While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, May 17

Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson at a parliamentary debate on Sweden's application for Nato membership on May 16, 2022. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Sweden’s plans for Nato membership hit snag as Turkey says no

Sweden will formally apply for Nato membership in the next few days, Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said on Monday, but its accession process, and that of Finland, hit a snag when Nato member Turkey’s president said he would not approve either bid.

Sweden and Finland need each of Nato’s 30 members to approve their applications.

The ratification process had been expected to take up to a year, though Turkey’s objections have thrown that into doubt.

At a news conference, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said Sweden and Finland should not bother sending delegations to Ankara to persuade Turkey to support for their bids.


California church shooter was motivated by hate, politics

The man who killed a doctor and injured five others at a California Taiwanese church shooting at the weekend was a US citizen born in China who hated Taiwan and drove from Las Vegas armed with guns, chains and numerous Molotov cocktails, authorities said on Monday.

David Chou, 68, chained shut the doors where up to 40 people were attending a luncheon in honour of a former pastor of the Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church, Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes said Monday.

Barnes said that Chou’s violent assault at the Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods, a community of mostly elderly residents, was motivated by his hatred of Taiwan and recent tensions between Taiwan and mainland China.


Elisabeth Borne to become France's first female prime minister in 30 years

French President Emmanuel Macron picked Labour Minister Elisabeth Borne as his new prime minister on Monday as he prepares for legislative elections in June - only the second time in 30 years that a woman has got the job.

“I want to dedicate my nomination to all little girls and tell them to go all the way pursuing your dreams”, Borne said in her inauguration speech.

Recently re-elected Macron, who needs to show he has heard the frustrations of voters expressed by low turnout and big support for the far right and far left, has been looking for a premier with green and social policy credentials.


'I feel free': France lifts Covid-19 mask rule on public transport

Face masks are no longer required in metros, trains and planes in France from Monday, as French authorities lifted one of the last remaining health measures imposed since the Covid-19 pandemic began in 2020.

Health Minister Olivier Veran announced last week that masks would no longer be mandatory on public transport and in taxis, following the large drop in Covid-19 cases recently.

"I feel free. Breathing properly wasn't that easy with masks," said 26-year-old Parisian Jaceula Madimba in the metro on Monday morning.


Cash-strapped Sri Lanka out of petrol: PM

Sri Lanka’s new Prime Minister said on Monday the crisis-hit nation was down to its last day of petrol, as the country’s Power Minister told citizens not to join the lengthy fuel queues that have galvanised weeks of anti-government protests.

Mr Ranil Wickremesinghe, who was appointed prime minister last Thursday, said in an address to the nation that the country urgently needed US$75 million (S$105 million) in foreign exchange to pay for essential imports.

“At the moment, we only have petrol stocks for a single day. The next couple of months will be the most difficult ones of our lives,” he said. “We must prepare ourselves to make some sacrifices and face the challenges of this period.” 


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