While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, July 8

US Senators Richard Blumenthal (left) and Lindsey Graham (right) meet Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky, in Kyiv. PHOTO: REUTERS

Senators promote Russia 'state sponsor of terror' Bill in Kyiv

Two US senators seeking to pass a law designating Russia as a "state sponsor of terrorism" visited Ukraine's capital on Thursday to discuss the Bill with President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Republican Lindsey Graham told Reuters in a joint interview with Democrat Richard Blumenthal that the Bill would put Russia in "the category of Iran, Syria and North Korea."

Graham said he believed it could get near-unanimous support in the US Senate.

Zelensky thanked the senators for their work and emphasised the importance of bipartisan US support.


Putin says Russia just starting in Ukraine

President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that Russia had barely got started in Ukraine and dared the West to try to defeat it on the battlefield, while insisting that Moscow was still open to the idea of peace talks.

In a hawkish speech to parliamentary leaders more than four months into the war, Putin said the prospects for any negotiation would grow dimmer the longer the conflict dragged on.

“Today we hear that they want to defeat us on the battlefield. What can you say, let them try,” he said.


Brussels hopeful yet wary on EU-UK ties after Boris Johnson exit

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After years of tense relations with Britain, the EU was on Thursday seeing hope of improved ties following the resignation of Brexit champion Boris Johnson, though wariness lingered.

While the European Commission publicly dodged commenting about the political upheaval in the UK, others in Brussels' orbit let loose.

"The departure of Boris Johnson opens a new page in relations with Britain," Michel Barnier, the former top EU negotiator for Brexit, tweeted.


Injured Nadal pulls out of Wimbledon, sends Kyrgios into final

Rafa Nadal’s hopes of completing a rare calendar year Grand Slam ended on Thursday when the Spaniard pulled out of his highly-anticipated Wimbledon semi-final showdown against Australian Nick Kyrgios with an abdominal strain.

Nadal won the Australian and French Opens back-to-back this year for the first time in his career and was bidding to become the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to complete the calendar-year slam.

“Unfortunately, I have to pull out from the tournament,” the dejected Spaniard told reporters at a hastily arranged news conference, less than 24 hours before his semi-final.


Oscar-nominated Godfather actor James Caan dies at 82

American actor James Caan, who starred as gangster Sonny Corleone in epic mafia film The Godfather, has died at age 82, his family said in a statement on Thursday.

The statement, posted on Caan’s official Twitter account, said the actor died on Wednesday evening. No cause of death or location were provided.

Al Pacino, who played Sonny Corleone’s brother Michael in The Godfather, praised Caan as “a great actor, a brilliant director and my dear friend.”


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