While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, March 20

US President Donald Trump delivers remarks on the US opioid crisis, at Manchester Community College in Manchester, New Hampshire, US on March 19, 2018.
US President Donald Trump delivers remarks on the US opioid crisis, at Manchester Community College in Manchester, New Hampshire, US on March 19, 2018. PHOTO: REUTERS

Trump pushes drug-dealer death penalty as opioid crisis response

President Donald Trump, targeting the US opioid epidemic, called again on Monday (March 19) for the execution of drug dealers, a proposal that so far has gained little support in Congress, amid criticism from some drug abuse and criminal justice experts. 

At an event in Manchester, New Hampshire, Trump unveiled an anti-opioid abuse plan, including his death penalty recommendation, new funding for other initiatives and stiffer sentencing laws for drug dealers. 

He said the United States must “get tough” on fighting opioid abuse.


Uber halts self-driving car tests after death of pedestrian in Arizona

A woman crossing a street was killed by an Uber self-driving sport utility vehicle in Arizona, police said on Monday (March 19), prompting the ride services company to suspend its autonomous vehicle programme.

The accident in the Phoenix suburb of Tempe dealt a potential blow not only to Uber’s strategy but the eventual roll-out of robot cars on public roads. 

It was the first fatality from a self-driving vehicle, which are being tested around the globe in a high-profile race by global automakers and tech companies expecting that autonomous vehicles will transform transportation and the ride services business. 


British woman killed fighting alongside Kurds in Syria's Afrin

A British woman fighting alongside Kurdish forces in the Syrian region of Afrin was killed in the Turkish-led offensive on the area, a spokeswoman for the forces said Monday (March 19).

Anna Campbell was killed last week in the Afrin enclave, said Nisrin Abdallah, a spokeswoman for the Kurdish Women's Protection Units (YPJ).

"She died on March 15, 2018 in Turkish shelling" on front lines around Afrin city, Abdallah told AFP, adding that Campbell was 27 at the time of her death.


Sick air travellers mostly likely to infect next row: Study

People who fly on airplanes while contagious can indeed get other people sick, but the risk is mainly to those seated next to them or in the adjacent row, US researchers said Monday (March 19).

The study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) is the first to quantify the odds of getting sick based on a passenger's proximity to an infectious person.

Researchers studied 10 transcontinental flights and meticulously tracked passenger movements to estimate the likelihood of common respiratory infections like severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) and influenza, which are spread by tiny droplets in the air and on surfaces.


Sex and the City star Cynthia Nixon joins New York governor race

Cynthia Nixon, the US actress who shot to international fame as workaholic lawyer Miranda on Sex and the City, is running for New York governor, unveiling Monday (March 19) a progressive platform championing greater equality and eschewing big business.

The 51-year-old declared her candidacy with a two-minute campaign video posted on Twitter that showed her at home with her wife and children, riding the subway, taking her young child to school and speaking at liberal political causes.

The move confirmed growing speculation that Nixon intended to challenge incumbent Democratic state governor Andrew Cuomo, which went into overdrive last week when her wife, Christine Marinoni, stepped down from her job at the city's department of education.