While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, June 11

Britain’s Johnson hails Biden as ‘a big breath of fresh air’

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed US President Joe Biden on Thursday as “a big breath of fresh air”, and praised his determination to work with allies on important global issues ranging from climate change and Covid-19 to security.

Johnson did not draw an explicit parallel between Biden and his predecessor Donald Trump after talks with the Democratic president in the English seaside resort of Carbis Bay on the eve of a summit of the Group of Seven advanced economies.

But his comments made clear Biden had taken a much more multilateral approach to talks than Trump, whose vision of the world at times shocked, angered and bewildered many of Washington’s European allies.

“It’s a big breath of fresh air,” Johnson said of a meeting that lasted about an hour and 20 minutes. “It was a long, long, good session. We covered a huge range of subjects,” he said. “It’s new, it’s interesting and we’re working very hard together.”

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Frenchman given 4 months’ jail for slapping Macron

A French court on Thursday sentenced a man who slapped French President Emmanuel Macron across the face this week to a prison term of 18 months, 14 of which were suspended.

Damien Tarel, a 28-year-old medieval history enthusiast, has been in custody since the assault on Tuesday which a prosecutor at the hearing called “absolutely unacceptable” and “an act of deliberate violence”.

Tarel was placed under arrest following the verdict from the court in the southern city of Valence and will spend the night in jail as he begins his sentence.

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‘CryptoPunk’ NFT digital artwork sells for over $15m at auction

A non-fungible token (NFT) of a digital artwork called a “CryptoPunk” sold for US$11.8 million (S$15.6 million) on Thursday, auction house Sotheby’s said.

CryptoPunks are a set of 10,000 pixel-art characters made by Larva Labs in 2017. The one sold by Sotheby’s – “CryptoPunk #7523” – is of the sought-after Alien variety with blue-green skin, and wearing a medical mask.

The work is in the form of an NFT – meaning it is authenticated by blockchain, which certifies its originality and ownership. The NFT is sent to the buyer’s cryptocurrency wallet; no physical artwork changes hands.

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Sexual abuse ‘normalised’ in UK schools as boys pester girls for ‘nudes’

Sexual harassment and online sexual abuse has become “normalised” in English schools, inspectors say, with some girls contacted by up to 11 boys a night asking for nude or semi-nude images.

Nine in 10 schoolgirls interviewed by education inspectors said sexist name-calling and being sent explicit pictures or videos happened “a lot” or “sometimes”.

Pressure to send nude pictures was also far more prevalent than adults realised, education watchdog Ofsted said in a report as it called for urgent action to tackle the problem.

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Krejcikova overcomes wrong call on match point to reach final

For a brief moment, an exhausted Barbora Krejcikova thought she had booked her place in the French Open final and she raised her arms in triumph. Unfortunately for the Czech, an incorrect line call by the umpire on match point put her celebrations on ice and she quickly realised that she had to do it all over again.

At 7-8, 30-40 in the decider of her semi-final against Maria Sakkari, the Greek hit a forehand that was called long by the line judge, only for the chair umpire to check the mark and call it in.

With the contest swinging wildly from one player to another, the momentum could have tilted back Sakkari’s way.

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