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China Declines US Offer for Defense Talks in Singapore this Week

The Pentagon says China has declined a request by the U.S. for a meeting between their defense chiefs at an annual security forum in Singapore this weekend.

Pentagon spokesman Brigadier General Pat Ryder said the U.S. in early May had offered for Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to meet with the People’s Republic of China Minister of National Defense Li Shangfu, but that invitation was turned down this week.

Both defense leaders are slated to attend the annual Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, with Austin speaking on Saturday and his Chinese counterpart scheduled to speak on Sunday. The annual dialogue is an informal gathering of defense officials and analysts in Singapore that also creates opportunities for side meetings among defense leaders.

“The PRC’s concerning unwillingness to engage in meaningful military-to-military discussions will not diminish DoD’s commitment to seeking open lines of communication with the People’s Liberation Army [PLA] at multiple levels as part of responsibly managing the relationship,” Ryder said.

He added that open lines of communication are important “to ensure that competition does not veer into conflict.”

A senior defense official told VOA on Tuesday that since 2021, the PRC has declined or failed to respond to more than a dozen requests from the Department of Defense for key leader engagements, along with multiple requests for standing dialogues and nearly 10 working-level engagements.

“Frankly, it’s just the latest in a litany of excuses,” the senior defense official said.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning confirmed the two defense leaders will not meet this week, saying Tuesday at a news briefing that the U.S. should “earnestly respect China’s sovereignty and security interests and concerns … and create the necessary atmosphere and conditions for dialogue and communication between the two militaries.”

Li, who assumed his current post in March, has been under U.S. sanctions since 2018 over the purchase of combat aircraft and equipment from Russia’s main arms exporter, Rosoboronexport.

‘Unprofessional’ intercept

Meanwhile, the U.S. military said Tuesday a People’s Republic of China J-16 fighter pilot “performed an unnecessarily aggressive maneuver” during an intercept of a U.S. Air Force RC-135 aircraft.

The incident occurred Friday over international airspace above the South China Sea, according to a statement by U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.

“The PRC pilot flew directly in front of the nose of the RC-135, forcing the U.S. aircraft to fly through its wake turbulence. The RC-135 was conducting safe and routine operations over the South China Sea in international airspace, in accordance with international law,” Indo-PACOM said.

In the statement, Indo-PACOM called on all countries to use international airspace safely in accordance with international law, adding that the United States “will continue to fly, sail, and operate — safely and responsibly — wherever international law allows.”

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Taliban Call for Stop to Afghan Brain Drain

The Taliban have called on Western countries to stop evacuating and resettling educated and skilled Afghans abroad, saying the practice hurts Afghanistan.

Boasting about improved security in the war-ravaged country, Taliban leaders say all Afghans, including those who had worked for the previous Afghan government, are safe at home and can live and work freely.

“The world should also listen to this message that they should not open [immigration] cases for Afghans under the impression that their lives are at risk here,” Amir Khan Muttaqi, Taliban acting foreign minister, said on Tuesday.

“They should not hurt Afghanistan’s talents, Afghanistan’s scientific cadres and Afghanistan’s prides, and should not take them out of this country.”

Tens of thousands of Afghans, mostly educated individuals who worked under the previous U.S.-backed government, have fled their country over the past two years fearing Taliban persecution.

The United Nations and other human rights groups have accused the Taliban of extrajudicial detention, torture and execution of some members of the former Afghan security personnel — charges the Taliban deny.

The United States, Canada and several European countries have admitted more than 150,000 Afghan refugees and asylum-seekers since the Taliban seized power in August 2021.

Last week, Khairullah Khairkhwa, Taliban acting minister for information and culture, alleged that Kabul University lecturers were receiving invitations from abroad to apply for migration.

The remarks were made in response to media reports that more than half of Kabul University lecturers, about 400 individuals, have migrated out of Afghanistan largely because of security concerns, Taliban restrictions, and other social and economic hardships.

Hundreds of media professionals have also left Afghanistan, leading to significant setbacks to free media, according to Reporters Without Borders.

Risky migration

Last week, the bodies of 18 Afghan emigrants, who died in February while being smuggled to Europe, were brought to Kabul.

It took several months to transfer the bodies from Bulgaria to Afghanistan, for which Taliban officials blame “unjust” Western sanctions.

The Taliban regime is not recognized by any country, and the United States has imposed terrorism-related economic and travel sanctions on Taliban leaders and institutions.

Dozens of Afghans, including women and children, reportedly perished in a shipwreck off the southern coast of Italy in February.

At least 1,645 Afghan migrants were reported missing or dead from 2014 to 2022, according to the International Organization for Migration.

Millions of Afghans are scattered around the world as refugees, asylum-seekers and emigrants, according to the U.N. Refugee Agency, which has ranked Afghanistan as the fourth-largest refugee exporting country in the world after Syria, Venezuela and Ukraine.

Insecurity, poverty, unemployment and expectations of better living conditions are considered the main drivers of migration from Afghanistan.

In public statements, Taliban officials offer immediate employment to Afghans with specific technical expertise.

“Send me anyone with a Ph.D. or master’s degree in geodesy, exploration or probing of fuel, and I will employ him the next day,” Shahabuddin Delawar, Taliban minister for mines, said last week.

The Islamist regime has defied widespread international calls to form an inclusive government.

The Taliban have strictly monopolized the government, refusing to share power with any group or non-Taliban individual. Women are particularly excluded for all political and senior positions.

Suspending the constitution, the Taliban have dissolved Afghanistan’s national assembly, election bodies and the national human rights commission, and have centered all powers in the hands of their unseen supreme leader.

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«Один із прийомів інформаційної війни»: слідом за Залужним і Сирським у РФ оголосили у розшук Наєва

Командування Обʼєднаних сил ЗСУ: «В той час поки російська пропаганда витрачає шалені гроші на дитячі погрози та залякування, ми переконані, що «ніщо не зупинить ідею, час якої настав»

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Кулеба назвав три кроки, щоб «зробити Вільнюський саміт успішним»

Міністр закордонних справ України Дмитро Кулеба звернувся до очільників зовнішньополітичних відомств країн НАТО перед їхньою неформальною зустріччю в Осло. Він означив три кроки, що, на його думку, принесуть успіх майбутнього саміту Альянсу у Вільнюсі.

«Я звернувся до всіх 31 міністра закордонних справ країн НАТО перед їхньою неформальною зустріччю в Осло. Три кроки, щоб зробити Вільнюський саміт успішним: 1) Зміцнення інституційних зв’язків і допомоги між Україною і НАТО; 2) Зробити крок до членства України; 3) Забезпечити гарантії безпеки на шляху України в НАТО», – написав Кулеба у твітері.

У липні у Вільнюсі відбудеться саміт НАТО. Україна очікує отримати більш чітку позицію союзників щодо майбутнього членства в Альянсі.

Генеральний секретар НАТО Єнс Столтенберґ заявив, що приєднання України до НАТО не відбудеться, поки триває війна.

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Голова МАГАТЕ на Раді безпеки ООН озвучив 5 принципів для запобігання аварії на ЗАЕС

Ґроссі попросив 15 членів Ради безпеки підтримати ці п’ять принципів, підкресливши, що вони «нікому не шкодять і будуть корисні усім»

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 Turkey to Investigate Media Outlets Over Election Coverage 

Turkey’s broadcasting watchdog on Tuesday announced it is investigating six opposition TV channels for “insulting the public” through coverage of Sunday’s presidential election runoff.

The Radio and Television Supreme Council, or RTUK, said viewers had complained about election coverage, but did not provide specific examples. 

One of the channels under investigation —Tele 1— said on its website that the action shows the “government’s censorship device is at work.”

The inquiry comes two days after President Tayyip Erdogan of the Justice and Development Party, or AKP, won the second round of the presidential election on Sunday.  

Assaults on press freedom bookended this election. Ahead of the vote, several journalists were arrested, detained, sentenced to jail time and assaulted — often over coverage about the election, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.  

Freedom of expression both online and offline has sharply declined in Turkey over the past decade, according to Cathryn Grothe, a research analyst at Freedom House.  

“President Erdogan and the AKP have increasingly exerted control over the media environment by censoring independent news outlets and silencing those who criticize the government or its policies,” Grothe told VOA.  

“The RTUK’s recent investigation into six opposition television channels on politically motivated charges of ‘insulting the public’ is just another example of how Turkish authorities will go to extensive lengths to control the narrative and silence the opposition,” Grothe said.  

The investigation was also of little surprise to Erol Onderoglu, the Turkey representative for media watchdog Reporters Without Borders, or RSF. 

“We now know that the ultimate goal of those who say, ‘death to criticism’ is to completely silence those who make different voices arbitrarily,” Onderoglu said. 

Turkey’s Washington embassy did not immediately reply to VOA’s email requesting comment. 

The media outlets under RTUK investigation are Halk TV, Tele 1, KRT TV, TV 5, Flash Haber TV and Szc TV. 

In April, RTUK fined three of those channels over coverage, including for reports that were critical of earthquake rescue efforts or that included opposition voices criticizing the AKP policy.

In 2022, RTUK issued 54 penalties to five independent broadcasters, compared to just four against pro-government channels, according to the free expression group Article 19.

“RTUK has long been an apparatus of [authorities],” said Faruk Eren, the head of the press union of the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions of Turkey.

“More difficult days await journalists,” he told VOA. 

RTUK has previously dismissed criticism of how it operates, saying it acts in accordance with Turkish law and “stands up for pluralism, press freedom and free news.”

Media and rights analysts have raised concerns over what another Erdogan term will mean for civil society after a presidency marked by a crackdown on media, internet censorship and hostility to minority groups, the Associated Press reported.

Overall, Turkey ranks poorly on the World Press Freedom Index, coming in at 165 out of 180 countries, where 1 denotes the best environment for media, says RSF.

“One part of me thinks that it’s par for the course. We’ve become accustomed to this,” said Sinan Ciddi, a fellow on Turkey at the Washington think tank Foundation for Defense of Democracies. But, Ciddi told VOA, there are concerns that Erdogan will use his new term to crack down even harder on press freedom. 

“I’m of the opinion he basically lets things continue as they are,” Ciddi said, “simply because that’s his way of demonstrating to the world, ‘Hey, look, we have press freedom. There are channels and outlets which hate me.’”  

The timing of the inquiry just two days after the election is concerning said Suay Boulougouris, who researches Turkish digital rights at the free expression group Article 19.  

No one was under the impression that another Erdogan term would bring about advancements to human rights and press freedom in Turkey, Boulougouris said, but this inquiry sets the tone for the next five years in a distressing way.  

“It’s known that RTUK is weaponized to challenge or suppress these TV channels,” Boulougouris told VOA. “Launching this inquiry so quickly, right after the elections, to me indicates that chances are really low for political change and democratic reforms in Turkey.”  

To Ciddi, critical voices “will want to keep the fight going.”  

“Going forward, we can expect a rallying cry for media and independence,” he said.  

Hilmi Hacaloglu contributed to this report.

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British PM Rishi Sunak to Visit Washington Next Week for Talks with Biden

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will hold talks with U.S. President Joe Biden next week when they will discuss improving economic ties and how to sustain military support for Ukraine in its conflict with Russia.

Sunak will be in Washington on Wednesday and Thursday next week for meetings with Biden, members of Congress and U.S. business leaders, but there will no talks about a formal free trade deal, Sunak’s spokesman said on Tuesday.

“The visit will be an opportunity to build on the discussions that the prime minister and President Biden have had in recent months about enhancing the level of cooperation and coordination between the UK and U.S. on the economic challenges that will define our future,” the spokesman said.

“There will also be an opportunity to discuss issues including sustaining our support for Ukraine.”

Sunak, who will be on his first official visit to Washington since he was appointed prime minister in October, wants to forge better relations with the U.S. after they were strained by Britain’s departure from the European Union in 2020.

In April, a White House official was forced to deny Biden was “anti-British” after he spent over half a day in the British province of Northern Ireland before he traveled south to the Irish Republic for 2½ days of meetings.

The Biden administration has shown little interest in negotiating a free-trade agreement with the United Kingdom, which British supporters of leaving the EU once touted as one of the main benefits of its departure from the bloc.

Discussions had progressed during former U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration, before Biden came to power and then the talks stalled.

Sunak’s spokesman said on Tuesday there would not be talks about a free-trade agreement on this visit, but instead there would be a focus on reducing trade barriers in other ways such as agreements with individual states.

The White House said in a statement the two leaders would also discuss the situation in Northern Ireland, which has been without a devolved government for more than a year.

Britain’s relationship with the United States is partly built on close defense, intelligence, economic and cultural ties and the two sides are largely in lockstep in supporting Ukraine.

Sunak accepted Biden’s invitation to visit the White House in March when the two leaders met in San Diego to inaugurate the next phase of a submarine alliance between the United States, Britain and Australia, known as AUKUS.

The two men appeared to get along well on that visit, with Biden noting that Sunak is a graduate of Stanford University and asking for a visit to the home he still owns in Santa Monica.

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Війська РФ наступали у напрямку трьох населених пунктів, безуспішно – Генштаб ЗСУ

Російські війська проводили наступальні дії у напрямку трьох населених пунктів, безуспішно, повідомляє Генеральний штаб ЗСУ.

За даними штабу, йдеться про наступальні дії у напрямку Сєвєрного, західніше Масютівки та у напрямку Новоселівського на Авдіївському та Куп’янському напрямках.

«На Мар’їнському напрямку наші захисники відбили усі атаки противника в районі міста Мар’їнка, а також у напрямку населених пунктів Побєда та Новомихайлівка», – йдеться у повідомленні.

На Лиманському, Бахмутському напрямках наступальних дій не було, на Запорізькому та Херсонському противник обороняється, а на Шахтарському завдав авіаційного удару в районі Великої Новосілки, додають у Генштабі.

Також російських авіаударів зазнала Авдіївка, Мар’їнка, райони населених пунктів Уди, Білогорівка, Нью-Йорк та Оріхів.

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Разом із Залужним Москва розшукує Сирського – МВС Росії

Раніше цього ж дня журналісти виявили в російській базі розшуку і головнокомандувача Збройних сил України Валерія Залужного

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Україна може отримати від МВФ другий транш на 900 мільйонів доларів – заява

Як ідеться в пресрелізі, Україна виконала «всі кількісні критерії ефективності на кінець квітня та структурні маяки на кінець травня»

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South African Rand Dives After Russia Accusations

South Africa’s currency, already under pressure, has plummeted to new lows after a US official accused the country of helping Russia. The plunge is causing concern among officials and investors, but as Zaheer Cassim reports from Johannesburg, it’s the people who are feeling the impact the hardest.

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Secrets of US National Spelling Bee: Picking the Right Words

As the final pre-competition meeting of the Scripps National Spelling Bee’s word selection panel stretches into its seventh hour, the pronouncers no longer seem to care.

Before panelists can debate the words picked for the bee, they need to hear each word and its language of origin, part of speech, definition and exemplary sentence read aloud. Late in the meeting, lead pronouncer Jacques Bailly and his colleagues — so measured in their pacing and meticulous in their enunciation during the bee — rip through that chore as quickly as possible. No pauses. No apologies for flubs.

By the time of this gathering, two days before the bee, the word list is all but complete. Each word has been vetted by the panel and slotted into the appropriate round of the nearly century-old annual competition to identify the English language’s best speller.

For decades, the word panel’s work has been a closely guarded secret. This year, Scripps — a Cincinnati-based media company — granted The Associated Press exclusive access to the panelists and their pre-bee meeting, with the stipulation that The AP would not reveal words unless they were cut from the list.

They’re tough on words

The 21 panelists sit around a makeshift, rectangular conference table in a windowless room tucked inside the convention center outside Washington where the bee is staged every year. They are given printouts including words Nos. 770-1,110 — those used in the semifinal rounds and beyond — with instructions that those sheets of paper cannot leave the room.

Hearing the words aloud with the entire panel present — laptops open to Merriam-Webster’s Unabridged dictionary website — sometimes illuminates problems. That’s what happened late in Sunday’s meeting. Kavya Shivashankar, the 2009 champion, an obstetrician/gynecologist and a recent addition to the panel, chimed in with an objection.

The word gleyde (pronounced “glide”), which means a decrepit old horse and is only used in Britain, has a near-homonym — glyde — with a similar but not identical pronunciation and the same meaning. Shivashankar said the variant spelling makes the word too confusing, and the rest of the panel quickly agrees to spike gleyde altogether. It won’t be used.

“Nice word, but bye-bye,” pronouncer Kevin Moch said.

For the panelists, the meeting is the culmination of a yearlong process to assemble a word list that will challenge but not embarrass the 230 middle- and elementary-school-aged competitors — and preferably produce a champion within the two-hour broadcast window for Thursday night’s finals.

The panel’s work has changed over the decades. From 1961 to 1984, according to James Maguire’s book American Bee, creating the list was a one-man operation overseen by Jim Wagner, a Scripps Howard editorial promotions director, and then by Harvey Elentuck, a then-MIT student who approached Wagner about helping with the list in the mid-1970s.

The panel was created in 1985. The current collaborative approach didn’t take shape until the early ’90s. Bailly, the 1980 champion, joined in 1991.

“Harvey … made the whole list,” Bailly said. “I never met him. I was just told, ‘You’re the new Harvey.'”

It’s not just picking words

This year’s meeting includes five full-time bee staffers and 16 contract panelists. The positions are filled via word of mouth within the spelling community or recommendations from panelists. The group includes five former champions: Barrie Trinkle (1973), Bailly, George Thampy (2000), Sameer Mishra (2008) and Shivashankar.

Trinkle, who joined the panel in 1997, used to produce the majority of her submissions by reading periodicals like The New Yorker or The Economist.

“Our raison d’etre was to teach spellers a rich vocabulary that they could use in their daily lives. And as they got smarter and smarter, they got more in contact with each other and were studying off the same lists, it became harder to hold a bee with those same types of words,” Trinkle said.

Now, more often than not she goes directly to the source — Merriam-Webster’s Unabridged. Now online, that’s easier than it used to be.

“The dictionary is on the computer and is highly searchable in all kinds of ways — which the spellers know as well. If they want to find all the words that entered the language in the 1650s, they can do that, which is sometimes what I do,” Trinkle said. “The best words kind of happen to you as you’re scrolling around through the dictionary.”

Not everyone on the panel submits words. Some work to ensure that the definitions, parts of speech and other accompanying information are correct; others are tasked with ensuring that words of similar difficulty are asked at the right times in the competition; others focus on crafting the bee’s new multiple-choice vocabulary questions. Those who submit words, like Trinkle and Mishra, are given assignments throughout the year to come up with a certain number at a certain level of difficulty.

Mishra pulls his submissions from his own list, which he started when he was a 13-year-old speller. He gravitates toward “the harder end of the spectrum.”

“They are fun and challenging for me and they make me smile, and I know if I was a speller I would be intimidated by that word,” says the 28-year-old Mishra, who just finished his MBA at Harvard. “I have no fear about running out (of words), and I feel good about that.”

How the bee has evolved

The panel meets a few times a year, often virtually, to go over words, edit definitions and sentences, and weed out problems. The process seemed to go smoothly through the 2010s, even amid a proliferation of so-called “minor league” bees, many catering to offspring of highly educated, first-generation Indian immigrants — a group that has come to dominate the competition.

In 2019, a confluence of factors — among them, a wild-card program that allowed multiple spellers from competitive regions to reach nationals — produced an unusually deep field of spellers. Scripps had to use the toughest words on its list just to cull to a dozen finalists. The bee ended in an eight-way tie, and there was no shortage of critics.

Scripps, however, didn’t fundamentally change the way the word panel operates. It brought in younger panelists more attuned to the ways contemporary spellers study and prepare. And it made format changes designed to identify a sole champion. The wild-card program was scrapped, and Scripps added onstage vocabulary questions and a lightning-round tiebreaker.

The panel also began pulling words avoided in the past. Place names, trademarks, words with no language of origin: As long as a word isn’t archaic or obsolete, it’s fair game.

“They’ve started to understand they have to push further into the dictionary,” said Shourav Dasari, a 20-year-old former speller and a co-founder with his older sister Shobha of SpellPundit, which sells study guides and hosts a popular online bee. “Last year, we started seeing stuff like tribal names that are some of the hardest words in the dictionary.”

There’s a meticulousness to it all

Members of the panel insist they worry little about other bees or the proliferation of study materials and private coaches. But those coaches and entrepreneurs spend a lot of time thinking about the words Scripps is likely to use — often quite successfully.

Dasari says there are roughly 100,000 words in the dictionary that are appropriate for spelling bees. He pledges that 99% of the words on Scripps’ list are included in SpellPundit’s materials. Anyone who learns all those words is all but guaranteed to win, Dasari said— but no one has shown they can do it.

“I just don’t know when anybody would be able to completely master the unabridged dictionary,” Dasari said.


Since the bee resumed after its 2020 pandemic cancellation, the panel has been scrutinized largely for the vocabulary questions, which have added a capricious element, knocking out some of the most gifted spellers even if they don’t misspell a word. Last year’s champion, Harini Logan, was briefly ousted on a vocabulary word, “pullulation” — only to be reinstated minutes later after arguing that her answer could be construed as correct.

“That gave us a sense of how very, very careful we need to be in terms of crafting these questions,” said Ben Zimmer, the language columnist for The Wall Street Journal and a chief contributor of words for the vocabulary rounds.

Zimmer is also sensitive to the criticism that some vocabulary questions are evaluating the spellers’ cultural sophistication rather than their mastery of roots and language patterns. This year’s vocabulary questions contain more clues that will guide gifted spellers to the answers, he says.

There will always be complaints about the word list, but making the competition as fair as possible is the panel’s chief goal. Missing hyphens or incorrect capitalization, ambiguities about singular and plural nouns or transitive and intransitive verbs — no question is too insignificant.

“This is really problematic,” Trinkle said, pointing out a word that has a homonym with a similar definition.

Scripps editorial manager Maggie Lorenz agrees: “We’re going to bump that word entirely.”

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Спортсменів можуть дискваліфікувати – Матвій Бідний про тих, хто не повернувся зі змагань в Україну

Раніше Міністерство молоді та спорту України оприлюднило списки спортсменів, які не повернулися з-за кордону. Перелік прізвищ відомство опублікувало на сайті. В ньому – 236 чоловіків

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«Як ми взагалі вижили там?» Кияни після того, як російський дрон зруйнував їхній будинок

– Як ми взагалі вижили там?
– Не знаю.
Двоє дітей біля будинку в Голосіївському районі Києва, де внаслідок падіння уламків виникла пожежа, обговорюють те, що сталося. Це 6-річний Марко і 8-річна Аліса, повідомляє кореспондент Радіо Свобода.

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Міненерго повідомило про знеструмлення в кількох регіонах через негоду й обстріли

«Виробленої електроенергії достатньо для покриття потреб споживачів. Дефіциту в системі не спостерігається»

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5 Greek Border Police Officers Arrested on Suspicion of Working With Migrant Smugglers

Greek authorities said Monday they had arrested five police officers from a special border guard force on suspicion of working with smugglers to help migrants cross into the country from neighboring Turkey. 

A police statement said the five suspects are believed to have facilitated the entry of at least 100 people since late October, using boats to cross the Evros River that runs along the northeastern Greek land border with Turkey. 

During the arrests in the border town of Didymoteicho Monday, police confiscated some $28,000 in cash, and nearly 60 mobile phones. The operation followed an investigation by the police internal affairs squad. 

The Evros is a key crossing point into Greece for people seeking a better life in the European Union. Greece has built a high fence along much of the border to prevent migrant entries and is planning to further extend it. 

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Missing 73 Years, Medal of Honor Recipient’s Remains Return Home

Soldiers of the 9th Infantry Regiment made a desperate retreat as North Korean troops closed in around them. A wounded, 18-year-old Army Pfc. Luther Herschel Story feared his injuries would slow down his company, so he stayed behind to cover their withdrawal. 

Story’s actions in the Korean War on September 1, 1950, would ensure he was remembered. He was awarded the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military honor, which is now displayed alongside his portrait at the National Infantry Museum, an hour’s drive from his hometown of Americus, Georgia. 

But Story was never seen alive again, and his resting place long remained a mystery. 

“In my family, we always believed that he would never be found,” said Judy Wade, Story’s niece and closest surviving relative. 

That changed in April when the U.S. military revealed lab tests had matched DNA from Wade and her late mother to bones of an unidentified American soldier recovered from Korea in October 1950. The remains belonged to Story, a case agent told Wade over the phone. After nearly 73 years, he was coming home. 

A Memorial Day burial with military honors took place Monday at the Andersonville National Cemetery. A police escort with flashing lights escorted Story’s casket through the streets of nearby Americus on Wednesday after it arrived in Georgia. Then residents lined the streets Monday as the funeral procession drove by, WALB-TV reported. 

“I don’t have to worry about him anymore,” said Wade, who was born four years after her uncle went missing overseas. “I’m just glad he’s home.” 

Among those celebrating Story’s return was former President Jimmy Carter. When Story was a young boy, according to Wade, his family lived and worked in Plains on land owned by Carter’s father, James Earl Carter Sr. 

Jimmy Carter, 98, has been under hospice care at his home in Plains since February. Jill Stuckey, superintendent of the Jimmy Carter National Historical Park, said she shared the news about Story with Carter as soon as she heard it. 

“Oh, there was a big smile on his face,” Stuckey said. “He was very excited to know that a hero was coming home.” 

Story grew up about 150 miles (241 kilometers) south of Atlanta in Sumter County, where his father was a sharecropper. As a young boy, Story, who had a keen sense of humor and liked baseball, joined his parents and older siblings in the fields to help harvest cotton. The work was hard, and it didn’t pay much. 

“Momma talked about eating sweet potatoes three times a day,” said Wade, whose mother, Gwendolyn Story Chambliss, was Luther Story’s older sister. “She used to talk about how at night her fingers would be bleeding from picking cotton out of the bolls. Everybody in the family had to do it for them to exist.” 

The family eventually moved to Americus, the county’s largest city, where Story’s parents found better work. He enrolled in high school, but soon set his sights on joining the military in the years following World War II. 

In 1948, his mother agreed to sign papers allowing Story to enlist in the Army. She listed his birthdate as July 20, 1931. But Wade said she later obtained a copy of her uncle’s birth certificate that showed he was born in 1932 — which would have made him just 16 when he joined. 

Story left school during his sophomore year. In the summer of 1950, he deployed with Company A of the 1st Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment to Korea around the time the war began. 

On September 1, 1950, near the village of Agok on the Naktong River, Story’s unit came under attack by three divisions of North Korean troops that moved to surround the Americans and cut off their escape. 

Story seized a machine gun and fired on enemy soldiers crossing the river, killing or wounding about 100, according to his Medal of Honor citation. As his company commander ordered a retreat, Story rushed into a road and threw grenades into an approaching truck carrying North Korean troops and ammunition. Despite being wounded, he continued fighting. 

“Realizing that his wounds would hamper his comrades, he refused to retire to the next position but remained to cover the company’s withdrawal,” Story’s award citation said.  

“When last seen he was firing every weapon available and fighting off another hostile assault.” 

Story was presumed dead. He would have been 18 years old, according to the birth certificate Wade obtained. 

In 1951, his father received Story’s Medal of Honor at a Pentagon ceremony. Story was also posthumously promoted to corporal. 

About a month after Story went missing in Korea, the U.S. military recovered a body in the area where he was last seen fighting. The unidentified remains were buried with other unknown service members at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii. 

According to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, more than 7,500 Americans who served in the Korean War remain missing or their remains have not been identified. That’s roughly 20% of the nearly 37,000 U.S. service members who died in the war. 

Remains of the unknown soldier recovered near Agok were disinterred in 2021 as part of a broader military effort to determine the identities of several hundred Americans who died in the war. Eventually scientists compared DNA from the bones with samples submitted by Wade and her mother before she died in 2017. They made a successful match. 

President Joe Biden announced the breakthrough April 26 in Washington, joined by South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol. 

“Today, we can return him to his family,” Biden said of Story, “and to his rest.” 

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У Києві та області оголошено повітряну тривогу

Близько другої години ночі 30 травня спочатку на Київщині, а згодом і у самій столиці прозвучало сповіщення про повітряну тривогу.

Громадян закликали убезпечитись в укриттях.

У мережі повідомили про рух БПЛА в бік столичного регіону. Інформація від військових з цього приводу не надходила.

Кіровоградська, Черкаська та Чернігівська області станом на 2:00 також охоплені повітряною тривогою.

Протягом минулої доби російські війська завдали двох масованих ракетно-авіаційних ударів по території України. У ніч на 29 травня армія РФ застосувала крилаті ракети повітряного базування Х-101/Х-555 та іранські ударні безпілотники. Українські сили ППО знищили 36 із 40 крилатих ракет та 30 із 38 ударних БПЛА. У понеділок вдень російські війська вдарили крилатими та балістичними ракети «Іскандер» по Києву: 11 з 11-ти ракет були знищені.

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У скандинавських водах плаває російський «кит-шпигун» – The Guardian

У територіальних водах країн Північної Європи помітили полярного кита-білуга в нашийнику. Як передає The Guardian, місцева влада вважає, що це російський «кит-шпигун». На його нашийнику є напис «Спорядження Петербург 2019».

Повідомляється, що білугу помітили у неділю в територіальних водах Швеції, неподалік її південно-західного узбережжя.

За словами шведських зоологів, південь Швеції – надто теплі води для білуг, зазвичай вони живуть ближче до Полярного кола. Фахівці вважають, що кит заплив на південь у пошуках пари чи компанії, оскільки білуги – дуже соціальний вид.

Це не перша поява білуги у водах Скандинавії. Вперше кит був помічений у Норвегії у квітні 2019 року. Його нашийник був оснащений кріпленнями для відеокамер. Кит був навчений слідувати за кораблями. Імовірно, він міг утекти з тренувальної військової бази або міг бути випущений «на завдання», але дорогою втратив відеокамери.

Про тварину багато писала місцева преса. Йому дали прізвисько Хвалдімір – від норвезького слова hval (кит) та імені російського президента Володимир. Нині Хвалдіміру близько 14 років. Зоологи стверджують, що він не боїться морських суден і доброзичливий до людей. Припускають, що раніше він багато спілкувався з людьми і був добре надресирований.

У 1980-х роках радянська армія розвивала програму навчання дельфінів для виявлення підводних мін. Ця програма була закрита у 1990-х. У 2017 році російський державний телеканал «Звезда» повідомляв про програму навчання китів-білуг, тюленів та дельфінів для використання у військових цілях.

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У РФ пропонують збільшити штрафи за прийом на роботу без документів про військовий облік

Також пропонується збільшити штрафи для роботодавців, які не повідомили у військкомати про співробітників, що мали б перебувати, але не є на військовому обліку