While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, June 7

British PM Boris Johnson won the vote 211 to 148. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

British PM Boris Johnson wins party's confidence vote but suffers big rebellion

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson survived a confidence vote on Monday but a rebellion by 148 of his 359 Conservative Party lawmakers dealt a serious blow to his authority.

A majority of the Conservatives’ lawmakers – at least 180 - would have had to vote against Johnson for him to be removed.

The result means Johnson secured the backing of 59 per cent of his lawmakers, lower than the support given to his predecessor Theresa May in a confidence vote she faced in 2018.

Having scored a sweeping election victory in 2019, the prime minister has been under mounting pressure after he and staff held alcohol-fuelled parties in his Downing Street office and residence when Britain was under strict Covid-19 lockdowns.


New York governor signs new curbs on guns in wake of mass shootings

New York Governor Kathy Hochul on Monday signed a packet of 10 gun control Bills into law, setting new limits on buying assault-style weapons and body armour, among other measures, in the wake of mass shootings in Buffalo and Texas.

The legislation, passed on Thursday by the state legislature, raises the age required to buy or possess a semiautomatic rifle from 18 to 21.

New York already requires people to be 21 to possess a handgun.


Top Chinese blogger Li Jiaqi goes silent after showing 'tank cake' before Tiananmen anniversary

One of China's top bloggers has gone silent after live-streaming footage of a cake apparently shaped like a tank just before the anniversary of the Tiananmen crackdown, prompting debate over the highly sensitive event among tens of millions of young fans.

Discussion of the crackdown on June 4, 1989, when China set troops and tanks on peaceful protesters, is all but forbidden on the mainland.

Li Jiaqi, a household name in China whose shows regularly draw millions of viewers, had his broadcast abruptly cut on Friday, when he appeared to present an ice cream cake with chocolate decorations that looked like a tank, just hours before the anniversary began.


India says new social media laws in response to rights violations

India on Monday reissued new rules on social media companies that it proposed then abruptly withdrew last week, making no changes but explaining that the law was needed because the companies had violated Indians' constitutional rights.

The country last week released a draft of changes to its IT law that would require companies to "respect the rights accorded to the citizens under the constitution of India" and setting up a government panel to hear appeals of the companies' content moderation decisions.

The government released the draft again on Monday without changes and solicited public comments within 30 days. But New Delhi for the first time explained its reasoning.


Pfizer to spend $165m to boost Covid-19 antiviral pill production amid soaring demand

Pfizer said on Monday it would spend US$120 million (S$165 million) to expand manufacturing of its Covid-19 antiviral treatment at its Michigan plant, as demand ramps up.

Use of the pill, Paxlovid, authorised to treat newly infected, at-risk people to prevent severe illness, has soared recently as infections rise.

Biden administration officials have pushed for the wider use of Paxlovid, which the government distributes for free.


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