While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Oct 24

Obama warns of Republican threat to democracy in US battleground

Former US president Barack Obama urged voters on Saturday to back the Democrat in a neck-and-neck state election touted as a test of the party’s prospects in next year’s midterm elections – casting the Republican as a threat to democracy.

Democrat Terry McAuliffe, who is vying for a second term as Virginia’s governor, has seen his lead extinguished in recent polls and is in a dead heat with Republican Glenn Youngkin ahead of the Nov 2 vote.

Obama told a cheering crowd of several hundred rapt supporters at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond that Youngkin would cut teaching jobs, restrict abortion access and back Donald Trump’s fraudulent campaign to convince Americans that the last election was stolen from him by President Joe Biden.

The McAuliffe camp fears turnout among supporters in an off-year election may be low and has brought in some of the party’s heavy hitters in the final stretch, including First Lady Jill Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris.


Russia puts torture video whistleblower on wanted list

Russia on Saturday placed a former prison inmate who leaked harrowing videos of rape and torture inside a Russian prison on a wanted list.

A notice on the interior ministry’s website said Sergei Savelyev – a Belarus national who is seeking asylum in France – was wanted in connection with an unspecified criminal case.

Savelyev smuggled footage of abuse out of a jail in the central city of Saratov. Fearing reprisals, he fled the country in February and last week arrived in France, where he asked for asylum.


Trapped in ‘cruel’ forest, migrant regrets Belarus-EU crossing

Exhausted and trapped in a cold, “cruel” forest, Lebanese barber Ali Abd Alwareth said he regretted his week-long bid to enter the European Union via the Belarus-Poland border.

Sitting cross-legged on a bed of pine needles and dead leaves near the border town of Kleszczele in eastern Poland, Abd Alwareth, 24, described being a ping-pong ball for the guards.

“I tried crossing like five, six times, and every time I got caught and deported back to the border” by Poland, he said in English. The Belarusian side, meanwhile, refused to let him return to Minsk to fly home.


Director ‘gutted’ by cinematographer’s death in accidental shooting

The movie director who was shot and injured in an on-set accident involving actor Alec Baldwin said on Saturday he was “gutted” by the death of the cinematographer.

Joel Souza, who was hit in the shoulder when Baldwin discharged a prop gun containing live rounds, broke his silence as the investigation entered its third day, with multiple questions remaining over how the mistake happened.

“I am gutted by the loss of my friend and colleague, Halyna. She was kind, vibrant, incredibly talented, fought for every inch and always pushed me to be better,” Souza said in a statement.


Football: Chelsea and City on fire, Everton implode

Premier League leaders Chelsea hammered bottom club Norwich City 7-0 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday and Manchester City cruised to a 4-1 win at Brighton & Hove Albion, while Everton collapsed to a shock 5-2 defeat at home to Watford.

England international Mason Mount struck a hat-trick for Chelsea who showed no lack of firepower despite the absence of injured forwards Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner.

Mount opened the scoring in the eighth minute before winger Callum Hudson-Odoi scored 11 minutes later when he collected a fine pass from Mateo Kovacic and provided a cool finish.


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