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war

Bodies Found in Ukrainian Mass Grave Show Signs of Torture

Ukraine found a mass burial site of 440 graves Thursday in a forest on the outskirts of Izium. Soldiers made the discovery after retaking control of the Kharkiv region five months after its Russian occupation.

Most bodies showed signs of torture, and many had ropes tied around their necks and hands. Wooden crosses were erected atop some graves, each demarcated with only numbers and no names. One grave, marked by a cross, held the bodies of 17 Ukrainian soldiers. Their hands were also bound, and their bodies indicated they were shot at close range.

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Ukrainian President Zelensky said that there is evidence that Russians “shot at the buried for fun.” The graves are the latest discovery in the campaign of violence against Ukrainian civilians during Russia’s occupation of Ukraine. President Zelensky said Saturday that “more than 10 torture chambers” were also found alongside the mass graves. The chambers contained tools for electrical torture.

Forensic workers are trying to determine what happened to the victims before death. One forensics worker,  Andreiy Vladimirovich Sergienko, shared with DW the effects of witnessing the scenes’ horrors.

“We then place the bodies in bags and transport them in a morgue. I feel horrible. This is a horrible moment in my life, and the first such experience in all of my five years of service.”

The United Nations announced Friday that they would send investigators to Izium to inspect the mass graves.

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According to war crimes prosecutors, most of the bodies were those of local residents. Prosecutor Voldymyr Lymar told DW that some of the bodies could be identified while others are in a later stage of decomposition and require further testing. Lymar spoke about the number of war crime cases that have been opened in Kharkiv alone.

“More than 4,000 criminal proceedings have already been opened regarding war crimes committed by servicemen of the Russian Federation. I will not tell you the exact number because it is constantly evolving: It increases by the minute.”

In March, officials found a similar mass grave site containing 116 bodies in Bucha after soldiers liberated the city from Russian control.

Amnesty International, an international nonprofit group that focuses on human rights, has documented several violations of International Law by the Russian forces. Among them are “unlawful attacks on civilians, residential buildings and civilian infrastructure, unlawful killing and other war crimes.”

The General Prosecutor Office of Ukraine opened 32,000 cases of Russia’s war crimes since the beginning of the occupation.

lockdown

China’s Zero-COVID Policy Causes Mass Food and Supply Shortages

China’s ongoing zero-Covid policy has caused a massive shortage of food and essential supplies for millions of people.

The country enacted its controversial zero-Covid policy to contain the virus’s spread, utilizing authoritarian methods for its enforcement, even in the case of a few infections within a population. Thirty regions spread across China are placed under full or partial lockdown.

Authorities have banned citizens from leaving or entering their cities to purchase essential supplies. In some regions, the government has resorted to drastic measures to prevent citizens from coming into close contact.

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People residing in Xinjiang, a subdistrict in Henan Province, have taken to social media platforms like Weibo to post about widespread food, medication and essential supply shortages. The subdistrict has been in lockdown for over a month, and posts show a grim story of being unable to access medical care or replenish supplies since supermarkets closed.

“It’s been 15 days, we are out of flour, rice, eggs. From days ago, we run out of milk for kids.”

Xinjiang has long been under scrutiny by the international community. A U.N. report accused China of mass “human rights violations” against its Muslim minority and Uyghur population.

Authorities are resorting to turning off elevators to prevent residents from leaving their buildings. According to BBC, authorities locked down 500,000 residents in the Guizhou province without warning.

In Chengdu, a city of 21 million people, residents were instructed to stay inside during a 6.6 magnitude earthquake. Videos surfaced online of people trying to exit their buildings, only to find police had locked the doors, trapping them inside. Only 156 cases of covid had been reported.

In Xi’an, a man died of a heart attack after being refused admission by hospital employees. A woman who was eight months pregnant and bleeding was turned away, resulting in a miscarriage.

A video of an Uyghur man pleading for assistance for his children, who had not eaten for three days, surfaced online. In Yining city, 300 people signed an online shared document requesting food, medicine and sanitary pads.

“I’m out of money to buy supplies. My wife is pregnant and we have two kids. We are running out of gas. My wife needs a medical check.”

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Chinese media outlets are accusing authorities of flooding social media with benign posts about Xinjiang in a campaign to drown out posts about living conditions.

The Independent reports that one media outlet published a leaked document from the government instructing censors to “open a campaign of comment flooding.” The order asks enforcers to post content about domestic life, parenting, cooking and personal status updates.

 “All internet commentary organizational work units must carry out comment flooding work at the relevant times … the time period in question is from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. tonight.”

Users on the platform quickly recognized the propaganda comments and spoke out, ridiculing them, prompting the accounts to go private.

In May, the World Health Organization advised China to change its containment policy, warning that the policy was unsustainable knowing the virus’s behavior. The organization urged the country to consider such a stringent policy’s human rights concerns and economic cost.

police

One Suspect in Canadian Mass Stabbing Found Dead, Another Still At Large

A suspect behind a mass stabbing in Saskatchewan, Canada that left 10 people dead and 18 others wounded is still at large.

The spree attack on Sunday spanned through 13 crime scenes in the Indigenous community James Smith Cree Nation and Weldon, a nearby village.

The incident is one of the country’s worst mass killings.

The police have identified two brothers, Damien Sanderson, 31 and Myles Sanderson, 30, as the suspected assailants. Damien was found dead on Monday, lying in a grassy area near a house that was being examined. His body was found not far from where the attacks were carried out.

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Saskatchewan’s RCMP commanding officer, Rhonda Blackmore, stated that Damien’s injuries are not believed to be self-inflicted at this time. The two brothers’ motives have yet to be determined.

“It appears that some of the victims may have been targeted, and some may be random. So to speak to a motive would be extremely difficult at this point in time.”

An extensive search is underway for Myles Sanderson, who has a lengthy criminal record. Myles was already wanted before Sunday’s stabbings for breaching his parole conditions. He is now formally charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder, and breaking and entering.

The brothers were believed to be last seen together in a black Nissan Rogue SUV in Regina, roughly 200 miles away from the location of the attacks. The discovery of the body is causing police to question their initial findings.

Myles may be wounded and there is a possibility that he may seek medical attention.

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Justin Trudeau addressed the nation on his Twitter page and called the attacks “horrific and heartbreaking.”

“Today and tomorrow, the flag on the Peace Tower will be flown at half-mast – in memory of those who lost their lives during yesterday’s attacks in Saskatchewan and in solidarity with everyone affected by this violence. All Canadians are there for you.”

The James Smith Cree Nation declared a state of emergency in the wake of the attack.

On Monday evening, Regina Police Chief Evan Bray acknowledged that a significant amount of time had passed since the alleged sightings. Bray told Regina residents that the “information that put him in our community is now well over a day old, and we have not had any new information to determine that it is no longer factual.”

Bray stated that law enforcement would continue to operate under the assumption that Myles is still in Regina until informed otherwise.

The police have notified the public that Myles is believed to be still armed and dangerous. Citizens are advised to stay in a secure location and to use caution while allowing others into their residences.

flood

As Floods Hit Pakistan, Millions Are In Search For Help

In over a decade, millions of Pakistanis are fighting for their lives and searching for aid as they are overwhelmed by the scale of the disaster. 

Many authorities have claimed that this recent disaster and the scale of it could be considered a “serious climate catastrophe.”

With the recent flash flood on Friday, it destroyed at least 10 bridges, over a dozen buildings and killed nearly 75 people. 

“We’ve had to deploy the navy for the first time to operate in Indo-Pakistan, because much of it resembles a small ocean,” said Climate change minister Sherry Rehman.

The monsoon ended up affecting all four provinces of Pakistan. Almost a million homes have been destroyed or severely damaged, numerous roads can no longer be traveled on and electricity outages are everywhere.

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These damages have affected at least 33 million people throughout the entire country. 

According to the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA), the fatalities of this disaster have also continued to increase since mid-June up to at least 1,061 people and the fear continues to rise as more death follows.

“By the time this is over, we could well have one quarter or one third of Pakistan under water,” said Rehman. 

According to CNN, Foreign Minister Bilawal Butto-Zardari stated this past Sunday that this year’s monsoons in Pakistan have been “absoultely devastating.”

“I haven’t seen any destruction or devastation of this scale. I find it very difficult to put into words the phraseologies that we are used to, whether it’s monsoon rains or flooding, doesn’t quite seem to encapsulate the ongoing devastation and disaster that we are still witnessing.”

Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has joined in to help for relief efforts by dropping off supplies via helicopter in areas that have been hard to reach either by boat or on foot.

“Visiting flood affected areas and meeting people. The magnitude of the calamity is bigger than estimated. Times demand that we come together as one nation in support of our people facing this calamity. Let us rise above our differences and stand by our people who need us today,” Sharif recently tweeted.

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The International Rescue Committee profit group reached out on Monday and stated that more than 30 million people were in “urgent need” because of the monsoons. 

The United States and United Kingdom governments have stated that they will pledge around $1 million in emergency relief and that the first wave of foreign aid will start to come into Pakistan on Monday to help citizens find some relief from the disastrous floods.

ukraine

Ukraine Celebrates Their Independence Day With A Careful Look Towards Russia

This Wednesday, Ukraine celebrated their Independence Day which also marked the 31st anniversary of when the country voted to break off from the Soviet Union. 

This year, however, became more of a somber occasion. Officials around the Ukraine were attending memorials and issuing warnings that Moscow could potentially carry out missile attacks against cities within the Ukraine. 

In years past, this holiday would be marked with celebrations and parades. This year commemorated exactly six months after Russia’s invasion began.

President Volodymyr Zelensky started off the day with an address that spoke of the recent invasion as a new independence day where Ukraine had to fight for its freedom instead of simply voting for it.

“A new nation emerged on February 24 at 4 a.m. Not born, but reborn. A nation that didn’t cry, didn’t scream, didn’t get scared. Didn’t run away. Didn’t give up. Didn’t forget.” 

All across Ukraine, people paid tribute to the people who have been killed in the military ever since the invasion from Russia began.

The silent celebrations throughout Ukraine followed Zelensky’s warning that Russia may step up efforts to start attacks once again, including missile strikes. 

According to CNN, The US government joined Ukraine with concerns of the attacks and warned Americans visiting to leave the country immediately. 

Sadly, the expressed concerns appeared to have come true as Russia launched missile strikes all across Ukrainian territory.

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“In other major cities of Ukraine, even those which are far away from the battlefield, there have been explosions, there have been missile strikes,” said Sak, an adviser to Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov. 

Within these explosions, there has been at least 15 people killed and dozens more wounded from a Russian rocket strike. 

In a recent video, Zelensky said the rockets that were blasted from Russia hit a train and at least 4 of the carriages were on fire. 

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Many of the public celebrations for Ukraine’s independence day were canceled, but citizens showed their respect by wearing embroidered shirts similar to the national dress. 

Even through all the attacks, Ukraine is still uniting together to take a stand up against Russia. 

“Every new day is a new reason not to give up. Because, having gone through so much, we have no right not to reach the end. What is the end of the war for us? We used to say: Peace. Now we say: Victory,” said Zelensky.

pride

Singapore To Repeal Law Banning Gay Sex, ‘A Win For Humanity’

Singapore will repeal a law that bans gay sex in the city-state, effectively making it legal to be homosexual, which activists are calling a “win for humanity.”

terror

At Least Eight People, Including Five Americans, Injured In Jerusalem Shooting Terror Attack 

Around 1:30 am local time Sunday, police responded to reports of a “terrorist armed with weapons who shot at a bus and vehicles in a parking lot near the Old City of Jerusalem.” The attack took place near the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City, where the shooter targeted a bus in the area. 

At least eight people, including five Americans, were wounded in the attack. Two of the Americans are being treated at the Hadassah Medical Center, and three at Shaare Zedek Medical Center, according to reports from the hospitals. 

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The hospitals stated that at least two of the injured Americans were tourists and Israeli media confirmed that four of the American victims were tourists and members of the same family. 

Emergency services reported that two of the victims are in serious condition while the other six victims are mildly or moderately injured. One of the wounded individuals was pregnant and had to endure an emergency cesarean operation, both the mother and baby are in serious condition, according to the Shaare Zedek hospital. 

The US Embassy in Jerusalem said that they are “shocked and saddened by the attack,” and are currently gathering more information. A spokesperson released a statement to CNN today regarding the attack: 

We strongly condemn all acts of terrorism and actions that exacerbate tensions. Our thoughts are with the loved ones of the victims and we wish all of them a quick and full recovery.”

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Tom Nides, the US Ambassador to Israel, also released a statement via his Twitter condemning the attack: 

“Strongly condemn the terrorist attack outside the Old City of Jerusalem. I am praying for a quick recovery for all of the innocent victims,” Nides said.

“Deeply saddened to confirm that Americans were injured in this attack. I’ve spoken with the families and will keep them in my prayers. Continuing to monitor the situation.”

According to a police spokesperson, the shooter initially fled the scene with both security forces, the Shin Bet, and the IDF in pursuit. The suspect later turned himself into the police with his weapon being immediately seized. 

The suspect is an Israeli citizen born in 1996. While he’s not known for any terror related offenses, he has a criminal record and spent time in prison, his identity has not been released. 

Israeli media outlets described the suspect as a Palestinian who holds Israeli citizenship. Police and forensic investigators have begun a full investigation into the attack.

lgbtq

Ugandan Government Shuts Down LGBT+ Organization, Members Call The Move A ‘Clear Witch Hunt’ 

Uganda’s government this week decided to shut down operations of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), a non-governmental organization that works on improving LGBT+ rights in the nation. The government released a statement in which they explained that the group was operating illegally in the country. 

Members of SMUG responded by calling the move a “witch hunt” against the LGBT+ community. 

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Uganda’s National Bureau for Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO Bureau) said Friday the “group operated without being registered in the NGO Bureau.” The group initially tried to register in 2012, but was rejected “on grounds of being undesirable.”

SMUG members released a statement this past Friday stating that the choice to shut down the group’s operations was a “clear witch-hunt rooted in systematic homophobia that is fueled by anti-gay and anti-gender movements.” 

“The refusal to legalize SMUG’s operation that seeks to protect LGBTQ people who continue to face major discrimination in Uganda, actively encouraged by political and religious leaders, was a clear indicator that the government of Uganda and its agencies are adamant and treating Ugandan gender and sexual minorities as second-class citizens,” the group stated

“The government should uphold their obligations to protect all Ugandans regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, expression, and sex characteristics.”

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Uganda is no stranger to anti-LGBT+ policies and laws. In 2009 the nation introduced an anti-homoseuality bill that included a death sentence for gay sex. Lawmakers in the country passed another bill in 2014 that replaced the death penalty punishment with a proposal for life in prison. 

That law was ultimately struck down, but lawmakers have attempted to reintroduce it in more recent years. 

Uganda is known as a socially conservative country, beyond just their restrictions to the LGBT+ community. In 2014 they introduced the Anti-Pornography Act which banned mini-skirts, and arrested victims who were subject to revenge porn. 

LGBT+ community members in Uganda face arrest, assault, and overall persecution for their identity.

monkeypox

World Health Organization Declares Monkeypox Outbreak As A Global Health Emergency 

The World Health Organization (WHO) has officially declared the global monkeypox outbreak as a public health emergency of international concern, the strongest call to action the agency can make. 

Since 2009, the WHO has declared seven global health emergencies, the most recent being for Covid-19, which was declared an emergency back in 2020. 

According to the WHO’s international health regulations, a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) is “an extraordinary event which is determined to constitute a public health risk to other states through the international spread of disease and to potentially require a coordinated international response.”

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The UN health agency states that the term implies that the situation is very serious, sudden, unusual, and/or unexpected. A global health emergency also implies this is a threat for public health beyond national borders, and may require immediate international attention. 

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO’s director general, said at a press conference that the “committee met on Thursday to review the latest data, but were unable to reach a consensus.”

“In short, we have an outbreak that has spread around the world rapidly through new modes of transmission about which we understand too little and which meets the criteria in the international health regulations,” he said. 

“For all of these reasons I have decided that the global monkeypox outbreak represents a global health emergency of international concern.”

While he said the “risk of monkeypox is moderate globally, it’s high in Europe and there is a clear risk of further international spread.”

So far there have been around 16,000 cases of monkeypox globally, 4,132 of which were in the past week according to data from WHO. It’s now been found in 75 countries and territories, and there have been five deaths. 

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European regions have the highest number of total cases at 11,865, and the highest increase in cases within the last week, with 2,705. 

Dr. Rosamund Lewis, the technical lead for monkeypox at the WHO health emergency program, stated that there’s “a lot of work to be done. Action must be taken to establish what causes risk and to reduce situations that could put people at risk so they can protect themselves. This is how we will get to the end of this outbreak.” 

Monkeypox is classified as a viral infection typically found in animals in central and western Africa, although it can cause outbreaks in humans, as we’ve been seeing. 

Besides Europe, cases have been reported throughout the US, Canada, Australia, Nigeria, Israel, Brazil, Mexico, and others. 

Experts have stressed that anyone can get monkeypox as it’s spread through close or intimate contact. The UN has warned that some media portrayals of the virus impacting mainly Africans and individuals in the LGBT+ community “reinforce homophobic and racist stereotypes and exacerbate stigma.” 

Dr Michael Ryan, the executive director of the WHO emergencies program, said: “We all know how difficult it has been historically to deal with issues like this because of stigma. If nothing else this is about enlightened self-interest, as well as solidarity with those affected.”

flooding

Pakistan’s Largest City Experiences Torrential Rain And Major Flooding Due To Climate Crisis 

Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city, is experiencing extreme torrential rain and flash flooding causing a multitude of public services and businesses to close down over safety concerns. Infrastructural damage and flooding has left at least 15 individuals dead since this weekend. 

This past Sunday, Karachi experienced 2.3 inches of rain, which is equivalent to the average of an entire month’s worth of rainfall for the area. Every summer Pakistan endures heavy monsoon rains, but more recently experts have been warning that climate change is accelerating and intensifying existing weather patterns. 

Sherry Rehman, Pakistan’s climate change minister, issued flash flood warnings for citizens in more than 14 cities and townships. 

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“Since the monsoon season began last month more than 300 people have been killed by heavy rains across Pakistan,” according to Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority. 

The 16 million residents of Karachi have witnessed entire neighborhoods become partially submerged from flooding. Photos from the area show individuals knee-deep in muddy flood water with vehicles left completely stranded and submerged. 

“Infrastructure including bridges, highways and roads have been damaged, disrupting traffic and upending the lives of millions across the city. Many have stocked up on fuel for their generators in case of power outages,”  said Afia Salam, a climate change advocate in Karachi.

“Climate change is a threat. We are a coastal city. It’s happening so fast and we will bear the brunt. People need to see the situation beyond individual events like a bridge falling or a road getting flooded.”

“The rapidity of these events is increasing and our response is not keeping pace. We are being reactive to individual events. Strategies need to be put in place, the poorest and most vulnerable are on the front line of the crisis,” said Salam.

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“Karachi, the country’s financial capital, boasts luxury hotels, malls and upmarket gated communities. But disparities in wealth and development remain, and an estimated 50% of its residents are forced to live in informal settlements,” according to the World Bank.

“Karachi’s infrastructure is highly vulnerable to climate-related disasters,” according to the World Bank.

Experts are stating that the climate crisis in Pakistan is also being exacerbated by poor flood management and ineffective disaster response. 

Extreme weather events in South Asia are becoming more frequent due to climate change, with temperatures in parts of India and Pakistan reaching record highs during a heat wave in April and May. 

According to a 2022 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), they had “medium confidence that heat waves and humidity stress would become more intense and frequent, and annual and summer monsoon precipitation will increase.”

According to the IPCC India and Pakistan are among the countries that are expected to be the most affected by climate change.