While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, May 23


Trump orders houses of worship reopened, vows to override states

President Donald Trump said he would order states to allow places of worship to reopen from stay-at-home restrictions imposed to combat the coronavirus outbreak, promising to override any governor who refuses without explaining what authority he had to do so.

"The governors need to do the right thing and allow these very important essential places of faith to open right now," Trump said on Friday in a statement to reporters at the White House. "By this weekend."

"If they don't do it I will override the governors," he added.

Churches, synagogues and mosques would be declared "essential" services under CDC guidelines, he said.


South America 'a new epicentre' of Covid-19, says WHO

South America has become "a new epicentre" of the deadly coronavirus pandemic, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Friday, following a surge in the number of Covid-19 infections.

"In a sense, South America has become a new epicentre for the disease. We have seen many South American countries with increasing numbers of cases," WHO emergencies director Mike Ryan told a virtual news conference.

"Clearly, there is a concern across many of those countries, but clearly the most affected is Brazil at this point." The novel coronavirus death toll in Brazil surpassed 20,000 on Thursday, after a record number of fatalities in a 24-hour period.


British PM's top aide broke coronavirus lockdown rules, say reports

One of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's top advisers, Dominic Cummings, drew police attention after allegedly breaking the coronavirus lockdown, reports said on Friday.

Cummings left his London home to stay with his parents in Durham, north-east England, while suffering symptoms of Covid-19, the Daily Mirror and The Guardian newspapers said.

The main opposition Labour party demanded an explanation, saying the reports suggested Cummings viewed himself as above the law, while the smaller Liberal Democrats said it could be a resigning issue.


Bodies from the sky: Horror as plane crashes among homes in Pakistan

Raja Amjad was out for an ordinary afternoon drive in Karachi, Pakistan's largest city, when he was blindsided by a crashing plane and the body that landed on his car.

The body came from Pakistan International Airlines flight PK8303, which ploughed into buildings in a crowded Karachi neighbourhood, exploding upon impact and sending a plume of thick-black smoke into the air.

As Amjad jumped from his vehicle, he looked overhead to see another passenger still alive and dangling from the plane's emergency exit, calling for help.


Tennis: Osaka tops Serena as world's highest-paid female athlete

Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka has become the world's highest-paid female athlete, making US$37.4 million (S$50 million) in the past 12 months for an earnings record, Forbes magazine reported on Friday.

The 22-year-old Asian star, a two-time Grand Slam champion, edged US rival Serena Williams by US$1.4 million in prize money and endorsement income over the past year.

Both shattered the old single-year earnings mark of US$29.7 million set in 2015 by Russia's Maria Sharapova, who retired in February with five Grand Slam titles, including a career Slam.