While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, March 31

Thaksin Shinawatra is interviewed by AFP in Hong Kong on March 25, 2019. PHOTO: AFP

Thai King strips ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra of royal decorations

The Thai King has revoked the royal decorations of billionaire ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra, citing his conviction and "extremely inappropriate" flight from the country, according to an announcement published on Saturday.

The statement in the Royal Gazette from King Maha Vajiralongkorn comes almost a week after the country held its first election since a military coup in 2014 installed a royalist junta.

Pheu Thai, a political party linked to Thaksin, is now jostling with the junta-backed Phalang Pracharat for the right to form a government.

The billionaire told AFP in an interview last week that the election was "rigged".


May under Tory pressure to leave EU with or without Brexit deal

British Prime Minister Theresa May is under growing pressure from within her Conservative Party to lead Britain out of the European Union in the next few months, even if it means a no-deal Brexit, The Sun newspaper reported.

A letter signed by 170 of the 314 Conservative lawmakers in Parliament, including 10 Cabinet ministers, was sent to Mrs May after her Brexit deal was rejected for a third time by the House of Commons on Friday, the newspaper reported.

The vote left Britain's withdrawal from the EU in turmoil on the day that the country was originally due to leave the bloc.


US ending aid to El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras over migrants

The United States is cutting off aid to the Central American countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, known collectively as the "Northern Triangle", the State Department said on Saturday, the day after President Donald Trump blasted the countries for sending migrants to the United States.

"We are carrying out the President's direction and ending FY (fiscal year) 2017 and FY 2018 foreign assistance programmes for the Northern Triangle," a State Department spokesman said in a statement.

The State Department declined to provide further details or clarify the time periods involved.


Football: Man City back on top, Huddersfield go down

Manchester City returned with a swagger from the international break on Saturday, resuming their quest for four trophies with another dominant 2-0 win at Fulham that thrust them back to the top of the Premier League.

On the afternoon that Huddersfield Town were relegated and Manchester United celebrated the full-time managerial appointment of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with a 2-1 win over Watford, City again demonstrated why they remain the league's benchmark.

Bernardo Silva scored for the third game in a row and Sergio Aguero extended his league-leading tally to 19 in a dazzling early spell, allowing the champions to ease to a seventh straight league victory while never having to hit the heights.


Formula One: Ferrari's Leclerc storms to first F1 pole in Bahrain

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc took his first Formula One pole position with a stunning display under the floodlights in qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix on Saturday.

Calm and composed ahead of only his second race for the Italian team, the 21-year-old Monegasque was 0.294 seconds clear of last year's pole-sitter Sebastian Vettel who secured Ferrari's front row lockout.

Five-times world champion Lewis Hamilton was Ferrari's closest challenger in third for Mercedes, but the Briton was still 0.324 seconds off the pace with team mate Valtteri Bottas alongside in fourth.


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