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

SpaceX lifts off on historic private crewed flight to ISS

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying two veteran Nasa astronauts lifted off for the International Space Station (ISS) on Saturday, the first crewed space flight from US soil in nine years and the first ever by a commercial company.

The two-stage rocket with astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley aboard blasted off smoothly in a cloud of orange flames and smoke from Launch Pad 39A at Florida’s Kennedy Space Centre for a historic flight to the orbiting ISS.

“Let’s light this candle,” Hurley said, right before liftoff.

The reusable first booster stage of the SpaceX rocket separated cleanly about two and a half minutes after liftoff and landed upright on a floating barge off the Atlantic coast.


More than six million coronavirus cases confirmed worldwide: AFP tally

More than six million cases of the novel coronavirus have been officially recorded worldwide, two thirds of them in Europe and the United states, according to an AFP tally on Saturday.

As of 2015 GMT (4.15am on Sunday, Singapore time), there were at least 6,000,867 cases of coronavirus recorded and 366,848 deaths.

Europe remains the continent hardest hit by the pandemic, with 2,135,170 cases and 177,595 deaths.


England risks Covid-19 resurgence by ending lockdown too soon, advisers say

England risks losing control of the coronavirus pandemic again and is at a “very dangerous moment” as it starts to ease out of the Covid-19 lockdown, senior scientific and medical advisers warned on Saturday.

One of the slowest countries to lock down, Britain is now one of the worst-hit and is just starting to take tentative steps to reopen parts of the economy, aided by a newly launched track and trace system that is designed to suppress outbreaks.

From Monday, up to six people will be able to meet outside their homes in England, some school classes will restart and elite competitive sport can resume without fans.


Israeli police kill a Palestinian they mistakenly thought was armed

Israeli police in annexed east Jerusalem on Saturday shot dead a disabled Palestinian they mistakenly thought was armed with a pistol, prompting furious condemnation from the Palestinians.

The incident happened in the alleys of the walled Old City near Lions’ Gate, an access point mainly used by Palestinians.

“Police units on patrol there spotted a suspect with a suspicious object that looked like a pistol,” an Israeli police statement said.


Tennis: Osaka adds powerful voice to protests over police brutality in US

Two-time Grand Slam tennis champion Naomi Osaka joined the chorus of athletes condemning the death of an unarmed black man at the hands of Minneapolis police, posting pictures of protests from the Minnesota city on her Instagram account.

“Just because it isn’t happening to you, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening at all,” wrote Osaka, whose mother is Japanese and whose father is Haitian.

“It’s funny to me that the people who wanna wear chains, blast hip hop in the gym, attempt to get dapped up, and talk in slang are suddenly quiet right now,” added Osaka, the former world number one who was this week touted by Forbes magazine as the highest-paid female athlete in the world with earnings of US$37.4 million (S$52.8 million).


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