Dozens more civilians rescued from Ukrainian steel plant
ZAPORIZHZHIA, Ukraine (AP) — Dozens more civilians have been rescued from the tunnels under the besieged steel plant where Ukrainian fighters in Mariupol are making their last stand. The holdouts are trying to prevent Moscow’s complete takeover of the strategically important port city. Russian and Ukrainian officials said Friday that 50 people were evacuated from the Azovstal steel plant and handed over to representatives of the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross. The Russian military said the group included 11 children. Russian officials and Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said evacuation efforts would continue Saturday.
'We're so sorry': Mariupol plant evacuees feel relief, grief
ZAPORIZHZHIA, Ukraine (AP) — More than 100 civilians have finally emerged from the bombarded Azovstal steel plant, the last Ukrainian holdout in the ruined city of Mariupol. Interviewed by The Associated Press, they offered the clearest picture yet of their two months living in the center of hell. It is a story of deprivation and fear deep under the earth; in the dank darkness, they felt themselves rot and watched others die. But it is also a tale of quiet heroism. “We’re so sorry,” one evacuating family told civilians staying behind as they started toward the surface. “Don’t worry,” the others replied. “We’ll follow.”
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In abortion fight, conservatives push to end all exceptions
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Rape, incest and the health of the fetus or mother were once accepted reasons to obtain an abortion in even the most conservative Republican-led states. But now roughly 20 states have abortion bans in the works without some of those exceptions. The shift comes as the Supreme Court is expected to overturn the nationwide right to abortion this summer. Troy Newman with the national anti-abortion group Operation Rescue, says exceptions for rape and incest and to protect a pregnant woman's life were only included in previous legislation to appease centrists.
Nearly 1 million COVID-19 deaths: A look at the US numbers
The count of U.S. deaths from COVID-19 is nearing 1 million, and there's a wealth of data making clear which groups have been hit the hardest. More than 700,000 people 65 and older died. Men died at higher rates than women. White people made up most of the deaths overall. Yet an unequal burden fell on Black, Hispanic and Native American people considering the younger average age of minority communities. Racial gaps narrowed between surges then widened again with each new wave. Most deaths happened in urban counties, but rural areas paid a high price at times.
Rangers locate climber's body on Alaska's Denali
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — National park rangers in Alaska have located the body of the year’s first registered climber on North America’s tallest peak. Because it’s so early in the climbing season, 35-year-old Matthias Rimml was alone on the upper part of Denali. He was a professional mountain guide from Tirol, Austria. Denali National Park and Preserve officials say Rimml's body was spotted during a high elevation aerial search on Friday. A friend had contacted the park Tuesday after not receiving a periodic check from Rimml. Park officials say Rimml likely fell on a notoriously treacherous stretch of the West Buttress route. Officials say 13 climbers, including Rimml, have died in falls along that steep traverse.
Man gets life for killings in California, Texas
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A man who pleaded guilty to a series of Southern California robberies and attacks that killed five men and injured seven others has been given multiple life sentences. Ramon Escobar also was sentenced Friday in Los Angeles for killing his aunt and uncle in Texas just a week before he fled to California. Prosecutors say over the course of about two weeks in September 2018, Escobar bludgeoned sleeping men on the beach in Santa Monica or the streets of Los Angeles, mostly because they irritated him or to steal their money. All but one victim was homeless.
Explosion at luxury Havana hotel kills 22, injures dozens
HAVANA (AP) — A powerful explosion apparently caused by a natural gas leak has blown away outer walls from a five-star hotel in the heart of Cuba’s capital, killing at least 22 people and injuring dozens. Havana Gov. Reinaldo García Zapata told the Communist Party newspaper Granma that no tourists had been staying at the 96-room Hotel Saratoga because it was undergoing renovations. Officials say about a dozen people are missing and that searchers are hunting for people who may be trapped. Cuban state TV blamed the blast on a truck carrying natural gas that it was supplying to the hotel. The blast happened as Cuba tries to revive its tourism sector.
Feds accuse Starbucks of unfair labor practices in Buffalo
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Federal labor officials are accusing Starbucks of unfair labor practices at its stores in Buffalo, New York, including retaliation against pro-union employees. The National Labor Relations Board’s Buffalo regional director filed a sweeping complaint Friday outlining a host of labor law violations and seeking reinstatement and backpay for the employees. The coffee chain called the allegations “false” and vowed to fight them at an upcoming hearing. Starbucks Workers United said the complaint “confirms the extent and depravity of Starbucks’ conduct in Western New York for the better part of a year.” The first votes in a nationwide Starbucks unionization push came in December at three stores in Buffalo.
Fire-ravaged New Mexico villages cling to faith, ‘querencia’
As the largest wildfire burning in the U.S. marches across northern New Mexico, residents have been guided by their faith and their connection to each other and the land. They've pleaded with God for intervention in the form of rain and calm winds, and protection for their neighbors they see as reflections of themselves. They've invoked the Virgin Mary and the patrons saints of firefighters and the various villages scattered across the landscape. The fire has burned hundreds of square miles, destroying dozens of homes in largely Hispanic working-class neighborhoods and forcing thousands to evacuate. Winds will be a major concern this weekend.
Palestinians facing eviction by Israel vow to stay on land
JINBA, West Bank (AP) — Residents of a cluster of Bedouin communities in the occupied West Bank have vowed to stick to their land and resist an order by Israel's top court to evict them. The order came after a more than a two-decade legal struggle by Palestinians to remain in their homes in Masafer Yatta. Israel has argued that the residents only use the area for seasonal agriculture and that they had already rejected compromise offers giving them occasional access to the land. The Palestinians say that if implemented, the Israeli Supreme Court's ruling opens the way for the eviction of all the 12 communities that have a population of 4,000 people.
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