World

Dozens dead after mass shooting at child-care center in Thailand, police say

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(NEW YORK) -- At least 38 people, including at least 24 children, were dead after a mass shooting at a child care center in northeast Thailand, the country's Central Investigation Bureau said.

The suspect, who was identified as Panya Kamrab, 34, is among the 38 dead and died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said. Kamrab's wife and son were among the victims, police said.

Kamrab lived near the day care center, according to authorities.

Kamrab, who officials said was a former police officer, opened fire at the center in a remote area of Nong Bua Lamphu province, officials said.

A 9 mm handgun was used in the attack as well as knives, according to Thailand's national police chief, Gen. Damrongsak Kittipraphat.

He then fled the scene in a white pickup truck, police said. While he was on the run, the bureau added him to the "Most Wanted" list and circulated his photo on social media.

A police document viewed by ABC News said victims were located at five locations, along with a local hospital.

Kittipraphat said the police response was delayed due to the rural location of the child care center.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


North Korea flies warplanes near South Korea after series of missile tests

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(SEOUL, South Korea) -- North Korea flew warplanes in the skies of the Korean peninsula less than 12 hours after showcasing a series of short-range ballistic missiles Thursday. North Korea had launched ballistic missiles six times in the last two weeks.

“Twelve North Korean warplanes flew in squadron this afternoon in the South Korean side of the special surveillance line, to stage a protest,” South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff told ABC News, referring to Pyongyang’s explicit criticism against the U.S.-South Korea joint military exercise in the waters of the Korean peninsula.

There were eight fighter planes and four bombers from North Korea flying in formation and conducting air-to-ground firing drills. South Korea's military promptly mobilized 30 F-15K fighters which confronted the North Korean jets in the air for approximately an hour according to South Korea’s military.

“Reportedly, North Korea’s Air Force has not been able to train properly due to the scarcity of fuel, it is extremely unusual for North Korea to have flown 8 fighter jets and 4 bombers,” Cheong Seong-Chang, director of the Center for North Korean Studies at Seoul-based Sejong Institute, told ABC News.

The rare appearance of North Korean warplanes came after North Korea’s Foreign Ministry released a statement to blast the U.S. for escalating military tensions in the Korean peninsula by deploying the carrier task force. The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan was carrying out joint military drills in waters off the Korean peninsula with allies U.S., South Korea and Japan in September, and was redeployed as North Korea test-fired missiles almost every other day.

Instead of halting military actions, North Korea launched another set of short-range ballistic missiles off Pyongyang Thursday morning.

North Korea tested its ballistic missile capability on six different occasions in the last two weeks since Sep. 25. They were mostly short-range ballistic missiles but an intermediate-range ballistic missile flew over the Japanese territory Tuesday that led to a warning alert. The U.S. and South Korea’s combined forces have been responding to Pyongyang’s provocative actions accordingly.

“Flying warplanes was brute even for North Korea, it is different from their usual stance when they stayed low while a U.S. aircraft carrier was in the region,” Park Jaewan, professor of Security Strategy at Kookmin University, told ABC News. “North Korea’s warplanes don’t pose a major threat to the region considering the greater superiority the U.S. and South Korea have in the air force.”

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Russia-Ukraine live updates: More than 355,000 flee Russia amid mobilization

Metin Aktas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Image

(NEW YORK) -- More than six months after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an invasion into neighboring Ukraine, the two countries are engaged in a struggle for control of areas throughout eastern and southern Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, whose forces began an offensive in August, has vowed to take back all Russian-occupied territory. But Putin in September announced a mobilization of reservists, which is expected to call up as many as 300,000 additional troops.

Here's how the news is developing. All times Eastern:

Oct 06, 4:38 AM EDT
Apartments in Zaporizhzhia struck in early morning

Russian forces struck a residential neighborhood in the southeastern city of Zaporizhzhia early on Thursday, officials said.

Oct 05, 2:20 PM EDT
Ukrainian officials say they found more evidence of tortures, killings in eastern Kharkiv

Ukrainian officials released images they claim show evidence of tortures and killings in eastern Kharkiv, in areas recently reclaimed from Russia.

Authorities are investigating an alleged Russian torture chamber in the village of Pisky-Radkivski, according to Serhiy Bolvinov, the head of the investigative department of the national police in the region.

Bolvinov posted an image of a box of what appeared to be precious metal teeth and dentures presumably extracted from those held at the site.

Two bodies were found in a factory in Kupiansk with their hands bound behind their backs, while two others were found in Novoplatonivka, their hands linked by handcuffs.

-ABC News' Jason Volack

Oct 05, 6:47 AM EDT
Putin formally annexes 15% of Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed laws finalizing the illegal annexation of four regions of neighboring Ukraine -- more than 15% of the country's territory -- even as his military struggles to maintain control over the newly absorbed areas.

The documents completing the annexation of Ukraine's Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions -- in defiance of international laws -- were published on a Russian government website on Wednesday morning.

Earlier this week, the Russian parliament ratified treaties making the occupied areas part of Russia. The move followed what the Kremlin called referendums in the four Ukrainian regions, which the West rejected as a sham.

The annexed areas are not all under control of Russian forces, which are battling a massive counteoffensive effort by Ukrainian troops.

Oct 04, 1:29 PM EDT
Biden, Harris speak to Zelenskyy, offer new $625 million security assistance package

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Tuesday, underscoring that the U.S. will never recognize areas annexed by President Vladimir Putin as Russian territory and offering additional security assistance.

Biden announced a $625 million security assistance package that includes additional weapons and equipment, according to a statement from the White House.

Biden also promised to impose "severe costs" on any individual, entity or country that "provides support to Russia’s purported annexation."

-ABC News' Justin Gomez

Oct 04, 11:58 AM EDT
More than 355,000 people have fled Russia amid mobilization

Since Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a national mobilization last month, more than 355,000 people have left the country, according to Russian independent media.

Roughly 200,000 people escaped to Kazakhstan, 80,000 left for Georgia and 65,000 departed for Finland. Some 6,000 people also fled to Mongolia and there are reports of people fleeing to Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tadjikistan.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Tuesday that more than 200,000 people have been mobilized since Sept. 21.

-ABC News' Tanya Stukalova

Oct 04, 9:29 AM EDT
Ukraine makes major breakthrough in south, advancing well behind Russian lines

Ukraine has made a major breakthrough in the country’s south that now threatens to collapse part of the Russian front line there, similar to Ukraine’s counteroffensive in the northeast last month.

Ukrainian forces have advanced over 18 miles in two days, driving deep behind Russia’s front line in the Kherson region and advancing south along the Dnipro river.

Russian journalists reported that Russian forces on Monday were forced to pull back from the village of Dudchany. Multiple Russian military bloggers, who are often embedded with Russian troops, say that Ukrainian troops now heavily outnumber Russian troops there.

The advance, if it continues, has huge implications for the war. Russia’s position is increasingly in danger of collapsing, which would make it all but impossible to defend the city of Kherson, the capital of the region annexed by Russian President Vladimir Putin four days ago.

Oct 04, 5:55 AM EDT
Zelenskyy signs decree ruling out negotiations with Putin

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy signed a presidential decree on Tuesday formally declaring the “impossibility” of holding negotiations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The decree backs a decision put forward by Zelenskyy's national security council and includes the point: “To declare the impossibility of conducting negotiations with the president of the Russian Federation, V. Putin.”

The decree echoed a statement made by Zelenskyy when Putin annexed Ukrainian territory last Friday, saying it showed it is impossible to negotiate with the current president.

Oct 03, 12:22 PM EDT
Ukraine advances in south, Russia says

Ukrainian forces on Sunday evening broke through part of Russia's defense of the disputed Kherson region, advancing from the region’s northeast into a territory Russia had claimed to annex as its own on Friday.

Ukrainian troops succeeded in pushing south along the Dnipro river, according to Ukrainian and Russian officials.

Russia's Defense Ministry on Monday partly confirmed the advance, saying Ukrainian forces "managed to drive a wedge deep into our defense."

It said Russian troops had fallen back to “pre-prepared lines of defense" and were using heavy artillery to halt a further Ukrainian advance. It claimed, without evidence, that Ukraine had suffered heavy losses, but acknowledged that Ukraine had an advantage in tank numbers there.

Russian military bloggers said on Sunday that Ukrainian troops advanced southwards in the direction of the village of Dudchany, several miles behind the rest of Russia's frontline in the region.

The advance raised questions about whether Russia would be able to hold the city of Kherson, the only regional capital it managed to seize in the invasion. For weeks, military experts have said Russia's position in the Kherson region has been deteriorating because Ukraine has destroyed the only bridges allowing Russia to re-supply its troops.

Kirill Stremousov, a Russian-installed official in the region, on social media acknowledged Ukrainian troops had advanced along the Dnipro towards Dudchany but claimed they had been halted by Russian fire and that “everything is under control.”

A continued Ukrainian advance along the Dnipro would threaten to undermine the rest of the Russian front north of the river, raising the risk Russian forces there could be cut off.

The White House National Security Council’s spokesman John Kirby noted Ukraine was making gains in the south on Monday, but caveated that they were “incremental” for the time-being.

The battle for Kherson has major military and symbolic significance for both sides. A retreat from the city would seriously undermine Russia's annexation of one of the four Ukrainian regions declared by Vladimir Putin just days ago -- Kherson is supposed to be the capital of the newly annexed region of the same name.

Oct 03, 11:18 AM EDT
Kidnapped head of Zaporizhzhia plant has been released

The head of the Ukrainian nuclear power plant Zaporizhzhia has been released, after Ukrainian officials accused Russia of kidnapping him, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Ihor Murashov, the head of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, was released and returned safely to his family, Rafael Mariano Grossi, the Director General of the IAEA, tweeted.

Zaporizhzhia is a Ukrainian facility now occupied by Russian troops.

Oct 03, 7:26 AM EDT
Putin's nuclear threats 'irresponsible rhetoric,' official says

Russian President Vladimir Putin's threats that his country could strike Ukraine with nuclear weapons were "irresponsible rhetoric" from a nuclear power, a Pentagon official said.

"They are continuing to be irresponsible rhetoric coming from a nuclear power," Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said on "Good Morning America" on Monday. "There's no reason for him to use that kind of bluster, those kinds of threats."

But the U.S. was still taking the threats seriously, he said. The U.S. was "ready and prepared" to defend every inch of NATO territory, he said.

"We have to take these threats seriously. We must. It'd be easier if we could just blow it off, but we can't," Kirby said. "These are serious threats made by a serious nuclear power."

Oct 03, 5:55 AM EDT
Russia 'likely struggling' to train reservists, UK says

Russian officials are "likely struggling" to find officers and provide training for many of the reservists who've been called up as part of President Vladimir Putin's mobilization, the U.K. Ministry of Defense said.

"Local officials are likely unclear on the exact scope and legal rationale of the campaign," the ministry said in a Monday update. "They have almost certainly drafted some personnel who are outside the definitions claimed by Putin and the Ministry of Defence."

Some of the reservists are assembling in tented transit camps, the ministry said.

Oct 02, 10:42 AM EDT
Former CIA chief Petraeus says Putin's losses puts him in 'irreversible' situation

Former CIA chief David Petraeus said Sunday that Russian President Vladimir Putin has put himself in an "irreversible" situation amid the Kremlin's annexation of Russian-controlled Ukrainian regions.

"President Volodymyr co-anchor Jonathan Karl.

Petraeus said Putin "is losing" the war, despite "significant but desperate" recent moves. On Friday, Putin said he was annexing four regions of Ukraine -- a move denounced by Ukraine, the U.S. and other Western countries as a violation of international law -- and, in late September, the Russian leader said he was calling up some 300,000 reservists, triggering protests and a mass exodus from Russia.

In a rare acknowledgment Thursday, Putin admitted "mistakes" in how the country carried out the mobilization.

Oct 01, 9:07 AM EDT
Russia shoots at civilian convoy, kills 22, Ukrainian official says

Russian forces are accused of shelling a convoy of seven civilian cars killing 22 people, including 10 children, according to preliminary data, Olexandr Filchakov, chief prosecutor of the Kharkiv region, told ABC News.

According to preliminary data, the cars were shot by the Russian military on Sept. 25, when civilians were trying to evacuate from Kupyansk, a settlement in the Kupyansk area, Filchakov said.

The column of shot cars was discovered on Friday. Two cars burned completely with children and parents inside, Filchakov said.

Filchakov said the bodies burned completely.

Russian forces fired at the column with a 12.5 mm caliber gun. Those who remained alive were then shot at with rifles, according to Filchakov.

-ABC News' Somayeh Malekian

Sep 30, 11:29 AM EDT
Biden slams Russia for 'fraudulent attempt' to annex parts of Ukraine

President Joe Biden condemned Russia's "fraudulent attempt today to annex sovereign Ukrainian territory" in a statement Friday.

"Make no mistake: these actions have no legitimacy. The United States will always honor Ukraine's internationally recognized borders. We will continue to support Ukraine's efforts to regain control of its territory by strengthening its hand militarily and diplomatically, including through the $1.1 billion in additional security assistance the United States announced this week," Biden wrote.

Biden also said the U.S. and its partners would be imposing new sanctions on individuals and entities inside and out of Russia "that provide political or economic support to illegal attempts to change the status of Ukrainian territory."

He added, "We will rally the international community to both denounce these moves and to hold Russia accountable. We will continue to provide Ukraine with the equipment it needs to defend itself, undeterred by Russia's brazen effort to redraw the borders of its neighbor. And I look forward to signing legislation from Congress that will provide an additional $12 billion to support Ukraine."

Sep 30, 10:37 AM EDT
Zelenskyy signs application for accelerated accession to NATO

In the wake of Russian President Vladimir Putin saying he has annexed occupied territories in Ukraine, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Ukraine is applying for "accelerated accession" to NATO, saying it is already de-facto allied with the alliance's members.

"Today, here in Kyiv, in the heart of our country, we are taking a decisive step for the security of the entire community of free nations," he said in a statement.

Sep 30, 9:28 AM EDT
Putin formally annexes occupied Ukrainian regions

Vladimir Putin has formally annexed four occupied territories in Ukraine, the biggest land grab in Europe since World War II and one of the most egregious violations of international law since then.

It is a key moment in the war with major implications for what happens next.

Russia has annexed 15% of Ukraine’s territory, including several major cities -- but right now none of the areas Putin is seizing are under full Russian control and all are facing Ukrainian efforts to retake them.

The annexation will absorb the self-declared People’s Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk in the Donbas region, as well as parts of the southern Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions that Russia occupies.

At a ceremony in the Kremlin today Putin signed “treaties of accession” with the Russian-installed leaders of the regions.

Meanwhile, on Red Square outside, preparations have been made for a large concert-rally to celebrate the annexation.

This is another no-going back moment for Putin. By making these territories part of Russia itself he has made negotiations even more difficult. He has locked himself into a long war and linked the survival of his regime to it.

He cannot give up the regions in negotiations -- in 2020, when he changed the constitution to let him stay in power beyond his term limits he also introduced a new clause that forbids Russian president’s from giving up any Russian land.

But perhaps even more importantly, he is likely to lose parts of these regions -- Ukraine is on the counteroffensive still in northeast Donbas and Kherson.

The Kremlin on Friday said it will treat attacks on the newly annexed regions as direct attacks on Russia itself. The implied threat is that Putin could use nuclear weapons in some form against Ukraine if it does not stop.

Most experts believe that for now Putin is very unlikely to use a nuclear weapon -- they see his threats as bluffs. But, they say the risk he might is growing and is now the most serious it has been.

For now, many experts believe Putin would prefer to use mobilized troops to try to stabilize Russia’s front lines in Ukraine and then try to outlast the West through the energy crisis this winter. But should Ukraine continue to advance and Russia’s position in the newly annexed regions starts to collapse, the risk he will use a nuclear weapon could grow.

-ABC News' Patrick Reevell

Sep 30, 4:20 AM EDT
Major attack on civilian convoy near Zaporizhzhia leaves many feared dead and injured

Ukrainian officials say a Russian strike on a humanitarian convoy has killed at least 23 people and wounded 28.

The convoy of about 40 vehicles was heading into Russian-occupied territory to pick up their relatives and then take them to safety when it was struck.

Videos that have emerged from the scene show destroyed vehicles along the road and what appears to me a number of casualties as well.

Sep 29, 6:31 PM EDT
Putin signs decrees for annexation of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia

Russian President Vladimir Putin took the intermediary step on Thursday of signing decrees paving the way for the occupied Ukrainian regions of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia to be formally annexed into Russia.

The Kremlin publicly released the decrees.

Putin is scheduled to hold a signing ceremony in the Kremlin on Friday to formally annex the two regions, along with the Russian-occupied Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

-ABC News' Jason Volack

Sep 29, 7:05 AM EDT
Putin to formally annex occupied Ukraine territories on Friday

Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold a signing ceremony in the Kremlin on Friday to formally annex the areas of Ukraine that Russia has occupied, his spokesman has said.

The ceremony will be to sign “treaties of accession” with the four regions created by Russia’s occupation forces -- the two self-declared Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics and the Zaporozhzhia and Kherson regions.

Putin will also deliver a major speech to lawmakers gathered there, his spokesman said.

It is a major moment in the war -- another no-going-back moment for Putin. In reality, none of the areas being annexed are under full control of Russia right now as all are seeing fighting and facing Ukrainian efforts to re-take them.

If Putin attempts to annex the occupied regions, it will be one of the most egregious violations of international law in Europe since World War II.

Sep 28, 12:21 PM EDT
State department advises US citizens to leave Russia

American citizens are being advised by the U.S. State Department to get out of Russia immediately.

The U.S. Embassy in Moscow has issued an alert, saying "severe limitations" could prevent it from assisting U.S. citizens still in the country.

"If you wish to depart Russia, you should make independent arrangements as soon as possible," the alert said.

Noting that Russia has begun a military mobilization against Ukraine, U.S. Embassy officials warned Americans with dual Russian citizenship that they could get drafted by Russia.

"Russia may refuse to acknowledge dual nationals U.S. citizenship, deny their access to U.S. consular assistance, prevent their departure from Russia, and conscript dual nationals for military service," the alert said.

The alert also advised U.S. citizens to avoid political or social protests in Russia, saying Americans have been arrested in Russia for participating in demonstrations.

"We remind U.S. citizens that the right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression are not guaranteed in Russia," the alert said.

Sep 27, 3:56 PM EDT
66,000 Russians cross European borders since Putin announced draft

Roughly 66,000 Russian citizens have fled across borders into European countries amid Russian President Vladimir Putin's announcement last week of a military mobilization against Ukraine, the European Border and Coast Guard said Tuesday.

The number of Russian citizens pouring into Europe was up 30% compared to last week, according to the agency which also goes by the name Frontex.

Most of the Russian citizens are entering the European Union through Finnish and Estonian border crossing points, Frontex said on Twitter.

Putin announced on Sept. 21 that he is ordering the mobilization of 300,000 recruits to fight in Ukraine, prompting widespread protests and clashes with police across Russia.

In recent days, photos have emerged of huge traffic jams at border crossings. On Monday, the wait at the border between Russia and Georgia was estimated to be 40 to 50 hours, according to the independent Russian news outlet The Insider.

Sep 27, 1:56 PM EDT
'Sham referenda' in Russia-occupied Ukraine going Kremlin's way

Partial results from what Ukraine and its Western allies have called "sham" referendums in four Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine show that more than 96% of voters favor becoming part of Russia, according to the state-owned Russian news agency RIA.

Voting has taken place over five days in the four areas -- Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson.

The early results showed that 97.93% of voters in the Luhansk People's Republic favored joining the Russian Federation, according to the data. In Donetsk People's Republic, early results showed 98.69% favored joining the Russian Federation.

In Zaporizhzhia, 97.81% of voters cast ballots to join Russia and 96.75% of voters in Kherson also favored joining Russia, according to the data.

President Joe Biden and other Group of 7 leaders condemned Russia's "sham referenda" in occupied Ukrainian territories, calling it a Russian attempt to "create a phony pretext for changing the status of Ukrainian sovereign territory."

Sep 27, 12:42 PM EDT
Leaks in major gas pipeline between Russia and Europe investigated following blasts

Leaks in a major gas pipeline running from Russia to Europe under the Baltic Sea have been detected after the Swedish seismic network said it registered blasts near the pipeline.

The leaks in the Nord Stream pipeline were first reported on Monday by Denmark's maritime authority and photos released by Denmark's Defense Command showed what appeared to be gas bubbling up to the surface.

The operator of the pipeline said the leaks were detected southeast of the Danish island Bornholm.

The underwater pipeline runs about 764 miles from Russia to Germany.

While the cause of the leaks remains under investigation, unconfirmed report reports from Germany allege authorities suspect sabotage.

Ukrainian officials have accused Russia of causing leaks in a "terrorist attack," according to the BBC.

Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhaylo Podolyak alleged the damage to the pipeline was an "an act of aggression" by Russia toward the European Union.

Sep 27, 12:18 PM EDT
Aid to Ukraine detailed in bill to keep US government running

A continuing resolution to keep the federal government running through Dec. 16 was released by Democratic lawmakers on Tuesday morning and breaks down how $12.3 billion in the package earmarked for Ukraine will be spent.

For the first time, Congressional lawmakers, at the insistence of GOP members, will require U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to provide a report "on the execution of funds for defense articles and services provided Ukraine," according to a summary of the resolution.

Both houses of Congress must vote on the resolution by Friday to avoid a government shutdown.

The resolution includes $3 billion for "security assistance" for Ukraine and authorizes an additional $3.7 billion in weapons for President Joe Biden to drawdown from U.S. stocks to support Ukraine’s military. It will also authorize $35 million to respond to potential nuclear and radiological incidents in Ukraine in an apparent reply to Russian President Valdimir Putin's thinly-veiled nuclear threats in a televised speech last week.

In addition, the resolution calls for $2.4 billion to replenish U.S. stocks of weapons already sent to Ukraine and to provide Ukraine.

The new assistance for Ukraine would be on top of the $53 billion Congress has already approved through two previous bills.

-ABC News' Lauren Minore and Trish Turner

Sep 26, 1:29 PM EDT
40- to 50-hour wait as people attempt to flee Russia into Georgia to avoid military draft: Report

A massive line of traffic continued to grow Monday at the border between Russia and Georgia as huge numbers of Russians seek to flee the country amid fears they will be drafted to fight in the war in Ukraine.

Drone video, posted on Twitter by the independent Russian news outlet The Insider, showed hundreds of cars and trucks backed up for miles at the Verkhny Lars border between the two countries.

The Insider reported that people are waiting 40-50 hours in the line to cross.

Tens of thousands of Russians are trying to flee the country following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement last week of a military mobilization of 300,000 more troops against Ukraine. Besides the Russia-Georgia border, large crowds of people attempting to leave the country have been packing border crossings into Finland, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and others.

Sep 26, 12:08 PM EDT
New clashes break out in Russia between police and protesters over Kremlin's mobilization

More clashes broke out Monday in Russia's Dagestan capital city, as police tried to disperse hundreds of protesters demonstrating against the Kremlin’s military mobilization of men to fight in Ukraine.

Videos circulating on social media showed scuffles between protesters and police in Makhachkala.

On Sunday, there were violent clashes in Dagestan, with police firing warning shots and people angrily shouting chants against the mobilization.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced last week that he is mobilizing 300,000 more troops against Ukraine.

The announcement sparked major protests in Moscow and at least 30 other cities across Russia over the weekend. At least 17 military recruitment offices have been targeted with arson attacks. A man was detained by authorities on Monday after he allegedly opened fire on a recruitment center in Siberia, severely injuring a recruitment officer.

Sep 26, 11:01 AM EDT
US sending Ukraine $457.5 million in civilian security assistance

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced Monday that the U.S. will give Ukraine another $457.5 million in civilian security assistance to bolster the efforts of Ukrainian law enforcement and criminal justice agencies "to improve their operational capacity and save lives.”

Blinken said some of the funds will also go toward supporting efforts to “document, investigate, and prosecute atrocities perpetrated by Russia's forces.” He said that since December, the United States has pledged more than $645 million toward supporting Ukrainian law enforcement.

Blinken's announcement follows a U.N.-led investigation that found Russian troops had committed war crimes in occupied areas of Ukraine, including the rape, torture and imprisonment of children.

Sep 26, 10:14 AM EDT
Ukrainian first lady 'worried' about Russian mobilization

In a new interview, Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenka told ABC News that recent developments in the war are upsetting, saying this is not an "easy period" for the people of Ukraine.

"When the whole world wants this war to be over, they continue to recruit soldiers for their army," said Zelenska, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin's announcement last week that he is mobilizing 300,000 more troops against Ukraine. "Of course, we are concerned about this. We are worried and this is a bad sign for the whole world."

Zelenska, who spoke with ABC News' Amy Robach through a translator, said Ukrainians will continue to persevere in the face of conflict.

"The main difference between our army and the Russian army is that we really know what we are fighting for," she said.

Zelenska attended the United Nations General Assembly in-person in New York City, where she spoke to ABC News about the U.N.'s recent finding that war crimes have been committed in Ukraine by Russian troops. An appointed panel of independent legal experts reported that Russian soldiers have "raped, tortured, and unlawfully confined" children in Ukraine, among other crimes.

"On the one hand, it's horrible news, but it's the news that we knew about already," she said. "On the other hand, it's great news that the whole world can finally see that this is a heinous crime, that this war is against humanity and humankind."

Sep 26, 5:40 AM EDT
Man opens fire at Russian military enlistment office

A man has opened fire at a military enlistment office in eastern Russia, severely injuring a recruitment officer there.

An apparent video of the shooting was circulating online, showing a man shooting the officer at a podium in the officer in the city of Irkutsk.

Irkutsk’s regional governor confirmed the shooting, naming the officer injured as Alexander V. Yeliseyev and saying he is in intensive care in a critical condition.

The alleged shooter has been detained, according to the governor.

Sep 25, 12:49 PM EDT
Russia Defense Ministry announces high-level leadership shake-up

The Russian Defense Ministry announced a high-level shake-up in its military leadership amid reports Russian forces are struggling in the war against Ukraine.

The defense ministry said Saturday that Col. Gen. Mikhail Y. Mizintsev has been promoted to deputy defense minister overseeing logistics, replacing four-star Gen. Dmitri V. Bulgakov, 67, who had held the post since 2008.

Bulgakov was relieved of his position and is expected to be transferred "to another job,” the Defense Ministry statement said.

The New York Times reported that Mizintsev -- whom Western officials dubbed the “butcher of Mariupol" after alleged atrocities against civilians surfaced in the Ukrainian city in March, previously served as chief of Russia’s National Defense Management Center, which oversees military operations and planning.

In this previous role, Mizintsev became one of the public faces of the war in Ukraine, informing the public about what the Kremlin still calls a “special military operation.”

Mizintsev was put on international sanctions lists and accused of atrocities for his role in the brutal siege of the Mariupol.

Sep 25, 11:58 AM EDT
Russian recruits report for military mobilization

Newly recruited Russian soldiers are reporting for duty in response to the Kremlin's emergency mobilization to bolster forces in Ukraine, according to photographs emerging from Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced last week a mobilization to draft more than 300,000 Russians with military expertise, sparking anti-war protests across the country and prompting many to try to flee Russia to avoid the draft.

Putin signed a law with amendments to the Russian Criminal Code upping the punishments for the crimes of desertion during periods of mobilization and martial law.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said in an interview Sunday with ABC News This Week anchor George Stephanopoulos that Russia's military draft is more evidence Russia is "struggling" in its invasion of Ukraine. He also said "sham referendums" going on in Russia-backed territories of eastern and southern Ukraine are also acts of desperation by the Kremlin.

"These are definitely not signs of strength or confidence. Quite the opposite: They're signs that Russia and Putin are struggling badly," Sullivan said while noting Putin's autocratic hold on the country made it hard to make definitive assessments from the outside.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Watch video of Princess Kate meeting babies, mothers at UK maternity ward

Alastair Grant - WPA Pool/Getty Images

(LONDON) -- Kate, the princess of Wales, met with mothers and babies at a hospital in the U.K. on Wednesday.

Kate, who has three children of her own -- Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis -- visited the Royal Surrey County Hospital Maternity Unit in Guildford, England, where she cradled a baby in her arms and spoke with several mothers.

"It was lovely to meet some of the new mothers and their babies who are supported by such a brilliant team at the hospital," the princess of Wales shared on the official Kensington Royal Twitter account. "Focusing on maternal mental health and pioneering overnight facilities, Royal Surrey County Hospital helps women feel safe, supported and have the best chance of developing those all-important early attachments, crucial to ensuring their babies thrive."

The visit to the hospital was a meaningful one for Kate, who has made early childhood development a focus of her royal work.

Also on Wednesday, Kate's husband William, the prince of Wales, visited St. George's Park, the English Football Association's national football center in Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire, to celebrate the venue's 10th anniversary. William and Kate, then the duke and duchess of Cambridge, officially opened the facility in October 2012.

As part of his visit, William met with Gareth Southgate, manager of the England national team, and several young players and athletes.

"Supporting our


Meet the physicists awarded the Nobel Prize for work in 'spooky action at a distance'

Ren Pengfei/Xinhua via Getty Images

(STOCKHOLM) -- A trio of scientists won the Nobel Prize in Physics for their work in quantum mechanics.

The award was split among Alain Aspect of the Université Paris-Saclay and École Polytechnique in Palaiseau, France; John F. Clauser of J.F. Clauser & Associates in Walnut Creek, California; and Anton Zeilinger of the University of Vienna, Austria.

Their research discovered how tiny particles of light barely visible to the naked eyed can be "entangled" and behave like a single unit, even when separated by large distances.

The phenomenon was famously called "spooky action at a distance" by Albert Einstein, who dismissed the theory.

"It has become increasingly clear that a new kind of quantum technology is emerging. We can see that the laureates' work with entangled states is of great importance, even beyond the fundamental questions about the interpretation of quantum mechanics," said Anders Irbäck, chair of the Nobel Committee for Physics, in a statement.

Last year, three scientists won the Nobel Prize in Physics for their work in helping understand our planets.

Each Nobel prize is worth 10 million kronor -- the equivalent of about $900,000 -- and is given to laureates with a diploma and a gold medal on Dec. 10, the date the creator of the Nobel prizes, Alfred Nobel, died in 1896.

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Ukraine vows to continue counteroffensive despite Russia's mobilization, annexation of territory

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(KYIV, Ukraine) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annexation of Ukrainian regions and his mass mobilization of reservists won't stop Ukrainian forces from continuing their counteroffensive against Russian forces, senior Ukrainian officials told ABC News.

Putin on Oct. 4 signed into law the annexation of four Ukrainian territories after illegal referendums, conducted last week in the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, which were formed in 2014, and parts of the southern Zaporizhzhia and Kherson oblasts, which have been occupied by Russia since Feb. 24.

The referendum "results" announced by the Russian-installed authorities alleged that more than 90% of the voters in each region supported separation from Ukraine and joining Russia.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs called the referendums “yet another Russian crime” and “null and worthiness.” The U.S., as well as the EU, have condemned the orchestrated “voting.” President Joe Biden vowed to "never, never, never" recognize the results of the Russian-led referendums.

By annexing Russian-occupied territory and threatening to use nuclear weapons, Putin is attempting to force Kyiv to the negotiating table, an Institute for the Study of War report said.

Attacks against any part of the swathe of Ukraine that Russia annexed would be considered aggression against Russia itself, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. Putin said previously that he was willing to use nuclear weapons to defend Russia's "territorial integrity."

An official in the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine told ABC News that the probability of the Russian nuclear attack was considered low. He, as well as an official close to the minister of defense, also said the annexation of the four Ukrainian regions will not affect the counteroffensive of the Ukrainian army "in any way for now."

In response to the annexation President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine signed a decree Tuesday ruling out any negotiations with Putin.

“It was our state that always offered Russia to agree on coexistence on equal, honest, dignified and fair terms," Zelenskyy said. "It is obvious that this is impossible with this Russian president. He does not know what dignity and honesty are. Therefore, we are ready for a dialogue with Russia, but already with another president of Russia."

Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to the head of the president’s office, told ABC: “In order for the dialogue to become possible, Russia must abandon the basic demand -- the claim to Ukrainian territory. And the ball is on the Russian side. One call is all it takes to give the order to cease fire and withdraw troops. Obviously, Putin will never go for it.”

Russia doesn’t fully control the four regions of Ukraine where the illegal referendums were held, adding further complications to the process of declaring them part of Russia.

“The territories of the DPR, the LPR, and the Kherson and Zaporizhzhya regions lie within the borders that existed on the day of their establishment and the day of their entry into Russia," the Russian law signed by Putin says. The "day of entry" is when the Russian parliament makes the respective amendments to the Constitution.

But during a week between the referendums and the day when Putin signed the law, the Armed Forces of Ukraine pushed more than 30 km forward in the Kherson region and liberated, in particular, a town of Lyman in the Lugansk region.

Neither will the military draft announced by Putin on Sept. 21 change the course of the war in Ukraine, Ukrainian General Staff and the ministry of defense representatives told ABC News.

Russia's Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Tuesday 200,000 men have now been mobilized, but the actual number is still unclear. The U.K. Ministry of Defense said Russia is struggling to recruit troop leaders and train the newly called up.

Mykola Belieskov, a research fellow at Ukraine's National Institute for Strategic Studies, said the draft "should be viewed primarily as an effort to keep the current front line intact."

“As you see, no Russian strikes so far, although the Ukrainian forces are advancing," he told ABC.

The Institute of the Study of War also said in one of its daily reports that the Kremlin’s decision to mobilize more manpower will not improve the performance of the Russian army in Ukraine.

Zelenskyy called upon the Russian conscripts to surrender to Ukraine.

“We see that people, in particular, in Dagestan, began to fight for their lives. We see that they are beginning to understand that this is a matter of their lives," he said, switching in his speech between the Ukrainian and Russian languages. "Why should their husbands, brothers, sons die in this war?”

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Princess Anne makes surprise visit to New York City

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(NEW YORK) -- Anne, the princess royal, is known as one of the most hardworking and unassuming members of Britain's royal family, two traits she showed this week on a surprise visit to New York City.

Anne, the only daughter of the late Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, joined commuters on a ride on the Staten Island Ferry, which travels between lower Manhattan and the borough of Staten Island.

"We were pleased to welcome Her Royal Highness Princess Anne to the #StatenIslandFerry today," the New York City Department of Transportation wrote on Twitter alongside a photo of Anne looking out across New York Harbor.

In Staten Island, Anne visited the National Lighthouse Museum, for which she is honorary chair of Illuminating Future Generations, a multimillion-dollar fundraising campaign.

On its website, the museum describes Anne as "one of the great champions in the international lighthouse community."

Later in the day, Anne traveled back to Manhattan, where she attended a reception at the View at the Battery and later a dinner on Park Avenue.

After her quick trip, Anne boarded a flight home to the U.K. out of John F. Kennedy International Airport.
The princess royal's quick visit to the U.S. came just weeks after she took center stage as the world mourned the death of her mother, the 96-year-old queen.

Anne, the second eldest of the queen and Prince Philip's four children, was with her mother in her final hours before her death on Sept. 8 at Balmoral Castle, in Scotland.

Anne then traveled with the queen's coffin at every step of its journey from Balmoral Castle to the queen's final resting place, the King George VI Memorial Chapel at St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle.

The sight of Anne by her mother's side on her final journey was a striking and fitting image given the close bond the princess was known to have shared with her mother.

In becoming a mom of two with her first husband, Mark Phillips, Anne gave the queen and Philip the first two of their eight grandchildren, Peter Phillips and Zara Phillips Tindall.

Anne chose not to give her two children royal titles when they were born, an option she would have been given by the queen had she wished to do so.

She told Vanity Fair in an interview two years ago to mark her 70th birthday that she thought it was "easier" for her children to go through life without HRH titles.

"I think it was probably easier for them, and I think most people would argue that there are downsides to having titles," Anne said. "So I think that was probably the right thing to do."

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Three scientists win Nobel Prize in Chemistry for making molecules 'click'

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(STOCKHOLM) -- Three scientists won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry Wednesday for their work in making molecules "click."

Two Americans, K. Barry Sharpless of Scripps Research in La Jolla, California, and Carolyn Bertozzi of Stanford University in California, and one Dane -- Morten Meldal at the University of Copenhagen -- received the prize.

Sharpless and Medal -- independent of each other -- "laid the foundations of click chemistry," a field in which molecular building blocks are snapped together “quickly and efficiently.”

Bertozzi then used this field to develop bioorthogonal chemistry, in which scientists modify molecules in cells of living organisms “without disrupting the normal chemistry of the cell.”

“This year’s Prize in Chemistry deals with not overcomplicating matters, instead working with what is easy and simple. Functional molecules can be built even by taking a straightforward route,” Johan Åqvist, chair of the Nobel Committee for Chemistry, said in a statement.

Sharpless previously won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2001, making him only the fifth person to win two Nobel prizes and the second person ever to win the award twice, according to the committee. His first award was for developing three types of chemical reactions.

Last year, scientists Benjamin List and David MacMillan won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for a new tool in molecular construction.

Each Nobel prize is worth 10 million kronor -- the equivalent of about $900,000 -- and is given to laureates with a diploma and a gold medal on Dec. 10, the date the creator of the Nobel prizes, Alfred Nobel, died in 1896.

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Catalan separatist movement in Spain at 'stalemate' five years after independence vote

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(LONDON) -- When an independence referendum was held in Catalonia on Oct. 1, 2017, some citizens in Spain saw an illegal travesty -- and others viewed the vote as a sign of hope.

Elisenda Paluzie, a University of Barcelona economics professor, who favors independence, said she endured an all-night plight to vote in the referendum after Spanish police confiscated ballot boxes at her voting center.

The Parliament of Catalonia passed the referendum, but the Constitutional Court of Spain declared the vote unconstitutional. About 90% voted in favor of separating from Spain. The Spanish government placed doubt on the quality of these landslide results, alleging voters could cast multiple ballots.

In the five years since the referendum, tensions within the wealthy, autonomous region of Spain have remained high, while the concerted effort to separate has waned, according to the Center for Opinion Studies.

Despite the pandemic and war in Ukraine threatening Europe’s economy, the question of the region’s autonomy continues to polarize Catalonia, as recorded by the Library of Congress. Still, pro-independent activists and anti-separatists agree on one idea: the route to independence is uncertain.

In the coming months and years, further developments could propel or quell the movement, including the Spanish elections on May 28, 2023, and Catalan regional elections in 2025, Paluzie said. Experts on both sides of the issue predict a right-wing win in upcoming elections would mobilize the movement, said Paluzie and anti-separation politician Rafael Arenas. Both sides doubt a future with compromise in it, they added.

United Nations research published in the past six months said that at least 65 separatist leaders have been surveilled by spyware made by Israel's NSO Group. The spyware investigation lacks proof of Spanish federal involvement, said Arenas.

One alleged target, Paluzie, also works as the vice president of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization in Washington. Since the referendum, she said the independence effort has mostly “retreated under repression.”

“Now we are in a turning point of starting to retake positions,” Paluzie said.

David Aguinaga, a city council member in Terrassa, east of Barcelona, said Catalonia is still “at a stalemate.” Aguinaga said he opposes the movement because he believes in the Spanish constitution. He said he didn't vote in the referendum.

“This isn’t a conflict between Spain and Catalonia,” Aguinaga said. “This is a civil conflict in Catalonia, among those who are for independence, and those who are against independence.”

From 2015 to 2016, Arenas, the former president of Societat Civil Catalana, utilized the courts to remove public funding and enact bans against local governments using public buildings to display Catalonian flags, which he said were “using public funds for partisan propaganda.” Societat Civil Catalana is an organization countering the independence movement.

On Aug. 31, the U.N. Human Rights Committee said Spain violated international human rights by suspending four Catalan independence leaders from their positions.

Erika Casajoana, deputy representative of the Catalan Government to the EU, said the negotiations on the global stage have been hard-fought, like the debates at home.

“Victories before international institutions justify us, but will not get us to independence, we need to make independence ourselves,” Casajoana said.

An obstacle to those seeking independence is their lack of singular leadership, Casajoana said. The two biggest pro-independence parties in the Catalan government -- Esquerra Republicana (the Catalan Republican Left) and Junts (Together for Catalonia party) -- are evenly matched in the Catalan parliament, splintering the movement’s efforts.

“There's no way back,” Casajoana said. “We only can break away. The moment Spain lifts the boot, boom, we are gone.”

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


North Korea fires ballistic missile over Japan

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(NEW YORK, TOKYO and SEOUL) -- North Korea fired a ballistic missile over Japan early on Tuesday morning, the Japanese Ministry of Defense said.

South Korea and the U.S. conducted a joint strike package flight and precision bombing drill in response to the ballistic missile test, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff told ABC news.

The Japanese government issued a “J-alert” through its emergency warning system, advising residents to take cover in sturdy buildings or underground.

A government spokesperson said Japan didn’t attempt to shoot the missile down because they didn’t think it posed a threat.

A U.S. defense official confirmed the launch to ABC News.

Residents in Aomori and Hokkaido prefectures, toward the northern end of Japan, were advised to be on alert and to notify police or fire officials if debris is seen.

Tuesday's launch marked the seventh time a North Korean missile flew over Japan. The last time was in August 2017. North Korea has shot 21 ballistic missiles and two cruise missiles since January, a record-breaking number of launches in a single year. Tuesday's launch was the country's fifth missile test in just over a week.

“We ask that people return to life as usual, calmly," the Japanese government’s chief spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters at a press conference.

People were also warned by officials not to touch or pick up any debris.

The office of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida began to gather members to analyze the situation.

A government spokesperson said no damage has been reported so far and a search is underway for debris. Officials are gathering information and will work with South Korea and the U.S.

"North Korea's actions threaten Japan and the international community," the spokesperson said. "Missile launches like this go against the U.N. resolutions. Japan will launch a strong protest against North Korea in light of this. All new information will be shared promptly."

The White House said in a statement late Monday local time in Washington, D.C., that "the United States strongly condemns the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's (DPRK) dangerous and reckless decision to launch a long-range ballistic missile over Japan."

U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan spoke with his Japanese and South Korean counterparts on Monday night local time, according to White House National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson.

"In both calls, the National Security Advisors consulted on appropriate and robust joint and international responses," Watson said, "and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan reinforced the United States' ironclad commitments to the defense of Japan and the ROK [South Korea]."

Regional players may have few cards left in their hands to play towards curbing North Korea, observers said. Jeff Kingston, director of Asian Studies at Temple University Japan, told ABC News that the missile launch was a very provocative act as it comes amidst numerous missile tests this year.

“There are no good options for [South Korean President] Yoon, Kishida, Biden to rein in Kim Jong Un,” Kingston said. “Sanctions and condemnation have failed to deter him and there is no good military option.”

North Korea recently passed a law declaring its readiness to launch preemptive nuclear strikes. Analysts warned that the country may seek to reaffirm its nuclear weapons state status and is prepping for a seventh nuclear test.

Jaechun Kim, professor of international relations at South Korea's Sogang University, said the U.S., Korea and Japan should mobilize cooperation from like-minded countries in non-U.N. sanctions to thwart North Korea’s provocations.

“A unified front must be established that imposes sanctions on North Korea, as they did on Russia,” Kim said. “This is the only way to penalize North Korea for its bad behavior.”

Kim also told ABC News that China, North Korea’s strongest ally, may have no little or no say in North Korea’s actions.

“North Korea just does what it needs to do these days. So, with or without China’s support, it is quite likely for the North to conduct 7th nuke test,” Kim said. “It will be interesting to see whether Xi Jinping will throw his weight behind Kim Jong Un.”

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Student protesters in Iran tear-gassed, arrested by police: Report

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(LONDON) -- The third week of nationwide protests in Iran turned particularly violent Sunday when security forces besieged Sharif University, a prominent university in the country, and closed the main gates of the facility where hundreds of students were protesting.

The violent confrontation led to arrests and injuries, according to eyewitnesses who shared their accounts on social media sites such as Vahid Online.

The unrest swept the country after the suspicious death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who died in the custody of the morality police, which arrests women for not wearing a hijab properly. Protests, however, soon went beyond the condemnation of the morality police and turned into a movement against the Islamic Republic, with slogans demanding the toppling of the regime.

Reports from inside Sharif University Sunday night described the atmosphere as “dreadful.” Many shared accounts of students being trapped inside the university and told to leave the premises through a parking garage. Once they got there, however, the students found themselves encircled by the guards who were waiting to arrest them, the Sharif University Islamic Association reported. Students were tear-gassed and shot by pellet guns, paintballs and rubber bullets, according to the association.

In his first comments about the protests since they broke out on Sept. 17, Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei blamed the U.S. and Israel for the unrest.

"The incident that happened in which a young girl died was a bitter one. Our hearts were also broken," he said Saturday in a graduation address for the country's armed forces.

Accusing protesters of making the streets “unsafe” by setting cars and banks on fire, he said people should have waited for the results of the “investigation.”

"I say clearly that the riot is designed by America, the Zionist regime and those on their payroll," Khamenei said, alleging that some of the protesters have links to the country’s former monarch or some of its opposition groups.

According to the Iranian penal system, such accusations can put people behind bars for years or even put them at risk of execution.

According to Iran Human Right, the death toll from the protests was 133 on Sunday, 40 of whom were killed in an attack in the southeastern city of Zahedan on Sept. 30.

State-linked media, however, confirmed only 19 of the casualties in Zahedan and accused "separatists" of the attacks in the southeast.

The Islamic Association of Sharif University Students said it invited “students and professors of universities across the country to close their classes as a sign of solidarity with the professors and students of Sharif University.”

The call for the strike was received by many university students who kept protesting despite the crackdown on the Sharif University protests.

While other strikes were announced by small business owners, teachers and some labor associations, the excessive violence against university students has raised concerns.

The first open call for a strike was issued by the Coordinating Council of Teachers' Cultural Associations on Sept. 26. The Council “strongly condemned” the violent action taken by the state against protesters, especially students, and asked all working and retired educators to stand with the protesters.

“Nationwide strikes cause psychological pressure on the repressive forces to realize that many people agree with the protesters,” a Health Ministry employee told ABC News. He asked that his name not be used for fear of retribution.

“I hope people understand they would be better off striking in the long run because nothing matters as much as togetherness and unity,” he said.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Migrants in Italy face uncertainty after far-right prime minister's win

Valeria Ferraro/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- Giorgia Meloni, leader of Fratelli d'Italia (Brothers of Italy), will become the first female prime minister in Italy’s history.

Her election last month will move the country to the far right for the first time since Benito Mussolini’s fall during World War II. The Brothers of Italy, which was founded by Meloni, is a national-conservative populist party that opposes undocumented immigration, according to its website.

Meloni’s victory now means uncertainty for those who migrated to Italy.

When Baryali Waiz, a refugee in Italy, heard the results of the general election, he said he was worried.

“What happens when voters can’t find work? They blame migrants,” Waiz told ABC News.

As of August, Italy’s unemployment rate stood at 8.1%, the third highest in the European Union after Spain and Greece.

Clamping down on immigration was a key part of Meloni’s campaign. Though she softened her rhetoric before the election, Meloni pledged stricter border controls and proposed establishing European Union-managed centers to analyze asylum applications.

There are about five million foreign-born residents in Italy, making up less than 9% of the country’s total population of 59.2 million, according to the country’s most recent census data. Poll results from 2018 concluded that 35% of Italians believe immigration was one of the most important issues facing their country, an increase of 17 percentage points from 2014.

Meloni has called for a “naval blockade” at sea to prevent “illegal departures” to Italy. She opposed "Ius Scholae," a bill proposing citizenship rights for students under 12 who immigrate to Italy for their education. Meloni has referred to pro-immigration measures as part of a left-wing conspiracy to “replace Italians with immigrants." During a speech in January 2017, she called immigration to Italy “ethnic substitution.”

Waiz, 30, has lived in Rome since he was 16. He attended Italian high school and studied political science at John Cabot University. Originally from Kabul, Afghanistan, Waiz said he’s grown accustomed to anti-immigration sentiment in Italy, which he said has become more normalized since Meloni came onto the political scene.

“She's using the weak points of the Italian people -- religion and hate,” Waiz said.

Branding herself as a Catholic mother during her campaign, Meloni’s victory in Sunday’s general election coincided with the Catholic Church’s World Day of Migrants and Refugees. Meloni capitalized on preexisting fears regarding the declining birth rate in Italy, which remains at 1.2 children per woman.

“Meloni’s anti-immigration views are always framed into Italian identity, centering on family and markers of religion,” said Andrew Geddes, director of the Migration Policy Center at the European University Institute in Florence. “Foreigners and outsiders may not fit with that identity.”

Meloni’s rhetoric is seldom about the contributions of migrants, who deliver services in the Italian economy, Geddes said.

European bureaucracy will temper Meloni’s ability to enact anti-immigration measures, Geddes noted. For instance, her idea of naval blockades would, in practice, force migrant boats to dock in Spain or Malta, creating tension within the EU. Over the last four decades, the average life of a coalition in Italy has only been 18 months, Geddes said.

Though it’s unlikely Meloni will radically alter a complex system of immigration rules, her direction will accelerate major societal transformations, said Alberto Alemanno, a professor of European Union Law at HEC Paris.

Born in the northwestern Italian city of Torino, Alemanno returned to Italy for the past week, where the social cohesion with immigrant communities is “eroding,” he said.

“[Meloni] makes racism and xenophobia mainstream, which is negative for Italy’s investment in European multilateral relations,” Alemanno said. Her governance will also make it more difficult for nonprofits and legal firms to aid immigrants in Italy, he argued.

Restrictive policies in Italy’s legal framework will be an uphill battle for asylum seekers, said Pietro Derossi, head of the Global Mobility & Immigration team at Lexia Avvocati, a legal organization in Milan. Migrants fleeing from poverty, persecution or war will be adversely impacted by Meloni’s election, Derossi said.

One of Derossi's clients, Igor Makushinksy, is a Ukrainian citizen. Since Makushinksy entered Italy before Feb. 24, he is ineligible for temporary protection for Ukrainians. Neither Makushinksy nor his wife and newborn daughter have been able to find permanent residency. His family cannot benefit from medical and social assistance without documentation.

“We have three EU countries in which the far right is dominating now,” Makushinksy told ABC News. “It scares me.”

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Buckingham Palace releases new image of Royals future

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(LONDON) -- Buckingham Palace released a new official photo of the king, the queen consort and the prince and princess of Wales following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla posed alongside Prince William, the next heir apparent to the British throne, and his wife Princess Catherine of Wales -- all of whom were given new titles after the death of the late queen.

The photo was taken 10 days after the death of Queen Elizabeth II, on Sept. 18, ahead of the reception for Heads of State and Official Overseas Guests at Buckingham Palace.


At least 125 dead in riots at Indonesian soccer match

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(MALANG, Indonesia) -- At least 125 people died after a soccer match in Indonesia, where police fired tear gas into crowds of rioting fans, causing a stampede, officials said.

East Java Vice Governor Emil Dardak told a local news station Sunday that at least 125 died in the incident. Authorities revised the death toll after previously counting some fatalities twice. Local media reported about 180 others were injured.

“I regret this tragedy and I hope this is the last tragedy of football in the country,” Widodo said in a statement.

The deaths followed football club Arema FC’s 3-2 loss to visiting Persebaya Surabaya at Kanjuruhan Stadium, in Malang, East Java.

The 42,000-seat stadium hosts games from the Liga 1 league of the professional Football Association of Indonesia, known locally as PSSI.

“We are mourning and apologize to the families of the victims and all parties over the incident,” PSSI Chief Mochamad Iriawan said in a statement. “For that, PSSI immediately formed an investigation team and immediately left for Malang.”

Widodo ordered the league suspended. He called for an investigation into the deaths, along with “a thorough evaluation of the implementation of football matches and also the security procedures for their implementation.”

Videos and photos from the stadium appeared to show fans rioting in the stands and rushing the pitch. Other images showed police officers in riot gear on the field, with smoke from what appeared to be tear gas billowing from the stands.

At least two police officers were among the victims, officials said.

The event ranks among the deadliest soccer riots in history. The two previous deadliest riots that involved tear gas use occurred in Peru in 1964, when 318 people were killed, and in Ghana in 2001, when 126 people were killed.

FIFA, soccer’s governing body, includes among its regulations for pitchside stewards: “No firearms or 'crowd control gas' shall be carried or used.”

"The football world is in a state of shock following the tragic incidents that have taken place in Indonesia at the end of the match between Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya at the Kanjuruhan Stadium," FIFA President Gianni Infantino said in a statement.

“This is a dark day for all involved in football and a tragedy beyond comprehension. I extend my deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims who lost their lives following this tragic incident," he said. "Together with FIFA and the global football community, all our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, those who have been injured, together with the people of the Republic of Indonesia, the Asian Football Confederation, the Indonesian Football Association, and the Indonesian Football League, at this difficult time.”

Authorities in Indonesia have revised the death toll following the stampede at a soccer match on Sunday to at least 125 after previously counting some fatalities twice.

-ABC News’ Victoria Arancio, Karson Yiu, Tomek Rolski and Randy Mulyanto contributed to this report.

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Notre Dame restoration on track to be completed by 5th anniversary of tragic fire

Anna Rabemanantsoa/ABC News

(PARIS) -- The restoration work inside Notre Dame cathedral is ramping up.

Less than two years before the grand reopening, Notre Dame’s exceptional stained glass windows and paintings, which were spared by the flames that ravaged the monument back in April 2019, are now being given a fresh look.

This past spring, eight workshops of master glassmakers and artistic locksmiths were selected across France and entrusted with the cleaning and restoration of the cathedral’s stained glass windows.

“This is the first time they have been cleaned since … they were laid in the 19th century, 150 years ago,” president of the Manufacture Vincent-Petit and restorer Flavie Vincent-Petit revealed to ABC News.

Located in the city of Troyes, Vincent-Petit’s workshop has been awarded the cleaning and restoration of the stained glass windows of eight high bays.

“[Notre Dame] represents all the French and European medieval culture of the Middle Ages and how finally all these European nations were built around a spiritual impulse,” Vincent-Petit told ABC News, adding “It is extremely positive to be able to participate in the reconstruction.”

After months of preparatory work -- including decontamination against lead due to fire, documentation and restoration tests -- the restorers are only now starting the delicate and arduous cleaning and restoration process.

But caring for Notre Dame’s stained glass windows is not solely a French affair as the Cologne Cathedral workshop from Germany has joined the effort by restoring the stained glass windows of four other high bays.

Another project in this huge undertaking is the restoration of 22 paintings out of the 25 removed from the cathedral post fire.

Global donations for the project is an estimated at around €2,700,000 euros (approximately $2,703,000) and their restoration is carried out by 50 experts under the project management of the Regional Department of Cultural Affairs of Île-de-France (DRAC).

“No damage requiring the restoration of these paintings is linked to the fire of Notre Dame. These canvases are restored because they are old. Their restorations date back decades,” regional conservator of historical monuments at the DRAC Ile-de-France, Antoine-Marie Préaux, told ABC News.

At work since October 2021 in a secret location near Paris, the experts have been repairing 17th and 18th century works by masters such as French painters Charles Le Brun and Jacques Blanchard, as well as Italian painter Guido Reni, by sometimes recreating colors that no longer exist with the help of period documents.

Notre Dame is currently scheduled to reopen on April 15, 2024, exactly five years to the day after the devastating fire destroyed the upper part of Notre-Dame Cathedral and the surrounding areas.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


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