While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Feb 1

Russia detains more than 5,000 at protests backing jailed Kremlin critic Navalny

Riot police broke up protests across Russia on Sunday in support of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, detaining more than 5,000 people who had braved the bitter cold and the threat of prosecution to demand he be set free.

In a massive show of force, police imposed a sweeping security lockdown in the heart of Moscow, sealing off streets to pedestrians near the Kremlin, closing metro stations and deploying hundreds of riot police as snow fell.

At one point, a column of protesters marched towards the prison in northern Moscow where Navalny is being held, chanting “Let him go!”.

In another scene, people in a crowd raised their hands above their heads in front of a row of riot police and chanted “we’re not your enemies”.


US Republicans grapple with internal divisions as Trump’s impeachment trial looms

US congressional Republicans face a week of reckoning ahead of Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial as the former president contends with a Tuesday (Feb 2) deadline to respond to the charges and his party mulls whether to depose Liz Cheney as one of its House of Representatives leaders for backing impeachment.

House Republican Adam Kinzinger, who also voted to impeach, on Sunday announced a new political action committee called the Country First PAC, intended to challenge Trump’s ongoing grip on the party.

Speaking on NBC’s Meet the Press, Kinzinger said his party had “lost its moral authority in a lot of areas” and under Trump had pedalled “darkness and division.”


AstraZeneca to increase EU vaccine deliveries by 30%: Von der Leyen

AstraZeneca will deliver 30 per cent more coronavirus vaccine doses to the European Union than it pledged last week, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said on Sunday.

The company will send 9 million additional doses and “will start deliveries one week earlier than scheduled”, Von der Leyen said in a tweet after days of tensions over production delays.

An EU source said that the first deliveries would start in the second week of February.


Britain’s Captain Tom Moore hospitalised after testing positive for Covid-19

British centenarian Captain Tom Moore, who raised millions of pounds for the health service by walking laps of his garden in last year’s lockdown, has been admitted to hospital after testing positive for coronavirus, his daughter said on Sunday.

The World War II veteran caught the public’s imagination in April with his laps in the run-up to his 100th birthday during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, raising more than 30 million pounds for Britain’s National Health Service.

He broke two Guinness world records and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth, but he has not rested on his laurels. He scored a No. 1 single, wrote an autobiography and is helping to set up a charity.


Skyscrapers lose lustre for Japanese companies during Covid-19 pandemic

Japan’s decades-long love affair with status-symbol office towers is now fading, as the pandemic upends work styles and puts a strain on company finances.

Companies around the world are paring office space as workers stay at home during the pandemic, giving firms an opportunity to save costs and raise cash.

In Tokyo, office vacancies have surged to a five-year high and may continue to climb as the government urges people to work remotely to curtail the latest wave of coronavirus cases.


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