While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, June 11

US President Joe Biden speaks about the economy and inflation from the deck of the USS Iowa, in Los Angeles, on June 10, 2022. PHOTO: AFP

US inflation skyrockets, piling pressure on Biden

US inflation surged to a new four-decade high in May, defying hopes that price pressures had peaked and deepening President Joe Biden's political troubles as Americans struggle to meet the cost of essentials like food and gas.

Government data released on Friday put inflation at 8.6 per cent, extending increases not seen for a generation, with gas prices hitting daily records fuelled by Russia's invasion of Ukraine and supply chain challenges related to the pandemic.

Biden, whose popularity has taken a hit as prices surge, has made fighting inflation his top domestic priority, but is finding he has few tools to directly impact prices.

Reacting to the latest inflation figure, he blamed "Putin's Price Hike" for most of the increases, saying in a statement: "We must do more - and quickly - to get prices down here in the United States."

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Ukraine hits Russian targets, France offers Odesa help

Ukraine tried to push back Russian troops in the east and south on Friday as France offered to help ensure access to the port of Odesa and ease a global grain crisis.

The United Nations and Western countries, meanwhile, raised fresh concerns over death sentences handed by pro-Russian separatists to two Britons and a Moroccan who were captured while fighting for Ukraine.

Kyiv said on Friday it had launched new air strikes on Russian positions in the captured southern region of Kherson, one of the first areas to be taken by Russia after the Feb 24 invasion.

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Apparent human remains found where reporter vanished

Brazilian search teams have found "apparently human" remains in the river where a British journalist was last seen in the Amazon rainforest, police said on Friday, in what may be the biggest break yet for the five-day investigation.

The "organic material" is being sent for forensic analysis, federal police said, along with blood found on a suspect's boat that will be compared with genetic material from journalist Dom Phillips and travel companion, indigenous expert Bruno Pereira.

A Brazilian judge had ordered the suspect, a fisherman charged with illegal possession of restricted ammunition, to be held for another 30 days while police investigate whether he is involved, according to a lawyer for a local indigenous group.

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Pope cancels Africa trip, raising mobility concerns

Pope Francis' trip to Africa next month has been cancelled because of the 85-year-old pontiff's knee ailment, the Vatican said on Friday, raising questions about his ability to walk during the rest of his papacy.

The decision to scrap the July 2-7 trip to Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan was taken "with regret" at request of the pope's doctors, who have been treating him for a torn ligament in his knee.

He has been using a wheelchair for the last month, although he has kept up his activity, including a meeting on Friday with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

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Golf: Big-hitting DeChambeau joins LIV Series

Former US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau has become the latest big name American to join the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational series, organisers confirmed on Friday.

The big-hitting American, one of the biggest draws on the PGA Tour, joins the likes of six-time major winner Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson to get on board with LIV Golf.

“Bryson DeChambeau is an exciting addition to LIV Golf’s supercharged style of play,” LIV Golf chief executive officer Greg Norman said.

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