While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Sept 6

China says Czech visit to Taiwan harmed its sovereignty

The Chinese embassy in Prague on Saturday condemned this week’s visit to Taiwan by a Czech delegation as “a serious infringement on China’s national sovereignty”.

A delegation of about 90 Czech politicians, entrepreneurs, scientists and journalists led by senate speaker Milos Vystrcil visited Taiwan from Aug 30 to Sept 4.

Under its One China policy, Beijing considers Taiwan a part of its territory, with reunification by force an option, and does not send official delegations to the island.

The Czech centre-left government officially accepts the One China policy, but Vystrcil is a member of the right-wing opposition Civic Democrats and is not bound by the protocol.


Facebook blocks livestream of euthanasia campaigner’s death

Facebook has blocked a terminally ill French euthanasia campaigner from livestreaming his own death.

Alain Cocq, who has been suffering for 34 years from a rare and incurable degenerative disease, said he would find another way to broadcast his death.

He has stopped taking food, drink or medicine, and says he wants his death to be seen to help persuade French authorities to lift a ban on medically assisted suicide.


‘No signs of life’ in Beirut rubble after three-day search for blast survivors

Rescue workers digging through the rubble of a Beirut building for the third day on Saturday said there was no longer hope of finding someone alive more than a month after a massive port explosion shattered Lebanon’s capital.

About 50 rescue workers and volunteers, including a specialist team from Chile, had worked for three days to locate anyone after sensors on Thursday detected signs of breathing and heat.

“Technically speaking, there are no signs of life,” Francisco Lermanta, the head of volunteer rescue group Topos Chile, said in a news conference on Saturday evening, adding that rescuers had combed 95 per cent of the building.


German organ changes note for first time in seven years, in 639-year performance

Dozens of mask-wearing music enthusiasts gathered at a church in an eastern German town on Saturday to witness the first note change in seven years in the world’s longest lasting pipe organ performance.

The Saint Burchardi Church in the city of Halberstadt started playing “As Slow as Possible” by US composer John Cage in 2001 and the last note change took place in 2013.

The church is taking an extreme interpretation of the composition’s title: the piece is expected to last 639 years, coming to a painfully slow end in 2640.


Formula One: Hamilton hails ‘sweet spot’ in F1’s fastest lap in history

Lewis Hamilton deflected personal glory and heaped praise on his team on Saturday after he clocked the fastest lap in Formula One history and Mercedes locked out the front row of the grid for Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix.

In the first qualifying session since F1’s ruling body, the International Motoring Federation (FIA), banned the so-called “party modes” that enable teams to increase engine power and speed, the Mercedes showed again they remain the pace-setters.

Hamilton secured his seventh pole in Italy, his 68th for the Mercedes team – equalling seven-time champion Michael Schumacher’s overall total – and the 94th of his career with his record lap in one minute and 18.887 seconds.


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