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Closed Airspace Forces Cancellation of Lavrov’s Visit to Serbia, Interfax Reports

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s visit to Serbia has been canceled after countries around Serbia closed their airspace to his aircraft, a senior foreign ministry source told the Interfax news agency on Sunday.

The source confirmed a Serbian media report that said Bulgaria, North Macedonia and Montenegro had closed their airspace to the plane that would have carried Moscow’s top diplomat to Belgrade on Monday.

“Our diplomacy has yet to master teleportation,” the source said.

There was no immediate comment from the Russian foreign ministry.

Serbia, which has close cultural ties with Russia, has fended off pressure to take sides over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and has not joined Western sanctions against Moscow.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Serbian counterpart, Aleksandar Vucic, agreed last month that Russia would continue supplying natural gas to Serbia, while other countries have been cut off for refusing to pay for Russian gas in rubles.

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Commerce Secretary: US Mulls Lifting Some China Tariffs to Fight Inflation

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said on Sunday that President Joe Biden has asked his team to look at the option of lifting some tariffs on China that were put into place by former President Donald Trump, to combat the current high inflation.

“We are looking at it. In fact, the president has asked us on his team to analyze that. And so we are in the process of doing that for him and he will have to make that decision,” Raimondo told CNN in an interview on Sunday when asked about whether the Biden administration was weighing lifting tariffs on China to ease inflation.

“There are other products — household goods, bicycles, etc. — and it may make sense” to weigh lifting tariffs on those, she said, adding the administration had decided to keep some of the tariffs on steel and aluminum to protect U.S. workers and the steel industry.

Biden has said he is considering removing some of the tariffs imposed on hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of Chinese goods by his predecessor in 2018 and 2019 amid a bitter trade war between the world’s two largest economies.  

China has also been arguing that tariff reductions would cut costs for American consumers.

Raimondo also told CNN she felt the ongoing semiconductor chip shortage could likely continue until 2024.

“There is one solution (to the semiconductor chip shortage),” she added. “Congress needs to act and pass the Chips Bill. I don’t know why they are delaying.”

The legislation aims to ramp up U.S. semiconductor manufacturing to give the United States more of a competitive punch against China.  

Raimondo said she disagreed with the characterization that Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan had contributed to the current high inflation. Congress passed the COVID-19 relief package a year ago before it was signed into law, marking a signature achievement of Biden’s first year in office. 

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Мародерство, почастішали викрадення людей і цінники в рублях – мер Енергодара про російську окупацію

Posted by Ukrap on

Зеленський підтримав заборону феєрверків на час воєнного стану

В Одесі 3 червня під час повітряної тривоги невідомі влаштували феєрверк. Згодом їх затримали.

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На Луганщині загинув ще один російський генерал – ЗМІ

24 травня ЗМІ повідомляли про загибель в Україні російського льотчика у званні генерала

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Ukraine Misses Out on World Cup After Losing 1-0 to Wales

Ukraine missed out on qualifying for the World Cup Sunday after the war-disrupted team was beaten 1-0 by Wales in the European playoff final for the FIFA soccer showpiece.

Andriy Yarmolenko inadvertently headed the ball into his own net while trying to clear Wales captain Gareth Bale’s first-half free kick.

While Wales heads to a first World Cup in 64 years — opening against the United States in November — this was an agonizing end to Ukraine’s emotionally charged mission to qualify for Qatar while remaining under invasion by Russia.

The right leg of Wales goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey kept out Viktor Tsyhankov’s poked shot 10 minutes into the second half as Ukraine searched in vain for an equalizer. Artem Dovbyk’s header in the 84th minute looked destined for the corner of the net until it was pushed away by Hennessey’s left hand.

Back home, on the 102nd day of the war, Ukrainians took respite from the pain and suffering by watching the game from Cardiff in bars, including in the capital Kyiv which had been hit by Russian airstrikes earlier in the day.

The specter of the war was evident in the Welsh capital with a message of peace in English and Ukrainian on the screens in the Cardiff City Stadium. Rivalries were put aside when the Ukrainian national anthem was played, and it was applauded by the home fans.

Of the 1,800-seat allocation for Ukraine, 100 free tickets were given to refugees who have been forced to flee Ukraine since the invasion began in February, which led to Russia being disqualified from World Cup qualifying.

There were protests by the Russian Football Union Sunday against the jersey being worn in Wales because Ukraine featured Crimea — which Russia annexed in 2014 — as being part of its map.

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Pope Francis Fuels New Speculation on Future of Pontificate

Pope Francis added fuel to rumors about the future of his pontificate by announcing he would visit the central Italian city of L’Aquila in August for a feast initiated by Pope Celestine V, one of the few pontiffs who resigned before Pope Benedict XVI stepped down in 2013.

Italian and Catholic media have been rife with unsourced speculation that the 85-year-old Francis might be planning to follow in Benedict’s footsteps, given his increased mobility problems that have forced him to use a wheelchair for the last month.

Those rumors gained steam last week when Francis announced a consistory to create 21 new cardinals scheduled for Aug. 27. Sixteen of those cardinals are under age 80 and eligible to vote in a conclave to elect Francis’ successor.

Once they are added to the ranks of princes of the church, Francis will have stacked the College of Cardinals with 83 of the 132 voting-age cardinals. While there is no guarantee how the cardinals might vote, the chances that they will tap a successor who shares Francis’ pastoral priorities become ever greater.

In announcing the Aug. 27 consistory, Francis also announced he would host two days of talks the following week to brief the cardinals about his recent apostolic constitution reforming the Vatican bureaucracy. That document, which goes into effect Sunday, allows women to head Vatican offices, imposes term limits on priestly Vatican employees and positions the Holy See as an institution at the service of local churches, rather than vice versa.

Francis was elected pope in 2013 on a mandate to reform the Roman Curia. Now that the nine-year project has been rolled out and at least partially implemented, Francis’ main task as pope has in some ways been accomplished.

All of which made Saturday’s otherwise routine announcement of a pastoral visit to L’Aquila carry more speculative weight than it might otherwise have.

Notable was the timing: The Vatican and the rest of Italy are usually on holiday in August to mid-September, with all but essential business closed. Calling a major consistory in late August to create new cardinals, gathering churchmen for two days of talks on implementing his reform and making a symbolically significant pastoral visit suggests Francis might have out-of-the-ordinary business in mind.

“With today’s news that @Pontifex will go to L’Aquila in the very middle of the August consistory, it all got even more intriguing,” tweeted Vatican commentator Robert Mickens, linking to an essay he had published in La Croix International about the rumors swirling around the future of the pontificate.

The basilica in L’Aquila hosts the tomb of Celestine V, a hermit pope who resigned after five months in 1294, overwhelmed by the job. In 2009, Benedict visited L’Aquila, which had been devastated by a recent earthquake and prayed at Celestine’s tomb, leaving his pallium stole on it.

No one at the time appreciated the significance of the gesture. But four years later, the 85-year-old Benedict would follow in Celestine’s footsteps and resign, saying he no longer had the strength of body and mind to carry on the rigors of the papacy.

The Vatican announced Saturday Francis would visit L’Aquila to celebrate Mass on Aug. 28 and open the “Holy Door” at the basilica hosting Celestine’s tomb. The timing coincides with the L’Aquila church’s celebration of the Feast of Forgiveness, which was created by Celestine in a papal bull.

No pope has travelled to L’Aquila since to close out the annual feast, which celebrates the sacrament of forgiveness so dear to Francis, noted the current archbishop of L’Aquila, Cardinal Giuseppe Petrocchi.

“We hope that all people, especially those harmed by conflicts and internal divisions, might [come] and find the path of solidarity and peace,” he said in a statement announcing the visit.

Francis has praised Benedict’s decision to retire as “opening the door” for future popes to do the same, and he had originally predicted a short papacy for himself of two to five years.

Nine years later, Francis has shown no signs he wants to step down, and he has major projects still on the horizon.

In addition to upcoming trips this year to Congo, South Sudan, Canada and Kazakhstan, in 2023 he has scheduled a major meeting of the world’s bishops to debate the increasing decentralization of the Catholic Church, as well as the continued implementation of his reforms.

But Francis has been hobbled by the strained ligaments in his right knee that have made walking painful and difficult. He has told friends he doesn’t want to undergo surgery, reportedly because of his reaction to anesthesia last July when he had 33 centimeters of his large intestine removed.

This week, one of his closest advisers and friends, Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, said talk of a papal resignation or the end of Francis’ pontificate was unfounded.

“I think these are optical illusions, cerebral illusions,” Maradiaga told Religion Digital, a Spanish-language Catholic site.

Christopher Bellitto, a church historian at Kean University in Union, New Jersey, noted that most Vatican watchers expect Francis will eventually resign, but not before Benedict dies. The 95-year-old retired pope is physically frail but still alert and receiving occasional visitors in his home in the Vatican gardens.

“He’s not going to have two former popes floating around,” Bellitto said in an email. Referring to Francis’ planned visit to L’Aquila, he suggested not reading too much into it, noting that Benedict’s gesture in 2009 was missed by most everyone.

“I don’t recall a lot of stories at the time saying that Benedict’s visit in 2009 made us think he was going to resign,” he said, suggesting that Francis’ pastoral visit to l’Aquila might be just that: a pastoral visit.

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Nadal Tops Ruud for 14th French Open title, 22nd Slam Trophy 

Rafael Nadal pulled away to beat Casper Ruud 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 in the French Open final on Sunday for his 14th championship at Roland Garros and 22nd Grand Slam title overall, adding to two records he already owned. 

Nadal’s victory came two days after his 36th birthday and made him the oldest title winner in the history of the clay-court tournament. 

Ruud led 3-1 in the second set, a deficit that spurred Nadal to raise his level — he took the last 11 games. 

The Spaniard’s first triumph in Paris came in 2005 at age 19. No man or woman ever has won the singles trophy at any major event more than his 14 in Paris. And no man has won more Grand Slam titles than Nadal. 

He now is two ahead of rivals Roger Federer, who hasn’t played in almost a year after a series of knee operations, and Novak Djokovic, who missed the Australian Open in January because he is not vaccinated against COVID-19 and lost to Nadal at Roland Garros. 

Given his age, and, of more concern, the chronic pain in his left foot that has been an off-and-on problem for years, Nadal has said repeatedly in recent days that he can never be sure whether each match at Court Philippe Chatrier might be his last. 

Doesn’t really seem much reason to quit now, though, considering that he navigated his way past four French Open opponents ranked in the top 10 (No. 9 Felix Auger-Aliassime in the fourth round, No. 1 Djokovic in the quarterfinals, No. 3 Alexander Zverev — who stopped because of a foot injury — in the semifinals, and then No. 8 Ruud). 

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Війська РФ відновили наступ біля Святогірська, мають значні втрати – Генштаб ЗСУ

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За минулу добу на Миколаївщині через російські обстріли поранені 29 людей – облрада

Загалом в лікарнях перебуває 271 постраждалий через російські атаки на Миколаївщину.

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У Міноборони розповіли, яка роль «Іноземного легіону»

Україна продовжує отримувати заявки на вступ до «Інтернаціонального легіону» з усіх точок світу

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Elvis Wedding Crackdown Leaves Las Vegas All Shook Up

Every year thousands of visitors to Las Vegas can’t help falling in love — at least long enough to get married by an Elvis impersonator.

But the company that controls the rights to the King’s likeness has sparked outrage in Sin City by cracking down wedding chapels offering Elvis-themed nuptials.

Authentic Brands Group, which bought a controlling stake in Elvis Presley’s estate in 2013, last month sent cease-and-desist letters to companies offering the kitschy weddings.

The move triggered angry responses from Elvis impersonators, chapel owners, and even the mayor of Las Vegas, who called for a little more open conversation — and less legal action — from the group.

“Elvis Presley long called Las Vegas his home and his name has become synonymous with Las Vegas weddings,” Jason Whaley, president of the Las Vegas Wedding Chamber of Commerce, told AFP.

“The Vegas Wedding Chamber shares a concern that many of our chapels and impersonators livelihoods are being targeted, especially as many are still trying to recover financially from the hurdles we all endured with Covid shutdowns.”

ABG on Thursday apologized for its initial approach, saying it was committed to protecting Presley’s legacy.

“We are sorry that recent communication with a small number of Las Vegas based chapels caused confusion and concern. That was never our intention,” the company said in a statement to AFP.

“We are working with the chapels to ensure that the usage of Elvis’ name, image and likeness are in keeping with his legacy.”

It added: “From tribute artists and impersonators to chapels and fan clubs, each and every one of these groups help to keep Elvis relevant for new generations of fans.”

But a day earlier, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that ABG was now offering chapels financial “partnerships,” including annual licensing deals to continue business as usual.

“That is their solution, to pay $20,000 a year to do what we’ve been doing for the past nine years,” said Kayla Collins, co-owner of the Las Vegas Elvis Wedding Chapel.

“This was not on the table a few days ago. Frankly, I think this thing going to the public has changed their minds.”

‘Elvis Pink Caddy’

The move comes weeks before the release of Baz Luhrmann’s new big-screen biopic “Elvis” — a large-scale Warner Bros production expected to boost interest in the singer.

Elvis-themed weddings have been a lucrative business in Las Vegas since the 1970s.

Packages today run as high as $1,600 for the Elvis Pink Caddy Luxury Model Wedding Package, which offers couples the chance to be driven up the aisle of the Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel by Elvis in a 1964 pink Cadillac convertible.

Weddings are a $2.5 billion industry in Las Vegas, according to the Wedding Chamber of Commerce.

But while Elvis musical tribute acts are freely allowed under Nevada law, businesses using Presley’s likeness simply to attract publicity and customers are not protected.

Harry Shahoian, one of dozens of Elvis impersonators in the city, who officiates at the Graceland Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas, told the Review-Journal that people just “love to be married by Elvis.”

“I did the whole day Sunday, 22 ceremonies. I’ve done more than 30 in one day, 100 in a week, all of those Elvis-themed.”

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Sheeran to Crown Queen’s 4-Day Jubilee Party

British pop superstar Ed Sheeran was on Sunday set to bring the curtain down on four days of momentous nationwide celebrations to honor Queen Elizabeth II’s historic Platinum Jubilee.

The multi-award-winning singer-songwriter will perform at the finale of a daylong pageant lauding the 96-year-old monarch’s record seven decades on the throne, as a long weekend of festivities across the U.K. concludes.

Sheeran is one of numerous “national treasures” poised to perform a “special tribute” to the queen against the backdrop of Buckingham Palace to mark the milestone never previously reached by a British sovereign.

Meanwhile, millions of people are expected to attend Big Jubilee Lunch picnics, including an attempted world record for the longest street party.

It remains unclear if the queen will make any in-person appearances at the pageant, after being forced to skip several Platinum Jubilee celebration appearances due to mobility issues.

The four-day extravaganza began Thursday with the pomp and pageantry of the Trooping the Color military parade to mark her official birthday, followed by beacon-lighting ceremonies across the country.

She made two public appearances to huge crowds on the Buckingham Palace balcony that day, and then launched the beacon-lighting at Windsor Castle.

Friday’s focus was a traditional Church of England service of thanksgiving led by senior royals — and returning Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan — in the hallowed surroundings of St Paul’s Cathedral in London.

Then on Saturday, the tone turned more celebratory as Motown legend Diana Ross and Italian opera legend Andrea Bocelli led a star-studded Platinum Party outside Buckingham Palace.

Spectacle

Sunday’s Platinum Jubilee Pageant will kick off with a military spectacle celebrating Britain’s armed forces along with personnel from many of the other 53 Commonwealth countries.

The Mounted Band of the Household Cavalry — the largest regular military band in the U.K. — will lead the Gold State Coach along a crowd-thronged route to Buckingham Palace.

A cast of 10,000 will then stage a street performance showcasing popular culture over the seven decades of the queen’s reign featuring music, dance, fashion, youth culture and classic cars.

Performers from street theater, carnival and other genres will also join in to celebrate her extraordinary life.

Highlights will include an aerial artist suspended under a vast helium balloon, known as a heliosphere, bearing the sovereign’s image.

The carnival will include a giant oak tree flanked with maypole dancers, a huge moving wedding cake sounding out Bollywood hits, a towering dragon and 3-story-high beasts.

The spectacle will culminate in the singing of Britain’s national anthem, God Save the Queen, and Sheeran’s much-anticipated performance.

Earlier on Sunday, up to 10 million people are expected to take part in the Big Jubilee Lunch picnics nationwide.

More than 70,000 had registered to host such picnics in villages, towns and cities, with families, neighbors and entire communities set to come together to share food and drink.

More than 600 lunches have also been planned throughout the Commonwealth and beyond, from Canada to Brazil, New Zealand to Japan and South Africa to Switzerland.

A flagship feast with specially invited guests will take place at The Oval cricket ground in London.

‘Full circle’

Sheeran, 31, will wrap up the Platinum Jubilee celebrations by singing his 2017 hit Perfect.

Ahead of his appearance, the Shape of You singer-songwriter revealed that the 2002 Party at the Palace to mark the queen’s Golden Jubilee actually inspired his phenomenally successful musical career.

Watching on television, he saw Eric Clapton play his classic song Layla and decided “that’s what I wanna do,” he wrote on Instagram.

Sheeran went on to perform at the queen’s Diamond Jubilee concert 10 years ago.

“Life is weird how it keeps coming full circle in lovely ways,” he added.

His headline performance will follow Saturday night’s Platinum Party, which featured an array of stars on stage outside Buckingham Palace, with Prince Charles and his son Prince William paying personal tribute to the queen’s decades of service.

“You pledged to serve your whole life — you continue to deliver,” Charles said in his poignant message to “Mummy,” which he capped by calling for “three cheers to Her Majesty.”

The nearly three-hour concert, watched on TV by the monarch from Windsor, came after two packed days of celebrations Thursday and Friday, which were designated public holidays.

Longer pub opening hours, the various street parties and other events celebrating the queen’s central place in the life of most living Britons have been credited with temporarily lifting the gloom of a worsening cost-of-living crisis.

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3 Killed, 11 Wounded in Philadelphia Shooting: Police

In the eastern U.S. city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, late Saturday, three people were killed and 11 others wounded when multiple shooters opened fire into a crowd on a popular city street, police said.

Police Inspector D.F. Pace told local media that two men and a woman had been killed, adding that officers responding to the incident “observed several active shooters shooting into the crowd.”

“You can imagine there were hundreds of individuals enjoying South Street, as they do every single weekend, when this shooting broke out,” Pace said.

He said that officers had fired at one of the shooters, though it was unclear whether the person was hit.

Local media outlets reported that no arrests had been made.

Pace said two handguns were recovered at the scene, and that police would have to wait until morning to review surveillance footage from nearby businesses that were closed on Saturday night.

Pace described the investigation as “fluid,” saying there were still “a lot of unanswered questions.”

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Explosions Rock Kyiv as Battle for Sievierodonetsk Rages

Explosions rocked the Ukrainian capital Kyiv on Sunday as a regional governor said Ukrainian forces were pushing back against Russian troops in the strategic eastern city of Sievierodonetsk.

The battle for Ukraine’s eastern city of Sievierodonetsk was being waged street by street, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said, while explosions rocked the capital early Sunday.

“Several explosions in Darnytsky and Dniprovsky districts of the city. Services are extinguishing,” Mayor Vitali Klitschko said on Telegram shortly after air raid warnings sounded in Kyiv and several other cities.

“There are currently no dead from missile strikes on infrastructure. One wounded was hospitalized.”

Ukrainian officials said railway infrastructure was targeted in the first strikes on Kyiv since April 28 when a Russian missile killed a producer for the U.S.-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

Separately, at least 11 civilians were reported killed in the Lugansk region where Sievierodonetsk is located, the nearby Donetsk region and in the southern city of Mykolaiv.

“The situation in Sievierodonetsk, where street fighting continues, remains extremely difficult,” Zelensky said in his daily address Saturday evening.

Cities in the eastern Donbas area at the heart of the Russian offensive were under “constant air strikes, artillery and missile fire” but Ukrainian forces were holding their ground, he said.

Sievierodonetsk is the largest city still in Ukrainian hands in the Lugansk region of the Donbas, where Russian forces have been gradually advancing in recent weeks after retreating or being repelled from other areas, including around the capital Kyiv.

A city divided

Lugansk regional governor Sergiy Gaiday said Sunday that Russian forces had lost ground in the city.

“The Russians were in control of about 70% of the city, but have been forced back over the past two days,” he said on Telegram.

“The city is divided in two. They are afraid to move freely around the city.”

Russia’s army on Saturday claimed some Ukrainian military units were withdrawing from Sievierodonetsk but Mayor Oleksandr Striuk said Ukrainian forces were fighting to retake the city.

“We are currently doing everything necessary to re-establish total control” of the city, he said in an interview broadcast on Telegram.

For its part, Moscow claims to have destroyed two Ukrainian command centers and six ammunition depots in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.

“Ukrainian forces are successfully slowing down Russian operations to encircle Ukrainian positions in Luhansk (region) as well as Russian frontal assaults in Sievierodonetsk through prudent and effective local counterattacks in Sievierodonetsk, ” the U.S.-based Institute for the Study of War said in an assessment late Saturday.

‘Put Russia in its place’

Tens of thousands of people have been killed, millions forced to flee and towns turned into rubble since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an all-out assault on his pro-Western neighbor on Feb. 24.

Western powers have imposed increasingly stringent sanctions on Russia and supplied arms to Ukraine, but divisions have emerged on how to react.

French President Emmanuel Macron said Friday Putin had committed a “fundamental error” but that Russia should not be “humiliated” so that a diplomatic solution could be found.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba reacted Saturday by saying such calls “only humiliate France” and any country taking a similar position.

“It is Russia that humiliates itself. We all better focus on how to put Russia in its place,” he said.

Despite diplomatic efforts, the conflict has raged in the south and east of the country.

Ukraine reported two victims from a Russian missile strike on Odessa in the southwest, without specifying if they were dead or wounded.

Russia’s defense ministry said it had struck a “deployment point for foreign mercenaries” in the village of Dachne in the Odessa region.

It also claimed a missile strike in the northeastern Sumy region on an artillery training center with “foreign instructors.”

Putin warned Sunday that Moscow will strike new targets if the West supplies long-range missiles to Ukraine and said new arms deliveries to Kyiv were aimed at “prolonging the conflict.”

If Kyiv is supplied with long-range missiles, “we will draw the appropriate conclusions and use our arms…. to strike targets we haven’t hit before,” Putin was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying, without specifying which targets he meant.

Fears over food

Apart from the human toll, the conflict has caused widespread damage to Ukraine’s cultural heritage.

On Saturday, Ukrainian officials reported a large Orthodox wooden church, a popular pilgrim site, was on fire and blamed Russia.

Moscow continues to prove “its inability to be part of the civilized world,” Culture Minister Oleksandr Tkachenko said in a statement.

Russia’s defense ministry blamed “Ukrainian nationalists” for the blaze.

Russian troops now occupy a fifth of Ukraine’s territory, according to Kyiv, and Moscow has imposed a blockade on its Black Sea ports, sparking fears of a global food crisis. Ukraine and Russia are among the top wheat exporters in the world.

The United Nations said it was leading intense negotiations with Russia to allow Ukraine’s grain harvest to leave the country.

Putin said Friday there was “no problem” to export grain from Ukraine, via Kyiv- or Moscow-controlled ports or even through Central Europe.

The UN has warned that African countries, which normally import over half of their wheat consumption from Ukraine and Russia, face an “unprecedented” crisis.

Food prices in Africa have already exceeded those in the aftermath of the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings and the 2008 food riots.

The head of the African Union, Senegalese President Macky Sall, said Saturday he intended to visit Ukraine after meeting Putin the day before to discuss the wheat shortage.

‘Game of survival’

Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov repeated the government’s appeal for the swift delivery of heavy artillery Saturday.

If Kyiv receives requested equipment, he said, “I cannot forecast definitely what month we will kick them out, but I hope — and it’s absolutely a realistic plan — to do it this year.”

Away from the battlefield, Ukraine will be fighting for victory over Wales in Sunday’s play-off final as they aim to reach their first football World Cup since 1958.

“We all understand that the game with Wales will no longer be about physical condition or tactics, it will be a game of survival,” said Ukraine player Oleksandr Zinchenko.

“Everyone will fight to the end and give their all, because we will play for our country.”

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Російські обстріли за добу поранили шістьох цивільних на Харківщині – Синєгубов

Поранень зазнавали жителі Чугуєва, Балаклії, сіл Коробочкіне та Чкаловське, селищі Малинівка

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У Сєвєродонецьку тривають бої, місто «поділене навпіл» – Гайдай

«Росіяни контролювали процентів 70 міста, але протягом останніх двох днів їх відкинули»

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«Нові санкції, більше зброї» – Подоляк закликав Європу реагувати на нові російські обстріли

«Поки хтось просить «не принижувати Росію», Кремль вдається до нових підступних атак»

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Tulsa Shooting Puts Focus on Waiting Periods for Gun Buyers

When he was sentenced for killing three teenagers and gravely wounding another at a house party north of Seattle, Allen Ivanov said he was sorry and that he couldn’t explain why he did it.

But he noted one factor that allowed him to carry out the shooting — “the ease of acquiring a gun.” The then-19-year-old bought the assault-style rifle a week earlier and was so unfamiliar with the weapon that he sat in his car outside the party and studied the owner’s manual before opening fire on his ex-girlfriend and others.

That theme has repeated itself, yet again, in America’s latest spate of mass shootings — in Buffalo, New York; Uvalde, Texas; and Tulsa, Oklahoma — which claimed 35 lives in a span of less than three weeks. It is renewing the debate over whether restrictions such as waiting periods and bans on young adults buying semiautomatic rifles could have saved lives.

“If those had been in place, it would have made a difference,” said Paul Kramer, who led a successful 2018 effort to impose a 10-day waiting period on semiautomatic rifle purchases in Washington state, as well as a ban on young adults buying such weapons, after his son Will was gravely wounded during Ivanov’s shooting spree two years earlier. “Those mass shootings would not have unfolded the way that they did, and very likely, lives would have been saved.”

Just nine states and Washington, D.C., have explicit waiting periods before people can purchase at least some types of firearms. The restrictions can give authorities more time to conduct background checks and keep impulsive, emotional people from immediately accessing weapons they might use to kill themselves or others, according to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

The federal government has no waiting period. A bill that passed the Democrat-led U.S. House last year would extend the review period for background checks from three days to 10, but it’s opposed by Republicans and is not part of current negotiations in the Senate over how Congress can respond to the recent massacres.

In Tulsa, authorities said the gunman who killed his surgeon, another doctor and two other people Wednesday bought an AR-style rifle just hours beforehand, as well as a handgun May 29. The shooter, Michael Louis, 45, of Muskogee, Oklahoma, had recently had an operation and blamed his doctor for continuing back pain.

In Uvalde, Texas, the 18-year-old shooter who killed 21 people at Robb Elementary School had purchased two rifles in the preceding week.

California, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Rhode Island and the District of Columbia have waiting periods for purchases of all types of weapons, ranging from three to 14 days. Minnesota and Washington impose waiting periods for handguns and semiautomatic rifles, while Maryland and New Jersey have waiting periods only for handguns.

In addition, several other states, including Connecticut, Maryland and Massachusetts, require buyers of at least some types of guns to obtain permits first, sometimes including completion of safety classes. Those restrictions can function like waiting periods.

Oklahoma has no law mandating a waiting period, but some Democratic lawmakers called for a special session of the Legislature to address it among other gun violence measures after the Tulsa shooting.

“Oklahoma students will be in school in two months,” said House Minority Leader Emily Virgin. “If we fail to act before then, it will be because the Legislature has no will to do so. That’s something that I hope all Oklahomans are paying attention to.”

They suggested a waiting period on firearms purchases, raising the state’s minimum age for purchasing weapons from 18 to 21, and a “red flag” law, allowing guns to be temporarily seized from people who might pose a danger to themselves or others. Those proposals are likely to go nowhere in a GOP-controlled Legislature that has for years pushed for loosening state gun laws.

Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt, who is running for reelection, said last week after the Texas shooting that it was too soon to talk about firearms policy.

Florida stands out as a Republican-led state that imposed gun restrictions after a mass shooting. In 2018, after a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland left 14 students and three staff members dead, then-Gov. Rick Scott signed legislation that included a three-day waiting period and raising the minimum age to buy rifles from 18 to 21.

Scott, now a U.S. senator, “encourages all states to look at the action he took in Florida to determine what works best for their state,” his communications director, McKinley Lewis, said in an email Friday.

Nationally, about one-third of mass shooters purchased a gun within a month of their crimes, said James Densley, co-founder of The Violence Project, a nonpartisan research group that tracks mass shootings dating back to 1966.

According to a 2017 Harvard Business School review, waiting period laws that delay the purchase of firearms by a few days reduce gun homicides by roughly 17%. But Sam Paredes, executive director of Gun Owners of California, called waiting periods “an ineffective policy to try to affect gun crime.”

“The big concern we have is when people want to exercise their right to bear arms, especially when they’re a first-time gun user, they’re delayed in their ability to get the tools that they need to protect themselves,” Paredes said.

Daniel Webster, co-director of the Center for Gun Violence Solutions at Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health, said waiting periods are important, and it’s obvious to him why more states don’t require them: Many firearm laws, he said, are “written by people who sell guns.”

Supporters say requiring several days or even a week or more between the purchase and delivery of a gun provides an important “cooling off” time for someone who is angry or contemplating suicide.

“If you get, for whatever reason, a person who is purchasing the gun to use it to harm others, the fact that they can’t get the gun in their hands immediately may give an opportunity for the circumstances to change by the time they do get it, assuming they’re entitled to get it in the first place,” said Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Neronha.

Giving law enforcement enough time to complete a thorough background check is another advantage of extending the waiting period, he said.

Hawaii has the longest waiting period in the U.S., at 14 days. Alan Beck, an attorney representing residents who are challenging various aspects of the state’s gun laws, said the two-week period seems arbitrary. If it’s meant as a cooling off period for someone who is angry, he said it won’t have an effect on potential gun buyers if they already own a firearm.

But state Sen. Karl Rhoads said he believes the waiting period combined with other strict gun control laws have worked, noting that Hawaii has a low homicide rate.

“If you’re really angry about something and you can go buy a gun and you can get it immediately, then you may act on your impulse,” Rhoads said. “If you have to wait a couple of weeks, you may calm down and think better of it.”

Former Florida state Rep. Jared Moskowitz, a Democrat who represented Parkland in 2018 and is now running for Congress, said waiting periods alone aren’t enough. Raising the purchase age, adopting red flag laws, increasing mental health spending and boosting school security are all essential, he said.

“No one change is going to make a big difference,” Moskowitz said. “But every change added together is.” 

Posted by Worldkrap on

Albania Elects Top General as Country’s New President

Albania’s parliament on Saturday elected a top military official as the country’s new president after no candidates were nominated in three rounds of voting.

General-Major Bajram Begaj won the post after the 140-seat Parliament voted 78 in favor, four against and one abstained.The governing left-wing Socialist Party nominated and voted for Begaj, 55, after failing to reach a compromise with the opposition on a candidate to replace President Ilir Meta, and no independent candidate was nominated.

Most of the opposition boycotted the voting.

Begaj is post-communist Albania’s eighth president and the third from the military ranks. The five-year presidency has a largely ceremonial role and the chosen candidate is expected to stand above partisan divisions. The president holds some authority over the judiciary and the armed forces and is limited to two terms.

Begaj was elected among six candidates, according to Socialists’ leader and Prime Minister Edi Rama, adding that no candidates of the governing majority were taken into consideration.

“We gave Albania a normal president, an indisputable personality in his integrity, humanity and commitment for the country and its people,” Rama said.

Begaj was released from his army post in a decree from the president, who was on a visit Saturday to Turkey. Meta, who clashed regularly with the government, congratulated the new president. A handover ceremony is planned for July 24.

Begaj has been the army’s chief-of-staff since July 2020. Before that, he held several army posts, including ones in public and military hospitals, and trained in the U.S. on strategic medical leadership and defense management.

The European Union, the United States and other Western countries congratulated Begaj in his new post.

“We look forward to working together for a prosperous, secure and solid EU-#Albania relationship, as members of one European family,” tweeted EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.