While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, March 19

Russian President-elect Vladimir Putin attends a press conference after his visit to his staff at his campaign headquarters in Moscow, Russia, on March 18, 2018.
Russian President-elect Vladimir Putin attends a press conference after his visit to his staff at his campaign headquarters in Moscow, Russia, on March 18, 2018.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Claims Russia behind Skripal poisoning drivel, rubbish, nonsense: Vladimir Putin

President Vladimir Putin on Sunday (March 18) said claims that Russia was behind the nerve agent attack on former spy Sergei Skripal were "nonsense" but that Moscow was willing to cooperate on the probe.

“It’s complete drivel, rubbish, nonsense that somebody in Russia would allow themselves to do such a thing ahead of elections and the World Cup,” he said at a short news conference following a landslide win in presidential elections. 

Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned with a Soviet-designed nerve agent in the British city of Salisbury on March 4 and remain in hospital. 


Peru president says he used offshore firm to legally avoid US taxes

Peru's embattled President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski told a congressional investigative committee that he used a company in the British Virgin Islands to legally avoid paying US taxes, according to audio heard by Reuters on Sunday (March 18).

Kuczynski made the disclosure during more than seven hours of questioning on Friday (March 16) as he tried to disentangle himself from a growing corruption scandal less than a week before a new impeachment vote in Congress.

A former Wall Street banker who is married to an American, Kuczynski told the committee that the offshore company, Dorado Asset Management Ltd, was controlled by his daughter and helped him sidestep US taxes on his properties in Peru.


US Republican lawmakers concerned by Facebook data leak

Several US Republican lawmakers expressed concern over privacy violations on Sunday (March 18) after media reports that a political consultancy that worked on President Donald Trump's campaign gained inappropriate access to 50 million Facebook users' data.

Republican Senator Marco Rubio said he believed some internet companies have grown too fast to digest their responsibilities and obligations.

"So we'll learn more about this in the days to come. But yeah I'm disturbed by that," Rubio told NBC's Meet the Press.


Football: Pedro's header puts Chelsea in semi-final 

A goal by substitute Pedro put Chelsea into the FA Cup semi-final with a 2-1 win away to Leicester City after extra time on Sunday (March 18).

Earlier, the home team's England international Jamie Vardy had equalised Alvaro Morata's first goal of 2018.

With no replays from the quarter-finals onwards, 30 extra minutes were required, in which Pedro headed in a cross by former Leicester midfielder N'Golo Kante.


Dovizioso edges out Marquez in Qatar MotoGP thriller

Italy's Andrea Dovizioso won a thrilling season-opening Qatar MotoGP on Sunday (March 18), surviving a last-lap challenge from world champion Marc Marquez.

Dovizioso re-took the lead on the final bend of the 22-lap night race to record a notable victory on a track where he had finished as runner-up for the past three years.

Nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi came home in third place on a Yamaha.