Moscow-held regions of Ukraine in ‘sham’ vote to join Russia
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Voting has started in Russian-held regions of Ukraine on referendums to become part of Russia. The Kremlin-orchestrated referendums, which have been widely denounced by Ukraine and the West as shams without any legal force, are seen as a step toward annexing the territories by Russia. The votes are being held in the Luhansk, Kherson and partly Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk regions. Ukrainian officials reported more evidence of possible war crimes on Friday. The governor of the Kharkiv region, which was mostly held by Russian forces before a Ukrainian counteroffensive this month, said 436 bodies were exhumed from a mass burial site in the eastern city of Izium, 30 of them with visible signs of torture.
World opinion shifts against Russia as Ukraine worries grow
NEW YORK (AP) — The tide of international opinion appears to have decisively shifted against Russia, as a number of non-aligned countries joined the United States and its allies in condemning Russia’s war in Ukraine and its threats to the principles of the international rules-based order. In what many believed earlier this year was Western wishful thinking, much of the international community spoke out against the conflict in rare displays of unity at the often fractured United Nations. The coalescing condemnation picked up steam earlier in the week when Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the mobilization of some additional 300,000 troops to Ukraine, signaling the unlikelihood of a quick end to the war and suggested that nuclear weapons may be an option.
Trump’s legal woes mount without protection of presidency
WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump’s latest legal troubles — sweeping fraud allegations by New York’s attorney general and a stark repudiation by federal judges he appointed — have laid bare the challenges piling up as the former president operates without the protections afforded by the White House. The bluster and bravado that served him well in the political arena are less handy in a legal realm dominated by verifiable evidence, where judges this week have looked askance at his positions. This week alone, he has been sued in New York and a federal appeals court has sharply rejected his legal team’s arguments about documents seized from his Florida home.
US aircraft carrier arrives in South Korea for joint drills
BUSAN, South Korea (AP) — The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan has arrived in the South Korean port of Busan ahead of the two countries’ joint military exercise that aims to show their strength against growing North Korean threats. The joint drills will be the first involving a U.S. aircraft carrier in the region since 2017. The allies have revived large-scale military drills this year, responding to North Korea’s resumption of major weapons testing and increasing threats of nuclear conflicts with Seoul and Washington. The South Korean navy said the training is meant to boost the allies’ military readiness and show “the firm resolve” of the South Korea-U.S. alliance for the sake of peace on the Korean Peninsula.
After days focused on Ukraine, other concerns emerge at UN
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — After three days in which the war in Ukraine consumed world leaders at the United Nations, other conflicts and concerns are beginning to emerge. Some are long-simmering ones that have receded from the public’s attention recently. Israel’s prime minister called for the establishment of a Palestinian state in a speech that focused on that conflict. The Palestinian president speaks on Friday. Others are regional conflicts that have flared. Armenia’s prime minister warned that “the risk of new aggression by Azerbaijan remains very high.” That’s after the largest outbreak of hostilities between the two adversaries in nearly two years.
Hurricane Fiona roars by Bermuda, on route to Canada
CAGUAS, Puerto Rico (AP) — Hurricane Fiona is pounding Bermuda with heavy rains and winds as it sweeps by the island and is forecast to approach northeastern Canada as a still-powerful storm late Friday. Authorities in Bermuda opened shelters and closed schools and offices ahead of Fiona. Premier David Burt urged residents to “take care of yourself and your family.” The Canadian Hurricane Centre issued a hurricane watch over extensive coastal expanses of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland. The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Fiona should reach Canada as a “large and powerful post-tropical cyclone with hurricane-force winds.”
Alabama halts execution because of time, IV access concerns
ATMORE, Ala. (AP) — Alabama officials have called off the lethal injection of a man convicted in a 1999 workplace shooting because of time concerns and trouble accessing the inmate’s veins. Alabama Corrections Commissioner John Hamm said prison officials called off Thursday’s execution after they determined inmate Alan Miller’s “veins could not be accessed in accordance with our protocol” before a midnight deadline to commence the execution. Miller has been returned to his cell at the south Alabama prison, Hamm said. The halt came three hours after a divided U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for the execution to begin.
Hong Kong to end mandatory hotel quarantine for travelers
HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong’s leader has announced the city would no longer require incoming travelers to quarantine in designated hotels. The city is seeking to remain competitive and open up globally after nearly two years. The city’s chief executive John Lee at a news conference Friday said incoming travelers will also no longer need a negative PCR test within 48 hours before boarding a plane to Hong Kong. Instead, they will need to present a negative result from a rapid antigen test conducted within 24 hours before their flight. The measures will go into effect Monday. Lee said there must be a balance between COVID-19 risks and economic growth.
Celtics suspend coach Ime Udoka for 2022-23 season
BOSTON (AP) — The Boston Celtics have suspended coach Ime Udoka for the 2022-23 season. The move takes effect immediately and with no guarantee he will be back with the franchise. The Celtics said Thursday night that Udoka was suspended for “violations of team policies.” Earlier Thursday, two people with knowledge of the matter said Udoka was being sanctioned because of an improper relationship with a member of the organization. Those people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team did not reveal that detail publicly.
Global stocks slide for 3rd day on economic growth fears
BEIJING (AP) — Global stocks have fallen for a third day after more rate hikes by the Federal Reserve and other central banks to control inflation spurred fears of a possible global recession. London and Frankfurt opened lower. Shanghai, Hong Kong and Seoul declined. Oil prices fell by more than $1 per barrel. The Fed and central banks in Europe and Asia raised rates this week and said more hikes might be on the way to cool inflation that is at multi-decade highs. Traders worry that might push the global economy into a painful slump.
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