While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, June 12

EU chief Ursula von der Leyen (left) and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky make statements in Kyiv on June 11, 2022. PHOTO: AFP

EU chief promises signal on Ukraine’s bid next week

The European Commission will provide a clear signal next week on Ukraine’s EU candidate status bid, its chief Ursula von der Leyen said on Saturday, as fighting raged in the east and south of the country.

Making a surprise visit to Kyiv, von der Leyen said talks she held with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “will enable us to finalise our assessment by the end of next week” – the first time the bloc has publicly given a sense of timing.

Zelensky has been pressing for rapid admission into the European Union as a way of reducing Ukraine’s geopolitical vulnerability, which was brutally exposed by Russia’s Feb 24 invasion.

But officials and leaders in the bloc caution that, even with candidacy status, actual EU membership could take years or even decades.


Germany's Scholz to travel to Kyiv with Macron, Draghi

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will travel to Kyiv with his counterparts from France and Italy before the Group of Seven summit at the end of June, the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag reported on Saturday.

It cited French and Ukrainian government sources.

None of the three leaders has been to Kyiv since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in February.


Police say 'sorry' to woman who tackled Macron on rape claims

French police have apologised to a woman after allegedly seeking to "intimidate" her after she challenged President Emmanuel Macron on rape allegations made against ministers.

The woman, called Laura, had shouted at Macron during a visit to the southern Tarn region, asking why he had "put men at the head of state who are accused of rape and violence against women".

There have been separate rape accusations made against Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin and the new Solidarity Minister Damien Abad, which both have denied.


Protesters rally against gun violence in Washington, across US

Thousands of demonstrators descended on Washington and across the United States on Saturday, calling on lawmakers to pass legislation aimed at curbing gun violence following last month's massacre at a Texas elementary school.

March For Our Lives, the gun safety group founded by student survivors of the 2018 massacre at a Parkland, Florida, high school, said it has planned more than 450 rallies for Saturday, including in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

In Washington, 40,000 people assembled at the National Mall near the Washington Monument under light rain, organisers said.


US judge throws out rape suit against football star Ronaldo

A US district judge in Las Vegas has dismissed a rape lawsuit against football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, castigating the legal team behind the complaint.

Judge Jennifer Dorsey threw out the case brought by Kathryn Mayorga of Nevada, who alleged she was assaulted by the Portuguese soccer star in a Las Vegas hotel room in 2009.

In a 42-page ruling released on Friday, the judge accused Mayorga’s attorneys of “abuses and flagrant circumvention of the proper litigation process” and said that as a result.


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