While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, May 20

Ukrainian soldiers ride on a self-propelled howitzer, on a road in Ukraine's Kharkiv region, on May 17, 2022. PHOTO: AFP

Congress sends US$40b Ukraine aid package to Biden

 The US Senate approved nearly US$40 billion (S$55 billion) in aid for Ukraine on Thursday sending the Bill to the White House for President Joe Biden to sign into law as Washington races to keep military assistance flowing nearly three months after Russia's invasion.

The Senate voted 86-11 in favour of the package of military, economic and humanitarian assistance, by far the largest US aid package for Ukraine to date. All 11 no votes were from Republicans.

"This is a large package, and it will meet the large needs of the Ukrainian people as they fight for their survival," Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said, urging support for the emergency supplemental spending Bill before the vote.

"By passing this emergency aid, the Senate can now say to the Ukrainian people: help is on the way. Real help. Significant help. Help that could make sure that the Ukrainians are victorious," Schumer said.


Ukrainians show off embroidered shirts to celebrate unity

Ukrainians donned colourful embroidered shirts on Thursday for a normally light-hearted annual celebration that this year is being viewed as a symbol of national unity against Russia's invasion.

Known as a "vyshyvanka", the loose-fitting shirt is often white with geometric patterns in embroidery along borders and is a much-loved folksy item of clothing worn for special occasions.

President Volodymyr Zelensky took to social media to congratulate Ukrainians on "Vyshyvanka Day" and called the item of clothing "our sacred amulet in this war".


US, Russia trade blame on global food insecurity

The United States and Russia blamed each other on Thursday for the worsening food situation around the world as the war in Ukraine unfolds.

Washington called on Russia to allow exports of Ukrainian grain that is held up in Black Sea ports. Ukraine is one of the world's top producers of wheat.

"Stop blocking the ports in the Black Sea. Allow for the free flow of ships and trains and trucks carrying food out of Ukraine," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said during a UN Security Council meeting organised by the US.


Chariots Of Fire, Blade Runner composer Vangelis dies

Blade Runner and Chariots Of Fire composer Vangelis, the Oscar-winning electronic music pioneer whose distinctive musical style defined a generation of film soundtracks, has died aged 79, Greece’s prime minister said on Thursday.

According to several Greek media outlets, Vangelis died of the coronavirus in France where he lived part-time, as well as in London and Athens.

“Vangelis Papathanassiou is no longer with us,” Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis tweeted.


Wasteful Chelsea set to finish third after Leicester draw

Chelsea defender Marcos Alonso scored a glorious equaliser to earn a 1-1 home draw with Leicester City on Thursday and effectively seal third place in the Premier League ahead of the final round of fixtures.

The draw lifted Chelsea to 71 points, 19 behind leaders Manchester City and three ahead of London rivals Tottenham Hotspur in fourth, but Chelsea's far superior goal difference means Spurs have no realistic chance of overtaking them.

Chelsea will be disappointed not to win a game in which they had 27 shots but scored only one goal as they dominated possession.


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