While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, June 27

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Fauci pleads with American public to take coronavirus more seriously

US Vice-President Mike Pence tried to paint a reassuring picture of the battle against Covid-19 on Friday, citing "truly remarkable progress," even as the country's leading infectious disease doctor pleaded for Americans to take the outbreak more seriously.

The Trump administration's Coronavirus Task Force's first briefing in two months displayed competing visions of the nation's progress.

While Pence largely offered a positive twist, Dr Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, outlined troublesome signs for the future.

Fauci said health officials on the federal and state level have offered specific guidance to follow. But the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said in many instances, "the citizenry did not feel" they wanted to do that.


Coronavirus traces found in March 2019 sewage sample, Spanish study shows

Spanish virologists have found traces of the novel coronavirus in a sample of Barcelona waste water collected in March 2019, nine months before the Covid-19 disease was identified in China, the University of Barcelona said on Friday (June 26).

The discovery of virus genome presence so early in Spain, if confirmed, would imply the disease may have appeared much earlier than the scientific community thought.

The University of Barcelona team, who had been testing waste water since mid-April this year to identify potential new outbreaks, decided to also run tests on older samples.


Knifeman stabs six in Glasgow before being shot by police

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A man stabbed six people including a policeman in the Scottish city of Glasgow on Friday before he was shot dead by police.

An eyewitness told Sky News she had seen several people covered in blood being treated by emergency services after the incident at a city centre hotel.

Police said they were not treating the incident as terrorism.


Planets around nearby star are intriguing candidates for extraterrestrial life

Up to three planets - potentially rocky like Earth - have been spotted around a star located relatively near our solar system - a planetary system offering astronomers intriguing possibilities in the search for signs of extraterrestrial life.

The planets orbit Gliese 887, a so-called red dwarf star half the sun's mass located 11 light years from Earth - right in our backyard in cosmic terms, researchers said on Friday (June 26). A light year is the distance light travels in a year, 9.5 trillion km.

Only 12 other stars are closer to our solar system.


Release of big summer film Tenet pushed back again

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The release of the latest, super-secret movie by director Christopher Nolan - touted as the summer hit that would bring audiences back to theatres after months of coronavirus lockdowns - has been delayed again, until mid-August.

Tenet, a thriller about an agency trying to ward off World War III, will now open on Aug 12, Warner Bros said on Friday, after scrapping July 17 and then July 31 for its debut.

The studio said in a statement that it will only release the movie "when exhibitors are ready and public health officials say it's time."


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