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«Це ще не перемога, але вже результат» – Зеленський про евакуацію з «Азовсталі»

Президент України Володимир Зеленський заявив, що приїзд першої групи евакуйованих з «Азовсталі» ще не є перемогою, але вже результат.

Він також висловив сподівання, що є шанс врятувати всіх інших людей, які зараз перебувають в Маріуполі.

«Нам вдалося вирішити питання припинення вогню майже на три доби, щоб гуманітарний коридор запрацював. Зараз російські війська не дотримуються домовленостей. Вони продовжують масовані удари по «Азовсталі». Вони намагаються штурмувати комплекс. Але мені багато разів казали, що не вдасться врятувати жодну людину, що це неможливо. Сьогодні 156 людей у Запоріжжі. Це ще не перемога, але вже результат. І я вірю, що є шанс врятувати всіх інших наших людей», – сказав Зеленський у своєму відеозверненні.

За його словами, українська влада продовжить робити все для евакуації всіх українців з Маріуполя.

«Безумовно, ми продовжимо все робити для того, щоб дістати з Маріуполя та «Азовсталі» всіх наших людей. Це складно, але нам потрібні всі, хто там залишається. І цивільні, і військові. Не було жодного дня, щоб ми не опікувалися цими питаннями, щоб наші люди не намагалися вирішити це питання», – наголосив президент України.

 

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Condors Soar Again Over Northern California Coastal Redwoods

The endangered California condor have returned to soar the skies over the state’s far northern coast redwood forests on Tuesday for the first time in more than a century.

Two captive-bred birds were released from a pen in Redwood National Park, about an hour’s drive south of the Oregon border, under a project aimed at restoring the giant vultures to their historic habitat in the Pacific Northwest.

The two male condors were moved into staging area at late morning and a remotely controlled gate was opened. After a few minutes of warily eyeing the opening, the birds stepped one by one through the opening, spread their giant wings and took off.

“They just jumped up and took flight off into the distance,” Tiana Williams-Claussen, wildlife director for the region’s Yurok tribe, said in a webcast.

Condors were last spotted in the park area around 1892, authorities said. The California condor is the largest native North American bird, with a wingspan of nearly 10 feet (3 meters). The scavenger was once widespread but had virtually disappeared by the 1970s because of poaching, lead poisoning from eating animals shot by hunters and destruction of its habitat.

The birds can live for 60 years and fly vast distances in search of carrion, so their range could extend into several states.

Federal and local fish and wildlife agencies are involved in the restoration project headed by the Yurok tribe, which traditionally has considered the California condor a sacred animal and has been working for years to return the species to the tribe’s ancestral territory.

“For countless generations, the Yurok people have upheld a sacred responsibility to maintain balance in the natural world. Condor reintroduction is a real-life manifestation of our cultural commitment to restore and protect the planet for future generations,” tribal Chairman Joseph L. James said in a statement.

Two more condors were set to be released later — after biologists determine that the two birds who took to the skies Tuesday have displayed appropriate behavior, authorities said.

The condors, including one female and three males, are between 2 and 4 years old. Two were hatched at the Oregon Zoo and two at the Peregrine Fund’s World Center for Birds of Prey in Idaho.

In the early 1980s, all 22 condors remaining in the wild were trapped and brought into a captive-breeding program that began releasing the giant vultures into Southern California’s Los Padres National Forest in 1992.

That flock has been expanding its range while other condors now occupy parts of California’s Central Coast, Arizona, Utah and Baja California, Mexico. The total population now numbers more than 500 birds in captivity and in the wild.

Two years ago, California condors were spotted in Sequoia National Park, in California’s Sierra Nevada, for the first time in nearly 50 years.

However, that same year, a dozen adults and two chicks died when a wildfire set by an arsonist ravaged their territory on the Big Sur coast.

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Війська РФ випустили шість ракет, ймовірно, з Каспійського регіону – Львівська ОВА

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Це не якась особлива військова мета РФ, а прояв безсилля – Зеленський про ракетні удари по Україні

Володимир Зеленський вважає, що «чим більше таких ударів, тим далі Росія від цивілізації, від того, що називається цивілізованістю»

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Pope Wants to Meet with Putin in Moscow

Pope Francis said in an interview published on Tuesday that he has asked for a meeting in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin to try to stop the war in Ukraine but had not received a reply.

The pontiff also told the Italian daily Corriere Della Sera that Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church, who has given the war his backing, “cannot become Putin’s altar boy.”

Francis told the newspaper that about three weeks into the war, he asked the Vatican’s top diplomat to send a message to Putin about setting up a meeting.

 

“We have not yet received a response and we are still insisting,” the pope said.

 

He added: “I fear that Putin cannot, and does not, want to have this meeting at this time. But how can you not stop so much brutality?”

 

Francis also said that Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban had told him that Putin planned to end the war on May 9, which Russia celebrates as Victory Day marking Nazi Germany’s surrender in 1945.

 

The 85-year-old pontiff made an unprecedented visit to the Russian Embassy in Rome when the war started.

Information from Reuters and AFP was used in this report.

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Russia Launches More Attacks on Mariupol Steel Plant

Russia renewed shelling Tuesday of Ukraine’s besieged southern port city of Mariupol, where 200 civilians are trapped in the Azovstal steel plant even as the United Nations said that 101 people had been safely evacuated from the site.

Russia’s RIA news agency reported that the country’s defense ministry said its forces were destroying Ukrainian firing positions after Kyiv’s troops “took advantage” of a U.N.-brokered ceasefire to create new redoubts while the evacuation of an initial group of civilians was occurring over the last few days.

A police official told the public broadcaster Suspine that Russian forces have begun trying to seize the plant with its labyrinth system of tunnels and bunkers, the last Ukrainian-held site in Mariupol. A deputy commander of the Azov regiment holed up in the steel works said Russian aircraft bombed the site overnight.

Meanwhile, Russia launched attacks on other parts of eastern and southern Ukraine, targeting advanced Western military hardware that the U.S. and its allies have shipped to Ukraine to help Kyiv’s forces in their fight against Russia’s 10-week invasion.

Osnat Lubrani, the U.N.’s humanitarian coordinator for Ukraine, said she was “pleased and relieved” that the 101 civilians, including older men and women and children, had been evacuated from Azovstal plant, and were joined by another 58 from Manhush, a town on the outskirts of Mariupol.

The U.N. official said 127 people had been transported to the Ukrainian-held city of  Zaporizhzhia, about 230 kilometers northwest of Mariupol, where they are receiving initial humanitarian assistance and health care.

“Over the past days, traveling with the evacuees, I have heard mothers, children and frail grandparents speak about the trauma of living day after day under unrelenting heavy shelling and the fear of death, and with extreme lack of water, food, and sanitation,” Lubrani said.

“They spoke of the hell they have experienced since this war started, seeking refuge in the Azovstal plant, many being separated from family members whose fate they still don’t know,” she said. “I saw the tears of joy as family members trapped in different parts of the plant for two months were reunited.”

As the war continues, the European Commission was moving to finalize a ban on buying Russian oil to squeeze Moscow financially.

“We have managed to reach a situation where Germany is able to bear an oil embargo,” German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address Monday, “We expect a new package from the European Union soon. This package should include clear steps to block Russia’s revenues from energy resources.”  

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, echoing praise for Ukraine from other Western leaders, told Ukraine’s parliament via a video link, “This is Ukraine’s finest hour, that will be remembered and recounted for generations to come.”

The Mariupol mayor said that overall, 100,000 people remained in the city, including 2,000 Ukrainian troops in the steel plant.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Monday that Ukraine’s government was continuing to work to negotiate an evacuation for soldiers holed up inside.

Russia’s military said Monday that 69 people who came out of the steel mill chose to be evacuated to Ukraine-controlled territories, while 57 others asked to stay in areas controlled by Russia.  

Ukraine has previously accused Russia of taking Ukrainians to Russia against their will, a charge Moscow denies.  

Zelenskyy told Greek state television Monday that the remaining civilians in the steel plant had been afraid to board buses because they believed they would be taken to Russia.  

On Tuesday U.S. President Joe Biden is visiting the southern state of Alabama where Lockheed Martin manufactures weapons, including the Javelin anti-tank missiles that are among the arms the United States is sending to Ukraine.

The White House said Biden will also “deliver remarks highlighting his request to Congress to pass ($33 billion in new) funding quickly to help Ukraine continue to succeed against Russian aggression and make sure the United States and our allies can replenish our own stocks of weapons to replace what we have sent to Ukraine.”

The CIA on Monday released instructions on social media explaining how Russians disaffected by the war could get in touch with U.S. intelligence.  

“We are providing Russian-language instructions on how to safely contact the CIA — via our dark web site or a reputable VPN — for those who feel compelled to reach us because of the Russian government’s unjust war,” a CIA spokesperson said.  

A senior U.S. defense official described continuing problems for Russia’s military, including poor command and control issues and low morale in many units.  

“We continue to see minimal at best progress by the Russians” in capturing the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine,” the official said, adding, “They’ll move in, declare victory and then pull out, allowing the Ukrainians to take it back.”  

The official described Russia’s advances as “very cautious, very tepid, very uneven,” adding that “in some places, quite frankly, the best word to describe it would be ‘anemic.'” 

VOA’s Jeff Seldin contributed to this report. Some information came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Press and Reuters.

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 US Says WNBA Star Wrongfully Held in Russia

The Biden administration on Tuesday said an American professional basketball player being held in Russia on charges she had illegal marijuana vaping cartridges in her luggage is being wrongfully detained.

That could mean the U.S. is taking a more aggressive approach to securing the release of Brittney Griner, who has been held since she was detained at the Moscow airport in February.

Now her case will be handled by the State Department’s Office of the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs, which negotiates hostage release cases.

“The Department of State has determined that the Russian Federation has wrongfully detained U.S. citizen Brittney Griner. With this determination, the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Roger Carstens will lead the interagency team for securing Brittney Griner’s release,” a State Department spokesperson told ESPN.

Prior to today’s announcement, the U.S. had not officially said the WNBA player was being wrongfully detained.

“Brittney has been detained for 75 days and our expectation is that the White House do whatever is necessary to bring her home,” said Griner’s agent, Lindsay Kagawa Colas.

The WNBA also issued a statement about the case.

“As we begin the 2022 season, we are keeping Brittney at the forefront of what we do through the game of basketball and in the community,” WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert said in a statement. “We continue to work on bringing Brittney home and are appreciative of the support the community has shown BG and her family during this extraordinarily challenging time.”

It is unclear what made the Biden administration change its stand in the case, but it had come under pressure from members of Congress urging action to secure Griner’s release.

Some information in this report comes from The Associated Press.

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Папа Франциск хоче поїхати до Путіна, щоб спробувати зупинити війну в Україні

«Ми ще не отримали відповіді, і ми все ще наполягаємо», – сказав папа

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Служба ООН із розмінування розгорне місію в Україні – МВС

Представники Служби ООН із протимінної діяльності в Україні збирають інформацію щодо потреб на місцях, які потребують розмінування

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З «Азовсталі» до Запоріжжя евакуювали 156 людей – міська рада

Голова Мінреінтеграції наголошує, що в Маріуполі, в тому числі і на заводі «Азовсталь», залишаються цивільні, яких треба вивезти

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Ukrainian Diaspora in LA Holds Weekly Flash Mobs in Support of Ukraine

Every week, the Ukrainian diaspora in Los Angeles get together to support their home in Ukraine. Angelina Bagdasaryan has the story of the two women behind one unique show of support in this report, narrated by Anna Rice.

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Press Freedom Advocacy Group Says Propaganda a Global Threat to Free Media

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has also led to another casualty: freedom of the press in Russia, according to a new report by Reporters Without Borders.

The media advocacy group has ranked Russia near the bottom of its 2022 World Press Freedom index, which was issued Tuesday in conjunction with World Press Freedom Day. The annual index classifies a record 28 countries as “having very bad media freedom.”

The Reporters Without Borders, also known as RSF, says Moscow’s assault on a free press ramped up as Russian troops invaded Ukraine through such means as propaganda, laws aimed at discrediting credible media, website bans and arrests.

Russia is just one of several countries highlighted in the updated index whose governments have either curtailed or outright suppressed media freedoms. They include:

– Afghanistan, where the Taliban pledged to uphold press freedom after regaining power last year, but instead imposed restrictive laws and blocked female journalists from the airwaves, and where media outlets are facing financial hardship after bans on entertainment and advertising cut revenue;

– Hong Kong, where pro-democracy news sites have been shut down after a series of raids and arrests since Beijing approved a sweeping national security law in 2020 after massive anti-government protests the year before;

– Ethiopia, which has imposed communications blackouts and restricted access amid the war in the Tigray region;

– and Myanmar, where the 2021 coup that overthrew the civilian government led to journalists being detained, media licenses revoked, and many news outlets driven back into exile, marking a 10-year setback for media rights.

“There is a contagion effect with authoritarian regimes,” said Clayton Weimers, the U.S. deputy director of RSF, “and when we allow a culture of impunity to exist where authoritarians are allowed to go after journalists, harass them, arrest them, beat them in the streets and kill them, it has a knock-on effect. It emboldens that same authoritarian to do it again next time, and it emboldens other authoritarians who are watching to do the same.”

 

More troubling, Weimars told VOA, is the impact media polarization and disinformation has on society: “In 2022, it’s really undeniable that media polarization and information chaos are really fueling social divisions in ways that are pretty new.”

Democracies play an important role in safeguarding press freedom. But this rise in disinformation and propaganda is having a disastrous effect on independent news, RSF finds.

The 2022 index reveals the United States made a slight improvement compared with 2021, but journalists and media outlets are flagging barriers to coverage, including of state governments and protests.

“We typically find that this is either due to just a blatant disregard for the laws governing open records or meetings, or they’re simply misinterpreting them,” Beth Francesco, the senior director of the National Press Club Journalism Institute, told VOA. “An individual is misinterpreting whether a journalist can be present at a particular event.”

Richard Green contributed to this report.

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What is Roe v Wade?

The U.S. Supreme Court recognized a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion in a 1973 decision in the case Roe v. Wade.

How did the case arise?

A woman identified by the pseudonym Jane Roe challenged laws in the state of Texas that banned abortions except in cases where the mother’s life was at risk.

What did Roe want?

Roe challenged the Texas laws, seeking to establish that a woman has the right to terminate a pregnancy at any time, for any reason, without any limitations imposed by the state.

Did the court agree with Roe?

Not entirely. In a 7-2 decision, the court established a tiered set of freedoms and limitations regarding abortion based on the stages of the woman’s pregnancy. During the first trimester, the court said the decision to terminate the pregnancy is up to the woman and her doctor. In the second trimester, a state may impose regulations on the abortion procedure itself “in ways that are related to maternal health.” Once the pregnancy reaches the point at which the fetus is viable outside the womb, the court said the state may “regulate, and even proscribe” abortion except in cases where it is necessary “for the preservation of the life or health of the mother.”

What was the legal basis for the ruling?

The court cited a “right of privacy” found in the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, specifically a section that says no state shall “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”

Who was Jane Roe?

Norma McCorvey was a Texas resident who became pregnant in 1969 and wanted to have an abortion. With the Texas abortion ban in place, and the length of the legal appeals process, McCorvey gave birth to her child and gave it up for adoption before the court made its 1973 ruling.

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Sikhs of Virginia Celebrate End of Ramadan

NTRO))

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) reported there was a spike in Islamophobia and a surge in hate crimes against Muslims in the United States last year.

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У Дніпрі демонтували стелу «Площа Жукова» та інші об’єкти, пов’язані з СРСР (фото)

За інформацією з міськради, демонтовані об’єкти стануть експонатами в Музеї тоталітаризму, який планують створити в місті

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Внаслідок обстрілу Залізничного на Запоріжжі загинули двоє людей – ОВА

Наразі обласній адміністрації відомо про 709 повністю зруйнованих та частково пошкоджених домоволодінь на Запоріжжі

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Прощання із журналісткою і продюсеркою Радіо Свобода Вірою Гирич відбудеться 3 травня о 12:30

Редакція Радіо Свобода буде згадувати Віру Гирич як світлу і добру людину, справжнього професіонала

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Spain Says PM Targeted by Pegasus Spyware

Spain said Monday that the mobile phones of Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Defense Minister Margarita Robles were tapped using Pegasus spyware in an “illicit and external” intervention.

Their phones were infected last year by software owned by the Israeli-based firm NSO, which is the target of numerous investigations worldwide, according to a senior official.

“It is not a supposition, they are facts of enormous gravity,” said the minister of the presidency, Felix Bolanos.

“We are absolutely certain that it was an external attack…because in Spain, in a democracy like ours, all such interventions are carried out by official bodies and with judicial authorization,” he said.

“In this case, neither of the two circumstances prevailed, which is why we have no doubt that it was an external intervention. We want the judiciary to investigate,” Bolanos said.

He did not say whether the Spanish authorities had any indication yet where the attack originated from or whether another country was behind it.

Bolanos said that Sanchez’s phone had been tapped in May 2021 and Robles’ in June of the same year.

“A determined amount of data” was extracted from both phones, he added.

“There is no evidence that there was other tapping after those dates.”

Official phones targeted

The El Pais newspaper said the hackers extracted 2.6 gigabytes of information from Sanchez’s phone and nine megabytes from Robles’s phone, but the government still does not know “the nature of the stolen information and the degree of sensitivity.”

The attack targeted their work phones provided by the state, not their private phones.

Bolanos said experts were checking whether other members of the Spanish government were targets of spying involving Pegasus.

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Body in Barrel Exposed as Level of Nevada’s Lake Mead Drops 

A body inside a barrel was found over the weekend on the the newly exposed bottom of Nevada’s Lake Mead as drought depletes one of the largest U.S. reservoirs. Officials say the discovery could be the first of more grim finds. 

“There is a very good chance as the water level drops that we are going to find additional human remains,” Las Vegas police Lt. Ray Spencer told KLAS-TV on Monday. 

The lake’s level has dropped so much that the uppermost water intake at drought-stricken Lake Mead became visible last week. The reservoir on the Colorado River behind Hoover Dam has become so depleted that Las Vegas is now pumping water from deeper within Lake Mead, which also stretches into Arizona. 

Personal items found inside the barrel indicated the person died more than 40 years ago in the 1980s, Spencer said. 

He declined to discuss a cause of death and declined to describe the items found, saying the investigation is ongoing. 

Police plan to reach out to experts at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas to analyze when the barrel started eroding. The Clark County coroner’s office will try to determine the person’s identity. 

Boaters spotted the barrel Sunday afternoon. National Park Service rangers searched an area near the lake’s Hemenway Harbor and found the barrel containing skeletal remains. 

Lake Mead and Lake Powell upstream are the largest human-made reservoirs in the U.S., part of a system that provides water to more than 40 million people, tribes, agriculture and industry in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming and across the southern border in Mexico. 

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Report: Draft Opinion Shows US Supreme Court to Overturn Abortion Rights

In a rare leak from the highest court in the U.S., Politico reported it has obtained a draft Supreme Court opinion showing a majority of the court in favor of striking down the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide. 

The document, labeled as a “1st Draft” by Justice Samuel Alito and circulated among the other justices in February, represents a breach in the highly secretive deliberation process among the justices in which their decisions are unknown until the rulings are officially issued. 

Those positions can change during the deliberation process, even after the drafting of a majority opinion, and the final ruling is expected before the court finishes its current term in late June or early July. 

At stake is the issue of abortion rights in the United States, which since the Roe decision have been protected on a national level and reaffirmed in the 1992 case Planned Parenthood v. Casey. 

A Supreme Court spokesperson declined to comment. 

Public opinion polls in show a majority of the U.S. public favors abortions being legal either in most or all cases. 

“If the Supreme Court does indeed issue a majority opinion along the lines of the leaked draft authored by Justice Alito, the shift in the tectonic plates of abortion rights will be as significant as any opinion the Court has ever issued,” American Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Anthony Romero said in a statement late Monday. “It would deprive half the nation of a fundamental, constitutional right that has been enjoyed by millions of women for over 50 years.” 

Alito is one of six conservative justices on the nine-person court and overturning Roe has been a longtime goal of social conservatives in the United States. 

“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences,” the draft opinion says. 

The justices are deciding on the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which involves the state of Mississippi’s ban on most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. 

A federal appeals court ruled against Mississippi, saying its timeframe went against the standards set in Roe and Casey that allow a mother to terminate a pregnancy without state interference before a fetus is viable outside the womb. 

The draft opinion rejects the limits on state authority in the Roe and Casey decisions, saying state lawmakers should be the ones to decide what is legal in their state. 

“Abortion presents a profound moral question,” the draft says. “The Constitution does not prohibit citizens of each State from regulating or prohibiting abortion. Roe and Casey arrogated that authority. We now overrule those decisions and return that authority to the people and their elected representatives.” 

Politico said it received a copy of the 98-page draft decision “from a person familiar with the court’s proceedings in the Mississippi case along with other details supporting the authenticity of the document.” 

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.