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

PAP returns to power with 83 seats, but loses Sengkang and Aljunied GRCs

Singaporeans returned the People’s Action Party to government, handing it 83 of the 93 seats, but there was a major upset in Sengkang GRC, which fell to the Workers’ Party, amid a stronger showing by the opposition.

In what was dubbed a crisis election, or the Covid-19 polls, the PAP won 61.24 per cent of the votes, a near 9-point swing from its 69.9 per cent share in the 2015 polls.

In all, the election, billed as the most significant since Singapore’s independence, given the backdrop of the pandemic, will see the opposition presence doubled to 10 elected MPs in the next Parliament, Singapore’s 14th, since 1965.

The fears of a wipe-out of the opposition, which the Workers’ Party and others had warned about, proved unfounded. Instead, the opposition turned in a strong showing, with the WP snagging its second GRC, as well as enjoying a near 10-point swing in its Aljunied GRC base, taking 60 per cent of the vote there, and holding on to its Hougang seat.

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Trump postpones rally, warns China ties ‘severely damaged’ over coronavirus

President Donald Trump was forced on Friday to cancel an election rally, further darkening his mood as he lashed out at China over the coronavirus pandemic while visiting one of the worst-hit US states.

As he jetted into Florida for a campaign fund-raiser – ignoring health advice about the dangers of large gatherings – Trump warned of frayed ties with the Asian nation where the virus emerged late last year.

“(The) relationship with China has been severely damaged. They could have stopped the plague… They didn’t stop it,” he told reporters on Air Force One.

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Ghislaine Maxwell seeks bail, citing coronavirus, denies Epstein charges

Ghislaine Maxwell, the longtime associate of late financier Jeffrey Epstein, on Friday forcefully denied charges she lured underage girls for him to sexually abuse and said she deserves bail, citing the risk she might contract the coronavirus in jail.

Maxwell, 58, filed her request in the US District Court in Manhattan, eight days after being arrested in New Hampshire, where authorities said she had been hiding at a sprawling property she bought while shielding her identity.

Maxwell has been housed since Monday at the Metropolitan Detention Centre, a Brooklyn jail.

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Erdogan declares Hagia Sophia a mosque after Turkish court ruling

President Tayyip Erdogan declared Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia a mosque on Friday with the first Muslim prayers to begin in two weeks, after a top court ruled the ancient building’s conversion to a museum by modern Turkey’s founding statesman was illegal.

Erdogan spoke on Friday just hours after the court ruling was published, brushing aside international warnings not to change the status of the nearly 1,500-year-old monument that is revered by Christians and Muslims alike.

The United States, Russia and church leaders were among those to express concern about changing the status of the Unesco World Heritage Site, a focal point of both the Christian Byzantine and Muslim Ottoman empires and now one of the most visited monuments in Turkey.

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Formula One: Ferrari warned over Covid-19 protocol breach

Formula One’s governing body has warned Ferrari about the risks of breaching the sport’s Covid-19 protocol and protective “bubble”.

Ferrari drivers Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel have been seen mixing with people outside their individual team groups.

Leclerc returned to his Monaco home after finishing second in last Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix while Vettel was shown on television talking to Red Bull bosses, without face masks, in the Red Bull Ring paddock.

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