While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, March 29 edition

Scotland voted against independence by 55 to 45 per cent in 2014 but Sturgeon argues circumstances have changed due to the Brexit vote.
Scotland voted against independence by 55 to 45 per cent in 2014 but Sturgeon argues circumstances have changed due to the Brexit vote.PHOTO: AFP

Scottish parliament backs bid for new independence referendum; UK rejects

The Scottish parliament on Tuesday (March 28) backed First Minister Nicola Sturgeon's bid for a new independence referendum, further complicating Britain's political situation just as years of talks on the terms of Brexit were about to begin.

The United Kingdom's vote last year to exit the European Union has strained ties between its four constituent parts because England and Wales voted to leave while Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain.

The Edinburgh legislature's vote backing Sturgeon's bid for a referendum in late 2018 or early 2019 came a day before British Prime Minister Theresa May triggers Article 50 of the EU's Lisbon Treaty, the first formal step towards Brexit.


Donald Trump signs order sweeping away Obama-era climate policies

US President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Tuesday (March 28) to undo a slew of Obama-era climate change regulations that his administration says is hobbling oil drillers and coal miners, a move environmental groups have vowed to take to court.

The decree's main target is former President Barack Obama's Clean Power Plan that required states to slash carbon emissions from power plants - a critical element in helping the United States meet its commitments to a global climate change accord reached by nearly 200 countries in Paris in 2015.

The so-called "Energy Independence" order also reverses a ban on coal leasing on federal lands, undoes rules to curb methane emissions from oil and gas production, and reduces the weight of climate change and carbon emissions in policy and infrastructure permitting decisions.


China calls for explanation after Paris police fatally shoot Chinese man

French police said on Tuesday (March 28) they opened an inquiry after a Chinese man was shot dead by police at his Paris home, triggering rioting in the French capital by members of the Chinese community and a sharp reaction from Beijing.

The shooting on Sunday, which led China’s foreign ministry to call in a French diplomat, brought about a 100 members of the French-Chinese community on to the streets in Paris’s main Chinatown district on Monday night.

Some protesters threw projectiles outside the district’s police headquarters and a number of vehicles were torched in a confrontation with riot police.


French presidential candidate Fillon's wife placed under formal investigation

French magistrates placed the wife of conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillon under formal investigation on Tuesday (March 28) over allegations she was paid hundreds of thousands of euros of public funds for work she did not do, a judicial source said.

British-born Penelope Fillon will be investigated on suspicion of complicity in misappropriating public funds, the source said.

The decision, which comes two weeks after Fillon himself was placed under formal investigation in the same case, is another blow to his faltering presidential campaign.


Italian police foil plot to steal Enzo Ferrari's body for ransom

Italian police said they caught a criminal gang on Tuesday (March 28) that had been plotting to steal the body of Formula One racing pioneer Enzo Ferrari for ransom.

Detectives in Sardinia said they had stumbled across the plot while investigating a group of 30 or so crooks who were involved in drug and arms trafficking on the Italian island but were exploring other cash-making ideas.

One was a plan to steal the mortal remains of the racing driver - who founded the Ferrari Grand Prix motor racing team and prancing horse brand before dying - and demand money from his family for the body's safe return.