While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Aug 24

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky attends a news conference in Kyiv, ahead of his country's Aug 24 Independence Day. PHOTO: REUTERS

Ukraine girds for more violence on Independence Day

Ukrainians on Wednesday mark 31 years since they broke free from the Russia-dominated Soviet Union in what is certain to be a day of subdued, but defiant celebrations overshadowed by fears of new Russian missile attacks.

Ukraine’s Independence Day, which falls six months since Russia’s Feb 24 invasion, has this year taken on hallowed significance for Ukrainians determined not to fall back under Moscow’s yoke.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned late on Tuesday of the possibility of “repugnant Russian provocations” and “brutal strikes” by Moscow to cast a pall over what he said was an important day for all Ukrainians.

Officials have banned public gatherings in the capital Kyiv and imposed a hard curfew in the eastern city of Kharkiv, which has weathered months of shelling on the front lines. Many government officials have been ordered to work from home.


Twitter misled regulators on security, spam, says whistleblower

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Twitter misled federal regulators about its defences against hackers and spam accounts, the social media company's former security chief Peiter Zatko said in a whistleblower complaint.

In an 84-page complaint, Zatko, a famed hacker more widely known as "Mudge," alleged Twitter falsely claimed it had a solid security plan, according to documents relayed by congressional investigators.

The accusations come as the social media company battles Elon Musk in court after the world's richest person attempted to pull out of US$44 billion (S$60 billion) deal to buy the company, citing Twitter's failure to provide details about the prevalence of bot and spam accounts.


Jury finds two men guilty of plot to abduct Michigan governor

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A jury on Tuesday convicted two men accused of conspiring to trigger "a second American revolution" by kidnapping Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, handing the US government a victory in its second attempt to prosecute the case.

The verdict against Adam Fox, 39, and Barry Croft Jr, 46, comes about four months after a federal judge in Grand Rapids, Michigan, declared a mistrial in the same case. Two other defendants were found not guilty in the first trial.

The pair, who the government said were members of the Three Percenters militia group, were also found guilty of conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction - an explosive device that prosecutors say was intended to hinder law enforcement's response to the planned kidnapping. Croft was found guilty of an additional charge of possession of an explosive device.


'Christian mother' guides Italy's far-right to brink of power

As a youth activist she praised Mussolini, but as leader of the far-right Brothers of Italy, Giorgia Meloni has sought to detoxify her country's post-fascist movement - and has brought it to the brink of power.

Opinion polls put Italy's right-wing coalition on course to take office after Sept 25 elections, with Meloni's party on top, making her a strong candidate to be the country's first female prime minister.

Small in stature and with poker-straight blonde hair, the 45-year-old cuts a sharp contrast with the men who normally dominate Italian politics, and both she and her party play heavily on her personal brand.


Man charged with murder of boxing champ Fury's cousin

UK police on Tuesday charged a 21-year-old man with the murder of the cousin of boxing world champion Tyson Fury.

Liam O'Prey, a homeless man, will appear at the Manchester and Salford Magistrates' Court in north-west England on Wednesday, charged with the murder of Rico Burton, 31, Greater Manchester Police said.

Burton was stabbed to death outside a bar in Altrincham, Greater Manchester, in the early hours of Sunday.


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