May 24, 2023
Russia’s Wagner boss says more than 20,000 of his troops died in Bakhmut battle
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — The head of the Russian private army Wagner says his force lost more than 20,000 soldiers in the drawn-out battle for Bakhmut, with about 20% of the 50,000 Russian convicts he recruited to fight in the 15-month war dying in the eastern Ukrainian city. The figure was in stark contrast with claims from Moscow that it lost just over 6,000 troops in the war. It is also higher than the official estimate of the Soviet losses in the Afghanistan war of 15,000 troops between 1979-89. Ukraine hasn’t said how many of its soldiers have died since Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022. Analysts believe the nine-month fight for Bakhmut alone have cost the lives of tens of thousands of soldiers.
Trump’s freewheeling, stream-of-consciousness speaking style draws legal attention amid probes
WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump speaks about his legal woes in a way that would make most defense attorneys wince. The Republican former president has never hesitated to offer his opinion or joust with his antagonists. But legal experts say Trump’s freewheeling speaking style could give prosecutors additional ammunition to use against him in court. In a March interview on Fox News Channel, Trump said he had “the right to take” classified documents with him to his Florida resort. During a CNN town hall, Trump said he told a Georgia elections official “you owe me.” The stakes have never been higher for Trump as he comes under intensifying scrutiny from state and federal prosecutors.
Target pulls some LGBTQ+ merchandise from stores ahead of June Pride month after threats to workers
NEW YORK (AP) — Target is removing certain items from its stores and making other changes to its LGBTQ+ merchandise nationwide ahead of Pride month, after an intense backlash from some customers including violent confrontations with its workers. Target declined to confirm which items it was removing but among the ones that garnered the most attention were “tuck friendly” adult women’s swimsuits that allow trans women who have not had gender-affirming operations to conceal their private parts. Designs by Abprallen, a London-based company which designs and sells occult- and satanic-themed LGBTQ+ clothing and accessories, have also sparked a backlash.
One year after Uvalde shooting, investigation of police response continues
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A criminal investigation in Texas over the hesitant police response to the Robb Elementary School shooting is still ongoing a year after a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers in Uvalde. Wednesday marks one year since the deadliest school shooting in Texas history. The continuing investigation underlines the lasting fallout over the shooting and how the days after the attack were marred by authorities giving inaccurate and conflicting accounts about efforts made to stop a teenage gunman. The Uvalde school district permanently closed the Robb Elementary campus and plans for a new school are in the works. Schools in Uvalde will be closed Wednesday.
Super Typhoon Mawar lashes Guam as Category 4 storm with strong winds, rain
HAGATNA, Guam (AP) — The National Weather Service says Super Typhoon Mawar has barreled into Guam as a powerful Category 4 storm. It is pummeling the U.S. Pacific territory with high winds, heavy rains and a dangerous storm surge swamping low-lying areas as residents hunker down in homes and shelters. The National Weather Service says the typhoon passed over the northern tip of Guam on Wednesday evening. The weather service earlier warned of a “triple threat” of winds, torrential rains and life-threatening storm surge. Officials were bracing for “considerable damage” including non-reinforced concrete walls being blown down, fuel storage tanks rupturing and overturned cars.
Just in case: Anxious retirees, social service groups among those making default contingency plans
WASHINGTON (AP) — Politicians in Washington may be offering assurance that the government will figure out a way to avert default, but around the country, economic anxiety is rising and some people already are adjusting their routines. Government beneficiaries, social service groups that receive state and federal subsidies and millions more across the country are contemplating the possibility of massive and immediate cuts if the U.S. were to default on its financial obligations. Some are cutting back on necessities and others are finding ways to save money.
A lifetime of racism makes Alzheimer’s more prevalent in Black Americans
FREDERICKSBURG, Va. (AP) — Black Americans are more likely than white Americans to develop Alzheimer’s disease. They are less likely to be diagnosed and get treatment. The reasons are many and systemic and can be traced to American health inequities that follow Black people from birth to death. While evidence exists that certain genetic risk factors could differ by race and be a driver, the large disparities among racial groups can’t be explained just by genetics. Poor medical care throughout life, and the stress of racism, can be factors.
Pills flowed for years as DEA dragged feet on disciplining opioid distributor
SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) — The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has allowed one of the nation’s largest drug distributors to keep shipping addictive painkillers for nearly four years despite a judge’s recommendation to strip its license for turning a blind eye to thousands of suspicious opioid orders. The DEA did not respond to questions about its handling of Morris & Dickson Co. or the involvement of a key consultant the company had hired who is now the DEA’s second-in-command. But the delay has raised concerns about how the revolving door may be impacting the DEA’s mission to police drug companies blamed for thousands of overdose deaths.
DeSantis set to make much-anticipated presidential campaign announcement, formalizing Trump rivalry
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is set to launch his 2024 presidential campaign on Wednesday. The 44-year-old Republican governor is an outspoken cultural conservative and long seen as Donald Trump’s leading rival for the Republican nomination. He plans to announce his decision in an online conversation with Twitter CEO Elon Musk. The audio-only event will be streamed on Twitter Spaces beginning at 6 p.m. EDT. DeSantis will join a crowded Republican contest to decide whether the party will move on from Trump in 2024 as it works to retake the White House from President Joe Biden.
Sustainable till death do us part, and 45 days beyond; mushroom coffin a last best wish for some
DELFT, Netherlands (AP) — For those seeking to live in the most sustainable way, there now is an afterlife too. A Dutch intrepid inventor is now “growing” coffins by putting mycelium, the root structure of mushrooms, together with hemp fiber in a special mold that, in a week, turns into what could basically be compared to the looks of an unpainted Egyptian sarcophagus. And while traditional wooden coffins come from trees that can take decades to grow and years to break down in the soil, the mushroom versions biodegrades and delivers the remains to nature in barely a month and a half.