While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Sept 16

Australia to get nuclear-powered subs in new security partnership

In the most significant move between them in decades, and a sharp signal that defence in Asia and the Indo Pacific is being beefed up, Australia, the US and Britain on Wednesday  announced a new trilateral security partnership which will, among other things, upgrade Australia’s submarines to a nuclear-powered fleet, vastly expanding its reach and capabilities.

The “new architecture” is “about deepening cooperation on a range of defence capabilities for the 21st century” a senior US Administration official told journalists.

US President Joe Biden – with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison joining virtually – announced details late on Wednesday afternoon (5am Singapore time) in Washington.

The partnership will spur cooperation across many new and emerging arenas, including cyber, applied artificial intelligence, quantum technologies and some undersea capabilities, officials said.


Biden backs top general after reported ‘secret’ calls with China

President Joe Biden on Wednesday threw his support behind the top US military officer, Mark Milley, a day after a new book said he went around civilian leaders to place secret calls to his Chinese counterpart over concerns about then-president Donald Trump.

Milley’s office pushed back against the report in the book, saying the calls he made as chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff were coordinated within the Pentagon and across the US government.

According to excerpts of the book, Milley secretly called General Li Zuocheng of the People’s Liberation Army twice in the final months of the Trump administration to say the US government was stable. Milley reportedly told Li that the United States was not going to attack China and, if there were to be an attack, he would alert him ahead of time.


White House plans new system for international travel

The United States is developing a “new system for international travel” that will include contact tracing for when it eventually lifts travel restrictions that bar much of the world’s population from entering the country, a senior White House official said on Wednesday.

White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients told the US Travel and Tourism Advisory Board the administration does not plan to immediately relax any travel restrictions, citing Covid-19 Delta variant cases in the United States and around the world.

Zients said the new plan would replace the current restrictions and would be “safer, stronger and sustainable.


Gymnasts demand justice in botched FBI sex abuse probe

Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney on Wednesday told US lawmakers she feels betrayed by FBI agents, after they failed to investigate former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, despite her telling them he had sexually abused her.

FBI director Christopher Wray told the Senate panel that the actions of the agents who botched the investigation are inexcusable, and he announced that one of the agents “no longer works for the bureau in any capacity.”

Maroney is one of four athletes, along with Simone Biles, Aly Raisman and Maggie Nichols, who testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee as it probes the FBI’s mishandling of the investigation.


Messi quiet in PSG draw as Man City, Liverpool win thrillers

Lionel Messi made his first Paris Saint-Germain start in a 1-1 draw at Club Brugge in the Champions League on Wednesday, while last season’s runners-up Manchester City and Liverpool won high-scoring thrillers.

Real Madrid, the record 13-time European champions, left it late to beat Inter Milan at the San Siro in a section topped by Moldovan debutants Sheriff Tiraspol after the first round of group stage matches.

Argentine star Messi lined up with both Neymar and Kylian Mbappe for the first time, after being limited to just 24 minutes in a PSG shirt since his shock exit from Barcelona.


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