While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, March 22

Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg has broken his silence on the Cambridge Analytica data scandal.
Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg has broken his silence on the Cambridge Analytica data scandal.PHOTO: REUTERS

Zuckerberg breaks silence on Cambridge Analytica data row

Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg broke his silence on Wednesday on the data scandal rocking the social media giant, admitting mistakes that led to a “breach of trust” with its two billion users, and vowing to step up.

In his first public comments on the uproar over the harvesting of data on 50 million users by a British firm linked to Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, Zuckerberg told Facebook users the firm had “a responsibility to protect your data.”

“If we can’t then we don’t deserve to serve you,” he wrote on his Facebook page. “I’ve been working to understand exactly what happened and how to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

Zuckerberg’s comments come after several days in which Facebook shares were pummelled and calls for investigations were launched on both sides of the Atlantic.


Suspect in deadly Texas blast was quiet, home-schooled

The quiet, home-schooled son of a local couple that sold Amway products is suspected of staging a three-week deadly bombing campaign that gripped the Texas capital of Austin.

An arrest warrant and federal criminal complaint identified the maker of the homemade bombs as Mark Conditt, 23, of the Austin suburb of Pflugerville, Texas, law enforcement said on Wednesday.

Conditt, who in 2017 moved out of the Pflugerville home owned by his parents, Danene and William Conditt, blew himself up on Wednesday as police closed in on him.


Fed lifts rates, signals tougher stance as economy strengthens

The US Federal Reserve raised interest rates on Wednesday and forecast at least two more hikes for 2018, highlighting its growing confidence that tax cuts and government spending will boost the economy and inflation and spur more aggressive future tightening.

In its first policy meeting under new Fed chief Jerome Powell, the US central bank indicated that inflation should finally move higher after years below its 2 per cent target and that the economy had recently gained momentum.

The Fed also raised the estimated longer-term “neutral” rate, the level at which monetary policy neither boosts nor slows the economy, a touch, in a sign the current gradual rate hike cycle could go on longer than previously thought.


Fourth winter storm pounds US East, states declare emergencies

The US East’s fourth major snowstorm this month swept through the region with heavy snow and high winds on Wednesday, snarling flights and commuter travel, closing schools and triggering emergency declarations in New York City and New Jersey.

The nor’easter was on track to dump 30 to 46cm of snow on areas from Philadelphia to New York City on Wednesday.

The storm also lashed points along the East Coast with winds exceeding 80kmh.


Meghan Markle's wedding ring to follow royal tradition of Welsh gold

When Britain's Prince Harry marries Meghan Markle in May he will be following a royal tradition started nearly 100 years ago of using a wedding band of Welsh gold.

His great-grandmother, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, was the first to use gold from Wales in her ring when, as Elizabeth Bowes Lyon, she married the future King George VI in 1923.

For Markle's wedding, the rare gold ring with the Welsh dragon stamp will probably be made by jeweller Wartski at their London workshop, said Ben Roberts, managing director of Clogau which has provided gold for the royal family for more than a century.