While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, March 8

White House national security spokesman John Kirby said the US seeks strategic competition with China, not conflict. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

White House says it sees no change in US-China relations

 The White House on Tuesday brushed off bellicose rhetoric from China that the United States risked a confrontation with Beijing, saying Washington was not seeking a conflict and saw no change in US-Chinese relations.

Mr John Kirby, the White House national security spokesman, responded to China’s foreign minister’s warning to Washington to change its “distorted” attitude or risk conflict.

“We seek a strategic competition with China. We do not seek conflict,” Mr Kirby told reporters.

“We aim to compete and we aim to win that competition with China but we absolutely want to keep it at that level.”


Erdogan rival vows to ‘end madness’ at election in May

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s newly anointed rival in May elections pledged on Tuesday to “end this madness” and turn Turkey into a peaceful nation in which its various communities get along.

Mr Kemal Kilicdaroglu emerged victorious on Monday from a bruising leadership battle between the heads of six parties united in the single goal of ending Mr Erdogan’s two-decade domination of his nation of 86 million people.

The bookish 74-year-old leader of the secular CHP party offers a study of contrasts to Mr Erdogan – a bombastic speaker and pious Muslim whose catchy charisma is offset by worries about his commitment to human rights.


More Ukrainian units claim raids on Russian soil

At a memorial service on Tuesday for four Ukrainians killed last year while carrying out a raid on Russian territory, ordinary soldiers rubbed shoulders with volunteer fighters of the Brotherhood Battalion to which those killed belonged.

The ceremony, at the historic gold-domed St Michael’s cathedral in central Kyiv, underlined the unclear relationship between irregular groups and Ukraine’s formal armed forces fighting against Russia.

The groups’ role in the war is the focus of increasing scrutiny, after several videos purporting to show cross-border sabotage raids into Russian territory have surfaced and the Kremlin has raised the alarm over the security threat.


Two Americans kidnapped by gunmen in Mexico found dead

Two of four Americans kidnapped by gunmen on Friday after they drove into north-east Mexico have been found dead, and the two survivors have returned to the United States, the local government said on Tuesday.

“Of the four, two of them have died, there’s one person injured, and the other person is alive,” Mr Americo Villarreal, governor of the border state of Tamaulipas where the four crossed into, said on a call with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, as the latter held a daily news conference.

Later, Tamaulipas’ Attorney-General Irving Barrios said on Twitter that the two surviving Americans had been handed over to US officials at the border with Texas.


Football: Chelsea reach Champions League q-finals

Chelsea kept their season alive by beating Borussia Dortmund 2-0 at Stamford Bridge to progress to the quarter-finals of the Champions League 2-1 on aggregate on Tuesday.

Raheem Sterling and Kai Havertz, with a twice-taken penalty, got the goals as the Blues relieved the pressure on manager Graham Potter.

The Englishman’s job was on the line after a season that has so far failed to deliver any return on a world-record injection of over £300 million (S$480 million) in one season on new signings.


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