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US President Joe Biden smiles in Geneva ahead of a meeting with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.
US President Joe Biden smiles in Geneva ahead of a meeting with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Biden ‘ready’ for Putin after landing in Geneva

President Joe Biden landed on Tuesday in Geneva on the eve of his first summit with Vladimir Putin, a meeting the White House hopes will set clear “red lines” preventing the combustible US-Russia relationship from further deterioration.

“I’m always ready,” the US president told reporters with a smile, when asked if he was prepared for the tense encounter.

Biden and Putin will huddle for hours on Wednesday at an elegant lakeside villa in Geneva, a setting reminiscent of the Cold War summit between US president Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in the Swiss city in 1985.

Talks at La Grange villa are expected to start at around 1pm (7pm Singapore time) and last as long as five hours. Illustrating the frostiness of the session, the two leaders will not be sharing any kind of meal.


US tops 600,000 Covid deaths; New York, California drop curbs

The US death toll from Covid-19 surpassed 600,000 on Tuesday, although officials hailed progress towards a return to normality as its world-leading vaccination programme promised to turn the page on one of the worst health crises in American history.

The United States has racked up by far the largest national death toll - ahead of Brazil and India - after a heavily-criticised early response to the pandemic, but has since organised among the world's most effective immunisation drives.

Progress against the coronavirus was underlined as New York announced more than 70 per cent of adults had received at least one vaccine dose and the last of the state's restrictions could be lifted.


Spanish man jailed for 15 years for killing, eating mum

A Spanish court on Tuesday sentenced a man to 15 years and five months in prison after finding him guilty of strangling his mother and then eating her.

The court ruled Albert SG - dubbed the "cannibal of Ventas" after the district where the crime took place - was sane at the time of the events and will therefore serve his sentence in prison.

It jailed him for 15 years for homicide and five months for desecration of a corpse after he chopped up his mother's body and ate "her cadaver over at least 15 days", feeding some to his dog.


Activist lands on pitch before Germany-France match, fans injured

A Greenpeace activist crash-landed on the pitch in Munich on Tuesday before the Germany-France match at Euro 2020 after his powered parachute microlight struck spidercam cables at the Allianz Arena, with Uefa saying he had "injured several people".

The pilot flew over the pitch just before kick-off in the Group F clash with "Kick out oil" written on the canopy of his parachute.

However, when the pilot hit television cables above the pitch, it knocked his microlight off balance and he landed on the turf after clipping one of the stands. This is when Uefa said several people were injured and had to be hospitalised.


Gone Girl actress Lisa Banes dies 10 days after hit-and-run

US actress Lisa Banes, best known for her role in the movie Gone Girl, has died 10 days after a hit-and-run by a scooter or motorbike in New York, a police spokesman said on Tuesday.

The 65-year-old TV, Broadway and film actress was pronounced dead on Monday after suffering a head trauma in the accident in Manhattan, the New York Police Department spokesman told AFP.

Banes was struck as the two-wheeler ran a red light while she was "attempting to cross from west to east on West 64th street," the spokesman said. An investigation is under way but no arrests have been made, he added.