While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, July 22

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US wants to build coalition to counter China's 'disgraceful' menace, Pompeo says

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday the United States wants to build a global coalition to counter China as he accused Beijing of exploiting the coronavirus pandemic to further its own interests.

US President Donald Trump identifies China as the United States' main rival, and has accused President Xi Jinping of taking advantage over trade and not telling the truth over the novel coronavirus outbreak, which Trump calls the "China plague".

Pompeo, on a visit to London, lauded Prime Minister Boris Johnson for ordering a purge of Huawei gear from its 5G mobile phone network, saying it was the right decision as data could have ended up in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.

The Secretary of State cast China as an aggressor, saying it had made illegal martime claims, bullied Himalayan countries, covered up the coronavirus outbreak and exploited it to further its own interests in a "disgraceful" way.


US accuses China nationals of hacking spree targeting Covid data, defence secrets

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The US Justice Department on Tuesday indicted two Chinese nationals over their role in what the agency called a decade-long cyber espionage campaign that targeted defense contractors, Covid-19 researchers and hundreds of other victims worldwide.

US authorities said Li Xiaoyu and Dong Jiazhi stole terabytes of weapons designs, drug information, software source code, and personal data from targets that included dissidents and Chinese opposition figures.

The cybercriminals were contractors for the Chinese government, rather than full-fledged spies, US officials said.


Americans should wear a mask when they cannot keep social distance, says Trump

President Donald Trump, in a shift in rhetoric on facial coverings, encouraged Americans on Tuesday to wear a mask if they cannot maintain social distance from people around them in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

In his first briefing focused on the pandemic in months, Trump told reporters at the White House that the virus will probably get worse before it gets better.

Trump has been reluctant to wear a mask himself in public.


Police free hostages from bus in Ukraine as standoff ends without casualties

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All 13 people taken hostage on a bus in western Ukraine by a man armed with guns and a grenade were freed on Tuesday evening after a standoff with police ended without casualties, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said.

Police have arrested the suspected hostage taker, whom the state security service (SBU) identified as 44-year-old Maksym Kryvosh. Avakov said Kryvosh had served time in prison and the SBU said had propagated "extremist views".

In a surreal twist to secure the hostages' release, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said he spoke to Kryvosh by phone and agreed to one of his demands, to promote the 2005 animal rights documentary Earthlings, narrated by Hollywood actor Joaquin Phoenix.


Football: Watford relegation fears mount after thrashing by Man City

When you are mired in a Premier League relegation battle the last team you want to face is Manchester City, especially if you are Watford whose worst fears were realised in a 4-0 thrashing at Vicarage Road on Tuesday that left them on the brink.

Inspired Raheem Sterling struck twice before halftime while Phil Foden and Aymeric Laporte scored after the break as City racked up a 13th straight win over Watford in all competitions.

The previous two meetings between City and Watford had resulted in an 8-0 home league win for Pep Guardiola's side in September and a 6-0 victory in last year's FA Cup final.


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