Category Archives: World

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French Journalist Kidnapped in Northern Mali Appears in Video

A journalist who disappeared last month in Mali’s northern city of Gao appeared in a video on Wednesday appealing to authorities to do everything they can to free him from Islamist militants holding him.
 
“I’m Olivier Dubois. I’m French. I’m a journalist. I was kidnapped in Gao on April 8 by the JNIM (al-Qaeda North Africa).
 
“I’m speaking to my family, my friends and the French authorities for them to do everything in their power to free me,” Dubois said in a 21-second video shared on social media.
 
French civilians have long been favored targets for kidnapping by criminal and Islamist groups in West Africa’s arid Sahel region, partly because of perceptions that the French government is prepared to pay ransoms to secure their release.
 
France has repeatedly denied paying ransoms for hostages.
 
“We confirm the disappearance in Mali of Mr. Olivier Dubois,” the French Foreign Ministry said in a statement, stopping short of describing it as a kidnapping.
 
The ministry said it was in contact with his family and carrying out technical checks on the authenticity of the video.
 
Malian authorities were not immediately available for comment.
 
Dubois is the first French national to be taken hostage by jihadist militants in Mali since French aid worker Sophie Petronin was freed in October last year. She had been abducted near Gao in late 2016.
 
Islamist militants have repeatedly declared French citizens in West Africa to be targets since a 2013 military intervention by France drove back al-Qaeda-linked groups that had seized cities and towns in northern Mali a year earlier.
 
Scores of Islamist insurgents were released in a prisoner swap deal that liberated Petronin, a senior Malian politician and two Italians.
 
The head of Reporters Without Borders said on Twitter that the media freedom organization had been aware of Dubois’s disappearance two days after he did not return to his hotel in Gao after lunch.
 
Christophe Deloire said Dubois worked for France’s Le Point magazine and Liberation newspaper.
 
“In consultation with the news organizations that employed him, we decided not to announce that he had been taken hostage so as not to hinder a rapid possible outcome,” Deloire said. “We are asking Malian and French authorities to do everything possible to obtain his release.” 

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Italy Jury Deliberates Fate of 2 Americans in Police Slaying

A jury in Rome on Wednesday began deliberating the fates of two young American men who are charged with killing an Italian police officer near the hotel where they were staying while on summer vacation in 2019. Finnegan Lee Elder, 21, and Gabriel Natale-Hjorth, 20, were indicated on charges of homicide, attempted extortion, assault, resisting a public official and carrying an attack-style knife without just cause. Judge Marina Finiti indicated the verdicts could come later Wednesday or on Thursday. Prosecutors alleged that Elder stabbed Vice Bridgadier Mario Cerciello Rega 11 times with a knife he brought with him on his trip to Europe from California and that Natale-Hjorth helped him hide the knife in their hotel room. The July 26, 2019 slaying of the officer from the storied Carabinieri paramilitary police corps shocked Italy. Cerciello Rega, 35, was mourned as a national hero. The two Californians on trial were allowed out of steel-barred defendant cages inside the courtroom to sit with their lawyers before the case went to the jury, which consists of presiding judge Finiti, a second judge and six civilian jurors. “I’m stressed,” Elder said to one of his lawyers. At another point during Wednesday’s brief court hearing, Elder took a crucifix he wears on a chain around his neck and kissed it. Cerciello Rega had recently returned from a honeymoon when he was assigned along with a plainclothes police partner, officer Andrea Varriale, to follow up on a reported extortion attempt. Prosecutors contend the young Americans concocted a plot involving a stolen bag and cellphone after their attempt to buy cocaine with 80 euros ($96) in Rome’s Trastevere nightlife district didn’t pan out. Natale-Hjorth and Elder testified they had paid for the cocaine but didn’t receive it. Both defendants contended they acted in self-defense. During the trial, which began on Feb. 26, 2020, the Americans told the court they thought that Cerciello Rega and Varriale were thugs or mobsters out to assault them on a dark, deserted street. The officers wore casual summer clothes and not uniforms, and the defendants insisted the officers never showed police badges. Under Italian law, an accomplice in an alleged murder can also be charged with murder even without materially doing the slaying. Varriale, who suffered a back injury in a scuffle with Natale-Hjorth while his partner was grappling with Elder, testified that the officers did identify themselves as Carabinieri. Prosecutor Maria Sabina Calabretta has asked the court to convict both defendants and to mete out Italy’s stiffest punishment, life imprisonment. At the time of the slaying, Elder was 19 and traveling through Europe without his family, while Natale-Hjorth, then 18, was spending summer vacation with his Italian grandparents, who live near Rome. Former classmates from the San Francisco Bay area, the two had met up in Rome for what was supposed to be couple of days of sightseeing and nights out. 

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Coronavirus Vaccines, Combatting Climate Change on G-7 Agenda

Foreign ministers from the Group of Seven wealthy democracies turn their attention to issues of global interest including coronavirus vaccines, climate change and education for girls on Wednesday as they close three days of talks in London. “I think COVAX and the ability to fund it, get vaccines to the most vulnerable countries, what we do about the surplus domestic supply, all of those issues again, really good opportunity with the G-7, together with our Indo-Pacific partners, to talk all of that through and come up with positive answers,” British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said Tuesday. With Britain hosting the ministerial talks, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, whose office highlighted the importance of global access to COVID-19 vaccines. “The Prime Minister and Secretary Blinken agreed that the global roll out of vaccines will be key to defeating the coronavirus pandemic. They underlined the importance of G-7 work in this area, including efforts to increase international manufacturing capability,” a Downing Street spokesman said.Trilateral meeting with Japan and South Korea on the sidelines of the G7 foreign ministers meeting in London, May 5, 2021.Tuesday’s G-7 meetings included a focus on China. A senior U.S. State Department official told reporters there was broad agreement among the ministers, “both the fact that we all want China to be an integral member of the international order, but to do that, it has to play by the rules of that international order.” The official cited concern about China’s human rights record and its “threatening and aggressive behavior in the South China Sea and other areas around its border.” Blinken also said Tuesday the G-7 nations want to end the 10-year civil war in Syria. “My @G7 counterparts and I reaffirmed our commitment to a political resolution for ending the conflict in Syria and support to the reauthorization of the U.N. cross-border aid mechanism,” Blinken tweeted.My @G7 counterparts and I reaffirmed our commitment to a political resolution for ending the conflict in Syria and support to the reauthorization of the UN cross-border aid mechanism. We’ll continue working to advance all aspects of UNSCR 2254 and end the suffering of Syrians.— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) May 4, 2021He said the group would work to advance all parts of a 2015 U.N. Security Council resolution that calls for a cease-fire in Syria, along with a Syrian-led political process with a new constitution and elections. The G-7 ministerial talks are laying the foundation for a summit of leaders from those countries in June, also in Britain.       In addition to Britain and the United States, the G-7 includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan. Australia, India, South Africa, South Korea and Brunei are also taking part in this week’s talks.          After the G-7 meetings, Blinken is scheduled to travel to Ukraine to meet with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and other senior government officials.          State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement that Blinken will “reaffirm unwavering U.S. support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of Russia’s ongoing aggression.”

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UN Alarmed at Police Killings of Peaceful Protesters in Colombia

Police in the Colombian city of Cali reportedly opened fire on demonstrators who were protesting tax reforms. The U.N. human rights office said it is in the process of verifying the exact number of casualties and trying to determine how this incident could have happened.Human rights spokeswoman Marta Hurtado said it is important to get to the bottom of these events.Hurtado said her office has received reports about people being arbitrarily detained. Human rights defenders, she said, report being harassed and threatened by security forces.“We have seen videos of police dragging demonstrators, including injured demonstrators…” Hurtado said. “We have witnesses of excessive use of force by security officers — shootings, live ammunition being used, beating of demonstrators.”There has been no response from the Colombian government to the U.N. remarks. Colombia’s defense minister, Diego Molano, has alleged that illegal armed groups are infiltrating the protests to cause violence.The head of Colombia’s national police force, General Jorge Luis Varga, said 26 allegations of police brutality are under investigation. News reports cite police as saying their forces came under attack amid acts of looting and burning of buses.Strikes against a proposed tax reform bill have been ongoing since April 28. Demonstrators have continued their protests despite an announcement from the Colombian presidency on May 2 that it would remove the bill from consideration by Congress.Hurtado said there have been at least 14 deaths since the protests began, including one police officer. She said most of the protests have been peaceful and hopes they remain so during mass demonstrations called for Wednesday.“Given the extremely tense situation, with soldiers as well as police officers deployed to police the protest, we call for calm,” Hurtado said. “We remind the state authorities of their responsibility to protect human rights, including the right to life and security of person, and to facilitate the exercise of the right to freedom of peaceful assembly.”The human rights office said under international law, force should only be used if strictly necessary and in proportion to the threat posed. It said law enforcement officers should only use firearms as a measure of last resort against an imminent threat of death or serious injury.

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Colombian President Urges Dialogue Ahead of Planned Wednesday Marches

Colombian President Ivan Duque said on Tuesday the government is ready for national dialogue after days of protests led to over 20 deaths and international concern about excessive use of force by police.The protests, set to continue on Wednesday, were originally called in opposition to the government’s now-canceled tax reform plan but have become a broad cry for action against poverty and what demonstrators and advocacy groups say is police violence.All Colombians should work to reject violence, protect the most vulnerable and support COVID-19 vaccination and economic reactivation, Duque said in a video.”I want to announce that we will create a space to listen to citizens and construct solutions oriented toward those goals, where our most profound patriotism, and not political differences, should intercede,” Duque said.Colombian President Ivan Duque holds a press conference with UN High Commissioner for Refugees Italian Filippo Grandi in Bogota on Feb. 8, 2021.Duque’s promise echoed the 2019 creation of a so-called national dialogue after days of anti-government protests.Civil society groups, especially major unions, have said the government has not lived up to those promises and has done little to change deep inequalities in the Andean country.Mass marches and a national strike are planned for Wednesday, where demonstrators will call for a basic income guarantee, the withdrawal of a government health reform proposal and the dissolution of the ESMAD riot police.Duque responded to allegations of police overreach and rejected attacks on officers.”To those who work for the security of Colombians: all our support, and at the same time, all our expectation.”The national police force has said it will investigate more than two dozen allegations of brutality, while the defense minister has accused illegal armed groups of infiltrating the protests to cause violence.The western city of Cali has become the focus of protests since they began almost a week ago and is the site of 11 of the 19 deaths confirmed by the Andean country’s human rights ombudsman as of Monday. Local authorities said five more people were killed during protests there Monday night.Some 87 people have been reported missing nationally since the protests started, according to the ombudsman.Intermittent road blockades are delaying shipments out of the Pacific port city of Buenaventura, according to local authorities.The United Nation’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights urged calm, saying it was “deeply alarmed” by reports of police shootings.The European Union also called for security forces to avoid a heavy-handed response.Protests have so far led to the withdrawal of the original tax reform and the resignation of Finance Minister Alberto Carrasquilla. The government said the reform, which originally levied sales tax on public services and some food, would shore up the economy.Duque has said his government will draw up another proposal after consultations with lawmakers, civil society and businesses.New Finance Minister Jose Manuel Restrepo will need to convince Colombians, many of whom have seen their incomes battered by coronavirus lockdowns, that reform is vital, former Finance Minister Mauricio Cardenas told the Reuters Global Markets Forum on Tuesday.Restrepo “has a huge challenge ahead” Cardenas said.Duque has offered military assistance to protect infrastructure and guarantee access to essential services, though mayors of cities including Bogota and Medellin said it was unnecessary.Duque on Tuesday canceled his nightly television show for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began, and the protests forced the South American Football Confederation to move two Copa Libertadores games to Paraguay.

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G-7 Foreign Ministers Meet in London as Russia, China Top Agenda  

Foreign ministers of the Group of Seven (G-7) industrialized nations are meeting in London this week, with climate change, Russia and China among the challenges topping the agenda. It is the first face-to-face G-7 meeting in two years, after the coronavirus pandemic forced the Pittsburgh 2020 foreign ministers’ meeting to be held via video link. Russia was ejected from what was then the G-8 in 2014, after its forceful annexation of Crimea.  U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday condemned Moscow’s recent deployment of troops on Ukraine’s border. “We are focused very much on Russia’s actions and what course it chooses to take,” Blinken told reporters in London. “President Biden has been very clear for a long time, including before he was president, that if Russia chooses to act recklessly or aggressively, we’ll respond. But we are not looking to escalate. We would prefer to have a more stable, more predictable relationship.” FILE – Chinese staffers adjust U.S. and Chinese flags before a session of negotiations between U.S. and Chinese trade representatives, at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, in Beijing, China, Feb. 14, 2019.China challenge The secretary of state also addressed the challenge posed by China. “It is not our purpose to try to contain China or to hold China down,” said Blinken. “What we are trying to do is to uphold the international rules-based order that our countries have invested so much in over so many decades to the benefit, I would argue, not just of our own citizens but of people around the world, including, by the way, China.”  Chinese state media accused the United States on Tuesday of “deliberately hyping up the so-called ‘China threat”’ and attempting to “sow discord between China and the world.” But the G-7 is simply upholding the principles enshrined at its foundation in 1975, said analyst John Kirton of the G7 Research Group at the University of Toronto. Its aim was “to protect within its own members, and promote globally, the values of open democracy and individual liberty. They were very much threatened by an expanding Russia above all in 1975. And they’re still threatened by Russia today, but also China and other authoritarian regimes,” said Kirton.  Britain, which is hosting the meeting, as it holds the rotating presidency of the G-7, also invited foreign ministers from Australia, India, South Africa and South Korea to the talks, a demonstration of London’s focus on the Indo-Pacific region, Kirton said. “What we are seeing is the birth of a broader democratic family. And if they’re willing to put their countries’ names on paper alongside the democratic seven, the G-7 itself, that will be an even more powerful signal,” he noted. FILE – U.S. soldiers load onto a U.S. military plane as they leave Afghanistan, at the U.S. base in Bagram, north of Kabul, Afghanistan, July 14, 2011.Global conflicts   G-7 foreign ministers also discussed a coordinated response to the military coup in Myanmar and the violent crackdown on pro-democracy protests.   The U.S. and NATO pullout from Afghanistan, which began this month, was also on the agenda. British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab denied reports U.S. allies felt ignored by Washington regarding the decision to withdraw. “We’ve had very good consultation on this, and we continue that,” Raab told reporters Monday. “We certainly see the priority is protecting our troops in the period between now and September, making sure that we preserve the ability to deal with counterterrorism, that the gains that were hard-won in Afghanistan are not lost, and also ultimately promoting dialogue and a peace process that benefits all Afghans and leaves Afghanistan as stable as possible, as inclusive as possible.”   The European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell updated delegates on negotiations with Iran over the future of the 2015 nuclear deal, which the Biden administration is considering rejoining.  “I had the opportunity to talk with my colleagues about the situation of the negotiations of the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), the nuclear deal with Iran, sharing with Secretary of State Blinken the situation of these negotiations, which are difficult but going on, and from Friday, we’ll start a new round of these negotiations,” Borrell said Tuesday. A patient collapses as she is rushed on a cycle rickshaw outside a Gurudwara (Sikh Temple), which provides free oxygen to patients amid COVID-19 surge in Ghaziabad, India.Pandemic response G-7 foreign ministers also discussed the coronavirus pandemic and issued a statement calling for the recovery to focus on women’s employment and girls’ education. The ministers pledged to invest $15 billion in the next two years to help women in developing countries find jobs, build sustainable businesses and weather the “devastating” economic effects of COVID-19.   “They will also sign up to new global targets to get 40 million more girls into school and 20 million more girls reading by the age of 10 in low and lower middle-income countries by 2026,” the statement said.   Campaigners are calling on the G-7 to ensure that poorer countries get access to coronavirus vaccines. The United Nations says close to 90% of all vaccines administered worldwide have gone to richer nations. The response to the pandemic will be a focus when Britain hosts the G-7 leaders’ summit in June, set to be Joe Biden’s first overseas visit as U.S. president. 

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G-7 Nations Vow to End Syrian War, Top US Diplomat Says  

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Tuesday that the Group of 7 industrialized nations have vowed to end the 10-year civil war in Syria. My @G7 counterparts and I reaffirmed our commitment to a political resolution for ending the conflict in Syria,” Blinken tweeted as he and other G-7 members attended their first in-person meetings in two years. My U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is greeted on arrival by Britain’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab at the start of the G-7 foreign ministers meeting in London, Britain, May 4, 2021. (Ben Stansall/Pool via Reuters)Blinken met with Raab on Monday and said regarding China the goal is not to “try to contain China or to hold China down.” “What we are trying to do is to uphold the international rules-based order that our countries have invested so much in over so many decades to the benefit, I would argue not just of our own citizens, but of people around the world including, by the way, China,” Blinken told reporters.  Raab said the United States and Britain are also looking for constructive ways to work with China “in a sensible and positive manner” on issues including climate change when possible.    U.S. President Joe Biden has identified competition with China as his administration’s greatest foreign policy challenge. In his first speech to Congress last week, he pledged to maintain a strong U.S. military presence in the Indo-Pacific and boost U.S. technological development.     Last month, Blinken said the United States was concerned about China’s aggressive actions against Taiwan and warned it would be a “serious mistake” for anyone to try to change the status quo in the western Pacific by force.   Elsewhere in the region, the United States said it is ready to engage diplomatically with North Korea to achieve the ultimate goal of the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, following the completion of a months-long U.S. policy review on North Korea.    “What we have now is a policy that calls for a calibrated practical approach that is open to and will explore diplomacy with North Korea, to try to make practical progress that increases the security of the United States, our allies and our deployed forces,” Blinken said Monday.     Raab said Britain and the United States “share the strategic paradigm,” and both countries will support each other’s efforts.    On Friday, the Biden administration announced it completed the review of North Korean policy, expressing openness to talks with the reclusive communist nation. Biden is also expected to appoint a special envoy for North Korean human rights issues.    North Korea lashed out at the United States and its allies on Sunday in a series of statements, saying recent comments from Washington are proof of a hostile policy.  North Korea Slams Biden’s New Approach to DiplomacyUS policy remains ‘hostile,’ North says A statement by Kwon Jong Gun, head of the North Korean Foreign Ministry’s North America Department, warns that Pyongyang would seek “corresponding measures” and that if Washington tries to approach relations with Pyongyang through “outdated and old-school policies” from the perspective of the Cold War, it will face an increasingly unaffordable crisis in the near future.    “I hope that North Korea will take the opportunity to engage diplomatically and to see if there are ways to move forward toward the objective of complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. And so, we will look to see not only what North Korea says but what it actually does in the coming days and months,” the top U.S. diplomat added.    Blinken’s remarks followed his separate meetings with Japanese Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu and South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong, where the foreign ministers pledged U.S.-Japan-ROK trilateral cooperation toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.  The G-7 ministerial talks are laying the foundation for a summit of leaders from those countries in June, also in Britain.          In addition to Britain and the United States, the G-7 includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan. Australia, India, South Africa, South Korea and Brunei are also taking part in this week’s talks.      After the G-7 meetings, Blinken is scheduled to travel to Ukraine to meet with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and other senior government officials.      State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement that Blinken will “reaffirm unwavering U.S. support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of Russia’s ongoing aggression.”Chris Hannas   contributed to this report. 

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At G-7, US Emphasizes Desire to Uphold International Rules, Not Hold China Down

Foreign ministers representing the Group of 7 industrialized nations have a busy day of meetings Tuesday in London discussing a range of world issues, including relations with China and Russia, the coup in Myanmar, the Syrian conflict, and the situation in Afghanistan. Britain’s foreign office said in Tuesday’s sessions Foreign Secretary Dominic Rabb “will lead discussions on pressing geopolitical issues that threaten to undermine democracy, freedoms and human rights.” Raab said the talks are “an opportunity to bring together open, democratic societies and demonstrate unity at a time when it is much needed to tackle shared challenges and rising threats.” He is expected to urge G-7 members to sanction individuals and entities connected to Myanmar’s military junta, to support arms embargoes and to boost humanitarian aid to the people of Myanmar. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Raab on Monday and said regarding China the goal is not to “try to contain China or to hold China down.” “What we are trying to do is to uphold the international rules-based order that our countries have invested so much in over so many decades to the benefit, I would argue not just of our own citizens, but of people around the world including, by the way, China,” Blinken told reporters.US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, left, walks with Dominic Raab, Britain’s Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs into Downing Street ahead of a press conference at No 9 Downing Street in London, May 3, 2021.Raab said the United States and Britain are also looking for constructive ways to work with China “in a sensible and positive manner” on issues including climate change when possible.   U.S. President Joe Biden has identified competition with China as his administration’s greatest foreign policy challenge. In his first speech to Congress last week, he pledged to maintain a strong U.S. military presence in the Indo-Pacific and boost U.S. technological development.     Last month, Blinken said the United States was concerned about China’s aggressive actions against Taiwan and warned it would be a “serious mistake” for anyone to try to change the status quo in the western Pacific by force.   Elsewhere in the region, the United States said it is ready to engage diplomatically with North Korea to achieve the ultimate goal of the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, following the completion of a months-long U.S. policy review on North Korea.  “What we have now is a policy that calls for a calibrated practical approach that is open to and will explore diplomacy with North Korea, to try to make practical progress that increases the security of the United States, our allies and our deployed forces,” Blinken said Monday.     Raab said Britain and the United States “share the strategic paradigm,” and both countries will support each other’s efforts.  On Friday, the Biden administration announced it completed the review of North Korean policy, expressing openness to talks with the reclusive communist nation. Biden is also expected to appoint a special envoy for North Korean human rights issues.  North Korea lashed out at the United States and its allies on Sunday in a series of statements, saying recent comments from Washington are proof of a hostile policy.    A statement by Kwon Jong Gun, head of the North Korean Foreign Ministry’s North America Department, warns that Pyongyang would seek “corresponding measures” and that if Washington tries to approach relations with Pyongyang through “outdated and old-school policies” from the perspective of the Cold War, it will face an increasingly unaffordable crisis in the near future.    “I hope that North Korea will take the opportunity to engage diplomatically and to see if there are ways to move forward toward the objective of complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. And so, we will look to see not only what North Korea says but what it actually does in the coming days and months,” the top U.S. diplomat added.  Blinken’s remarks followed his separate meetings with Japanese Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu and South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong, where the foreign ministers pledged U.S.-Japan-ROK trilateral cooperation toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.  The G-7 ministerial talks are laying the foundation for a summit of leaders from those countries in June, also in Britain.    In addition to Britain and the United States, the G-7 includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan. Australia, India, South Africa, South Korea and Brunei are also taking part in this week’s talks.       After the G-7 meetings, Blinken is scheduled to travel to Ukraine to meet with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and other senior government officials.    State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement that Blinken will “reaffirm unwavering U.S. support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of Russia’s ongoing aggression.” 

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Mexico City Metro Overpass Collapses onto Road, Killing at Least 23

An elevated section of the Mexico City metro collapsed and sent a subway car plunging toward a busy boulevard late Monday, killing at least 23 people and injuring about 70, city officials said. Rescuers searched a car left dangling from the overpass for hours for anyone who might be trapped.Those efforts were suspended early Tuesday, however, because of safety concerns for those working near the precariously dangling car. A crane was brought in to help shore it up.“We don’t know if they are alive,” Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said of the people possibly trapped inside the car following one of the deadliest accidents in the city’s subway system, which is among the busiest in the world.Rescuers work at a site where an overpass for a metro partially collapsed with train cars on it at Olivos station in Mexico City, Mexico, May 3, 2021.Rescue efforts were briefly interrupted at midnight because the partially dangling train was “very weak.” “We don’t know if they are alive,” Sheinbaum said of the people possibly trapped inside the subway car. Hundreds of police officers and firefighters cordoned off the scene as desperate friends and relatives of people believed to be on the trains gathered outside the security perimeter. Oscar López, 26, was searching for his friend, Adriana Salas, 26. Six months pregnant, she was riding the subway home from her work as a dentist when her phone stopped answering around the time the accident occurred. “We lost contact with her, at 10:50 p.m., there was literally no more contact,” López said. With little information and a still serious coronavirus situation in Mexico City, López said “they are not telling us anything, and people are just crowding together.” The collapse occurred on the newest of the Mexico City subway’s lines, Line 12, which stretches far into the city’s southside. Like many of the city’s dozen subway lines, it runs underground through more central areas of the city of 9 million, but then runs on elevated, pre-formed concrete structures on the city’s outskirts. The collapse could represent a major blow for Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard, who was Mexico City’s mayor from 2006 to 2012, when Line 12 was built. Allegations about poor design and construction on the subway line emerged soon after Ebrard left office as mayor. The line had to be partly closed in 2013 so tracks could be repaired. Ebrard wrote on Twitter: “What happened today on the Metro is a terrible tragedy.” “Of course, the causes should be investigated and those responsible should be identified,” he wrote. “I repeat that I am entirely at the disposition of authorities to contribute in whatever way is necessary.” Rescuers transport an injured person on a stretcher at a site where an overpass for a metro partially collapsed with train cars on it at Olivos station in Mexico City, Mexico, May 3, 2021.It was not clear whether a 7.1-magnitude earthquake in 2017 could have affected the subway line. The Mexico City Metro, one of the largest and busiest in the world, has had at least two serious accidents since its inauguration half a century ago. In March of last year, a collision between two trains at the Tacubaya station left one passenger dead and injured 41 people. In 2015, a train that did not stop on time crashed into another at the Oceania station, injuring 12 people. 

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