While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Feb 3

A photo from July 24, 2015, shows US servicemen taking part in a military drill in Lviv district, Ukraine. PHOTO: AFP

3,000 US troops off to Eastern Europe to counter Russia

The United States will send nearly 3,000 extra troops to Poland and Romania to reinforce Eastern European Nato allies in the face of what Washington describes as a Russian threat to invade Ukraine, US officials said on Wednesday.

Russia, for its part, signalled it was in no mood for compromise by mocking Britain, calling Prime Minister Boris Johnson “utterly confused” and ridiculing what it said was the “stupidity and ignorance” of British politicians.

Moscow has massed more than 100,000 troops near Ukraine’s borders. It denies any plan to invade its neighbour but says it could take unspecified military measures if its demands are not met, including a promise by Nato never to admit Kyiv.

The objective, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said, was to send a “strong signal” to President Vladimir Putin “and frankly, to the world, that Nato matters to the United States and it matters to our allies”.


US Army begins discharging soldiers who refuse vaccine

US soldiers who refuse to get a Covid-19 vaccine will be immediately discharged, the US Army said on Wednesday, saying the move was critical to maintain combat readiness.

The army's order applies to regular army soldiers, active-duty army reservists and cadets unless they have approved or pending exemptions, it said in a statement.

The discharge order is the latest from a US military branch removing unvaccinated service members amid the pandemic after the Pentagon made the vaccine mandatory for all service members in August 2021.


Ex-boxing champ Klitschko enlists in Ukraine's reserve army

Former heavyweight boxing champion Wladimir Klitschko enlisted in Ukraine's reserve army in Kyiv on Wednesday, saying that love for his country compelled him to defend it.

Ukraine has been bracing for a possible military offensive after Russia assembled tens of thousands of troops near Ukraine's borders in recent weeks, though Moscow says it has no plans to invade.

Both Wladimir and his brother Vitali Klitschko, the Mayor of Kyiv and also a former heavyweight boxing champion, were present during the opening of a Territorial Defence Forces recruitment centre in the capital.


Rotterdam to dismantle historic bridge for Jeff Bezos' superyacht

The Dutch port city of Rotterdam said on Wednesday it would temporarily dismantle a historic bridge to allow a superyacht built for Amazon founder Jeff Bezos to pass.

Bezos' gigantic, €430 million (S$650 million) yacht is too big for the iconic Koningshaven Bridge, which dates from 1878 and was rebuilt after being bombed by the Nazis in 1940 during World War II.

The shipyard building the three-masted mammoth in Alblasserdam, near Rotterdam, has asked the local council to remove the bridge's central section so it can pass through.


Roger Federer will know what future holds by 'April-May'

Roger Federer believes he will know by "April-May" whether or not he will be able to return to tennis.

The 40-year-old winner of 20 Grand Slam titles has not played since a Wimbledon quarter-final exit at the hands of Poland's Hubert Hurkacz in July last year before having to undergo knee surgery.

"I want to come back strong and give it everything that I have," the Swiss star said on Wednesday.


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