NATO leaders are seeking to turn an urgent sense of purpose triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine into action. They are also looking to patch up any cracks in their unity to overcome what the alliance’s chief called its biggest crisis since World War II. Russia’s invasion of its neighbor shattered Europe’s peace and drove NATO to pour troops and weapons into eastern Europe on a scale not seen since the Cold War. Members of the alliance have also sent billions in military and civilian aid to Ukraine. The 30 NATO leaders meeting in Madrid will hear directly from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. He is likely to ask them to do even more when he addresses the gathering by video link.
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has received Communion during a papal Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, despite her position in support of abortion rights. Pelosi attended the morning Mass on Wednesday marking the feasts of St. Peter and St. Paul. Two people who witnessed the moment said she received Communion along with the rest of the congregants. Pelosi also met with Pope Francis before Mass and received his blessing, according to one of the people. Pelosi’s home archbishop has said he will no longer allow her to receive the sacrament in his archdiocese because of her support for abortion rights.
Bodies without identification documents, remote villages without phone service, the need to share fingerprint data across borders and even stolen IDs are complicating efforts to identify the 51 migrants who died after being abandoned in a stifling trailer in San Antonio. The efforts come as families from Mexico to Honduras worry their loved ones could be among them. Few identities of the dead migrants had been made public more than a day after the trailer was found Monday, illustrating the challenges authorities face in tracing people who cross borders clandestinely. Bexar County Commissioner Rebeca Clay-Flores, who represents the district where the truck was abandoned, said that by Tuesday afternoon, medical examiners had potentially identified 34 of the victims.
Twenty-five years after Britain handed Hong Kong over to mainland China, the city is in limbo. Beijing has been expanding its influence and control over this vibrant, bustling global business hub, curbing freedoms it promised to respect for at least 50 years after taking sovereignty over the former British colony. Freedom of the press has come under attack and pro-democracy newspapers openly critical of the government have been forced to close. Hong Kong residents still enjoy greater autonomy and more civil liberties than other Chinese, but many protests are now banned. As one expert puts it, Hong Kong's in a “middle ground," without leverage to determine its future, while Beijing is “learning as it goes."
Sri Lanka’s economy, which a few years ago enjoyed strong growth that provided jobs and financial security, is now in a state of collapse, dependent on aid from India and other countries as its leaders desperately try to negotiate a bailout with the International Monetary Fund. What’s happening in this country of 22 million is worse than typical financial crises in the developing world: It’s a complete economic breakdown that has left ordinary people struggling to buy food, fuel and other necessities and has brought political unrest and violence and is veering quickly into a humanitarian crisis.
The latest testimony about the events surrounding the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol has Donald Trump rebuffing his own security’s warnings about armed protesters in the crowd gathering for a rally near the White House. A former White House aide also tells the House committee investigating the attack that Trump desperately attempted to join his supporters as they marched to the Capitol. In her testimony Tuesday, Cassidy Hutchinson described an angry, defiant president who grabbed at the steering wheel of the presidential SUV when the Secret Service refused to allow him go to the Capitol. Trump has dismissed her as “a total phony.”
Shares have retreated in Europe and Asia ahead of an update on U.S. economic growth. The Commerce Department was due to release a report on first-quarter gross domestic product later Wednesday. Markets are gripped by uncertainty over inflation, rising interest rates and the potential for a recession. Investors are awaiting remarks by central bank leaders including Fed Chair Jerome Powell. U.S. futures rose while oil prices fell back. On Tuesday, the S&P 500 fell 2%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.6%, and the Nasdaq fell 3% after a survey showed weaker than expected consumer confidence in the U.S., mainly due to surging prices.
European Union countries have reached a deal to eliminate carbon emissions from new cars by 2035 following hard-fought talks that dragged into the early hours of Wednesday. The 27 EU members found a common agreement on draft legislation aimed at slashing EU greenhouse gases by at least 55% by 2030 compared with 1990 rather than by a previously agreed 40%. The package also features a reform of the EU’s carbon market and the creation of a social climate fund to help vulnerable households cope with the planned clean-energy revamp. The deal paves the way for negotiations with the European Parliament to start before the agreement can become a law.
The historic trial stemming from the 2015 Paris attacks by Islamic State extremists that killed 130 people has reached a conclusion after nine months. The violence in the Bataclan theater, Paris cafes and the national stadium represented France’s deadliest peacetime attack. For victims’ families and survivors, the trial for Salah Abdeslam and suspected accomplices has been excruciating yet crucial in the quest for justice and closure. Abdeslam faces up to life in prison without parole on murder and other counts, the toughest sentence possible under France’s justice system. He has proclaimed his radicalism, wept, apologized and pleaded with judges to forgive his “mistakes.”
The worst drought Italy has faced in 70 years is thirsting paddy fields in the river Po valley and jeopardizing the harvest of the premium rice used for risotto. Italy’s largest river, which is turning into a long stretch of sand due to the lack of rain, is leaving the Lomellina rice flats — nestled between the river Po and the Alps — without the necessary water to flood the paddies. The lack of rainfall has brought governors of various Italian regions to declare a state of emergency in order to conserve water and coordinate the management of minimal water resources.
The shopping mall in the central Ukrainian city of Kremenchuk was nothing extraordinary, but in the middle of war it offered an escape for some residents. In a few moments on Monday, it suddenly became a hellish inferno after it was hit by a Russian airstrike. Authorities say at least 18 people are dead, more than 20 are missing and scores are wounded. The Kremenchuk mall is now the latest addition to the allegations of war crimes levied against Russia in the Ukraine war. One mall employee who said he had stepped outside for a cigarette when the air raid siren went off estimated 1,000 people had been in the mall, contradicting Russia’s claim it was empty.
New York’s recreational marijuana market is beginning to sprout, literally. Thin-leafed plants are stretching toward the sun in farms around the state. In a novel move, New York gave 203 CBD hemp growers first shot at cultivating marijuana destined for legal sales, which could start by the end of the year. Big indoor growers are expected to join later. Giving a head start to hemp growers is an unusual way to gear up a marijuana market. States typically rely initially on their existing medical growers, like New Jersey did for its launch earlier this year.
DENVER (AP) — Colorado Republicans on Tuesday chose a former local official who pledged to keep politics out of running elections as their nominee for secretary of state over an indicted county clerk who gained national prominence by promoting conspiracy theories about voting machines.
Shares have retreated in Asia after another broad decline on Wall Street as markets remain gripped by uncertainty over inflation, rising interest rates and the potential for a recession. U.S. futures rose while oil prices fell back. On Tuesday, the S&P 500 fell 2%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.6%, and the Nasdaq fell 3% after The Conference Board reported that consumer confidence fell in June to its lowest level in more than a year. It cited concerns over inflation, including rising prices for gas and food. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which helps set mortgage rates, slipped to 3.17%.
The Supreme Court's ruling allowing states to regulate abortion has set off a travel scramble in some parts of the U.S., as abortion providers redirect patients to states that still allow the procedure. A growing number of states are moving to mostly banning abortion. Clinics operators are moving, doctors are counseling crying patients, donations are pouring into nonprofits and one group is dispatching vans to administer abortion pills. Some cities _ like Kansas City and St. Louis _ also are drafting plans to help with the travel logistics. Groups are trying to help with everything from gas cards for travel to connecting patients with small aircraft pilots willing to transport them to a clinic in another state.
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska state Sen. Mike Flood won a special election Tuesday to replace former U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, a fellow Republican who was sentenced to two years of probation earlier in the day for a conviction on charges that he lied to federal agents.
Filipino journalist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Maria Ressa says in a speech in Hawaii Tuesday that the Philippine government is affirming a previous order to shut down her news site. Rappler has gained notoriety for its reporting of President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody crackdown on illegal drugs. Ressa is the first ever Filipino and first working journalist in more than 80 years to win the Nobel Peace Prize. She was a featured speaker at the East-West Center’s International Media Conference. Ressa learned of the order from Rappler’s attorneys. She says they plan to appeal.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that had provided a constitutional right to abortion. The ruling is expected to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states, although the timing of those laws taking effect varies.
The thousands of killings under Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs have left families in agony and a savage side to his legacy. Duterte ends his turbulent six-year presidency Thursday after building a reputation for expletives-laced outbursts and a disdain for human rights and the West. He's seen as “a human rights calamity” not only for the deaths in his drug crackdown, but also for his brazen attacks on critical media, the Catholic church and his political opponents. He's still an endearing, popular character to many Filipinos, however, and state-run TV has been highlighting infrastructure and poverty-alleviating projects of his administration. But in the homes of those lost in the drug war, an air of indignation and mourning permeates.
Kathy Hochul has won the Democratic nomination for New York governor, setting her on an expected path to win the governor’s office in November. Hochul beat back primary challenges Tuesday from New York City’s elected public advocate, Jumaane Williams, and U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi, a moderate from Long Island. Democrats have more than twice as many registered voters as Republicans in the state and are expected to keep the governor’s mansion this fall. Republicans nominated U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin to challenge Hochul in November. The Long Island representative was among the Republicans in Congress who voted against certifying the 2020 election results.
Desperate families of migrants from Mexico and Central America are seeking word of their loved ones as authorities begin identifying 51 people who died after being abandoned in a tractor-trailer without air conditioning in the sweltering Texas heat. It was the deadliest tragedy to claim the lives of migrants smuggled across the border from Mexico. U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas told The Associated Press that the driver of the truck and two other people were arrested. The bodies were discovered Monday afternoon on the outskirts of San Antonio when a city worker heard a cry for help from a truck parked on a lonely back road.
U.S. health officials are expanding the group of people recommended to get vaccinated against the monkeypox virus. They also say they are providing more monkeypox vaccine, working to expand testing, and taking other steps to try to get ahead of the outbreak. As of Tuesday, the U.S. had identified 306 cases in 27 states and the District of Columbia. More than 4,700 cases have been found in more than 40 other countries outside the areas of Africa where the virus is endemic.
A former Trump White House aide has painted a portrait of a volatile commander-in-chief who lashed out at advisers as his grasp on power was extinguished. Though accounts of the former president’s temper are legion, Cassidy Hutchinson offered previously unknown details about the extent of Trump’s rage in his final weeks of office, his awareness that supporters had weapons with them and his ambivalence as rioters later laid siege to the Capitol. The testimony to the House Jan. 6 committee deepened questions about whether Trump himself could face criminal charges for his conduct and came as Trump weighs running for reelection in 2024.
A federal court has allowed Tennessee to ban abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy. Texas is already enforcing a six-week ban, but a judge Tuesday temporarily blocked an even stricter decades-old law from taking effect. The moves embody a flurry of activity that was set off at courthouses across the country after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last week and ruled that terminating a pregnancy is not a constitutional right. Roughly half the states are expected to prohibit or severely limit the procedure now that the high court has left it up to them.