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RUSSIA-UKRAINE-WAR-RESPONSIBILITY

Key players call for accountability for atrocities in Ukraine

UNITED NATIONS (AP) – For the first time, key players seeking accountability for atrocities committed during the war in Ukraine have come together in an informal meeting of the UN Security Council to boost investigations on the abuses that many Western countries attribute to Russia. Wednesday’s session included the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, the chairman of the United Nations Commission of Inquiry, Ukraine’s chief prosecutor and human rights lawyer Amal Clooney. Ukrainian Iryna Venediktova has opened more than 8,000 investigations into alleged violations of the laws and customs of war, and she said that “Russia’s actions amount to crimes against humanity and war crimes” and that the pattern “resembles the crime of genocide”. Russia called the allegations unsubstantiated “and even false”.

RUSSIAN-UKRAINE WAR

EU leaders slam Russian gas cut as ‘blackmail’

POKROVSK, Ukraine (AP) — European leaders have called Russia’s decision to cut natural gas shipments to Poland and Bulgaria “blackmail.” They said the cut and the Kremlin’s warning that it could cut shipments to other countries is a failed attempt to divide the West over its support for Ukraine. Russia’s move to use its most essential export as leverage marked a dramatic escalation in the economic war of sanctions and counter-sanctions that has unfolded alongside fighting on the battlefield. The tactic against both EU and NATO members could eventually force targeted countries to ration gas. It could also deprive Russia of badly needed revenue to fund its war effort.

RUSSIA-UKRAINE-WAR-THE LAST

Live Updates | Explosions in the Ukrainian city of Kherson

In the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson, a series of explosions erupted near the TV tower on Wednesday night and temporarily shut down Russian channels. This is according to Ukrainian and Russian news agencies. Kherson has been occupied by Russian forces since the start of the war. Russian state news agency RIA Novosti said missiles and rockets were fired at the city from the direction of Ukrainian forces to the northwest. Ukrayinska Pravda, an online newspaper, said the strikes started a fire and cut off Russian TV channels. RIA Novosti says the broadcast resumed later. Russian channels started broadcasting from Kherson last week.

AP-FINANCIAL-MARKETS

Asian stocks are mostly up after a turbulent day on Wall Street

Asian stocks posted moderate gains after Wall Street stabilized following a sell-off in tech stocks a day earlier. China’s benchmarks recovered from steep declines as officials highlighted efforts to counter the impact of pandemic shutdowns in many cities. The dollar rose against the yen as the Bank of Japan kept its monetary policy essentially unchanged. On Wednesday, the S&P 500 saw most of a midday rally evaporate and ended with a gain of just 0.2%. A tech rally also petered out, leaving the Nasdaq barely in the red. The Dow Jones Industrial Average edged up 0.2%. Visa jumped 6.5% after reporting better-than-expected earnings.

AP-US-STUDENT-LOANS

Democratic lawmaker: Biden suggests he will ease student loan burden

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden has signaled he may forgive some student loan debt and further extend the federal moratorium on repayments. That’s according to California Democratic Rep. Tony Cardenas. He is a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Cardenas said Wednesday that in a meeting at the White House, Biden told the group they were going to like what he was doing about the two proposals. This meeting was on Monday. The White House was notably more measured about what Biden could do. But any move in that direction would be a boon to many of the federal figures that show 43 million Americans carry student loans worth $1.6 trillion.

AP-US-GEORGE-FLOYD-MINNEAPOLIS-POLICE-KEYS-CONCLUSIONS

State report details Minneapolis Police Department bias

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A Minnesota state agency said it will work with the city of Minneapolis to negotiate solutions to address the pattern of racial discrimination uncovered by a two-year investigation. The Minnesota Department of Human Rights says former and current city and police leaders have failed to act, allowing an aggressive police culture to fester. The report details disparities in how officers use force, stop, search, arrest and cite people of color, especially black people, compared to white people in similar circumstances. And the state agency says the city and the police department don’t need to wait to start making the necessary changes.

SPRING FOREST FIRES

Big progress on wildfires, but dangerous winds on the way

ALBUQUERQUE, NM (AP) — Firefighters have made significant progress on the largest wildfires burning unusually hot and fast for this time of year in the western United States. But forecasters from the southwest to the southern High Plains are warning of a return over the next two days of the same gusty winds and critical fire conditions that sent wild blazes across the landscape last week. Some of the nearly 1,000 firefighters battling drought-stricken New Mexico’s largest blaze cut brush and burned extra fuel on Wednesday. It burned approximately 94 square miles. And warmer, drier and windier weather is forecast for the weekend.

AP-REL-HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS VIDEO

Survivors unite to deliver message on Holocaust remembrance

NEW YORK (AP) — Holocaust survivors around the world are uniting to deliver a message about the dangers of unchecked hatred and the importance of remembrance at a time of rising global anti-Semitism. The video was released Thursday by the New York-based Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel. The video features 100 Holocaust survivors asking people to stand with them and remember the Nazi genocide to avoid repeating the horrors of the past. About 6 million European Jews and millions of others were killed by the Nazis and their collaborators. The annual remembrance known as Yom HaShoah is one of the most solemn on the Israeli calendar.

DEADLY GANGS IN HAITI

20 dead, thousands flee their homes as gangs fight in Haiti

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Criminal violence in Haiti escalated this week as fighting between gangs in part of the capital forced thousands from their homes and killed at least 20 people, including children. Haiti’s Civil Protection Agency said fighting began Sunday in four neighborhoods of Port-au-Prince, north of the international airport. At least a dozen homes were burned and many of those who fled first took shelter in the courtyard of the local mayor’s office. The eruption comes amid a spike in violence and kidnappings as gangs grow more powerful and seek to control more territory in the power vacuum following the July 7 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse.

VIRUS-CHINA OUTBREAK

New tests to decide whether to reopen Shanghai as Beijing stocks up

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Shanghai city authorities say a month-long tax lockdown in China’s largest city could be eased in some neighborhoods if new COVID-19 tests show the virus is not spreading. spread more in the community. Meanwhile, residents of Beijing were watching carefully whether the capital would go into lockdown as its own, much smaller outbreak grew. The Shanghai outbreak is the largest of the pandemic in China and has tested China’s zero-tolerance strategy of trying to completely stop the spread of the virus. Nervous Beijing residents have been stockpiling food and supplies in recent days, following unrest in lockdown Shanghai. Beijing city officials were quick to promise they were making sure grocery stores were well stocked.

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