US calls for more weapons for Ukraine amid fears of expanding war | Region

TORETSK, Ukraine (AP) — The United States urged allies on Tuesday to move “heaven and earth” to keep kyiv well supplied with weapons as Russian forces rained fire on eastern and southern Ukraine. Ukraine amid growing new fears that the war is spilling over the country’s borders.

For the second day in a row, explosions rocked the breakaway Trans-Dniester region in neighboring Moldova, knocking out two powerful radio antennas near the Ukrainian border. No one claimed responsibility for the attacks, but Ukraine almost blamed Russia.

In other developments, Poland and Bulgaria said the Kremlin was cutting off natural gas supplies to the two NATO countries from Wednesday, the first such actions in the war. Both nations had refused Russia’s demands to pay in rubles.

Poland has been a major gateway for arms delivery to Ukraine and confirmed this week that it is sending tanks to the country.

The potential effect of the cut was not immediately clear. Poland said it was well prepared for such a move after working for years to reduce its dependence on Russian energy.

Russia suspends gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Polish and Bulgarian officials said Tuesday that Russia was suspending deliveries of natural gas from their countries after refusing to pay for their supplies in Russian rubles.

The governments of both European Union and NATO members said Russian energy giant Gazprom had informed them it was cutting gas supplies from Wednesday.

The suspensions would be the first since Russian President Vladimir Putin said last month that “unfriendly” foreign buyers should pay state-owned Gazprom in rubles instead of dollars and euros.

If Gazprom suspends deliveries to other countries, it could cause economic hardship in Europe, leading to higher gas prices and possibly rationing. Germany is particularly vulnerable due to its heavy dependence on Russian gas. But the cuts would also be a blow to Russia’s own economy.

Will Musk’s hands-off ideal for Twitter have broad appeal?

Finding $44 billion to buy Twitter was the easy part for Elon Musk.

Then comes the real challenge for the world’s richest person: delivering on his promise to make Twitter “better than ever” a lightly regulated haven for free speech.

His vision for improving the 16-year-old company relies heavily on a commitment to speak “as freely as reasonably possible” on the platform – a commitment that has been celebrated by the political right and among supporters of former President Donald Trump, whose account last year was permanently banned. For others concerned that Musk is giving free rein to agitators spouting hate, lies and other harmful content, making the platform too toxic for advertisers and average users, Musk offered few guarantees.

“The extreme antibody reaction from those fearful of free speech speaks volumes,” he tweeted on Tuesday.

The CDC estimates that 3 out of 4 children have had coronavirus infections

NEW YORK (AP) — Three out of four American children have been infected with the coronavirus and more than half of all Americans have shown signs of previous infections, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers estimated in a report Tuesday.

The researchers looked at blood samples from more than 200,000 Americans and looked for antibodies to the virus made from infections, not vaccines. They found that signs of past infection increased dramatically between December and February, when the more contagious omicron variant emerged in the United States.

For Americans of all ages, about 34% had signs of previous infection in December. Just two months later, 58% have done so.

“I expected it to increase. I didn’t expect it to increase that much,” said Dr Kristie Clarke, co-leader of a CDC team that tracks the extent of infections. to coronavirus.

Harris positive for COVID-19, Biden not a ‘close contact’

WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Kamala Harris tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday, the White House announced, underscoring the persistence of the highly contagious virus even as the United States eases restrictions in a bid to return to pre-pandemic normalcy.

Neither President Joe Biden nor First Lady Jill Biden were considered a “close contact” of Harris in recent days, the vice president’s press secretary, Kirsten Allen, said. Harris was scheduled to attend Biden’s daily presidential briefing on Tuesday morning but was not present, the White House said.

She had returned Monday from a week-long trip to the West Coast. The last time she saw Biden was the previous Monday, April 18.

“I have no symptoms and will continue to self-isolate and follow CDC guidelines,” Harris tweeted. “I’m grateful to be both vaccinated and boosted.”

Biden called her Tuesday afternoon to make sure she “has everything she needs” while working from home, the White House said.

Delta will start paying flight attendants when boarding

Delta Air Lines, which is facing another attempt to unionize its flight attendants, will start paying cabin crew when boarding, a first for a major US airline.

In the airline industry in the United States, hourly pay for flight attendants begins when all passengers are seated and the doors of the aircraft are closed.

Delta said the change will begin June 2 on all flights.

In a note to flight attendants, Delta’s senior vice president of inflight services Kristen Manion Taylor said the new salary “further recognizes how important your role is on board in ensuring a welcoming, safe departure. and punctual for every flight.”

The rate of pay during onboarding will be 50% of regular pay.

Brainard wins Senate confirmation to be Fed Vice Chairman

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate on Tuesday confirmed the nomination of Lael Brainard to a four-year term as vice chairman of the Federal Reserve, elevating her to the Fed’s No. the central bank’s toughest fight against inflation in four decades.

His confirmation came in a 52-43 vote in the Senate, with seven Republicans and all Democrats present voting in favour. President Joe Biden had nominated Brainard in November.

The relatively close vote reflects the increasingly partisan atmosphere in Congress and nationally that is now engulfing the nominating process of the Fed, an independent institution that has sought to stay above politics. The last time Brainard, a longtime Democratic official, stood before the Senate in 2014, her nomination to the Fed Board of Governors was approved 61-31.

In another sign of division, a procedural vote on whether to consider Biden nominating economics professor Lisa Cook to a position on the Fed board was defeated on Tuesday on partisan lines. , delaying a final Senate vote on his nomination.

The delay in reviewing Cook, who, if confirmed, would become the first black woman to serve on the Fed board, has drawn angry recriminations from senators from both parties, including statements suggesting racial bias from Senate Republicans.

Why has death row inmate Melissa Lucio’s execution been delayed?

HOUSTON (AP) — The execution of Melissa Lucio is overturned. At least for now.

Lucio, 52, was due to be executed by lethal injection on Wednesday for the death of his 2-year-old daughter Mariah in Harlingen, a town of about 75,000 people on the southern tip of Texas.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals intervened on Monday, granting the request of Lucio’s lawyers a stay of execution so that a lower court could consider allegations that new evidence showed Mariah’s injuries, including a blow. to the head, were caused by a fall down a steep staircase. .

Nearly half of the jurors who sentenced her to death for the 2007 death of one of her 14 children had called for her execution to be halted and for a new trial. Many lawmakers and celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, a criminal justice reform advocate, and Amanda Knox – an American whose murder conviction in the death of a British student in Italy was overturned – have rallied behind the because of Lucia. Prosecutors, however, argue that the girl was abused.

Lucio’s lawyers had filed various legal actions to stop his execution. She also had a clemency petition before the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, which was to review her case on Monday. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott could also have played a role this week in deciding Lucio’s fate. If ultimately put to death, Lucio would be the first Latina executed by Texas since 1863 and the first woman the state has put to death since 2014.

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Martin E. Berry