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Saturday, Aug 13th

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A young officer hopes to turn the tide of war, as Ukraine fights to retake a key city

Young Ukranian battalion commanderIn a battered building surrounded by an iron fence and an overgrown garden, an aide offers tea while we wait to meet Col. Serhiy Shatalov. Just 29 years old, Shatalov leads the 98th Infantry Battalion, which is pushing south toward Russian-occupied Kherson, part of Ukraine's first major counteroffensive of the war.

His force is made up of roughly 600 men, many of them civilians just a few months ago. Shatalov, a stocky man with a couple days' growth beard and close-cropped black hair, is wearing simple combat fatigues.

"They are 11 kilometers away," he says, referring to the Russian soldiers — about 7 miles.

They'd been closer, threatening the outskirts of this half-abandoned industrial town. But Shatalov's men had steadily pushed them back over several weeks of hard fighting across a maze of farm fields, rivers, villages and old industrial sites.

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Tonga's volcano sent tons of water into the stratosphere. That could warm the Earth

Tonga volcano eruption could warm the earth

The violent eruption of Tonga's Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano injected an unprecedented amount of water directly into the stratosphere — and the vapor will stay there for years, likely affecting the Earth's climate patterns, NASA scientists say.

The massive amount of water vapor is roughly 10% of the normal amount of vapor found in the stratosphere, equaling more than 58,000 Olympic-size swimming pools.

"We've never seen anything like it," said atmospheric scientist Luis Millán, who works at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Millán led a study of the water the volcano sent into the sky; the team's research was published in Geophysical Research Letters.

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Justice department sues Idaho over state’s near-total abortion ban

Atty. General Garland

The Biden administration’s Department of Justice is suing Idaho over the state’s near-total abortion ban, set to take effect on 25 August.

The lawsuit is the justice department’s first piece of litigation aimed at protecting abortion access since the US supreme court in June overturned the landmark Roe v Wade decision that established federal abortion rights nearly 50 years earlier.

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US Senate overwhelmingly approves Nato membership for Finland and Sweden

US Senate approve NATO membership for Sweden and Finland

The US Senate delivered near-unanimous bipartisan approval to Nato membership for Finland and Sweden on Wednesday, calling expansion of the western defensive bloc a “slam-dunk” for US national security and a day of reckoning for Vladimir Putin.

The 95-1 vote for the candidacy of two European countries that, until Russia’s war against Ukraine, had long avoided military alliances took a crucial step toward expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and its 73-year-old pact of mutual defense among the United States and democratic allies in Europe.

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Damaging Alex Jones texts mistakenly sent to Sandy Hook family’s lawyers

Alex Jones texts accidentally sent to plaintiff lawyer

The stunning revelation surfaced during an exchange in an Austin, Texas, courtroom between Jones and Mark Bankston, a lawyer representing the parents of a six-year-old boy killed in the 2012 attack.

Bankston provided to the Infowars host a copy of a text message he received that criticized his platform’s coverage in 2020 of the coronavirus and likened it to his false theory that the Sandy Hook killings were fake. This was deeply unfavorable to Jones because he had provided sworn testimony at a deposition that he had no text messages on his phone that referenced the Sandy Hook massacre.

“You did get my text messages?” Jones asked Bankston, while on the witness stand. Chuckling sarcastically, Jones added: “You said you didn’t. Nice trick.”

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Indiana congresswoman Jackie Walorski dies in car crash

Indiana Congresswoman dies in crash

The US congresswoman Jackie Walorski and two members of her staff were killed in a head-on vehicle collision in Indiana on Wednesday, her office and local police said.

Walorski, a Republican who represented Indiana’s second congressional district in the US House of Representatives, was traveling in a vehicle with the two others when another car veered into their lane, the Elkhart county sheriff’s office said.

Walorski, 58, died as a result of her injuries, the sheriff’s office said. Walorski’s communications director, Emma Thomson, 27, and Zachery Potts, 28, a district director for the lawmaker, were also killed, it added.

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Biden issues second executive order to protect abortion access

Biden issues exec order to protect abortion access

President Biden on Wednesday issued an executive order to protect people's ability to travel out of state to access abortion.

The big picture: This is the second executive order the president has issued to preserve abortion access after the Supreme Court's ruling overturning Roe v. Wade.

State of play: Biden signed the executive order during the first meeting of the White House's Task Force on Reproductive Health Care, which is focused on coordinating the federal government's efforts on reproductive health.

Details: The executive order directs the Department of Health and Human Services to "consider action to advance access" to reproductive health services, including through Medicaid for patients who travel out of state.

  • Biden is also asking HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra to consider "all appropriate actions" to ensure that health providers follow federal nondiscrimination laws so that people can "receive medically necessary care without delay."
  • Becerra must also "evaluate and improve research, data collection, and data analysis efforts" on maternal health.

EPA: Chemical In Medical-Device Cleanser Poses Cancer Risk

EPA administrator Michael ReganThe Environmental Protection Agency is warning residents who live near medical sterilizing plants in 13 states and Puerto Rico about potential health risks from emissions of ethylene oxide, a chemical widely used in their operations.

Laredo, Texas; Ardmore, Oklahoma; and Lakewood, Colorado, are among the communities facing the highest risk from ethylene oxide emissions, EPA said.

The agency has notified 23 commercial sterilizers — 19 in the continental U.S. and four in Puerto Rico — that their operations pose an elevated risk of cancer and other ailments. The notice follows a recent survey of emissions data from almost 100 commercial sterilizers nationwide.

Ethylene oxide is used to clean everything from catheters to syringes, pacemakers and plastic surgical gowns.

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MLB world mourns death of Vin Scully, legendary Dodgers broadcaster

Vince Scully dies at 95The MLB world has lost a legend.

Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully died at the age of 94 on Tuesday night.

Scully's voice was synonymous with Los Angeles Dodgers baseball. He called Dodgers games for 67 years, dating all the way back to the franchise's days in Brooklyn. His final call came on Oct. 2, 2016, at the San Francisco Giants' Oracle Park.

In addition to Dodgers games, Scully also did play-by-play for nationally televised MLB games, NFL games and PGA Tour events. Some of his most iconic calls included Kirk Gibson's walk-off home run in the 1988 World Series, Bill Buckner's infamous error in the 1986 World Series and "The Catch" by Dwight Clark in the 1981 NFC Championship Game.

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