its brain, sinuses, nerves, blood vessels and inner ear. The make-up of the inner ear indicated Timurlengia, like T-rex, excelled at hearing lower frequency sounds.


Apple, McDonald's, Google and Ikea to face EU lawmakers over tax deals

Apple, Google, McDonald's and Ikea will be asked about their European tax deals on Wednesday as European Union lawmakers ratchet up the pressure on multinationals to pay more tax on their profits locally.

The hearing, organised by the European Parliament's tax committee, follows a similar event in November last year when Anheuser-Busch InBev, HSBC, Google and eight other companies were quizzed on the same subject.

While the committee has no power to order changes, the hearing reflects the political concerns over multinationals avoiding local tax liabilities.