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

VIDEO: REUTERS

EU ready to grant Brexit delay if British parliament backs twice-rejected deal

The European Union could grant Britain’s request for a short Brexit delay if parliament votes next week in favour of a stalled departure deal, European Council President Donald Tusk said on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Theresa May asked the European Union to allow Britain to delay its departure date by three months to June 30, and EU leaders are expected to discuss the matter at a summit on Thursday.

Tusk said it would be possible to grant Britain a short postponement if parliament next week backs May’s divorce agreement, which it has already voted down twice.

Should that happen, Tusk said no extraordinary EU leaders’summit would be needed next week before the current Brexit date of March 29. Otherwise, he might call another summit.

READ MORE HERE

Bus full of children set alight by angry driver in Italy

A bus full of schoolchildren was hijacked and set on fire by its own driver on Wednesday in an apparent protest against migrant drownings in the Mediterranean, Italian authorities said.

All 51 children managed to escape unhurt before the bus was engulfed in flames on the outskirts of Milan, Italy's business capital.

Police named the driver as Ousseynou Sy, a 47-year-old Italian citizen of Senegalese origin.

READ MORE HERE

Finland tops UN world's happiest countries list again, Singapore remains 34th

Finland topped the ranking of the world's happiest countries for the second year in a row, with the Nordic countries taking the leading spots, an annual survey issued on Wednesday showed.

South Sudan came last in the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network's 2019 World Happiness Report.

It ranked 156 countries according to things such as GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, social freedom, generosity and absence of corruption.

READ MORE HERE

US Fed now expects no interest rate increases in 2019

The Federal Reserve does not expect to raise the benchmark lending rate again this year, according to a closely-watched forecast released on Wednesday, a surprising sign the US economy is slowing.

It was an aggressive downshift that likely will come as a shock to many economists who did not look for such a drastic change in outlook from the central bankers, who as recently as September expected to raise rates three times in 2019.

"It may be some time before the outlook for jobs and inflation calls clearly for a change in policy," Powell told reporters in a media briefing following the announcement.

READ MORE HERE 

Football: Ronaldo and Juventus will avoid US amid rape investigation

Organisers of a high-profile summer tournament for world soccer's biggest club teams have decided to keep Juventus and its star Cristiano Ronaldo away from the United States this year, eliminating the risk of the Portuguese star's being detained by authorities as part of a rape investigation in Las Vegas.

While the bulk of the games in the tournament, the International Champions Cup, will take place in the United States as usual, Juventus' games will be a part of the Asian version of the annual event.

Juventus will be joined there - most likely in China and Singapore - by Premier League teams Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United.

READ MORE HERE