While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, June 4

The US will donate nearly 19 million doses of its Covid-19 vaccine through the Covax facility. PHOTO: AFP

Biden lays out plan to share 25 million Covid-19 vaccine doses with the world

The White House on Thursday laid out a plan for the United States to share 25 million surplus Covid-19 vaccine doses with the world and said it would lift some restrictions to allow other countries to buy US-made supplies for vaccine production more easily.

US President Joe Biden said the US would share the vaccines without expectation of political favours in return.

Mr Biden has pledged to share some 80 million Covid-19 vaccines internationally this month.

The US will donate nearly 19 million doses through the Covax international vaccine sharing programme, he said in a statement.


Biden signs order banning investment in dozens of Chinese defence and tech firms

United States President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Thursday that bans US entities from investing in dozens of Chinese companies with alleged ties to defence or surveillance technology sectors, a move his administration says expands the scope of a legally flawed Trump-era order.

The Treasury Department will enforce and update on a "rolling basis" the new ban list of about 59 companies, which bars buying or selling publicly traded securities in target companies, and replaces an earlier list from the Department of Defence, senior administration officials told reporters.

The order prevents US investment from supporting the Chinese military-industrial complex, as well as military, intelligence, and security research and development programmes, Mr Biden said in the order.


Battling for political life, Netanyahu attacks deal to unseat him

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday scorned as "dangerous" and "left-wing" a cross-partisan coalition cobbled together by his rivals to unseat him, even as the nationalist named to lead it echoed his hard line on the Palestinians.

Mr Netanyahu, facing the prospect of an end to his 12-year run as premier, mounted the social media attack the day after centrist opposition leader Yair Lapid's announcement, about 35 minutes before a Wednesday night deadline, that he had succeeded in forming a governing coalition.

Under the deal, nationalist Naftali Bennett, 49, a former defence minister and a high-tech millionaire, would become prime minister and hand over the post to Mr Lapid, 57, a former TV host and finance minister, in about two years.


US to give ransomware hacks similar priority as terrorism, official says

The United States Department of Justice is elevating investigations of ransomware attacks to a similar priority as terrorism in the wake of the Colonial Pipeline hack and mounting damage caused by cyber criminals, a senior department official told Reuters.

Internal guidance sent on Thursday to US attorney's offices across the country said information about ransomware investigations in the field should be centrally coordinated with a recently created task force in Washington.

"It's a specialised process to ensure we track all ransomware cases regardless of where it may be referred in this country, so you can make the connections between actors and work your way up to disrupt the whole chain," said Mr John Carlin, principle associate deputy attorney general at the Justice Department.


World's biggest Harry Potter store opens in New York

Wearing Hogwarts robes and witches' hats, hundreds of Potterheads sipped Butterbeer and posed for photos in Hagrid's giant shoes as New York's long-awaited Harry Potter store, the biggest in the world, opened on Thursday.

Fans of the boy wizard queued for hours in heavy rain to be among the first inside the three-storey shop in Lower Manhattan that hosts the largest collection of Potter products anywhere.

"It's really magical," said Ms Margaret Suarez, whose boyfriend arrived at 6am (7pm Singapore time) to hold a spot in line four hours ahead of opening.


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