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


Senator’s dramatic demand spurs Trump to order FBI probe of Brett Kavanaugh

A dramatic last-minute demand by Republican Senator Jeff Flake prompted President Donald Trump to order an FBI investigation into his Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh over sexual misconduct allegations that have riveted the country and imperiled his confirmation chances.

With tempers flaring on both sides, the Republican-led Senate Judiciary Committee approved Kavanaugh’s nomination and sent it to the full Senate over Democratic opposition, with Flake providing the decisive vote.

But Flake, a moderate Republican who is retiring from the Senate in January, cast his vote only after asking the panel to request that the Trump administration pursue an FBI probe of the explosive allegations against Kavanaugh and delay a final Senate confirmation vote for up to a week to let the investigation run its course. Trump granted the request.

Flake’s action came a day after the committee’s jarring and emotional hearing into the allegations against Kavanaugh that gripped the country, with a university professor named Christine Blasey Ford accusing him of sexually assaulting her in 1982 when both were high schools students in Maryland. Kavanaugh denied the accusation.


Facebook discloses security breach affecting 50 million users

Facebook said that hackers stole digital login codes allowing them to take over up to 50 million user accounts in its worst breach ever given the unprecedented level of potential access, adding to what has been a difficult year for the company's reputation.

Facebook, which has more than 2.2 billion monthly active users, said it has been unable to determine yet whether the attacker misused any of the accounts or stole private information. It also has yet to identify the attacker's location or whether specific victims had been targeted.

Chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg described the incident as a "really serious security issue" in a conference call with reporters.


Amal Clooney calls on Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi to pardon Reuters reporters

The families of two Reuters reporters imprisoned in Myanmar have asked for a pardon, human rights lawyer Amal Clooney told a press freedom event at the United Nations as she pressed the country’s civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi to agree.

Clooney is a member of the legal team representing Reuters journalists Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, who were convicted on Sept 3 under the colonial-era Official Secrets Act and sentenced to seven years in prison.

She said the reporters’ wives wrote “a really heartfelt letter” to the government about a week ago pleading for a pardon, not because their husbands had done anything wrong, but because it would allow them to be released from prison.


Football: Ronaldo lawyers to sue Der Spiegel over 'illegal' report

Lawyers for Cristiano Ronaldo said they would sue German magazine Der Spiegel after it published "blatantly illegal" accusations by an American woman who alleges she was raped by the Portuguese soccer star in 2009.

Ronaldo's lawyer Christian Schertz said in a statement the report was "an inadmissible reporting of suspicions in the area of privacy", and that he would seek legal redress for his client from the magazine.

The magazine said the rape allegedly took place in June 2009 in a hotel room in Las Vegas, according to Leslie Mark Stovall, lawyer for the alleged victim, Kathryn Mayorga. Ronaldo and Mayorga then reached an out-of-court agreement, according to Stovall as reported in the magazine.


Golf: Crushing foursomes sweep puts Europe 5-3 ahead

Europe produced a barnstorming Ryder Cup comeback as they swept the foursomes in devastating style to take an overnight 5-3 lead and leave the United States dazed and bewildered after they had won the fourballs 3-1.

It was the first time Europe had won all four foursomes matches - having suffered a 4-0 reverse in the format en route to defeat in Hazeltine two years ago - and their first sweep in either format since 1989.

But it was not just the points tally that will have sent European captain Thomas Bjorn off to dinner on a high, but the crushing nature of the victories as the home team's clean ball striking enabled them to deal much better with the strong wind that developed through the afternoon as many of the big-name Americans fell apart.