While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, March 21

Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix leaves his offices through the back door in London on March 20, 2018.
Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix leaves his offices through the back door in London on March 20, 2018.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Cambridge Analytica suspends CEO over Facebook data scandal

Cambridge Analytica, the political data firm with ties to President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign, suspended its chief executive, Alexander Nix, on Tuesday, amid a furore over the access it gained to private information on more than 50 million Facebook users.

The decision came after a television broadcast in which Nix was recorded suggesting unseemly practices to influence foreign elections.

The company, founded by Stephen Bannon and Robert Mercer, a wealthy Republican donor who has put at least US$15 million (S$20 million) into it, offered tools that could identify the personalities of American voters and influence their behaviour.

So-called psychographic modelling techniques, which were built in part with the data harvested from Facebook, underpinned the company's work for the Trump campaign in 2016. Nix once called the practice "our secret sauce", though some have questioned its effectiveness.


Maryland teen wounds two at school, dies after gunfight with officer

A 17-year-old student shot and critically wounded two fellow students at a Maryland high school on Tuesday morning before dying after a gunfight with a campus security officer, a law enforcement official said.

The shooting, which came amid a renewed national debate over gun violence following last month’s Florida high school massacre, occurred just before 8am (8pm Singapore time) at Great Mills High School in St Mary’s County, about 110km south of Washington.

The 16-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy who were wounded were taken to hospitals, county Sheriff Timothy Cameron said.


Couple tortured French nanny before killing her, court hears

A couple living in London tortured their young French au pair and subjected her to hours of interrogation before later killing her and burning her body, the prosecution told a court on Tuesday.

The charred remains of 21-year-old Sophie Lionnet were discovered by the fire brigade on Sept 20, in the back garden of the south-west London home where she cared for two children.

Their mother, Sabrina Kouider, 35, and her 40-year-old partner Ouissem Medouni, also French, are standing trial at England’s Old Bailey central criminal court for the murder of Lionnet.


Stephen Hawking to join Newton, Darwin in final resting place

British physicist Stephen Hawking is to take his place among some of the greatest scientists in history when his ashes are interred inside Westminster Abbey, close to the graves of Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin.

Hawking, the world's most recognisable scientist, died last week aged 76 after a lifetime spent probing the origins of the universe, the mysteries of black holes and the nature of time itself.

Westminster Abbey, the final resting place of 17 monarchs and of some of the most significant figures in British history, said on Tuesday it would hold a Service of Thanksgiving for Hawking later this year, during which his ashes would be interred.


Football: Surgeon says Neymar's recovery is 'going well'

Brazil team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar said on Tuesday that Neymar's recovery from foot surgery "is going well", as the star forward bids to be fit for the World Cup in Russia.

Lasmar, who operated on Neymar on March 3, said he speaks "two or three time a day" with the physiotherapists working with the Brazil and Paris Saint-Germain player.

"For now, everything is going well, they tell me every detail of Neymar's recovery," Lasmar told French sports daily L'Equipe.