While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, March 30


Russia orders out 60 US diplomats over spy poisoning affair

Russia expelled 60 US diplomats on Thursday and announced it would eject scores from other countries that have joined London and Washington in censuring Moscow over the poisoning of a spy.

The US ambassador was also ordered to shut the consulate in St Petersburg, in Russia’s retaliation for the biggest expulsion of diplomats since the Cold War.

The response, which precisely mirrored steps taken by Western governments against Russian diplomats, appeared to show Moscow was not seeking to escalate the standoff over the nerve agent poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, England.

Washington, however, indicated that it is could retaliate for Russia’s “regrettable, unwarranted action,” raising the possibility that the crisis could intensify.


Trump says may hold up South Korea trade deal until after deal with North Korea

US President Donald Trump said on Thursday he may hold up a trade agreement reached this week with South Korea until after a deal is reached with North Korea on denuclearisation.

"I may hold it up until after a deal is made with North Korea," Trump said in a speech. "It's a very strong card," he added.

Senior US officials have expressed concerns privately that South Korea is the weak link in the US alliance between South Korea and Japan and could be too quick to seal a deal with North Korea.


Amal Clooney to defend Reuters journalists held in Myanmar

British-Lebanese human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, wife of Hollywood A-lister George, announced on Thursday she will represent two Reuters journalists detained in Myanmar in a case that has incensed global opinion.

Myanmar reporters Wa Lone, 31, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 27, were arrested last December and have been charged under the Official Secrets Act, which could see them jailed up to 14 years.

They had been investigating the killing by security forces and ethnic Rakhine locals of 10 unarmed Rohingya Muslim men in the country's crisis-hit northern Rakhine State.


Ads pulled from Fox News show after host mocks high school shooting survivor

At least four companies said on Thursday they were pulling advertisements from Laura Ingraham's Fox News show after the conservative pundit mocked a teenage survivor of the Florida school massacre on Twitter and he responded with a call for a boycott.

Parkland student David Hogg, 17, tweeted a list of a dozen companies that advertise on The Ingraham Angle and urged his supporters to demand that they cancel their ads.

Hogg is a survivor of the Feb 14 mass shooting that killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in the Parkland suburb of Fort Lauderdale. He and other classmates have become the faces of a new youth-led movement calling for tighter restrictions on firearms.


Huge chocolate statues spring up in Belgium

It sounds like a chocoholic's dreamland - giant sculptures of elephants, flamingos and other creatures all crafted from Belgian chocolate.

The animal creations, up to 3m tall, are the centrepiece of an exhibition in Belgium of around 50 chocolate pieces by 40 international artists.

The ChocoPalace festival, in the small city of Durbuy, south-east of Brussels, also features a chocolate river and stalls selling macaroons and boozy chocolate drinks.