AP News in Brief at 6:09 p.m. EST
Russia vetoes U.N. resolution to end Ukraine invasion
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) – Russia on Friday vetoed a U.N.Security Council resolution telling Moscow to stop attacking Ukraine and withdraw all troops immediately.
The veto was expected, amanslot but the United States and its supporters argued that the effort would highlight Moscow´s international isolation.
The 11-1 vote – with China, India and the United Arab Emirates abstaining – showed significant but not total opposition to Russia´s invasion of its smaller, militarily weaker neighbor.
The resolution´s failure paves the way for backers to call for a swift vote on a similar measure in the 193-member U.N.General Assembly, where there are no vetoes. There was no immediate timetable for a potential Assembly vote.
Spearheaded by the U.S. and Albania, the Security Council resolution would have deplored Russia´s “aggression” against Ukraine. It called for Moscow immediately to pull out its military and stop using force against Ukraine, and to reverse a decision to recognize two separatist areas in eastern Ukraine as independent.
US, Europe step up Russia sanctions to target Putin directly
BRUSSELS (AP) – The United States and European allies said Friday they were stepping up sanctions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by adding measures directly targeting President Vladimir Putin and his foreign minister, putting diplomatic appeals to one side as Russia’s forces closed on Ukraine’s capital.
The move by the U.S., the European Union and Britain sends “a clear message about the strength of the opposition to the actions” by Putin, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.On a day when explosions and gunfire were sounding in Kyiv’s capital, and Pope Francis went to Russia’s embassy in Rome to personally appeal for an end, the sanctions were part of growing global condemnation of the offensive.
Asked by reporters if U.S.President Joe Biden had planed any more direct diplomatic overtures toward Putin, whose ground, air and amphibious forces are all pushing an offensive on Ukraine’s key cities, Psaki said no.
“I would say that a moment where a leader is … in the middle of invading a sovereign country is not the moment where diplomacy feels appropriate,” Psaki told reporters at a White House briefing.”It does not mean we have ruled out diplomacy forever.”
Psaki said the U.S. was preparing individual sanctions on Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, likely to include travel bans. The announcement came hours after the European Union announced it intended to freeze Putin’s assets, and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told NATO leaders his country would also sanction Putin and Lavrov.
Biden nominates Jackson, first Black woman, to Supreme Court
WASHINGTON (AP) – President Joe Biden on Friday nominated federal appeals court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court, the first Black woman selected to serve on a court that once declared her race unworthy of citizenship and endorsed American segregation.
Introducing Jackson at the White House, Biden declared, “I believe it´s time that we have a court that reflects the full talents and greatness of our nation.”
With his nominee standing alongside, the president praised her as having “a pragmatic understanding that the law must work for the American people.” He said, “She strives to be fair, to get it right, to do justice.”
In Jackson, Biden delivered on a campaign promise to make the historic appointment and further diversify a court that was made up entirely of white men for almost two centuries.
He also chose an attorney who would be the high court’s first former public defender, though she possesses the elite legal background of other justices as well.
CDC: Many healthy Americans can take a break from masks
Most Americans live in places where healthy people, including students in schools, can safely take a break from wearing masks under new U.S.guidelines released Friday.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention outlined the new set of measures for communities where COVID-19 is easing its grip, with less of a focus on positive test results and more on what´s happening at hospitals.
The new system greatly changes the look of the CDC’s risk map and puts more than 70% of the U.S.population in counties where the coronavirus is posing a low or medium threat to hospitals. Those are the people who can stop wearing masks, the agency said.
The agency is still advising people, including schoolchildren, to wear masks where the risk of COVID-19 is high.That’s the situation in about 37% of U.S. counties, where about 28% of Americans live.
The new recommendations do not change the requirement to wear masks on public transportation and indoors in airports, train stations and bus stations. The CDC guidelines for other indoor spaces aren´t binding, meaning cities and institutions even in areas of low risk may set their own rules.And the agency says people with COVID-19 symptoms or who test positive shouldn´t stop wearing masks.
Live updates: Russia vetoes UN resolution to halt attack
The latest on the Russia-Ukraine crisis:
UNITED NATIONS-Russia has vetoed a U.N.Security Council resolution demanding that Moscow stop its attack on Ukraine and withdraw all troops.
Friday´s vote was 11-1, with China, India and the United Arab Emirates abstaining. It showed significant but not total opposition to Russia´s invasion of its smaller, militarily weaker neighbor.
The United States and other supporters knew the resolution wouldn´t pass but argued it would highlight Russia´s international isolation. The resolution´s failure paves the way for backers to call for a swift vote on a similar measure in the U.N.General Assembly. There are no vetoes in the 193-member assembly. There´s no timetable as yet for a potential Assembly vote.
Protests resume as Russia seeks to quash invasion critics
MOSCOW (AP) – Protesters took to the streets in Moscow, St.Petersburg and across Russia on Friday to decry the invasion of Ukraine, even as authorities sought to suppress the spreading antiwar sentiment and project an image of strength and righteousness.
The largest demonstration erupted in St. Petersburg, where several hundred people spontaneously gathered in the city center, chanting “No to war!” as police in full riot gear detained one protester after another.
The OVD-Info rights group that tracks political arrests counted 437 detentions in 26 Russian cities, including 226 in Moscow and 130 in St.Petersburg. In Moscow, police were also detaining random people who were just passing by, according to media reports.
The rallies on Friday night appeared smaller than on Thursday, when thousands took to the streets across Russia. A total of 1,820 demonstrators were detained in 58 Russian cities on Thursday night, including 1,002 in Moscow, according to OVD-Info.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov sought to downplay the scale of the protests, saying Friday that while President Vladimir Putin “hears everyone´s opinion,” he also knows “the share of those who have a different point of view and those who are sympathetic to such a necessary operation.”
Sentence, state trial loom for ex-cops in Floyd’s killing
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Three former Minneapolis police officers convicted of violating George Floyd´s civil rights face federal sentences that one expert says could range from less than five years in prison to as much as the 25 years prosecutors are seeking for their former colleague Derek Chauvin.
A comprehensive process to determine that could take months.Meanwhile, the officers have a right to appeal their convictions, and they face a state trial in June for allegedly aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter. A federal investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department is also ongoing.
Here´s a look at what´s next:
After a monthlong trial, a federal jury on Thursday convicted former Minneapolis officers Tou Thao, J.Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane of violating Floyd´s civil rights.
Prices are up everywhere with inflation. Except in my 401(k)
NEW YORK (AP) – Inflation does not discriminate. Just like it’s squeezing everybody’s wallet, it’s hitting almost every investment in a retirement account.
Stocks have been shaky this year, with the S&P 500 at one point dropping more than 10% from its record, mostly because of inflation worries.Bond prices have also tumbled. Before gold’s recent spurt due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the metal with a reputation as an inflation protector was coming off its worst year in the last six, even though inflation surged to the highest level in generations.
The reality is that no perfect playbook exists for how to invest in a high-inflation world.But many on Wall Street do see areas of the market that could hold up better than others, if not outright succeed.
It marks a turnaround for investors, who got used to years of low inflation that didn´t dent their earnings very much, said Gargi Pal Chaudhuri, head of iShares Investment Strategy, Americas, at investment giant BlackRock.”Going forward, I think that level that used to be 1.5% to 2% is likely to be closer to 3%, and you need to start thinking about where you can move,” she said.
That doesn’t mean investors need to start day-trading their retirement accounts, after a long-term buy-and-hold strategy worked so well for years.But they may want to shade their portfolios in certain directions, including parts of the stock and bond markets that can actually benefit from inflation. Here´s a look at some of the options:
‘Stand your ground’ laws proliferate after Trayvon spotlight
ST.PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) – The “stand your ground” self-defense law had been in effect in Florida for more than six years when it became part of the national vocabulary with the death of Trayvon Martin in 2012. When the 17-year-old was fatally shot, Florida was still one of the few states with the law that removes the duty to retreat before using deadly force in the face of danger.
Now, upwards of 30 states have some form of the law and recent research indicates they are associated with more deaths – as many as 700 additional firearm killings each year, according to a study published this week in the journal JAMA Network Open.
The study found a national increase of up to 11% in homicide rates per month between 1999 and 2017 in those states with “stand your ground” laws.The largest increases, between 16% and 33%, were in Southern states including Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Louisiana, the study found.
“These findings suggest that adoption of (‘stand your ground’) laws across the U.S. was associated with increases in violent deaths, deaths that could potentially have been avoided,” the study’s authors concluded.
Advocates for the laws, amanslot especially the National Rifle Association, have argued they act as a crime deterrent by ensuring a person can protect themselves and others against a would-be assailant.
In trans people, GOP candidates find latest ‘wedge issue’
SCRANTON, Pa.(AP) – Dr. Mehmet Oz leans in to ask a little girl, “Do you remember when your parents thought you were a boy?”
The question was but a few seconds of a full 2010 episode of “The Dr. Oz Show” that focused on the experience of raising transgender children. But the clip now appears in an attack ad aired by a super PAC supporting one of his Republican primary opponents in the crowded and high-stakes race for U.S.Senate in Pennsylvania.
Another campaign ad, from Republican U.S. Senate candidate Vicky Hartzler in Missouri, targets transgender people in sports and has her referring to an NCAA athlete – Ivy League championship-winning University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas – by her deadname and saying “women’s sports are for women, not men pretending to be women.”
And on Wednesday, Texas Gov.Greg Abbott, a Republican who is running for reelection, ordered the state´s child welfare agency to investigate reports of gender-confirming care for kids as abuse.
Derision and disparagement of transgender people, and even of those perceived as their allies, are proliferating on the airwaves and in statehouses across the country as 2022 election campaigns heat up.It´s a classic strategy of finding a “wedge issue” that motivates a political base, political observers say.