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- Oliver O'Connell,Andrew Naughtie and Maroosha Muzaffar
Jan 6 hearings - live: Election worker Shaye Moss tears up recalling threats to family over false fraud claims

House panel will hear testimony on ex-president’s attempts to overturn election in specific states

- Abe Asher
Child stabbed in chest by catfish stinger in Florida

The child was hospitalised after being stabbed in a pond in New Port Richey

- Gustaf Kilander
Mark Meadows wanted to bribe Georgia investigators by sending them ‘a s***load of POTUS stuff’, aide says

The Select Committee investigating January 6 has said that they have received text messages suggesting that Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows wanted to send gifts to investigators in the form of “a s***load of POTUS stuff,” in the words of a White House aide, including coins, autographed MAGA hats, and other items.

- Bevan Hurley
Chicago police banned from chasing people just because they run away following two fatal shootings

Deaths of Adam Toledo, 13, and Anthony Alvarez, 22, heaped pressure on Chicago police to change foot pursuit policy

- John Bowden
Sen Ron Johnson aide reached out to Pence office to offer alternate Electoral College votes

False electors were part of bid to overturn election

- Gustaf Kilander
‘Insane’ plan for fake Trump electors to hide in Michigan Capitol overnight revealed at Jan 6 hearings

‘Republican electors were planning to meet in the capitol and hide overnight so that they could fulfil the role of casting their vote, per law, in the Michigan chambers’

- Via AP news wire
Biden celebrates COVID shots for kids under 5
President Joe Biden is celebrating that virtually all Americans can now get a COVID-19 shot Tuesday after the authorization of vaccines for kids under 5 over the weekend
- Graeme Massie
Senior South Dakota official lied and abused his power after killing a pedestrian, impeachment hearing told

Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg was driving home from a GOP fundraiser when he fatally hit 55-year-old Joseph Boeyer

- Rachel Sharp
Uvalde classroom door may have been unlocked entire time as officers waited 77 minutes for key, says report

Surveillance footage shows police officers never even tried to open the door to the classroom where Salvador Ramos was holed up with his victims

- Via AP news wire
Texas GOP's swing to far right cemented with party platform
Ten years ago, the Texas Republican Party used its platform to oppose teaching critical thinking in schools
- Abe Asher
Canadian man with multiple identities and woman found stabbed to death at Mexico resort

The couple, one of whom reportedly had multiple identities, was found dead in Playa del Carmen on Mexico’s Carribean coast

- Rachel Sharp
Family of Uvalde victim forced to leave meeting about mass shooting amid claims they ‘intimidated’ people

Journalists, a local chaplain and the father of a victim were all asked to leave Uvalde City Hall on Monday afternoon ahead of a closed-door hearing before the Texas House of Representative

- Gustaf Kilander
Hikers narrowly escape after attempted kidnapper held them at gunpoint and put leash around woman’s neck

‘We have two victims who are shaken up and a witness who is pretty upset about what he witnessed’

- Rachel Sharp
Uvalde gunman waited for grandfather to leave house before shooting grandmother – who is still unable to speak

Salvador Ramos messaged a 15-year-old girl on social media telling her he was waiting for his grandfather to leave the house ‘before I do it’

- Via AP news wire
Phone call between WNBA's Griner and wife being rescheduled
The White House says a phone call between jailed WNBA star Brittney Griner and her wife is being rescheduled after an earlier attempt to connect on the couple’s anniversary failed because of an “unfortunate mistake."
- Alisha Rahaman Sarkar
Dmitry Muratov sells Nobel peace prize at auction for record $103.5m, with proceeds going to Ukraine

Dmitry Muratov was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for fighting for freedom of the press

- Graig Graziosi
Former NBA player Caleb Swanigan dies at age 25

The Allen County Coroner said Mr Swanigan died of natural causes

- Johanna Chisholm
Alaska is the most patriotic state in US, new report reveals

On average, blue states were more patriotic than red states, the WalletHub study found

- Via AP news wire
Lapid, set to be Israel's next premier, faces critical test
In a 10-year political career, Yair Lapid has transformed himself from upstart political novice to feisty opposition leader to the savvy operator who toppled longtime leader Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
- Kim Sengupta
‘The Russians are not far away’: Inside the town braced for the coming storm of Putin’s forces

On the frontline town, Kim Sengupta finds residents – and pets – braced for Putin’s advancing forces

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- Olivia Burke
If you can spot the deadly sniper hidden in forest scene within ten seconds you’re in the top 1%

SNIPERS have to be still, stealth, and hard to spot – and this invisible marksman ticks all of those boxes.

But some eagle-eyed viewers can still detect the deadly assassin lurking in the undergrowth.

TikTok/nate44432Viewers were left stumped as to where the sneaky sniper was hiding[/caption]

And if you’re one of those sharp-sighted viewers, you can give yourself a pat on the back – as you’re in the top 1%.

TikToker Nathan Daniels shared a clip of the seemingly monotonous beige shrubbery and challenged users to find the sneaky sniper.

He gave viewers 30 seconds to detect the gunman among the vegetation, while the hidden sniper remained perfectly still.

For the majority of viewers, it was impossible to spot the soldier camouflaged in his surroundings.

Read more optical illusions

The footage stumped many people, seeing them complain that “nobody could have spotted” him.

But a handful of observant TikTok users claimed to have managed to locate the veiled shooter before the 30 seconds was up.

The sniper burst out of the thick bushes under Nathan’s orders of “Sniper fire!” from the left-hand side.

He had concealed himself perfectly in his surroundings by donning a disguise that superbly blended in with the undergrowth.

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One user commented: “No way anybody could’ve spotted that!”

Another said: “Got him since it was windy I looked and found something that wasn’t moving, hence I found him.”

The gunman emerged from the undergrowth on the left hand side

And a third chimed in: “That was good. I saw the barrel.”

We previously challenged Sun readers to spot the world’s sneakiest sniper hiding in this idyllic field.

Read More on The Sun

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Or why not try and find this stealthy assassin who did an excellent job of disguising himself among the rocks and shrubs.

And this elusive gunman concealed on a mountain left viewers stumped.

- Forrest McFarland
Playa del Carmen deaths: Chilling details emerge after couple found dead ‘with throats slashed’ at Mexican beach resort

CHILLING details have emerged on a Canadian couple found dead “with throats slashed” in Playa del Carmen at a Mexican beach resort, authorities said.

The man and the woman were found dead Monday with prosecutors confirming that the male victim was on an Interpol wanted list for fraud charges.

A Canadian couple has been found dead in Playa del CarmenReuters

The couple was found dead at a hotel condominium.

A security guard was also injured, the Quintana Roo attorney general’s office said.

Investigators found identification for the male victim with three different names.

“He was not a tourist,” an official told Reuters, saying that the murdered man has been in Mexico for about four years.

There is no immediate information regarding their names or what town they are from, ABC News reported.

Playa del Carmen has faced a series of violent events in recent history, authorities say.

SPRING BREAKERS WARNED

This comes as Spring Breakers have been warned against traveling to Mexico’s popular Caribbean beach resorts over fears they could be killed in the crossfire of a raging drug cartel turf war.

Riviera Maya destinations such as Playa del Carmen, Cancún and Tulum have been hit in recent times by a spate of brutal murders as gangs wrestle to control the booming drug trade. 

Playa del Carmen in particular seems to currently be gripped by an ongoing battle that is leaving a bloody trail of bodies in its wake. 

In March, sanitation workers reportedly discovered the dismembered remains of four adult males at Villas del Sol in Playa del Carmen.

Earlier in the month British businessman Chris Cleave, 54, was gunned down and killed execution-style in front of his 14-year-old daughter, also near Playa del Carmen. 

And in January the manager of a trendy beach club was found dead just five days after two Canadian citizens were killed in a shootout at a hotel, again in Playa del Carmen. 

Robert Almonte, a retired deputy chief of the El Paso police department and former US Marshall for the Western District of Texas who is an expert on Mexican drug cartels, warned that the tourist resorts are currently a war zone. 

Mr. Almonte told The Sun: “It is not safe to go to the resorts.

“Tourists are not going to be specifically targeted but the concern is that they become collateral damage. 

“The cartels are not very careful about how they kill.

More to follow…For the latest news on this story keep checking back at Sun Online.

The-sun.com is your go-to destination for the best celebrity news, sports news, real-life stories, jaw-dropping pictures and must-see video.

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- Aliki Kraterou
Russia deploys ‘Prometheus’ hypersonic nuke-killer system after issuing chilling World War Three warning to the West

RUSSIA is set to deploy the deadly ‘Prometheus’ hypersonic nuclear system Vladimir Putin has said today.

The announcement comes after the Russian leader issued another chilling warning to the West.

A surface-to-air missile was fired from a mobile launcher truckEast2WestThe S-500 anti-aircraft missile system is designed to bring down enemy aircraft and missiles up to an altitude of 125 miles[/caption] EPAThe Sarmat missile can fly over 11,000 miles[/caption]

Speaking on Sunday, Putin warned former countries of the Soviet Union, that a repeat of the Ukrainian invasion is on the cards if anyone defies Russia.

And today during his speech to the military graduates in Moscow, he revealed Russia’s plans to deploy the advanced weapon system.

He said: “We will continue to develop and strengthen our armed forces, taking into account potential military threats and risks, and based on the lessons of modern armed conflicts, and improve their combat strength.”

The Russian tyrant said the powerful S-500 is already being delivered to the Russian armed forces.

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He continued: “Among the priority areas is equipping troops with new weapons systems that will determine the combat efficiency of the army and navy in the coming years and decades.”

The killer S-500 surface-to-air defence system that was presented last year can destroy incoming hypersonic missiles in near-space.

It is designed to bring down enemy aircraft and missiles up to an altitude of 125 miles.

That brings ballistic missiles and potentially even low orbit satellites within range.

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Major General Babakov, commander of Russian missile defence troops, said at the time: “The S-500 air defence system is capable of destroying hypersonic weapons of all modifications, including in near-space, in addition to aerodynamic and ballistic targets, which makes it possible to say with confidence that this system is unique.”.

Putin also said the Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile is set to be delivered to the army soon.

The deadly Satan 2 nuke missile can fly over 11,000 miles, carry 15 warheads and has the potential to destroy an area the size of the United Kingdom in a single strike. 

The deployment of the killer weapon comes as the Russian President has issued a number of threats to the West amid soaring tensions over the invasion of Ukraine.

He said he wouldn’t hesitate to extend the Ukrainian war to countries that defy Russia- referring to all of the former territories of the USSR, which he described as “historic Russia”.

He also said any countries that turned against the Kremlin would no longer “be allies” with Moscow.

And earlier today, one of his allies, retired general Evgeny Buzhinsky threatened to nuke Britain and warned Nato is “playing with fire”.

Speaking on Russian TV, Buzhinsky lashed out at British general Sir Patrick Sanders.

Sanders issued a rallying call to troops to prepare to fight and beat Russian forces in a Third World War as he took command of the UK’s land forces this week.

“He doesn’t understand that as a result of the Third World War Britain will physically cease to exist,” said Buzhinsky.

Read More on The Sun

MAMMA MIA

I’m a mum of 34 kids at 23 - we sleep at 7pm but I’m up ALL night as they wake

FLY OVER

Travellers told avoid flying on certain days - as Ryanair boss warns chaos to stay

“The island will vanish, so I’ve no idea where he or his descendants will live.”

His threat comes as Lithuania which is a Nato country is restricting the movement of goods out of Russian territory.

East2WestPutin has announced the S-500 is set to be deployed[/caption] Help those fleeing conflict with The Sun’s Ukraine Fund

PICTURES of women and children fleeing the horror of Ukraine’s devastated towns and cities have moved Sun readers to tears.

Many of you want to help the five million caught in the chaos — and now you can, by donating to The Sun’s Ukraine Fund.

Give as little as £3 or as much as you can afford and every penny will be donated to the Red Cross on the ground helping women, children, the old, the infirm and the wounded.

Donate here to help The Sun’s fund

Or text to 70141 from UK mobiles

£3 — text SUN£3£5 — text SUN£5£10 — text SUN£10

Texts cost your chosen donation amount (e.g. £5) +1 standard message (we receive 100%). For full T&Cs visit redcross.org.uk/mobile

The Ukraine Crisis Appeal will support people in areas currently affected and those potentially affected in the future by the crisis.

In the unlikely event that the British Red Cross raise more money than can be reasonably and efficiently spent, any surplus funds will be used to help them prepare for and respond to other humanitarian disasters anywhere in the world.

For more information visit https://donate.redcross.org.uk/appeal/disaster-fund

- Olivia Burke
My neighbour’s garden gnome was scaring my son so I took drastic action – am I in the wrong?

A DESPERATE dad has told how he took drastic action to get rid of his neighbour’s garden gnome as it was scaring his son.

The man explained his five-year-old child would burst into tears at the sight of the ornament on next-door’s front lawn.

AlamyThe dad told of his dilemma after his neighbour’s gnome terrified his young son[/caption]

He appealed to Reddit users for advice after becoming embroiled in a row with his neighbour Cindy over the “tacky” additions to her large front garden.

The dad said he was forced to take matters into his own hands after she refused to remove the gnome from her property.

He said he had struck up a friendly relationship with his neighbour, so much so she often brings her homegrown flowers and produce over.

But Cindy has also created a “gnome village” in her vast garden to add some character among the greenery.

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However, the Redditers son has not taken a shine to all of the fictional figurines – and has “developed a fear” of one ornament.

The dad said: “Recently, Cindy got a new gnome. For whatever reason my five year old son has developed a fear of this particular gnome.

“I’m not sure why and yes I have asked him why. I’m sure he’s seen something scary on YouTube or something.

“The gnome is just a normal gnome with like a gardening hose and a basket of flowers.

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“I decided to talk to Cindy, explained the problem and asked if she would move the gnome to the back garden or behind the bushes on her patio. Cindy refused! I wasn’t asking for much!”

After the awkward confrontation with his neighbour, the man told how a few days later, his son’s ball rolled onto her garden.

He continued: “He refused to go get it, crying and begging me to get the ball.

“I got the ball and moved the gnome behind some flower bushes. My plan was to move it back once my son stopped playing.

“Cindy came out to water the garden, noticed the gnome was gone and demanded to know where it was.”

The dad added: “She even threaten to call the police on me! Over a gnome!

“After I gave her back the gnome, Cindy told me not to come on her property again!

“I told my wife what happened and while she thinks Cindy overacted, she also thinks I shouldn’t have taken the gnome.

‘YOU SHOULD GNOME BETTER’

“She says our son will get over his fear in time or he’ll just have to play in the back. I think our son has a right to play in his own front yard without being scared of a gnome.”

The majority of Reddit users supported Cindy’s outrage and his wife’s perspective, with some calling on him to “be a better father”.

One wrote: “You have a responsibility as a parent to explain irrational fears to your child. Not steal from your neighbors.”

Another added: “Instead of having a teachable moment with your son, you chose to steal a neighbors gnome. Be a better father.”

And a third chimed in: “You don’t prepare the environment for your child, you prepare your child for his environment.

“There are so many ways you could have dealt with that, including making up funny songs and stories about gnomes.”

But others extended their support to the dedicated dad for trying to comfort his young son.

Reddit users shared stories of their childhood fears before reassuring him they “got over it” and “stopped being afraid”.

One suggested: “Come up with a silly disarming name for the gnome, a little dance routine that renders the gnome powerless in their presence, or just being brave and going for it and maybe a sticker chart to track every time they survive an encounter.”

Read More on The Sun

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While another commented: “Your child will have to learn that neighbors stuff is off limits – sorry bud.”

And one user joked: “You should gnome better!”

- Jon Rogers
British Airway crew member struck down with monkeypox – sparking massive delay to London-bound flight

A DIPLOMATIC incident was brewing today after a British Airways crew member was struck down by monkeypox in Singapore.

Government officials were in talks with authorities in Asia after they demanded the steward’s entire crew quarantine alongside their infected colleague for 21 days.

AlamyThe BA flight back to London was delayed for six hours (file photo)[/caption]

BA and the Home Office were trying to get permission to charter a plane to bring the rest of the staff home for further testing.

Flight BA16 back to London was delayed for six hours today while the legal wrangle unfolded.

The infected crew member had worked on the flight out from Heathrow to Singapore, before completing the leg from Asia to Sydney.

He enjoyed downtime in Oz with the rest of his airline pals.

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But after the return flight from Australia to Singapore, the steward tested positive for monkeypox.

It meant he was immediately quarantined and banned from working on the final return flight to London.

But a row broke out when Singapore authorities insisted a further nine crew and two technical BA staff also remain there in quarantine.

A source said last night: “BA is desperate to bring its workforce home and have them in quarantine in Britain if needs be.

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“They have put forward the idea of chartering a plane at great expense so the crew members won’t go near any other members of the public.

“But Singapore authorities have said ‘no’ and want everyone to stay – in case other crew members test positive for monkeypox.

“It is an awkward situation and the government is now trying to prevent this becoming a diplomatic incident.”

Last night oblivious passengers due to board BA16 from Singapore to Heathrow had no idea of the monkeypox drama.

Passenger Tan Lay-Kok hit out online: “Got an unpleasant surprise when I checked my upcoming booking on BA16 from SIN to LHR to find it will be delayed by 6 hours.”

A second unaffected BA crew in Singapore was due to work on the delayed flight back to the UK while the row continued behind the scenes.

As of June 20, there are 793 confirmed infections in the UK. Of these cases, 766 are in England, 18 are in Scotland, three are in Northern Ireland and six are in Wales.

In recent weeks around 2,103 cases have been detected globally, the most recent data from the World Health Organization (WHO) states.

Anyone can get the illness – more so if you have been in contact or had sexual contact with a person who has symptoms.

Health Promotion Specialist at Terrence Higgins Trust, Alex Sparrow, said a new targeted vaccination programme is a positive move.

Data still shows monkeypox is disproportionately affecting gay and bisexual men in the UK.

Read More on The Sun

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A British Airways spokesperson told The Sun this evening: “We’re working closely with the Singapore Health Authorities and have offered assistance with any information they require.

“We’re in contact with our crew and providing the necessary support.

Getty - ContributorThe BA steward tested positive for monkeypox after arriving at Singapore’s international airport[/caption] We pay for your stories!

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- Jon Rogers
Evil babysitter admits raping baby and molesting a dozen other kids as sickening way he duped parents is revealed

A VILE babysitter has admitted to raping a baby and molesting a dozen other kids, in a horrifying case.

Jareth Thomas Harries-Markham, 24, appeared in Perth Magistrates Court on Tuesday charged with 221 child sex offences relating to the kids he babysat between July 2020 and August last year.

FacebookJareth Thomas Harries-Markham pleaded guilty to 141 charges against him[/caption]

He appeared via a video link with a black left eye and pleaded guilty to 141 of the offences, including raping a child under the age of 13.

Other charges included multiple counts of indecently recording and indecently dealing with a child.

The remaining charges were dropped and Harries-Markham is due to be sentenced at the West Australian Supreme Court on September 27, News.com.au reports.

The court heard Harries-Markham had advertised his babysitting services on two websites, saying on one that he loved “helping bring up kids to be the best that they can be”.

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He committed his crimes across Perth and the state’s north west, having gained the trust of parents.

Using the website WeNeedANanny.com, Harries-Markham claimed to have more than four years of experience, a Working with Children card, police checks and a first aid certificate.

Writing on the site, he said: “I’m a pretty easy going guy who is open to care for any age any hrs. Open to handling things anyway the family wants.”

In an ad on another site, he offered his services for $20 to $25 an hour and claimed he had more than five years babysitting experience.

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Police arrested Harries-Markham after they raided his home in Bennett Springs on August 22 and found child exploitation material.

Several gel blasters and “edged weapons” were also discovered at the premises by child abuse detectives.

Read More on The Sun

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Harries-Markham was initially charged with 14 child sex offences, including sexual assault of a child under 12 months and producing child abuse material, as well as possession of prohibited weapons.

Further charges were laid as the investigation progressed and more victims were discovered.

FacebookHarries-Markham advertised his babysitting services on websites[/caption] We pay for your stories!

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Click here to get The Sun newspaper delivered for FREE for the next six weeks.

- Henry Holloway
How China would destroy US bases & sink ships in Pearl Harbor-style missile blitz ahead of Taiwan invasion, experts warn

CHINA could begin a devastating war with Taiwan by launching a massive Pearl Harbor-style onslaught on US bases and ships in the Pacific, experts have warned.

Fears are growing that an emboldened Beijing could finally launch military action to take the breakaway island in what could be an even bigger war than Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

China has vowed to reclaim the island – despite the fact Taiwan insists it is a independent nation after splitting from the mainland in 1949.

It is believed the US would seek to try and defend Taiwan, with Joe Biden vowing to intervene “militarily” against China.

And in new book Defending Taiwan, foreign policy experts Hal Brands and Michael Beckley warn the war could begin with China launching a pre-emptive strike on US forces.

Brands and Beckley warn the “most worrying” scenario would see Beijing attempt to launch a “surprise missile attack” on American forces in Asia.

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It would be an attack similar to Pearl Harbor – when the Japanese attempted to knock out the bulk of US naval power in the Pacific on the dawn of World War 2.

Chinese military doctrine demands that they attempt to “paralyse the enemy in one stroke” – and they warn “by the time the [US] was ready to fight, the war might effectively be over”.

The experts, who penned the chapter “Getting Ready for a Long War” in the book for the American Enterprise Institute, argue the US is preparing for the “wrong kind of war” over Taiwan.

Both sides are readying their militaries for a “splendid little war”.

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But they warn Chinese and US military leaders will end up getting a long, grinding conflict with an overt risk of a nuclear exchange.

Drawing up a worst case scenario for day one of the war, Brands and Beckley describe how Beijing will seek to blunt any response by the US.

“In the most worrying scenario, Beijing would launch a surprise missile attack, hammering not only Taiwan’s defenses but also the American naval and air forces concentrated at a few large bases in the western Pacific,” they write.

The massive assault would then be followed by cyberattacks and anti-satellite operations to try sow chaos and stop any effective response by Taiwan and the US.

They go on: “And the PLA would race through the window of opportunity, staging amphibious and airborne assaults that would overwhelm Taiwanese resistance.”

“By the time the United States was ready to fight, the war might effectively be over.”

The US military has more than a dozen bases in close proximity to Taiwan and China.

The fact that such a war would probably begin with a Pearl Harbor–style missile attack on US bases would make it even harder for an outraged American populace and its leaders to accept a quick defeat

Brands and Beckley

Japan, South Korea and the island of Guam are just some of the locations which serve the US army, navy and air force.

And the main source of power for Washington in the region is the mighty Seventh Fleet.

The fleet deploys between 50 to 70 warships, including aircraft carriers, submarines, destroyers, cruisers and assault ships.

Some 27,000 sailors and marines are service with the fleet – which also has around 150 aircraft.

And at the core of the fleet is the Fifth Carrier Strike Group, currently headed by USS Ronald Reagan.

China however would attempt to knock out this invaluable asset at the start of the war – with Beijing often bragging about their “carrier killer” missiles and other anti-ship weapons.

Brands and Beckley write that the US is currently actively planning against this scenario – seeking to “harden and disperse” the US military presence in Asia.

ReutersJoe Biden has vowed to defend Taiwan from China[/caption] Xi Jinping wants to seize Taiwan for ChinaAlamy

And such a preemptive strike would only serve to galvanise the US determination to hit back hard against China.

“The fact that such a war would probably begin with a Pearl Harbor–style missile attack on US bases would make it even harder for an outraged American populace and its leaders to accept a quick defeat,” they wrote.

Japan’s assault on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, was a surprise attack designed to stop the US from intervening in the empire’s expansion in Asia.

More than 350 fighters and bombers blitzed the military base in Hawaii – sinking four battleships, destroying 188 aircraft and killing 2,335 servicemen.

And the very next day the US entered World War 2.

A similar attack triggering a war for Taiwan would see China and the US be locked into a long conflict as neither side would want to give an inch.

Washington would want to hit back and keep its power in Asia, while China’s ruling Communist Party would see their future tied to their success in Taiwan.

Brands and Beckley go on: “Even if the United States failed to prevent Chinese forces from seizing Taiwan, it couldn’t easily bow out of the war.

“Quitting without first severely damaging Chinese air and naval power in Asia would badly weaken Washington’s reputation and its ability to defend remaining allies in the region.

“The United States might well fear that admitting defeat would mean the end of its influence in the world’s most economically dynamic region.”

It comes as China has vowed they “will not hesitate” to start a war and its forces have been staging invasion drills aimed squarely at Taiwan.

The dispute over the island off the coast of China stems from when it became a refuge for the defeated forces in the Chinese civil war, who fled there in 1949.

The Republic of China, as the island is still officially known, technically claims to still be the government of the whole of China.

But recent years have seen growing demands for independence and the party of its current President Tsai Ing-wen has that as its goal.

China regards Taiwan as being part of its territory and has vowed to reunite the island with the mainland while making clear any independence moves will mean war.

Beijing is rapidly expanding its armed forces, including the imminent launch of a new 100,000-ton aircraft carrier to rival the US Navy.

Its warplanes continue to buzz Taiwan, in what is widely seen as a bid to intimidate the island.

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“If anyone dares to split Taiwan from China, the Chinese army will definitely not hesitate to start a war no matter the cost,” Chinese defence minister Wei Fenghe told his US counterpart last week.

He vowed the Communist giant would “smash to smithereens any ‘Taiwan independence’ plot and resolutely uphold the unification of the motherland”.

- elsa.buchanan@news.co.uk
Dying brown bear mauls hunter to death in face-ripping revenge attack AFTER being shot

A WOUNDED bear mauled a hunter to death in revenge for shooting it before dying from its injuries.

Graphic photos show the 62-year-old man’s mutilated body in a forest in Russia with the brown bear lying dead nearby.

East2WestThe unidentified hunter was found with his face ripped off near the tree he is believe to have climbed down from[/caption] East2WestThe brown bear’s carcass was found meters from the body of the slain hunter[/caption] East2WestA search party discovered the gruesome scene after the hunter went missing[/caption]

The hunter, who has not been identified but had been reported as missing, is understood to have shot and injured the wild animal from a platform in a tree in the Tulun district of Irkutsk region.

Local media believe the man climbed down the tree to check on the bear, which he thought dead.

However, the beast which would have been mortally wounded at the time, attacked the hunter on the ground.

“When a 62-year-old man climbed down, the mortally wounded bear attacked and killed him,” independent Russian news agency Interfax said in its report.

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“The carcass of the animal was found 50 metres from the place where the man died.”

The report described the hunter’s skull as “crushed” – an indication of the violence of the assault. The man also suffered claw and fang wounds.

“The mortally wounded predator managed to inflict an injury from which the hunter died,” the regional office of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs is quoted as saying.

The gruesome scene was discovered after a search party had been organised in the Siberian region.

It is not the first time humans are attacked by bears in Russia.

In 2021, camper Yevgeny Starkov, 42, was eaten by a bear as his three friends could only watch in horror before walking for seven hours with no shoes to raise the alarm.

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The hungry predator lunged at the isolated friends in a Russian national park with its “big head dripping with saliva”, survivor Anton Shelkunov recalled at the time.

Shelkunov said the bear was no more than seven metres from the men who had been visiting the Yergaki Nature Park, in the Krasnoyarsk region of Siberia.

Terrified at the salivating beast, they all fled their camping spot.

But victim Starkov was unable to escape in time, and was torn and gnawed by the drooling beast.

In 2017, Russian hunter Alexei Koptyakov miraculously survived the shocking attack of a blood-thirsty bear and had his chewed skull reconstructed with part of his pelvis.

The 29-year-old also had his nose and mouth ripped off by the flesh-eating predator.

Alexei escaped death after two brutal assaults by the angry beast and was so horrendously injured that several cars refused to stop after he had managed to crawl to a nearby road.

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In the United States, meanwhile, a hunter savaged by massive grizzly bear was left needing 90 stitches in his head after fighting off the raging beast in 2017.

The hunter, Tom Sommers, was left with a 16-inch gash to his head after surviving a savage attack in Montana in which the beast charged at home from 30ft in less than four seconds.

- elsa.buchanan@news.co.uk
Horror moment docs remove 2ft ARROW fired through woman’s head as she screams in agony

A PETRIFIED woman shot through the face by a longbow is lucky to be alive after she was saved by firefighters who cut down the 28-inch arrow with bolt cutters.

The unsightly footage shows the moment the steel-shafted arrow is removed from the squealing women on a hospital treatment bench in Xi’an, Shaanxi Province, Northwest China.

AsiaWireThe woman seen on the hospital treatment bench before the arrow is safely removed from her face[/caption]

According to local sources, the woman was not stricken intentionally.

It later emerged that a man who was practicing archery misfired as she was walking by.

The centimetre-thick arrow, which had entered under her left eye and came out just under her left temple, was so tough hospital medics could not remove the projectile from the victim’s face.

Instead, the hospital urged the fire brigade to operate on the woman with bolt cutters to shorten the 70-centimetre long arrow – which could not fit into a CT scanner.

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The footage shows a firefighter steadying the shaft as another cuts it off with the cutting tool.

As the firefighter snips off the top, the middle-aged woman can be heard screeching in pain.

It is understood the medics then removed the shortened arrow.

For centuries, archery has played a pivotal role in Chinese society, and today bows and arrows are considered sporting equipment.

Despite many restrictions on dangerous weapons in China, none are applied to bows and arrows, which are used in the Olympic sport.

One of the firemen who attended the incident, meanwhile, was quoted by local media as saying: “I hope that bow and arrow enthusiasts avoid public places when practising archery to avoid such things from happening again in the future.”

The police are allegedly investigating the case.

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This comes a month after pictures and video emerged of the bow and arrow bloodbath launched in a supermarket by a crazed killer.

Footage was released at the start of trial of Espen Bråthen, 38, showing him on a deadly rampage with the weapon in a Co-op Extra store in KongsbergNorway in October, 2021.

The white-vested maniac bursts into the store brandishing his bow and launches a quickfire barrage of arrows at innocent shoppers.

Unstable loner Brathen’s spree – in which he also used hunting knives – killed five victims and wounded two, including a police officer hit by an arrow in his back.

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Asked by a judge for his plea yesterday, Brathen replied: “I admit guilt.”

The court heard he stalked the streets of the city with 80 arrows and several knifes – but all five of his victims died from stab wounds.

- Henry Holloway
Gleycy Correia dead at 27 – Former Miss Brazil dies from ‘massive bleeding’ and heart attack after tonsil operation

A BEAUTY queen who was once crowned Miss Brazil has died at the age of 27 after a routine tonsil operation went horribly wrong.

Gleycy Correia, from Macae, south-eastern Brazil, died on June 20 after the operation left her suffering “massive bleeding and a cardiac arrest”.

Beauty queen Gleycy Correia died after the operationNewsflash missbrasiloficialShe won Miss United Continents Brazil in 2018[/caption] NewsflashShe was remembered for her ‘enlightened beauty, joy, and empathy’[/caption]

Correia passed away at a private clinic after spending more than two months in a coma after the surgery in April.

Five days after the operation she is reported to have suffered haemorrhage and a heart attack.

And after spending 77 days in a coma, yesterday she sadly died.

The beauty queen had been crowned Miss United Continents Brazil and Miss Costa do Sol in 2018.

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In a statement, Miss Brazil Official said: “Gleycy will always be remembered for her enlightened beauty, joy, and empathy.”

Pastor Jak Abreu, who knows Gleycy’s family, wrote on social media that her relatives believe that there was a mistake during the operation.

Her body was sent to the Forensic Medicine Institute of Macae for an autopsy.

“God chose this day to collect our princess,” said Abreu.

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“We know the longing will be immense. But she will now be cheering the sky with her smile.

“To everyone who prayed, thank you very much. May the Lord reward every prayer of love and all these days together.

“She fulfilled her purpose and left her legacy of love in us.”

Gleycy was a social media star with more than 52,000 followers on Instagram.

After she fell into a coma – her page was taken over by relatives who used it to post prayers.

She often spoke about her humble beginnings – having been raised in poverty in Brazil.

The model worked her first job when she was just 8, taking a role as a manicurist as a beauty salon.

“We will never know how strong we are until being strong is the only choice,” she wrote on Instagram.

“I really wasn’t born in a golden cradle, I’m from a very humble family, but I’m so proud of it, really proud.”

Family priest Lidiane Alves Oliveira said: “She had surgery to remove her tonsils and after five days at home, she had a haemorrhage.

“She went to Unimed and had a cardiac arrest on April 4 and since then she was in a coma, with no neurological activity.

“She passed away.”

He added: “God chose this day to collect our princess. We know that she will be greatly missed, but she will now be brightening the sky with her smile.”

Gleycy will be buried at 11.30am on June 21.

- Henry Holloway
Putin’s shady billions EXPOSED as leaked docs reveal secret ski resorts, vineyards & superyachts worth nearly £4bn

VlADIMIR Putin’s billionaire lifestyle has once again been exposed as leaked docs connect him to a network holding property, vineyards and yachts worth nearly £4billion.

Russia’s president has long been believed to live a luxurious lifestyle off the back of state corruption – with some suggesting he may be one of the world’s richest men with a net worth of up to £160billion.

His wealth is believed to be comparable to the £170bn fortune of Elon Musk, and is thought to exceeds the £135bn and £120bn of Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates.

Putin is understood to be inseparable from the Russian state – and he has vast holdings in oil and gas which he obtained from his cronies and through corruption.

Kremlin officials always deny reports of the tyrant’s extraordinary wealth, instead insisting he lives modestly on a comparatively paltry salary of £70,000.

The Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project and Russian news site Meduza has now revealed a paper trial that provides an insight into Putin’s suspected fortune.

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Digital records all using the common email domain name – LLCInvest.ru – appear to suggest Putin has been hiding behind a number of companies to allegedly buy up luxury property across Russia.

Investigators probed properties linked to Putin – and found some of the firms behind the purchases were connected by the common domain.

LLCInvest.ru emails appear to be linked to 86 different companies and organisations, which all operate on servers owned by telecoms company Moskomsvyaz, which has close links to Bank Rossiya.

Bank Rossiya – based in Putin’s home city of St Petersburg – is under sanction by the West and described by the US as the “personal bank for senior officials of the Russian Federation”.

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So with all these spiderweb connections, the OCCRP and reporters managed to make a two pronged link between the £3.7billion in assets and Vlad.

It is not suggested that all the users of the LLCInvest.ru domain are involved in managing assets that have been linked to Putin.

Some of the properties and assets linked to Putin by the investigation are truly astonishing – exposing his rich list lifestyle.

And yet Vlad is allowing his economy to be strangled by Western sanctions – with companies quitting the rogue state due to the war in Ukraine – all the while allegedly living like a gold-plated Tsar.

The newly uncovered records once again link Putin to a £1billion palace on the shores of the Black Sea.

The property has a swimming pool, a spa, saunas, a bar, a theater, a cinema, a wine cellar and a casino.

It is a sprawling pile that spans an incredible 18,000 square metres.

Vlad’s palace also includes a guest house, its own petrol station, an arboretum, a helipad and is even alleged to have a stripper pole.

Putin is also believed to own acres of vineyards around the palace for his “hobby” of making wine.

Moving on from the Black Sea coast, Putin is also believed to own a number of holiday homes around the Baltic Sea and Lake Ladoga in northern Russia.

He has been linked to a lavish property called Villa Sellgren that is known by locals as “Putin’s Dacha”.

Worth Avenue YachtsVladimir Putin’s yacht Nega is understood to be a Princess 32M [STOCK][/caption] Picture believed to show Putin’s 151-foot yacht Shellest

It is alleged to feature a gold-plated swimming pool and underground spa – with the property paved with expensive marble.

The once grand property was in disrepair before it underwent an expensive renovation, believed to be for Vlad.

Putin is also linked to a wood-clad building just north of St Petersburg known as “The Fisherman’s Hut”

But despite its modest name, the property is a modern mansion believed to be Vlad’s country retreat on the shores of Lake Ladoga.

It even has grass growing across its roof to protect it from Western spy satellites.

Vlad is alleged to use the retreat when he wants to escape from the public eye.

And it can be accessed by chopper with an onsite helipad as the house is surrounded by eight miles of wire fence patrolled by guards.

The property is officially own by a non-profit organisation named Revival of Maritime Traditions.

But this is the same company who was recently sanctioned by the US as they own two yachts – Shellest and Nega – both linked to Putin.

Shellest is understood to be a 151 foot yacht brimming with luxuries such as a hot tub and massive bedrooms.

And meanwhile Nega is understood to be a British-made 104 foot boat capable of entertaining up to ten guests.

Putin is believed to use Shellest while holidaying on the Black Sea, and while in Russia’s north he vacations aboard Nega.

The final asset in the new dossier linked to Putin is a stake in the Igora ski resort – which is where Vlad’s daughter got married in 2013.

“The president of the Russian Federation is in no way connected or affiliated with the objects and organisations you named,” a Kremlin spokesman told The Guardian.

It comes as Putin continues to wage a disastrous war in Ukraine – which is believed to have cost him as many as 50,000 troops.

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And rumours are swirling about both the tyrant’s health and his future, with reports he could be ill and facing a potential coup.

Vlad is clinging on for now – with his allies continuing to viciously threat to escalate the conflict into what could become World War 3.

- elsa.buchanan@news.co.uk
Dad reveals heartbreaking final moments before seven-year-old daughter died jumping out of a moving car

A DEVASTATED dad has revealed the heartbreaking final moments before his “adventurous” daughter, seven, died in a freak accident after jumping out of a moving car.

Queensland dad Kim Roser and his six children were travelling with a family friend to a campsite 25km east of Harts Range in Central Australia, when the tragedy happened.

7NEWS.com.auDad Kim Roser described his daughter as cheeky and adventurous[/caption] 7NEWS.com.auThe family were excited about a trip to the outback when tragedy struck[/caption]

The family’s plans to go gemstone mining were shattered when Kahleesi fell from Kim’s Nissan Patrol.

“The kids jumped in the car and we went to get water and I don’t know what happened, I think she tried to jump out the window before the car stopped to be the first to open the gate,” Roser told 7NEWS.

“We would’ve been doing 15km/h maybe slower… my 13-year-old daughter was sitting beside her and my friend was sitting there too and I just hear him yell “Kahleesi” and I just looked back and got out and ran to her.”

The little girl suffered severe head injuries.

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“She had blood coming out her ears, she was all twisted up. I don’t know if her head knocked the wheel or what happened.”

He added: “I just scooped her up and drove as fast as I could to get help.”

Because of the remoteness of the outback campsite, located 215km northeast of Alice Springs, Roser had no phone signal and was unable to contact emergency services.

He immediately picked Khaleesi up, got back in the car and hurriedly drove off to find help.

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“All I could do was hold my little girl’s hand and look into her eyes and say “Kahleesi, just look into my eyes baby” and say “I love you, you’re a big girl. You’re tough, it’s OK”,’ Roser emotionally recalled.

The brave dad managed to get his little girl to Harts Range medical clinic before she was airlifted more than 1,600km to the Royal Adelaide Hospital for Women and Children.

Sadly, Khaleesi later died from her injuries at the hospital.

The full-time single dad of six years described his cheeky daughter as “larger than life”, saying: “She was everybody’s friend. Everybody had no choice but to love her.”

Khaleesi was the youngest of six kids, who spend “every day of the week, every minute” with their dad.

He added: “Her [Khaleesi’s] sister was like a mum to her. They’d sleep together all the time like best friends. It’s hit her hard, too.”

“We just want to wake up from this nightmare.”

As the family continues to grieve the loss, Roser said his little girl’s legacy will live on forever.

“She donated all her organs to save other kids’ lives – she would’ve wanted to do that,” Roser, who is from the town of Yarraman, explained.

“I just know that’s what kind of person she was and she’d say ‘Dad, if I can save other people’s lives, do it’.”

“She was just like me, a mini me – I’d do anything for anybody too.”

GoFundMe page has been launched to help the family cover funeral expenses.

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A family friend from Darawank in New South Wales, Susan Brown, said the family “now need to take this little darling home to send her off”.

A Northern Territory Police spokesperson told 7NEWS the incident was still under investigation.

GoFundMe/Susan BrownThe siblings live full-time with their dad and are all very close[/caption]
- elsa.buchanan@news.co.uk
Gripping cockpit video shows Ukrainian fighter jet firing missiles & doing barrel rolls as they strike back at Russians

THRILLING new footage shows a Ukrainian jet firing missiles and doing barrel rolls during a nerve-racking mid-air show of force.

The cockpit clip, shared on social media, shows the pilot performing elaborate manoeuvres amid the ongoing air war.

The cockpit footage shows a Ukrainian jet firing missiles The missiles can clearly been seen in the video, as the pilot flies near a town The pilot is seen doing barrel rolls as he flies over a city

In the minute-long clip shared by Ministry of Defence of Ukraine, the pilot is seen climbing into an MIG-29 fighter jet before taking off from an airfield under Ukrainian control.

After geolocating the footage, defence experts confirmed the MIG-29 took off from Voznesensk, in Mykolaiv Oblast, a reserve base used by the Ukrainian Air Force, from which operations have flown since February 2022.

As the jet flies over several towns, the pilot executes barrel rolls, before the clip cuts to a view of the top of the cockpit as the pilot launches a plethora of missiles.

Commenting on the clip, the Ukrainian Defence Ministry said: “Dear World, look at how beautiful our land is. Is it any wonder that our pilots defend it with such courage and passion?”.

Russian Air Force, one of the largest and most technologically sophisticated in the world, has claimed their pilots had wiped out the whole Ukrainian Air Force, but has so far struggled to win control over Ukrainian skies.

No data found

Indeed, with an estimated 4,000 combat aircraft and vast experience bombing targets in wars and combat zones in Syria, Georgia and Chechnya, Russia was expected to gain air supremacy.

Experts have suggested flawed logistics operations and a lack of regular and realistic training have plighted the recent modernisation of the Russian Air Force – despite the acquisition of the overplayed SU-34 strike aircraft.

The Ukrainian Air Force, although it possesses limited airpower resources, has so far managed to grow their offensive air capabilities and adapted their air operations.

This has allowed them to block any Russian air dominance.

The Air Force efforts have also been bolstered by an extensive range of air and anti-air capabilities – from handled portable surface-to-air missiles to longer-range S-300 missile systems from Slovakia and drones used to identify Russian ground-to-air missiles.

On June 20, dramatic footage reportedly showing the moment a Russian air ace crashed in flames when a combat-tested Ukrainian soldier shot down his helicopter with a missile emerged.

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Lt-Col Sergey Gundorov, 51, is believed to be the 55th Russian colonel to die so far in Putin’s costly invasion.

Video shared by Ukrainians shows an orange flash as the low-flying Mi-35M chopper is struck by a shoulder-launched rocket.

The aircraft comes down in a field seconds later and cartwheels in a fireball crash.

And pictures from the aftermath show the fiery wreckage of the £30million attack helicopter in a crater.

The clip came after a dramatic Top Gun-style footage emerged showing a Ukrainian jet narrowly dodging a Russian missile lock in a mid-air fight.

The Soviet-designed Su-25 fighter jet can be seen flying over a road over the eastern Donbas region.

Suddenly the pilot’s radar is flashing, suggesting he has been targeted, warning him of an imminent Russian attack.

The pilot then starts twisting and turning over the green fields in a bid to escape the hit.

He performs a series of complex manoeuvres swiftly tilting left and right at high speeds.

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At some point, he gets dangerously close to the ground with the aircraft’s wing even grazing the trees below.

Ukrainian pilots have previously flown dangerously close to the ground to evade Russian missiles.

The pilot is seen climbing in his one-man fighter jet from an unknown airfield in Ukraine Ukrainian supporters have described the Air Force as “Sky Warriors”
- Fiona Connor
How many children does Elon Musk have?

ELON MUSK  is the billionaire businessman changing the world with SpaceX, Tesla and Twitter.

But when he’s not putting his genius to good use in the tech space, Musk has his hands busy with his seven children.

Who are Elon Musk’s children?

Elon Musk‘s growing brood may be because he loves kids – or because he feels civilisation will “crumble” without more humans.

He said: “There are not enough people, I can’t emphasise this enough. There are not enough people.

“If people don’t have more children, civilisation is going to crumble. Mark my words.”

And he’s practicing what he preaches with a growing brood of his own.

Elon Musk has his hands full with seven kidsElon Musk has his hands full with seven kids

Elon Musk has had eight children – but sadly, one of them passed away.

Here’s what we know about Musk’s offspring.

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Nevada Alexander Musk

Musk’s first child, Nevada Alexander Musk, was born in 2002, two years after he married Canadian author Justine Wilson in 2000.

Sadly, he died at just 10 weeks old of sudden infant death syndrome.

Twins – Griffin and Xavier Musk

The billionaire businessman is the proud dad to five children from his relationship with Justine WilsonThe billionaire businessman is the proud dad to five children from his relationship with Justine Wilson

In 2004, Musk and then-wife Justine welcomed twins Griffin and Xavier with some help from IVF.

In June 2022, Xavier filed a petition to change her gender as she wants to be unrelated to her biological dad.

Xavier Alexander Musk filed the paperwork in California on April 18 to change her name.

The petition reveals that she wants to be known as Vivian Jenna Wilson, TMZ reported.

She said she’s changing her name because she “no longer lives with or wish to be related” to her biological father “in any way, shape or form”.

Triplets – Kai, Saxon and Damian Musk

The former couple’s triplets Kai, Saxon and Damian Musk were born in 2006.

They too were conceived through IVF and custody is shared between the two parents, after they divorced in 2008.

Musk has never spoken publicly about his life with his sons.

In a previous interview, Wilson said: “Almost all of my non-work waking hours are spent with my boys, and they are the love of my life.”

X Æ A-Xii

Doting dad Elon Musk welcomed two children with his former partner GrimesDoting dad Elon Musk welcomed two children with his former partner Grimes

On May 5, 2020, Musk and his former partner Grimes announced the arrival of their little boy.

The pair initially named their newborn child X Æ A-12.

The name appeared to be partially inspired by one of the songs from 33-year-old Grimes’ last album – 4ÆM.

Unfortunately for the couple, the name was not in accordance with Californian state law, as the law prohibits Indo-Arabic numerals in names.

Musk and Grimes had to change it to X AE A-XII to remove the Æ and 12 so that his birth certificate would comply with California law.

In an interview for Joe Rogan’s podcast at the time, Musk revealed the pronunciation of his son’s name.

He told Rogan that it is pronounced X-Ash-A-Twelve.

Exa Dark Sideræl Musk

In March 2022, Musk welcomed his second child with the pop star Grimes.

She accidentally announced the couple’s baby news in an interview with Vanity Fair.

She attempted to hide her daughter’s birth from the public, but the secret was revealed when a baby was heard crying upstairs during the interview.

Exa Dark Sideræl is known as Y and joins older brother X Æ A-12, who is similarly referred to as X.

Grimes and Musk named their daughter Exa Dark Sideræl because Exa comes from the computing term exaFlops, according to Vanity Fair,

The middle part of the name, Dark, refers to the beautiful unknown mystery of dark matter in the universe.

And Sideræl, pronounced “sigh-deer-ee-el” is “a more elven” take on the word sidereal which means star or deep space time, an alternative to earth time.

Grimes explained that the name means: “The true time of the universe, star time, deep space time, not our relative earth time.”

It is also a nod to Grimes’ favourite character Galadriel, from Lord Of The Rings.

Musk and Grimes, AKA Claire Boucher, started dating in 2018 and made their debut at the Met Gala in May 2018.

- Anthony Blair
My neighbours built a 2m high decking level with my fence – I’ve spent £50k so they can’t look into my garden

A DAD claims his life was turned upside down after his neighbour decided to knock down his house and rebuild it with decking high enough to see into his garden.

David Boettiger claims he wasn’t told about his neighbour Wassim Rahman’s drastic redesign plans until demolition started next door.

SuppliedDavid Boettiger has been embroiled in a two-year dispute with his neighbour[/caption] SuppliedThe dad from Sydney claims he woke up to heavy construction work next door[/caption] SuppliedThe house’s new pool deck would have been level with his 1.8m fence[/caption]

In August 2020, the Australian said he woke up to the sounds of heavy construction in his home in the from Sydney suburb of Oatley.

It was the start of a two-year battle which he claims caused him to suffer from anxiety and depression.

After seeking out Mr Rahman’s plans, Mr Boettiger was horrified to discover that the new house included a pool deck level with his 1.8m garden fence.

He claimed that “semi-naked” swimmers on the pool deck would easily be visible from his kitchen window.

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Mr Boettiger told news.com.au: “We could see that the house was being demolished but nobody ever told us what was happening.”

He also had concerns that the water from the pool could splash into their property.

“They could do a bomb in the pool while we’re hanging out our washing,” he said.

“People get semi-naked, maybe even naked on a pool deck and we were looking straight into it from our kitchen and back deck.

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“I would have also had people be able to walk straight from the deck and onto my property.”

Builders Saf Developments have denied Mr Boettiger’s claims that neighbours weren’t told of the plans, and said a private certifier had informed the surrounding homes on July 9.

Frustrated, he launched legal proceedings in April 2020, despite being told his best-case scenario was a loss of $20,000 Australian (£11.4k).

He said he wouldn’t have taken action – which cost $100,000 Australian (£57k) if it wasn’t for the pool deck.

Eventually, through mediation in the Land and Environment Court, Mr Rahman’s deck was reduced to one metre, while vegetation was planted along the fence for better privacy.

Mr Boettiger also received $20k Australian (£11.4k) towards his legal fees.

People get semi-naked, maybe even naked on a pool deck and we were looking straight into it from our kitchen and back deck

David Boettiger

However, despite technically ‘winning’ the case, he eventually moved away from Oatley, due to what he says was the “complete anxiety” caused by the past two years.

Mr Rahman hired private certifier Rianda Barnes to ensure his property was constructed in line with building codes and used a complying development certificate (CDC).

A CDC is an alternative to a development application (DA), which has to be lodged with the local council that publishes the plans.

Mr Boettiger claimed that construction continued while he was in the process of trying to appeal to the certifier and the council to amend the deck.

But Ms Barnes said that she could “100 per cent confirm” that the 14-day neighbour notification was provided to surrounding houses on July 8, 2020, with approval for the build being issued on August 14 of that year.

She said that during the court case Mr Boettiger’s claims were addressed and satisfied, and that she provided evidence of the neighbour notification letter.

Speaking to the Daily Mail Australia, Ms Barnes said the pool deck was lowered “at the request of the owner to pacify (Mr Boettiger) and not due to any noncompliance with the approval”.

She also provided proof of the CDC which was sent to Oatley residents.

SuppliedMr Boettiger claims he wasn’t told about his neighbour’s extensive plans[/caption] SuppliedHe spent almost £60k in legal fees fighting the plans[/caption] SuppliedDespite eventually getting the deck lowered, Mr Boettiger moved house[/caption]

In a statement provided to news.com.au, Saf developments maintained it has done “no wrong” in the matter and said the property had been built in a way that satisfies regulations.

It claims the private certifier informed all tenants within 20m of the property of the upcoming build two weeks before the approval of the CDC.

“Despite what conflicting opinions the certifier or Mr Boettiger have in regards to the plans, they are approved plans and were built according to what was stamped,” the statement reads.

“We understand that during this process, the certifier took all necessary steps as defined by New South Wales Planning Department and governing certifiers body to ensure definitions and processes were carried out properly, especially when there was contention in relation to unclear terms.”

The Sun Online has approached Rianda Barnes and Saf Developments for comment.

Looking back on the dispute which led to him leaving the place his wife’s family had lived in for 40 years, Mr Boettiger feels bitter about the legal process.

“I constantly found myself just thinking, ‘how does this happen?'” he said. “I’m a good person, I don’t like to cause trouble to my neighbours. I try to get on with my neighbours. I would never do something that p****d somebody off as much.

“You don’t really feel how unjust it is until it’s happening to you.”

Extensive construction projects are often a trigger for disputes between neighbours.

One Brit claims their neighbour is demanding £250 a day while they build an extension.

Sharing their experiences on TikTok, user @surreyonthemove claimed that wasn’t even the pettiest thing their neighbour did.

“They called the fire services unnecessarily claiming that they could get acid burns,” the user wrote in response to a comment underneath their video.

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And a Brit pensioner has drilled holes in his neighbour’s garden wall after claiming they built it “illegally”.

Ewen Taylor, 87, from Cardiff, has vowed never to stop until the wall is knocked down and replaced with one the exact same height, depth and width as the one it replaced.

- Henry Holloway
Irish girl, 7, fighting for life after being rescued from Majorca hotel pool on holiday with her family

A SEVEN-year-old girl is fighting for her life in hospital after being rescued from a near-drowning in her hotel pool in Majorca.

The youngster was rushed to an intensive care unit “in a critical condition” after the incident as she was on holiday with her family.

The incident occured at the HYB Eurocalas Hotel in Majorca

Police cars cleared a path for her ambulance so she could be rushed there as quickly as possible.

Lifeguards are said to have spotted the girl motionless at the bottom of the pool and dived into to rescue her.

Sources at Son Espases Hospital in the Majorcan capital Palma confirmed she remained “critical” in its paediatric intensive care unit.

Some local reports initially described the child as British but well-placed hospital sources said she is Irish.

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The hotel she was rushed to hospital from has been named as the four star HYB Eurocalas Hotel in the east coast resort of Calas de Mallorca.

It describes itself online as an all-inclusive family-friendly aparthotel a ten-minute stroll from the beach.

The alarm was raised just after 3.30pm on Monday.

A spokeswoman for a regional government-run emergency coordination centre said: “We took a call around 3.40pm yesterday to say lifeguards had spotted a young girl lying motionless on the bottom of the pool and dived in to rescue her.

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“They performed CPR on her after pulling her out of the water because she had gone into cardiac arrest.

“Paramedics continued to try to revive her after reaching the scene and got her breathing again in the back of the ambulance.

“She was taken to Son Espases Hospital.”

No-one from the HYB Eurocalas Hotel, an hour’s drive from Palma and near to the Caves of Drach which is one of Majorca’s top tourist attractions, was available for comment.

On June 5, six-year-old Corey Aughey from north Belfast died in hospital after falling into the swimming pool of the hotel where he was staying with his family in the Majorcan resort of Sa Coma near the Love Island villa.

And last month a British toddler drowned in a swimming pool accident on the Costa Blanca.

Freddie Joseph Briggs died in the pool at his parents’ home in the village of Aigues near Benidorm on May 25, leading the local council to declare three days of mourning.

Tributes were paid to the 19-month-old boy at his funeral service at a church in Belfast where he was christened before he was buried at a nearby cemetery.

Father Thomas McGlynn told mourners at the service the youngster brought happiness to those around him and enjoyed his short life “to the very full.”

The child’s dad Marc Briggs, known to pals as Briggsy and thought to be from Mansfield, Notts, and Belfast-born mum Jane Mohan had moved to the Costa Blanca shortly before the tragedy.

On May 9 a British man drowned in a nearby river which had claimed the lives of three other people in the past month as he tried to save his dog.

Former Royal Navy sailor Paul Lebihan, originally from Gateshead, died after getting into difficulties in the river at a beauty spot a short drive from the Costa Blanca resort of Benidorm.

Friends and loved ones later paid tribute to the 24-year-old keen amateur boxer and set up a GoFundMe appeal which has already raised around half it £15,000 goal to help his family bring Paul’s body home and assist with funeral costs.

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In the early hours of June 7 a British holidaymaker died after falling onto rocks in Sitges south of Barcelona.

The 23-year-old man died instantly after losing his balance in an accident which police said at the time happened when he fell from a replica cannon in front of a church by the sea.

- elsa.buchanan@news.co.uk
World’s biggest freshwater fish is caught as mystery river beast weighing same as a GRIZZLY BEAR is hauled from water

THE world’s biggest freshwater fish has been caught – and it weighs as much as a grizzly bear.

The massive 661lb stingray was snared by Cambodian fishermen in the Mekong river on June 13.

ViralPressThe stingray measures a whopping 13ft-long[/caption] ViralPressIt was hauled by a local fisherman, who called for scientists’ help[/caption] ViralPressThe stingray was filled with a tracking device[/caption] ViralPressIt took half a dozen people to haul the stingray back into the Mekong River[/caption]

Once snagged, the 13ft-long fish was landed on the Koh Preah island by local fisherman Moul Thun, 42, who contacted scientists from the Wonders of Mekong research project.

The beast was weighed by a team of conservationists, who confirmed the stingray which they nicknamed Boramy – meaning ‘full moon’ – was the largest and heaviest ever recorded.

Boramy weighs as much as a large grizzly bear – which can grow to 660lbs.

It took at least a dozen people to release the fish back into the river, seven days after its discovery.

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Boramy was fitted with a tracking device to document its behaviour as it peacefully continues its journey along the Mekong River, which runs through China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia.

Biologist Dr Zeb Hogan, who also hosted the National Geographic show Monster Fish said: “This is very exciting news because it is the world’s largest fish.

“It is also exciting news because it means that this stretch of the Mekong is still healthy.

“It is a sign of hope that these huge fish still live here.”

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The previous record holder was a 646lb (293kg) catfish found in Thailand in 2005.

Wonders of the Mekong leader Zeb Hogan explained that stingrays and other freshwater fish have suffered from “habitat fragmentation from dams and overfishing”.

Hogan said that about 70 per cent of giant freshwater fish globally are “threatened with extinction and all of the Mekong species”.

The Mekong River, which has the third-most diverse fish population in the world and is home to several species of giant freshwater fish, is facing environmental pressures.

Conservationists have warned that extensive dam-building projects aimed at generating hydro-electric power may disrupt spawning grounds.

Large-scale projects in the region are funded by China, Japan and South Korea.

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In April, a record-breaking cod measuring 1.8m and weighing 8st delighted fish lovers in a seaside town of Grimsby Lincs.

Codzilla — which could be 20 years old — was line caught in deep water off Iceland by the trawler Bergey.

ViralPressThis was the largest and heaviest ever recorded freshwater fish[/caption] ViralPressSadly, stingrays have suffered from a loss of habitat and overfishing[/caption]
- Tariq Tahir
Gang of monkeys snatches and KILLS one-month-old baby after invading breastfeeding mum’s home

A BABY boy was killed by a gang of monkeys who snatched him from his mum while she was breastfeeding him.

The one-month-old was with his mum outside the family home in a village in Tanzania when the horror unfolded at around 3pm, police said.

GettyA gang of monkeys made off with the baby as he was being breastfed[/caption]

Shayima Said began screaming in terror as the monkeys made off with little Luhaiba in Mwamgongo village.

Kigoma regional police commander James Manyama confirmed the details of the incident, reports The Citizen.

“The child was with his mother outside their house when a troop of monkeys invaded the house and took him,” said the officer.

“She screamed for help and villagers rushed to her house to assist her in getting her child – identified as Luhaiba Said – back from the troop of monkeys.”

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Villagers managed to track down the monkeys and tried to free Luhaiba from them during the June 18 horror incident.

“When the villagers came it was too late because the baby was already in the hands of monkeys and when they tried to take him back by force he got injured on the head and the neck,” said Manyama.

Luhaiba was eventually freed but sadly died in hospital later while being treated for his injuries, the police commander added.

He revealed that similar incidents were “not uncommon” in villages such as Mwamgongo which are close to Gombe National Park.

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While monkeys appear adorable, the creatures are known to harass, beat, rob and even kidnap humans in broad daylight.

Earlier this year, horror footage emerged showing the moment a toddler was snatched by a monkey and dragged away by her hair as she played outside on her scooter.

The unknowing young tot was left with scratches across her face after she was rescued from the vicious attack in China’s Chongqing Municipality on Tuesday.

Video shows the monkey sneak up on the girl as she she played in the streets, throwing her to the ground before attempting to drag her away.

But fortunately she was saved by the actions of a keen eyed bystander who rescued the child from the clutches of the animal before it could take her any further.  

And last year, The Sun revealed the devastating aftermath of a horrific monkey attack that left a two-month-year-old baby mutilated.

The predator attacked when the baby was in the living room while his mother was in the kitchen.

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In Malaysia, the primates are known to patrol the streets of Kuala Lumper in search of victims they can mug.

The capital’s population has skyrocketed in the last thirty years, leading to more monkeys in the street as their habitats are destroyed for housing.

- Caitlin Hornik
Shock photos of mysterious 3,400 year-old kingdom that emerged from underwater after city’s massive drought

SHOCKING photos have emerged of a mysterious 3,400-year-old kingdom that appeared after being submerged in water.

An extreme drought brought the archaeological site Kemune back to the surface after it had been mostly submerged for decades.

Archaeologists are getting a new look at the ancient city of Zakhiku, seen above in an aerial photoUniversities of Freiburg and Tübingen, KAO Universities of Freiburg and Tübingen, KAOCeramic vessels were among artifacts found at the site, referred to as Kemune, after water levels dipped and caused it to resurface this year[/caption]

The site is believed to be Zakhiku, a Bronze Age city that was an important part of the Mittani Empire dating back to 1550 BC.

The Mittani Empire reigned for about 200 years until 1350 BC.

The site was excavated in January and February by Kurdish and German archaeologists.

These researchers were working to protect cultural heritage in the area, in partnership with the Directorate of Antiquities and Heritage in Duhok, according to CNN.

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Ivana Puljiz, a professor from the University of Freiburg in Breisgau, Germany – and a director of the project – had a team urgently arrive on site to excavate as much of the city as possible.

They were able to document a good portion of the site, according to reports.

“Due to the enormous time pressure, we dug in freezing temperatures, snow, hail, rain, even storms, as well as the occasional sunny day, not knowing when the water would rise again and how much time we would have,” Puljiz said.

Zakhiku had been submerged under water since 1980, according to reports.

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The site had briefly popped up from the water, including in 2018, when other documentation took place.

But this time around, researchers were able to document multiple structures – including some that may have been damaged in an earthquake in 1350 BC – as well as clay cuneiform tablets, CNN reports.

“I am curious next to see what the study of the cuneiform texts will reveal about the fate of the city and its inhabitants after the devastating earthquake,” she said.

The tablets are being stored at the Duhok National Museum.

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Before the city became submerged once again, researchers were able to use plastic sheets to cover the ruins in hopes of preserving the site for the future.

Kemune is located along the Tigris River in the Mosul reservoir in northern Iraq.

Universities of Freiburg and Tübingen, KAOResearchers were up against the clock while documenting the site as water levels were expected to engulf the city again[/caption] Universities of Freiburg and Tübingen, KAOScientists covered the ruins with tarps in an effort to stop erosion[/caption]
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Three generations of same family including baby die ‘in the blink of an eye’ in horror crash as final moments revealed

THREE generations of one family who were killed in a horror head-on collision have been pictured for the first time.

The tragic crash occurred Sunday morning in Picton, New Zealand, when the driver of the van collided head-on with a refrigerated truck.

The family members, who have not yet been named, belonged to New Zealand’s Filipino community The devastating crash left three generations of the same family dead The community has said the collision serves as a wake-up call for others who use this road regularly

Police confirmed seven of the nine on board were killed, reports the New Zealand Herald.

Images of the scene show the van completely destroyed and crumpled up by the impact on State Highway 1.

A heartbroken friend of the seven people killed in the horror crash on the town in the South Island has spoken out about spending his last night with them in Christchurch before they were killed “in the blink of an eye”.

“You spend every spare moment thinking of the what-ifs and the whys,” Bill revealed to Newstalk ZB Canterbury Mornings host John MacDonald.

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He continued: “They spent some of their last hours on earth with me on Saturday night, Sunday morning.

“This was a vibrant family — my friend was a high school teacher … his wife started an online business and he was really proud of her.

“They had four boys and girls … one of the boys had married a Taiwanese young lady and it was their baby that died.

“I was really taken with this young woman, she was so nice and it really hits home at my heart that she’s gone and the baby’s gone.

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“Her husband survived … he’s going to wake up and find that he’s now alone.”

Bill said the family planned to travel from his to Wellington and had been taking turns behind the wheel.

He added his friend told him he was really proud of their safe driving efforts.

The crash has sent shock waves through the small community.

Romy Udanga, an Auckland Filipino community leader, said he was distraught to learn those killed were members of the community.

“This is really a terrible and shocking news for the community, and all our thoughts are with the families and those affected,” Mr Udanga said.

“It really also serves as a wake-up call for others in the community to be extra careful on the roads this long weekend.”

Matilde Figuracion, a Filipino living in Wellington, was meant to have travelled on the same ferry as those involved in the crash.

“The crash happened just minutes before us, and the roads were closed when we reached the Picton area. I was in shock when I heard what happened,” she said.

Emilie Shi, a former consul general of the Philippines, has confirmed the bodies of the deceased have been transferred to Christchurch, and the consul general in the town “is assisting with the matter”.

Inspector Simon Feltham has said an investigation into the crash itself was progressing.

“Police can confirm that one of the deceased was the driver of the van at the time of the crash.

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“As such, the matter will be referred to the Coroner in due course.

“Police’s focus remains on gathering information to assist the Coroner, and on supporting the victims in this crash and our first responders.”

A van hit a truck on State Highway 1 south of Picton – a small town in the South Island of New Zealand The aftermath of the crash The family who tragically died have connections in the Philippines and Taiwan
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- FRANCE 24
Live: EU reaches 'total consensus' on granting Ukraine candidate status
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- FRANCE24
'No way back': The Chechens fighting for Ukraine
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- FRANCE 24
Macron hosts opposition for talks after losing parliamentary majority
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- Tracy MCNICOLL
What next?: Legislative election upset complicates France's political timetable
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- NEWS WIRES
UEFA rejects French claim that fake tickets led to Champions League chaos
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- FRANCE 24
'We need parties': Fête de la Musique, France's summer solstice music festival, turns 40
Every year on June 21, cities and towns across France celebrate the Fête de la Musique. The popular music festival – held annually on the summer solstice, the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere – seemed like a wild idea when it was launched 40 years ago by then culture minister Jack Lang. 
- FRANCE 24
Top French court upholds ban on 'burkini' swimsuits in Grenoble’s public pools
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- NEWS WIRES
‘Mass disruption’ hits UK as rail workers launch biggest strike in decades
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- NEWS WIRES
Israel coalition moves to dissolve parliament, Lapid to become caretaker PM
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- NEWS WIRES
Suspected jihadists kill more than 130 civilians in central Mali, officials say
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- NEWS WIRES
Belgium repatriates women and children linked to IS group fighters from Syria
Belgium on Tuesday flew back 16 children of Islamic State group jihadists and six mothers with Belgian nationality, from a camp in northeastern Syria, officials said. 
- NEWS WIRES
Ecuador Indigenous protesters arrive in Quito as president extends state of emergency
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Video showing brutal beating of women reopens the debate on gender violence in China
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- Cyrielle CABOT
Francia Marquez: From maid to Colombia’s first Black vice president
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- FRANCE 24
Russian journalist sells his Nobel prize at auction for Ukraine aid
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- FRANCE 24
World Refugee Day: Syrians fear Turkish plans to repatriate those who fled war
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- Cyrielle CABOT
‘A bridge between past and present’: Colourised photos bring refugee stories to life
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- NEWS WIRES
Leftist Petro elected president of Colombia, defeating millionaire Hernandez
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- FRANCE24
'Guns 4 Ukraine': How Miami is hoping to get firearms off the streets
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- NEWS WIRES
Belgium returns Lumumba tooth to relatives
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Ukraine says it hit Black Sea oil platform used by Russia’s troops
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Top French court rules against burkinis in city’s pools
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Beijing sends 29 warplanes into Taiwan’s air defence zone in one of largest fly-bys of 2022
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Ukraine war: Russia vows to inflict pain on Lithuania over Kaliningrad goods ‘blockade’
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- 247 News Around The World

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DENVER — A fire that broke out in unincorporated Weld County near County Road 7 and 175th Avenue Tuesday afternoon is now controlled.

The fire was first reported around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, North Metro Fire said.

Mountain View Fire Rescue, which also responded, said the fire had reached structures. It was controlled as of 4:19 p.m. and there was no longer a need for evacuations.

The fire’s size and cause weren’t immediately available.

Drivers should avoid the area. Residents who have smoke drifting into their homes should close their windows, Mountain View Fire Rescue said.

Volunteers with the American Red Cross of Colorado and Wyoming are ready to assist anybody in need in relation to this fire.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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What Is A Sunspot?

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No. Any solar flare that might erupt from around this current sunspot is only capable of producing an M-class flare, according to Newsweek. If AR3038 were to unleash an M-class flare and it hit the earth, you probably wouldn’t notice. In fact, the earth was hit by an M-class flare just last month, and unless you were a HAM radio operator trying to operate on specific radio bands, you wouldn’t have been affected.

But what if a larger solar flare were released? The largest solar storm on record happened around Halloween in 2003 when the sun unleashed two X-class flares, both triggering coronal mass ejections (clouds of superheated solar gas) that crashed into the earth. The effects on the surface were minimal: Sweden experienced a temporary power outage and Antarctic scientists lost all communications for over five days. Flights that would typically fly over the north pole were forced to reroute, costing thousands of dollars. Every satellite in orbit around the sun-facing side of the planet was affected in some way, some being damaged permanently. And most spectacularly, the Aurora Borealis, the Northern Lights, briefly extended as far south as Texas.

The head of the Space Weather Forecast Office at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration tells USA Today that AR3038 is a normal sunspot that hasn’t displayed any unusual activity. Despite having the potential to produce an M-class flare, there’s only a 30% chance that it will. In other words, we’re going to be fine.

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Portable Makes Naira Rain As He Weds His Baby Mama during Their Child Naming Ceremony [Video]

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Portable Makes Naira Rain As He Weds His Baby Mama during Their Child Naming Ceremony [Video]

Double celebration as Portable weds baby mama, Omobewaji, conducts child’s naming ceremony on same day (Video)Controversial singer, Habeeb Okikiola, better known as Portable has tied the knot with his baby mama, Zainab Badmus.

The musician who is caught amid double celebrations also did the naming ceremony of his third child today, June 21.

Portable welcomed his third child on June 14 and subsequently decided to make legal his relationship with his longtime girlfriend.

The couple could be seen in White outfit as they had a cute Muslim wedding.

The Zazu star also shared photos of the event on his Instagram stories.

Portable at a point sprayed dollar bills in the air during the ceremony.

Check out some photos and videos from the event below:

Previous articleSenior Man Bobrisky Throws Shade, Reveals Why Celebrities Didn’t Congratulate Him over My New House

Nwafor Nnamdi is the Head Editor at gist lovers (gistlover.com). He has been publishing for 5 years and focused more on Local/World News on gistlover.com.

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Uvalde Shooter Wasn’t Locked in Classroom: Texas DPS

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The Robb Elementary School sign is seen covered in flowers and gifts on June 17, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images.)

The Robb Elementary School sign is seen covered in flowers and gifts on June 17, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images.)

At a Tuesday hearing, the Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) established a harrowing timeline for the law enforcement response to the school shooting in Uvalde that claimed the lives 19 children and two teachers on May 24.

DPS Director Steven McCraw testified before the Senate Special Committee to Protect All Texans that the police response to the massacre was an “abject failure and antithetical to everything we have learned over the past two decades.”

“Within three minutes of the shooter entering the building, nine officers were in the school with pistols and rifles, and the classroom doors to classroom[s] 111 and 112 were unlocked,” remarked Sen. Brandon Creighton (R-Dist. 4) in a recap of the committee’s many recent factual discoveries. “Within five minutes of the shooter entering the building, Chief [Pete] Arredondo is saying he doesn’t have the necessary resources to advance on the shooter.”

Arredondo, the school district’s police chief, was scheduled to appear during a separate closed-door hearing before the House of Representatives on Tuesday. In Texas, school districts are allowed to have their own police departments, which are separate and distinct from municipal, county, and state law enforcement agencies.

The state’s narrative conflicted with previous versions of the events which suggested the classroom in which the shooter was located was locked.

“I don’t believe based on the information we have right now that door was ever secured,” McCraw said.

The DPS point-man said the shooter “didn’t have a key” and “couldn’t lock it [the door] from the inside.”

Indeed, there was “no indication officers tried to open the door while the gunman was inside,” Dallas NBC station KXAS said in a summer of McCraw’s testimony. Still, “police waited around for a key.” The New York Times also reported that it was “not apparent” in school surveillance videos “that anyone had checked the classroom door to see if it was locked.”

#NEW @TxDPS Dir. Steve McCraw told committee the classroom doors could not be locked from inside. He said they had to be locked with a key from outside the classroom. McCraw said classroom doors not locked & no law enforcement officer tried to see if were unlocked. @CBSDFW pic.twitter.com/jmsZopS9mG

— Jack Fink (@cbs11jack) June 21, 2022

The latter appears to be a reference to comments by Arredondo earlier in June. He said he assumed he was dealing with a hostage crisis and waited for keys to be provided to him to enter the room. In an interview with the Texas Tribune, Arredondo generally dismissed claims that he stalled on his response.

“The only thing that was important to me at this time was to save as many teachers and children as possible,” Arredondo said in a report published by the Tribune on June 9.

“Not a single responding officer ever hesitated, even for a moment, to put themselves at risk to save the children,” Arredondo continued, again per the report. “We responded to the information that we had and had to adjust to whatever we faced. Our objective was to save as many lives as we could, and the extraction of the students from the classrooms by all that were involved saved over 500 of our Uvalde students and teachers before we gained access to the shooter and eliminated the threat.”

McCraw’s testimony as a whole disagreed with Arredondo’s assessment of the situation.

Steve McCraw testifies on Tuesday, June 21, 2022. (Image via YouTube screengrab.)

Steve McCraw testifies on Tuesday, June 21, 2022. (Image via YouTube screengrab.)

The first law enforcement officer with a protective shield arrived at the school at 11:52 a.m., McCraw’s testimony revealed. That was 19 minutes after Ramos entered the classroom, and yet it took the assembled forces waited “one hour, 14 minutes, and eight seconds” to enter the classroom and kill mass murderer Salvador Ramos, McCraw told the legislative committee on Tuesday.

During that delay, students remained inside the room calling 911 and pleading for a police rescue.

“You don’t wait for a SWAT team,” McCraw said while generally lambasting the response of the local constabulary. “You have one officer, that’s enough.”

McCraw said those on the scene “decided to put the lives of officers ahead of the lives of children.” He also said the commander on the scene “waited for a key that was never needed.”

Elsewhere, McCraw called the delay “intolerable” and said it “set our profession back a decade.”

Arredondo didn’t have a police radio. Some of the officers who did have radios found that they didn’t work well inside the school.

During the hearing, Royce West, a Democrat, asked McCraw about limiting certain gun purchases to individuals under 21. He questioned whether people under 21 were “mature enough” to “operate high-caliber weapons.”

“I think it has less to do with maturity and more to do with about mental capacity, and there are certain people — they may be immature, but they’re not evil,” McCraw said.

McCraw generally demurred on questions which might have suggested various policy changes and said suggested such issues should remain with the legislature.

Watch the testimony below:

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Who Creates Cardi B’s Iconic Manicures?

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If Cardi B is seen wearing a bedazzled set of nails, it’s likely Jenny Bui’s handiwork. According to an American Salon profile, Bui has been doing nails for over 20 years and her signature Swarovski-encrusted sets have earned her the title of “Queen of Bling.”

Bui told Cosmopolitan she met Cardi B in her nail salon, Nails on 7th, in Harlem. But before landing in New York City, Bui, a survivor of Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge, traveled through Vietnam, Thailand, and Canada before arriving in the United States, where she attended cosmetology school. According to NYC Go, she was inspired to experiment with bedazzled styles after flipping through Japanese nail art magazines. Now, she is a highly sought-after celebrity nail artist. In 2019, she was named Nail Artist Influencer of the Year at the American Influencer Awards. She was named artist ambassador by OPI and in 2021, “The Queen of Bling” released a line of bedazzled press-on nails in collaboration with Makartt.

Bui has given Cardi B many iconic manicures, including the white stiletto set with multifaceted Swarovski crystals for the 2018 Grammys, and this bedazzled scarlet set for the 2019 Met Gala — Refinery29 reports had over 250 crystals.

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Death threats prompted Georgia poll worker Ruby Freeman to leave her home for two months after Donald Trump falsely said she inserted fraudulent ballots into the 2020 election. Georgia’s Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, said people who believed Trump’s lies broke into his widowed daughter-in-law’s home. The top Republican in Arizona’s State House described crowds outside of his home harrassing his family while they were caring for his “gravely ill” daughter inside.

At the fourth public hearing by the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol on Tuesday, current and former state officials explained in harrowing detail how Trump’s scheme to overturn the election disrupted their lives, sometimes in ways they were still recovering from well over a year later.

Rusty Bowers, the Arizona House Speaker, grew visibly emotional multiple times as he testified about the abuse he and his family endured after he resisted the Trump campaign’s efforts to get him to work to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the state. “I didn’t want to be a pawn,” he said. Bowers shared a passage from his diary describing how John Eastman, a lawyer advising Trump, had asked him to convene a session of the state legislature to install a slate of fake electors for Trump. “I do not want to be a winner by cheating,” Bowers read. “I will not play with laws I swore allegiance to.”

After Bowers, a Republican, stood up to Trump’s pressure, his home and neighborhood became the site of loud and threatening protests for days. One of them took to a loudspeaker to call Bowers a “pedophile.” Inside his home, his 42-year-old daughter was dying and upset by what was happening outside, as was his wife, who is a “valiant person, very strong, quiet, very strong woman,” he said. “It was disturbing.” Their daughter would pass away a few weeks later.

Bowers testified that multiple people in Trump’s inner circle worked to persuade him. Rudy Guiliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, asked him to hold a hearing to showcase the allegations of voter fraud, which he argued would enable the legislature to decertify the election results. Bowers said Giuliani was unable to substantiate any of the claims. “We have lots of theories,” Guiliani told him. “We don’t have the evidence.”

Arizona was one of a handful of states that Trump lost and then targeted in the weeks after the 2020 election.

“Donald Trump had a direct and personal role in this effort, as did Rudy Giuliani, as did John Eastman,” Rep. Liz Cheney, Republican of Wyoming and the vice chair of the committee, said on Tuesday. “In other words, the same people who were attempting to pressure Vice President Mike Pence to reject electoral votes illegally, were also simultaneously working to reverse the outcome of the 2020 election at the state level.”

The committee showed testimony that Trump himself activated the Republican Party’s apparatus to build alternative groups of false electors in those states. In video testimony, Ronna McDaniels, the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, described Trump bringing Eastman onto a phone call so that Eastman could tell her that Trump needed the RNC to help assemble fake electors. “Essentially, he turned the call over to Mr. Eastman, who then proceeded to talk about the importance of the RNC helping the campaign gather these contingent electors in case any of the legal challenges that were ongoing changed the result of any of the states,” McDaniels said. “My understanding is the campaign did take the lead and we just were helping them in that role.”

No state drew more interest from Trump after the election than Georgia. During Tuesday’s hearing, Raffensperger explained the pressure campaign he faced from Trump and others, intent on reversing Biden’s victory in the state. He described being “doxxed” —his phone number and other personal information shared online—allowing right-wing extremists to intimidate him. His wife of 40 years, he said, received a “sexualized text, which was disgusting.” Some people broke into his daughter-in-law’s home. “My son passed,” he said. “She’s a widow.”

The last witness of the hearing, Shaye Moss, described the trauma she and her mother experienced as Georgia election workers who wound up in Trump’s crosshairs. Both Moss and her mother, Ruby Freeman, were at the center of a conspiracy theory promulgated by Trump’s campaign, which disseminated surveillance footage from their Fulton County vote counting station. A lawyer for Trump used a spliced clip to falsely suggest they took 18,000 fraudulent ballots out of a suitcase and illegally inserted them into a voting machine. As the committee pointed out Tuesday, Trump mentioned Freeman’s name 18 times in an infamous phone call with Raffensperger, when the president asked him to “find 11,800 votes”—the number he needed to overtake Biden in Georgia.

Moss testified about receiving vile threats from Trump supporters, one of whom said she and her mother should “hang for treason.” Her mother was forced to move out of her home for two months.

The harassment “turned my life upside down.” Moss told the committee. “I don’t want anyone knowing my name … I don’t want to go anywhere. I second guess everything that I do. It’s affected my life in a major way, in every way. All because of lies.”

“There is nowhere I feel safe,” Moss testified, adding at another point, “I felt horrible for picking this job.”

Committee members are planning to hold at least three more hearings. The next one is scheduled for Thursday and will examine Trump’s efforts to get the Department of Justice behind his attempted coup. Later hearings will look at the extremist groups that stormed the Capitol, such as the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, and go over the 187 minutes of the Capitol riot in detail.

Rep. Adam Schiff, a California Democrat who handled much of the questioning during Tuesday’s hearing, said those who testified deserved praise for showing courage and putting “their oath to the Constitution above their loyalty to one man or to one party.”

“The system held,” Schiff said, “but barely.”

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HBO doc uncovers Beatrice Six: Wrongly confessed to rape and murder, convinced by psychologist

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Six Nebraska residents who were wrongly convicted of the brutal rape and murder of a local widow are having their heartbreaking stories brought to light in a new HBO docuseries that explores the twisted tale of how they ended up confessing to the horrific crime – despite insisting that they had no memory of it whatsoever. 

The so-called killers, who were known as the Beatrice Six, take center stage in the new Nanfu Wang-directed documentary, entitled Mind Over Murder, which lifts the lid on the heinous crime – and details how six innocent men and women were ultimately found guilty of it. 

In the first episode of the documentary, which debuted on Monday, the gruesome killing of 68-year-old grandma Helen Wilson is laid bare, detailing how she was found strangled in her Beatrice, Nebraska, apartment in 1985.

After a three-year-long investigation, police arrested six people – Joseph White, Thomas Winslow, Ada ‘JoAnn’ Taylor, Debra Shelden, James Dean, and Kathy Gonzalez – for the horrific crime, after someone in the town claimed that JoAnn had told her that she and her friends had murdered Wilson.

All six of them ultimately confessed to killing Helen – but only after police allegedly threatened them and told them they would be given the death penalty if they didn’t – despite law enforcement officials having already discovered that none of them were a DNA match for the blood or semen found at the crime scene.

An HBO doc is uncovering the baffling case of the Beatrice Six (pictured) - a group who wrongly confessed to raping and murdering an elderly woman

An HBO doc is uncovering the baffling case of the Beatrice Six (pictured) - a group who wrongly confessed to raping and murdering an elderly woman

An HBO doc is uncovering the baffling case of the Beatrice Six (pictured) – a group who wrongly confessed to raping and murdering an elderly woman

The brand new documentary, entitled Mind Over Murder, dropped its first episode on Monday, which breaks down the gruesome killing of 68-year-old grandmother Helen Wilson (pictured)

The brand new documentary, entitled Mind Over Murder, dropped its first episode on Monday, which breaks down the gruesome killing of 68-year-old grandmother Helen Wilson (pictured)

The brand new documentary, entitled Mind Over Murder, dropped its first episode on Monday, which breaks down the gruesome killing of 68-year-old grandmother Helen Wilson (pictured)

Helen (pictured before her death) was found strangled in her Beatrice, Nebraska, apartment in 1985

Helen (pictured before her death) was found strangled in her Beatrice, Nebraska, apartment in 1985 Helen (pictured before her death) was found strangled in her Beatrice, Nebraska, apartment in 1985

Helen (pictured before her death) was found strangled in her Beatrice, Nebraska, apartment in 1985

Helen (pictured before her death) was found strangled in her Beatrice, Nebraska, apartment in 1985

Police later arrested Joseph White (pictured), Thomas Winslow, Ada 'JoAnn' Taylor, Debra Shelden, James Dean, and Kathy Gonzalez for the horrific crime

Police later arrested Joseph White (pictured), Thomas Winslow, Ada 'JoAnn' Taylor, Debra Shelden, James Dean, and Kathy Gonzalez for the horrific crime Police later arrested Joseph White, Thomas Winslow, Ada 'JoAnn' Taylor, Debra Shelden (pictured), James Dean, and Kathy Gonzalez for the horrific crime

Police later arrested Joseph White, Thomas Winslow, Ada 'JoAnn' Taylor, Debra Shelden (pictured), James Dean, and Kathy Gonzalez for the horrific crime

Police later arrested Joseph White (left), Thomas Winslow, Ada ‘JoAnn’ Taylor, Debra Shelden (right), James Dean, and Kathy Gonzalez for the horrific crime

It was also later claimed that the group had been brain washed to believe they killed Helen by police psychologist Wayne Price, who is said to have told them that they were in fact guilty, but had no memories of the crime, because they had blocked out all recollection of it. 

The group served 20 years in prison before getting exonerated in 2009, after DNA evidence linked another man – named Bruce Allen Smith – to the horrendous slaying.

Now, the HBO documentary is lifting the lid on the Beatrice Six’s shocking but true story – revealing how local police put the wrong killers behind bars for two decades.

In the first episode of the documentary, which is made up of six episodes, Helen’s family described her as the ‘glue that held them all together.’

‘She was a kind woman, she did everything for everybody,’ her grandson, Shane Wilson, said, while another one of her grandchildren, Bob Houseman, added, ‘From the start you knew she loved you because you could just feel it. It radiated from her.’

Shane – who was 15 years old when Helen died – recalled getting a call from a relative who told them she had passed away, but because she was sick with pneumonia at the time, it didn’t occur to them that she had been murdered.

‘We all kind of assumed it was from the pneumonia, until we were driving and my dad heard the radio on and we were listening to the radio,’ he said.

‘Nobody said a word. I was trying to act tough in front of my brothers and we had a [blanket] in the back that my grandma had made for my mom. I remember hiding under it so my brothers couldn’t see that I was crying.’

All of them confessed to killing Helen, after police told them they would be given the death penalty if they didn't admit to it. James is pictured

All of them confessed to killing Helen, after police told them they would be given the death penalty if they didn't admit to it. James is pictured All of them confessed to killing Helen, after police told them they would be given the death penalty if they didn't admit to it. Thomas is pictured

All of them confessed to killing Helen, after police told them they would be given the death penalty if they didn't admit to it. Thomas is pictured

All of them confessed to killing Helen, after police told them they would be given the death penalty if they didn’t admit to it. James (left) and Thomas (right) are pictured

It was revealed they had been persuaded by police psychologist Wayne Price (pictured), who told them that they couldn't remember the crimes because they had blocked them out

It was revealed they had been persuaded by police psychologist Wayne Price (pictured), who told them that they couldn't remember the crimes because they had blocked them out

It was revealed they had been persuaded by police psychologist Wayne Price (pictured), who told them that they couldn’t remember the crimes because they had blocked them out

The group served 20 years in prison before getting exonerated in 2009, after DNA evidence linked another man to the horrendous slaying. Four of them are pictured after the release

The group served 20 years in prison before getting exonerated in 2009, after DNA evidence linked another man to the horrendous slaying. Four of them are pictured after the release

The group served 20 years in prison before getting exonerated in 2009, after DNA evidence linked another man to the horrendous slaying. Four of them are pictured after the release

Now, a new HBO documentary has told the Beatrice Six's shocking but true story - and how the local police put the wrong killers behind bars for two whole decades. JoAnne is pictured

Now, a new HBO documentary has told the Beatrice Six's shocking but true story - and how the local police put the wrong killers behind bars for two whole decades. JoAnne is pictured

Now, a new HBO documentary has told the Beatrice Six’s shocking but true story – and how the local police put the wrong killers behind bars for two whole decades. JoAnne is pictured

His uncle had found Helen on the ground of her apartment and notified the police. Gary Wiebe and Bill Fitzgerald were the two lieutenants who worked on the case.

‘The door was open, I just kind of walked in. I looked around the corner and saw what appeared to be an elderly lady laying in the middle of the living room with her head to the west and her feet back to the east,’ Gary recalled in the doc. ‘It was pretty quick to tell that the person in there was deceased.’

He discovered a knife on the ground in the bedroom, as well as blood on the corner of her bed and on the wall.

‘There was a struggle, definitely. She was laying on her back, nightgown was pulled up – the face was all wrapped and the hands were tied,’ he continued.

‘I can tell you about it but seeing that lady on the floor, brutally murdered, and seeing the pain… it’s a whole different ball game.’

Gary said her body was ‘mutilated’ and that her nose was ‘pressed flat.’ She also had ‘numerous’ cuts on her hands, and multiple broken ribs, as well as fresh semen in her vagina. 

‘I can’t imagine what was going through her head when she passed away, how scared she must have been. Nobody should have to pass away that way,’ Helen’s granddaughter, Jan Wener, said as she broke down in tears during the doc. 

In the doc, which is set to have six episodes which will come out every Monday, Helen's family described her as the 'glue that held them all together'

In the doc, which is set to have six episodes which will come out every Monday, Helen's family described her as the 'glue that held them all together'

In the doc, which is set to have six episodes which will come out every Monday, Helen’s family described her as the ‘glue that held them all together’

'She was a kind woman, she did everything for everybody,' her grandson, Shane Wilson (seen with Helen before her death), said

'She was a kind woman, she did everything for everybody,' her grandson, Shane Wilson (seen with Helen before her death), said

‘She was a kind woman, she did everything for everybody,’ her grandson, Shane Wilson (seen with Helen before her death), said

A family member found Helen on the ground of her apartment and notified the police. Gary Wiebe (pictured) and Bill Fitzgerald were the two lieutenants who worked on the case

A family member found Helen on the ground of her apartment and notified the police. Gary Wiebe (pictured) and Bill Fitzgerald were the two lieutenants who worked on the case A family member found Helen on the ground of her apartment and notified the police. Gary Wiebe and Bill Fitzgerald (pictured) were the two lieutenants who worked on the case

A family member found Helen on the ground of her apartment and notified the police. Gary Wiebe and Bill Fitzgerald (pictured) were the two lieutenants who worked on the case

A family member found Helen on the ground of her apartment and notified the police. Gary Wiebe (left) and Bill Fitzgerald (right) were the two lieutenants who worked on the case

Gary said Helen's body was tied up and 'mutilated.' She had 'numerous' cuts on her hands, and multiple broken ribs, as well as fresh semen in her vagina

Gary said Helen's body was tied up and 'mutilated.' She had 'numerous' cuts on her hands, and multiple broken ribs, as well as fresh semen in her vagina

 Gary said Helen’s body was tied up and ‘mutilated.’ She had ‘numerous’ cuts on her hands, and multiple broken ribs, as well as fresh semen in her vagina

Gary recalled discovering a knife on the ground in the bedroom, as well as blood on the corner of her bed and on the wall

Gary recalled discovering a knife on the ground in the bedroom, as well as blood on the corner of her bed and on the wall Gary recalled discovering a knife on the ground in the bedroom, as well as blood on the corner of her bed and on the wall

Gary recalled discovering a knife on the ground in the bedroom, as well as blood on the corner of her bed and on the wall

Gary recalled discovering a knife on the ground in the bedroom, as well as blood on the corner of her bed and on the wall

Shane added, ‘We know she fought for her life. She had battle wounds, skin underneath her nails. She fought until she couldn’t fight anymore.

‘The family was obviously destroyed. The one person who brought us together is now gone and in such a horrific way…’ 

The police soon started their investigation – but continued to hit dead ends. 

‘The longer you work on it the more frustrated you get,’ Bill explained. ‘You go from one person to another to another and you don’t appear to be getting anywhere. It was frustrating.’

‘We didn’t have any answers, we felt like the Beatrice police department had no clue what happened,’ Shane shared.

‘Everyone was coming to grips with the fact that we were never gonna know what happened to grandma.’

Eventually, the family turned to a private investigator – a local former cop named Burt Searcy.

Burt got in contact with a woman named Lisa Podendorf – after a source told him that she knew something about the homicide.

Lisa told Burt that the morning after Helen had been killed, she saw JoAnn, Joseph, and Thomas congregating outside the crime scene. 

The police soon started their investigation - but continued to hit dead ends. Eventually, the family turned to a private investigator - a local former cop named Burt Searcy (pictured)

The police soon started their investigation - but continued to hit dead ends. Eventually, the family turned to a private investigator - a local former cop named Burt Searcy (pictured)

The police soon started their investigation – but continued to hit dead ends. Eventually, the family turned to a private investigator – a local former cop named Burt Searcy (pictured)

Burt got in contact with a woman named Lisa Podendorf (pictured) - after a source told him that she knew something about the homicide

Burt got in contact with a woman named Lisa Podendorf (pictured) - after a source told him that she knew something about the homicide

Burt got in contact with a woman named Lisa Podendorf (pictured) – after a source told him that she knew something about the homicide

Lisa (pictured talking to Burt) told him that the morning after Helen had been killed, she saw JoAnn, Joseph, and Thomas congregating outside the crime scene

Lisa (pictured talking to Burt) told him that the morning after Helen had been killed, she saw JoAnn, Joseph, and Thomas congregating outside the crime scene

Lisa (pictured talking to Burt) told him that the morning after Helen had been killed, she saw JoAnn, Joseph, and Thomas congregating outside the crime scene

And when she asked them if they knew what happened, she claimed JoAnn said a woman had been killed and that they ‘did it’ – alleging that she even described the body in detail.

‘Lisa didn’t know what to do because she was scared of JoAnn Taylor. I understood that because I knew JoAnne Taylor,’ Burt said in the doc.

When Lisa asked them if they knew what happened, she claimed JoAnn (pictured) said a woman had been killed and that they 'did it' - alleging that she even described the body in detail

When Lisa asked them if they knew what happened, she claimed JoAnn (pictured) said a woman had been killed and that they 'did it' - alleging that she even described the body in detail

When Lisa asked them if they knew what happened, she claimed JoAnn (pictured) said a woman had been killed and that they ‘did it’ – alleging that she even described the body in detail

‘She was on the street a lot, known to steal, did drugs. I knew if she threatened you, it might very well happen. 

‘So Lisa didn’t tell the police. I had no reason but to believe she was telling me the truth. So I started digging and researching.’ 

Burt said he brought his findings to the police, but they told him they had already interviewed them and ruled them out as suspects.

‘I was told, “They weren’t involved don’t worry about it.” I felt like my information fell on deaf ears, it went cold,’ Burt revealed.

Years went by, but in 1988, Burt rejoined the police force and told his new boss about his past findings regarding Helen’s murder. He then brought Lisa in to question her further about her accusations.

He explained: ‘If you tell a lie, you can’t remember what you said. If it’s a truthful, factual thing you’re telling me, you’ll never forget it. She told me the same story she told me in 1985.

‘As I furthered the investigation, I realized, I think I solved this. I’m going to go after what I need to go after, and I will get it done.’ 

JoAnn, Joseph, and Thomas, as well as three more of their friends, were later arrested and found guilty for the murder.

JoAnn, Joseph, and Thomas, as well as three more of their friends, were later arrested and found guilty for Helen's murder. Helen is pictured before her death

JoAnn, Joseph, and Thomas, as well as three more of their friends, were later arrested and found guilty for Helen's murder. Helen is pictured before her death

JoAnn, Joseph, and Thomas, as well as three more of their friends, were later arrested and found guilty for Helen’s murder. Helen is pictured before her death

However, after two decades behind bars, they were all exonerated after DNA evidence revealed that a man named Bruce Allen Smith (pictured) had actually committed the crime

However, after two decades behind bars, they were all exonerated after DNA evidence revealed that a man named Bruce Allen Smith (pictured) had actually committed the crime However, after two decades behind bars, they were all exonerated after DNA evidence revealed that a man named Bruce Allen Smith (pictured) had actually committed the crime

However, after two decades behind bars, they were all exonerated after DNA evidence revealed that a man named Bruce Allen Smith (pictured) had actually committed the crime

However, after two decades behind bars, they were all exonerated after DNA evidence revealed that a man named Bruce Allen Smith (pictured) had actually committed the crime

According to the doc, Bruce was at a nearby bar (pictured) the night of Helen's death. He was dropped off a block and a half away from Helen's apartment before he broke in and killed her

According to the doc, Bruce was at a nearby bar (pictured) the night of Helen's death. He was dropped off a block and a half away from Helen's apartment before he broke in and killed her

According to the doc, Bruce was at a nearby bar (pictured) the night of Helen’s death. He was dropped off a block and a half away from Helen’s apartment before he broke in and killed her

According to the Washington Post, by the end of the investigation, all of the Beatrice Six ‘wholeheartedly believed in their guilt.’ 

‘Long after the group went to prison, some still cried to family and friends about their deep remorse, never shaking the gnawing feeling of shame,’ the outlet reported. 

However, after two decades behind bars, they were all exonerated when DNA evidence revealed that a man named Bruce had actually committed the crime.

According to the doc, Bruce was at a nearby bar the night of Helen’s death with some friends. After partying most of the night, he attempted to have sex with a woman but was ultimately kicked out of her trailer at around 4 A.M.

One of his friends recalled him saying ‘he was going to get a piece of a** one way or another,’ before he dropped him off a block and a half south of Helen’s apartment.

Bruce died in 1992, before he was ever tried for the crime. The Beatrice Six were later awarded $28 million in a civil suit for their wrongful conviction.

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Oisin Murphy is tagged as racing’s bad boy but he’s looking get his career and life back on track

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Oisin Murphy is seen as a bad boy of Flat racing. He’s one of the best riders in the world but he keeps getting into trouble. He’s been banned from racing for 14 months for breaching coronavirus protocols by going to Mykonos and he failed two alcohol tests last year.

Murphy is now taking some time, as he puts it, to reflect. This year he was at Royal Ascot without his riding boots for the first time in his career. I find him in the Parade Ring on Ladies Day. A horse obsessive, he immediately starts talking me through the details as the jockeys begin to mount.

‘It’s a very warm day so it’s natural for the horses to sweat,’ he says in his thick Irish accent, pointing to the foam that is beginning to appear under the saddlecloths. ‘But it’s so important to keep them as calm as possible.

Oisin Murphy is currently serving a 14-month ban after breaching coronavirus protocols

Oisin Murphy is currently serving a 14-month ban after breaching coronavirus protocols

Oisin Murphy is currently serving a 14-month ban after breaching coronavirus protocols

‘You’d get a sedated elephant wound up before a race like this, especially with everything that’s going on. There’s noise everywhere, there are people everywhere, and these racehorses are incredibly sensitive.’

He describes a few of the horses with as much familiarity as if they were his own. ‘No 2 has been paraded very well, very quietly, which is good to see, but her jockey’s going to need to keep her calm down to the start to give her the best run.

‘Instinct is key. You might have been told that you’d like to take a prominent position in the race but if your horse has been keen to the start you might decide that it’s better to take your time, because if you don’t do that, the horse won’t have the energy at the important moment in the race.

‘Once you get on that horse in the paddock, you’ve got to stop thinking about everyone else, and just think about yourself, and at that point ‘yourself’ means you and the horse, because you are now combined — a unit.’

Does he get to know every horse he rides? He smiles. ‘In 2019 I rode 1,200 individual horses in England and about 20 per cent of them I’d ridden before. The rest of them I would be making friends with from the paddock to the stands. A good jockey will be able to intuit what the horse needs and adapt to suit the partnership.’

The Flat racing champion though is already reflecting to get his life and career back on track

The Flat racing champion though is already reflecting to get his life and career back on track

The Flat racing champion though is already reflecting to get his life and career back on track

Murphy has achieved a lot for a 26-year-old. In 2019 he won 220 races in Britain to become the British Flat racing Champion Jockey, a title he is yet to part with, having won 144 races in 2020 and 183 in 2021. Since he started his professional career in 2013, he has won 22 Group One races across the world, from Japan, to Canada, and the United Arab Emirates.

At the beginning of his career, top Australian trainer Danny O’Brien predicted that Murphy would not only be successful but revolutionise riding tactics on the Flat. From 20 years old, he was the only jockey retained by Qatar Racing, and continues to be supported by Sheik Fahad Al Thani and Sheik Hamad Al Thani, who have become his friends.

To a racing novice like me it seems like there isn’t a race Murphy hasn’t won, which is all the more impressive considering his second great passion — alcohol. His reputation as a winner is almost eclipsed by his notoriety as a heavy drinker and his love for partying.

I first met him at a trail hunt in Wiltshire where he was riding a horse as a favour for a friend. That day my horse was being extremely fresh before a line of hedges. I became quite nervous. He rode up alongside me and managed to calm both me and the horse down. In the times I’ve seen him ride I’ve noticed his ability to connect to horses and meet them at their level, whether they’re about to run in a team chase, or jump around a Grand Prix course at Hickstead.

As well as Flat racing, he also showjumps to a very high level, and he has not been banned from competing in that discipline. This week he is competing in the Speed Derby at Hickstead, where he tells me he is very lucky because he is on the best horse in the class.

Pictured with Frankie Dettori, Murphy is a popular figure among those in the racing paddock

Pictured with Frankie Dettori, Murphy is a popular figure among those in the racing paddock

Pictured with Frankie Dettori, Murphy is a popular figure among those in the racing paddock

‘I’m going to need it because I am a complete amateur,’ he laughs, ‘but one of the perks of my job is I have access to the most amazing horses and I’ve had great people train me. I am seriously looking forward to it — I love it!’ I get the impression his genuine love for all things equestrian is a large key to his success. Where does he think he’d be without horses? ‘I have no idea,’ he says, ‘I can’t image a life without horses.’

Once a week he works with Riding for the Disabled, who provide horse-riding lessons to people with developmental and physical disabilities. ‘I started working with them in Chilton Foliat. There are a lot of people of differing ages and degrees of disability who really enjoy riding and it helps them a lot. And selfishly, it helps me because I feel like I am making a difference to these people’s lives by sharing my biggest passion with them. I’ll just run alongside them to trot and some of them can canter as well.

‘Horses have been a constant source of stability and whenever I’ve been in dark times, being near a horse or getting on a horse has helped me immeasurably, and I can see that for people who are living with disabilities, sitting on a horse does something wonderful for them. I see a new side to them that the horses bring out and that really moves me.’

At this point the horses head on to the track and Murphy and I head to the winning line to watch the race. As we walk through the crowds, he banters with people and compliments women on their dresses with a slight smile and cheeky look in his eye.

Murphy and his girlfriend Lizzy are pictured at Royal Ascot back in June

Murphy and his girlfriend Lizzy are pictured at Royal Ascot back in June

Murphy and his girlfriend Lizzy are pictured at Royal Ascot back in June

‘He certainly has the gift of the gab,’ his girlfriend Lizzy tells me, ‘he likes making everyone laugh.’ He has an infectious sense of fun and is amused by whatever is crass and ridiculous, which makes him fun to be around. I wonder how this would have worked when he was drinking.

‘Failing the breath test in October forced me to deal with the issue,’ he tells me. ‘I’d drink so much I’d regularly black out and the next morning I’d get up early and ride out probably still drunk. That lifestyle wasn’t sustainable and I let a lot of people down. 

‘Racing Welfare were in touch, and my employers all tried to help me deal with my drink problem, but I wasn’t really in control of it and it was making my life unbearable. I take it day by day now. If I can get through today without drinking then that’s a success.

‘I’ve got to the point where I am excited to come to the racing, and excited to go to Hickstead. I feel for the first time like I have so much to look forward to, which wasn’t the case over the past few years. If I didn’t ride winners every day it was a bad day and even when I did, it was still a bad day.

‘I don’t want anyone’s pity. I made some mistakes and now I’m dealing with the consequences.’

Murphy isn’t the first jockey to be banned from the sport, and probably won’t be the last. Frankie Dettori, for example, was banned for six months after failing a drugs test in 2012 and has spoken openly about taking cocaine.

In 2020 Murphy was given a three-month ban after testing positive for cocaine in France. He said later that it was because he had had sex with a cocaine user the night before the test, which skewed the results.

Murphy is seen as a bad boy of Flat racing but he works with Riding for the Disabled, who provide horse-riding lessons to people with developmental and physical disabilities

Murphy is seen as a bad boy of Flat racing but he works with Riding for the Disabled, who provide horse-riding lessons to people with developmental and physical disabilities

 Murphy is seen as a bad boy of Flat racing but he works with Riding for the Disabled, who provide horse-riding lessons to people with developmental and physical disabilities

Lizzy, who is training at Le Cordon Bleu and is the daughter of renowned racehorse owner Bjorn Nielsen, seems to be a calming influence. ‘We met on this day two years ago just after Stradivarius won the Gold Cup,’ he says. ‘Her father (who owns Stradivarius) threw a drinks party and I’m his next-door neighbour so it made sense for me to pop over and celebrate with them.’

Does she find it hard to deal with the constant rumour mill that circulates around his antics? Murphy says: ‘I don’t give her enough credit for how great she’s been. She’s extraordinary. Most people would have cracked under the social media scrutiny, but she’s taken it all in her stride.

‘It doesn’t get to me, because I’ve become accustomed to it, but it would get to most people. The constant belittling and rumours and gossip. It’s endless, especially after an event like this where I am doing lots of interviews.’

When we meet up with Lizzy in her father’s box I’m able to ask her this myself. ‘Oisin always finds himself at the centre of a drama,’ she says with a smile, ‘and while it can be annoying, part of the reason why I love him is that he is kind of cheeky and loves to mess around. So I guess that’s just part of it. But I know he is a good person — or I wouldn’t be with him.’

This interview was first published in Spectator Life.

The post Oisin Murphy is tagged as racing’s bad boy but he’s looking get his career and life back on track appeared first on 247 News Around The World.

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Gun bill details agreed to by bipartisan group of four key Senate negotiators

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NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!

Top Senate negotiators Tuesday agreed to the details of a much-anticipated gun bill as they seek to take action in the wake of recent mass shootings.

A group including Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Chris Murphy, D-Conn., Thom Tillis, R-N.C., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., completed work on the text of a bill Tuesday, Cornyn said on the Senate floor.

Those four were part of a larger group including 10 Republican and 10 Democrats who agreed to a framework earlier this month. Speaking on the Senate floor late Tuesday afternoon, Cornyn said that he believes as those senators see the bill they will “see that the text supports these principles.”

The Senate will likely take until later this week or the weekend to pass the gun bill, if it has the votes. 

The Senate will likely take until later this week or the weekend to pass the gun bill, if it has the votes.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

JOSH HAWLEY: ‘INCREASINGLY HIGH LIKELIHOOD’ FOR RED FLAG LAWS TO PASS SENATE 

“My understanding is the text will be released at essentially any moment,” Cornyn said. 

The breakthrough Tuesday came after the negotiators struggled with multiple hurdles during their negotiations. 

The details of who would be barred from owning a firearm to close the “boyfriend loophole” on domestic violence offenders, and the details of how the federal government would encourage state red flag laws, led to delays last week.

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, is the lead Republican negotiator on a bipartisan Senate gun bill. 

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, is the lead Republican negotiator on a bipartisan Senate gun bill.  (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

TEXAS SEN. JOHN CORNYN BOOED BY CROWD AT STATE GOP CONVENTION WHILE NEGOTIATING GUN CONTROL BILL

Then, after optimism that the bill would be released Monday, a last-second hangup on the Hyde Amendment appeared to push back the release a little longer.  

But with the July 4 recess bearing down and senators itching to take some action before leaving town, senators finally agreed on all the details and are set to release the text, Cornyn said. 

Whether the bill passes will depend on if all 10 of the Senate Republicans who agreed to the framework are satisfied with the details of the final bill and whether any others join on. 

Senate negotiators, led by Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., released the text of their bipartisan gun bill Tuesday. 

Senate negotiators, led by Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., released the text of their bipartisan gun bill Tuesday.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

It will likely take until later this week or the weekend before the bill clears the Senate, if it has the votes to pass.

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It is not clear whether the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives will be able to pass the bill before July 4, but Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has indicated that her members would do so even if the Senate bill does not go as far as Democrats want. 

Tyler Olson covers politics for Fox News Digital. You can contact him at tyler.olson@fox.com and follow him on Twitter at @TylerOlson1791.

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- 247 News Around The World
Sydney trains: NSW public transport fares will rise

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Going to work is likely to cost you even MORE as buses, train and ferry fares in New South Wales soar NSW public transport fares will rise by an average of three per cent from next month  The price hike will kick in on July 4, with Transport for NSW saying the rise is ‘below inflation’  Transport for NSW said the $50 weekly cap for adults will remain

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NSW public transport fares will rise by an average of three per cent from next month.

The price hike will kick in on July 4, with Transport for NSW saying the rise is ‘below inflation to help ease cost of living pressures’ and much lower than the five per cent increase recommended by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal.

NSW public transport fares will rise by an average three per cent from July 4

NSW public transport fares will rise by an average three per cent from July 4

NSW public transport fares will rise by an average three per cent from July 4

The cost of catching light rail, metros, trains, ferries and buses in NSW will increase by an average of three per cent next month

The cost of catching light rail, metros, trains, ferries and buses in NSW will increase by an average of three per cent next month

 The cost of catching light rail, metros, trains, ferries and buses in NSW will increase by an average of three per cent next month

Last year IPART recommended a five per cent Opal fare increase but the government instead lifted the cost by 1.5 per cent.

Labor’s transport spokeswoman Jo Haylen said the increase, coming just weeks after Transport Minister David Elliott promised to keep any rise to a minimum, was another blow for cash-strapped passengers.

‘The cost of everything is going up and real wages are going backwards – now is the worst possible time to hit passengers with a fare increase,’ she said on Wednesday.

How much your next journey will cost 

A trip from Penrith to Central will go from $6.99 to $7.24

 A trip from Hurstville to Town Hall will go from $4.55 to $4.71

A trip from Gosford to Sydney will rise from $7.76 to $8.04.

Based on peak hour fees 

Transport for NSW said the $50 weekly cap for adults, the $25 weekly cap for youth and concession holders, and the $2.50 daily cap for Gold Senior/Pensioner Opal customers would remain.

Transport for NSW Chief Operations Officer Howard Collins said fare hikes had been kept to a minimum.

‘For the vast majority of our customers these fare changes will mean an increase of less than $1 a week,’ Mr Collins said.

‘Any impact on heavy public transport users and pensioners will be further alleviated by the Opal weekly cap and the Gold Senior/Pensioner Opal daily cap, which will be maintained at current prices.’

Transport for NSW said the $50 weekly cap for adults, the $25 weekly cap for youth and concession holders, and the $2.50 daily cap for Gold Senior/Pensioner Opal customers would remain

Transport for NSW said the $50 weekly cap for adults, the $25 weekly cap for youth and concession holders, and the $2.50 daily cap for Gold Senior/Pensioner Opal customers would remain

 Transport for NSW said the $50 weekly cap for adults, the $25 weekly cap for youth and concession holders, and the $2.50 daily cap for Gold Senior/Pensioner Opal customers would remain

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In the early days of May, in the third month of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a mother in her early 40s crossed the border into Poland, seeking safety for herself and two teenage children. She also carried with her a secret: as Russians advanced on her hometown, she was raped by Russian soldiers.

She didn’t want anyone to know what happened, according to the Polish NGO that came to her aid. Her husband, who is in the Ukrainian army, was fighting and away from home. Once in Poland, the woman discovered she was pregnant. But getting an abortion in a country with a near-total ban, and navigating this terrain in a new language, was far from simple. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”]

“She called me crying, ‘please take it out of me, help me,’” says Krystyna Kacpura, president of the Foundation for Women and Family Planning (Federa), a Polish reproductive rights organization. Federa was able to organize a rare medical abortion for the woman in a Warsaw hospital, using a small exception in the law for cases of rape. “She was so afraid her husband and children would find out. But we managed to do it all in secret,” says Kacpura.

More than 6 million Ukrainians, mostly women and children, have fled their country since the war began, creating Europe’s largest refugee crisis since World War Two. Poland has taken the lion’s share, earning praise from Western powers, even as that generosity has raised uncomfortable questions about its treatment of asylum seekers from the Middle East and Africa.

But the longer the war continues, and with it the sexual violence committed by Russian troops against Ukrainian women and girls, the more Ukrainian refugees in Poland will need access to emergency contraception and abortion services. The country’s reproductive rights campaigners and providers of abortion advice are working in overdrive to navigate some of Europe’s most restrictive abortion laws.

“We are shocked by the number,” says Kacpura, referring to the amount of people seeking Federa’s help.

Other abortion-rights groups are reporting a similar uptick. Phone calls and messages to the hotline belonging to the Polish branch of the non-profit Women on Web, which provides abortion pills up to 12 weeks of pregnancy, have shot up by nearly a third. “We do not judge people’s circumstances and we do not ask how they became pregnant,” says Executive Director Venny Ala-Siuara, from its headquarters in Montreal, Canada.

Allegations have emerged of a systemic, coordinated campaign of sexual violence by Russian forces in Ukraine, according to Kateryna Busol, a Ukrainian lawyer specializing in international human rights and an Academy Associate at Chatham House’s Russia and Eurasia Program in London. Evidence of atrocities, including myriad reports of rape, are the subject of multiple investigations from the International Criminal Court, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and other groups. But war crimes are notoriously difficult to investigate and prosecute.

Read More: Ukrainians Are Speaking Up About Rape as a War Crime to Ensure the World Holds Russia Accountable

So far, Ala-Siuara’s organization has provided abortion pills to more than 50 Ukrainian refugees in Poland, who range in age from 20 to 35. Federa receives between five and 30 calls a week from Ukrainian refugee women in Poland, asking for help accessing abortion services or emergency contraception, commonly known as the “morning after pill.”

Ewa, who works on Women on Web’s help desk in Poland, says that not all the women they’ve helped have suffered sexual violence at the hands of Russians. “Sometimes their lives have changed dramatically and they need to start from scratch. Their husband may have died, or it’s just a difficult time to have a baby,” she says. (Ewa spoke on condition that only her first name is used, citing concerns over repercussions given Poland’s restrictive abortion measures.)

Federa has also worked with the International Planned Parenthood Federation to dispatch emergency contraception and abortion pills to Ukrainian medical facilities that are currently under Russian occupation.

While exact numbers are hard to pin down, and the scale of the violence is difficult to verify, U.N. officials have as of early June received over 120 reports of rape. The number is understood by the U.N. and rights groups to be only a small fraction of actual cases. Officials in Kyiv have also said the number is at least in the hundreds.

Since the start of the war, Harvard University’s Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict research group has documented “gang rape, mutilation of genitals, the threat of rape, and people forced to watch their friends and relatives raped by others,” says Ukrainian academic and member Marta Havryshko, who is also a URIS Fellow at the University of Basel in Switzerland. “We have many, many cases.”

Since coming to power in 2015, Poland’s right-wing Law and Justice party (PiS) has repeatedly moved to curb sexual and reproductive health and rights, frequently targeted LGBTQIA+ people and threatening to abandon domestic violence protection measures for women.

In 2020, Poland tightened its already restrictive abortion laws, ruling that pregnancies could be terminated only in cases of incest and rape, and when a mother’s life is at risk. Abortions even in cases of severe fetal abnormalities, which had formed the majority of legal terminations before then, were no longer permitted. The measure was passed by Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal, whose independence has been eroded by the ruling party, rights activists say.

At least one Polish pregnant woman has died since the new restrictions came into place. Her death sparked widespread women-led protests across the majority-Catholic country and strengthened its pro-choice movement.

Although emergency contraception remains available by prescription in Poland, it’s notoriously difficult to obtain. Kacpura recalls how she procured emergency contraception for two girls, aged 16 and 17, who crossed the border into Poland at the beginning of the war. They had been raped early that morning by Russian soldiers at a checkpoint and arrived, “so frightened, with no money, no knowledge of English.”

Kacpura sent them to a clinic in Warsaw where they were tested for HIV and given medication as as a prophylactic against other sexually transmitted diseases before moving on to France to rejoin their families.

The Polish government has said that female refugees from Ukraine seeking contraception and abortions will be subject to the same rules as the Polish population. The number of Polish women receiving abortions after rape is practically non-existent: in 2020 there were only two terminations granted on these grounds of Poland’s 1,000 or so legal abortions.

“But if a Ukrainian woman can now get an abortion in a hospital in Poland, maybe Polish women can too,” says Kacpura, describing how Federa managed to comply with Polish legislation’s complicated, multi-layered procedures to prove that a woman became pregnant through rape, including getting a prosecutor’s opinion on the matter.

On the other hand, members of Roman Catholic group Ordo Iuris, meaning Order of Law, an influential non-governmental group against abortion, have been calling hospitals to ensure that they are complying with the strict legislation.

Providing police reports for sexual violence is also difficult in any situation, let alone for women raped during wartime in another country.

What’s more, Ukrainian women and girls crossing the border into Poland often arrive with no knowledge of the restrictive laws. Federa set up a Ukrainian-language hotline explicitly to help women in need of abortions in Poland in the early days of the war, complementing its Polish hotline. Another hotline for Ukrainian refugees in Poland, called Martynka, was established in late March and works with Women on Web and German-based organizations.

Federa has also published manuals explaining how to seek help and advice.

“We understand that they’re going through heavy emotions,” says Ewa from Women on Web, where she receives requests for help from women responding to the organization’s campaigns on Instagram and Facebook. They write to her in Polish, English, Ukrainian, and Russian. “Sometimes they can’t, or won’t, ask for official help. But sometimes they need to speak to another human being about what they’ve gone through. And we are eager to do this.”

- MARCOS MARTÍNEZ CHACÓN/AP

(MONTERREY, Mexico)—The industrial hub of Monterrey has long been one of Mexico’s most prosperous cities, so its almost 5 million residents were shocked when they lost the most basic of services: water.

A combination of an intense drought, poor planning and high water use has left residents of Mexico’s industrial powerhouse to resort to extreme measures that call up images of isolated, poorer areas: storing water in buckets to use a scoopful at a time.

“We are panicked, because we don’t know when the water will come back on,” said 60-year-old Monterrey resident María del Carmen Lara. “We finally got them to send us a water truck, but we still don’t have running water.” [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”]

Local authorities began restricting water supplies in March, as the three dams that help supply the city dried up. They currently hold only 45%, 2% and 8% of their capacity, and city authorities say the two lowest dams had only a few days’ worth of water left. Earlier this month, they declared water would be available only between 4a.m. and 10a.m, recently extending the service until 11a.m. But authorities haven’t even been able to supply that, and in thousands of homes, not a drop has come out of faucets for weeks.

Lara and her husband haven’t had running water for three weeks and don’t have enough money for holding tanks to store any significant quantity. In a stop-gap measure, some of the city’s suburbs have set up giant plastic water tanks in public squares for residents to fill containers with water. So on a recent hot, sunny day, they were busy dragging buckets and bins to a water tank truck to fill them.

Big, expensive and sometimes corruption-laden water management plans have come and gone, but the lack of long-term planning or conservation remain. One project, that would have built an aqueduct to bring water from the Pánuco river, 310 miles (500 kilometers) away, to the city, which authorities at the time claimed would sure up the city’s water supplies for 50 years, was dropped in 2016 because of alleged corruption in the granting of contracts by the previous administration.

Experts say it was clear to see the crisis coming: for six years, Monterrey, capital of Nuevo León state, has suffered below-average rainfall or outright drought.

Set on an arid plain against the backdrop of the Sierra Madre Oriental mountain range, water — except for during brief, catastrophic floods — has never been abundant in Monterrey. For decades, the state’s water planning essentially came down to waiting for a hurricane in the Gulf to swell local rivers.

Juan Ignacio Barragán, the city’s water director, said Monterrey has been hit by a double whammy of drought and higher temperatures, which has dried up the city’s reserves. This May, the state reported its hottest ever average temperature, hitting highs of 104 degrees (40 C.)

“This is a situation which has forced us to ration water, to be able to distribute it more equitably throughout the city,” Barragán said. He accused the previous administration, which governed the state from 2015 to 2021, of allowing water extraction from dams in high levels without considering the impacts that the prolonged drought had already caused to the state’s water sources.

For a city accustomed to consuming 4,225 gallons (16,500 liters) per second, it now has only 3,435 gallons (13,000 liters) per second available.

Barragán said the city has begun an effort urging city residents to use less. Historically, average daily consumption in Monterrey has been around 160 to 170 liters (42 to 44 gallons) per day per person, far higher than the World Health Organization’s recommendation of around 100 liters (26 gallons) per day.

About 60% of the Monterrey’s water comes from dams, with the rest coming from public wells. The state also has private wells, which owners, ranchers and businesses drill with strict limits on how much they can pump. But those limits often appear to have been ignored, and some wells may have been drilled surreptitiously, according to state and federal officials.

And it’s not just Monterrey. According to the North American Drought Monitor, a cooperative effort between drought experts in Canada, Mexico and the United States, 56% of Mexico is experiencing some level of drought.

All of Nuevo León is either “abnormally dry” or in drought. The natural weather phenomenon La Niña and climate change may be factors in unseasonably low rainfall, according to officials and experts.

“For those who don’t believe in climate change, here are the consequences,” said Nuevo León Gov. Samuel García. “This is clearly the result of climate change: a semi-desert area gets drier.”

Brenda Sánchez, a former official of the federal ministry of Environment and Natural Resources who now serves as a local legislator in Nuevo León agreed, saying that urgent action was needed to combat the “real-life consequences” of climate change.

For now, the authorities’ response to water shortages has been more of the same: dig more wells, reservoirs and dams. A fourth dam is currently under construction in the state’s southeast and an aqueduct to carry water from the El Cuchillo dam, the state’s largest, is planned. Authorities are also looking to halt illegal water grabs from rivers that feed the dams and have tried to get large corporate water users to share some of their water rights with city residents.

Rosario Álvarez, an activist with the environmental group Pronatura Noreste, said the government’s plans are too little, too late.

“The most recent problem is that we haven’t planned for a drought like the current one,” Alvarez said. “We have had several years with below-average rainfall, we haven’t had hurricanes.”

“What came together was a lack of significant infrastructure, a lack of understanding of the characteristics of the region where we live and poor administration of what little water we have,” she said.

Meanwhile, until the next hurricane streams up the Gulf of Mexico — and there are none in sight — anger is growing among residents and street protest have broken out in Monterrey.

“We are fed up,” said 35-year-old Mónica Almaguer, a resident of the suburb of San Nicolas. “They haven’t even lived up to the schedule in which they said there would be water. I have gone 35 days without water.”

Gabriel Revillas, 47, who has also been without water for several days, filled up a jug at a private purified water supplier.

“The only thing we can do is pray, pray for a miracle,” he said.

—Associated Press reporter Suman Naishadham contributed to this report from Washington, D.C.

- Eloise Barry

French President Emmanuel Macron hoped his April reelection would cement his position in power and bolster his agenda. But Macron was dealt a major blow during Sunday’s legislative elections in France.

Macron’s centrist alliance won 245 seats—more than 40 short of the 289-seat threshold needed for a majority in parliament, critically undermining his ability to pass key reforms. Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s leftist alliance, Nupes, scooped up 131 seats, while Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally party came in third with 89 seats, a ten-fold increase. The parliamentary make up lies in stark contrast to the prior legislative vote in 2017, where Macron’s alliance won a 350-seat majority. The result marks the first time since the 1980s that a president will govern without a parliamentary majority. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”]

Here, what the vote means for Macron’s agenda:

Domestic reforms to face roadblocks

Although Macron’s alliance is the largest group in parliament, he will struggle to pass his most controversial reforms—including an overhaul of the pension system and raising the retirement age from 62 to 65—without negotiation and compromise. Mélenchon has pledged to lower the retirement age to 60, while Le Pen has promised to maintain the current threshold, and reduce it to 60 for those who started working before the age of 20.

“Macron is not accustomed to, as we say in French, ‘put water in your wine’—making compromises,” says Alice Billon-Galland, a European policy research fellow at Chatham House. “It will take a lot of his time and energy to build consensus bill by bill, and that will tie his hands in terms of what he’ll be able to achieve.”

And with such large opposition groups on opposite sides of the political spectrum, Macron will find himself “between a rock and a hard place,” says Philippe Marliere, professor of French and European politics at University College London. On the one hand, the left will push the president on green energy investment and social inequality, and on the other, the far-right will demand socially conservative reforms. “It’s going to be a very noisy crowd in parliament, particularly on the left with lots of household names, people coming from showbiz, arts trade unionists, anti-racist campaigners, lots of female lawmakers as well,” Marliere says, referring to the new and diverse crowd of lawmakers within the Nupes alliance entering parliament.

Read more: Emmanuel Macron Is on Track to Win Re-Election. What Comes After Could Be Tougher

Macron’s preferred ally will be the traditional right-wing party, the Republicans, which won 61 seats on Sunday. But securing their support for reforms that are unpopular with voters could be difficult, analysts say, as the party seeks to avoid further losses at the ballot box. Record-high inflation and the related cost of living crisis have pushed French citizens further towards politics that embrace economic populism, including those of Nupes and the National Rally.

The election result should not come as a surprise, Billon-Gallard says. “Over the past five years, people felt like their voices weren’t being heard in politics.” This frustration culminated in 2018 with the gilets jaunes (yellow vest) movement. Initially sparked by proposed fuel tax hikes, the demonstrations morphed into a sign of wider frustration at Macron’s pro-business policies and reputation as a “president for the rich.”

However, analysts say the election result could revitalize parliamentary democracy and give voters the sense that their voices are being listened to. “Maybe some of these political battles will be fought not only in the streets with the demonstrations, but actually within the National Assembly,” Billon-Gallard says.

Macron began meeting leaders of the main opposition parties Tuesday at the Élysée presidential palace, including Christian Jacob of the Republicans, Olivier Faure of the Socialist Party, and Le Pen of the National Rally. Further meetings are expected on Wednesday.

Macron’s leeway on international issues

A French president bogged down in domestic politics could spell trouble for the E.U. at a crucial time for the bloc, given the war in Ukraine. A month before Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, France took over the rotating presidency of the E.U., affording Macron the opportunity to play the bloc’s unofficial leader—particularly after Germany’s longtime chancellor, Angela Merkel, stepped down in December after 16 years in office.

Macron is an ardent Europhile and has maintained close ties with European leaders across the political spectrum since taking office in 2017. He will no doubt seek to cement his status within the bloc. But both Mélenchelon and Le Pen have previously expressed Euroskeptic views, and there are some international issues that will need parliament’s backing, says Marliere.

Read more: Marine Le Pen Is Finding Support in Rural France by Following Donald Trump’s Playbook

At the same time, presidents have greater leeway in France over matters of defense and diplomacy. That means Macron won’t have to seek approval from parliament for every piece of legislation, Billon-Gallard says. “If domestic politics become very messy and complicated, Macron could shift his focus to foreign policy because this is where he has a freer hand.”

“In his project, a strong Europe, and a strong France playing a big role in that, is part of his agenda,” Billon-Gallard says. “I don’t think we’ll see him giving up on that.”

The future of Macronism

What Macron may be forced to admit defeat on, however, is his vision for a revitalized political center in France. When he won the presidency in 2017, Macron promised to make both ends of the political scale redundant. But a two-year pandemic and growing frustration at inequality has turned voters off Macron’s centrist vision.

The future of Macron’s Renaissance Party, previously known as En Marche!, is also uncertain in a post-Macron era.

And the sharp rise in support for Le Pen’s party will give her the political clout to lobby for hardline measures, including a total ban on the headscarf that is worn by a minority of Muslim women in France. The issue animates her traditional base.

Marliere says that while Macron has championed centrism he should be held responsible for voters’ shift to the right, too. During his previous five-year term, Macron supported tough measures to control immigration and pursued legislation that rights groups criticized as discriminatory. “If you ape the far-right on its traditional issues—law and order, immigration—you legitimize the far-right,” she says.

- BOBBY CAINA CALVAN / AP
A Russian Journalist Auctions His Nobel Prize Medal for Ukrainian Kids and Raises $103.5 Million

NEW YORK — The Nobel Peace Prize auctioned off by Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov to raise money for Ukrainian child refugees sold Monday night for $103.5 million, shattering the old record for a Nobel.

A spokesperson for Heritage Auctions, which handled the sale, could not confirm the identity of the buyer but said the winning bid was made by proxy. The $103.5 million sale translates to $100 million Swiss francs, hinting that the buyer is from overseas.

“I was hoping that there was going to be an enormous amount of solidarity, but I was not expecting this to be such a huge amount,” Muratov said in an interview after bidding in the nearly 3-week auction ended on World Refugee Day. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”]

Previously, the most ever paid for a Nobel Prize medal was $4.76 million in 2014, when James Watson, whose co-discovery of the structure of DNA earned him a Nobel Prize in 1962, sold his. Three years later, the family of his co-recipient, Francis Crick, received $2.27 million in bidding also run by Heritage Auctions.

Read More: The Rock Star Poet Fighting for Ukraine

Muratov, who was awarded the gold medal in October 2021, helped found the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta and was the publication’s editor-in-chief when it shut down in March amid the Kremlin’s clampdown on journalists and public dissent in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

It was Muratov’s idea to auction off his prize, having already announced he was donating the accompanying $500,000 cash award to charity.

Nobel Peace Prize Auction AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez A worker holds Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov’s 23-karat gold medal for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize before it is auctioned at the Times Center, Monday, June 20, 2022, in New York.

Muratov has said the proceeds will go directly to UNICEF in its efforts to help children displaced by the war in Ukraine. Just minutes after bidding ended, UNICEF told the auction house it had already received the funds.

Online bids had begun June 1 to coincide with the International Children’s Day observance. Many bids came by telephone or online. The winning bid, tendered by telephone, catapulted the bidding from the low millions to astronomical levels.

Muratov had left Russia on Thursday to begin his trip to New York City, where live bidding began Monday evening.

Early Monday, the high bid was only $550,000. The purchase price had been expected to spiral upward — but not over $100 million.

Read More: Kyiv Won’t Get New U.S. Weapons for Months

“I can’t believe it. I’m awestruck. Personally, I’m flabbergasted. I’m stunned. I don’t really know what happened in there,” said Joshua Benesh, the chief strategy officer for Heritage Auctions.

“We knew that there was a tremendous groundswell of interest in the last couple of days by people who were moved by Dimitry’s story, by Dimitry’s act of generosity, that the global audience was listening tonight,” he said.

Muratov and Heritage officials said even those out of the bidding can still help by donating directly to UNICEF.

Ukraine conflict - train with refugees arrives in Poland Christoph Reichwein/picture alliance via Getty ImagesA girl who fled the war in Ukraine looks out of the window of a train on March 20, 2022, in Przemysl, Poland.

Muratov shared the Nobel Peace Prize last year with journalist Maria Ressa of the Philippines.

The two journalists, who each received their own medals, were honored for their battles to preserve free speech in their respective countries, despite coming under attack by harassment, their governments and even death threats.

Melted down, the 175 grams of 23-karat gold contained in Muratov’s medal would be worth about $10,000.

Muratov has been highly critical of Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea and the war launched in February that has caused nearly 5 million Ukrainians to flee to other countries for safety, creating the largest humanitarian crisis in Europe since World War II.

Read More: The Ukraine War Is Becoming Putin’s Vietnam

Independent journalists in Russia have come under scrutiny by the Kremlin, if not outright targets of the government. Since Putin came into power more than two decades ago, nearly two dozen journalists have been killed, including at least four who had worked for Muratov’s newspaper.

In April, Muratov said he was attacked with red paint while aboard a Russian train.

Since its inception in 1901, there have been nearly 1,000 recipients of the Nobel Prizes honoring achievements in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature and the advancement of peace.

Associated Press writer Andrew Katell contributed to this report

- Mari Yamaguchi / Associated Press

A Japanese court ruled Monday that the country’s ban on same-sex marriage does not violate the constitution, and rejected demands for compensation by three couples who said their right to free union and equality has been violated.

The Osaka District Court ruling is the second decision on the issue, and disagrees with a ruling last year by a Sapporo court that found the ban on same-sex marriages unconstitutional. It underscores how divisive the issue remains in Japan, the only member of the Group of Seven major industrialized nations that does not recognize same-sex unions.

In its ruling, the Osaka court rejected the plaintiffs’ demand for 1 million yen ($7,400) in damages per couple for discrimination they face. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”]

The plaintiffs—two male couples and one female couple—were among 14 same-sex couples who filed lawsuits against the government in five major cities—Sapporo, Tokyo, Nagoya, Fukuoka, and Osaka—in 2019 for violating rights to free union and equality.

They argued that they have been illegally discriminated against by being deprived of the same economic and legal benefits that heterosexual couples enjoy through marriage.

Support for sexual diversity has grown slowly in Japan, but legal protections are still lacking for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. LGBTQ people often face discrimination at school, work, and at home, causing many to hide their sexual identities.

Read more: What Asia’s LGBTQ+ Movement Can Learn From Japan

Rights groups had pushed for passage of an equality act ahead of last summer’s Tokyo Olympics, when international attention was focused on Japan, but the bill was quashed by the conservative governing party.

The Osaka court on Monday said freedom of marriage in the 1947 constitution only means male-female unions and does not include those of the same sex, and therefore banning same-sex marriages is not unconstitutional.

Judge Fumi Doi said marriage for heterosexual couples is a system established by society to protect a relationship between men and women who bear and raise children, and that ways to protect same-sex relationships are still undergoing public debate.

The court, however, urged the parliament to seek methods to better protect same-sex relationships, including options to legalize same-sex marriage.

Monday’s ruling was a setback for activists who were hoping to further pressure the government after the ruling by the Sapporo district court in March 2021.

The plaintiffs and their lawyers called Monday’s ruling unacceptable and said they would appeal.

Akiyoshi Tanaka, a plaintiff, said at a news conference that they took legal action to obtain backing from the judicial process for parliament to take action, but “the court stayed away from making a decision.”

He said he will keep fighting. “We don’t have time to feel discouraged,” he added.

Public opinion in Japan currently favors legalizing same-sex marriage.

Under current rules in Japan, same-sex couples cannot inherit each other’s property, house or other assets they share, and have no parental rights over each other’s children. They are often barred from renting apartments together, and from hospital visits and other services available to married couples.

More than 200 municipalities across Japan, or 12% of the total, have begun issuing non-legally binding partnership certificates to same-sex couples since Tokyo’s Shibuya district became the first to do so in 2015.

The Tokyo metropolitan government recently adopted a plan to accept registrations starting in October from sexual-minority couples seeking certificates of their partnerships.

Still, this is not the same as a marriage certificate and does not provide equal legal protection.

Taiwan is the only Asian nation or territory that has legalized same-sex marriage.

- Jorge Valero / Bloomberg

The European Union is expected to finalize the details of a 9 billion euro ($9.5 billion) financial package for Ukraine in the coming days to bolster the war-torn nation.

The new macro-financial assistance program for Kyiv would consist of 25-year loans, with a 10-year grace period to reimburse the principal, three E.U. officials said, who added that interest payments would be covered by the E.U. budget.

The proposal is likely to be ready later this week, the officials said, with E.U. leaders scheduled to meet Thursday and Friday in Brussels to discuss Ukraine’s reconstruction plan and its bid for membership in the bloc. The aid plan would have to be approved by all 27 member states. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”]

The European Commission first proposed the latest aid package in mid-May to cover part of Ukraine’s financial needs of around 5 billion euros per month. The Ukrainian government has been calling on its partners to transfer the funds as a matter of urgency, but the commission and Germany disagreed over the package’s design.

The E.U.’s executive arm insisted on using a loan-based instrument, while Germany had been pushing to use grants to avoid increasing Kyiv’s debt burden. Berlin announced a 1 billion euro non-refundable contribution to Ukraine last May during a meeting of Group of Seven finance ministers hosted by Germany.

Some other countries, including Slovakia, also questioned initially whether loans were a better way to support Kyiv, according to people familiar with the matter. Other member states, including Denmark, asked whether offering grants would undermine the credibility of Ukraine in the markets.

The financial package needs the backing of E.U. member states and the European Parliament.

Another issue has been how much national governments would have to offer in guarantees to back the loans in case Ukraine defaults. The bloc will cover 100% of it, with some 8 billion euros provided by members states. The remainder would come from the E.U. budget, the officials said.

The commission is contacting member states to finalize some details related to the guarantees but remains confident that the first disbursement will take place this summer, an E.U. official said.

The bloc originally aimed to complete the plan early this month since Ukraine’s financial needs keep piling up. Under that timetable, the commission was planning to begin raising funds in the markets next month for a first transfer, the people said.

The E.U. planned to transfer three or four more installments by the end of the year, although it would depend on the availability of the guarantees and Ukraine’s financial needs, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks were private.

The financial package is expected to include some conditions that would take into account Ukraine’s current circumstances and be related to reconstruction efforts and avoiding the misuse of funds, E.U. officials said.

—With assistance from Michael Nienaber and Alberto Nardelli.

- Peter Millard and Vinícius Andrade / Bloomberg

Petrobras’s chief executive officer Jose Mauro Coelho resigned following a fuel price increase that has angered President Jair Bolsonaro and prompted calls for a congressional inquiry.

Petroleo Brasileiro SA, as the company is formally known, announced his resignation in a statement on Monday. Bolsonaro had already fired Coelho in May and named a replacement, but he remained in the role while the state-owned oil firm went through the formal procedures for appointing the next CEO.

The Rio de Janeiro-based company, which recently lost the title of Latin America’s most valuable publicly-traded firm to miner Vale SA, lost about 35 billion reais ($6.8 billion) in market value since Friday, when it raised domestic fuel prices, irking Bolsonaro and his allies. Preferred shares dropped as much as 5.1% to 25.91 reais in early trading in Sao Paulo.

“We don’t expect noise to fade until October,” Banco BTG Pactual SA analysts led by Pedro Soares wrote in a note. “Any future pressure to raise fuel prices will find major government pushback between now and election day.”

Brazil’s president, who is seeking re-election in October, has been publicly bashing Petrobras for what he calls “abusive profits” and has sacked three of its chief executive officers over frustration with the company’s wholesale fuel prices that track international levels. Pump prices and inflation in general are a major complaint among voters.

Bolsonaro said on Saturday he has the support of congress to start a probe into the state-controlled company and its pricing policy. Lower house Speaker Arthur Lira has also threatened to intervene by imposing punitive taxes on the company’s record profits.

—With assistance from Martha Beck.

- Associated Press

The Canadian government is banning companies from importing or making plastic bags and Styrofoam takeout containers by the end of this year, their sale by the end of next year, and their export by the end of 2025.

Canada previously announced a ban but environment advocates were dismayed about delays and that Canada’s initial plan was to ban the items at home but continue to ship them abroad. Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault announced the dates Monday.

Read more: Canada to Ban Single-Use Plastics as Early as 2021

In addition to bags and takeout boxes, the ban will affect plastic straws, bags, cutlery, stir sticks, and six-pack rings that hold cans and bottles. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”]

The federal government listed plastics as toxic under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act last year which paved the way for regulations to ban some. However, a consortium of plastics producers is suing the government over the toxic designation in a case expected to be heard later this year.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau first promised in June 2019 that his government would phase out the production and use of hard-to-recycle plastic items as it aims for zero plastic waste by the end of the decade.

Initially, he said the ban would happen in 2021, but the scientific assessment of plastics that was needed to put the ban in motion was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Plastic waste has been a growing problem around the world, with an estimated 10% or less of most manufactured plastic recycled.

Read more: Is Reusable Packaging Actually Better for the Environment?

A research study published by Environment and Climate Change Canada in 2019 found 3.3 million tons of plastic was thrown out, almost half of it plastic packaging. Less than one-tenth of that was recycled. Most of the plastic ended up in landfills, where it will take hundreds of years to decompose.

An estimated 29,000 tons ended up as plastic pollution, littering parks, forests, waterways, and shorelines with cigarette butts, food wrappers, and disposable coffee cups.

- Angelina Jolie

Every day more than two children are killed, and four are injured, in the conflict in Ukraine. After over 100 days of war, almost two-thirds of Ukrainian children have been displaced.

Conflict exposes the vulnerability of children, and greatly increases it. As well as physical harm, there is the trauma: the effect of displacement, of nights spent listening to bombardment, of being separated from family, of seeing friends and relations killed. Trauma stops the dreaming. Not just because the nightmares come, but the dreaming that pulls up life forward. The thinking about what we might create. What might improve. Who we might love. Trauma destroys what the child was born to be. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”]

We are more aware of the reality and impact of war than ever before. But for all our awareness, the risk to children is getting greater. There are now more conflicts raging than at any point since the Second World War. One in every six children worldwide—426 million—lives in a conflict zone.

Read more: The Messages That Hold Refugee Families Together

The conflict in Ukraine has taken the number of displaced people worldwide past 100 million—higher than ever before recorded. More than one in every 100 people worldwide is displaced, as a refugee, asylum seeker, or within their own country—beyond the population of the U.K., or France, or Germany. Of these 100 million, perhaps 40 million are children forced from their homes and their communities. For them, the future looks bleak.

We have to recognize that our systems for preventing conflict and mass human displacement, and defending human rights, are not working. Three-quarters of refugees live in protracted situations, where return to their country of origin is impossible because the problems they fled persist. Aid relief is now stretched so thin that the U.N.’s World Food Programme has said that in Yemen, “we have no choice but to take food from the hungry to feed the starving and…in a few weeks we risk not even being able to feed the starving.” In Afghanistan, NGOs fear that hunger may kill more people than the last 20 years of war. The U.S. National Intelligence Council has warned that refugee rights are among “the norms at the highest risk of weakening globally in the next decade,” meaning that, unless we act, there will be even less agreement about how to protect refugees.

We cannot wait for current crises to pass, or for leadership to emerge at an international level, before we ask what needs to change. Aid relief is supposed to be a temporary solution, provided without discrimination. Refugees and displaced people are supposed to be able to return home safely after conflicts as a result of diplomacy and peace agreements. Human rights standards are supposed to be applied consistently. Instead, we see examples of refugees apparently being discriminated against on the basis of their skin color, religion or country of origin. The world’s poorest countries host millions of refugees for decades without an end in sight, while the richest devise ever more elaborate ways of closing their borders and “off-shoring” asylum seekers.

Read more: Children Must Be at the Top of the U.N. Refugee Agenda

We need to acknowledge what it would take to bring down the numbers of refugees globally. We need to understand the deep level of human suffering of the people in these situations. And we need to recognize that we are still living in old ways, with old behaviors. We have not adjusted our institutions to meet the new, still-shaping world.

Because of the way the U.N. was set up, it is tipped towards the interests and voice of powerful nations at the expense of those people suffering the most from conflict and persecution whose rights and lives are not treated equally. For decades, the main focus has been the work of international organizations. There’s been not enough attention on listening to local groups and volunteers, and strengthening their efforts.

I don’t pretend to have the answers, but I am with all those who are searching for a new way. A lot of the strength I see at this time comes from the individual people in countries affected by conflict, like Ukraine—and from local organizations, volunteers, and refugees themselves—who are not waiting to be helped but are supporting each other. That is where I put my faith and hope, until we have the courage to rebuild our international institutions, and to live up to the promise of equal rights and protection for all.

- Juwon Park/AP
BTS Falls Silent as Military Enlistment Looms. Where Does K-Pop Go From Here?

The surprise announcement by BTS last week that they were taking a break to focus on members’ solo projects stunned their global fanbase, shaking their label’s stock price and leaving many questions about the K-pop supergroup’s future.

HYBE, the company behind the band, denied the group was taking a hiatus — a word used in a translation of the group’s emotional dinnertime video announcement. In the days since, band members have remained active on social media, continuing the stream of posts, photos and assurances that the band wasn’t breaking up.

Despite the immediate impacts — HYBE’s stock initially dropped more than 25% and has yet to fully recover — several factors may still affect BTS’ future. One is looming military enlistment for older BTS members, as well as how engaged the group and their devoted fans, known as ARMY, will continue to be in social issues. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”]

In 2020, at the height of BTS’ success, the South Korean government revised the country’s military law that requires able-bodied South Korean men to perform approximately two years of military service. The revised law allows top K-pop stars — including Jin, the oldest member of BTS — to defer their military service until they turn 30 if they’ve received government medals for heightening the country’s cultural reputation and apply for the postponement. All BTS members meet the criteria as recipients of government medals in 2018.

Read more: BTS is TIME’s 2020 Entertainer of the Year

“Obviously, there’s a looming military enlistment so they might have thought it’d be good to do something individually before it’s too late and that’s why I think military enlistment was the biggest factor,” said Lee Dong Yeun, a professor at Korea National University of Arts.

There have been calls — including from South Korea’s former culture minister — for an exemption for BTS because of their contribution to heightening South Korea’s international reputation. But critics say that such an exemption would be bending the conscription rules to favor the privileged.

Jin, 29, is expected to enlist this year unless he receives an exemption.

Military enlistment of members has always been a headache for HYBE; BTS once accounted for 90% of the label’s profit. Currently, the group makes up 50%-60% of the label’s profit according to a report from eBest Investment & Securities.

The eBest report noted that the rapid stock plunge might have resulted from an “anticipation that the activities as the whole group might be uncertain after being discharged from the military.”

HYBE has been attempting to diversify its portfolio by debuting new K-pop bands, making online games, and rolling out Korean language tutorials.

As the most successful K-pop band to date with hits like “Dynamite” and “Butter,” BTS has for years commanded tremendous attention on social media and with each new music release. They recently performed several sold-out shows in the United States, became the first K-pop act to get a Grammy Award nomination, released an anthology album, “Proof,” and channeled their global influence with an address at the United Nations and a trip to the White House to campaign against hate crimes directed at Asians.

BTS APBTS arrives at the 64th Annual Grammy Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Sunday, April 3, 2022, in Las Vegas.

“Once you achieve success like BTS achieved success, then it means there’s a constant expectation to continue doing something that is connected to what you’ve already done, where you’ve already been. In the most recent releases that BTS has brought out, also we can see how they continually reflect back on where they have been,” said CedarBough Saeji, professor of Korean and East Asian Studies at Pusan National University.

She said Tuesday’s announcement signaled the band’s intention to figure out “where they are going for themselves without interference from other people” and “being able to choose their own path forward as artists.”

A group vocal about social justice

Last week’s announcement also leaves in doubt the group’s social justice efforts, which have included vocal support for the Black Lives Matter movement and anti-violence campaigns. BTS’ legions of fans have embraced the causes, matching a $1 million donation to Black Lives Matter after George Floyd’s death.

But the group has faced mushrooming questions about why it isn’t as vocal about discrimination in their own country.

A leading South Korean newspaper recently published a column in which the author mused why South Korea, despite having BTS — “the ambassador of anti-discrimination and human rights” — has struggled to enact an anti-discrimination law for 15 years.

“It’s an irony,” the writer said. “South Korea needs their force for good.”

The country’s lack of an anti-discrimination law has led to unfair treatment against women and foreigners, among others.

Jumin Lee, the author of the book “Why Anti-Discrimination Law?” told the Associated Press that there’s a dire need for the anti-discrimination law in the country.

“South Korea is in essentially the same situation legally as America’s Jim Crow South. Equal protection exists as a constitutional concept, but there is no implementing legislation that allows the government to force private businesses to comply,” Lee said. “What that means in practice is that if I’m a business owner, I could post a sign on my door tomorrow that says ‘no gays’ ‘no blacks’ or ‘no old people,’ and absent extraordinary intervention by the constitutional court, there’s very little the law can do to stop me.”

Read more: There’s No Takeover Quite Like a BTS Takeover

Lee recently expressed disappointment in the band for not speaking up about the important domestic issue.

“BTS and their business folks know that speaking up in the US is profitable but doing the same back home would be more trouble than it’s worth. So they don’t,” tweeted Lee after the band’s visit to Washington.

Despite that, Lee said the band’s silence is understandable, stating that BTS would be met with “indifference at best and hostility at worse” from politicians if they did speak up.

Some South Korean celebrities like singers Harisu have been speaking out on touchy subjects such as the anti-discrimination law and feminism, despite backlashes.

After speaking out about the 2014 sinking of the Sewol ferry, which killed 304 people in one of the country’s worst disasters, Cannes-winning actor Song Kang-ho and director Park Chan-wook were blacklisted by the administration of the ousted President Park Geun-hye, noted Areum Jeong, a scholar of Korean pop culture.

“So, although many idols might be politically conscious, they might choose not to discuss social issues,” Jeong said.

Read more: BTS’s Jimin’s 2020 Grammys Hair Look Has Swept Up the Fans Who Are Simply Awash in It All

Several BTS members said during last week’s announcement that they were struggling with the group’s successes and having trouble writing new songs.

“For me, it was like the group BTS was within my grasp until ‘On’ and ‘Dynamite,’ but after ‘Butter’ and ‘Permission to Dance,’ I didn’t know what kind of group we were anymore,” member RM said. “Whenever I write lyrics and songs, it’s really important what kind of story and message I want to give out but it was like that was gone now.”

While that clouds what BTS’ next steps might be, Saeji said their continued candor was necessary because of how much the group has impacted their fanbase.

“They’re meeting the fans with that same honesty and saying to them, ‘You had my help when I needed it. And now I need my help,’” she said. “’I need to be on my own. To think for myself, to know what I want to write a lyric about, to understand my own mind, to become inspired on my own.’”

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