Plane crash believed to have killed Russian mercenary chief seen as Kremlin’s revenge
Russian mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin and top officers of his private military were presumed dead in a plane crash that was widely seen as an assassination, two months after they staged a mutiny that dented Russian President Vladimir Putin’s authority. Russia’s civil aviation agency said that Prigozhin and six of his top lieutenants were on the business jet that crashed Wednesday soon after taking off from Moscow, with a crew of three. Rescuers quickly found all 10 bodies, and Russian media cited sources in Prigozhin’s Wagner private military company who confirmed his death. U.S. and other Western officials long expected Putin to go after Prigozhin, despite promising to drop charges in a deal that ended the June 23-24 mutiny.
Trump set to surrender at Georgia jail on charges that he sought to overturn 2020 election
ATLANTA (AP) — Donald Trump is set to surrender to authorities in Georgia on charges that he schemed to overturn the 2020 election in that state, a booking process expected to yield a historic first: a mug shot of a former American president. Trump’s arrival comes on the heels of a presidential debate featuring his leading rivals for the 2024 Republican nomination, a contest in which he remains the leading candidate despite accelerating legal troubles. His presence in the state, though likely brief, is expected to swipe the spotlight at least temporarily from his opponents in the aftermath of a debate in which other candidates sought to seize on Trump’s absence to elevate their own presidential prospects.
Vivek Ramaswamy takes center stage, plus other key moments from first Republican debate
Former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis have dominated the Republican presidential nomination fight for much of the year. Neither dominated the debate stage Wednesday night. Trump skipped the GOP’s opening presidential primary debate. DeSantis showed up, but he was overshadowed for much of the night by political newcomer Vivek Ramaswamy. Ramaswamy has crept up in recent polls, leading to his position next to DeSantis at center stage. And he quickly showed why when he showcased his ready-for-video, on-message approach. His rivals, however, attacked him for his lack of political experience and his view that the U.S. should stop supporting Ukraine.
China bans seafood from Japan after the Fukushima nuclear plant begins its wastewater release
OKUMA, Japan (AP) — Japan’s tsunami-wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has begun releasing its first batch of treated radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean. In a live video from a control room at the plant Thursday, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings showed a staff member turn on a seawater pump, marking the beginning of the controversial project that’s expected to last for decades. China responded by banning seafood from Japan, effective immediately. But the Japanese government and TEPCO say the water must be released for the plant to decommission and to prevent accidental leaks. They say the treatment and dilution exceeds international safety standards. Still, some scientists say the long-term impact needs attention.
Gunfire at a California biker bar kills 4 people, including the shooter, and wounds 5 more
TRABUCO CANYON, Calif. (AP) — Authorities say three people were killed and five others were wounded in a shooting at a Southern California biker bar. The gunman was also killed by deputies. The shooting occurred after 7 p.m. Wednesday at Cook’s Corner in rural Trabuco Canyon in Orange County, a popular longtime watering hole for motorcycle riders and enthusiasts who gather for live music and other events. The Orange County Sheriff’s Department said the gunman was dead four minutes after reports of the shooting first came in. Six others were taken to a hospital, including five with gunshot wounds. The hospital said two were in critical condition.
Fire renews Maui stream water rights tension in longtime conflict over sacred Hawaiian resource
LAHAINA, Hawaii (AP) — During the deadliest U.S. wildfire in more than a century, a developer of land around a threatened Maui community urgently asked state officials for permission to divert stream water to help fight the growing inferno. In letters reviewed by the AP, the developer suggests approval was delayed while the state sought the OK from a taro farmer downstream. The dispute highlights tensions over water rights that date to Hawaii’s mid-1800s plantation era. The executive who wrote the letters says he wants stream water for fire suppression. Native Hawaiians worry the developer is using the fires to reduce overall caps on their water use.
At least 1 person is dead and 2 are missing as Tropical Storm Franklin batters Dominican Republic
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) — Tropical Storm Franklin is unleashing heavy floods and landslides in the Dominican Republic after making landfall in the country’s southern region. The Civil Defense agency said the storm killed one person on Wednesday. The storm began to slowly spin away from the island of Hispaniola that the Dominican Republic shares with Haiti after dumping heavy rain for several hours. Forecasters say Franklin could dump up to 12 inches (30 centimeters) of rain, with as much as 16 inches for Hispaniola’s central region. Officials are most concerned about the storm’s impact in Haiti, which is vulnerable to catastrophic flooding because of severe erosion from deforestation.
Zimbabwe’s election extends to a second day after long ballot delays. Some slept at polling stations
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Voting is still underway in Zimbabwe. Hourslong delays in distributing ballot papers forced the president to extend the general election by a day at dozens of polling stations. Some frustrated voters slept at polling stations, snuggling under blankets or lighting fires to keep warm. President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who seeks a second term, used his presidential powers to extend voting to Thursday night at dozens of polling stations. Some people shoved and shouted at election officials and police officers after being told ballot papers had run out. The lead opposition candidate claims that the delays are aimed at disenfranchising voters in his urban strongholds.
3 small Palestinian villages emptied out this summer. Residents blame Israeli settler attacks
AL-QABUN, West Bank (AP) — United Nations monitors say three small Palestinian herding villages have emptied out over the past four months, with residents blaming mounting violence by Israeli settlers. The most recent departures took place in al-Qabun, a Bedouin village in the heart of the occupied West Bank that once had 89 residents. For Palestinians, the recent wave of evacuations is emblematic of a new stage in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as settlers use shepherding as a tool to seize land with little effort. U.N. officials warn the trend is changing the map of the West Bank and entrenching unauthorized outposts.
Jailed WSJ reporter Evan Gershkovich arrives at a hearing on extending his detention
MOSCOW (AP) — Evan Gershkovich, a Wall Street Journal reporter who was detained on espionage charges, arrived at a Moscow court Thursday for a hearing on a motion by the prosecution to extend his arrest. A 31-year-old United States citizen, Gershkovich was arrested in the city of Yekaterinburg while on a reporting trip to Russia in late March. He and his employer deny the allegations, and the U.S. government declared him to be wrongfully detained. Russian authorities have not provided any evidence to support the espionage charges. Gershkovich is the first American reporter to to face espionage charges in Russia since September 1986, when Nicholas Daniloff, a Moscow correspondent for U.S. News and World Report, was arrested by the KGB.
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