Ukrainian town awaits first evacuees from Mariupol steel plant
ZAPORIIZHZHIA, Ukraine (AP) — A first group of civilians trapped for weeks inside a steel mill in Russia-besieged Mariupol were expected to reach a Ukrainian-held town on Monday, as a new attempt was launched to allow people to take shelter elsewhere in the city to leave.
Video uploaded by Ukrainian forces on Sunday showed elderly women and mothers with young children climbing a steep pile of rubble from the sprawling Azovstal steelworks and eventually boarding a bus.
The evacuation, if successful, would represent rare progress in mitigating the human cost of the nearly 10-week war, which has caused particular suffering in Mariupol. Previous attempts to open safe corridors out of the port city on the Sea of Azov and other places have failed. In the past, people fleeing Russian-occupied areas have said their vehicles have come under fire, and Ukrainian officials have repeatedly accused Russian forces of bombing agreed evacuation routes.
At least some of those evacuated from the plant were apparently taken to a village controlled by Moscow-backed separatists, although Russian state media reported they would be allowed to continue on Ukrainian-held territory if they wanted it. In the past, Ukrainian officials have accused Moscow troops of forcibly moving civilians from captured areas to Russia; Moscow said people wanted to go to Russia.
More than 100 civilians were expected to arrive in Zaporizhzhia on Monday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Sunday.
Trump’s bid to shape GOP faces test with voters in May races
NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump’s post-presidency enters a new phase this month as voters across the United States begin to weigh the candidates he has elevated to pursue a one-party vision Republican rooted in hardline populism, culture wars and denial of his defeat in the 2020 campaign.
The first test comes on Tuesday when voters in Ohio choose between Trump-backed JD Vance for an open U.S. Senate seat and several other candidates who have spent months clamoring for the former president’s backing. In the coming weeks, elections in Nebraska, Pennsylvania and North Carolina will also serve as referendums on Trump’s ability to shape the future of the GOP.
In almost every case, Trump has endorsed only those who accept his bogus claims of voter fraud and excuse the murderous US Capitol insurrection he inspired last year.
“May is going to be a critical window into where we are,” said Republican Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, a Trump critic defending incumbent GOP governors in Georgia, Ohio and Idaho against challengers backed by Trump this month. “I’m just worried that there are people trying to destroy the party or burn it down.”
Few states can be a higher priority for Trump than Georgia, where early voting begins Monday ahead of the May 24 primary. He has taken a particularly active role in the gubernatorial race there, recruiting a former US senator to confront the incumbent Republican for not coming to terms with his election lie. For similar reasons, Trump is also aiming to unseat the Republican Secretary of State, whom he unsuccessfully lobbied to undo President Joe Biden’s victory.
Midterms 2022: What to know about the Ohio and Indiana primaries
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The first multi-state contest of the 2022 midterm election season unfolds Tuesday, as voters in Ohio choose candidates for governor and the U.S. Senate while the Indiana voters wonder if their legislature should become even more conservative.
The races, particularly in Ohio, could open a new window into former President Donald Trump’s influence among party loyalists. He was particularly involved in the Ohio Senate primary, which was marred by Republican divisions as well as campaigns for the United States House and Secretary of State.
For Democrats, a potential threat to incumbent U.S. Representative Shontel Brown in Cleveland is of keen interest. Brown is locked in a rematch against progressive challenger Nina Turner, a former state senator and presidential campaign surrogate for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Turner is trying again after losing to Brown in last year’s special election.
The vote in Ohio comes against the backdrop of a chaotic and still unresolved redistricting battle.
What to watch as the Ohio and Indiana primaries unfold:
Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr with joy and concern
CAIRO (AP) — For the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Fitr, the smell of freshly baked orange cookies and cookies sprinkled with powdered sugar usually fills the air at Mona Abubakr’s home. But due to rising prices, the Egyptian housewife has been making smaller quantities of treats this year, some of which she gives as gifts to relatives and neighbors.
The mother-of-three also tweaked another tradition this Eid, which began Monday in Egypt and many Muslim-majority countries and marks the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. She bought fewer outfits for her sons to wear during the three-day party.
“I told them we had to compromise on some things so we could afford other things,” she said.
This year, Muslims around the world are celebrating Eid al-Fitr – usually marked by community prayers, festive gatherings over festive meals and new clothes – in the shadow of soaring global food prices exacerbated by the war in Ukraine. Against this backdrop, many are still determined to enjoy Eid amid the easing of coronavirus restrictions in their countries while, for others, the festivities are being held back by conflict and economic hardship.
At Southeast Asia’s largest mosque, tens of thousands of Muslims attended Monday morning prayers. The Istiqlal Grand Mosque in Jakarta, the Indonesian capital, was closed when Islam’s holiest period coincided with the start of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 and was closed to communal prayers last year.
A group of American pediatricians decide to abandon race-based advice
For years, pediatricians have followed misguided guidelines linking race to the risk of UTIs and newborn jaundice. In a new policy announced Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics said it is putting all of its guidance under the microscope to eliminate “race-based” medicine and the resulting health disparities.
A review of AAP treatment recommendations that began before the death of George Floyd in 2020 and intensified after doctors feared young black people had been undertreated and neglected, said lead author Dr. Joseph Wright of New Policy and Director of Health Equity at the University of Maryland Medical System.
The influential academy began to purge outdated advice. It is committed to reviewing its “full catalog,” including guidelines, teaching materials, manuals and newsletter articles, Wright said.
“We’re really much more rigorous about how we assess disease risk and health outcomes,” Wright said. “We have to hold ourselves accountable in this way. This is going to require some heavy lifting.
Dr. Brittani James, a family physician and medical director of a Chicago health center, said the academy is taking a big step.
Candidates test skipping debates without upsetting voters
ATLANTA (AP) — Ted Budd skipped four Republican primary debates in his bid for a U.S. Senate seat in North Carolina. GOP gubernatorial candidates in Ohio, Nevada and Nebraska also declined to engage with their opponents from the debate podium.
And on Tuesday, Herschel Walker is expected to miss a second debate against his Republican rivals for a crucial U.S. Senate seat after skipping the first.
As the most competitive phase of the midterm primary season unfolds this week, many candidates for major office — often Republicans — are abandoning the age-old tradition of debating their rivals before Election Day.
For some goof-prone candidates like Walker, avoiding the debate stage reduces the risk of an awkward moment. For others, it’s an opportunity to snub a media ecosystem they find elitist and fit into the mold of former President Donald Trump, who flaunted to miss some debates during the 2016 campaign. .
The Republican National Committee is already preparing to withdraw from the 2024 presidential debates, although the final decision will likely rest with whoever runs as the party’s nominee.
New Zealand welcomes tourists again as pandemic rules ease
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand welcomed tourists from the United States, Canada, Britain, Japan and more than 50 other countries for the first time in more than two years on Monday after having dropped most of its remaining pandemic border restrictions.
The country has long been renowned for its breathtaking scenery and adventure tourism offerings such as bungee jumping and skiing. Before the spread of COVID-19, more than 3 million tourists visited each year, accounting for 20% of New Zealand’s overseas revenue and more than 5% of the overall economy.
But international tourism came to a complete halt at the start of 2020 after New Zealand imposed some of the toughest border restrictions in the world.
Border rules remained in place as the government first pursued a strategy of elimination and then tried to tightly control the spread of the virus. The spread of omicron and the vaccinations of more than 80% of New Zealand’s 5 million people have led to the gradual easing of restrictions.
New Zealand reopened to Australian tourists three weeks ago and on Monday to around 60 visa-free countries, including much of Europe. Most tourists from India, China and other countries without waivers are still not allowed entry.