While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, March 6

A worker looks at empty shelves after removing processed meat products at a Pick n Pay Store in Johannesburg, South Africa, on March 5, 2018.
A worker looks at empty shelves after removing processed meat products at a Pick n Pay Store in Johannesburg, South Africa, on March 5, 2018. PHOTO: REUTERS

 South Africa blames processed meat firms for delays in listeria probe 

South Africa's government on Monday (March 5) blamed a lack of cooperation by producers of cold meats for a delay in finding the cause of a listeria outbreak that has killed 180 people in the past year.

As shoppers queued up to return processed meat items and demand refunds, shares in food firms Tiger Brands and RCL Foods slid on Monday over their links to the outbreak, that began in January 2017, before staging a recovery.

The government, which has been criticised for taking too long to find the source of the disease, on Sunday (March 4) linked the outbreak to a meat product known as "polony" made by Tiger unit Enterprise Food. It also said it was investigating an RCL plant.


Italy’s Renzi quits as centre-left leader after election drubbing

Former Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi resigned on Monday (March 5) as leader of the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) after a bruising defeat in a national election. 

The PD took just under 20 per cent of the vote in Sunday’s (March 4) ballot, its worst result since its creation in 2007, despite presiding over a modest recovery in the euro zone’s third-largest economy. 

Beaten by the anti-system 5-Star Movement and a centre-right coalition dominated by the eurosceptic League, Renzi acknowledged the defeat at PD headquarters in Rome. 


Former Russian spy critically ill in Britain after exposure to unidentified substance

Former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, who was convicted by Russia of betraying agents to British intelligence, was critically ill on Monday (March 5) after exposure to an unidentified substance in Britain, two sources close to the investigation told Reuters.

British police said two people, a 66-year-old man and a 33-year-old woman, had been found unconscious on a bench in a shopping centre on Sunday (March 4) in the southern English city of Salisbury after exposure to the unknown substance.

Both are critically ill in intensive care. Police declared a major incident.


Trump says he may travel to Israel for embassy move; Netanyahu calls out Iran

US President Donald Trump said on Monday (March 5) he might travel to Israel for the opening of the US embassy there as he and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented a united front against Iran in White House talks.

Trump's decision for the United States to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the embassy there from Tel Aviv reversed decades of US policy, aggravated Arab allies and has complicated his administration's attempt to revive long-stalled Middle East peace talks.

Trump, with Netanyahu at his side in the Oval Office, said he was considering making what would be his second visit to Jerusalem as president. The opening of the US embassy is planned for May.


Frances McDormand's Oscar briefly stolen; viewing figures slump

Oscar-winner Frances McDormand had her statuette stolen at a post-show party by a man who allegedly snatched it from her table before he was arrested, police and witnesses said on Monday (March 5).

McDormand, 60, won best actress at Sunday's (March 4) awards for her role as a rage-filled mother seeking justice for her murdered daughter in Martin McDonagh's Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

"Security at the Governors Ball are looking for this guy, who grabbed Frances McDormand's Oscar and ran out with it," said New York Times writer Cara Buckley, who was at the event and live-tweeted the drama.