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Unprecedented gusts expected to fan wildfires in New Mexico

LAS VEGAS, N.M. (AP) — Weather conditions described as potentially historic are on tap for New Mexico on Saturday and over the next several days as the largest fire burning in the U.S. chews through more tinder-dry mountainsides. The blaze already has left many families homeless and thousands of residents have evacuated rural areas of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Forecasters warn that gusts over the weekend could top 50 to 60 mph. Firefighters in preparation have spent days building fire lines and aircraft have dropped fire retardant in strategic spots in an effort to keep flames from reaching the small northeastern city of Las Vegas and villages on the fire’s other fronts.


Ukraine braces for attacks, evacuates more from steel mill

ZAPORIZHZHIA, Ukraine (AP) — The war in Ukraine has wracked the country’s southern coast as Russian forces fire cruise missiles at the city of Odesa and bombard a steel mill in the port of Mariupol housing Ukrainian civilians and fighters. Ukraine’s deputy prime minister says all women, children and older adults have been evacuated from the plant, a key Russian war objective that has long been under siege. Russia hopes to complete its conquest of Mariupol in time for Victory Day celebrations on Monday. However, Ukraine’s military have flattened Russian positions on a Black Sea island that has become a symbol of resistance. 


France’s President Macron inaugurated for second 5-year term

PARIS (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron has been inaugurated for a second five-year term. The 44-year-old leader vowed Saturday to first take action to avoid any further escalation of Russia’s war in Ukraine. He also promised to promote France and Europe on the world stage. Macron won the April 24 presidential runoff, beating far-right rival Marine Le Pen. Macron went from the ceremony to the gardens of the Elysee presidential palace to listen to 21 cannon shots and review the troops. His next challenge is trying to lead his centrist party and allies to victory in France’s parliamentary election in June. Far-right supporters are rising in France, and left-wing parties have united to try to block Macron’s party from winning the vote.  


Sinn Fein set for historic win in Northern Ireland election

BELFAST, Northern Ireland (AP) — The Irish nationalist party Sinn Fein is poised to become the largest group in the Northern Ireland Assembly for the first time. That would give it the right to the post of first minister in Belfast. On Saturday, with more than two-thirds of the vote counted, Sinn Fein is leading Democratic Unionist Party, which has been the largest in the Northern Ireland Assembly for two decades. A Sinn Fein win would be a milestone for a party long linked to the Irish Republican Army. It would also bring Sinn Fein’s ultimate goal of a united Ireland a step closer. But the party has kept unification out of the spotlight this year, focusing instead on the skyrocketing cost of living. 


Abortion rights may rest on governor’s races in some states

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The fight for Congress often dominates midterm elections. But the stunning revelation that the Supreme Court may soon overturn its landmark decision on abortion rights has thrust candidates for governor into the forefront of the 2022 midterm debate. In a handful of battleground states with Republican-controlled state legislatures, every Republican candidate for governor supports severe abortion restrictions, if not a total ban with no exceptions. That allows Democrats to rightly claim that women’s access to abortion in some states may rest almost entirely on which party wins the governor’s race in November. Governor’s races in Arizona, Georgia, Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin could have a profound impact on abortion rights. 


Wisconsin GOP eyeing shift in control of election oversight

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — For the first time in decades, this year’s race for Wisconsin secretary of state means something. Four Republicans are competing to take on Democratic incumbent Doug La Follette in November. La Follette has held the office since 1982, with duties that have been whittled to practically nothing over the years. But Republicans are eyeing changes that could transfer election oversight to that office and away from a bipartisan elections commission. It’s  something Republicans could easily do if they were to win the governor’s race. That’s raised concern among Democrats and others who watched Donald Trump’s efforts to pressure election officials in the 2020 election.


Afghanistan’s Taliban order women to cover up head to toe

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghanistan’s Taliban leadership has ordered all Afghan women to wear all-covering clothing in public. The decree Saturday evoked similar restrictions on women during the Taliban’s previous hard-line rule between 1996 and 2001. The acting minister for the Taliban’s vice and virtue ministry says: “We want our sisters to live with dignity and safety.” The Taliban previously decided against reopening schools to girls above grade 6, reneging on an earlier promise and opting to appease their hard-line base at the expense of further alienating the international community. That decision disrupted efforts by the Taliban to win recognition from potential international donors at a time when the country is mired in a worsening humanitarian crisis.


Al-Qaida chief blames US for Ukraine invasion in new video

BAGHDAD (AP) — Al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri has made an appearance in a pre-recorded video to mark the 11th anniversary of the death of his predecessor Osama bin Laden. Al-Zawahri says in the video that “U.S. weakness” was the reason that its ally Ukraine became “prey” for the Russian invasion. The 27-minute speech was released Friday according to the SITE Intelligence group, which monitors militant activity. The leader appears sitting at a desk with books and a gun. Bin Laden was killed in a 2011 raid by U.S. forces on his hideout in Pakistan.  


Egypt says militants kill 11 troops east of Suez Canal

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt’s military says at least 11 troops, including an officer, have been killed in a militant attack that targeted a water pumping station east of the Suez Canal. The military said in a statement that at least five other troops were wounded in the attack It did not give further details on the location. Two Northern Sinai residents said the attack took place in the eastern side of Qantara town in the province of Ismailia. They say militants ambushed troops guarding the pumping facility, before fleeing to the desert in Northern Sinai. Egypt is battling an Islamic State-led insurgency centered in Northern Sinai.


Fred Savage dropped from ‘The Wonder Years’ amid allegations

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Fred Savage has been dropped as an executive producer and director of “The Wonder Years” amid allegations of inappropriate conduct, the show’s production company has confirmed. 20th Television did not immediately provide any additional details. “The decision was made to terminate his employment as an executive producer and director of ‘The Wonder Years,’” according to a statement Saturday. A spokesperson for Savage did not immediately reply to a request for comment. Savage, 45, was a child star when he appeared in the original series. A new version of the show premiered last fall.

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