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While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, July 9

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Security police tackle a suspect thought to have shot former prime minister Shinzo Abe outside Yamato-Saidaiji Station, in Nara, Japan.


Abe shooting raises questions about security for VIPs in Japan

The fatal shooting of former Japanese premier Shinzo Abe from close range at a political rally on Friday has raised questions about protection for high-profile figures in a country where political violence and gun crimes are extremely rare.

Dignitaries in Japan often travel with modest security details focused mainly on direct physical threats rather than being protected by the heavily-armed personnel braced for firearms attacks seen in places like the United States.

Abe, 67, was campaigning in the western city of Nara for Liberal Democratic Party candidates ahead of a Sunday election when he was shot, with Nippon TV saying the assailant was about 3m away.

A 41-year-old man was detained at the scene and police said the suspect had used a homemade gun. Police said other guns and explosives were found at the suspect’s home and that he had admitted to carrying out the attack.


Biden laments ‘horror’ of post-Roe landscape as he signs order

President Joe Biden said the “horror” unleashed by the Supreme Court’s decision to eliminate the nationwide right to abortion was already being felt across the country in his sharpest attack yet on the two-week-old ruling.

Faced with growing demands from liberal Democrats that the White House take more robust action following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe versus Wade, Biden said on Friday that much of the country was experiencing “a giant step backwards” as he signed an executive order intended to preserve access to the procedure.

“This isn’t some imagined horror. It’s already happening,” he said at the White House, noting that bans have already taken effect in 13 states.


Ex-UK finance minister Sunak bids to replace PM Johnson

British former finance minister Rishi Sunak said on Friday he was running to replace Boris Johnson, three days after helping to launch the cascade of resignations that brought the prime minister down.

Johnson announced on Thursday that he would stand down as prime minister after a mass rebellion in his Conservative Party, triggered by the latest in a series of scandals that had fatally undermined public trust.

Johnson’s imminent departure has added political uncertainty to an already difficult mix of soaring inflation, slowing growth and industrial unrest, set against a backdrop of war in Ukraine and Britain’s ongoing struggle to adapt to life after Brexit.


Nasa reveals Webb telescope’s first cosmic targets

Nasa said on Friday the first cosmic images from the James Webb Space Telescope will include unprecedented views of distant galaxies, bright nebulae, and a faraway giant gas planet.

The US, European and Canadian space agencies are gearing up for a big reveal on July 12 of early observations by the US$10 billion (S$14 billion) observatory, the successor to Hubble that is set to reveal new insights into the origins of the universe.

An international committee decided the first wave of full-colour scientific images would include the Carina Nebula, an enormous cloud of dust and gas 7,600 light years away, as well as the Southern Ring Nebula (above), which surrounds a dying star 2,000 light years away..


Djokovic to face Kyrgios in blockbuster Wimbledon final

Record-breaking Novak Djokovic hit top form after a slow start against Britain’s Cameron Norrie on Friday, reaching an eighth Wimbledon final, where he will face Nick Kyrgios.

The Serbian top seed was uncharacteristically off-colour in the first set but roared back to win 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4, playing near-flawless tennis.

It will be a record 32nd Grand Slam final in the men’s game for the six-time Wimbledon champion – taking him one clear of Roger Federer and two ahead of Rafael Nadal.


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