Calf Canyon/Hermits Peak Fire becomes largest in New Mexico history at nearly 300,000 acres


The blaze, burning east of Santa Fe, is 27% contained with 2,015 personnel working to contain the fire, officials said Monday on a Facebook page providing updates on the effort to quell it.

The Calf Canyon Fire started April 19 and later combined with the Hermits Peak Fire, which has been burning for more than a month, to become the nation’s largest wildfire this year. It has destroyed hundreds of homes and grown to a perimeter of over 500 miles.

The wildfire, which has threatened the city of Las Vegas, New Mexico, has prompted President Joe Biden to declare a major disaster. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Since the fire began, about 26,000 people have been forced to evacuate, with more expected to face evacuations later this week, according to the Fire South Zone Incident Management Team. More than 10,000 homes have been directly impacted by the blaze, team spokesperson Andy Gray said.

Currently, there are 3,820 homes under mandatory evacuation orders in the San Miguel, Mora, Taos and Colfax counties, New Mexico Emergency Operation Center spokesman Travis Martinez told CNN. An additional 56,000 homes are under a voluntary evacuation order, he said.

A red-flag warning is in effect for the area surrounding the fire, with near-critical fire weather conditions, dry lightning, and shifting winds expected amid ongoing dry conditions.

“Dry lightning with sudden and strong erratic wind shifts from any nearby storm” could lead to rapid spreading or shifting of the fire lines, the National Weather Service (NWS) office in Albuquerque warned.

Winds from storm outflows could gust as high as 60 mph, in addition to a level 1 of 5 risk for damaging thunderstorm winds with a few of the storms.

“Any new or ongoing fires will be very hard to control,” the warning said.

The cities of Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Roswell in New Mexico all have the potential to tie or break record highs this week, making weather conditions at the Calf Canyon/Hermits Peak wildfire even more dire.

Fire weather worsens as heat wave spreads across southern US this week
Exacerbating the problem is the mega-drought the area has been suffering for years that’s dried out vegetation and turned it into ready fuel for any fires that start.

The dry conditions and blowing winds result in a high risk of the current fire spreading, according to Gray. A mix of the historic drought and 2% relative humidity have made the ground extremely dry. Embers blowing as far as 2.5 miles from the fire’s perimeter have a 98-100% probability of ignition, he said.

According to National Interagency Fire Center data, this year has seen more fires nationwide — 24,762 — than any previous year tracked in the last decade. It ranks fourth in the most acres burned to date.

The previous largest fire in New Mexico was the Whitewater-Baldy Fire in 2012 that burned 297,845 acres, the Geographic Area Coordination Centers report.

So far this year, about 480,000 acres have been scorched in New Mexico — more than was burned in the previous two years combined, CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller said. That number is almost double the yearly average of 260,000 acres.

It’s not just the numbers that are frightening: The fire season goes into July, with fire activity across the state typically peaking in June.

CNN’s Haley Brink, Allison Chinchar, Joseph Bonheim and Theresa Waldrop contributed to this report.



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Buffalo residents mourn loved ones and a community’s haven


BUFFALO, New York — Phylicia Dove fails to fight back tears as she talks about the massacre that shattered her community’s haven in Buffalo’s Masten Park neighborhood.

“Tops market was a place of community, a safe space for us to meet, to talk, to be together,” she told CNN. “There’s no one here who hasn’t visited this Tops. It was ours. Even if it wasn’t the best, it was ours, and now our safe space has been infiltrated and taken from us and that is something we are mourning.”

The beloved Tops is the only supermarket in a one-mile radius within this largely Black neighborhood and one that took more than a decade to get. It has now been scarred by a deadly rampage whose remnants are evident in the stretches of police tape that now guard the store.

But the real guardians of this grocery store are the hundreds of residents who have swarmed Jefferson Avenue, mourning, praying and beginning their heartbreaking journey toward healing.

The tragedy began when a typical Saturday of grocery shopping turned into a violent nightmare as 18-year-old Payton S. Gendron arrived at Tops and gunned down people inside and outside of the store, police say. Eleven of the thirteen victims, ages 20 to 86, were Black.

Gendron has described himself as a White supremacist in a hateful rant online. And residents want the world to know that what happened in their community was an act of terror.

“This has to be labeled a racist hate crime and we want it known that he is a White supremacist,” Dove said. “We also want this spoken about as terrorism, and to make it sound any softer than that is a slap in the face for the families grieving today.”

The slaughter has left this tight-knit community angry and heartbroken, but East Side residents like Tony Marshall have not let their grief keep them away from each other.

Tony Marshall spends a majority of his days at Tops, picking up and dropping off employees and shoppers.

Marshall spent hours under the sun, grilling hot dogs on the corner where Tops loomed behind him, only a few feet away from where he discovered the bodies of three of his friends the day before.

“It was chaos,” he says, looking back at the Tops parking lot. “People crying, people screaming, and I joined them when I saw those bodies, all by the door. Bodies of my friends.”

Marshall, affectionately known in town as “Mr. Tony,” is cooking for hundreds of residents in mourning on Buffalo’s East Side. The jitney driver, who spends a majority of his days at Tops picking up and dropping off employees and shoppers, says he is “emotionally drained.”

“It started the moment I got here and saw my people on the ground and it hasn’t ended since,” he told CNN. “There’s nothing else I want to do but be here, because this is one of them deals where if we let that grief fester, none of us are going to want to be here. And if we’re not here, once again the community suffers.”

Sounds of hope and pain engulf the block, brief laughter mingled with audible crying. Across the street and under a tree commemorated with flowers and candles for those lost, a man wraps his arms around a woman whose tears appear to have no end.

Beside them, a group of young people pass around a small microphone, shouting words of hope. “We will not be broken!” one woman cries.

Victims names are written in chalk near the supermarket.
People surround Elea Daniel in prayer as she cries on Sunday. "God says we have to love no matter what," said Daniel, who was trying to find forgiveness for the man that targeted her community and left 10 dead.

As the community begins its efforts to heal and rebuild, Dove, a local business owner and activist, says she can’t help but worry this won’t be the last time tragedy strikes a Black community in America.

“Where can we exist and be Black and safe?” she asks. “And if it’s not our grocery store, or our church, or any other place where we’ve been shot before, where do we go to exist freely?”

‘We are hated, and now we are being hunted’

Heavily armed and wearing tactical gear, Gendron, who is from Conklin, New York, traveled about 200 miles to Tops with the intention of continuing his shooting rampage beyond the supermarket, police say.
His choice to target Tops was not random; in the hateful rant, the author, who claims to be Payton Gendron, says the supermarket in Buffalo is in a ZIP code that “has the highest Black percentage that is close enough to where I live.”

The ZIP code that includes Tops, 14208, is 78% Black, according to the Census Bureau’s 2020 American Community Survey. It is among the top 2% of ZIP codes nationwide with the highest percentage of Black population and has the highest percentage of Black population of any ZIP code in upstate New York.

“He knew what he was doing when he came for us,” Raqueal “RaRa” Watson, who was born and raised nearby, told CNN. “It makes us scared, especially as a mother, that someone could come all the way here just to murder us. Ain’t none of us slept last night. This will cause permanent trauma.”

Tops was her local grocery store, she says while sitting on a chair in front of the memorial on Jefferson Ave, where a woman lays flowers before bending down to offer a prayer.

Calvin Albrow and Raqueal "RaRa" Watson pose for a portrait outside the supermarket.
Aaron Salter, the “hero” security guard who engaged the suspect but was fatally shot, watched her grow up in that store, she says.

But despite the memories and the love she held for Tops, the mother of three said she and her family do not plan on ever going there again.

“All we did was be Black,” Watson said. “White people take everything from us. Even the only grocery store in our community. That’s what they’re doing to us.”

Dove, the community activist, is also a mother and she says she’s consumed by another issue: How does she explain the incident to her two young children, who she fears could one day become victims of similar incidents deeply rooted in racism against Black people?

“We shouldn’t have to teach our children that at some point their skin color is going to mark them as different and could mark them as a target,” Dove said. “In this country we are hated, and now we are being hunted. How do you explain to a child there was a massacre at a grocery store because someone hates their skin? What age is appropriate for me to tell them that could happen to them?”

“Growing up not ever thinking or knowing your skin is a problem is a privilege Black bodies don’t have,” she added.

A memorial is set up near Tops.
People look at a rainbow forming a circle around the sun as they mourn and pray on the street outside of Tops.

‘It was about the invisible becoming visible’

Martin Bryant leans against the porch of his home — which sits on the same block as Tops — as his two nephews stand beside him. The three have spent the day standing outside their home, they say, unable to accept that the neighborhood they see now — still swarming with police officers, reporters and dozens of mourners — is the same one they call home.

Bryant was 33 years old when Tops opened up in his neighborhood. After living in the same house on Jefferson Avenue his entire life, he finally had a local grocery store.

It’s a blessing many people take for granted; a reliable place to go to for last-minute dinner ideas, sweet tooth cravings, or to casually stroll aisle to aisle going down a handwritten grocery list.

So when Tops opened in 2003, life completely changed when this community got the grocery store they’d been dreaming about, and fighting for, for more than a decade.

“Tops was a big boost to the community. We actually had a grocery store to call our own. It wasn’t a convenience store like a 7/11, it was a real grocery store. It made everyone happy.” Bryant told CNN. “Local leaders fought hard for it and the location was perfect because it is right off two bus lines.”

A video from the supermarket’s grand opening shows a level of joy from residents, who are seen cheering and filling up the aisles of their new store, disturbingly contrary to the horror seen within those same walls on Saturday.

“For the community that had long lived without viable fresh fruits and vegetables this was a sign of progress, a sign of being and feeling recognized,” Dove said. “A sign that the East Side mattered and was an area of the city worth being invested into. It was about the invisible becoming visible.”

From left, Darious Morgan, Martin Bryant and Jordan Bryant stand on the steps of a family member's home, two doors down from Tops.

Before Tops, residents had to rely on a “dirty corner store that was never stocked” or travel to neighboring areas to shop. When winters were bad, it made it especially difficult, Bryant said, and for older people and low-income residents who couldn’t afford to own cars, things were more dire.

Now, Bryant fears for the elderly and the less privileged in his neighborhood who might not feel safe going into Tops anymore.

“Elderly people go there. My mother, who was in a wheelchair, got to go there any day she wanted to get a few things,” Bryant said. “We try to have hope, because what will they have if they don’t have Tops? Even I might not want to go in there again.”

The nearest grocery store is a Wegmans, which is about 4 miles away. Although it’s a 15-minute drive, public transportation could make the journey up to an hour long. Another issue is that Wegmans is considered a high-end supermarket and the prices are less affordable for some Masten Park residents.

“To have that only space for us, celebrated in 2003 so not too long ago, the only supermarket in what really is a food desert, taken away is traumatizing,” Dove said. “It’s a sense of being kicked when we were already down, so it’s a different level of pain we’re feeling. We didn’t have much, and you took what was left.”

Tops Friendly Markets said in a statement the store will be closed “until further notice,” but the community fears it will never reopen. And even if it does, Bryant says, walking across a parking lot and into a store where the dead bodies once were might be impossible.

“We are broken, possibly irreversibly,” Dove said. “Will we ever be the same? No. Will we rebuild? Yes. Because we don’t have a choice. Black people in America have never had a choice.”

People surround Deazjah Roseboro, 12, as she comforts her 8-year-old cousin, Jerney Moss.



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Social media platforms struggle to stop the spread of Buffalo shooting video


Major social media platforms have tried to improve how they respond to the sharing of this kind of content since the mass shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 2019, which was streamed live on Facebook. In the 24 hours after that attack, Facebook said it removed 1.5 million copies of the video. Experts in online extremism say such content can act as far-right terrorist propaganda and inspire others to carry out similar attacks; the Buffalo shooter was directly influenced by the Christchurch attack, according to the document he allegedly shared.

The stakes for addressing the spread of such content quickly are significant. “This fits into a model that we’ve seen over and over and over again,” said Ben Decker, CEO of digital investigations consultancy Memetica and an expert on online radicalization and extremism. “At this point we know that the consumption of these videos creates copycat mass shootings.”

Still, social media companies face challenges in responding to what appears to be users posting a deluge of copies of the Buffalo shooting video and document.
Saturday’s attack was streamed live on Twitch, a video streaming service owned by Amazon (AMZN) that is particularly popular with gamers. Twitch said it removed the video two minutes after the violence started, before it could be widely viewed but not before it was downloaded by other users. The video has since been shared hundreds of thousands of times across major social media platforms and also posted to more obscure video hosting sites.
Spokespeople for Facebook, Twitter (TWTR), YouTube and Reddit all told CNN that they have banned sharing the video on their sites and are working to identify and remove copies of it. (TikTok did not respond to requests for comment on its response.) But the companies appear to be struggling to contain the spread and manage users looking for loopholes in their content moderation practices.
Buffalo massacre puts spotlight on hate-filled website
CNN observed a link to a copy of the video circulating on Facebook on Sunday night. Facebook included a warning that the link violated its community standards but still allowed users to click through and watch the video. Facebook parent company Meta (FB) said it had removed the link after CNN asked about it.

Meta on Saturday designated the event as a “terrorist attack,” which triggered the company’s internal teams to identify and remove the account of the suspect, as well as to begin removing copies of the video and document and links to them on other sites, according to a company spokesperson. The company added the video and document to an internal database that helps automatically detect and remove copies if they are reuploaded. Meta has also banned content that praises or supports the attacker, the spokesperson said.

The video was also hosted on a lesser known video service called Streamable and was only removed after it had reportedly been viewed more than 3 million times, and its link shared across Facebook and Twitter, according to The New York Times.

A spokesperson for Streamable told CNN the company was “working diligently” to remove copies of the video “expeditiously.” The spokesperson did not respond when asked how one video had reached millions of views before it was removed.

Copies of the document allegedly written by the shooter were uploaded to Google Drive and other, smaller online storage sites and shared over the weekend via links to those platforms. Google did not respond to requests for comment about the use of Drive to spread the document.

Challenges for addressing extremist content

In some cases, the big platforms appeared to struggle with common moderation pitfalls, such as removing English-language uploads of the video faster than those in other languages, according to Tim Squirrell, communications head at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, a think tank dedicated to addressing extremism.

But the mainstream Big Tech platforms also must grapple with the fact that not all internet platforms want to take action against such content.

Tech platforms have struggled to address live shootings. New legislation could make it impossible
In 2017, Facebook, Microsoft (MSFT), YouTube and Twitter founded the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism, an organization designed to help promote collaboration in preventing terrorists and violent extremists from exploiting their platforms that has since grown to include more than a dozen companies. Following the Christchurch attack in 2019, the group committed to prevent the livestreaming of attacks on their platforms and to coordinate to address violent and extremist content.

“Now, technically, that failed. It was on Twitch. It then started getting posted around in the initial 24 hours,” Decker said, adding that the platforms have more work to do in effectively coordinating to remove harmful content during crisis situations. Still, the work done by the major platforms since Christchurch meant that their response to Saturday’s attack was faster and more robust than the reaction three years ago.

But elsewhere on the internet, smaller sites such as 4chan and messaging platform Telegram provided a place where users could congregate and coordinate to repeatedly re-upload the video and document, according to Squirrell. (For its part, Telegram says it “expressly prohibits” violence and is working to remove footage of the Buffalo shooting.)

“Many of the threads on 4chan’s message board were just people demanding the stream over and over again, and once they got a seven-minute version, just re-posting it over and over again” to bigger platforms, Squirrell said. As with other content on the internet, videos like the one of Saturday’s shooting are also often quickly manipulated by online extremist communities and incorporated into memes and other content that can be harder for mainstream platforms to identify and remove.

Like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, platforms like 4chan rely on user generated content, and are legally protected (at least in the United States) by a law called Section 230 from liability over much of what users post. But whereas the mainstream Big Tech platforms are incentivized by advertisers, social pressures and users to address harmful content, the smaller, more fringe platforms are not motivated by a desire to protect ad revenue or attract a broad base of users. In some cases, they desire to be online homes for speech that would be moderated elsewhere.

“The consequence of that is that you can never complete the game of whack-a-mole,” Squirrell said. “There’s always going to be somewhere, someone circulating a Google Drive link or a Samsung cloud link or something else that allows people to access this … Once it’s out in the ether, it’s impossible to take everything down.”





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California court strikes down another law seeking to diversify corporate boards



Late last week, a California judge in the Superior Court of Los Angeles ruled that the state’s 2018 law requiring public companies headquartered in California to have a minimum number of women on their board violates the state’s constitution.

The law required companies to place at least one woman on their board by the end of 2019 — or face a penalty. The California legislation also required companies with five directors to have at least two women by the end of 2021, and companies with six or more directors to have at least three women by the end of the same year.

Among the reasons the judge gave for overturning the law: The state “failed to sufficiently prove that [the law’s] use of a gender-based classification was necessary to boost California’s economy, improve opportunities for women in the workplace, and protect California taxpayers, public employees, pensions, and retirees.”

“This disappointing ruling is a reminder that sometimes our legalities don’t match our realities,” said California Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins, who coauthored the law, in a statement. “More women on corporate boards means better decisions and businesses that outperform the competition — that’s a studied, proven fact.”

Last month, another California judge struck down the state’s 2020 law requiring companies to have a minimum number of directors from underrepresented groups. That would include people identifying as Black, African American, Hispanic, Latino, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native American, Native Hawaiian or Alaska Native, or gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

When the laws, which both phased in their mandates over time, were passed, the expectation was that their effect would be felt beyond just company boards in California since so many companies headquartered there also operated in other states and internationally.

What impact the latest rulings will have is unclear since there has been a growing call among institutional shareholders and exchanges like Nasdaq to boost diversity on public boards and increase public disclosure of diversity statistics for investors. And all that comes among a broader push for corporations to treat environmental, social and governance issues as a business imperative.

“For those still afraid of women in positions of leadership, they need to work on figuring that out because the world is moving on without them,” said Atkins.

Julie Hembrock Daum, who leads the North American Board Practice of executive and board search firm Spencer Stuart, said both California laws did boost the number of women and minorities on corporate boards, particularly on boards that before were very homogenous. “Most companies decided to take action even though they knew the laws might be struck down,” Daum said.

Now without the California mandates, companies may not diversify their boards as much as they were obligated to under the struck-down laws, she said. But she expects they will continue to diversify, if not of their own accord than under pressure from institutional shareholders. “The baseline [for diversity] has moved up,” Daum said.



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Elisabeth Borne: France names first female Prime Minister in 30 years



Paris
CNN
 — 

Elisabeth Borne has been named the new Prime Minister of France, the first time in 30 years that a woman has held the position.

Borne will replace Jean Castex in the role, the Elysée Palace said in a statement on Monday, becoming only the second woman ever to serve as Prime Minister since the end of WWII. The country’s first was Édith Cresson, who served between May 1991 and April 1992 under Socialist President François Mitterand.

Borne formerly served as minister of the environment, transportation and labor.

She will lead a French government likely to be tasked with delivering on President Macron’s election campaign priorities: retirement reform and the scaling up of policies designed to combat climate change.

Borne pictured at the end of the handover ceremony.

Her appointment follows President Emmanuel Macron’s reelection on April 24.

Borne has been “entrusted with forming a government,” according to the Elysée.

She dedicated her nomination to “every little girl,” during a ceremony on Monday marking the transfer of power.

“Follow your dreams all the way,” Borne said in a speech. “Nothing must hold back the fight for the place of women in society.”

Earlier Monday the Elysée Palace announced that Castex had tendered his resignation.

The former mayor of his small hometown of Prades in southwest France, Castex was a little known figure when he became Prime Minister in July 2020. He went on to lead France’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.



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Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker are married



The two shared the happy news on their respective Instagram accounts Monday afternoon.

Their posts included a series of black-and-white photos from what appeared to be an intimate occasion and captions that simply read, “Till death do us part.”

The reality star and Poosh founder’s sisters were among those who commented on the news of their nuptials. Kim Kardashian wrote, “KRAVIS FOREVER.”

The marriage comes one month after the couple shared a series of snapshots taken at a Las Vegas wedding chapel, following the Grammy Awards. Kardashian said in the caption on Instagram at the time that they were not legally married because they did not obtain a marriage license.

Kardashian and the Blink-182 drummer announced their engagement in October.

They began dating at the beginning of 2021 after being friends for several years. This is the first marriage for Kardashian, who has three children with her ex-boyfriend Scott Disick. This is Barker’s third marriage.

Their romantic engagement was featured on a recent episode of Kardashian’s Hulu reality show.





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Ukrainian forces say they have fulfilled their “combat mission” in besieged Mariupol


Buses carrying service members of Ukrainian forces from the besieged Azovstal steel mill drive away under escort of the pro-Russian military in the course of Ukraine-Russia conflict in Mariupol, Ukraine, Monday, May 16.
Buses carrying service members of Ukrainian forces from the besieged Azovstal steel mill drive away under escort of the pro-Russian military in the course of Ukraine-Russia conflict in Mariupol, Ukraine, Monday, May 16.

More than 260 people have been rescued from the besieged Azovstal plant — including 53 seriously wounded, Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar said.

In a video statement issued late Monday, Malyar said that together, the Ministry of Defense, the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the National Guard, and the Border Guard Service launched an operation to rescue defenders of Mariupol blocked on the territory of the Azovstal plant.

She said that “53 seriously injured people were evacuated from Azovstal to a medical facility in Novoazovsk [in territory of the Donetsk People’s Republic] for medical care.”

“Another 211 people were taken to Olenivka through the humanitarian corridor. An exchange procedure will be carried out to return them home.”

Olenivka is a town near Donetsk on the front lines of the current fighting, but in Russian-occupied territory. 

Malyar made it clear that some defenders remain at Azovstal.

“As for the defenders who still remain on the territory of Azovstal, rescue efforts are being carried out by the joint efforts of the above-mentioned agencies,” she said.

She added, “Thanks to the defenders of Mariupol, we have gained critical time to form reserves, regroup forces and receive assistance from partners. The defenders of Mariupol fulfilled all the tasks set by the command in full.”

“Unfortunately, we do not have the opportunity to unblock Azovstal by military means. The most important common task of all Ukraine and the whole world is to save the lives of the defenders of Mariupol,” Malyar said.

A short time after Malyar’s statement was released, President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the situation at Azovstal, and also implied that some Ukrainians remained inside the plant. 

“Thanks to the actions of the Ukrainian military — the Armed Forces of Ukraine, intelligence, the negotiating team, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the United Nations, we hope that we will be able to save the lives of our guys.”

“Among them are the seriously injured. They are being treated. I want to emphasize that Ukraine needs Ukrainian heroes alive. This is our principle.”

“The work continues to bring the boys home, and this work needs delicacy. And time.”



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Ukraine declares ‘combat mission’ over in Mariupol amid evacuation





CNN
 — 

Ukrainian forces have completed their “combat mission” in the besieged city of Mariupol, according to a statement by the country’s military.

Commanders of units stationed at the city’s massive Azovstal steelworks plant have been ordered “to save the lives of their personnel,” the statement by the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine also said.

Hundreds of people were evacuated on Monday from the steel plant, the last holdout in a city that had become a symbol of Ukrainian resistance under relentless Russian bombardment.

Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar described the evacuation operation in a separate video statement, noting that some Ukrainian forces remain at Azovstal.

“Fifty-three seriously injured people were evacuated from Azovstal to a medical facility in Novoazovsk for medical care,” she said. “Another 211 people were taken to Olenivka through the humanitarian corridor.”

An “exchange procedure” will see the evacuees eventually brought home, Malyar also said.

“Ukraine needs Ukrainian heroes alive,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Monday in a statement about the evacuation, thanking the Ukrainian military and negotiators, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the United Nations.

“The 82nd day of our defense is coming to an end. A difficult day. But this day, like all others, is aimed precisely at saving our country and our people,” Zelensky said.

The Russian Defense Ministry had earlier said that a ceasefire had been established to allow the passage of wounded Ukrainian servicemen, according to state news agency RIA Novosti.

Mariupol, a port city on the Sea of Azov, has been the scene of some of the most intense fighting in Ukraine since Russia launched its invasion in late February.

Many civilians have already been evacuated. But Ukrainian fighters in the city had, in April, vowed to “fight until the end,” despite being surrounded, low on ammunition and outnumbered by Russian forces.

Russian TV network RT on Monday showed video of around 10 to 12 buses leaving the steel plant. The buses appeared to be a mixture of hospital and ordinary transport, some marked with a red cross.

In her statement, Malyar credited “the defenders of Mariupol” for gaining Ukraine “critical time to form reserves, regroup forces and receive assistance from partners.”

“Unfortunately, we do not have the opportunity to unblock Azovstal by military means,” she said.

The country’s Azov Regiment on Monday also issued a statement saying “the entire Mariupol garrison” was following orders to save lives.

“In order to save lives, the entire Mariupol garrison is implementing the approved decision of the Supreme Military Command and hopes for the support of the Ukrainian people,” the Azov Regiment said in a statement late Monday.

“The defenders of Mariupol fulfilled the order, despite all the difficulties, and distracted the overwhelming forces of the enemy for 82 days.”



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CDC updates guidance to endorse Covid-19 testing for all domestic travelers



The agency now urges all domestic travelers to “consider getting tested as close to the time of departure as possible (no more than three days) before your trip,” according to its Covid-19 website updates this month.

This advice notably includes travelers who are current with their vaccines and boosters.

Previously, the recommendation to test before domestic travel applied to those who weren’t up-to-date with their Covid-19 vaccines.

There’s also testing guidance for after your trip is over, especially if you’ve been spending time in areas crowded with people.

The CDC recommends taking a Covid-19 test after domestic travel “if your trip involved situations with greater risk of exposure such as being in crowded places while not wearing a well-fitting mask or respirator.”

Finally, the agency reminds travelers to be aware of local rules and conditions wherever they’re going within the United States. Don’t assume what holds true in your town or state is the same somewhere else.

The CDC advises people to “follow all state, tribal, local, and territorial health recommendations and requirements at your destination.”

Different rules for international travel

These domestic updates are separate from CDC guidance for those traveling to the US, including US territories, from abroad.

Those travelers must have a negative coronavirus test within a day of travel or submit proof that they’ve recovered from Covid-19 in the previous 90 days. Children younger than 2 do not need to test.

The CDC also recommends getting tested three to five days after international travel to the United States.

Additionally, foreign citizens must be vaccinated for Covid-19 to enter the United States. No such requirement exists for US citizens, US nationals, and lawful permanent residents traveling domestically or internationally.

Still, the agency recommends that people be up-to-date with vaccines before any air travel.

Top image: A Covid-19 swab test is administered earlier in the pandemic in San Pablo, California. (David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)



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Oregon’s Kurt Schrader, facing backlash over breaking with House Democrats, faces primary challenge in redrawn district



Schrader has often angered party progressives during his seven terms in the House. But it wasn’t until the state redistricting process produced a new map last year, which significantly altered the boundaries of his 5th Congressional District, that the conditions for a serious primary challenge first emerged.

The race has attracted a barrage of outside spending, with more than $2 million alone coming from a pair of super PACs backing Schrader’s reelection bid. Schrader also has the support of President Joe Biden, who made the incumbent his first endorsement of the cycle, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the party’s House campaign arm. McLeod-Skinner has received a relatively modest boost from progressive outside groups, led by the Working Families Party.

But, in a more ominous development for Schrader, she has also been endorsed by four Democratic county chapters across the new district.

Three of the local parties took the unusual step of publicly demanding the DCCC stay out of the race. In April, the chairs of the Deschutes, Clackamas and Marion County Democrats wrote a letter condemning the DCCC’s involvement — including, they noted, the funding of a campaign staffer for Schrader and efforts to recruit volunteers for his campaign — and asked the organization to “cease your active support of Kurt Schrader during the primary election.”

“Allow Oregonians to choose who represents us in Congress,” they wrote.

DCCC spokesperson Johanna Warshaw defended the organization, telling CNN that its “core mission is to re-elect Democratic members like Congressman Schrader, who has been critical in advancing President Biden’s agenda — from fighting to lower the cost of health care and prescription drugs to protecting a woman’s right to choose.”

The backlash, and Schrader’s opposition to key pieces of the President’s legislative agenda, did not dissuade Biden from offering his support.

“We don’t always agree, but when it has mattered most, Kurt has been there for me,” Biden said in the April 23 announcement.

Schrader and his campaign have also argued that he is best positioned to win in what is expected to be a tight general election in the swing central Oregon district.

“The reason why he has won this competitive district time and time again is because he can bring everyone together — rural, urban and suburban — to find common ground and deliver wins that make a real difference in the lives of all Oregonians,” Schrader campaign spokesperson Deb Barnes told CNN.

McLeod-Skinner lost a House race in the 2nd Congressional District to since-retired Republican Rep. Greg Walden in 2018 — though she outperformed expectations and did especially well in a chunk of the district that now rests in the new 5th — before finishing third in the 2020 Democratic primary for secretary of state.

“We all want to win the general. I would not be in this race if I had not done my homework and was not convinced I could win the general,” McLeod-Skinner said.

And the rush of support from Washington, she told CNN in an interview, should be viewed as evidence of Schrader’s weakness at home and a disconnect between national leadership and the politics of the district.

“This may be a DC formula that is part of the reason why Democrats are hemorrhaging voters — there’s not an understanding of relationship building,” McLeod-Skinner said. “This sense you can just throw money into it and then voters will be led around by their nose, I think, is incredibly disrespectful of voters and a lack of understanding of relationships.”

McLeod-Skinner also took aim at Schrader over his votes against the American Rescue Plan, Biden’s $1.9 trillion Covid relief package, and a measure in Biden’s Build Back Better package to allow the government to negotiate the price of pharmaceutical drugs, which would dramatically lower prices. Schrader pushed an alternative provision and ultimately voted for full bill, but not before joining a group of nine moderates in an effort to decouple it from the bipartisan infrastructure bill — a tactical step that ultimately helped doom Build Back Better, Biden’s would-be signature legislation — in the Senate.

“Folks across the political spectrum don’t wanna be priced gouged on their prescription drugs. That’s a no-brainer,” McLeod-Skinner said. “And Kurt’s very much seen as having personally gotten in the way of that, no matter how many shiny flyers big pharma sends.”

Schrader’s popularity with pharmaceutical donors has often been the center of progressive criticism of his work in Congress. Center Forward, which has spent more than $1 million backing him, and has received big bucks from the drug industry, which has given heavily to Schrader’s campaigns.

Asked about his vote against allowing prescription drug negotiations, Barnes, Schrader’s spokesperson, pointed to his eventual support for Build Back Better in the House.

“He has been a partner to the Biden administration, helping to pass the Build Back Better Act that allows Medicare to negotiate prescription prices and cap the cost of insulin,” Barnes said.



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