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Євросоюз планує запровадити десятий пакет санкцій проти Росії до 24 лютого

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Бербок: Німеччина не проти, щоб Польща передала танки Leopard 2 Україні

«Це питання ще не ставилося, але якщо воно буде задане, ми не стоятимемо на шляху»

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Poll: Majority of Americans Believe Biden, Trump Mishandled Classified Documents

A new poll indicates 64% of Americans view U.S. President Joe Biden’s handling of classified documents as “inappropriate.” The results of the ABC/Ipsos poll were released as even more documents with classified markings were found at Biden’s residence in Delaware. VOA’s Veronica Balderas Iglesias has the details. Video editor – Marcus Harton.

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Ten Dead in Shooting Near Los Angeles During Lunar New Year Festivities

A man fatally shot 10 people at a ballroom dance venue where people were celebrating the Chinese Lunar New Year late on Saturday in a city on the eastern edge of Los Angeles, and he was still at large after fleeing the scene, police said. 

At least another 10 people were taken to local hospitals to be treated for injuries, and at least one was in critical condition, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said early on Sunday morning, about five hours after the attack in Monterey Park. 

When local police first arrived, people were “pouring out of the location screaming,” department captain Andrew Meyer told reporters in a news briefing at the scene.  

At a later briefing, Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said they believed the shooter, who remained at large nearly 11 hours after the attack, was an Asian man, based on “preliminary information” from eyewitnesses. 

“We need to get this person off the street as soon as possible,” he said. 

Earlier on Sunday morning, the sheriff’s department said it did not know whether the attack was racially motivated. 

The shooting took place after 10 p.m. PST (0600 GMT on Sunday) around the location of a two-day Chinese Lunar New Year celebration where many downtown streets are closed for festivities that draw thousands of people from across Southern California. Police said the celebrations planned for Sunday were now canceled.  

Monterey Park is a city of about 60,000 people around 7 miles (11 km) from downtown Los Angeles. About two-thirds of its residents are Asian, according to U.S. Census data, and the city is known for its many Chinese restaurants and groceries. The sheriff’s department said it did not know whether the attack was racially motivated. 

Video footage taken by local news media showed injured people, many of them appearing to be middle aged, being loaded into ambulances on stretchers. 

Seung Won Choi, who owns a seafood barbecue restaurant near the site of the attack, told the Los Angeles Times that three people rushed into his restaurant and told him to lock the door because a man was unloading multiple rounds of ammunition at the dance club across the street. 

The White House said U.S. President Joe Biden had been briefed on the attack and had directed the Federal Bureau of Investigation to assist local police. 

Mass shootings are recurrent in the United States, and the attack in Monterey Park was the deadliest since May 2022, when a gunman killed 19 students and two teachers at a school in Uvalde, Texas. The deadliest shooting in California history was in 1984 when a gunman killed 21 people at a McDonald’s restaurant in San Ysidro, near San Diego. 

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Swedish Prime Minister Condemns Quran Burning

Sweden’s prime minister has condemned as “deeply disrespectful” the weekend burning of a Quran in Stockholm, which has raised tensions with Turkey as the Nordic country courts Ankara over its NATO bid.

Far-right politician Rasmus Paludan set fire to a copy of the Muslim holy book on Saturday in front of Turkey’s embassy in the Swedish capital.

Furious that Paludan had been permitted by Swedish police to carry out the protest, Ankara canceled a visit by Sweden’s defense minister and summoned Stockholm’s ambassador.

Late on Saturday, Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson tweeted: “Freedom of expression is a fundamental part of democracy. But what is legal is not necessarily appropriate. Burning books that are holy to many is a deeply disrespectful act.” 

“I want to express my sympathy for all Muslims who are offended by what has happened in Stockholm today.”

Paludan’s demonstration has further damaged relations as Stockholm tries to convince NATO member Turkey to approve Sweden and Finland joining the military alliance.

Sweden’s bid has been stalled amid Ankara’s demands that Stockholm hand over Kurdish activists and prevent rallies attacking Turkey’s leadership.

Many Muslim countries said they were outraged by the burning of the Quran on Saturday.

Morocco said it was “astonished” the authorities had allowed it to take place “in front of the Swedish forces of order.”

Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates also condemned it, as did the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

Jakarta said, “the act of blasphemy against the holy book has hurt and tarnished religious tolerance,” adding that “freedom of expression must be exercised in a responsible manner.”

Dozens of protesters gathered late Saturday in front of the Swedish consulate in Istanbul, where they burned a Swedish flag and called on Turkey to sever diplomatic ties with Stockholm.

Paludan, a Swedish-Danish activist who has already been convicted for racist abuse, provoked rioting in Sweden last year when he went on a tour of the country and publicly burned copies of the Quran. 

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Lisa Marie Presley Mourned in Memorial Service at Graceland 

Hundreds of mourners gathered at Graceland on Sunday morning to pay their respects to singer Lisa Marie Presley in a memorial service at the mansion in Memphis, Tennessee, she inherited from her father, rock legend Elvis Presley.

Presley died on Jan. 12 at the age of 54. Earlier that day, she had been rushed to a Los Angeles-area hospital after reportedly suffering cardiac arrest at her home.

“Our heart is broken, Lisa, and we all love you,” her mother, Priscilla Presley, said at the service on the front lawn of Graceland. “Lisa Marie Presley was an icon, a role model, a superhero to many people all over the world.”

Singers Alanis Morissette, Billy Corgan and Axl Rose performed.

Lisa Marie Presley is survived by her daughters, actress Riley Keough and 14-year-old twins Finley and Harper Lockwood.

Two days before her death, she had appeared with her mother, Priscilla Presley, at the Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, California, where actor Austin Butler won the best actor award for portraying her father in the film “Elvis.” Butler paid tribute to both women in his acceptance speech.

Presley began her music career in the 2000s with two albums, “To Whom It May Concern” and “Now What,” that made the top 10 of the Billboard 200 album chart.

She was married and divorced four times, including to pop star Michael Jackson and actor Nicholas Cage.

She was the only child of one of the greatest stars in American music, and was 9 years old when Elvis Presley died of heart failure at age 42 in 1977 at Graceland. The mansion is now a popular tourist attraction.

Elvis Presley and other members of his family are buried at Graceland’s Meditation Garden.

Lisa Marie Presley was buried there before the memorial service alongside the grave of her son, Benjamin Keough, who died in 2020 at age 27, a death ruled a suicide by the Los Angeles County coroner. In a recent essay, she had described herself as “destroyed” by her son’s death.

After the memorial service, mourners were due to form a procession past Lisa Marie Presley’s grave.

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France, Germany Renew Alliance Strained Amid War in Ukraine 

France and Germany are seeking to overcome differences laid bare by Russia’s war in Ukraine while celebrating their decadeslong friendship with a day of ceremonies and talks Sunday on Europe’s security, energy and other challenges.

Germany’s entire Cabinet is in Paris for joint meetings, and 300 lawmakers from both countries are coming together at the Sorbonne University to mark 60 years since a landmark treaty sealed a bond between the longtime enemies that underpins today’s European Union.

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will oversee two rounds of talks at the Elysee Palace, focusing first on energy and economic policy, and then on defense.

“Let us use our inseparable friendship … to shape the present and future of our continent, together with our European partners,” Scholz said at the ceremony at the Sorbonne.

After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year, the European peace project is at a “turning point,” he said.

“[Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s imperialism will not win. … We will not allow Europe to revert to a time when violence replaced politics and our continent was torn apart by hatred and national rivalries.”

Macron added: “Our unfailing support for the Ukrainian people will continue in every field.”

Both countries have contributed significant weaponry to Ukraine, but Ukraine is asking for tanks and more powerful arms as Russia’s war drags on.

The war has exposed differences in strategy between the two countries, notably in European talks on how to deal with the resulting energy crisis and punishing inflation, as well as over future military investments.

Macron called for “a new energy model” in the EU based on diversifying supplies and encouraging carbon-free energy production.

Aside from Ukraine, a top priority for the meeting is working out Europe’s response to the subsidies for U.S. electric carmakers and other businesses in the Biden administration’s Inflation Reduction Act, according to senior French and German officials.

France wants Europe to counter what it considers an unfair move by Washington. Paris is pushing for the EU to relax rules on state subsidies in order to accelerate their allocation, simplify the bloc’s support for investments and create an EU sovereign fund to boost green industries. Berlin, however, warns against protectionism.

French-German government meetings are usually held at least once a year to coordinate policies. The last one was held in May 2021 via videoconference due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sunday’s gathering is the first in-person meeting since 2019. It was originally scheduled for October, but was delayed amid divergences on issues including energy, defense and the economy.

The officials are marking the 60th anniversary of the Elysee Treaty signed by French President and wartime anti-Nazi resistance leader Charles de Gaulle and West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer on Jan. 22, 1963.

Berlin and Paris have a decadeslong history of bilateral irritants and European disputes that coexist with the countries’ friendship and cooperation.

France and Germany have been described as the “engine” of the EU. They have always found compromises even in difficult terrain since they co-founded, with four other countries, the forerunner of the EU in 1957.

“The Franco-German engine is a compromise machine: well-oiled, but also loud at times and marked by hard work,” Scholz said.

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ДСНС: на Київщині річку Десну вдалось розблокувати від крижаних заторів

На місті ліквідації надзвичайної ситуації створено оперативний штаб, куди увійшли представники місцевих органів влади, рятувальники, військові та поліцейські

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Російські військові вдарили по Харківщині, загинула жінка – Синєгубов

За словами Синєгубова, російські війська влучили по господарчій споруді та житловому будинку

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День Соборності України: відзначили його і українці у Празі (фотогалерея)

22 січня у столиці Чехії відбулася акція до Дня Соборності. Українці зібралися у Празі, щоб відзначити день єдності, розгорнути великий український стяг, а також подякувати чехам за підтримку.

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UK: Russia Will ‘Likely Struggle’ to Staff, Equip Planned Force Expansion

The British Defense Ministry said Sunday that Russia “highly likely assesses that an enhanced conventional military threat will endure for many years beyond the current Ukraine war.” In the intelligence update posted on Twitter Sunday, the ministry said, Russia would “highly likely struggle to staff and equip the planned expansion.”

Russia’s Defense Ministry announced last week that it intends to increase its armed forces staffing to 1.5 million people.

Russia also announced plans to reestablish Moscow and Leningrad military districts. The U.K. Defense Ministry said that move represents “a partial return to the Soviet era organization of forces in Western Russia.”

Russia also has plans to install a new army corps in Karelia, near the Finnish border.

Twitter lit up Saturday with European officials decrying Germany’s indecision about sending Leopard tanks to Ukraine. Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics called on Germany to “provide Leopard tanks to Ukraine now.”

“This is needed to stop Russian aggression, help Ukraine and restore peace in Europe quickly. Germany as the leading European power has special responsibility in this regard,” he asserted, speaking for himself and Lithuanian and Estonian foreign ministers.

Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas called for “many more” weapons to be sent to Ukraine and faster. Regarding Russia’s war on Ukraine she said, “We’re in it for the long haul.”

Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Ray urged “action now.”

“Ukrainian blood is shed for real,” he wrote. “This is the price of hesitation over Leopard deliveries.”

Tank training

Mykhailo Podolyak, a senior adviser to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, on Saturday expressed his frustration with the pace of the military support the country’s allies are providing.

“You’ll help Ukraine with the necessary weapons anyway and realize that there is no other option to end the war except the defeat of Russia,” Podolyak posted on Twitter. “But today’s indecision is killing more of our people. Every day of delay is the death of Ukrainians. Think faster.”

Meanwhile, Ukrainian troops will start training to use Leopard 2 battle tanks on Polish soil, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov told VOA’s Ukrainian Service on Friday. Reznikov described the development as a breakthrough.

“Countries that already have Leopard tanks can begin training missions for our tank crews. We will start with that, and we will go from there. I hope Germany will follow their process, conduct their internal consultations, and will arrive at the decision to transfer tanks. I am optimistic regarding this because the first step has been made. We will start training programs for our tank crews on Leopards 2,” Reznikov said.

“All the previously announced [military aid] packages have been confirmed. In addition, some new packages were discussed behind closed doors, but I am not at liberty to announce them just yet. This is inspiring. I am very satisfied,” he added.

In contrast, however, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin has issued a warning about the possible consequences of the weapons packages that countries have pledged to supply to Ukraine.

Vyacheslave Volodin, speaker of Russia’s lower house of parliament, posted on the messaging app Telegram: “If Washington and NATO countries supply weapons that will be used to strike civilian cities and attempt to seize our territories, as they threaten, this will lead to retaliatory measures using more powerful weapons.”

“Arguments that the nuclear powers have not previously used weapons of mass destruction in local conflicts are untenable,” Volodin said.  “Because these states did not face a situation where there was a threat to the security of their citizens and the territorial integrity of the country.”

Return of bodies

Earlier Saturday, the Wagner Group, the private Russian paramilitary group, announced through its RIA FAN website that it plans to send the bodies of Ukrainian soldiers killed during fighting in the captured town of Soledar to Ukraine-held territory.

Wagner said on Jan. 11 it had captured Soledar, and Russian-installed authorities in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region said earlier this week they were in control of the salt-mining town, where intense fighting had taken place.

The RIA FAN website, part of Wagner leader Yevgeny Prigozhin’s media holdings, quoted a Wagner commander as saying the mercenary company would send the bodies from Soledar to Ukrainian-held territory in four or five convoys totaling about 20 trucks.

Saturday’s report did not say how many bodies would be returned to Ukrainian authorities but claimed Ukraine’s forces had suffered heavy losses in Soledar.

It said Prigozhin had made clear that soldiers’ bodies should be returned to Ukraine in a “dignified” way but did not provide further details.

In a separate letter addressed to White House national security spokesperson John Kirby, Prigozhin’s press service read: “Dear Mr. Kirby, could you please clarify what crime was committed by PMC Wagner?”

The question was in response to Washington’s decision to impose new sanctions on the military group.

Kirby called Wagner “a criminal organization that is committing widespread atrocities and human rights abuses.”

Last month, the White House said Wagner had taken delivery of an arms shipment from North Korea to help bolster Russian forces in Ukraine.

North Korea’s Foreign Ministry called the report groundless and Prigozhin at the time denied taking such a delivery, calling the report “gossip and speculation.”

The European Union imposed its own sanctions in December 2021 on Wagner, which has been active in Syria, Libya, the Central African Republic, Sudan, Mozambique and Mali, as well as Ukraine.

VOA’s Ruslan Petrychka contributed to this story.

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.

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Big Waves to Deliver Storied Hawaii Surf Contest The Eddie

One of the world’s most prestigious and storied surfing contests is expected to be held Sunday in Hawaii for the first time in seven years.

And this year female surfers will be competing alongside the men for the first time in the 39-year history of The Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational.

The event — alternatively known simply as The Eddie — is a one-day contest held in Waimea Bay on Oahu’s North Shore only when the surf is consistently large enough during the winter big wave surfing season from mid-December through mid-March. The wind, the tides and the direction of the swell also have to be just right.

“Large enough” means 6 meters by Hawaii measurements. That’s equivalent to about 12 meters when measured by methods used in the rest of the U.S. Before this year, conditions have only aligned for it to be held nine times since the initial competition in 1984.

Organizer Clyde Aikau said at a news conference Friday that he was expecting waves to reach 7.6-9 meters by Hawaii measurements or 15-18 meters on the national scale.

“Yes, The Eddie will go on Sunday,” he said.

Other places around the world have big wave surfing events: Mavericks in California, Nazare in Portugal and Peahi on Hawaii’s Maui Island. But author Stuart Coleman says The Eddie is distinguished by how it honors Eddie Aikau, a legendary Native Hawaiian waterman, for his selflessness, courage and sacrifice.

“What makes this contest the most unique is that it’s in memory of a particular individual who really has transcended his time and place when he lived,” said Coleman, who wrote Eddie Would Go, a biography of Aikau.

Edward Ryon Makuahanai Aikau rose to prominence as the first lifeguard hired by Honolulu to work on Oahu’s North Shore and was revered for saving over 500 people during his career. He’s also famous for surfing towering waves that no one else would dare ride.

Aikau died in 1978 at the age of 31 during an expedition to sail a traditional Polynesian voyaging canoe from Honolulu to Tahiti. Just hours out of port, the giant double-hulled canoe known as the Hokulea took on water and overturned in stormy weather. Aikau volunteered to paddle several miles to nearby Lanai Island on his surfboard to get help for the rest of the crew but was never seen again.

The U.S. Coast Guard rescued the remaining crew a few hours later after being alerted by a commercial plane that spotted the canoe.

Coleman said The Eddie is about the best of big wave surfing and the best of Hawaiian culture.

“They always say at the opening ceremony, where they gather to launch the holding period, ’This is not just a contest. We’re not surfing against each other. We’re surfing in the spirit of Eddie,’” Coleman said.

This year organizers have invited 40 competitors and 18 alternates from around the world, including Kelly Slater, who has won a record 11 world surfing titles. John John Florence, who hails from the North Shore and who has won two back-to-back world titles, has also been asked to join.

Keala Kennelly of Kauai, a women’s big wave surf champion, is among the female invitees.

Mindy Pennybacker, a surf columnist for the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and author of the upcoming book Surfing Sisterhood Hawaii: Wahine Reclaiming the Waves said there’s long been an assumption that Waimea was too dangerous for women and they couldn’t surf there.

She said they’ve had to fight to be included and have meanwhile shown that they could handle big waves in spots around the world.

“To see women — not only women surfing Waimea but women and men sharing the same event together, with mutual respect and equality — I’m just really thrilled at the thought,” Pennybacker said.

The contest is expected to attract tens of thousands of spectators to the two-lane highway winding through the North Shore and the small towns that dot the coastal community.

Kathleen Pahinui, the chairperson of the North Shore Neighborhood Board, said it will be good for businesses, restaurants and shops. She urged visitors to carpool and take the bus because the roads will be congested.

“I wish all the participants the best of luck,” she said.

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ОГП: кількість поранених через агресію Росії дітей зросла до 914

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India Blocks ‘Hostile’ BBC Documentary on PM Modi

India’s government said it has blocked videos and tweets sharing links to a BBC documentary about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s role during deadly 2002 sectarian riots, calling it “hostile propaganda and anti-India garbage.”

The British broadcaster’s program alleges that the Hindu nationalist Modi, premier of Gujarat state at the time, ordered police to turn a blind eye to the orgy of violence there that left at least 1,000 people dead, most of them minority Muslims.

Kanchan Gupta, an adviser to the government, tweeted Saturday that the Indian government used emergency powers under IT rules to block the documentary and its clips from being shared on social media.

“Videos sharing @BBCWorld hostile propaganda and anti-India garbage, disguised as ‘documentary,’ on @YouTube and tweets sharing links to the BBC documentary have been blocked under India’s sovereign laws and rules,” he said.

Orders were also issued to Twitter to block over 50 tweets with links to YouTube videos.

Both YouTube and Twitter have complied with the instructions, Gupta said.

Neither firm was available for comment Sunday.

Several tweets with clips of the documentary, India: The Modi Question, which has not been aired in the world’s largest democracy, were still available Sunday.

The 2002 riots in Gujarat began after 59 Hindu pilgrims were killed in a fire on a train. Thirty-one Muslims were convicted of criminal conspiracy and murder over that incident.

The BBC documentary cited a previously classified British foreign ministry report quoting unnamed sources saying that Modi met senior police officers and “ordered them not to intervene” in the anti-Muslim violence by right-wing Hindu groups that followed.

The violence was “politically motivated” and the aim “was to purge Muslims from Hindu areas,” the foreign ministry report said.

The “systematic campaign of violence has all the hallmarks of ethnic cleansing” and was impossible “without the climate of impunity created by the state Government … Narendra Modi is directly responsible,” it concluded.

Travel ban

Modi, who ran Gujarat from 2001 until his election as prime minister in 2014, was briefly subject to a travel ban by the United States over the violence.

A special investigative team appointed by the Indian Supreme Court to probe the role of Modi and others in the violence said in 2012 it did not find any evidence to prosecute the then chief minister.

Gupta said multiple ministries had examined the documentary and “found it casting aspersions on the authority and credibility of Supreme Court of India, sowing divisions among various Indian communities, and making unsubstantiated allegations.”

“Accordingly, @BBCWorld’s vile propaganda was found to be undermining the sovereignty and integrity of India, and having the potential to adversely impact India’s friendly relations with foreign countries as also public order within the country,” he said.

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У ВМС повідомили, скільки «Калібрів» Росія тримає в Чорному морі

За даними ВМС, у Чорному морі на бойовому чергуванні перебувають 11 російських кораблів, серед яких чотири носіїв крилатих ракет «Калібр» із загальним залпом у близько 32 ракети

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Буданов: «знаю всіх людей, які стратили» співробітника ГУР Кірєєва

Водночас Кирило Буданов відмовився повідомляти про те, де ці люди зараз і чи працюють вони досі в СБУ

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Are Women More Empathetic Than Men?

“I’ve always been able to understand how people feel and to see their perspective,” said Luisa Piette, who lives in Cool, California. “I feel their pain, whether it’s people going through a difficult divorce or an acquaintance who couldn’t pay their rent. I’ve been there to lend an ear and to empathize with them.”

Piette has a daughter and a granddaughter.

“I think women better understand what it feels like to put themselves in other people’s situations,” she told VOA.

Piette could be a textbook case on what studies on empathy have shown and what many people already suspect — women tend to be more empathetic than men.

A study released last month by researchers at the University of Cambridge surveyed tens of thousands of people worldwide. Like other studies, it indicated that women are much better than men at empathizing with others, regardless of any familial or cultural influences.

“Our findings provide some of the first evidence of the well-known phenomenon that women are, on average, more empathetic than men,” said David Greenberg, the study’s lead scientist.

Cognitive empathy

The scientists sought to measure cognitive empathy, which is when someone intellectually understands what another person may be thinking or feeling and then predicts how they will react.

For example, a friend tells you they are upset because they had an unpleasant disagreement with someone. If you have cognitive empathy, you will understand how your friend feels by putting yourself in their shoes.

The Cambridge study was the largest to date on the topic. Participants totaled about 306,000 men and women from 57 countries, including Egypt, India, Croatia and Saudi Arabia. On average, women showed much higher cognitive empathy in 36 countries and a similar amount to men in 21 others. In no country did men show greater empathy.

“This study clearly shows broadly consistent gender differences across countries, languages and age groups,” said Carrie Allison, director of research strategy at Cambridge University.

The authors of the report point out the results are just averages, with some men being better at empathizing than some women.

Sandra Murphy, a social scientist in Takoma Park, Maryland, said she doesn’t fit the stereotypical image.

“I’m more analytical, and my husband, who is a lawyer, is more empathetic,” she said.

Jack Murphy agreed.

“I tend to be more sensitive to people’s emotions and feelings,” he said.

Researchers found that empathetic capacities typically rise during adolescence and decrease during adulthood.

Olivia Mickelson, a high school student from Fairfax, Virginia, said, “I think my girlfriends are a lot more understanding and empathetic than my guy friends.”

Eyes test

To measure participants’ cognitive empathy, researchers used what they call the Eyes Test to measure a person’s ability to recognize someone else’s mental or emotional state.

Study participants examined photos of people’s various facial expressions and focused on what they thought a person may be thinking or feeling by looking at the area around their eyes. Participants were then given a limited list of words to describe what they saw.

“The results of the study prove what I’ve seen in my practice about women being more empathetic,” said therapist Cynthia Catchings, executive director of the Women’s Emotional Wellness Center in Alexandria, Virginia. “I think a lot of it has to be with upbringing, with women experiencing more socialization and many having close friends who are women.”

Sara Hodges, an associate professor in the psychology department at the University of Oregon, agrees.

“The reason why people think their mother or best friend is empathetic is because they seem to know what they are thinking and feeling and would act with their interests at heart,” said Hodges, who is also director of the University of Oregon’s Social Cognition Lab where research includes empathy.

Hodges said the lab’s research, as well as other studies, appear to indicate gender differences in cognitive empathy may stem from social as well as biological factors.

“Women are better at decoding nonverbal, emotional communication,” she said.

At the same time, she thinks Eyes Test studies have their limitations in measuring empathy, a complex psychological phenomenon.

“They may not necessarily reflect that people are seeing empathy,” Hodges said, adding that empathy can be used for altruistic reasons or to influence others.

“Some people may be better at reading people’s facial expressions and are not necessarily doing that for compassionate reasons. They may be trying to get someone to do something they may not want to do,” she said.

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FBI Searches Biden Home, Finds Documents Marked Classified

The FBI searched President Joe Biden’s home in Wilmington, Delaware, on Friday and found six additional documents containing classified markings and also took possession of some of his notes, the president’s lawyer said Saturday. 

The documents taken by the FBI spanned Biden’s time in the Senate and the vice presidency, while the notes dated to his time as vice president, said Bob Bauer, the president’s personal lawyer. He added that the search of the entire premises lasted nearly 13 hours. The level of classification, and whether the documents removed by the FBI remained classified, was not immediately clear as the United States Justice Department reviews the records. 

The extraordinary search came more than a week after Biden’s attorneys found six classified documents in the president’s home library from his time as vice president, and nearly three months after lawyers found a “small number” of classified records at his former offices at the Penn Biden Center in Washington. It came a day after Biden maintained that “there’s no there there” on the document discoveries, which have become a political headache as he prepares to launch a reelection bid and undercut his efforts to portray an image of propriety to the American public after the tumultuous presidency of his predecessor, Donald Trump. 

“We found a handful of documents were filed in the wrong place,” Biden told reporters Thursday in California. “We immediately turned them over to the Archives and the Justice Department.” 

Biden added that he was “fully cooperating and looking forward to getting this resolved quickly.” 

The president and first lady Jill Biden were not at the home when it was searched. They were spending the weekend at their home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. 

It remains to be seen whether additional searches by federal officials of other locations might be conducted. Biden’s personal attorneys previously conducted a search of the Rehoboth Beach residence and said they did not find any official documents or classified records. 

The Biden investigation has also complicated the Justice Department’s probe into Trump’s retention of classified documents and official records after he left office. The Justice Department says Trump took hundreds of records marked classified with him upon leaving the White House in early 2021 and resisted months of requests to return them to the government, and that it had to obtain a search warrant to retrieve them. 

Bauer said the FBI requested that the White House not comment on the search before it was conducted, and that Biden’s personal and White House attorneys were present. The FBI, he added, “had full access to the president’s home, including personally handwritten notes, files, papers, binders, memorabilia, to-do lists, schedules, and reminders going back decades.” 

The Justice Department, he added, “took possession of materials it deemed within the scope of its inquiry, including six items consisting of documents with classification markings and surrounding materials, some of which were from the president’s service in the Senate and some of which were from his tenure as vice president.” 

Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed former Maryland U.S. Attorney Robert Hur as a special counsel to investigate any potential wrongdoing surrounding the Biden documents. Hur is set to take over from the Trump-appointed Illinois U.S. Attorney John Lausch in overseeing the probe. 

“Since the beginning, the president has been committed to handling this responsibly because he takes this seriously,” White House lawyer Richard Sauber said Saturday. “The president’s lawyers and White House Counsel’s Office will continue to cooperate with DOJ and the special counsel to help ensure this process is conducted swiftly and efficiently.” 

The Biden document discoveries and the investigation into Trump, which is in the hands of special counsel Jack Smith, are significantly different. Biden has made a point of cooperating with the DOJ probe at every turn — and Friday’s search was voluntary — though questions about his transparency with the public remain. 

For a crime to have been committed, a person would have to “knowingly remove” the documents without authority and intend to keep them at an “unauthorized location.” Biden has said he was “surprised” that classified documents were uncovered at the Penn Biden Center. 

Generally, classified documents are to be declassified after a maximum of 25 years. But some records are of such value they remain classified for far longer, though specific exceptions must be granted. Biden served in the Senate from 1973 to 2009. 

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Inspections of Ukrainian Grain Ships Halved Since October

Inspections of ships carrying Ukrainian grain and other food exports have slowed to half their peak rate under a wartime agreement brokered by the United Nations, creating backlogs in vessels meant to carry supplies to developing nations where people are going hungry, United Nations and Ukrainian officials say.

Some officials from the United States and Ukraine accuse Russia of deliberately slowing inspections, which a Russian official denied.

As the grain initiative got rolling in August, 4.1 inspections of ships — both heading to and leaving Ukraine — took place each day on average, according to data the Joint Coordination Center in Istanbul provided to The Associated Press. Inspection teams from Russia, Ukraine, the U.N. and Turkey ensure ships carry only food and other agricultural products and no weapons.

In September, inspections jumped to 10.4 per day, then a peak rate of 10.6 in October. Since then, it’s been downhill: 7.3 in November, 6.5 in December and 5.3 so far in January.

“The hope had been that going into 2023, you would see every month the daily rate of inspection going up, not that you would see it halved,” USAID Administrator Samantha Power said in an interview Thursday at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

The slowdown in inspections “has a material effect … in terms of the number of ships that can get out,” said the head of the U.S. Agency for International Development. “That, in turn, inevitably has a knock-on effect on global supply.”

More than 100 vessels waiting

More than 100 vessels are waiting in the waters off Turkey either for inspection or for their applications to participate to clear, with the waiting time of vessels between application and inspection averaging 21 days in the last two weeks, according to the U.N.

Despite fewer average daily inspections, U.N. figures showed that more grain got through last month, up 3.7 million metric tons from 2.6 million in November. The coordination center said that was because of the use of larger vessels in December.

The U.N.’s deputy spokesman in New York linked the slowdown in inspections to the backlogs in ships, saying the rate needs to pick up but did not pin blame on Russia.

“We, as the U.N., are urging all the parties to work to remove obstacles for the reduction of the backlog and improve our efficiencies,” Farhan Haq told journalists Wednesday.

The number of inspections of ships to and from Ukraine is a crucial measure of the throughput of Ukrainian grain to world markets, but not the only one: Other factors include port activity, harvest and agricultural supply, silo stockpiles, weather, ship availability and the capacity of vessels.

The initiative

The Black Sea Grain Initiative was designed to free up Ukrainian wheat, barley and other food critical to nations in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, where shortages of affordable supplies sent food prices surging and helped throw more people into poverty.

Proponents hoped a November extension of the deal would spur an acceleration of inspections — and thus help ship millions of tons of food out of three Ukrainian ports disrupted by Russia’s invasion 11 months ago.

But Power of USAID said the U.S. was “very concerned” that Moscow might be deliberately dragging its heels on inspections.

“Costs of actually exporting and shipping are now up 20% because you have these crews that are just idling for the extra time it takes because the Russian Federation has cut down on the number of inspections it will participate in,” she said.

Asked whether Russia was deliberately slowing the inspections, Alexander Pchelyakov, a spokesman for the Russian diplomatic mission to U.N. institutions in Geneva, said: “That’s simply not true.”

“The Russian side adheres to the number of daily inspections in accordance to the reached agreements,” he said by text message.

In a Facebook post Thursday, the Ukrainian Ministry of Infrastructure said ship backlogs began in November.

“The average waiting time is from 2 to 5 weeks, which also leads to millions of losses for cargo owners,” the ministry wrote, adding that Russia had “artificially reduced the number of inspection teams from 5 to 3 without any explanation.”

The time needed for inspections was “artificially increased by checking the performance of vessels,” it added, saying there were cases “when Russians refuse to work for fictitious reasons.”

Turkey’s Defense Ministry didn’t immediately response to emails seeking comment about the inspection slowdowns.

Russia says sanctions create obstacles

The grain initiative, brokered by the U.N. and Turkey, came with a separate arrangement to help Russia export its food and fertilizer as farmers worldwide face soaring prices for the nutrients needed for their crops.

Russia has complained that Western sanctions have created obstacles to its agricultural exports. While sanctions don’t target Russian food or fertilizer, many shipping and insurance companies have been reluctant to deal with Moscow, either refusing to do so or greatly increasing the price.

Overall under the deal, 17.8 million tons of Ukrainian agricultural products have been exported to 43 countries since August 1, the U.N. said. China — a key ally of Russia — has been a top recipient, followed by Spain and Turkey.

Low and lower-middle income countries received 44% of the wheat exported under the deal, with nearly two-thirds of that going to developing economies, the world body said. The U.N.’s World Food Program purchased 8% of the total.

The organization says nearly 350 million people worldwide are on the brink of starvation because of conflict, climate change and COVID-19, an increase in 200 million from before the pandemic.

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Ex-SEAL Dies in Ukraine; 6th Known American Killed in War

A former U.S. Navy SEAL who went AWOL in 2019 was killed this week in Ukraine, American officials said Friday. They said he was not fighting in an official capacity.

Daniel W. Swift, who was a 1st class petty officer, was injured in Dnipro and died of his wounds, said one of the officials, who all spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss personnel issues.

No other details were available, including whether Swift’s body has been taken out of Ukraine.

The Navy said he deserted his post in San Diego, California, in March 2019. “We cannot speculate as to why the former Sailor was in Ukraine,” the Navy said.

At least five other Americans are known to have died fighting in Ukraine, according to U.S. State Department statements and reports from individual families.

Swift joined the Navy in 2005 and was assigned to a SEAL unit in 2007. He voluntarily left the service in January 2014, but rejoined in 2015, and was assigned to a SEAL unit a year later. After he deserted, Naval Special Warfare Command stripped him of his SEAL qualification — essentially revoking the trident worn by SEALs.

Swift also worked briefly — just over three months in 2015 — as a police officer in Medford, Oregon. Medford Police Department Deputy Chief Trevor Arnold had no further information Friday.

He wrote a book in 2020 called The Fall of a Man. Its Amazon page says he became a father at age 20 and “by the time he was thirty he had deployed as a Navy SEAL five times to include Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen.” It adds that he had four children.

The U.S. government has discouraged Americans from going to fight for Ukraine, citing concerns that they may be captured by Russian forces and held hostage. At least 6,000 people contacted the Ukrainian embassy in Washington during the opening weeks of the war seeking information about how to volunteer on behalf of Ukraine.

Half the potential volunteers were quickly rejected for lacking military experience, having a criminal record, or otherwise not being fit to serve, Ukraine’s military attache said last year.

An unknown number of Americans have joined units of foreign fighters supporting Kyiv, including former military members. Others are volunteering with aid groups and human-rights organizations. The Biden administration has made it clear that no current U.S. service members are in combat in Ukraine, although there are some assigned to the embassy in Kyiv, including for security and with the defense attache’s office.

The State Department declined to address Swift’s death specifically but said in a statement that it could confirm the recent death of a U.S. citizen in Ukraine.

“We are in touch with his family and providing all possible consular assistance,” the department said.