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

FBI director James Comey testifies concerning Russian meddling in the 2016 United States election.
FBI director James Comey testifies concerning Russian meddling in the 2016 United States election.PHOTO: AFP

FBI confirms probing Russian election meddling, denies Trump wiretapping claim

The head of the FBI publicly challenged US President Donald Trump on Monday (March 20), denying the Republican’s claim that former president Barack Obama wiretapped his 2016 election campaign and confirming his agency had launched a criminal investigation into any collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

FBI Director James Comey told a congressional hearing he had seen no evidence to support a claim by Trump that Obama had wiretapped his campaign headquarters in Manhattan’s Trump Tower.

 The president created a controversy in early March when he tweeted without giving evidence that Obama had wiretapped the campaign as the businessman took on Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential race. 


Renowned physicist Stephen Hawking says 'I fear that I may not be welcome' in Donald Trump's America

Stephen Hawking says he no longer feels welcome in the United States, now that President Donald Trump is in power.

The renowned scientist and theoretical physicist spoke on Monday (March 20) on ITV's Good Morning Britain about his views on artificial intelligence, climate change and Trump - whom he once called a demagogue.

"The reaction to the election of Donald Trump may have been overdone, but it represents a definite swing to a right-wing, more authoritarian approach," Hawking said about the negative response to Trump's election.


Norwegians count their blessings in world's happiest nation

Norwegian law student Karen Nerbo summed up the feelings of many on Monday as her country was named the world's happiest country.

"We have a lot of things to be happy about, our society is very open, we have everything that we need, there is not much to complain about," said Nerbo, 22, walking down Oslo's prime shopping avenue.

Norway pipped last year's league leader Denmark to take the crown in the United Nations' World Happiness Report 2017.


S$84 million 'Pink Star' diamond goes back on sale next month

A 59.60-carat diamond known as"The Pink Star" is returning to auction next month and could fetch a record US$60 million (S$84 million), three years since it was sold for even more - only for the buyer to pull out of the deal.

The diamond was presented by Sotheby's in London ahead of the auction in Hong Kong on April 4.

In November 2013, a Geneva auction of the stone fetched a world record US$83 million but the buyer, New York-based diamond cutter Isaac Wolf, could not pay up and defaulted.


Ed Sheeran's Divide tops US Billboard charts for second week

British singer Ed Sheeran reigned atop the weekly US Billboard album and digital song charts on Monday, as his latest album garnered strong sales for a second consecutive week.

Sheeran's Divide generated another 180,000 units from album and song sales and streaming consumption last week, according to figures from Nielsen SoundScan. The album has topped charts around the world, including Sheeran's native Britain.

The Billboard 200 album chart tallies units from album sales, song sales (10 songs equal one album) and streaming activity (1,500 streams equal one album).