While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, June 20

Brazil tops 500,000 Covid-19 deaths, second only to US

Brazil on Saturday crossed the grim threshold of 500,000 coronavirus deaths, the country’s health minister said, trailing only the United States in lives lost to Covid-19.

“500,000 lives lost due to the pandemic that affects our Brazil and the world,” Marcelo Queiroga tweeted, without giving the death toll from the past 24 hours.

Brazil, with a population of 212 million, became the second country after the United States to surpass 500,000 Covid-19 deaths.

The South American country experienced a second wave of the pandemic this year, when it topped 4,000 deaths per day. Brazil now appears to be grappling with a third wave in its outbreak, with infections and deaths spiking.

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Israel says Iran’s Raisi extreme, committed to nuclear programme

Israel on Saturday condemned Iran’s newly-elected president Ebrahim Raisi, saying he was its most extreme president yet and committed to quickly advancing Teheran’s nuclear programme.

“Iran’s new president, known as the Butcher of Teheran, is an extremist responsible for the deaths of thousands of Iranians. He is committed to the regime’s nuclear ambitions and to its campaign of global terror,” Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said on Twitter.

A separate statement from the Israeli Foreign Ministry said Raisi’s election should “prompt grave concern among the international community.”

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Body of missing US woman found in Russia

Russian investigators said on Saturday they had detained a man on suspicion of murder after finding the body of a foreign woman identified by media as a missing American student.

Russian news agencies identified the woman as 34-year-old US citizen Catherine Serou.

Earlier this week, investigators said that a 34-year-old foreign woman who lived just outside Nizhny Novgorod, a city some 420km east of Moscow, had gone missing after getting into an unidentified car.

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Bidens announce death of ‘first dog’ Champ

President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden on Saturday announced the passing of their German shepherd Champ, who they called a “constant, cherished companion” for 13 years.

“In our most joyful moments and in our most grief-stricken days, he was there with us, sensitive to our every unspoken feeling and emotion. We love our sweet, good boy and will miss him always,” the Bidens said in a statement.

Champ was one of two German shepherds living at the White House with the president and first lady. Biden got Champ in 2008, the year he was elected vice president under President Barack Obama.

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Portugal’s Santos shoulders blame for big Euro loss to Germany

Portugal were outnumbered in midfield and failed to keep up with experienced Germany duo Toni Kroos and Ilkay Gundogan in their Euro 2020 group game, coach Fernando Santos said as he took full responsibility for Saturday’s humbling 4-2 defeat.

Cristiano Ronaldo had put defending champions Portugal ahead inside 15 minutes before they were torn apart by Germany in the space of five first-half minutes as Ruben Dias and then Raphael Guerreiro bundled the ball into their own net.

The Germans were relentless going forward as they carved Portugal’s defence open at will and scored two more goals in the second half, with Kroos largely untroubled by a passive Portuguese midfield as he completed 86 passes.

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