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While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Jan 21

Biden sworn in as 46th US President, calls for unity

Sworn in as the 46th President of the United States on Wednesday, Mr Joe Biden encouraged a nation riven by unprecedented post-election turmoil and deep social and political divides to embrace unity.

Former senator Kamala Harris was sworn in as Vice-President, making history as the first woman, first African American and first Asian American to assume the nation’s second-highest office.

“This is America’s day. This is democracy’s day. A day of history and hope, of renewal and resolve,” said Mr Biden in his inaugural address, two weeks after a mob attacked the Capitol in an effort to overturn his victory. “At this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed.”

He called unity the key to overcoming a raging pandemic that has killed 400,000 people and battered the economy, delivering racial justice, and defeating the rise of white supremacy and domestic terrorism.

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China sanctions Pompeo, other Trump officials as his term ends

China imposed sanctions on former Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and other Trump administration officials even as Joe Biden was being inaugurated as president, saying they had made “crazy moves” that harmed US-China ties.

Also on the list of 28 people being sanctioned were former President Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien and his deputy Matt Pottinger, trade adviser Peter Navarro, and US Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft, according to a statement issued on Wednesday by China’s Foreign Ministry as the inauguration for Mr Biden was taking place.

They and their families will be banned from entering China, Hong Kong or Macau, or doing business with China.

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At least three dead after blast wrecks building in Madrid

At least three people died and six were injured on Wednesday when a building in central Madrid belonging to the Catholic Church was blown apart by an explosion, local authorities said.

Initial investigations suggested that the blast in Calle Toledo, a street leading out from the city centre, was caused by a gas leak, Mayor Jose Luis Martinez-Almeida said.

“The most likely hypothesis is a gas leak, there was a person working on the boiler,” the mayor told reporters, as he announced that a body had been discovered under the rubble, raising the death toll to three.

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Don’t panic, everyone who wants a vaccine shot will get one

Nobody should panic about getting access to a Covid-19 vaccine because everyone who wants one will get one, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Wednesday.

The WHO’s assistant director-general Mariangela Simao said the UN health agency was working towards ensuring access to coronavirus jabs all around the world.

“No one needs to panic, because you’re going to get a vaccine,” said Simao, the assistant DG for access to medicines, vaccines and pharmaceuticals. “We’ve been working very hard to ensure that all countries, all populations, do have the opportunity to access these vaccines.”

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Tennis: Singapore to host ATP 250 event from Feb 22-28

Singapore will host an ATP 250 tournament from Feb 22-28 at the OCBC Arena on a single-year licence, the ATP announced on its website on Wednesday.

Another event in Marbella, Spain was also added to men’s tennis tour calendar “to create increased playing opportunities, in the face of scheduling challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic”.

Other measures include an expanded draw size at various tournaments, including the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, the ATP 250 Cordoba Open and Argentina Open.

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