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

US, UK to ban electronics on flights from Middle East, North Africa

The United States and Britain on Tuesday (March 21) imposed restrictions on carry-on electronic devices on planes coming from certain airports in Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East and North Africa in response to unspecified security threats.

The US Department of Homeland Security said passengers travelling from those airports could not bring devices such as tablets, portable DVD players, laptops and cameras into the main cabin that are larger than a mobile phone. Instead, such items must be in checked baggage.

Britain took similar steps, with a spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May saying that there would be curbs on electronic items in the main cabin on flights from six countries in the Middle East.

The moves were prompted by reports that militant groups want to smuggle explosive devices inside electronic gadgets, US officials told reporters on a conference call on Monday (March 20).


French minister quits over scandal as Emmanuel Macron's presidency bid gathers pace

Centrist Emmanuel Macron's bid for power in France gathered pace on Tuesday (March 21) when he won support from a junior minister in the Socialist government while the interior minister resigned amid scandal in a new twist to the topsy-turvy presidential campaign.

Voters rated Macron as the strongest performer of the five leading candidates who took part in the first debate of the presidential election campaign on Monday (March 20) night, watched by nearly 10 million viewers, according to snap opinion polls.

His front-running status was reinforced by an endorsement from a junior minister in Socialist President Francois Hollande's administration, the first government member openly to back the independent politician in preference to the Socialist candidate, Benoit Hamon.


Donald Trump, Nasa and a rare consensus: Mission to Mars

President Donald Trump on Tuesday (March 21) signed a law that said manned missions to deep space, including to Mars, would be the US space agency's main goal in the decades to come.

According to the text - adopted by a rare unanimous vote in the Senate and House of Representatives - Nasa will work toward the goal of "a crewed mission to Mars in the 2030s."

The law also highlights the importance of the deep space capsule Orion, which is under development and aims to carry humans further into space than any spaceship ever has.


Pope tells young to resist 'false' reality of social media

Pope Francis on Tuesday (March 21) warned young people to resist the lure of "false" versions of life presented on social media or reality TV shows.

Instead, the Internet generation needs to write their own histories, become masters of their destiny and establish real connections with their past, the 80-year-old pontiff says in a video message for World Youth Day, on April 9.

"Many people say that young people are distracted and superficial. They are wrong!" Francis says.


Inspector Morse author Colin Dexter dies at 86

British crime writer Colin Dexter, best known for his popular Inspector Morse character, died on Tuesday (March 21) at the age of 86, his publisher said in a statement.

"With immense sadness, Macmillan announces the death of Colin Dexter who died peacefully at his home in Oxford this morning," the statement read. Dexter was born in 1930 in Lincolnshire, eastern England, and studied classics at Cambridge University.

After a brief stint in teaching, he moved in the 1960s to Oxford, which provided the setting for the 13 Morse novels he published between 1975 and 1999.


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