While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, July 13 edition

This file photo taken on November 7, 2016 shows Donald Trump, Jr., (left) as he places a hand on the shoulder of his father, former Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
This file photo taken on November 7, 2016 shows Donald Trump, Jr., (left) as he places a hand on the shoulder of his father, former Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.PHOTO: AFP

Trump says he was unaware of son's meeting with Russian lawyer

US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday (July 12) he was unaware of his son Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting last year with a Russian lawyer at the heart of a White House controversy, telling Reuters he only learned of it a couple of days ago.

Asked if he knew that his son was meeting with the Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya in June last year, Trump said in a White House interview: "No, that I didn't know until a couple of days ago when I heard about this." Trump Jr. eagerly agreed to meet the woman he was told was a Russian government lawyer who might have damaging information about Democratic rival Hillary Clinton as part of Moscow's official support for his father's presidential election campaign, according to emails the son released on Tuesday.

In the interview, Trump said he did not fault his son for holding the meeting. "I think many people would have held that meeting," the president said.


China dissident Liu's condition critical, breathing failing, hospital says

Chinese Nobel Peace Prize-winning dissident Liu Xiaobo is in critical condition and his breathing is failing, the hospital treating him said on Wednesday (July 12).

Liu, a prominent participant in the Tiananmen pro-democracy protests of 1989, was jailed for 11 years in 2009 for "inciting subversion of state power" after helping to write a petition known as "Charter 08" calling for sweeping political reforms.

He was recently moved from jail to a hospital to be treated for late-stage liver cancer.


Former Brazilian President Lula found guilty of corruption

Former Brazilian leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who rose from childhood poverty to become a two-term president, was convicted on corruption charges on Wednesday (July 12) in the first of five graft trials he faces.

He was sentenced to nine and a half years in prison. He will remain free on appeal.

The ruling marked a stunning fall for Lula, Brazil’s first working-class president who left office six years ago with an 83-per cent approval rating. The former union leader won global admiration for transformative social policies that helped reduce stinging inequality in Latin America’s biggest country.


Indonesian rights activists protest crackdown on hardline Islamists

Civil organisations in Indonesia on Wednesday (July 12) decried a move by the government to disband certain groups deemed to be in conflict with state's secular ideology.

The protests came after President Joko Widodo signed a decree on Monday widely believed to be aimed at containing the rise of hardline Islamist groups that call for sharia law in the world's largest Muslim-majority country.

Islamist groups were instrumental in the downfall earlier this year of Jakarta's former governor, a Christian who was accused and subsequently jailed for insulting Islam.


Tennis: Federer eyes title as Murray, Djokovic exit Wimbledon

Roger Federer moved into a 12th Wimbledon semi-final and within touching distance of a record eighth title Wednesday (July 12) as injury-hit Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic crashed out on a dramatic day at the All England Club.

Swiss maestro Federer eased to a 6-4, 6-2, 7-6 (7/4) win over Milos Raonic to become the second oldest Wimbledon semi-finalist of the Open era.

However, defending champion Murray, severely restricted by a right hip injury, was dethroned by Sam Querrey 3-6, 6-4, 6-7 (4/7), 6-1, 6-1.