While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Sept 10

US blocking visas of some Chinese graduate students and researchers

The United States is blocking visas for certain Chinese graduate students and researchers to prevent them from stealing sensitive research, the acting head of the US Department of Homeland Security, said on Wednesday.

Chad Wolf repeated US charges of unjust business practices and industrial espionage by China, including attempts to steal coronavirus research, and accused it of abusing student visas to exploit American academia.

“We are blocking visas for certain Chinese graduate students and researchers with ties to China’s military fusion strategy to prevent them from stealing and otherwise appropriating sensitive research,” he said in a speech in Washington.

Wolf said the United States was also “preventing goods produced from slave labor from entering our markets, demanding that China respect the inherent dignity of each human being,” an apparent reference to alleged abuses of Muslims in China’s Xinjiang region. Wolf did not give details.

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Trump says he minimised coronavirus so as not to create panic, book reveals

President Donald Trump acknowledged in February he knew how deadly and contagious the novel coronavirus was but did not convey that information to the American people because he did not want to create a panic, according to Trump interviews cited in a new book.

The recorded interviews, obtained by CNN and based on a new book entitled Rage by journalist Bob Woodward, came out just weeks before the Nov 3 presidential election and as Trump’s efforts to battle Covid-19 have come under intense criticism as being too little too late.

The Republican president, who has been hammered by Democratic opponent Joe Biden over the slow US government response to the coronavirus, played down the virus for months as it took hold and spread quickly across the country.

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Obesity greatest risk factor for young adults with Covid-19

Young adults with underlying conditions such as morbid obesity, diabetes and hypertension are at the highest risk of being placed on a ventilator or dying from Covid-19, according to a study of 3,000 hospitalised patients aged 18 to 34.

The analysis, published on Wednesday in the journal Jama Internal Medicine, focused on patients hospitalised between April and June in the United States.

It confirmed first and foremost that black and Hispanic people have been the worst affected by the pandemic: They accounted for 57 per cent of all young adults who were hospitalised and 49 per cent of those who died or needed ventilation.

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Woman grabs Italy’s Matteo Salvini, rips shirt, breaks rosary

A woman grabbed hold of Italian politician Matteo Salvini on Wednesday as he campaigned for his anti-immigrant League party in the central region of Tuscany, tearing his shirt and ripping two rosaries from his neck.

Video posted on social media showed the woman grabbing Salvini and shouting at him just after he arrived in the town of Pontassieve, near Florence, for a rally ahead of regional elections slated for Sept 20-21. Local media said she was a 29-year-old originally from Congo.

Salvini, head of the League party who promotes policies aimed at preventing migrants from entering Italy, showed his torn shirt and damaged rosaries in a Facebook post.

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Motor racing: Vettel set to replace Perez at Racing Point

Mexican driver Sergio Perez will leave Racing Point at the end of the Formula One season, he and the team announced on Wednesday, with four-times world champion Sebastian Vettel set to replace him.

An announcement on Vettel is expected on Thursday at Mugello, the Ferrari-owned circuit near Florence that this weekend hosts the Tuscan Grand Prix and Ferrari’s 1,000th world championship race.

Ferrari have already said the German, who won his titles with Red Bull between 2010-13, is being replaced by Spaniard Carlos Sainz from McLaren next year.

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