While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, June 24

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EU grants Ukraine candidate status in 'historic moment'

European leaders formally accepted Ukraine as a candidate to join the EU on Thursday, a bold geopolitical move triggered by Russia's invasion of Ukraine but a reminder that the 27-nation bloc will need a major overhaul as it looks to enlarge again.

Although it could take Ukraine and neighbouring Moldova more than a decade to qualify for membership, the decision at a two-day EU summit is symbolic step that signals the bloc's intention to reach deep into the former Soviet Union.

"A historic moment," European Council chief Charles Michel tweeted. "Today marks a crucial step on your path towards the EU," he said, adding: "Our future is together."

The move, which also sees Moldova being granted candidate status, kick-starts the EU's most ambitious expansion since it welcomed Eastern European states after the Cold War.


US sending Ukraine US$450 million more in arms

The United States will provide an additional US$450 million (S$625 million) in security assistance to Ukraine, including more long-range rocket systems, US officials said on Thursday.

Moscow’s forces are advancing in Ukraine’s east in a bid to capture the industrial heartland known as the Donbas, where Ukraine fears some of its troops could be encircled in a Russian pincer move.

In a statement, the Pentagon said the package would be valued at up to US$450 million and include four additional High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), 18 coastal and riverine patrol boats and thousands of rounds of ammunition.


World's largest bacteria discovered in Guadeloupe

You can see it with the naked eye and pick it up with a pair of tweezers - not bad for a single bacteria.

Scientists say they have discovered the world's largest variety in the mangroves of Guadeloupe - and it puts its peers to shame.

At up to 2cm in length, "Thiomargarita magnifica" is not only around 5,000 times bigger than most bacteria - it boasts a more complex structure, according to a study published in the journal Science on Thursday.


Forever young: Many cold-blooded creatures don't age

Scientists have discovered the secret to eternal youth: be born a turtle.

Two studies published in the journal Science on Thursday revealed scant evidence of ageing among certain cold-blooded species, challenging a theory of evolution which holds that senescence, or gradual physical deterioration over time, is an inescapable fate.

Although there have been eye-catching individual reports - such as that of Jonathan the Seychelles tortoise who turns 190 this year - these were considered anecdotal and the issue had not been studied systematically, Penn State wildlife ecologist David Miller, a senior author of one of the papers, told AFP.


Pink Floyd seeking US$500 million for music catalogue

Members of the rock band Pink Floyd are seeking at least US$500 million (S$700 million) in a deal for their music catalogue, according to people familiar with the talks, which would be one of the largest sales in music history.

The group known for hits such as Money and Comfortably Numb is selling its recording and songwriting catalogue, as well as the power to create merchandise based on the band, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are confidential.

The British rock band released some of the most popular records ever, including Dark Side Of The Moon and The Wall, two albums that defined music in the 1970s.


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