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3 Killed, 27 Hospitalized After Boat Capsizes off San Diego

Three people were killed and more than two dozen others were hospitalized after a wooden boat capsized Sunday in what may be a human smuggling operation just off the San Diego coast, authorities said.  Local lifeguards, the U.S. Coast Guard and other agencies responded around 10:30 a.m. following reports of an overturned vessel near the peninsula of Point Loma, according to the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.Three people died at the scene and 27 people were taken to hospitals with “varying degrees of injuries,” department spokesman Jose Ysea said.  Ysea said when he arrived at the scene near the Cabrillo National Monument there was a “large debris field” of broken wood and other items in the choppy waters.  “In that area of Point Loma it’s very rocky. It’s likely the waves just kept pounding the boat, breaking it apart,” Ysea said.  He said it was possible, but not confirmed, that the group had been packed in a low-slung panga boat, a type of motorized vessel often made of wood used by smugglers to bring people illegally into the U.S. from Mexico.Officials believed everyone on board was accounted for, but crews in boats and aircraft continued to search the area for possible survivors, Ysea said.  U.S. Border Patrol didn’t immediately respond to inquiries about the capsizing.Border Patrol often spots pangas off the San Diego coast, many of them crowded with about 20 passengers. Some boats have landed hundreds of miles north of the border. Deaths are unusual but not unprecedented.On Thursday, border officials intercepted a panga-type vessel traveling without navigation lights 11 miles (18 kilometers) off the coast of Point Loma with 21 people on board. The crew took all 15 men and six women into custody. Agents determined all were Mexican citizens with no legal status to enter the U.S., according to a statement released by Customs and Border Protection. Two of the people on the boat, the suspected smugglers, will face federal charges, it said.  Border Patrol on Friday said law enforcement officials would be ramping up operations to disrupt maritime smuggling off the coast of San Diego this weekend.  As warmer weather comes to San Diego, there is a misperception that it will make illegal crossings safer or easier, the agency said in a statement. 

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МЗС: Росія стабільно намагається вийти з «Мінська»

Кулеба: Російська Федерація не виконує пункт 1 Мінських домовленостей – припинити вогонь

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Wyoming Backs Coal With $1.2M Threat to Sue Other States

While most states pursue ways to boost renewable energy, Wyoming is doing the opposite with a new program aimed at propping up the dwindling coal industry by suing other states that block exports of Wyoming coal and cause Wyoming coal-fired power plants to shut down.  The law signed April 6 by Republican Gov. Mark Gordon creates a $1.2 million fund for an initiative that marks the latest attempt by state leaders to help coal in the state that accounts for the bulk of U.S. coal production, which is down by half since 2008.  “Wyoming is sending a message that it is prepared to bring litigation to protect her interests,” Gordon spokesman Michael Pearlman said of the fund signed into law April 6.  The law puts West Coast states and Colorado on notice — all seek to get a large share of their electricity from renewables but still get some from aging Wyoming coal-fired power plants. The approach may run into legal troubles, though, according to one constitutional expert.  Lawsuits between states aren’t unusual and often involve natural resources, such as water rights. Such cases can go directly to the U.S. Supreme Court, if the justices agree to hear them.Last year, Wyoming and Montana — another major coal state — asked the Supreme Court to override a decision by Washington state to deny a permit to build a coal export dock on the Columbia River. The interstate lawsuit followed years of unsuccessful attempts by the dock’s developer, Utah-based Lighthouse Resources, to contest the permit denial in federal court.The Supreme Court hasn’t said yet if it will hear the case, but the new legal fund approved resoundingly by the Wyoming Legislature and overseen by Gordon could help cover the cost of that litigation, Pearlman said.All the while, prospects for Wyoming’s coal industry are as dim as ever, even after then-President Donald Trump rolled back regulations on mining and burning the fossil fuel.  Wyoming coal production, which accounts for about 40% of the nation’s total, has been in decline as utilities switch to gas, which is cheaper to burn to generate electricity. Solar and wind power also are on the rise as coal’s share of the U.S. power market shrinks from about half in the early 2000s to less than 20% now.Hope that other countries will use more U.S. coal, meanwhile, is fading fast. Lighthouse Resources filed for bankruptcy in December, further setting back the coal dock proposal.So can state vs. state lawsuits help the coal industry?”We’re supportive of all the efforts of the state right now to protect and defend the industry,” Wyoming Mining Association Executive Director Travis Deti said.Wyoming could waste a lot of money trying to convince courts to help coal, countered University of Maryland environmental law professor Robert Percival.”I don’t think they have a legal leg to stand on,” Percival said.The U.S. Constitution’s Commerce Clause prohibits states from barring goods and services based on their state of origin. States are free, however, to regulate or outright prohibit certain goods and services — coal and coal-fired electricity included — as long as they don’t intentionally target other states, Percival said.  Who might be targets of future Wyoming coal litigation isn’t yet known. Pearlman declined to speculate, saying Gordon and Attorney General Bridget Hill would need to study their chances of success, but they could include West Coast states including, again, Washington.Portland, Oregon-based utility PacifiCorp plans to reduce its coal-fired generation by two-thirds by 2030, partly by retiring generators at two southwestern Wyoming power plants starting in 2023, as much as five years sooner than envisioned just a few years ago. The utility serves four states with renewable energy standards or goals — California, Oregon, Utah and Washington — and two that don’t: Idaho and Wyoming.PacifiCorp has been meeting renewable standards by getting electricity from the lowest cost and least risky sources like it has always done, so the standards haven’t factored into its decisions to retire coal-fired power, company spokesman David Eskelsen said.PacifiCorp has no position on the legal fund, but the Wyoming Rural Electric Association supports the message it sends to states such as Colorado, which has renewable energy standards and gets coal-fired electricity from southeastern Wyoming, Executive Director Shawn Taylor said.”It’s just kind of part and parcel of folks feeling that states and state agencies and entities outside Wyoming are having more of an impact on our energy resources than we do,” Taylor said.The coal litigation fund followed a 2020 bill that established a $1 million fund to promote Wyoming coal. Wyoming is paying a nonprofit, the Energy Policy Network, $250,000 a year from the fund to contest plans in other states to shut down coal-fired power.”I will not waver in my efforts to protect our industries, particularly our coal industry. The use of coal is under assault from all directions. And we have stood firm in our support of it throughout,” Gordon said in his state of the state address in March.He called for Wyoming to be carbon negative — capturing more of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide than it emits — by investing in technology and infrastructure to trap carbon dioxide at power plants and keep the gas out of the atmosphere.Carbon capture remains economically unproven on a scale needed to meaningfully reduce current carbon dioxide emissions. Wyoming has been funding research into the technology, however, including $10 million in a just-approved bill that slashed Wyoming’s budget by over 10% amid weak revenue from oil, gas and coal extraction.Connie Wilbert, director of the Sierra Club’s Wyoming chapter, said the state should put its tight budget to more productive use than coal lawsuits.”Coal is on the way out,” Wilbert said. “The sooner our elected leadership acknowledges that and starts looking for things the state can do to actually help us through the transition, the better.”
 

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Кулеба: саміт «Кримська платформа» поверне Крим в топ питань міжнародного порядку денного

Кулеба: саміт «Кримська платформа» створить механізм для того, щоб займатися найрізноманітнішими питаннями окупації

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New Portuguese Bridge Not for the Faint-hearted

It’s probably best if you prepare yourself before you look down from the Arouca Bridge.The narrow footbridge suspended across a river canyon in northern Portugal claims to be the world’s longest pedestrian bridge and was officially inaugurated Sunday.The Arouca Bridge offers a half-kilometer (almost 1,700-foot) walk across its span, along a metal walkway suspended from cables. Some 175 meters (574 feet) below, the Paiva River flows through a waterfall.Arouca lies 300 kilometers (186 miles) north of Lisbon, the Portuguese capital. Local residents took a first walk on the bridge last week. Many were thrilled — even as some admitted it was a little unnerving to feel so high up and exposed.Guinness World Records says on its website that the world’s longest suspension bridge for pedestrians is Japan’s Kokonoe Yume Bridge, which opened in 2006 and spans 390 meters (1,280 feet). But the Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge, which opened in the Swiss Alps in 2017, challenges that mark at 494 meters (1,621 feet).The Arouca Bridge cost 2.3 million euros ($2.8 million) to build. Children younger than 6 are not allowed on it and all visits will be accompanied by guides. 
 

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Manchester United’s Game Off After Fans Storm Stadium in Protest

Anti-ownership protests by Manchester United fans forced the postponement of Sunday’s Premier League game against Liverpool as supporters stormed the stadium and reached the pitch, while thousands of others gathered outside the Old Trafford pitch to demand the Glazer family ownership sell the club.Long-running anger against the American owners has boiled over after they were part of the failed attempt to take United into the European Super League. Supporters have been kept out of games due to the coronavirus pandemic.United and Liverpool players were unable to travel to the stadium where there were clashes briefly between fans and the police under a shower of glass bottles as flares were sent off.  Although the crowds were later dispersed around the time the game was due to start, United said the game was postponed “due to safety and security considerations around the protest” after discussions with police, authorities and the league.”Our fans are passionate about Manchester United, and we completely acknowledge the right to free expression and peaceful protest,” United said in a statement. “However, we regret the disruption to the team and actions which put other fans, staff, and the police in danger. We thank the police for their support and will assist them in any subsequent investigations.”The Premier League, which was yet to announce a new date for the match, expressed concern about the disorder.”The security and safety of everyone at Old Trafford remains of paramount importance,” the Premier League said in a statement. “We understand and respect the strength of feeling but condemn all acts of violence, criminal damage and trespass, especially given the associated COVID-19 breaches. Fans have many channels by which to make their views known, but the actions of a minority seen today have no justification.”We sympathize with the police and stewards who had to deal with a dangerous situation that should have no place in football.”The Glazers, who also own the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, have declined to engage with fans since buying United in 2005 in a leveraged takeover that loaded debt onto the club.”Get out of our club,” fans chanted as flares were set off. “We want Glazers out.”Fans found a way into the stadium and also climbed onto vantage points next to turnstile entrances.Supporters wore green-and-gold scarves and also set off flares in the colors of the club’s 1878 formation. More than 100 fans got inside the stadium and some could be seen from windows waving down to protesters. Corner flags were held aloft and one supporter was seen throwing a tripod from the interview zone.Police on horseback later cleared protesting fans from outside the stadium, with glass bottles being thrown in brief clashes. Some fans moved back to a main road near the stadium with police forming a line to stop them returning.If United had lost the planned game, Manchester City would have won the Premier League title. United is the record 20-time English champion but hasn’t lifted the trophy since 2013.United and Liverpool were among six Premier League clubs that tried to form an exclusive European Super League along with three clubs each from Spain and Italy. Widespread opposition quickly ended the project, with all six English teams backing out within 48 hours of the announcement.The “Big 6” clubs have been in damage control since, offering various forms of apologies and statements of regret, while fans long frustrated with billionaire owners have called for wholesale changes.

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Black Candidate Challenges Political Status Quo in Spain

Two young Senegalese men met on a Europe-bound migrant boat in 2006, a year that saw a record influx of Africans to Spain’s Canary Islands. Since then, one died of a heart attack running away from Spanish police and the other is running in a polarized election Tuesday for a seat in Madrid’s regional assembly.Serigne Mbaye not only wants to fight what he considers to be “structural racism” against African migrants but also to defy a history of underrepresentation of the Black community and other people of color in Spanish politics.“That’s where all discrimination begins,” the 45-year-old told The Associated Press.In 2018, having failed to secure legal work and a residence permit, the man he met on the boat — Mame Mbaye, no relation — died of a heart attack eluding a police crackdown on street vendors.After that, Serigne Mbaye, who at the time represented a group of mostly Black African hawkers, became one of the most vocal voices against Spain’s Alien Law, saying it ties migrants arriving unlawfully to the underground economy. The regulation also punishes them with jail for committing minor offenses, leaving them with a criminal record that weighs against their chances of getting a residence permit.“His image at night when we were on the boat always haunts me,” said Serigne Mbaye, who is now a Spanish citizen. “The sole fact that he is dead and I’m alive is because of an unjust law that condemns and punishes us. Some of us make it. Some can spend 20 years in a vicious circle without papers.”Mbaye is running on a ticket with the anti-austerity United We Can party, the junior partner in the country’s ruling, Socialist-led coalition.Only a handful of Black people have succeeded in at the top level of Spanish politics. Equatorial Guinea-born Rita Bosaho, now the director of racial and ethnic diversity at Spain’s Equality Ministry, in 2015 became the first Black national lawmaker in four decades of democratic rule. Luc André Diouf, who also migrated from Senegal, also won a seat in Spain’s Lower House in 2019. At a lower, regional level, Mbaye wants to show that “Madrid is diverse.”“That a Black person is running in the lists has surprised many. In that way, this is making many people think,” he said.Vox, the country’s increasingly influential far-right party, has responded to Mbaye’s candidacy with an Instagram post vowing to deport him, even though that’s impossible because the far-left candidate is a Spanish citizen. With its mixture of patriotism and populist provocation, Vox has become the third force in the national parliament and might emerge as the kingmaker in Madrid’s May 4 election.“They are basically saying that because I’m Black there is no place for me here,” said Mbaye. “These are the kind of messages that criminalize us and that we continue receiving.”Vox has also made waves with large subway ads citing inaccurate figures comparing Madrid’s alleged public spending on unaccompanied foreign minors with the alleged average stipend for a retiree. The party blames the minors — a total of 269 people in the region’s population of 6.7 million — for increased insecurity.Judges have ruled that the billboards fall under free speech. But when Vox is accused by opponents of being racist, the party says its crusade is only against illegal migration and that a racist party wouldn’t have a mixed-race spokesman in northeastern Catalonia’s regional parliament. That’s Rafael Garriga, a dentist of Belgian and Equatorial Guinean descent.“By surrounding themselves with what they see as some kind of respectability, they try to legitimize clearly racist speech while not crossing certain legal lines,” said Antumi Toasijé, a historian who heads the National Council Against Ethnic and Racial Discrimination.The ascent of the far-right and the polarization in social media has normalized hate speech in Spain, he said.The Black Lives Matter movement led last year to some of the largest protests against racism seen in Spain. But while many condemned the murder of Black citizens by police in the United States, few reflected on domestic racism or Spain’s own history of colonialism, slavery and, according to Toasijé, “a long tradition of attempts to conduct ethnic cleansing.”In a country where the census doesn’t ask about race or ethnicity, like in much of Europe, a recent government study put the number of Black people in Spain at just over 700,000.Toasijé’s own estimation elevates the figure to at least 1.3 million “visibly” Black people, including sub-Saharan Africans, Black Latin Americans and Afro-descendants born in Spain. That would be 2.7% of the population, or at least nine Black lawmakers if the 350-seat Congress of Deputies reflected the country’s diversity. There is currently one Black lawmaker.Still, quotas or other measures that would help address racial inequality aren’t even part of the debate, said Toasijé.That underrepresentation also affects Spain’s Roma people, a community of 700,000 that scored a historic victory in 2019 by snatching four parliamentary seats, close to the 1.5% share it represents in the total population. But one of them failed to retain his seat in a repeated election. The situation isn’t better for descendants of Latin Americans or Moroccans, who represent some of the largest groups of non-white Spaniards, or the more than 11% of foreign-born residents who can’t even run in regional or national elections.Moha Gerehou, a Spanish journalist and anti-racism activist, said “structural racism” is inbred in Spanish life.“It has a lot to do with education, because the main bottleneck is in access to universities, leaving low-paid and precarious employment like domestic work or harvesting, where there is rampant exploitation,” he said.Barring sports figures and some artists, people of color are pretty much invisible in high-powered Spanish circles from academia to big business, said Gerehou, who just published a book on growing up as a Black person in a provincial northern Spanish capital.His description is of a largely white country that considers itself non-racist and welcoming to migrants, even when numerous studies have captured rampant discrimination against people of color, especially in jobs or housing.”The problem is that the debate of racial representation is still on the fringes,” Gerehou said. “We need to go much faster.” 

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Berlin Police Slam ‘Unacceptable’ May Day Violence 

Nearly 100 police officers were injured and over 300 people arrested after May Day rallies in Berlin descended into “unacceptable” violence, police and local authorities said Sunday.Around 30,000 people from across the political spectrum took part in several marches in the German capital on Saturday as part of the traditional Labor Day workers’ rights demonstrations. Most of the demonstrations passed off peacefully, police said. But the mood darkened in the evening after police pulled far-left “black bloc” protesters out of the crowd for not adhering to pandemic hygiene regulations such as social distancing. Along with thousands of others, they had been marching in the “Revolutionary May Day” demonstration to protest against racism, capitalism and rising rents in the city. Heavy scuffles ensued, with protesters throwing glass bottles and stones at police and setting dustbins and wooden pallets ablaze in the streets. At least 93 officers were injured in the clashes, Berlin’s interior ministry said, and 354 people were detained. “Violence during demonstrations is absolutely unacceptable,” said Berlin police chief Barbara Slowik. “The situation did degenerate but was quickly brought under control,” she added. Berlin state interior minister Andreas Geisel strongly condemned the “blind destruction rage” and violence towards police. Berlin mayor Michael Mueller said “violence, hatred and ignorance have no place in our society, not on May 1 or any other day.”Organisers behind the “Revolutionary May Day” rally said in a statement that dozens of protesters were injured in “groundless beatings” by police. The German capital had deployed around 5,600 officers on Saturday to monitor the May Day protests, which have turned violent in the past. Large rallies in Hamburg and Frankfurt also saw unrest, with police in both cities using water cannon to disperse protesters throwing bottles or setting off fireworks. Similar May Day protests took place around the world on Saturday, some of which also descended into skirmishes. In Paris, police fired tear gas at protesters who smashed the windows of bank branches, set dustbins alight and threw projectiles at police. France’s CGT union said 21 of its members had been injured in clashes with other protesters in Paris, four of them seriously, although they have since been discharged from hospital. The union said the perpetrators were “a large group of individuals, some of whom identified themselves as yellow vests”, the anti-elite protest movement that rocked France two years ago. “In 20 years of unionism, I have never seen anything like it,” CGT official Benjamin Amar told BFM television, saying it was difficult to know who was behind the violence but that they had thrown homophobic sexist and racist insults associated with the far-right.