While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, June 9 edition

US President Obama says Russia's Putin on doomed drive to recreate Soviet glories

US President Barack Obama accused President Vladimir Putin of wrecking Russia's economy in a doomed drive to recreate the glories of the Soviet empire and G7 leaders said they could step up sanctions against Moscow if violence in Ukraine escalated.

At the conclusion of a Group of Seven summit in the Bavarian Alps, leaders expressed concern about an upsurge in fighting in eastern Ukraine, where Russian-backed separatists have clashed with Kiev's troops in violation of a ceasefire agreed in April.

The strongest rhetoric came from Obama, who told a news conference the Russian people were suffering severely because of Putin's policies.

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UN climate talks stall despite G7 push on carbon

Calls by the Group of Seven (G7) Monday to slash world carbon emissions did little to boost UN climate talks in Bonn, where frustration mounted over the snail-like progress.

Groups of countries pleaded for greater efforts to streamline a draft text for a climate pact due to be adopted at a conference in Paris in just over six months.

"We are very concerned about the pace of negotiations," said Amjad Abdulla of the Maldives, speaking for the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) which are deeply exposed to climate change. "We have not made the big jump forward that we need," he told a stock-taking session.

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NASA tests 'flying saucer' device for future Mars landings

 NASA launched a giant balloon Monday (June 8) carrying a kind of "flying saucer" that will test technologies for landing on Mars.

The aircraft is fitted with the largest parachute ever constructed.

After several days of weather-related delays, the helium balloon was launched from a military base in Hawaii and was to rise for about two hours.

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'Flying has never been safer,' says IATA air industry chief

Travelling by plane is safer than ever despite a series of headline-grabbing airline disasters in recent months, the head of a major global aviation group said Monday.

"With one jet hull loss for every 4.4 million flights last year, flying has never been safer," said Tony Tyler, International Air Transport Association (IATA) director general, told the group's 71st annual meeting.

"In contrast, paradoxically so, aviation safety has been a constant in recent headlines," added Tyler, describing the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight 370 in March 2014, the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight 17 over war-torn Ukraine in July last year and the deliberate crash by a co-pilot of a Germanwings flight into the French Alps in March as "extraordinary events".

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Football: FIFA needs 'painful' reform - IOC chief Thomas Bach

Olympic chief Thomas Bach said Monday that scandal-plagued FIFA needs "painful" but necessary reform.

The IOC president said the crisis at football's world governing body was bigger than the bribes-for-votes furore over the awarding of the 2002 Winter Games to Salt Lake City.

"We know from our experience that putting everything on the table can be painful but it's absolutely necessary. We've seen that in our past," he said at the International Olympic Committee's Lausanne headquarters.

"It's only by doing that that the IOC restored its credibility."

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