While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, March 24

French forensic officers carry away material after a man took hostages at the Super U supermarket in the town of Trebes, southern France on March 23, 2018.
French forensic officers carry away material after a man took hostages at the Super U supermarket in the town of Trebes, southern France on March 23, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

Gunman shoots three dead in France after “Islamist terror” attack

A gunman killed three people in southwestern France on Friday (March 23) as he held up a car, fired on police and seized hostages in a supermarket, screaming “Allahu Akbar” before security forces stormed the building and he was killed, authorities said. 

Sixteen other people were wounded, including two seriously hurt, in what President Emmanuel Macron called an act of “Islamist terrorism”. 

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group claimed responsibility for the attack. Macron said security services were checking that claim. 


Trump signs spending bill, averting government shutdown 

US President Donald Trump on Friday (March 23) signed a US$1.3 trillion (S$1.7 trillion) compromise federal spending bill despite being "unhappy" with many of its provisions - thereby averting what would have been the third government shutdown of 2018.

Trump said he signed the measure that had passed the Senate just hours earlier "as a matter of national security," because it dramatically expands military funding and provides for "the largest pay increase" for US troops in over a decade.

"There are a lot of things I'm unhappy about in this bill. There are a lot of things we shouldn't have had in this bill but we were, in a sense, forced (to have) if we want to build our military," he said in a hastily arranged media event at the White House.


Tumblr says Russians used its platform for disinformation in 2016

Tumblr announced on Friday (March 23) the blogging platform was used by a shadowy Russian internet group to spread disinformation during the 2016 election campaign as it published the 84 account handles linked to the effort.

Tumblr, which was acquired by Yahoo in 2013 and now is part of Verizon unit Oath, said it uncovered the scheme late last year, helping an investigation that led to the indictment in February of 13 individuals linked to the Russia-based Internet Research Agency.

The announcement adds Tumblr to the list of internet platforms targeted in a social media campaign which US officials said sought to disrupt the 2016 election and help boost Donald Trump's bid to defeat Hillary Clinton.


Craigslist ends personal ads after US sex trafficking bill passes

Craigslist said Friday (March 23) it shut down its personal ads section as concerns grew over unintended consequences of a law approved by Congress which could hold websites liable for promoting sex trafficking.

The move by Craigslist suggested that websites may shutter or censor some content to avoid prosecution under the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) approved by Congress this week and awaiting President Donald Trump's signature.

Craigslist said in a statement it ended personals over concerns the law could subject websites to criminal and civil liability for third-party content.


Football: Brazil, missing Neymar, brush World Cup hosts Russia aside

Five-time world champions Brazil showed no signs of missing Neymar as they fine-tuned preparations for this year's World Cup with a confident 3-0 victory over tournament hosts Russia on Friday (March 23).

Inter Milan full-back Miranda scored the opener while Barcelona midfielder pair Philippe Coutinho and Paulinho scored one apiece at Moscow's renovated Luzhniki stadium where the World Cup final will be played.

Brazil, who were without injured superstar Neymar, started brightly and in the fifth minute Dani Alves lobbed the ball into the area to Gabriel Jesus but the Manchester City striker shot straight at Russia's goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev.