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www.nbcnews.com Biden bans U.S. sales of Kaspersky software over Russia ties

Moscow’s influence over the company was found to pose a significant risk, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said.

Biden bans U.S. sales of Kaspersky software over Russia ties

Moscow’s influence over the company was found to pose a significant risk, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said.

The Biden administration on Thursday announced plans to bar the sale of antivirus software made by Russia’s Kaspersky Lab in the United States, citing the firm’s large U.S. customers, including critical infrastructure providers and state and local governments.

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Russia’s northern offensive isn’t going well.

Ukrainian forces have captured dozens of Russian troops in the embattled town of Vovchansk, just south of the Russia-Ukraine border, dealing a major setback to Russia’s faltering northern offensive.

In heavy fighting over the weekend, Ukrainian troops surrounded as many as 400 Russians in and around a chemical plant in central Vovchansk. Thirty Russians surrendered after repeated attempts to rescue them failed, the Ukrainian Center for Defense Strategies reported.

On May 10, a force of tens of thousands of Russian troops opened a new front in Russia’s 28-month wider war on Ukraine. Attacking south across the Russia-Ukraine border, Russian battalions quickly captured a chain of lightly defended border villages—and then advanced on Vovchansk, the first big town between the border and the city of Kharkiv, 25 miles to the south.

It was there in Vovchansk that the Ukrainians chose to stand fight. Elements of several Ukrainian brigades—including the elite 82nd Air Assault Brigade—rushed north and, in several weeks of hard fighting, blocked the Russian advance just north of the Vovcha River, which threads from east to west through central Vovchansk.

The Russians rallied. The equivalent of at least two battalions with hundreds of infantry stormed the PJSC Volchansky chemical plant, on the Vovcha River’s right bank. Factories and other industrial facilities are often the locus of the fighting in Ukraine, as their big sturdy buildings can shelter troops and protect them from artillery and drones.

The Russians’ plan was apparently to capture the chemical plant and then, from there, launch a river-crossing operation in order to force their way into southern Vovchansk.

The plan failed when Ukrainian troops—perhaps from the 9th Rifle Battalion, Russian Volunteer Corps or 36th Marine Brigade—attacked west of the chemical plant and advanced several blocks to the north, cutting off the Russians in the plant from their comrades to the west.

“The Russians are surrounded here with zero chances of evacuation or reinforcements,” one Ukrainian drone operator crowed. “A bunch of dead and wounded orcs,” they added, using a slang term for Russian soldiers.

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_____ Rule
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Berko_Gleason

    Gleason devised the Wug Test as part of her earliest research (1958), which used nonsense words to gauge children's acquisition of morphological rules‍—‌for example, the "default" rule that most English plurals are formed by adding an /s/, /z/, or /ɪz/ sound depending on the final consonant, e.g. hat–hats, eye–eyes, witch–witches. A child is shown simple pictures of a fanciful creature or activity, with a nonsense name, and prompted to complete a statement about it

  • www.euractiv.com Portugal’s socialists and liberals defeat far-right in EU elections

    The Portuguese centre-right party (S&D) and the Liberal party (Renew) were the winners of Sunday's European elections in Portugal, which, unlike most other EU countries, saw the defeat of the far-right Chega party (ID).

    Portugal’s socialists and liberals defeat far-right in EU elections

    The Portuguese centre-left party (S&D) and the Liberal party (Renew) were the winners of Sunday’s European elections in Portugal, which, unlike most other EU countries, saw the defeat of the far-right Chega party (ID).

    While the Portuguese electorate voted for the Socialist Party, taking 11 of the 18 districts and outperforming the Democratic Alliance (PSD-CDS-PPM, EPP), which won the general elections three months ago, the party won eight of Portugal’s 21 MEP seats, losing one seat compared to 2019 despite winning more votes overall.

    However, the Socialists won by the narrowest of margins over the AD (less than 40,000 votes and one percentage point), which does not give them any hope of returning to power in the short term following a hypothetical political crisis caused by the rejection of the state budget for 2025.

    4
    apnews.com Blinken to push cease-fire proposal in eighth urgent Mideast trip since war in Gaza erupted

    Secretary of State Antony Blinken is returning to the Middle East on his eighth diplomatic mission to the region since the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza began in October.

    Blinken to push cease-fire proposal in eighth urgent Mideast trip since war in Gaza erupted

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State Antony Blinken will push for a breakthrough on President Joe Biden’s cease-fire proposal when he returns to the Middle East next week on his eighth diplomatic mission to the region since the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza began in October, the State Department said Friday.

    Blinken, who is currently in France accompanying Biden on a state visit timed to the 80th anniversary of the D-Day invasion during World War II, will fly from Paris to Cairo on Monday to meet Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and other officials before traveling to Israel, Jordan and Qatar, the department said. Blinken will then go to Italy to join Biden at the summit for the Group of Seven advanced economies.

    In all of his meetings, Blinken “will emphasize the importance of Hamas accepting the proposal on the table, which is nearly identical to one Hamas endorsed last month” and “discuss how the cease-fire proposal would benefit both Israelis and Palestinians,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said.

    “He will underscore that it would alleviate suffering in Gaza, enable a massive surge in humanitarian assistance, and allow Palestinians to return to their neighborhoods,” he said in a statement. “It would unlock the possibility of achieving calm along Israel’s northern border — so both displaced Israeli and Lebanese families can return to their homes — and set the conditions for further integration between Israel and its Arab neighbors, strengthening Israel’s long-term security and improving stability across the region.”

    In Israel, Blinken will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other officials. In Jordan, he will participate in an emergency international conference on aid to Gaza, and in Qatar he will meet with officials who are attempting to mediate the cease-fire deal.

    The lightning tour comes as the Biden administration is pushing hard for Hamas to accept a three-phase cease-fire proposal that would include the release of hostages taken from Israel and held by the militant group and potentially pave the way for an end to the conflict and the reconstruction of Gaza.

    12

    India’s Modi elected as leader of coalition and set to form new government

    apnews.com India's Modi elected as leader of coalition and set to form new government

    Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been formally elected leader of the National Democratic Alliance coalition, which won the most seats in the national election.

    India's Modi elected as leader of coalition and set to form new government

    NEW DELHI (AP) — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday was formally elected leader of the National Democratic Alliance coalition, which won the most seats in the national election after his political party failed to win a majority on its own.

    The 73-year-old leader, who will be sworn in as prime minister on Sunday for a rare third term, will now form a coalition government.

    Modi’s Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party has governed India as part of the NDA coalition over the past decade, but this is the first time under his leadership that the party has needed support from its regional allies to form a government.

    “This alliance of ours reflects India’s spirit in its true sense,” Modi said after the BJP and coalition members backed him as their prime ministerial candidate. “We were neither defeated nor are we defeated ... it was an NDA government in the past, still is and will be,” he added.

    Full results from India’s marathon election, which began in mid-April, were released Wednesday. The BJP won 240 seats, well below the 272 needed for a majority in a stunning outcome. Together, the parties in the NDA coalition bagged 293 seats in the 543-member lower house of parliament.

    9

    Nationalist parties, far-left on the rise ahead of Sunday’s federal elections in Belgium

    apnews.com Nationalist parties, far-left on the rise ahead of Sunday's federal elections in Belgium

    Belgian voters return to the polls on Sunday while both the far-right and the far-left are rising in the country.

    Nationalist parties, far-left on the rise ahead of Sunday's federal elections in Belgium

    BRUSSELS (AP) — The last time federal elections were held in Belgium in 2019, it took nearly 18 months before a new prime minister could be sworn in to lead a seven-party coalition government.

    The wait was even longer after the 2010 vote when the country needed 541 days to form a government, still a world record.

    Belgian voters return to the national polls on Sunday, in conjunction with the European Union vote, amid a rise of both the far-right and the far-left in the country. The vote could mean complex negotiations ahead in a country of 11.5 million people who are divided by language and deep regional identities.

    Belgium is split along linguistic lines, with francophone Wallonia in the south and Dutch-speaking Flanders in the north, and governments are invariably formed by coalitions made of parties from both regions.

    The latest opinion polls suggest that a new headache is on the horizon.

    Two Flemish nationalist parties are poised to gather the largest shares of votes in Flanders, with the far-right Vlaams Belang, which backs independence for Flanders, is expected to win more than 25% of the vote. Just behind, the right-wing nationalist New Flemish Alliance (N-VA) could get around 20% of the vote.

    In French-speaking Wallonia, the Socialist Party is projected to garner as much as a quarter of the ballots ahead of liberals and the far-left Belgium’s Workers Party. Poorer Wallonia — whose decline started in the 1960’s while Flanders’ economy went up — traditionally leans in favor of national unity because the region would likely find it difficult to survive economically on its own.

    8

    Israel rescues 4 hostages taken in Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, and 210 Palestinians are reported killed

    apnews.com Israel rescues 4 hostages taken in Hamas' Oct. 7 attack, and 210 Palestinians are reported killed

    The operation was the largest recovery of living hostages since the war erupted, bringing the total of rescued captives to seven.

    Israel rescues 4 hostages taken in Hamas' Oct. 7 attack, and 210 Palestinians are reported killed

    DEIR AL-BALAH, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israel on Saturday carried out its largest hostage rescue operation since the latest war with Hamas began, taking four to safety out of central Gaza amid the military’s heavy air and ground assault. At least 210 dead Palestinians, including children, were brought to local hospitals, a health official said.

    Israelis were jubilant as the army said it freed Noa Argamani, 26; Almog Meir Jan, 22; Andrey Kozlov, 27; and Shlomi Ziv, 41, in a daytime operation in the heart of Nuseirat, raiding two locations at once while under fire. All were well, the military said. They were taken by helicopter for medical checks and tearful reunions with loved ones after 246 days held.

    Argamani had been one of the most widely recognized hostages after being taken, like the three others, from a music festival. The video of her abduction showed her seated between two men on a motorcycle as she screamed, “Don’t kill me!”

    Her mother, Liora, has brain cancer and had released a video pleading to see her daughter. Israel’s Channel 13 said Argamani was moved to the hospital where her mother is treated. In a message released by the government, Argamani told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu she was “very excited,” saying she hadn’t heard Hebrew in so long.

    Netanyahu in a statement vowed to continue the fighting until all hostages are freed. The operation was “daring in nature, planned brilliantly, and executed in an extraordinary fashion,” Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said.

    Israeli aircraft hummed overhead as the bodies of 109 Palestinians including 23 children and 11 women were taken to Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital, where spokesperson Khalil Degran told The Associated Press more than 100 wounded also arrived. He said that overall, 210 dead had been taken there and to Al-Awda Hospital, saying he had spoken to the director there. Al-Awda’s numbers couldn’t immediately be confirmed.

    17

    Russian adult content provider forced to entrap gay men online by Dagestan police

    novayagazeta.eu Russian adult content provider forced to entrap gay men online by Dagestan police — Novaya Gazeta Europe

    A Russian male adult content provider was detained in the North Caucasus republic of Dagestan for the second time in two weeks on Wednesday after reportedly being forced to entrap gay men online by the republic’s police.

    Russian adult content provider forced to entrap gay men online by Dagestan police — Novaya Gazeta Europe

    A Russian male adult content provider was detained in the North Caucasus republic of Dagestan for the second time in two weeks on Wednesday after reportedly being forced to entrap gay men online by the republic’s police.

    Matvey Volodin, a Moscow resident who performs under the name USSRboy, was detained by plain clothes police officers as he left a temporary detention centre where he had been held for 10 days, North Caucasus SOS, a Telegram crisis group devoted to helping LGBTQ+ people in the region, said.

    A lawyer Volodin spoke with told North Caucasus SOS that Volodin had come to Dagestan in late May at the invitation of men who had contacted him online and told him they had rented him an apartment there.

    However, they turned out to be officers from the Centre for Combating Extremism, a special unit within the Russian police, who after beating Volodin and confiscating his phone, forced him to assist them with entrapping gay men online, according to North Caucasus SOS. Using Volodin’s account to invite people to the apartment, the officers allegedly filmed Volodin’s sexual encounters with more than five men.

    7
    www.iranintl.com Iran Escalates Beach Surveillance Deploying 7,000 Police to Enforce Hijab

    Iran is ramping up its hijab enforcement as summer approaches with the deployment of 7,000 police officers to the country’s northern beaches.

    Iran Escalates Beach Surveillance Deploying 7,000 Police to Enforce Hijab

    Iran is ramping up its hijab enforcement as summer approaches with the deployment of 7,000 police officers to the country’s northern beaches.

    Deputy commander of the police force, Ghasem Rezaei announced that the forces are tasked with "controlling the beaches and recreation areas and maintaining order," particularly focusing on ensuring compliance with the nation’s mandatory hijab.

    The police operation will place officers directly along the northern coastlines, with Rezaei warning that any “deviation” from the government-imposed norms will be met with legal consequences.

    Every year, with the arrival of summer and the rising temperatures in Iran, the enforcement of hijab by the police intensifies.

    Despite the government's strict enforcement of mandatory hijab, a movement of civil disobedience persists. Swathes of women are increasingly visible in public areas without a hijab, actively protesting against the restrictive mandates.

    8
    www.rferl.org Tajikistan Set To Outlaw Islamic Hijab After Years Of Unofficial Ban

    After nearly two decades of restricting the Islamic hijab in public institutions, Tajikistan is set to legally ban it. A draft bill makes it illegal to wear, import, sell, or advertise “clothes alien to Tajik culture,” the term widely used by authorities to describe Islamic clothes.

    Tajikistan Set To Outlaw Islamic Hijab After Years Of Unofficial Ban

    After graduating from medical school, Salomat had to settle for working as a masseuse at a Dushanbe beauty salon because hospitals in Tajikistan don’t allow the Islamic hijab, which she wears.

    “I had to choose between my career and my faith, and I chose the latter,” says Salomat, who didn’t want to give her full name. “I did remove my hijab in college because I thought that was temporary. But a career is for life.”

    Thousands of women in Tajikistan have faced similar choices in recent years as the staunchly secular government in Dushanbe has been increasingly cracking down on the Islamic head scarf at schools and workplaces.

    Despite the effective ban on the hijab in public institutions, there is no legislation in Tajikistan that outlaws Islamic attire. But that is about to change.

    Parliament in the predominantly Muslim nation of some 10 million has adopted draft amendments to the law on “traditions and celebrations” that will ban the wearing, importing, selling, and advertising of “clothes alien to Tajik culture,” a term widely used by officials to describe Islamic clothing. _____________ Several Dushanbe residents told RFE/RL that they don’t support a ban on certain types of clothes because they believe people should be free to choose what clothes they want to wear.

    “It’s important to have the freedom to choose our own clothes. There shouldn’t be a law ordering us what to wear,” said Munira Shahidi, an expert on art and culture.

    Most Tajiks believe the new amendments would only legalize a “ban that has already been in place for years.”

    11

    Diminished Hamas switches to full insurgent mode in Gaza

    • Hamas fighting force reduced by half - US officials
      • Group relying on ambushes, improvised bombs, they say
      • Such tactics could sustain a lengthy insurgency
      • 'There is no quick fix,' says Israeli military

    WASHINGTON, June 6 (Reuters) - Hamas has seen about half its forces wiped out in eight months of war and is relying on hit-and-run insurgent tactics to frustrate Israel's attempts to take control of Gaza, U.S. and Israeli officials told Reuters. The enclave's ruling group has been reduced to between 9,000 and 12,000 fighters, according to three senior U.S. officials familiar with battlefield developments, down from American estimates , opens new tab of 20,000-25,000 before the conflict. By contrast, Israel says it has lost almost 300 troops in the Gaza campaign. Hamas fighters are now largely avoiding sustained skirmishes with Israeli forces closing in on the southernmost city of Rafah, instead relying on ambushes and improvised bombs to hit targets often behind enemy lines, one of the officials said.

    53
    finance.yahoo.com Russia's biggest energy company says it'll take it at least 10 years to recover gas sales lost because of the Ukraine war

    The gas giant's export volumes won't return to pre-war levels until at least 2035, a firm-commissioned study said.

    Russia's biggest energy company says it'll take it at least 10 years to recover gas sales lost because of the Ukraine war
    • Russia's gas giant Gazprom won't recover gas sales lost to the Ukraine war for at least a decade.
    • A study seen by the Financial Times says pre-war export volumes will return by 2035.
    • Gazprom will likely lose its leading role in Russia's energy sector over time.
    33
    www.kyivpost.com Russia Destroys Over Half of Ukraine’s Power Generation – FT Reports

    The prospect of Ukraine suffering severe power cuts this winter is looming over the whole country in the wake of a Russian campaign to target thermal and hydroelectric plants.

    Russia Destroys Over Half of Ukraine’s Power Generation – FT Reports

    The prospect of Ukraine suffering severe power cuts this winter is looming over the whole country in the wake of a Russian campaign to target thermal and hydroelectric plants.

    Russian air strikes have severely impacted Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, leading to the destruction or seizure of over half of Ukraine’s power generation capacity along with widespread blackouts and concerns about future energy supplies, Financial Times (FT) reported today.

    Before the invasion, Ukraine boasted one of Europe’s largest domestic energy production capacities, generating around 55 gigawatts of electricity. However, this capacity has plummeted to below 20GW due to Russian attacks and occupation, with power plants being targeted directly.

    The EU has expressed alarm over Russia’s destruction of 9.2GW of energy generation since March, prompting efforts to address Ukraine’s urgent energy needs. Recent attacks have focused on power plants and natural gas storage facilities critical for EU customers, raising fears about winter energy security.

    The initial aerial bombardment campaign by Russia during the winter of 2022-23 primarily targeted Ukraine’s electrical distribution grid, which officials and experts noted could be repaired relatively easily.

    However, the latest onslaught has shifted focus to thermal and hydroelectric power plants, posing significant challenges in terms of repair, reconstruction, or replacement, as stated by officials and experts.

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