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

US President Joe Biden delivers remarks on gun crime during an event in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, on Aug 30, 2022. PHOTO: REUTERS

Biden demands action on gun violence as US campaign ramps up

US President Joe Biden vowed to ban assault weapons and fund police officers in a speech marking the first of three visits over a week to the political battleground of Pennsylvania ahead of November’s congressional elections.

Biden has called on Congress for US$37 billion for crime prevention programs and providing some of that money to police to reduce gun crime, which has surged in the United States.

The Democratic president also criticised Republican lawmakers who have opposed his plans to fund law enforcement and cut gun violence.

“I’m determined to ban assault weapons in this country - determined,” Biden said. “We have to act for all those kids gunned down on our streets every single day that never make the news.”


Pfizer's Paxlovid cuts Covid-19 deaths among older people: Israeli study

Paxlovid, the Covid-19 treatment made by Pfizer, reduced hospitalisations and deaths in older patients during the Omicron surge in Israel earlier this year, but made no difference for patients younger than 65 at high risk for severe disease, new research has found.

The study is one of the first published examinations of the real-life effectiveness of Paxlovid against the Omicron variant, now the dominant version of the coronavirus.

Pfizer's trials of Paxlovid were conducted during a surge of the Delta variant last year, and included only unvaccinated individuals.


Mikhail Gorbachev, Soviet leader who ended Cold War, dies aged 91

Mikhail Gorbachev, who ended the Cold War without bloodshed but failed to prevent the collapse of the Soviet Union, died on Tuesday at the age of 91, Russian news agencies cited hospital officials as saying.

Gorbachev, the last Soviet president, forged arms reduction deals with the United States and partnerships with Western powers to remove the Iron Curtain that had divided Europe since World War II and bring about the reunification of Germany.

When pro-democracy protests swept across the Soviet bloc nations of communist Eastern Europe in 1989, he refrained from using force - unlike previous Kremlin leaders who had sent tanks to crush uprisings in Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968.


Trump's Truth Social app not approved on Google Play Store

Former US President Donald Trump's social media platform Truth Social has not yet been approved for distribution on Alphabet's Google Play Store due to insufficient content moderation, according to a Google spokesperson on Tuesday.

The delay marks a setback for the app, which launched in the Apple App Store on Feb 21. 

Android phones comprise about 40 per cent of the US smartphone market. Without the Google and Apple stores, there is no easy way for most smartphone users to download Truth Social.


Washington Post weighs cutting 100 newsroom jobs: Report

The Washington Post, the newspaper owned by billionaire Jeff Bezos, is weighing cutting a hundred newsroom positions and is on track to lose money this year, the New York Times reported on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter.

The cuts, if they happen, could come as hiring freezes for open jobs or other ways, according the report, which said chief executive Fred Ryan had brought up the idea with newsroom leaders in recent weeks.

Digital ad revenue generated by the Post fell to roughly US$70 million (S$98 million) during the first half of the year, down 15 per cent from the half of 2021, the Times reported, citing an internal financial document it had reviewed.


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