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

Antony Blinken delivers remarks about priorities for the Biden administration, in Washington on March 3, 2021.
Antony Blinken delivers remarks about priorities for the Biden administration, in Washington on March 3, 2021.PHOTO: REUTERS

Blinken calls China biggest 'test,' vows US strength

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday that the United States was ready to confront China where need be, calling the Asian power the "biggest geopolitical test" of the century.

In his first major speech, Blinken vowed that President Joe Biden's administration will emphasise diplomacy over military action and build cooperation with the world on global challenges such as climate change and Covid-19.

"We will manage the biggest geopolitical test of the 21st century: our relationship with China," Blinken said at the State Department.

He promised to champion the rights of Hong Kong and the ethnic Uighurs, saying that if not, "China will act with even greater impunity."


Swedish police probe possible ‘terror motives’ in knife attack

Swedish police said they were investigating possible terror motives for a knife attack on Wednesday in which at least eight people were injured, and that the assailant has been arrested after being shot and wounded.

Some of the victims were in serious condition and the suspect, a man in his 20s, was hospitalised after his arrest, a police spokeswoman told a news conference.

The man was previously known to police for minor crimes, she said.


British royals ‘very concerned’ about reports Meghan bullied staff

Buckingham Palace said it was “very concerned” about reports in the Times newspaper on Wednesday that assistants working for Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, had been bullied by her.

The report comes days before the broadcast of an interview that Meghan and her husband Prince Harry have given to US chat show host Oprah Winfrey spelling out why they quit their official roles. Some commentators have suggested they may also criticise their treatment by the royal family.

Harry and Meghan issued a statement denying that she had bullied anyone.


Rare 15th century Chinese bowl found at US yard sale

How about this for bargain-hunting? A small bowl bought for US$35 in a yard sale in the US turned out to be a rare 15th century Chinese artifact possibly worth US$500,000 (S$660,000).

The porcelain bowl - with delicate floral motifs - was acquired by a buyer, whose identity is being kept secret, in the northeastern state of Connecticut.

The buyer had the item appraised by ceramics experts at Sotheby's, first by sending photos, then by taking it into the auction house for a closer look.


Purrfect rescue: Thai navy saves cats left on sinking ship

Thai navy sailors braved choppy waters to launch a dramatic rescue this week after discovering four cats had been abandoned on a sinking ship that caught fire off a paradise island.

After the crew had been taken to safety, the navy was sent to the site of the capsized vessel to check for an oil spill, but discovered a few crew members had been forgotten.

A sailor in a life vest swam out to the capsized boat, on which four ginger cats were huddled together on a wooden beam. The rescuer took the cats to his boat on his shoulder above the water level, with his team pulling him in by rope.