While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, May 21

Ukrainian servicemen who surrendered at the besieged Azovstal steel mill arrive in Olenivka, in the Donetsk region of Ukraine, on May 20, 2022. PHOTO: REUTERS

Siege ends at Ukraine’s Mariupol steelworks

The last Ukrainian forces holed up in Mariupol’s smashed Azovstal steelworks surrendered on Friday, Russia’s defence ministry said, ending the most destructive siege of the war as Moscow fought to cement control over the Donbas region.

Hours before Russia’s announcement on Friday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the last defenders at the steelworks had been told by Ukraine’s military that they could get out and save their lives.

Russia said there were 531 members in the last group that had given up.

“The territory of the Azovstal metallurgical plant... has been completely liberated,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that a total of 2,439 defenders had surrendered in the past few days. The Ukrainians did not immediately confirm those figures.


WHO calls emergency meeting over monkeypox cases

Remote video URL

The World Health Organisation was holding an emergency meeting on Friday to discuss the recent outbreak of monkeypox, a viral infection more common to west and central Africa, after more than 100 cases were confirmed or suspected in Europe.

In what Germany described as the largest outbreak in Europe ever, cases have been reported in at least nine countries – Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom – as well as the United States, Canada and Australia.

Spain reported 24 new cases on Friday, mainly in the Madrid region where the regional government closed a sauna linked to the majority of infections.


Protesters clash with police ahead of Davos meeting

Dozens of anti-capitalist protesters clashed with police in Zurich on Friday ahead of the World Economic Forum's (WEF) annual meeting in the Alpine resort of Davos starting on Sunday.

The unauthorised "Smash WEF" demonstration is a regular occurrence in Switzerland's financial hub before the world's business and political elite gather around 120km away.

Police used pepper spray and rubberised pellets to break up the march through the downtown district.


US leads criticism of UN rights chief for China trip

The UN rights chief came under fire on Friday for announcing a visit next week to China's Xinjiang, with the United States saying she was failing to stand up for the region's Uighur community.

After years of requesting "meaningful and unfettered" access to far-western Xinjiang, Michelle Bachelet will finally lead a six-day mission to China starting Monday, her office said.

The visit, at the invitation of Beijing, marks the first trip to China by a UN rights chief since Louise Arbour went there in 2005.


Woman storms Cannes red carpet to protest Ukraine rapes

A woman stripped off on the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival to reveal her body painted in the colours of the Ukrainian flag with the words "Stop Raping Us" in a solo protest on Friday.

Wearing underpants stained red, the demonstrator shouted and posed for photographers before being led off by security guards.

The stunt briefly interrupted the parade of guests in evening wear, including Tilda Swinton and Idris Elba, attending the premiere of their film Three Thousand Years Of Longing by George Miller.


Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.