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Justices Rule Against Detained Immigrants Seeking Release

The Supreme Court has ruled against immigrants who are seeking their release from long periods of detention while they fight deportation orders.

In two cases decided Monday, the court said that the immigrants, who fear persecution if sent back to their native countries, have no right under a federal law to a bond hearing at which they could argue for their freedom no matter how long they are held.

The justices also ruled 6-3 to limit the immigrants’ ability to band together in court, an outcome that Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote “will leave many vulnerable noncitizens unable to protect their rights.”

In recent years, the high court has taken an increasingly limited view of immigrants’ access to the federal court system under immigration measures enacted in the 1990s and 2000s.

“For a while, it seemed like the court was going to push back a bit. In extreme cases, it would interpret a statute to allow for as much judicial review as possible,” said Nicole Hallet, director of the immigrants’ rights clinic at the University of Chicago law school. “Clearly now, the court is no longer willing to do that.”

The immigrants who sued for a bond hearing are facing being detained for many months, even years, before their cases are resolved.

The court ruled in the cases of people from Mexico and El Salvador who persuaded Homeland Security officials that their fears are credible, entitling them to further review.

Their lawyers argued that they should have a hearing before an immigration judge to determine if they should be released. The main factors are whether people would pose a danger or are likely to flee — if set free.

Sotomayor wrote the court’s opinion in one case involving Antonio Arteaga-Martinez, who had previously been deported to Mexico. He was taken into custody four years ago and won release while his case wound through the federal courts. His hearing on whether he can remain in the United States is scheduled for 2023.

But Sotomayor wrote that the provision of immigration law that applies to people like Arteaga-Martinez simply doesn’t require the government to hold a bond hearing.

The court, however, left open the issue of the immigrants’ ability to argue that the Constitution does not permit such indefinite detention without a hearing.

Justice Samuel Alito wrote the court’s opinion holding that federal judges can only rule in the case of the immigrants before them, not a class of similarly situated people.

Sotomayor dissented from that decision, joined by Justices Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan. She wrote that the ability to join together in a class was especially important for people who have no right to a lawyer and “are disproportionately unlikely to be familiar with the U.S. legal system or fluent in the English language.”

The cases are Johnson v. Arteaga-Martinez, 19-896, and Garland v. Aleman Gonzalez, 20-322.

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Одна людина загинула, двоє поранені на Сумщині через обстріли з боку Росії – ОВА

Під обстрілами опинилися Есманська і Великописарівська громади, повідомив голова ОВА Дмитро Живицький

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Понад 15 тисяч мільйонерів можуть залишити Росію цього року – дослідження

«Заможні люди все більше емігрують із Росії щороку протягом останнього десятиліття. Це раннє попередження про проблеми, з якими стикається країна»

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Троє цивільних загинули на Донеччині 13 червня через російські обстріли – ОВА

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Rebranded McDonald’s Restaurants Open in Russia

After many Western companies left Russia in response to its aggression against Ukraine, Moscow opened the first of the restaurants that are meant to replace those of the American fast food giant McDonald’s. The rebranded Russian version — some call it a knockoff — aims not only to serve hamburgers but to affirm Russia’s self-sufficiency and defiance. Marcus Harton narrates this report from Moscow.

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America’s Best and Worst Presidents Ranked

Modern U.S. presidents such as Barack Obama and Ronald Reagan rank near the top of the best leaders in American history, while Donald Trump is closer to the bottom, according to the latest survey of presidential historians.

The five highest rated presidents, according to the C-SPAN survey, are Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt and Dwight D. Eisenhower. The bottom five include William Henry Harrison, Donald Trump, Franklin Pierce, Andrew Johnson and James Buchanan.

What the presidents at the very top of the list have in common is that most faced monumental challenges related to the nation’s survival. Lincoln presided over the Civil War and kept the country from breaking apart. Washington, America’s first president, helped nurture the budding democracy by not becoming king and stepping down after serving as president. Franklin Roosevelt presided over America during World War II and Eisenhower negotiated an end to the Korean War.

“They were all president during critical periods in American history,” says Cassandra Newby-Alexander, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and a professor of history at Norfolk State University, who took part in the survey. “And all of them, from John F. Kennedy (8th), all the way up to Abraham Lincoln (1st) created some idealized vision of America.”

 

The presidents were judged on the vision they had for America, public persuasion, crisis leadership, economics, moral authority, foreign affairs, administrative skills, relationship with Congress, pursuit of equal justice and their performance within the context of the time they led the country.

Political scientist Robert Kaufman, a professor of public policy at Pepperdine University, who also took part in the survey, says it is important to make a distinction between greatness and an effective president.

“Not all very effective presidents can be great, in my estimation, because greatness also depends upon the magnitude of the challenge,” he says. “Theodore Roosevelt, at the beginning of the 20th century, and Bill Clinton, at the end, were effective, but never faced the type of challenge that would lend itself to greatness.”

The man at the bottom of the list, James Buchanan, is often ranked as one of the worst U.S. presidents. His refusal to take a side on slavery, while at times siding with slaveholders, is thought to have inflamed divisions within the country ahead of the Civil War.

Both Kaufman, who calls himself a Republican, and Newby-Alexander feel Truman (6th) might be the most under-rated president. Both point to his fight for civil rights while Kaufman also praises the 33rd president for “laying the successful architecture for winning the Cold War.”

Overall, Newby-Alexander says, the survey results reflect a conventional view.

“If you consider the average age of historians, they tend to be older, they tend to be white and they tend to be male, so that actually leads to many of them having a somewhat traditionalist perspective,” she says, pointing out how high Theodore Roosevelt (4th) and Woodrow Wilson (13th) ranked despite their well-established racist views and actions.

“Under their administrations, we had the largest number of concentrated lynchings that went unpunished than any other time in American history,” she says. “[Wilson’s] the one who strictly segregated the federal government. That did not exist before. He segregated the Navy. That did not exist before. He initiated a lot of very retrograde policy during a critical period in American history.”

The passage of time and the gaining of perspective tends to change how presidents are viewed. While Newby-Alexander thinks Reagan (9th) is overrated, specifically mentioning his stance on apartheid — he vetoed the Comprehensive Apartheid Act, which levied economic sanctions against South Africa in 1986 — Kaufman lists the reasons he would push the 40th U.S. president higher up the list.

“Winning the Cold War, restoring American economic prosperity rooted in Judeo-Christian values, and optimism about America’s exceptionalism,” Kaufman says. “He understood a) what the Soviet threat was about, b) what we needed to do to defeat it, and he left Bill Clinton a very strong hand. In many ways, we’ve been living off borrowed military capital of the Reagan buildup of the 1980s, when he inherited a military in disarray.”

And, although he says it might be an unpopular opinion, Kaufman thinks Trump (now ranked 41 out of 44 presidents) will also rise in future surveys.

“I think that, as the years go by, the president will get credit, however sausage-like the process was, for putting certain issues on the table that had long been neglected — sovereignty, particularly China, and energy independence,” he says. “I think China, which is the dominant foreign policy threat of our time, by my estimate, is something where Trump will get more credit, substantively, not temperamentally, than one would rate him now in the wreckage of his presidency.”

Newby-Alexander believes history will judge Obama (10th) more favorably.

“I would have put Barack Obama under Abraham Lincoln because he managed to not only provide us with an incredibly important health care initiative — while it has a lot of flaws, it was something that presidents have been trying to do for almost 100 years, and he succeeded,” she says. “Also, he was someone who got us out of a crisis that was actually deeper than the Great Depression when the stock market crashed in 1929. What we experienced right before he took office was worse than what Franklin Roosevelt dealt with, and he was able to pull us out. And I think that that has been tremendously underrated.”

The current president, Joe Biden, is not on the list, and historians say it is too early to judge him.

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В Україні розслідують понад 180 фактів застосування Росією заборонених касетних боєприпасів – ОГП

Правоохоронці з 24 лютого розпочали 84 кримінальні провадження за фактами застосування російськими військами касетних боєприпасів

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UK Reports 104 More Cases of Monkeypox, Mostly in Men

British health officials have detected another 104 cases of monkeypox in England in what has become the biggest outbreak beyond Africa of the normally rare disease.

The U.K.’s Health Security Agency said Monday there were now 470 cases of monkeypox across the country, with the vast majority in gay or bisexual men. Scientists warn that anyone, regardless of sexual orientation, is susceptible to catching monkeypox if they are in close, physical contact with an infected person or their clothing or bed sheets.

According to U.K. data, 99% of the cases so far have been in men and most are in London.

In May, a leading adviser to the World Health Organization said the monkeypox outbreak in Europe and beyond was likely spread by sex at two recent raves in Spain and Belgium.

Last week, WHO said 1,285 cases of monkeypox had been reported from 28 countries where monkeypox was not known to be endemic. No deaths have been reported outside of Africa. After the U.K., the biggest numbers of cases have been reported in Spain, Germany and Canada.

WHO said many people in the outbreak have “atypical features” of the disease which could make it more difficult for doctors to diagnose. The U.N. health agency also said while close contact can spread monkeypox, “it is not clear what role sexual bodily fluids, including semen and vaginal fluids, play in the transmission.”

Meanwhile, countries in Africa have reported more than 1,500 suspected cases including 72 deaths from eight countries. Monkeypox is considered endemic in Central and West Africa.

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Війська РФ перегруповуються на Донецькому напрямку, намагаючись оточити ЗСУ – Генштаб

«На Сєвєродонецькому напрямку противник вів штурмові дії з метою встановлення повного контролю над містом Сєвєродонецьк, здійснив наступ на позиції наших військ в районі Метьолкіного, успіху не мав»

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Bachelet to Step Down When Term as UN Rights Commissioner Ends August 31 

U.N. human rights chief Michelle Bachelet says she will step down as high commissioner when her term ends in late August. She disclosed this information, without a detailed explanation, at the opening of the U.N. Human Rights Council’s 50th session.

Following her review of global human rights developments to the council, Bachelet told journalists in Geneva that she was retiring for personal reasons. She said her decision has nothing to do with criticisms over a recent trip to China.

Human rights activists have criticized her for failing to condemn Beijing’s forced incarceration of nearly two million Uyghurs in Xinjiang during her visit.

Bachelet told the media that she had informed U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres two months before she went to China that she would not be seeking a second term.

“He told me that he would love me to continue but I explained to him that because of personal reasons, I need to…I am not a young woman anymore and after a long and rich career, I want to go back to my country, to my family … After being so many years a minister, president, high commissioner, I think it is time. It is time to go back,” she said.

Previously, in her speech to the council, Bachelet addressed the barrage of criticism leveled at her. Bachelet said she had discussed specific human rights concerns with senior officials in China. These included government policies for countering terrorism, the protection of the rights of ethnic and religious minorities, and legal protection for women.

“I also raised concerns regarding the human rights situation of the Uyghur and other predominantly Muslim minorities in Xinjiang, including broad arbitrary detention and patterns of abuse, both in the VETC [Vocational Education and Training Centers] system and in other detention facilities. My office’s assessment of the human rights situation in Xinjiang is being updated. It will be shared with the government for factual comments before publication,” she said.

One critic was Rushan Abbas, founder and executive director of the Washington-based organization Campaign for Uyghurs. Abbas recently said Bachelet made a “mockery” of the U.N. human rights office by adopting Beijing’s narrative. He called for her to resign, saying in a tweet she neglects her mandate and the U.N.’s founding principles.

Human rights activists have repeatedly demanded that Bachelet release her long-awaited report on China’s human rights abuses. The high commissioner said the report would be issued before she left office. Beijing denies the accusations of rights abuses.

In her lengthy presentation to the council, the high commissioner reported widespread violations were destroying and impoverishing the lives of countless millions of people in all regions of the world.

She focused on the war in Ukraine, which she said continued to destroy the lives of many, causing havoc and destruction. She noted the horrors inflicted on the civilian population would leave an indelible mark for generations to come.

She condemned Russia, which invaded Ukraine on February 24, for arbitrarily arresting large numbers of antiwar protesters. She called the increase in censorship and restrictions on independent Russian media regrettable.

Asim Kashgarian contributed to this report.

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Шість кораблів РФ із крилатими ракетами перебувають у Чорному морі – Міноборони

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Athletics: Coleman, Hobbs Win 100 Meters Races at NYC Grand Prix

American Christian Coleman won the men’s 100 meters in 9.92 seconds and Aleia Hobbs overcame compatriot Sha’Carri Richardson in the women’s 100 meters at the NYC Grand Prix on Sunday. 

The reigning world champion Coleman, who returned to action in January after serving an 18-month suspension for breaching anti-doping whereabouts rules, said he was pleased after finishing under 10 seconds in the event for the first time this year. 

“I felt like that was a really good race,” said Coleman, who took third at the Prefontaine Classic last month. 

“I felt a lot better in the second half of my race than I did last time — and I feel like that was really all that I was missing.” 

Jamaican Ackeem Blake finished second and American Marvin Bracy took third. 

With throngs of young fans cheering her name outside the media zone, Richardson said she was thrilled to produce a 10.85 in her third 100m race of the season, even after Tokyo relay silver medalist Hobbs muscled her way to the top of the podium in 10.83. 

“I feel phenomenal,” she told reporters. “I feel fantastic.” 

American Teahna Daniels finished third. 

Festooned from shoulder to ankle in red fishnet, Richardson later won the 200 meters — an event in which she does not often compete — in 22.38. 

“(The) 200 is actually the reason why I started running so the fact that I was able to touch down … felt phenomenal,” she said. 

A final tune-up ahead of the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, the track on Randall’s Island experienced speedy times under windy conditions. 

American Devon Allen produced a world-leading 12.84 seconds to overcome world champion Grant Holloway by more than two-tenths of a second in the men’s 110m hurdles. 

“I thought I was going to break the world record today, so we’ll have to wait for another race,” said twice-Olympian Allen, who is juggling a career in the National Football League with his athletic ambitions. 

Elsewhere at the World Athletics Continental Tour Gold event, reigning world champion Noah Lyles, who took bronze in Tokyo, won the men’s 200 meters in 19.61 and twice-world bronze medalist Ajee Wilson won the women’s 800m in 2:00.62. 

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Trump Election Claims in Focus as Committee Holds January 6 Riot Hearing

The panel investigating the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol last year holds its second public hearing Monday, with former President Donald Trump’s campaign manager among those testifying in a session focusing on Trump’s unfounded allegations of election fraud. 

Committee members said Sunday much more evidence will emerge in upcoming hearings that Trump knew he had lost his bid for reelection and yet fomented the mayhem by telling supporters he had been cheated out of another four-year term. 

Trump “absolutely knew he had lost,” U.S. Congressman Jamie Raskin, a Maryland Democrat, told CNN’s “State of the Union” show. “Any reasonable person had to know he was spreading a big lie” by claiming, as he does to this day, that he won the November 2020 election over Democrat Joe Biden, who assumed the presidency two weeks after the attack on the Capitol. 

Raskin described Trump’s actions as encouraging “a massive attack on our democracy,” while California Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff, in a separate interview on ABC’s “This Week” show, said, “While this attack was going on, he did nothing to stop it” until hours after it started. 

Schiff contended that Trump engaged in a “dereliction of duty (by his) inactions that day” in not trying to call off the riot for more than two hours as his supporters rampaged through the Capitol, ransacking congressional offices and forcing lawmakers to flee the Senate and House of Representatives chambers for their own safety. 

Raskin and Schiff said the committee’s chairman, Democratic Congressman Bennie Thompson, and the panel’s vice-chairman, Republican Liz Cheney, only spelled out the broad outlines of the House investigative committee’s findings at last week’s opening hearing televised during prime-time evening hours. 

At least six more public hearings are planned over the next two weeks. 

“There’s no question the president formed the mob, the president incited the mob, the president addressed the mob. He lit the flame,” Cheney said in her opening statement last Thursday accusing Trump of illegally trying to upend the election result to stay in power and urging supporters to block lawmakers from certifying Biden’s victory. 

Trump, posting on his own TRUTH Social platform, called the committee hearing Thursday night a “one sided, totally partisan, POLITICAL WITCH HUNT!” He dismissed a brief videotape of his elder daughter Ivanka testifying that she agreed with former Attorney General William Barr that there was no broad evidence of political fraud in the election and that Biden had won fairly. 

Trump said his daughter, a White House adviser to him, had “checked out” by the time vote recounts were being conducted. 

Cheney outlined the case against Trump much like a prosecutor might do in an opening statement at a criminal trial although the House committee can only spell out the case to the public, not bring charges against anyone. The panel could, if it chooses to do so, refer its findings and transcripts of the thousand or so witnesses it has interviewed to the Justice Department for its consideration on whether to charge anyone, including Trump, for planning and carrying out the riot. 

“The rule of law needs to apply equally to everyone,” Schiff said of Trump. “They need to be investigated if there is credible evidence and I believe there is. The president’s big lie (that he won the election) was in fact a big lie.” 

More than 800 supporters of Trump have already been charged in the mayhem inside the Capitol and more than 300 have pleaded guilty or been convicted, with the remaining cases still unresolved. Judges have sentenced some of the rioters facing such minor charges as trespassing to a few weeks in prison, but those who attacked police to barge into the Capitol have been imprisoned for four years or more. 

Raskin and Schiff said multiple Republican members of Congress sought pardons from Trump before he left office January 20, 2021, because they had supported his efforts to stay in office. Cheney said Congressman Scott Perry of Pennsylvania was one of them, but he denied it after she mentioned his name in her Thursday night statement. 

Raskin said the fact the lawmakers sought a Trump pardon, which he did not grant, showed “evidence of guilt or a fear they were culpable. The details will surface.” 

“Everything is based on facts,” Raskin said of the information that has yet to be made public by the investigative committee.

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Zelenskyy: Ukrainian, Russian Forces Battle for ‘Every Meter’ in Sievierodonetsk

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said his forces and those from Russia are fighting for “literally every meter” in the eastern city of Sievierodonetsk, while pleading to international partners that Ukraine “needs modern missile defense systems.”  

In his latest nightly video message, Zelenskyy said Russia’s “key tactical goal” has not changed, with Russian forces also pushing toward Lysychansk, Bakhmut, Slovyansk, to the west and southwest of Sievierodonetsk.

Zelenskyy’s adviser Mykahilo Podolyak tweeted Monday that “to end the war we need heavy weapons parity.”  He listed several categories of weapons, including 1,000 howitzers, 300 multiple launch rocket systems, 500 tanks, 2,000 armored vehicles and 1,000 drones.

‘Contact Group of Defense Ministers meeting is held in Brussels on June 15,” Podolyak said. “We are waiting for a decision.”

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is convening the meeting at NATO headquarters.  A virtual meeting of the group last month drew representatives from 47 countries, NATO and the European Union. 

Austin said after the May talks that the group was “intensifying our efforts” and working to deepen coordination with Ukraine “so that Ukraine can sustain and strengthen its battlefield operations.”

Britain’s defense ministry said Monday that in recent days the battle around Sievierodonetsk “has continued to rage.”

The ministry said Russia’s ability to carry out river crossing operations will likely be one of the most important factors in the war in the coming months.

“To achieve success in the current operational phase of its Donbas offensive, Russia is either going to have to complete ambitious flanking actions, or conduct assault river crossings,” it said.

Russian forces bombarded a chemical plant sheltering hundreds of soldiers and civilians in Sievierodonetsk on Sunday, but the Luhansk regional governor said the plant remained under Ukrainian control.

Russia claims it already controls 97% of the Luhansk province. But capturing the industrial city of Sievierodonetsk, with a prewar population of 100,000, remains crucial to Moscow’s broader goal of controlling the eastern Donbas region, which encompasses the Luhansk and Donetsk provinces.

Russia seized Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014 and Kyiv’s forces have been fighting pro-Russian separatists in the Donbas region since then.

Leonid Pasechnik, the head of the separatist-declared Luhansk People’s Republic, acknowledged, “Sievierodonetsk is not completely 100% liberated. So, it’s impossible to call the situation calm in Sievierodonetsk, that it is completely ours.”

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

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Прихильники Макрона лідирують у першому турі парламентських виборів у Франції

За попередніми офіційними даними, у прихильників Макрона – 25,75% голосів виборців, у лівих –25,66%

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Amnesty International заявляє про докази обстрілу армією РФ Харкова касетними бомбами

Некеровані ракети установок «Град» та «Ураган», які російська армія широко використовує у війні проти України, нездатні точно вражати ціль, і часто влучають у цивільну інфраструктуру

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«Провал окупаційної пропаганди». Хлань розповів, як у Херсоні відреагували на святкування Дня Росії

«Люди ненавидять російських окупантів» – влада про настрої херсонців

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Tony Awards Begin With Non-acting Honors Handed Out in NYC

Darren Criss and Julianne Hough kicked off the four-hour Tony Award celebrations at Radio City Music Hall on Sunday night, handing out mostly design awards exclusively on the streaming Paramount+. 

Criss opened the telecast with the original song, “Set the Stage,” as he and Hough energetically danced up ladders, on laundry hampers and in sliding theater seats to celebrate the artists who keep theater alive. 

The first award of the night — for best score — went to “Six: The Musical,” with music and lyrics by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss. Marlow is the first out nonbinary composer-lyricist to win a Tony. 

Criss and Hough have an hour to hand out a total of eight technical awards for things such as best lighting and sound design, along with best score, orchestrations and choreography. They will then pass hosting duties to Ariana DeBose for the main three-hour telecast on CBS and Paramount+ from the same stage, live coast to coast for the first time. 

The season — with 34 new productions — represents a full return to theaters after nearly two years of a pandemic-mandated shutdown. At the last Tonys nine months ago, the winners were pulled from just 18 eligible plays and musicals, and many of the competitive categories were depleted. 

DeBose, the Tony-nominated theater veteran and freshly minted Oscar winner for “West Side Story,” said Broadway is due for a party. 

“I feel like if there was ever the time, the time is now,” she said. “I think it’s a triumph to have simply made it to this point, to have made art and to have a show.” 

The telecast will have performances from this year’s Tony Award-nominated musicals, including “A Strange Loop,” “Company,” “Girl from the North Country,” “MJ,” “Mr. Saturday Night,” “Music Man,” “Paradise Square” and “Six.” The original cast members of the 2007 Tony-winning musical “Spring Awakening” will also reteam and perform. 

“A Strange Loop,” a theater meta-journey about a playwright writing a musical, goes into the show with a leading 11 Tony nominations. Right behind with 10 nominations each is “MJ,” a bio musical of the King of Pop stuffed with his biggest hits, and “Paradise Square,” a musical about Irish immigrants and Black Americans jostling to survive in New York City around the time of the Civil War. 

Front-runners for best actress in a musical are Sharon D Clarke from the revival of “Caroline, or Change” and Joaquina Kalukango of “Paradise Square.” The best actor in a musical may come down to Jaquel Spivey from “A Strange Loop” versus Myles Frost as the King of Pop in “MJ the Musical.” 

“The Lehman Trilogy,” Stefano Massini’s play spanning 150 years about what led to the collapse of financial giant Lehman Brothers, is the leading best new play contender, while David Morse in a revival of Paula Vogel’s “How I Learned to Drive” is the leading contender as best actor in a play. His co-star, Mary-Louise Parker, could become the first actor to receive consecutive Tonys for best actress in a play. 

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Pro-Russian Separatists Uphold Foreigners’ Death Sentences

A pro-Russian separatist leader in eastern Ukraine said Sunday he would not alter the death sentences handed to two Britons and a Moroccan for fighting with the Ukrainian army. 

“They came to Ukraine to kill civilians for money. That’s why I don’t see any conditions for any mitigation or modification of the sentence,” Denis Pushilin, the leader of the separatist Donetsk region, which tried them, told reporters. 

Pushilin said the court had “issued a perfectly fair punishment” to the three fighters. 

He also accused British Prime Minister Boris Johnson of ignoring their fate and failing to contact the separatist authorities. 

Pushilin was speaking at a press conference attended by AFP in Mariupol, the capital of the breakaway area, as part of a trip organized by the Russian defense ministry to the battle-scarred Ukrainian city which was captured by Russian and separatist forces in May. 

On Friday, Johnson’s spokesman said he was “appalled” by the death sentences handed down to Britons Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner and Moroccan Brahim Saadun. 

“It is clear they were Ukrainian armed forces members and are therefore prisoners of war,” and not mercenaries as the separatist authorities in Donetsk accuse them of being, the spokesman said. 

According to the families of Aslin and Pinner, the two men have been living in the country since 2018.

On Friday, the United Nations expressed concern over the death sentences handed down against the prisoners by pro-Russian rebels.

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Amnesty Accuses Russia of War Crimes in Kharkiv, Killing Hundreds

Amnesty International on Monday accused Russia of war crimes in Ukraine, saying attacks on Kharkiv, many using banned cluster bombs, had killed hundreds of civilians.  

“The repeated bombardments of residential neighborhoods in Kharkiv are indiscriminate attacks which killed and injured hundreds of civilians, and as such constitute war crimes,” the rights group said in a report on Ukraine’s second-largest city.   

“This is true both for the strikes carried out using cluster (munitions) as well as those conducted using other types of unguided rockets and unguided artillery shells,” it said.   

“The continued use of such inaccurate explosive weapons in populated civilian areas, in the knowledge that they are repeatedly causing large numbers of civilian casualties, may even amount to directing attacks against the civilian population.” 

Bombs and land mines

Amnesty said it had uncovered proof in Kharkiv of the repeated use by Russian forces of 9N210 and 9N235 cluster bombs and scatterable land mines, all of which are banned under international conventions. 

Cluster bombs release dozens of bomblets or grenades in mid-air, scattering them indiscriminately over hundreds of square meters (yards).  

Scatterable land mines combine “the worst possible attributes of cluster munitions and antipersonnel land mines,” Amnesty said. 

Unguided artillery shells have a margin of error of over 100 meters. 

The report, entitled “Anyone Can Die At Any Time,” details how Russian forces began targeting civilian areas of Kharkiv on the first day of the invasion on February 24. 

The “relentless” shelling continued for two months, wreaking “wholesale destruction” on the city of 1.5 million. 

“People have been killed in their homes and in the streets, in playgrounds and in cemeteries, while queueing for humanitarian aid, or shopping for food and medicine,” said Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International’s senior crisis response adviser. 

“The repeated use of widely banned cluster munitions is shocking, and a further indication of utter disregard for civilian lives. 

“The Russian forces responsible for these horrific attacks must be held accountable.” 

‘She stood no chance’

Kharkiv’s Military Administration told Amnesty 606 civilians had been killed and 1,248 wounded in the region since the conflict began.   

Russia and Ukraine are not parties to the international conventions banning cluster munitions and anti-personnel mines. 

But, Amnesty stressed, “international humanitarian law prohibits indiscriminate attacks and the use of weapons that are indiscriminate by nature.  

“Launching indiscriminate attacks resulting in death or injury to civilians, or damage to civilian objects, constitutes war crimes,” it said.   

One of the witnesses Amnesty spoke to had survived cancer, only to lose both her legs in a Russian cluster bomb attack. 

Olena Sorokina, 57, was outside her building when flying shrapnel hit her. She lost one leg instantly and the other had to be amputated later. 

A neighbor with her was killed on the spot. The latter’s daughter said the shrapnel tore through the building.  

“Even if mum had been inside her home she would have been hit. She stood no chance in the face of such bombing,” she said. 

Amnesty investigated 41 Russian strikes that killed at least 62 people and wounded at least 196. It spoke to 160 people in Kharkiv over two weeks in April and May, including survivors, victims’ relatives, witnesses and doctors. 

Ukraine says it has launched more than 12,000 war crimes probes since the war began.