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

US concludes ‘tough’ talks with China in Alaska

Senior US and Chinese officials concluded on Friday what Washington called “tough and direct” talks in Alaska which laid bare the depth of tensions between the world’s two largest economies at the outset of the Biden administration.

The run-up to the talks in Anchorage, which followed visits by US officials to allies Japan and South Korea, was marked by a flurry of moves by Washington that showed it was taking a firm stance, as well as by blunt talk from Beijing warning the United States to discard illusions that it would compromise.

“We expected to have tough and direct talks on a wide range of issues, and that’s exactly what we had,” White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters, moments after the Chinese delegation left the hotel meeting room.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, standing beside Sullivan, said he was not surprised that the United States got a “defensive response” from China after it raised its concerns over Chinese human rights abuses in Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong, as well as over cyberattacks and pressure on Taiwan.

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Biden doing fine after stumbling while boarding Air Force One

US President Joe Biden is doing fine after stumbling on the steps as he climbed aboard Air Force One on Friday, White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters.

She suggested high winds at Joint Base Andrews near Washington may have been a factor.

She did not say whether Biden had been checked by a travelling physician after the episode.

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British PM gets his first dose of AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson received his first dose of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine on Friday (March 19) and urged the public to do the same, saying “he did not feel a thing.”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson received his first dose of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine on Friday  and urged the public to do the same, saying “he did not feel a thing.”

“I literally did not feel a thing. It was very good, very quick,” Johnson said after receiving the injection at St Thomas’ Hospital in London. “I cannot recommend it too highly, everybody when you do get your notification to go for a jab, please go and get it, it is the best thing for you, best thing for your family and for everyone else.”

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‘Very exciting’: German tourists land in Mallorca as restrictions ease

Excited German tourists in face masks spilled out of Mallorca airport on Friday, among the first to arrive at the popular holiday destination after Germany last week lifted quarantine requirements for travellers returning from the Balearic Islands.

Tourists are still not allowed to stay in hotels or holiday lets in Germany, leaving foreign holidays one of the few options for those wanting to get away, although the German government still advises against non-essential travel.

“It is very, very, very exciting and it feels wonderful to be flying again, even if it is for only one week,” said tourist Bettina, who works for a travel company, as a group of exuberant young holidaymakers danced outside the airport.

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Tennis: Djokovic pulls out of Miami to spend time with family

World number one Novak Djokovic will delay his comeback to the ATP Tour following a muscle injury after deciding to skip the Miami Open starting next week to spend more time with his family.

Djokovic sustained a muscle tear that hindered him during his successful Australian Open title defence last month and the 33-year-old planned to return at Miami before playing the Monte-Carlo Masters and the ATP 250 Serbia Open.

“Dear fans, I’m very sorry to announce that this year I won’t travel to Miami to compete,” Djokovic tweeted. “I decided to use this precious time at home to stay with my family. With all restrictions, I need to find balance in my time on tour and at home. I look forward to coming back next year.”

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