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Stephen King will strike in favor of the US government in a case against book publishing and mass merger

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Department of Justice asked a federal judge on Monday to block the merger of two "Big Five" book publishers, Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster, in a trial expected to draw distinctive testimony from horror writer Stephen King.

"It’s real money for real people," said John Reed, an attorney for the Department of Justice.

Also Monday, in the same Washington federal court, the Department of Justice argued before a different judge that UnitedHealth’s (OH.N) $8 billion deal to buy Change Healthcare (CHNG.O) It must stop. Read more

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In the publisher consolidation experiment, the government is not focusing on what consumers pay for books but on advances paid to the most successful authors, especially those with $250,000 or more.

"Evidence will show that the proposed merger will likely result in expected bestseller authors receiving smaller upfront payments, meaning that authors who work for years on their manuscripts will be paid less for their efforts," the government said in a pre-trial brief.

The government also intends to show that there are concerns among the merging parties that the deal is illegal. It previously revealed an email sent by Simon & Schuster CEO Jonathan Karp, who wrote: "I’m pretty sure the Department of Justice won’t allow Penguin Random House to buy us, but that’s assuming we still have the Department of Justice."

King, author of "The Shining," "Carrie" and other blockbuster films, will testify to the government, along with publishing executives and author agents.

Michael Beach, CEO of Hachette Book Group, is due to testify on Monday, while King is expected to testify on Tuesday.

Penguin Random House, the largest book publisher in the United States, said it plans to buy rival Simon & Schuster in November 2020. Penguin Random House is owned by German media company Bertelsmann. (BTGGg.F). Simon & Schuster is owned by ViacomCBS, now known as Paramount Global (PARA.O). The Ministry of Justice filed its lawsuit in November 2021. Read more

Defense led by attorney Daniel Petrushelli who defeated the Trump administration’s 2018 bid to stop AT&T Inc (Tennessee) From buying Time Warner, he argued that the market for books and publishers to win best-selling authors is a competitive market and that a merger would make it more competitive.

Petroselli said in opening arguments that the government is asking the court to block the merger for "less than 100 books a year," rejecting the idea that the biggest booksellers would be able to reduce advances.

Publishers will argue that the evidence shows that when bidding for potential bestsellers, Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster "are rarely the best bidders."

The top five publishers are Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Simon & Schuster, and Hachette, with Walt Disney Co. (DIS.N) and Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) Also in the market. HarperCollins is owned by News Corp (NWSA.O).

U.S. District Judge Florence Bane for the District of Columbia will decide whether the deal can go ahead. The trial is expected to last two to three weeks.

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(cover) by Diane Bartz and David Shepardson in Washington. Editing by Matthew Lewis and Mark Porter

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Russia pound Ukrainian port; Putin announces global naval ambitions

  • Putin’s naval ambitions include the Black Sea and the Arctic
  • Russian missiles bombed the port of Mykolaiv
  • Explosion at the base of the Russian fleet in the Black Sea
  • Ukrainian grain magnate Oleksiy Vadatorsky was murdered in Mykolaiv
  • Ukraine’s first grain ship may leave port on Monday

Kyiv (Reuters) – Russian missiles bombed the Ukrainian Black Sea city of Mykolaiv, where President Vladimir Putin signed a new naval doctrine that portrays the United States as Russia’s main rival and outlines global naval ambitions in the Black Sea and the Arctic.

Putin did not mention the conflict in Ukraine during a speech to mark Russian Navy Day on Sunday, but said the navy would receive Zircon hypersonic cruise missiles in the coming months. Missiles can travel at nine times the speed of sound, outstripping air defenses. Read more

Naval Day celebrations in the port of Sevastopol were disrupted when five Russian Navy crew members were injured in an explosion after a suspected drone flew into the yard of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, the governor of the coastal city of Crimea Mikhail Razvozaev told Russian media.

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Reuters could not independently verify the battlefield reports.

The attack was "undoubtedly carried out not from abroad, but from the Sevastopol region," Olga Kovitedi, a member of the Russian Senate, told the RIA news agency.

"Urgent searches are being conducted in the city to track down the organizers of this terrorist act," Kovitedi was quoted as saying.

More than a dozen rocket attacks on Sunday, possibly the most powerful on the city in five months of the war, hit homes and schools, killing two people and wounding three, Mayor of Mykolaiv Oleksandr Senkevich said. The missile strikes continued until Sunday evening.

Vitaly Kim, the governor of Mykolaiv, said on Telegram that Ukrainian grain magnate Oleksiy Vadatorsky, founder and owner of the agricultural company Nipolon, and his wife were killed in their home.

Headquartered in Mykolaiv, a city of strategic importance located on the border of the predominantly Russian-occupied Kherson region, Nipolon specializes in the production and export of wheat, barley and corn, has its own fleet and shipyard.

grain shipments

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called Vadotorsky’s death "a great loss for the whole of Ukraine".

Zelensky added that the businessman – one of Ukraine’s richest people with Forbes estimated his net worth in 2021 at $430 million – was building a modern grain market with a network of recharging stations and elevators.

“It was these people, these companies, precisely in southern Ukraine, who ensured food security for the world,” Zelensky said in his nightly speech. "It has always been this way. And it will be so again."

Putin invaded Ukraine on February 24, sparking a conflict that killed thousands, uprooted millions and severely strained relations between Russia and the West.

The biggest conflict in Europe since World War II has also fueled an energy and food crisis that is shaking the global economy. Ukraine and Russia are the main suppliers of grain.

Zelensky said Ukraine could harvest only half the normal amount this year due to the disruption of agriculture.

But the agreement signed under the auspices of the United Nations and Turkey on July 22 provides for safe passage for ships carrying grain from three ports in southern Ukraine.

A spokesman for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the ship could leave Ukraine’s ports on Monday.

Eastern danger

Zelensky said Russia is moving some troops from the eastern Donbass region to the southern Kherson and Zaporizhzhya regions.

"But this will not help them there. None of the Russian strikes will pass without a response from our army and intelligence officers," he said.

After failing to quickly capture the capital, Kyiv, early in the war, Russia shifted its forces to eastern and southern Ukraine.

Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, and Kyiv says Moscow is seeking to do the same with the Donbass region, linking it to Crimea in the south. Russian-backed separatists controlled parts of the region before the invasion.

Russia said it had invited experts from the United Nations and the Red Cross to investigate the deaths of dozens of Ukrainian prisoners held by Moscow-backed separatists.

Ukraine and Russia traded accusations over a missile attack or explosion early on Friday that appeared to kill Ukrainian prisoners of war in the frontline town of Olenivka in eastern Donetsk.

The International Committee of the Red Cross condemned the attack and said it had not been given permission to visit the site, adding that it was not within its competence to conduct a public investigation into the alleged war crimes. Read more

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Reporting by Reuters offices. writing by Michael Berry; Editing by Robert Persell

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Drone explosion hits headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet

Kyiv, Ukraine (AFP) – A small explosive device carried by a drone exploded Sunday at the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in Crimea, injuring six people and canceling a ceremony honoring the Russian Navy, authorities said.

Meanwhile, one of Ukraine’s richest men, a grain merchant, was killed in what Ukrainian authorities described as a carefully targeted Russian missile strike on his home.

No one has claimed responsibility for the explosion of a drone in the courtyard of the Naval Command headquarters in the city of Sevastopol. But the seemingly improvised and small nature of the attack raised the possibility that the attack was the work of Ukrainian rebels trying to dislodge Russian forces.

Olga Kovitedi, a Russian lawmaker from Crimea, told the Russian state news agency RIA-Novosti that the drone took off from Sevastopol itself. The agency said the incident was being treated as an act of terrorism.

The Crimean authorities raised the terrorist threat level for the region to the "yellow" level, the second highest.

Sevastopol, which Russia captured along with the rest of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, is located about 170 kilometers (100 mi) south of mainland Ukraine. Russian forces control much of the mainland along the Black Sea.

The press service of the Black Sea Fleet said that the drone appeared to be homemade. It described the explosive device as "low energy". Six people were injured, Mikhail Razvojev, the mayor of Sevastopol, said. The celebration of the Russian Navy Day holiday in the city has been cancelled.

The Ukrainian Navy and Presidential Adviser Volodymyr Zelensky said the news of the drone attack confirmed the weakness of Russia’s air defenses.

“Did the occupiers admit the impotence of their air defense system? Or their impotence in front of the Crimean partisans?” Oleksiy Aristovich said on Telegram.

If such an attack was possible by Ukraine, he said, "the destruction of the Crimean bridge in such cases is no longer unrealistic" – referring to the extension that Russia built to connect its main territory with Crimea after the annexation.

Elsewhere in Ukraine, the mayor of Mykolaiv, Vitaly Kim, said the bombing claimed the lives of one of Ukraine’s richest men, Oleksiy Vadatorsky, and his wife, Raisa. Vadatursky headed grain production and export business.

Another presidential adviser, Mikhailo Podolak, said Vadatorsky was specifically targeted.

“It was not an accident, but a well-thought-out, well-organized and premeditated murder. Vadatursky was one of the largest farmers in the country, a key figure in the region and a major business owner. The precise strike of a missile was not only in a house, but in a particular ward, a room,” he said. Sleeping, leaves no doubt about aiming and adjusting the blow.

Vadatursky’s agricultural business, Nibulon, includes a fleet of ships to send grain abroad.

The regional administration in the Sumy region of northern Ukraine, near the Russian border, said the bombing had killed one person. The region’s governor, Pavlo Kirilenko, said three people were killed in attacks last day in the Donetsk region, which is partly under the control of Russian-backed separatist forces.

Podolyak said on Twitter that photos of the prison where at least 53 Ukrainian prisoners of war were killed in an explosion on Friday indicated that the explosion came from inside the building in Russian-controlled Olinivka.

Russian officials claimed that the building was attacked by Ukraine with the aim of silencing prisoners of war who might provide information about Ukrainian military operations. Ukraine blamed Russia for the blast, saying it was done to cover up the torture and execution of prisoners.

Satellite images taken before and after show that a small square building in the center of the prison complex was demolished with shrapnel roof.

These images and no damage to nearby structures showed that the building was not attacked from the air or by artillery, Podolyak said. He claimed the evidence was consistent with a heat bomb, a powerful device sometimes called a vacuum bomb, detonated indoors.

The International Red Cross requested an immediate visit to the prison to ensure that dozens of wounded prisoners of war received proper treatment, but said on Sunday that its request had not yet been approved. She said denying access to the Red Cross violates the Geneva Convention on the Rights of Prisoners of War.

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The governor of Sevastopol said that Ukraine is attacking the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet

  • Ukraine bombs a Russian base on the Black Sea, according to the governor
  • Zelensky says the grain harvest may be halved because of the war
  • Zelensky orders the evacuation of Donetsk
  • Dozens of prisoners of war were killed in a strike at a separatist-controlled prison

Odessa, Ukraine (Reuters) – Ukrainian forces bombed the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Russian-controlled Sevastopol early on Sunday, while Ukraine reported intense Russian attacks on two southern cities, the governor of the coastal city of Crimea said.

Russian media quoted the governor of Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvogayev, as saying that five workers were wounded in the attack when a drone flew in the courtyard of the headquarters.

The attack coincided with Russian Navy Day commemorated by President Vladimir Putin by announcing that the Russian Navy would receive what he called "enormous" high-speed Zircon cruise missiles in the next few months. Hypersonic weapons can travel nine times the speed of sound. Read more

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He did not mention Ukraine directly.

Ukrainian authorities said intense Russian strikes hit the southern cities of Mykolaiv and Nikopol overnight and early Sunday morning.

Mykolaiv mayor Oleksandr Senkevich told Ukrainian television earlier that two people were killed and three wounded when 12 missiles hit homes and educational facilities, describing the strikes as "perhaps the strongest" on the city during the entire war.

Up to 50 Grad rockets hit residential areas of Nikopol on Sunday morning, Dnipropetrovsk Governor Valentin Reznichenko wrote on a telegram. One person was injured.

Reuters could not independently verify the battlefield reports.

Putin sent tens of thousands of troops across the border on February 24, sparking a conflict that killed thousands, displaced millions and deeply strained relations between Russia and the West.

The biggest conflict in Europe since World War II has also fueled an energy and food crisis that is shaking the global economy. Both Ukraine and Russia are major suppliers of grain.

The crop can be cut

President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Sunday that the country’s crop could be half the usual amount this year due to the invasion.

"Ukraine’s crop this year is threatened to fall twice," Zelensky wrote in English on Twitter, indicating half of what is usual. "Our main goal is to prevent the global food crisis caused by the Russian invasion. Grain is still finding a way to deliver it instead," he added.

Ukraine has struggled to get its products to buyers through its Black Sea ports because of the war.

But the agreement signed under the auspices of the United Nations and Turkey on July 22 provides for safe passage for ships carrying grain from three ports in southern Ukraine.

A spokesman for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday that there is a high probability that the first grain-exporting ship will leave Ukrainian ports on Monday. Read more

Eastern danger

In a televised address late Saturday night, Zelensky said hundreds of thousands of people were still subjected to heavy fighting in the Donbass region, which includes the Donetsk and Luhansk regions and which Russia seeks to fully control. Vast areas of the Donbass were captured before the invasion by Russian-backed separatists.

"Many are refusing to leave, but it still has to be done," Zelensky said. "The more people leave the Donetsk region now, the fewer people the Russian army will have time to kill."

On Sunday, Russia called on experts from the United Nations and the Red Cross to investigate the deaths of dozens of Ukrainian prisoners held by Moscow-backed separatists.

Ukraine and Russia traded accusations over a missile attack or explosion early on Friday that appeared to have killed dozens of Ukrainian prisoners of war in the frontline town of Olenivka in eastern Donetsk.

On Sunday, the Russian Defense Ministry said Russia had invited experts from the United Nations and the Red Cross to investigate the deaths "in order to conduct an objective investigation".

The ministry had published a list of 50 Ukrainian prisoners of war killed and 73 wounded in what it said was a Ukrainian military strike with a US-made high-mobility artillery missile (HIMARS).

Ukraine’s armed forces denied responsibility, saying that Russian artillery attacked the prison to cover up abuse there.

Reuters journalists confirmed some deaths in the prison, but were not immediately able to verify different accounts of the events.

The United Nations said it was ready to send experts to investigate whether it had obtained approval from both parties. The International Committee of the Red Cross said it was seeking access and offered to help evacuate the wounded.

Russia denies that its forces deliberately attacked civilians or committed war crimes in the invasion, which it described as a "special operation".

Ukraine’s military said on Saturday that more than 100 Russian soldiers were killed and seven tanks were destroyed in the south on Friday, including the Kherson region which is the focus of Kyiv’s counter-offensive in that part of the country and a key link in Moscow’s supply lines.

Military Southern Command said rail traffic to Kherson via the Dnipro River has been cut off, potentially further isolating Russian forces west of the river from supplies in occupied Crimea and the east.

Ukraine has used Western-supplied long-range missile systems to severely damage three bridges across the Dnipro River in recent weeks, cutting off the city of Kherson and – according to British officials' estimation – leaving the 49th Russian army very weak on the western bank of the river.

Officials from the Russian-appointed administration that administers the Kherson region earlier this week dismissed Western and Ukrainian assessments of the situation.

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Reporting by Reuters offices Writing by Lincoln Feast and William MacLean Editing by William Mallard and Frances Kerry

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Pope says he will slow down or retire: 'You can change the Pope'

On the papal plane (AP) – Pope Francis admitted Saturday he can no longer travel as he used to because of his strained knee ligaments, saying the week-long Canadian pilgrimage It was a "little test" that showed he needed to slow down and maybe retire one day.

Speaking to reporters while returning home from north Nunavut, the 85-year-old Francis confirmed he had not considered resigning but said "the door is open" and there is nothing wrong with the Pope stepping down..

"Not strange. It’s not a disaster," he said while sitting in a wheelchair on the plane during a 45-minute press conference.

Francis said that while he hasn’t considered quitting yet, he knows he has to at least slow down.

“I think at my age and with these limitations,” he said, “I should spare (my energy) to be able to serve the Church, or, on the contrary, think about the possibility of stepping aside.”

Francis was full of questions about the future of his pontificate after the first trip in which he used a wheelchair, walker, and cane to get around, severely limiting his program and his ability to mingle with crowds.

He strained the ligaments in his right knee earlier this year, and continued laser and magnetic therapy forced him to cancel a trip to Africa scheduled for the first week of July.

The Canada trip was tough, and for several moments it was clear that Francis was in pain as he maneuvered up and down the chairs.

At the end of his six-day tour, he appeared in good spirits and spirited, despite traveling to the edge of the North Pole all day. On Friday to apologize once again to the indigenous peoples for the injustices they suffered in the church-run church boarding schools.

Francis has ruled out surgery on his knee, saying it wouldn’t necessarily help, noting that "there are still traces" of him undergoing more than six hours of sedation in July 2021 to remove 33 centimeters (13 inches) from his large intestine.

"I will try to continue on trips and be close to people because I think it’s a way to serve, to be close. More than that, I can’t say," he said on Saturday.

In other comments on the papal plane, Francis said:

He agreed that trying to eradicate aboriginal culture in Canada through the church-run boarding school system amounted to cultural "genocide." Francis said he did not use the term during his trip to Canada because it hadn’t occurred to him. The Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission decided in 2015 that the forced removal of Indigenous children from their homes and their placement in church-run boarding schools to accommodate them in Christianity and Canada constituted a "cultural genocide".

"It’s true I didn’t use the word because it didn’t cross my mind, but it called genocide, right?" Francis said. "I apologized, and asked forgiveness for this act, which was genocide."

– He suggested that he did not oppose the development of the Catholic doctrine on the use of contraceptives. Church teachings prohibit artificial contraceptives. Francis noted that a Vatican think tank recently published the proceedings of a conference where a "no" amendment to the church’s absolute was discussed. He emphasized that doctrine could evolve over time and that the task of theologians was to follow such developments, with the pope ultimately deciding.

Francis noted that the Church’s teachings on atomic weapons were modified during his pontificate to consider not only the use of atomic weapons but the mere possession of atomic weapons immoral and the death penalty immoral in all cases.

– He confirmed that he hopes to travel to Kazakhstan in mid-September to attend an interfaith conference where he may meet with the Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, who justified the war in Ukraine. Francis also said he wanted to go to Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, although no flight has yet been confirmed. He said he hoped to reschedule his trip to South Sudan, which he canceled due to knee problems. He said the Congo leg of that trip might have to be postponed until next year due to the rainy season.

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Ukraine says dozens of Russians were killed fighting Kherson

  • Kherson is the center of the Ukrainian counterattack
  • Ukraine says railways to Kherson via Dnipro have been cut
  • Ukraine and Russia trade accusations over the killing of prisoners of war

Odessa/Kyiv, Ukraine, July 30 (Reuters) – The Ukrainian military said on Saturday that it had killed dozens of Russian soldiers and destroyed two stores of ammunition in the fighting in the Kherson region, which is focused on Kyiv’s counter-offensive in the south and a key mission. Link in Moscow supply lines.

Military Southern Command said rail traffic to Kherson via the Dnipro River has been cut off, potentially further isolating Russian forces west of the river from supplies in occupied Crimea and the east.

Ukraine has used long-range missile systems from the West to severely damage three bridges across the Dnipro River in recent weeks, cutting off the city of Kherson – British defense officials estimate – leaving Russia’s 49th Army positioned on the river’s highly positioned west bank. vulnerable.

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"As a result of the fire that imposed control of the main transport lines in the occupied territories, the passage through the railway bridge crossing the Dnipro River was not possible," the Southern Command of Ukraine said in a statement.

It said more than 100 Russian soldiers and seven tanks were destroyed in Friday’s fighting in the Kherson region, the first major town occupied by the Russians after their February 24 invasion.

The first deputy chairman of the Kherson Regional Council, Yuri Sobolevsky, asked residents to stay away from Russian ammunition depots.

"The Ukrainian army is attacking the Russians, and this is only the beginning," Sobolevsky wrote on Telegram.

Dmitro Potry, the pro-Ukrainian governor of Kherson region, said the Pereslav region was hit hard. Pereslav lies across the river northwest of the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Station.

"In some villages, not a single house has been left intact, all infrastructure has been destroyed, and people are living in basements," Pottery wrote on Telegram.

Reuters could not independently verify the reports. Officials from the Russia-appointed administration that administers the Kherson region earlier this week dismissed Western and Ukrainian assessments of the situation.

Britain’s Ministry of Defense said on Saturday that Russia likely erected two pontoon bridges and a ferry system to compensate for bridges damaged in the Ukrainian strikes.

It added that Russia-installed authorities in occupied territories in southern Ukraine may have been preparing to hold referendums on joining Russia later this year, and "likely to force residents to reveal personal details in order to make up voting records." Read more

Explosion in prison

The two sides also traded accusations on Friday over a missile attack or explosion that appeared to have killed dozens of Ukrainian prisoners of war in the eastern Donetsk province.

The Russian Defense Ministry said 40 prisoners were killed and 75 wounded in a prison in the frontline town of Olenivka and held by Moscow-backed separatists. Reuters journalists confirmed some of the deaths in prison.

A spokesman for the separatists put the death toll at 53 and accused Kyiv of targeting the prison with US-made Himmars missiles.

Ukraine’s armed forces denied responsibility, saying that Russian artillery targeted the prison to conceal mistreatment of detainees there. Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Russia had committed a war crime and called for international condemnation.

Reuters was not immediately able to verify the different accounts of events.

Reuters TV showed the remains of a burnt building, the cave filled with metal beds, some lying on charred bodies, while others were lined up on military stretchers or on the ground outside.

The fragments of the shell were placed on a blue metal bench. It was not immediately possible to detect any identification marks and it was not clear where the parts were collected.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said it was seeking access to the site and offered to help evacuate the wounded.

Ukraine has accused Russia of committing atrocities and brutality against civilians since its invasion and said it has identified more than 10,000 possible war crimes. Russia denies targeting civilians.

food diplomacy

Top US and Russian diplomats on Friday discussed a UN-brokered deal to resume shipments of grain from Ukraine and ease the global food crisis in their first phone call since before Russia invaded its neighbor on Feb. 24.

The Foreign Ministry said Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Foreign Minister Anthony Blinken that Washington was not keeping its promises regarding food exemption from sanctions. Read more

A Russian account of the phone call quoted Lavrov as telling Blinkin that Russia would achieve all the goals of its "special military operation," and said Western arms supplies to Ukraine would only prolong the conflict.

Blinkin warned Lavrov against any territorial claims by Russia during its war in Ukraine.

"The world will not recognize the annexations. We will impose significant additional costs on Russia if it goes ahead with its plans," he said.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the prison attack was a "deliberate war crime by the Russians," while Russia accuses Ukraine

Meanwhile, Russia blamed Ukraine for the attack.

CNN has not been able to independently verify either side’s claims.

"The attack by the occupiers on Olinevka is a deliberate war crime by the Russians, the deliberate mass murder of Ukrainian prisoners of war," Zelensky said in a statement.

"There should be clear legal recognition of Russia as a terrorist state. Russia has proven with many terrorist attacks that it is the largest source of terrorism in the world today," the Ukrainian president added.

The video, which was broadcast on Russian networks and shared on social media channels in Donetsk, shows extensive destruction of a building and several bodies. CNN was able to geolocate the strike in an industrial area two miles outside the frontline town of Olenivka.

The Ukrainian military said that the explosion occurred in the area of ​​​​the industrial zone, in a newly constructed building specially equipped for holding prisoners released from Azovstal.

The Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office has launched an investigation into the Olinevka strike. It said in a statement that preliminary data before the trial showed that "the occupying country bombed the territory of the penal colony No. 120 in the temporarily occupied village of Olenivka in the Volnovka region of the Donetsk region."

The Ukrainian General Staff said in a statement that "the Ukrainian armed forces did not launch missile and artillery strikes in the area of ​​the settlement of Olenivka" and accused the Russian forces of carrying out "artillery shelling of a correctional institution in the settlement of Olenivka Donetsk oblast, where Ukrainian prisoners were also held."

Ukrainian medic released in prisoner exchange accusing kidnappers of torture

The General Staff statement said that the armed forces "have never conducted or bombed civilian infrastructure, especially places where fellow combatants are likely to remain as prisoners of war."

"The Russian occupiers sought to achieve their criminal goals – accusing Ukraine of 'war crimes', as well as concealing the torture of prisoners and executions," the General Staff said.

"The alleged bombing of civilian infrastructure and population by the armed forces of Ukraine are outright lies and provocations, for which Russia bears responsibility."

The Russian Defense Ministry said, in a statement, that “the Kyiv regime deliberately carried out a bloody provocation” and claimed that “40 Ukrainian prisoners of war were killed and 75 wounded. In addition, eight employees of the isolation department were wounded of varying severity.”

“The pre-trial detention center in the area of ​​​​the settlement of Yelinovka (Olenivka), which houses Ukrainian prisoners of war, including militants of the Azov formation, was attacked by a missile launcher from the US HIMARS missile launcher . . . ”

The Russian Defense Ministry reiterated allegations made earlier by the authorities in the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic, a separatist-controlled region in eastern Ukraine. The ministry claimed that "this outrageous provocation was aimed at intimidating Ukrainian soldiers and preventing them from capturing them."

The seven survivors who were brought to his facility for treatment are in critical condition, the chief surgeon on duty at Central City Clinical Hospital No. 16 in Donetsk, Mikhail Yurenko, said Mikhail Yurenko.

"An ambulance transported seven prisoners of war of the Ukrainian army with various injuries. All patients received joint surgical care," Yuryenko said in a press conference broadcast on social media.

"Patients are currently in the intensive care unit."

Ukraine blames mercenary group

Ukrainian intelligence said the explosion was carried out by the Russian mercenary group Wagner and was not coordinated with the Russian Defense Ministry. CNN cannot independently verify these accusations.

“According to available information, (the bombings) were carried out by mercenaries from the Wagner (League) PMC under the personal command of the nominal owner of the designated PMC – Evgeniy Prigozhin, Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense said in a statement on Friday. The terrorist was not coordinated with the leadership of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation."

Ukrainian intelligence says the attack was carried out to cover up the misappropriation of funds earmarked for keeping prisoners of war and to stir up social tension in Ukraine.

"Given the great public interest in the fate of the heroes of Azovstal, according to the authors of the scenario of the terrorist attack, the killing of the defenders should lead to an increase in social tension in Ukraine," the statement read.

The head of Ukrainian Defense Intelligence called on the international community to put pressure on Russia.

"To find out the real conditions of the terrorist attack and to prevent its recurrence in the future, I call on all international institutions to show a hard line in relation to the events that occurred in Olinevka," said the head of the Main Directorate of Intelligence in Olinevka. Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, Kirillo Budano.

A group working on behalf of Ukrainian soldiers held as prisoners of war published on Friday "With great sadness we had to confirm the information about the attack on the punishment colony in Olenivka, where soldiers of the" Azov "regiment are being held. POW."

"We are finding out the names of the dead and injured through our own channels. The International Committee of the Red Cross has also gone to the place," the group, known as the Angels of Azov, said on Telegram.

The International Committee of the Red Cross, whose representatives have visited prisoners before, did not comment.

CNN’s Kara Fox, Kostan Nechiporenko, and Muhammed Tawfik contributed to this report.

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Analysis: The world’s largest bond markets are back in favour, as recession fears mount

Global indices are displayed on a screen on the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in Manhattan, New York City, US, August 19, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

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LONDON, July 29 (Reuters) – One day you get out of the house, the next you go in: Collapsing global sovereign bond markets are back for better as fears of a global recession mount.

Government borrowing costs from Germany to France and Australia fell sharply this month, with 10-year bond yields down nearly 50 basis points each in July, and braced for their biggest monthly drop in at least a decade.

US 10-year Treasury yields are down about 80 basis points from 11-year highs in June, as decades of high inflation fueled expectations of an interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve.

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Steady inflation certainly means that not everyone is buying bonds and Friday’s data that showed eurozone inflation at another record high was a catalyst for new bond sales.

But there appears to be a shift as signs of slowing economic growth point towards a peak in official interest rates. This means that government bond investors who shunned in the first half of 2022 are regaining their allure.

German bond yields head for biggest monthly drop since 2011

Bond funds saw inflows of $3.6 billion in the week to Wednesday, the largest since March, Bank of America’s weekly analysis of inflows released on Friday showed.

Antoine Buffett, chief interest rate strategist at ING, said he wouldn’t be surprised if the German 10-year bond yield tested 0.5% in the coming months. It was at 0.9% on Friday and rose to nearly 2% in June.

"The tide has really turned, and bonds are back to behaving like recession hedges," Buffett said.

Thursday’s data showed the US economy contracted again in the second quarter. Eurozone data on Friday showed that the bloc is holding up better than expected even though strong Germany is on the brink of deflation. Read more

Reuters graphics

long game

Investors are increasing their exposure to long-term debt due to growth concerns.

It is beginning to increase the term, which is sensitive to moves in base rates, said Flavio Carpenzano, chief investment officer at Capital Group, which manages $2.6 trillion in assets.

"We recently reduced the duration of the underweight (positions) because Europe may go into a recession, in which case we want to have core assets like German bonds," he said.

“From this perspective, we are gradually starting to increase the duration through German bonds in the 10-year part of the curve to protect the portfolio from a downside.”

Total returns, including capital gains and coupon payments, on Austria’s 100-year bonds rose 33% in July, according to Refinitiv data. But as with most very long-term debt, an investor who bought in at the start of 2022 would be down significantly so far.

The European Central Bank raised interest rates by 50 basis points last week and markets fully recovered in another big move in September. They now attribute a nearly 42% chance of raising another half a point.

Markets are pricing in the highest US interest rate of 3.2% by the end of this year and 50 basis points for rate cuts in 2023. Before the Federal Reserve raised rates by 75 basis points in mid-June, it had priced US interest rates at Peak by more than 4% in 2023 and cut the interest rate by a quarter point by the end of next year.

Earlier this week, the Fed introduced another rate increase of 0.75%. Read more

Seema Shah, chief strategist at Principal Global Investors, said the company had increased its exposure to US Treasuries and investment-grade corporate debt due to recession risks.

"We expect a recession in 2023 and believe the Fed will start cutting rates towards the end of next year, and it’s hard to see a higher move in US bond yields," she said.

Reuters graphics

Investors said the outlook for European bond markets such as Italy is more complex, given growth concerns and political instability.

It is still underweight in Italian bonds, Carpizano of the Capital Group said.

Others said the drop in bond yields wasn’t a one-way bet as the fight against inflation was a far cry from the won – eurozone price growth hit a new record high of 8.9% in July.

"I feel the rise in interest rates is overstated," said Tim Graf, head of macroeconomic strategy for EMEA at State Street.

“German 10-year bond yields at 0.9%, looking at the inflation picture, is not something I would like to have,” he said, noting that Bond yields could dip towards 1.25-1.5% by the end of the year.

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Reporting by Dara Ranasinghe. Additional reporting by Saikat Chatterjee and Sujata Rao; Editing by Tommy Rigory Wilkes and Thomas Janowski

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Russia assigns mercenaries to frontline sectors as infantry losses mount – UK

  • Wagner fighters are unlikely to change the course of the invasion – UK
  • Ukraine is trying to disrupt supply lines and bomb bridges
  • Russia strikes Kyiv region for the first time in weeks

Kyiv (Reuters) – Russia has assigned mercenaries to keep parts of Ukraine’s front line, Britain’s Defense Ministry said on Friday, signaling it is short of combat infantry, as Kyiv ramps up a counter-offensive in the south. .

A greater reliance on paid fighters from Russia’s private military company Wagner Group to carry out front-line missions rather than their usual special operations work would be another sign that the Russian military is under pressure six months into its war in Ukraine.

But the British Ministry of Defense said in an intelligence update that it was unlikely that Wagner’s mercenaries would make up for the loss of regular infantry units or change the course of the Russian invasion.

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"This is a significant change from the group’s previous employment since 2015, when it normally carried out tasks different from regular, overt and large-scale Russian military activities," the ministry said on Twitter.

Outside normal business hours, Wagner and the Kremlin could not be reached for comment.

Officials in Kyiv said on Wednesday they had observed an "intense redeployment" of Russian forces in the south, where British defense officials believe the 49th Russian Army, stationed on the western bank of the Dnipro River, is at risk.

British intelligence said Thursday that the southern city of Kherson, key to Russia’s land supply lines from Russia-annexed Crimea, is now effectively cut off from other Russian-occupied territories.

The Kherson region fell to Russian forces shortly after the start of what Moscow calls a "special military operation" on February 24. Ukraine describes the Russian invasion as an imperial-style war of conquest.

The Ukrainian military has used long-range missile systems supplied by the West to severely damage three bridges across the Dnipro River in recent weeks, making it difficult for Russia to supply its forces on the West Bank.

Ukraine said its planes bombed five Russian strongholds around Kherson and another nearby city on Thursday, the epicenter of its biggest counterattack in the conflict.

Russia bombed the outskirts of Kyiv for the first time in weeks on Thursday. District Governor Oleksiy Kuleba said on Telegram that 15 people were wounded when rockets landed on military installations in the Vyshhorod district, on the outskirts of the capital.

Sirens sounded as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed Parliament alongside visiting Lithuanian President Gitanas Noseda.

The attack shattered the sense of life returning to normal in Kyiv since Russian forces abandoned attempts to capture the city in the early weeks of the war, in the face of fierce Ukrainian resistance.

The region’s governor, Vyacheslav Chusov, told Ukrainian television on Thursday that more than 10 Russian missiles had hit the Chernihiv region, northeast of Kyiv. Like Kyiv, Chernihiv has not been targeted for weeks.

The Northern Command of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said that more than 20 missiles were fired at the Chernihiv region bordering Russia from a base in Belarus, an ally of Russia.

Reuters was unable to verify the battlefield reports.

Eastern Front

Ukraine’s counterattacks in the south come as Russia continues its battle for control of the entire Donbass industrial region in the east, which includes the Donetsk and Luhansk provinces.

Donetsk region governor Pavlo Kirilenko said on Telegram that Russian forces bombed the town of Bakhmut, which Russia described as a key target in its advance through Donetsk, four times on Thursday. He added that at least three people were killed and three wounded.

As the fighting raged, international efforts continued to try to reopen Ukrainian ports and allow the export of grain and other goods.

Allowing the safe passage of grain shipments from Ukraine should alleviate shortages that have left tens of millions of people around the world facing soaring food prices and starvation.

Russia and Ukraine struck a deal last week to lift a ban on grain exports from Black Sea ports, but UN aid coordinator Martin Griffiths said "critical" details of safe passage for ships were still being worked out.

Griffiths had hoped the first shipment of grain would be shipped from a Ukrainian port on the Black Sea as early as Friday. Read more

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Reporting by Reuters offices. Written by Stephen Coates. Lincoln Fest Editing.

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Climate migration is increasing but is not fully recognized by the world

by Julie Watson

July 28, 2022 GMT

TIGUANA, Mexico (AP) – Climate deterioration largely from burning coal and gas has uprooted millions of people, as wildfires swept cities in California, rising seas swept island nations, and droughts exacerbated conflicts in various parts of the country. the scientist.

Each year, natural disasters force an average of 21.5 million people from their homes worldwide, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Scientists predict that migration will increase as the planet warms. Over the next 30 years, 143 million people are likely to be uprooted by rising seas, droughts, high temperatures and other climate catastrophes, according to the report of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published this year.

However, the world has yet to formally recognize climate migrants or come up with official ways to assess their needs and help them. Here’s a look at today’s climate migration.

Who are climate migrants?

Most climate migrants move within the borders of their home countries, usually from rural areas to cities after losing their homes or livelihoods due to drought, rising seas, or any other climatic disaster. As cities also face their own climate-related issues, including rising temperatures and water scarcity, people are increasingly forced to flee across international borders in search of sanctuary.

However, climate migrants are not granted refugee status under the 1951 Refugee Convention, which provides legal protection only to people fleeing persecution because of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or a particular social group.

Define climate migration

Recognizing climate migrants is not easy, especially in regions where poverty, violence and conflict are common.

While deteriorating weather conditions exacerbate poverty, crime and political instability, and fuel tensions over dwindling resources from Africa to Latin America, climate change is often overlooked as a contributing factor to people fleeing their homes. According to UNHCR, 90% of refugees under its jurisdiction are from countries "on the front lines of the climate emergency".

In El Salvador, for example, dozens each year leave villages due to crop failures due to drought or floods, and end up in cities where they become victims of gang violence and eventually flee their country because of those attacks.

full coverage: climate migration

“It’s hard to say that someone is only moving because of climate change. Is everyone leaving Honduras after a hurricane a climate migrant?” Elizabeth Ferris, a research professor at Georgetown University’s Institute for the Study of International Migration, wrote in an email to The Associated Press. "Then there are non-climate environmental hazards – people fleeing earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis – should they be treated differently from those displaced by weather-related phenomena?"

Ferriss added that despite the challenges, it is essential that governments identify people displaced by climate.

"The whole issue of definition is not a trivial matter – how do you develop a people policy if you are not clear about who it applies to?" I wrote.

international efforts

While no country offers asylum to climate migrants, UNHCR published legal guidance in October 2020 that opens the door to providing protection for people displaced by the effects of global warming. She said climate change must be taken into account in certain scenarios when it intersects with violence, although it stopped short of redefining the 1951 Refugee Convention.

The commission acknowledged that temporary protection may be insufficient if a country cannot remedy the situation from natural disasters, such as rising seas, suggesting that some climate-displaced people could be eligible for resettlement if their place of origin is deemed uninhabitable.

An increasing number of countries are paving the way to become safe havens for climate migrants. In May, Argentina issued a special humanitarian visa to people from Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean who had been displaced by natural disasters to allow them to stay for three years.

Soon after taking office, President Joe Biden ordered his National Security Adviser to conduct a months-long study that included consideration of "options for the protection and resettlement of individuals directly or indirectly displaced by climate change." A working group has been formed, but the management has not yet adopted such a program.

Lowland Bangladesh, highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, was among the first to try to adapt to the new realities of migration. Efforts are underway to identify climate-resilient towns where people displaced by sea-level rise, river erosion, cyclonic storms and saltwater intrusion can relocate to work, and in return help their new locations economically.

Transforming debates about immigration

Political debates around immigration have long focused on securing borders. Climate change is changing that.

With hundreds of millions of people expected to be displaced by natural disasters, there is a growing debate about how to manage rather than stem migration flows, as migration will become for many people a tool for survival, according to advocates.

“One of the problems is just the complete lack of understanding of how climate is forcing people to move,” said Amali Tawer, founder and CEO of Climate Refugees, an advocacy group focused on raising awareness about people displaced by climate change. “There is still an idea in the global north (industrial countries) that people come here because they are fleeing poverty and looking for a better life, the American dream. In Europe, the same story is about the same story. But no one wants to leave their home. We must deal with Climate displacement as a human security issue, not a border security issue.

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The Associated Press’s climate and environmental coverage receives support from several private foundations. Learn more about the AP’s Climate Initiative here. AP is solely responsible for all content.

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