While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, May 4

A stuffed toy of the Sesame Street character "Elmo" is seen, surrounded by plastic waste on a beach on the Freedom island critical habitat and ecotourism area near Manila.
A stuffed toy of the Sesame Street character "Elmo" is seen, surrounded by plastic waste on a beach on the Freedom island critical habitat and ecotourism area near Manila.PHOTO: AFP

UN report to outline changes required to fix nature and avoid human misery

Revamping global food production, retooling the financial sector, moving beyond GDP as a measure of progress and other "transformative changes" are needed to save Nature and ourselves, a major UN biodiversity report is set to conclude.

Delegates from 130 nations wrap up week-long negotiations in Paris on Saturday on the executive summary of a 1,800-page tome authored by 400 scientists, the first UN global assessment of the state of Nature - and its impact on humanity - in 15 years.

The bombshell Summary for Policymakers, to be unveiled on May 6, makes for very grim reading.

Up to a million of Earth's estimated eight million species face extinction, many of them within decades, according to a draft version obtained by AFP.


Trump says he discussed new nuclear pact with Putin, possibly including China

US President Donald Trump said he and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed on Friday the possibility of a new accord limiting nuclear arms that could eventually include China in what would be a major deal between the globe's top three atomic powers.

Trump, speaking to reporters as he met in the Oval Office with Peter Pellegrini, prime minister of the Slovak Republic, also said he and Putin discussed efforts to persuade North Korea to give up nuclear weapons, the political discord in Venezuela, and Ukraine, during a call that stretched over an hour.

The 2011 New Start treaty, the only US-Russia arms control pact limiting deployed strategic nuclear weapons, expires in February 2021 but can be extended for five years if both sides agree. Without the agreement, it could be harder to gauge each other's intentions, arms control advocates say.


German police shut down major 'darknet' illegal trading site

German police have shut down one of the world's largest illegal online markets in the so-called darkweb and arrested the three men allegedly running it, prosecutors said on Friday.

The "Wall Street Market" (WSM) site enabled trade in cocaine, heroin, cannabis and amphetamines, as well as stolen data, fake documents and malicious software.

The encrypted platform had more than one million customer accounts, over 5,000 registered sellers and more than 60,000 sales offers, according to Frankfurt prosecutors and affidavits filed by US prosecutors in federal court in Los Angeles.


Otto Warmbier's mother urges pressure on 'cancer on Earth' North Korea

The mother of Otto Warmbier, the young American who died after alleged torture by North Korea, on Friday demanded no let-up in pressure on the regime she called "cancer on the Earth."

Joining families of abducted Japanese who have pressed for years for answers from North Korea, Cindy Warmbier said she did not oppose President Donald Trump's diplomacy with Pyongyang but voiced concern for the future.

"North Korea, to me, is a cancer on the Earth. And if we ignore this cancer, it's not going to go away. It's going to kill us all," said Warmbier, who asked to look at pictures of her son so she could maintain her composure.


Athletics: Semenya wins Doha 800m in first race since gender ruling defeat

Caster Semenya won the 800m at the Doha Diamond League meeting on Friday in her first race since losing her appeal over a controversial gender ruling, claiming "actions speak louder than words".

The South African, a two-time Olympic champion, timed 1min 54.98sec to defeat Burundi's Francine Niyonsaba, who clocked 1min 57.75sec and Ajee Wilson of the United States in 1min 58.83sec.

Semenya's victory could be her last over 800m before new IAAF rules governing testosterone levels come into operation on May 8.