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BIDEN, in Kiev ahead of war anniversary, pledges support as long as necessary By Reuters

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© Reuters. A general view shows an apartment building damaged by a Russian military strike, amid a Russian attack on Ukraine, in the frontline city of Pakhmut in Ukraine’s Donetsk region, February 19, 2023. REUTERS/Yevin Titov

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Written by Pavel Politiuk and Max Hunderer

KIEV (Reuters) – US President Joe Biden made an unannounced visit to Kiev on Monday, promising to stand with Ukraine as long as there is a journey set to beat the Kremlin before the one-year anniversary of the Russian invasion.

Biden, in aviator sunglasses, marched alongside President Volodymyr Zelensky, in green battle fatigues, through central Kiev to a golden-domed cathedral, on a bright winter morning pierced by air raid sirens.

“When Putin launched his invasion almost a year ago, he thought Ukraine was weak and the West was divided. He thought he could hold out against us. But he was wrong,” Biden said.

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“The cost Ukraine has had to pay is extraordinarily high. The sacrifices have been too great… We know there will be difficult days, weeks and years ahead.”

Outside the cathedral, burning Russian tanks are placed as a symbol of Moscow’s failed assault on the capital at the start of its conquest, when its forces quickly reached the city walls only to be pushed back by an unexpectedly fierce resistance.

Since then, tens of thousands of Ukrainian civilians and soldiers on both sides have died, cities have been reduced to rubble, and millions of refugees have fled. Russia claims to have annexed roughly a fifth of Ukraine, while the West has appropriated tens of billions of dollars in military aid to Kiev.

The US president promised to provide other weapons worth $500 million, including artillery ammunition, anti-tank systems and air defense radars, in addition to tougher sanctions against Russia.

“The visit of the US president to Ukraine, the first in 15 years, is the most important visit in the entire history of Ukrainian-American relations,” Zelensky said.

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Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba described the visit as “a victory for the Ukrainian people and President Zelensky” and a clear signal to the “quagmire” – Russia – that “no one is afraid of you!”

Clearly it’s time to take on Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is set to deliver a major speech on Tuesday setting goals for the second year of what he now calls a proxy war against the armed might of Washington and NATO.

“Of course, for the Kremlin, this will be seen as further evidence that the United States bet on Russia’s strategic defeat in the war, and that the war itself irrevocably turned into a war between Russia and the West,” said Tatyana Stanovaya, a Russian. Political analyst.

“Tomorrow’s speech was expected to be very hardline, aimed at a clear break in relations with the West. Now additional amendments can be made to make it even tougher.”

Winter offensive

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The memory acquired more than symbolic significance, as it became what the West considers the main trigger of the war’s bloodiest phase, as Moscow threw thousands of conscripts and mercenaries into a winter offensive.

Russia has so far secured little gain in its offensives in the frozen trenches up and down the Eastern Front in recent weeks. Kiev and the West see it as a boost to hand Putin victories a year after he launched Europe’s biggest war since World War Two.

Moscow received its clear signals of diplomatic support on Monday, when Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is expected in the Russian capital for talks. Publicly, China has so far remained neutral on the conflict despite signing a “borderless” friendship pact with Russia weeks before the invasion.

Washington has said in recent days that it is concerned that Beijing will start supplying weapons to Moscow. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said the United States is “not in a position to make demands from China” and that the “comprehensive cooperative partnership with Russia” is a matter for two independent countries.

Russia is trying to secure full control of two eastern provinces that make up Ukraine’s industrial Donbass region. It launched attacks on positions stretching from Cremina in the north down to Fuldar in the south, securing its biggest gains around the mining city of Bakhmut.

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Kiev, absorbing a large influx of Western weapons in the coming months for a planned counter-offensive, has recently stuck to the defense on the battlefield, claiming to inflict heavy casualties on the attacking Russian forces.

“We are smashing the invaders and inflicting extraordinarily heavy losses on Russia,” Zelensky said in his nightly video address. “The more losses Russia suffers there, in the Donbass – in Bakhmut, Vohlidar, Marinka, Krymina – the sooner we will end this war with a victory for Ukraine.”

“political pressure”

Britain’s Ministry of Defense also said Russia was suffering significant casualties, including two elite brigades numbering thousands of marines that likely rendered fighting “ineffective” in failed attempts to storm Vohlidar, a heavily fortified Ukrainian stronghold.

“Russian forces are likely under increasing political pressure as the anniversary of the invasion approaches,” she added, predicting that Moscow might claim to have captured Bakhmut regardless of the situation on the ground. “If Russia’s spring offensive fails to achieve anything, tensions within the Russian leadership are likely to grow.”

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The failed Russian attacks on Voldar, where Ukrainian forces guard the junction of the eastern and southern fronts, led to recriminations among pro-war Russian bloggers. Western governments say Moscow has lost thousands of men and dozens of armored vehicles trying to cut through fields strewn with landmines within sight of Ukrainian artillery.

Inside Volder, the constant sound of explosions shook the ruins. A pensioner emerged from the cellar where she lives with her dog, and showed a Reuters reporter around the ruins of her apartment above, as a shell blasted through the wall.

She said she was saved when the room was bombed by a refrigerator falling on top of it. A neighbor’s daughter found her and pulled her out.

“Scary is not the word,” she said. “It’s terrifying.”

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Rast’s accusations against Alec Baldwin were formally dismissed by Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A view of the movie “Rust” playing at Bonanza Creek Ranch near Santa Fe, New Mexico, US January 20, 2023. REUTERS/Drone Base/File Photo

Written by Andrew Hay

TAOOS, New Mexico (Reuters) – Special prosecutors in New Mexico on Friday dropped charges against actor Alec Baldwin in the 2021 shooting of “Rust” cinematographer Halina Hutchins, referring to what many legal analysts described as a rationale for a prosecution. flawed jurisprudence.

A person close to prosecutors said the move followed new evidence of the gun Baldwin was carrying when he fired the shot that killed Hutchins while shooting the movie in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

This information undermined the prosecution’s case after a series of legal flops, leading them to dismiss the charges before a May hearing when a judge was to decide whether there was enough evidence to prosecute Baldwin and gunsmith “Rust” Hannah Gutierrez Reid.

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“The case was dismissed without bias and the investigation is active and ongoing,” prosecutors Carey Morrissey and Jason Lewis said in a memo.

Prosecutors went on to charge Gutierrez Reed, 25, with manslaughter. She has said she held the live round in the gun thinking it was a dummy round. The preliminary hearing in her case has been postponed to August 9.

The dismissal of the same charge against Baldwin came after his attorney presented evidence last week that the copy of the .45 Colt Baldwin has used has been modified with new parts since being manufactured by Italian gunsmith FLL Pietta.

The information compromised the prosecution’s argument that the gun was in fully working condition and could only fire if Baldwin recklessly pulled the trigger, according to the person familiar with the case.

Special prosecutors have said they may re-file charges against Baldwin once new evidence is examined, though legal experts are skeptical.

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“This very weak case against Baldwin should never have been brought in the first place,” said Ambrosio Rodriguez, a former district attorney with the District Attorney’s Office in Riverside County, California.

Filming for “Rust” resumed in Montana this week with many of the same lead actors, including Baldwin, and was expected to wrap up in May.

Rust Movie Productions (RMP) said in February that it would not resume filming in New Mexico, without giving a reason. A Santa Fe prosecutor charged Baldwin and others in January.

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Leading news reporter Jill Christian dies at 83

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Gail Christian, who broke barriers as a black on-air reporter and came to national prominence at NBC News and PBS, died April 12 in Los Angeles. She was 83 years old.

Her wife, Lucy Debardelapine, said it was a complication from a recent bowel surgery.

Christian overcame a troubled youth—including a prison term for armed robbery—to end a career as a prominent television journalist and news executive in the 1970s and 1980s, an era when the industry was dominated by white men.

It became a visible presence in American living rooms with it coverage to NBC News on the trial of Patricia Hearst, the newspaper heiress who was kidnapped in 1974 by a gang of left-wing revolutionaries called the Symbionese Liberation Army, and who was convicted two years later for participating in a bank robbery with the group.

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But for Ms. Christian, it wasn’t enough just to appear as a rare black face on the evening news.

She said in Interview with the Chicago Tribune In 1986. I felt that was the reason I was there. I didn’t resent it in the least. I felt then, as I feel now, that it is very dangerous for a group of people to live in a society in which they are not allowed to explain themselves.”

It has succeeded in this task with features like “A Country Called Watts”, An hour-long 1977 NBC News special that explored the efforts of residents of this Los Angeles neighborhood to come together and re-evaluate the bloody civil unrest that occurred in response to police brutality in 1965, rebuilding burned-out blocks in the face of perceived government indifference and continued police harassment.

Gary Gilson, former faculty director of a summer program for minority students at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, in a phone interview. “And her pioneering role as a black news reporter allowed black kids to see, many for the first time, an impressive person on television who looked like them. It gave them recognition and hope.”

After two years at NBC News, Ms. Christian became news director for public station KCET in her hometown of Los Angeles, where she created a “60 Minutes”-style investigative series called “28 Tonight” (the station was on channel 28).

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The program featured several award-winning segments, including a segment on a banking scandal that harmed low-income communities and another on a chemical spill in Orange County that caused illnesses in the area, each of which won a Peabody Award.

In 1981 she moved to Washington, where she began nearly a decade as the news director for the Public Broadcasting Service.

“Since I’ve been in the business, I’ve always wanted to be one of the officers who goes out in that little room and decides what’s going to be covered and who’s going to cover it,” she said in a 1976 interview with the Los Angeles Times. “But at NBC, I never saw any women walk into that little room. Nor any minorities. I thought this was my chance.”

She added, “As Bobby Seale said,” referring to one of the founders of the Black Panther Party, “take the time.”

Jill Christian Jill Patricia Wells was born on February 20, 1940, in Los Angeles, one of four children of Edwin Wells, who worked on an assembly line for the Hughes Aircraft Company, and Lucille (Scruggs) Wells, who owned a cosmetology college. In the Leimert Park neighborhood of South Central Los Angeles. (She later adopted Christian, a name from her mother’s family, as her professional surname.)

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Ms. Christian grew up in Venice, California, and spent three years studying world history at California State University, Los Angeles, before dropping out to join the Air Force in 1962. She was caught in a raging crowd after being discharged, and in 1965, was found guilty of Armed robbery after eroticism in a hotel.

The theft, which resulted in less than $100, led to her admission to the California Institute for Women in Chino for 18 months. Christian said in a 1976 interview with TV Guide. “I really didn’t need to do that. I had a loving family, unlike a lot of the others in prison. I was just kind of pushed out at the time.”

After she had served her time, a paroled colleague who was working as a switchboard operator at The San Francisco Examiner gave her a tip that the paper was planning to hire two black reporters to diversify its staff. Without any experience, Ms. Christian considered the opportunity far-reaching, but talked her way into the role of an apprentice by stretching the truth.

“I gave them this song and they danced around working on this little black paper that the Klan burned,” she told the Tribune.

In 1970, she participated in an 11-week summer program for minority students in broadcast journalism at Columbia. (Geraldo Rivera was a classmate.) Two years later, she was hired by local NBC affiliate KNBC. She worked there for six years before NBC News hired her.

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Her tenure at PBS ended in 1989, shortly after the network found itself embroiled in controversy over the airing of a pro-Palestinian documentary, Days of Rage, which Ms. Christian had acquired and was responsible for vetting. A news report confirmed that the film was partially supported by undisclosed Arab funding, which was denied by the film’s producer.

In an interview with The New York Times, Ms. Christian said she quit PBS for other reasons. She said, “You’re burning because this is a no-win situation.” “You are silent when things are going well and angry when there are questions.”

She eventually settled in Palm Springs, California, with Mrs. DeBardelaben, whom she married in 2016. In 2003, the couple started the Palm Springs Women’s Jazz Festival.

In addition to Mrs. DeBardelaben, Mrs. Christian is survived by her grandson. Her daughter, Sunday Barrett, died in 2019.

While Ms. Christian kept quiet about her prison term early in her career, she finally decided to divulge it to a sympathetic NBC executive. “The guy just looked at me,” she recalls. He says: I don’t have enough problems. Do I have to listen to you? Get outta here.’ I didn’t hear another word.”

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Economic mood and other investment stories you may have missed this week

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This week has been a tough bullish one. Here’s what investors saw:

  • Oil prices have given up most of the gains from the OPEC+ production cut.

  • The Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Index hit a new low for this economic cycle and missed expectations. Other indicators from the Conference Board The leading economic indicator I also fell.

  • Initial jobless claims were a surprise to the upside for the fourth consecutive week.

  • Weak earnings and more caution emerged from freight operators JB Hunt and Union Pacific as well as auto retailer AutoNation. Netflix and Taiwan Semiconductor, a major supplier to Apple, also issued guidance warnings.

  • There have been more layoffs in Meta’s Cloroxwith reports of planned job cuts at Disney.

  • Tesla reported a quarterly gross margin loss recently price cuts.

The bottom line is that there is an ongoing negative shift in economic data, most likely as interest rates continue to rise in the economy. This is a red flag.

Oddly enough, however, investors can’t seem to jump into it judging by the resilience of the S&P 500, Nasdaq Composite, and Dow Jones Industrial Average.

“The latest data is further evidence that there will be a recession in the US soon, which fits with our own view at DB Research that it is expected to happen later in the year,” Jim Reed, Deutsche Bank strategist wrote in the client note.

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Good words of wisdom now.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks to a visitor as he arrives to look at the Tesla Gigafactory construction on September 3, 2020, near Gruenheide, Germany. (Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images)

3 things you might have missed

1. The mood among AmEx cardholders: I met with American Express CEO Stephen Squarey, and he struck an optimistic tone about order trends.

“The economy is definitely divided, and I think at the lower end of the economy, we’re seeing some pressure, but we don’t have that,” Squirey said, adding that he sees strong demand for travel in the spring and summer. The call to travel lines up with what we’ve heard about this earnings season from Delta and United Airlines.

2. Elon Musk is following the storm. An interesting highlight from Tesla’s earnings call was when Elon Musk said he didn’t see the economy improving until 2024. The CEO predicted another year of “stormy economic weather” before “things start to get sunny in the spring of next year.”

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Musk joins the likes of JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon in using weather to describe the economic outlook.

3. About this credit cost: In an exclusive on Yahoo Finance Live, Loretta Mester, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, tells Jane Schoneberger that there is only one direction for interest rates in the near term: higher.

“I think that, given the complexity of inflation, and given the still-strong job market, I think rates should go above the 5% level,” Mester said.

Loretta J.  Jim Urquhart

Loretta J. Jim Urquhart

C-Suite, quote of the week

“We are not seeing a significant drop in trade [among consumers]John Mueller, CEO of Procter & Gamble (PG) told Yahoo Finance Live. We are witnessing, if anything, more careful use of the product they purchased. So they might use half a sheet of a Bounty paper towel instead of a full sheet. But overall, again, just looking at the numbers, the consumer holds up very well.”

planner of the week

For those investors who are ignoring the dangers of the impending debt ceiling, here’s a helpful reminder from the macroeconomics team at Goldman Sachs on how markets will price in the 2011 debt ceiling debate:

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Remember the debt ceiling debacle of 2011?

Remember the debt ceiling debacle of 2011?

Brian Suzy He is the Executive Editor of Yahoo Finance. Follow Suzy on Twitter @tweet and on linkedin. Deal tips, mergers, activist positions, or anything else? Email brian.sozzi@yahoofinance.com

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