While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, March 23

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrives for a Senate subcommittee hearing in Washington, on March 23, 2023. PHOTO: AFP

China watching world’s response to war in Ukraine

China is “very carefully” watching how Washington and the world respond to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but has not yet crossed the line of providing lethal aid to Moscow, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday.

Speaking on the heels of a visit to Moscow by Chinese President Xi Jinping, Mr Blinken told a Senate hearing that if Russia was allowed to attack its neighbour with impunity, it would “open a Pandora’s box” for would-be aggressors and lead to a “world of conflict.”

“The stakes in Ukraine go well beyond Ukraine... I think it has a profound impact in Asia, for example,” Mr Blinken said, noting that Japan and South Korea had been major supporters of Ukraine in the conflict.

However, he said he did not believe that China has been providing lethal aid to Moscow.


At least nine dead in Russian air strikes on two Ukrainian cities

Russian air strikes on Ukrainian cities on Wednesday killed at least nine people in attacks that President Volodymyr Zelensky said showed Moscow was not interested in peace.

In a series of early-morning drone strikes, at least eight people were killed and seven were injured when two dormitories and a college were hit in Rzhyshchiv, some 60km south of the capital Kyiv. One person was rescued from the site and four people were believed trapped under rubble.

Hours later, two residential buildings were damaged in a missile strike on the southeastern city of Zaporizhzhia. One person was killed and 33 taken to hospital, officials said.


US student on run after shooting two school staff

A student who shot two school staff and then fled was being hunted by police in Colorado on Wednesday, in the latest instance of gun violence to rock US education.

The suspect, named as 17-year-old Austin Lyle, was being patted down as part of a search for weapons when he produced a handgun and began shooting, said police in the western US state.

The men, school administrators, were rushed to hospital, where one was in a critical condition.


Hershey looking to ‘eradicate’ lead, cadmium from chocolate

Hershey is looking to reduce “trace” amounts of lead and cadmium in its chocolate, chief financial officer Steve Voskiul told Reuters on Wednesday, after Consumer Reports found that some dark chocolate bars had potentially harmful levels of the heavy metals.

Consumer Reports, a nonprofit consumer group, tested chocolate bars including those made by Hershey late last year and found that some of them contained possibly harmful levels of lead, cadmium or both for people who eat more than one ounce per day.

The trace amounts of the metals found in some chocolate are “below any recommended level, any standard,” Mr Voskuil said, adding that lead and cadmium are elements in soil and can naturally occur in the product.


Celebrities Lindsay Lohan, Jake Paul charged for touting crypto

Actress Lindsay Lohan, YouTuber Jake Paul and six other celebrities were charged by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for touting cryptocurrencies on social media without disclosing that they were paid to do so.

The charges come as part of a case targeting entrepreneur Justin Sun for marketing Tronix and BitTorrent crypto assets without registering with the relevant authorities, and for manipulating crypto trading on his platform.

The case is one of several from the enforcer of US rules on the financial markets that has stepped up its crackdown on cryptocurrencies since the spectacular collapse of industry leader FTX at the end of last year.


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