While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, July 30

US President Joe Biden speaking at the White House in Washington, on July 29, 2021.
US President Joe Biden speaking at the White House in Washington, on July 29, 2021.PHOTO: REUTERS

Biden nominates philanthropist, entrepreneur as S'pore ambassador

US President Joe Biden has nominated entrepreneur and broadband Internet philanthropist Jonathan Eric Kaplan as ambassador to Singapore.

Mr Kaplan, who is in his early 50s, will have to go through confirmation hearings in the Senate.

Mr Kaplan does not have a foreign policy background. A serial, eclectic and successful entrepreneur (the 2010 Ernst & Young Northern California Entrepreneur of the Year), he is currently chairman of Education Superhighway, a non-profit that works to bring broadband Internet to public school classrooms.

He is described in the White House biographical details distributed with the nomination announcement, as as entrepreneur and innovator, most recently chairman and chief executive officer of FishSix Restaurant Corporation.


US charges founder of electric vehicle company Nikola with fraud

US officials on Thursday charged Nikola founder and former executive chairman Trevor Milton with "brazenly" defrauding investors through a litany of false claims about the company's electric vehicles.

"In order to drive investor demand for Nikola's stock, Milton lied about nearly every aspect of the business," said US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Audrey Strauss at a news conference held after her office released a 49-page indictment of Milton on three counts of fraud.

Milton, who resigned from Nikola in September of last year, allegedly claimed that the company had built a "full-functioning" semi-truck prototype when Milton "knew that the prototype was inoperable," according to the indictment.


Covid-19 masks debate erupts weeks before classes resume in US

In pandemic-pummelled Florida, angry parents have clashed with Broward County school board members over whether their children will be forced to wear masks in class. In South Carolina, school officials reminded parents that state lawmakers have barred mask mandates.

In states such as North Carolina and Alabama, some public school districts announced they will require face coverings for students even as neighbouring counties told parents masks will remain optional.

The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention's decision to reverse course and recommend that all students and staff wear masks in school regardless of vaccination status has caused fresh confusion and frustration among parents, educators and officials just weeks before many states start the new school year with in-person learning.


China's Chen hits back at critics after winning Tokyo table tennis gold

China's Chen Meng hopes this will be the start of "my own era" after she defeated compatriot Sun Yingsha to win the women's singles table tennis title at the Tokyo Olympics on Thursday.

In a battle between the top two seeds and team-mates, Chen lost the first game before prevailing 9-11, 11-6, 11-4, 5-11, 11-4, 11-9 to grab her first Games gold.

Chen said that gold was an emphatic riposte to those who had doubted her - at 27, she is the oldest woman to win the women's singles crown.


Scarlett Johansson sues Disney over Black Widow streaming release

Scarlett Johansson, star of the Marvel superhero movie Black Widow, sued the Walt Disney company on Thursday, alleging that it breached her contract when it released the movie on streaming at the same time it debuted in theatres.

The dual release strategy reduced Johansson's compensation, according to the complaint filed in Los Angeles Superior Court - a claim which Disney said had "no merit".

Black Widow was released on July 9 in theatres and for a US$30 (S$40) charge on the Disney+ streaming service.