While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, March 28 edition

Flanked by French Deputy Representative to the UN Alexis Lamek (left) and Britain's Matthew Rycroft (right), Nikki Haley speaks to reporters at the UN headquarters.
Flanked by French Deputy Representative to the UN Alexis Lamek (left) and Britain's Matthew Rycroft (right), Nikki Haley speaks to reporters at the UN headquarters.PHOTO: AFP

Administration of US President Trump leads boycott of UN talks on nuclear weapons ban

More than 100 countries on Monday launched the first UN talks aimed at achieving a legally binding ban on atomic weapons, as Washington led an international boycott of a process it deems unrealistic.

Before the conference had even begun, the US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, spoke out to reject the proposal in the light of current global security threats.

"As a mom and a daughter there is nothing I want more for my family than a world with no nuclear weapons," Haley, who represents the world's largest nuclear power, said on the sidelines of the meeting.


Brazil suspends three more meat processing plants in bribery scandal

Brazil's Agriculture Ministry said on Monday (March 27) that it ordered three more food processing facilities to suspend production amid an investigation into alleged corruption of inspectors and unsanitary conditions in the world's biggest meat producer.

That brings to six the number of food processing plants that have been ordered temporarily closed by Brazilian authorities. A total of 21 plants are included in a police investigation, and are not allowed to export any product, although they can still produce for the domestic market.

All three plants ordered closed on Monday are in Parana state, where the scandal has been centered. They include units of Souza Ramos, Industria de Laticinios SSPMA and Fabrica de Farinha de Carnes Castro.


High winds batter Northeast Australia as Cyclone Debbie approaches

Coastal areas in northeast Australia were battered by high winds and heavy rainfall early on Tuesday (March 28) as a powerful cyclone that prompted authorities to urge some 30,000 people to evacuate bore down on the country.

Cyclone Debbie was upgraded overnight to a category four storm, just one rung below the most dangerous wind speed level, and authorities warned it could reach level five by the time it makes landfall around midday local time (0100 GMT).

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology said Debbie continued to gather strength, despite slowing its progress during the night - the storm had been expected to make landfall several hours earlier than the most recent forecast.


Hong Kong targets activists day after vote

Police cracked down on Hong Kong democracy activists Monday (March 27) charging them over the Umbrella Movement mass protests, a day after a pro-Beijing candidate was chosen as the city's new leader.

Carrie Lam was selected as the new chief executive Sunday by a committee dominated by pro-China voters, but promised to try to unify the deeply divided city.

The vote was dismissed as a sham by democracy campaigners who fear Beijing is tightening its grip on semi-autonomous Hong Kong and say Lam will be no different from its unpopular current leader, Leung Chun-ying.


Drake ends Sheeran's Billboard 200 reign, smashes streaming record

Drake ended Ed Sheeran's two week reign atop the Billboard 200 album chart on Monday (March 27), selling a monster 505,000 copies of his new album "More Life," according to figures from Nielsen SoundScan.

The Canadian rapper, the world's best-selling artist of 2016, took the No. 1 spot, setting a new streaming record and bringing home the biggest US sales week for any album since his 2016 release "Views."

Nielsen said 257,000 units were earned from streaming, beating Drake's previous record-setting 163,000 streaming units for "Views." 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).