While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Feb 14

Trump acquitted as Republicans save him in impeachment again

The US Senate acquitted Donald Trump on Saturday in his second impeachment trial in a year, with fellow Republicans blocking conviction over the former president’s role in the deadly assault by his supporters on the US Capitol.

The Senate vote of 57-43 fell short of the two-thirds majority needed to convict Trump on a charge of incitement of insurrection after a five-day trial in the same building ransacked by his followers on Jan 6 shortly after they heard him deliver an incendiary speech.

In the vote, seven of the 50 Senate Republicans joined the chamber’s unified Democrats in favoring conviction.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who voted “not guilty,” offered scathing remarks about the former president after the verdict. “There is no question that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day,” he said.


White House cites ‘deep concerns’ about WHO Covid-19 report

The White House on Saturday called on China to make available data from the earliest days of the Covid-19 outbreak, saying it has “deep concerns” about the way the findings of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO’s) Covid-19 report were communicated.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement that it is imperative that the report be independent and free from “alteration by the Chinese government”, echoing concerns raised by the administration of former President Donald Trump, who also moved to quit the WHO over the issue.

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Friday said all hypotheses are still open about the origins of Covid-19, after Washington said it wanted to review data from a WHO-led mission to China, where the virus first emerged.


British coronavirus variant is probably deadlier, scientists say

British government scientists are increasingly finding the coronavirus variant first detected in Britain to be deadlier than the original virus, a trend that highlights the risks of this new phase of the pandemic.

The scientists said last month that there was a “realistic possibility” that the variant was more lethal.

Now, they say in a new document that it is “likely” that the variant is connected to an increased risk of hospitalisation and death.


Dozens hurt by huge blaze close to Iran-Afghanistan border

At least 60 people were injured as hundreds of fuel vehicles exploded in a massive blaze that tore through a customs post in Afghanistan close to the Iranian border, disrupting power supplies and causing millions of dollars of damage.

Iranian authorities sent fire engines and ambulances across the border, while scores of locals fought the blaze in the border town of Islam Qala before it was brought under control.

Initial reports said the blaze had started after a gas tanker exploded. Officials said later that the cause was not immediately clear.


Football: Gundogan strikes again as Man City sink Spurs

Ilkay Gundogan continued his brilliant form, scoring twice as Premier League leaders Manchester City beat Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 on Saturday to keep up their title bid in impressive fashion.

City are on 53 points, seven clear of second-placed Leicester City, and with a game in hand.

And while there are 15 matches still remaining, it will take a major slump in form to stop City from claiming their third title in four years.


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