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Quick Payoff Unlikely in Biden Order to Boost Lithium Mining  

President Joe Biden is turning to a Cold War-era law to boost production of lithium and other minerals used to power electric vehicles, but experts say the move by itself is unlikely to ensure the robust domestic mining Biden seeks as he promotes cleaner energy sources.

Biden’s action, part of his efforts to find alternatives to fossil fuels and combat climate change, does not waive or suspend existing environmental and labor standards, the White House said. Nor does it address the chief hurdle to increased domestic extraction of so-called critical minerals: the years-long process needed to obtain a federal permit for a new mine.

Even so, the mining industry and supporters in Congress cheered Biden’s use of the 1950 Defense Production Act to increase U.S. supplies of lithium, nickel and other minerals needed for electric-vehicle batteries and other clean-energy technology.

His March 31 executive order is a historic step by the White House to “recognize the critical importance of minerals and push to electrify the car industry,” said Rich Nolan, president and CEO of the National Mining Association.

But “unless we continue to build on this action” and approve new hard-rock mines, Nolan added, “we risk feeding the minerals dominance of geopolitical rivals” such as China and Russia.

“We have abundant mineral resources here,” he said. “What we need is policy to ensure we can produce them and build the secure, reliable supply chains we know we must have.”

Environmental worries

Environmentalists, meanwhile, worry that Biden is activating a war-time tool to boost mineral extraction that can contaminate groundwater and harm ranching and wildlife.

“The clean energy transition cannot be built on dirty mining,” said Lauren Pagel, policy director of Earthworks, an environmental group that has pushed for stronger restrictions on hard-rock mining.

Biden’s order directs the Defense Department to consider at least five metals — lithium, cobalt, graphite, nickel and manganese — as essential to national security and authorizes steps to bolster domestic supplies. Biden and former President Donald Trump both used the defense production law previously to speed the U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On minerals, Biden wants to ensure the U.S. has enough lithium and other materials needed for EV batteries, heat pumps and large-capacity batteries for the electric grid. A majority of global lithium production comes from China, Australia, Argentina and Chile, while Russia dominates the global nickel market, and the Democratic Republic of Congo is the world’s largest cobalt producer.

“We need to end our long-term reliance on China and other countries for inputs that will power the future,” Biden said, vowing to “use every tool I have to make that happen.”

 

‘Saudi Arabia of lithium’

Although lithium reserves are distributed widely across the globe, the U.S. is home to just one active lithium mine, in Nevada. New and potential lithium mining and extracting projects are in various stages of development in Nevada, Maine, North Carolina and California. Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom has labeled California the “Saudi Arabia of lithium,” and two projects there could produce lithium by 2024.

Under Biden’s order, the Pentagon is authorized to spend millions of dollars to support a range of activities, including feasibility studies to determine economic viability of a proposed mine and develop mineral-waste recycling programs. The money also could help existing mines and other industrial sites produce valuable materials, the Pentagon said. For example, a copper mine could also produce nickel.

It’s unclear how much money will be available for mining, but the Defense Department is authorized to keep up to $750 million on hand for its strategic and critical material stockpile.

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., called Biden’s order “a good first step toward expanding our electric vehicle battery manufacturing and infrastructure.” But she and other lawmakers said the U.S. needs a long-term strategy to improve the domestic supply chain of critical minerals.

“Unless the president streamlines permitting, we should not expect to see any meaningful increase in American mineral production,” said Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, the top Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. At a recent committee hearing. Barrasso urged Biden to “stand up to mining opponents in his own party.”

Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva, a Democrat who chairs the House Natural Resources Committee, called Biden’s order misguided.

“Fast-tracking mining under antiquated standards that put our public health, wilderness and sacred sites at risk of permanent damage just isn’t the answer,” he said.

Grijalva and Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., introduced legislation to modernize the 1872 law that governs hard-rock mining in the U.S.

“Our current mining law was put in place before we even knew what a car was, much less an electric one,” Grijalva said. “Modernizing this relic of a law isn’t extreme or anti-industry — it’s just common sense.”

Mining companies have extracted hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of gold, silver, copper and other minerals from federal lands over the past 150 years “without paying a cent in federal royalties,” Grijalva and Heinrich said in a statement. The House bill would establish a 12.5% royalty on new mining operations and an 8% royalty on existing operations.

Mining law reform

The bill also would set up a Hardrock Minerals Reclamation Fund to make the industry pay for cleanup of abandoned mine sites.

About 40% of the watersheds in the Western U.S. are contaminated by hard-rock mine drainage, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Many nickel, copper, lithium and cobalt reserves are within 56 kilometers of tribal lands.

Indigenous people living near a proposed lithium mine in Nevada assailed Biden’s order.

“I believe this is going to be the second coming of environmental destruction,” said Day Hinkey, a member of the Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone tribe and an organizer with People of Red Mountain, a group that opposes the vast Thacker Pass lithium mine in northern Nevada.

Another Nevada lithium mine is planned near a desert ridge where a rare wildflower has been proposed for listing as an endangered species. The mine’s developer, Australia-based Ioneer, said the expected habitat protections for the rare Tiehm’s buckwheat would not affect its mining activities, and company operations would not jeopardize conservation of the species.

Opponents dispute that. Hinkey said the first environmental crisis was caused by the fossil fuel industry “and I believe this next one will be lithium mining.”

Posted by Ukrap on

Усі тимчасово окуповані військами РФ території будуть звільнені – Зеленський

«Ця війна вже послабила Росію так, що вони змушені планувати навіть меншу кількість військової техніки для участі в параді в Москві»

Posted by Ukrap on

Розмови з переселенцями, волонтерами та підтримка дітей – Анджеліна Джолі у Львові провела низку зустрічей

Анджеліна Джолі у Львові заявила про важливість показувати дітям із охоплених бойовими діями територій, що «їхнє життя має значення»

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‘A Huge Demand’: Ukrainian Women Train to Clear Landmines

Learning to identify and defuse explosives is something Anastasiia Minchukova never thought she would have to do as an English teacher in Ukraine. Yet there she was wearing a face shield, armed with a landmine detector and venturing into a field dotted with danger warnings.

Russia’s war in Ukraine took Minchukova, 20, and five other women to Kosovo, where they are attending a hands-on course in clearing landmines and other dangers that may remain hidden across their country once combat ends.

“There is a huge demand on people who know how to do demining because the war will be over soon,” Minchukova said. “We believe there is so much work to be done.”

The 18-day training camp takes place at a range in the western town of Peja where a Malta-based company regularly offers courses for job-seekers, firms working in former war zones, humanitarian organizations and government agencies.

Kosovo was the site of a devastating 1998-99 armed conflict between ethnic Albanian separatists and Serbian forces that killed about 13,000 people and left thousands of unexploded mines in need of clearing. Praedium Consulting Malta’s range includes bombed and derelict buildings as well as expanses of vegetation.

Instructor Artur Tigani, who tailored the curriculum to reflect Ukraine’s environment, said he was glad to share his small Balkan nation’s experience with the Ukrainian women. Though 23 years have passed, “it’s still fresh in our memories, the difficulties we met when we started clearance in Kosovo,” Tigani said.

Tigani is a highly trained and experienced mine operations officer who served as an engineer in the former Yugoslav army during the 1980s. He has been deployed in his native Kosovo, Sri Lanka, Uganda, Congo, Rwanda and Kenya, and conducted training missions in Syria and Iraq.

During a class last week, he took his trainees through a makeshift minefield before moving to an improvised outdoor classroom featuring a huge board with various samples of explosives and mines.

While it is impossible to assess how littered with mines and unexploded ordnance Ukraine is at the moment, the aftermaths of other conflicts suggest the problem will be huge.

“In many parts of the world, explosive remnants of war continue to kill and maim thousands of civilians each year during and long after active hostilities have ended. The majority of victims are children,” the International Committee of the Red Cross testified at a December U.N. conference.

“Locating (unexploded ordnance) in the midst of rubble and picking them out from among a wide array of everyday objects, many of which are made of similar material is a dangerous, onerous and often extremely time-consuming task,” the Red Cross said.

Mine Action Review, a Norwegian organization that monitors clearance efforts worldwide, reported that 56 countries were contaminated with unexploded ordnance as of October, with Afghanistan, Cambodia and Iraq carrying the heaviest burdens, followed by Angola, Bosnia, Thailand, Turkey and Yemen.

Thousands of civilians are believed to have died in Ukraine since Russia invaded Feb. 24. Russian forces have bombed cities and towns across the country, reducing many to rubble.

Military analysts say it appears Russian forces have employed anti-personnel and anti-vehicle mines, while Ukraine has used anti-tank mines to try to prevent the Russians from gaining ground.

With Ukrainian men from 18 to 60 years old prohibited from leaving their country and most engaged in defending it, the women wanted to help any way they could despite the risks involved in mine clearing.

“It’s dangerous all over Ukraine, even if you are in a relatively safe region,” said Minchukova, who is from central Ukraine.

Another Ukrainian student, Yuliia Katelik, 38, took her three children to safety in Poland early in the war. She went back to Ukraine and then joined the demining training to help make sure it’s safe for her children when they return home to the eastern city of Kramatorsk, where a rocket attack on a crowded train station killed more than 50 people this month.

Katelik said her only wish is to reunite with her family and see “the end of this nightmare.” Knowing how to spot booby-traps that could shatter their lives again is a necessary skill, she said.

“Acutely, probably as a mother, I do understand that there is a problem and it’s quite serious, especially for the children,” Katelik said.

Minchukova, wearing military-style clothes, said she was doubtful that normal life, as they all knew it before the war, would ever fully return.

“What am I missing? Peace,” she said. “I’m dreaming about peace, about sleeping in my bed not worried about going to bomb shelters all the time. I miss the people I lost.”

The Kosovo training center plans to work with more groups of Ukrainian women, both in Peja and in Ukraine.

“We’re planning as well to go to Ukraine very soon and start with delivery of courses there, on the theater” of war, Tigani said.

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У Запоріжжі у комендантську годину 1-2 травня частково не їздитимуть поїзди

Раніше про обмеження у русі поїздів у перші дні травня УЗ повідомила і щодо Одеси

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Despite Payment, Investors Brace for Russia to Default

Prices for Russian credit default swaps — insurance contracts that protect an investor against a default — plunged sharply overnight after Moscow used its precious foreign currency reserves to make a last-minute debt payment Friday.

The cost for a five-year credit default swap on Russian debt was $5.84 million to protect $10 million in debt. That price was nearly half the one on Thursday, which at roughly $11 million for $10 million in debt protection was a signal that investors were certain of an eventual Russian default.

Russia used its foreign currency reserves sitting outside of the country to make the payment, backing down from the Kremlin’s earlier threats that it would use rubles to pay these obligations. In a statement, the Russia Finance Ministry did not say whether future payments would be made in rubles.

Despite the insurance contract plunge, investors remain largely convinced that Russia will eventually default on its debts for the first time since 1917. The major ratings agencies Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s have declared Russia is in “selective default” on its obligations.

Russia has been hit with extensive sanctions by the United States, the EU and others in response to its Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine and its continuing military operation to take over Ukrainian territory.

The Credit Default Determination Committee — an industry group of 14 banks and investors that determines whether to pay on these swaps — said Friday that they “continue to monitor the situation” after Russia’s payment. Their next meeting is May 3.

At the beginning of April, Russia’s finance ministry said it tried to make a $649 million payment due April 6 toward two bonds to an unnamed U.S. bank — previously reported as JPMorgan Chase.

At that time, tightened sanctions imposed for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine prevented the payment from being accepted, so Moscow attempted to make the debt payment in rubles. The Kremlin, which repeatedly said it was financially able and willing to continue to pay on its debts, had argued that extraordinary events gave them the legal footing to pay in rubles, instead of dollars or euros.

Investors and rating agencies, however, disagreed and did not expect Russia to be able to convert the rubles into dollars before a 30-day grace period expired next week.

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Serbia Shows Off New Chinese Missiles in Display of Military Power

Serbia on Saturday showed off its new Chinese-made surface-to-air missiles and other military hardware purchased from both Russia and the West, as the country seeks to perform a delicate balancing act over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Members of the public and the media were invited to the display at the Batajnica military airfield near Belgrade, where Chinese and French missiles were lined up beside European Airbus helicopters, Chinese-armed drones and Russian MIG-29 jets.

Serbia is striving to balance its partnership with NATO and aspirations to join the European Union with its centuries-old religious, ethnic and political alliance with Russia.

The Chinese FK-3 surface-to-air defense system, similar to Russia’s S-300 or the U.S. Patriot system, was purchased by Belgrade in 2019 and delivered earlier this month.

Serbia is the only European country to operate the Chinese missile system and CH-92A combat drones.

President Aleksandar Vucic toured Saturday’s display flanked by military commanders and watched an aerobatics show featuring overhauled MIG-29 jets donated by Russia in 2017.

“I’m proud of the Serbian army, I’m proud of a great progress,” Vucic told a news conference. “We’re going to significantly strengthen our fighter air force … Serbia is a neutral country and Serbia must find solutions enabling it to preserve its sky and its state.”

The delivery of the FK-3 missile system prompted several Western countries, including Germany, to warn Belgrade it expected the Balkan country to align its foreign policy with the EU if it wanted to become a member.

Belgrade has voted against Russia three times at the United Nations but stopped short of imposing sanctions against it.

Serbia’s military is loosely based on ex-Soviet technology and Russia is one of its main suppliers. Belgrade is also dependent on natural gas and oil supplies from Russia.

Vucic said Serbia expects to purchase 12 Rafale multipurpose fighter jets from France by the end of the year or early next year, a move seen by political analysts as a sign of Belgrade distancing itself from Russia.

He said Serbia is also negotiating to buy 12 Typhoon combat aircraft from Britain.

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Генштаб ЗСУ прозвітував про відновлення контролю над кількома населеними пунктами Харківщини

Як йдеться у повідомленні Генштабу, це відбулося у результаті наступу підрозділів Сил оборони України

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Remembering Havel, Czechs Feel Moral Responsibility to Help Ukraine

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has driven home the importance of NATO and the European Union for many of their newest members, according to Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky, who was in Washington this week for the funeral of Czech emigre and former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

“The reason we joined these two organizations is that it won’t happen to us,” Lipavsky, said at an event hosted by the Atlantic Council.

The fact that Ukraine did not manage to enter the two Western institutions “created a gray zone” that Russian President Vladimir Putin exploited, said Lipavsky, who had discussed the challenge facing Ukraine, among other topics, in an interview with VOA earlier in the day.

The people of Ukraine “want to be part of the Western society, they want democratic elections, they want freedom of speech,” and they want to enjoy the prosperity that comes with them, he said. “I feel our moral responsibility to help them.”

Lipavsky is part of a newly sworn-in coalition government comprising both conservatives and progressives. Led by Prime Minister Petr Fiala, the new Czech administration is expected to pursue an internationalist foreign policy that promotes democracy and human rights, harkening back to an era when the country was led by playwright-turned political leader Vaclav Havel.

On his limited itinerary in Washington, Lipavsky paid tribute to Havel, who is memorialized in what is known as the “Freedom Foyer” of the U.S. Capitol’s Statuary Hall. There, his bust sits in close proximity to those of Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln and George Washington.

Lipavsky gifted his American hosts with a collection of Havel photographs, including photos of Havel with Albright, who was born in then-Czechoslovakia and whose father was a member of the Czechoslovakian diplomatic corps.

 

The friendship between Havel and Albright was stressed by Lipavsky and other Czech dignitaries who came to Washington for the funeral. Among them were Czech senate president Milos Vystrcil, the senate foreign affairs committee chairman and three former ambassadors to the United States.

 

Albright is credited with having played a critical role in ushering the Czech Republic and other Central and Eastern European countries into NATO.

“Madeleine Albright made that possible, because she knew — she had suffered the consequences of policy failures, including American policy failures” in the 1930s and ’40s, said Daniel Fried, a former U.S. ambassador to Poland, at the Atlantic Council event alongside Lipavsky.

“Vaclav Havel, along with Poland’s Lech Walesa, pushed [then U.S. President] Bill Clinton on NATO enlargement,” Fried recalled. “One of their arguments was — I was around, I remember — ‘we have a window now to do it, don’t you Americans blow it!’ ”

Fried added that Havel and Walesa might not have “quite put it that way, but that was more or less their way, what they were saying.”

Speaking to VOA earlier by telephone, Fried took issue with widespread reports of “backsliding” on democratic governance in the former Soviet bloc countries of Central and Eastern Europe. “Except for Hungary,” he said, he sees the countries in the region “going back to their roots” of fighting for freedom and democracy.

Lipavsky, for his part, said he believes the countries of the region are attracted to the West by its “democratic identity.”

“This identity is built upon the vision that every person can pursue his and her own happiness, and you have very basic values like human rights, rights to own [property], rights to think, freedom of speech,” he said. “Baltics, Central and Eastern Europe, want to be part of that, is part of that.”

The Ukrainian people are “literally fighting and dying” for the very same choice, he said, and the Czech Republic will do its utmost to help them to prevail against Russia and become a member of the club of like-minded nations that is the EU.

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Сервіси онлайн-продажу залізничних квитків знову запрацювали – «Укрзалізниця»

Перевізник пояснював, що продаж е-квитків на поїзди та роботу сервісів онлайн-підтримки й гарячої лінії «Укрзалізниці» призупиняли через «невідкладні технічні роботи»

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Верещук повідомила про новий обмін полоненими – 7 військових та 7 цивільних

Останній обмін полоненими відбувся днями – 28 квітня, тоді українській стороні вдалося визволити 45 українців

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White House Correspondents Dinner Returns, With Biden Headlining

U.S. President Joe Biden will resume a Washington tradition by speaking at the White House Correspondents Association dinner on Saturday night, the first president to speak at the annual event since 2016.

After being canceled for two years due to COVID-19 pandemic and boycotted by Donald Trump during his presidency, the event returns with gusto this year, featuring remarks by comedian Trevor Noah.

More than 20 WHCA-related parties are being staged around Washington before and after the major event on Saturday night and several senior administration officials will attend as well as a smattering of celebrities from the entertainment world.

However, a recent rise in COVID-19 cases in Washington, in particular an outbreak at the journalists’ white-tie Gridiron dinner early in April, has brought an undercurrent of caution to the White House dinner.

Organizers are requiring every attendee be tested for the virus, and some top officials, including infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, have dropped out.

The White House said Biden will take extra precautions at the event – skipping the dinner portion and attend only the speakers program, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Wednesday. He may opt to wear a mask when he is not speaking.

Asked what Biden will tell the crowd, Psaki said, “I will lower expectations and say it’s not funny at all.”

In recent weeks, the president has mostly been unmasked at crowded White House events, but those events had lower attendance than Saturday’s dinner, which is expected to seat about 2,600 journalists, Washington officials and celebrities.  

The White House Correspondents Association was founded in 1914 and has held a dinner nearly every year since the first one in 1921 to celebrate the reporters who cover the presidency and raise money for scholarships.

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Surge in Gun Ownership Among Minorities in US

More members of minority groups in the United States are buying guns as the fear of violence and crime increases. VOA’s Aunshuman Apte in New York spoke with some minority gun owners to learn more about why they bought their weapons.

Posted by Ukrap on

Росія: у Пензі затримали волонтерку, яка допомагала українцям

Адвокат розповідав, що вони з Гурською збирали речі для українців із Маріуполя, вивезених в Росію, деяким допомагали купити квитки з Росії до країн Європи

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In Scandinavia, Wooden Buildings Reach New Heights

A sandy-colored tower glints in the sunlight and dominates the skyline of the Swedish town of Skelleftea as Scandinavia harnesses its wood resources to lead a global trend towards erecting eco-friendly high-rises.

The Sara Cultural Center is one of the world’s tallest timber buildings, made primarily from spruce and towering 75 meters over rows of snow-dusted houses and surrounding forest.

The 20-story timber structure, which houses a hotel, a library, an exhibition hall and theater stages, opened at the end of 2021 in the northern town of 35,000 people.

Forests cover much of Sweden’s northern regions, most of it spruce, and building timber homes is a longstanding tradition.

Swedish architects now want to spearhead a revolution and steer the industry towards more sustainable construction methods as large wooden buildings sprout up in Sweden and neighboring Nordic nations thanks to advancing industry techniques.

“The pillars together with the beams, the interaction with the steel and wood, that is what carries the 20 stories of the hotel,” Therese Kreisel, a Skelleftea urban planning official, tells AFP during a tour of the cultural center.

Even the lift shafts are made entirely of wood. “There is no plaster, no seal, no isolation on the wood,” she says, adding that this “is unique when it comes to a 20-story building.”

Building materials go green

The main advantage of working with wood is that it is more environmentally friendly, proponents say.

Cement — used to make concrete — and steel, two of the most common construction materials, are among the most polluting industries because they emit huge amounts of carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas.

But wood emits little CO2 during its production and retains the carbon absorbed by the tree even when it is cut and used in a building structure. It is also lighter in weight, requiring less of a foundation.

According to the U.N.’s IPCC climate panel, wood as a construction material can be up to 30 times less carbon intensive than concrete, and hundreds or even thousands of times less than steel.

Global efforts to cut emissions have sparked an upswing in interest for timber structures, according to Jessica Becker, the coordinator of Trastad (City of Wood), an organization lobbying for more timber construction.

Skelleftea’s tower “showcases that is it possible to build this high and complex in timber,” says Robert Schmitz, one of the project’s two architects.

“When you have this as a backdrop for discussions, you can always say, ‘We did this, so how can you say it’s not possible?'”

Only an 85-meter tower recently erected in Brumunddal in neighboring Norway and an 84-meter structure in Vienna are taller than the Sara Cultural Centre.

A building under construction in the U.S. city of Milwaukee and due to be completed soon is expected to clinch the title of the world’s tallest, at a little more than 86 meters.

‘Stacked like Lego’

Building the cultural center in spruce was “much more challenging” but “has also opened doors to really think in new ways,” explains Schmitz’s co-architect Oskar Norelius.

For example, the hotel rooms were made as prefabricated modules that were then “stacked like Lego pieces on site,” he says.

The building has won several wood architecture prizes.

Anders Berensson, another Stockholm architect whose material of choice is wood, says timber has many advantages.

“If you missed something in the cutting you just take the knife and the saw and sort of adjust it on site. So it’s both high tech and low tech at the same time,” he says.

In Stockholm, an apartment complex made of wood, called Cederhusen and featuring distinctive yellow and red cedar shingles on the facade, is in the final stages of completion.

It has already been named the Construction of the Year by Swedish construction industry magazine Byggindustrin. 

“I think we can see things shifting in just the past few years actually,” says Becker.

“We are seeing a huge change right now, it’s kind of the tipping point. And I’m hoping that other countries are going to catch on, we see examples even in England and Canada and other parts of the world.” 

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Man Sentenced for Shooting Vegas Officer Amid 2020 Protest

A 21-year-old man who shot and paralyzed a Las Vegas police officer during a racial justice protest on the Las Vegas Strip in June 2020 was sentenced Friday to 20-50 years in state prison.

The officer, Shay Mikalonis, was 29 when he was shot and now breathes with the help of a ventilator. He and his family were in the courtroom while Edgar Samaniego read a statement saying he doesn’t remember the shooting due to his use of drugs and alcohol, KLAS-TV reported.

Clark County District Court Judge Carli Kierny said the shooting “can’t get any closer to an actual murder,” KSNV-TV reported.

“Officer Mikalonis was only doing his job, and there was no reason for this to happen,” the judge said.

Mikalonis’ father, Guy Mikalonis, said his son “can’t talk, eat, swallow on his own, or breathe,” and spoke of the toll his care takes on his family as “a life sentence with no parole.”

Samaniego avoided trial when he pleaded guilty in November 2021 to attempted murder, battery and assault — each with a deadly weapon — and illegally discharging a firearm.

Police said witnesses saw Samaniego fire a handgun from a motel parking lot toward a demonstration that was one of hundreds around the U.S. calling for racial justice following the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis.

Investigators determined that Samaniego had not been participating in protests.

At the time, Mikalonis was handcuffing a person near the Circus Circus hotel-casino. A bullet struck him in the spine and lodged in his face. He had been a police officer for four years.

The same night Mikalonis was wounded, Las Vegas police shot and killed a man they said was armed with several guns and refused orders to leave an area near downtown federal courthouses.  

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МВС: на Ізюмському напрямку знищили пункт управління, техніку і особовий склад військ РФ

«Понад 30 одиниць техніки, з яких більше ніж половина – танки, а також БТРи, БМД і МТЛБ, було знищено завдяки філігранній роботі нацгвардійців та військових ЗСУ»

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На Луганщині обстріляні евакуаційні автобуси, автомобіль із волонтерами – ОВА

Щонайменше одна людина загинула, троє – були поранені, пошкоджені 20 будинків, дві школи

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Zelenskyy’s Invite to G20 Not Enough for Biden

Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who holds this year’s G-20 presidency, has invited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to the group’s summit in Bali later this year, despite Russian President Vladimir Putin’s plans to attend. However, Zelenskyy’s invitation may not be enough to secure the attendance of U.S. and other Western leaders keen on isolating Moscow. White House Bureau Chief Patsy Widakuswara has this report.

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Biden, Mexican President Warn of ‘Unprecedented’ Migration Flow

U.S. President Joe Biden and his Mexican counterpart, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, warned of “unprecedented” pressure from migration in a call Friday that highlighted a major political headache for the White House ahead of November elections.

“In view of the unprecedented flows of migrants from throughout the hemisphere to our two countries, the presidents reiterated the need to build stronger tools for managing regional migration surges,” the White House said in a statement after the call between the two presidents.

The virtual meeting, just under an hour long, showcased Biden’s attempt to steer the complex relationship onto a more cooperative basis after the tempestuous, at times tense, situation under his predecessor Donald Trump.

“The tone of the call was very constructive. This was not a call where President Biden was threatening the Mexican president in any way,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said, referring to Trump’s aggressive brinkmanship with Mexico over illegal immigration.

The two nations are inextricably tied through trade, culture and the violent narcotics industry. However, looming over everything is the quandary of how to manage both legal and illegal migration.

It’s a subject that will feature heavily at the upcoming regional Summit of the Americas in June, being hosted in Los Angeles.

“The majority of the conversation was about migration and was about continued work on coordination, on economic coordination, on taking steps to reduce migration along the border,” Psaki said.

Lopez Obrador tweeted after the call that Mexican foreign minister Marcelo Ebrard will travel to Washington on Monday to discuss “issues of cooperation for development” and the Summit of the Americas.

And Lopez Obrador himself is to visit Central America and Cuba from May 5-9, with stops in three of the main countries where migrant caravans originate: Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.

The trip is unusual, as the Mexican president has made few foreign visits since taking office in 2018, although he has visited the United States three times.

A senior US official told reporters Friday that “monumental challenges” around the world, ranging from climate change to the war in Ukraine and food insecurity, are prompting “unprecedented levels of migration.”

Looming surge

The already messy situation is heating up with Biden’s attempt to end Title 42, a rule instituted during the COVID pandemic as a way to quickly expel migrants and asylum seekers, rather than let them stay in the United States while their cases are heard.

Opponents see the rule as no longer justified, but Republicans and even some of Biden’s own party warn that lifting the measure will trigger an uncontrolled surge across the border. Although the rule was set to expire May 23, a court order means it remains in place for now.

With Biden’s Democrats potentially facing heavy defeats in November midterm congressional elections, the issue will only intensify.

Both sides of the political divide in Washington agree there’s a problem.

The White House talks of a “broken” immigration system that Congress should fix, while Republicans accuse Biden of failing to protect the country’s southern frontier.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection registered 7,800 undocumented migrants a day along the southwest border in the past three weeks — almost five times the average of 1,600 recorded from 2014-19, before the coronavirus outbreak.

But where Trump made political capital with a project to reinforce barriers and walls along the border, as well as threatening trade tariffs on Mexico, the Biden administration is doubling down on its theory that only a more complex, collaborative approach can work.

“Given our shared border, we must do this together — and as a region,” the U.S. official said, referring to the challenge of managing the expected surge should Title 42 be lifted.

The phrase most often heard from the Biden White House when explaining its approach to the migration problem is “root causes” — a reference to economic, security, political and increasingly climate strains driving people out of poorer countries to the south.

“We have many challenges before us, but we can tackle them better when we work in partnership,” the official said. “What I will say is that the mechanisms for cooperation with Mexico had not been functioning during the previous administration.”