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

Brussels bans planned anti-Islam rally in troubled Molenbeek

The mayor of the Brussels district of Molenbeek on Wednesday said far-right extremists have been banned from holding a planned anti-Islam rally in the troubled neighbourhood, as the city remains on edge after last week's suicide attacks.

Members of the French far-right youth group Generation Identitaire had posted a message on their website asking supporters to descend on Molenbeek on Saturday and march under the banner "Let's expel the Islamists!"

The impoverished immigrant neighbourhood of Molenbeek has long been seen as a hotbed of Islamist extremism and the prime suspect in November's Paris terror attacks was arrested there earlier this month, just metres from his family home.


World nations drag heels on Syria refugee resettlement

A UN conference aimed at securing new homes for nearly half a million Syrian refugees ended on Wednesday with only marginal increases in the number of resettlement places offered.

The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR), which hosted the one-day meet, said from the outset that it did not anticipate governments would make significant new pledges at the conference in Geneva.

In a statement, UNHCR noted said it remained far from its goal of having confirmed new countries of residency for 10 per cent of Syria's 4.8 million refugees - or 480,000 people - within three years.


US regulators ease label requirements on abortion pill

US regulators on Wednesday eased labelling requirements on a medication that induces abortion, a move that women's health advocates said should improve access to abortion, particularly in certain embattled states.

The US Food and Drug Administration's decision applies to Mifeprex, also known as mifepristone, which is taken along with another medication called misoprostol to end an early pregnancy.

The label will now say it is safe to take up to 70 days after the woman's last period, instead of 49 days as the original label said.


FDA permits use of test to screen donated blood for Zika

The US Food and Drug Administration said it would allow the use of an experimental test to screen donated blood for the Zika virus.

The test, manufactured by a New Jersey-based unit of Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding AG, may be used for screening donated blood in areas with active mosquito-borne transmission of Zika virus, the FDA said.

The agency recommended last month that blood should no longer be collected from regions where the Zika virus is circulating.


Football: Gary Neville sacked as Valencia coach

Gary Neville has been sacked as coach of Valencia, the struggling Spanish club confirmed on Wednesday.

"Valencia Football Club have today parted company with Gary Neville as Head Coach," Valencia said in a statement published in English on their website.

"After careful consideration, the Club have decided to make a change with the best interests of the Valencia CF moving forward this season. We thank Gary for his work at Valencia and wish him the best in the future."