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Queen Elizabeth II mourned by Britain and world at funeral
LONDON (AP) — Britain and the world said farewell to Queen Elizabeth II with pomp and pageantry. Crowds massed in the streets of London and at Windsor Castle to honor a monarch whose 70-year reign defined an era. The first state funeral since Winston Churchill’s drew world leaders and other royalty. Before the service, a bell tolled 96 times for each year of Elizabeth’s life. Royal Navy sailors pulled a gun carriage carrying her flag-draped coffin to Westminster Abbey before pallbearers bore it inside. Atop the coffin sat a handwritten note from King Charles III. After a committal service at a chapel in Windsor Castle, the coffin was lowered into the royal vault.
A day after blackout, Fiona dumps more rain on Puerto Rico
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Hurricane Fiona is dumping more rain on Puerto Rico. The deluge comes a day after the storm knocked out power and water to most of the island. National Guard troops have rescued hundreds of people who got stranded. The governor warned that it could take days to get the lights back on. The blow from Fiona was made more devastating because Puerto Rico has yet to recover from Hurricane Maria, which killed nearly 3,000 people and destroyed the power grid in 2017. Five years later, more than 3,000 homes on the island are still covered by blue tarps.
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US contractor freed by Taliban in swap for drug trafficker
WASHINGTON (AP) — An American contractor held hostage in Afghanistan for more than two years by the Taliban has been released. The White House and family members said Monday his release came in an exchange for a convicted Taliban drug lord jailed in the United States. Mark Frerichs, a Navy veteran who spent more than a decade in Afghanistan as a civilian contractor, was abducted in January 2020 and is believed to have been held since then by the Taliban-linked Haqqani network. Negotiations for his release centered on a deal that also included the release of Bashir Noorzai, a notorious drug lord and member of the Taliban.
Ukraine warns of ‘nuclear terrorism’ after strike near plant
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — A Russian missile has blasted a crater close to a nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine, damaging nearby industrial equipment but not hitting its three reactors. Ukrainian authorities denounced Monday’s attack as an act of “nuclear terrorism.” Ukraine’s nuclear operator said the missile struck within 300 meters (328 yards) of reactors at South Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant. The strike followed warnings from Russian President Vladimir Putin of possible stepped-up attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure after his forces suffered humiliating battlefield setbacks. It also renewed fears of a possible radioactive disaster in the near seven-month war. One Western analyst said the Russian military was apparently trying to knock Ukrainian nuclear plants offline before winter sets in.
Strong earthquake shakes Mexico´s Pacific coast; 1 killed
MEXICO CITY (AP) — A magnitude 7.6 earthquake has shaken Mexico’s central Pacific coast, killing at least one person and setting off an earthquake alarm in the capital. The quake hit at 1:05 p.m. local time, according to the U.S. Geologic Survey. And it caused at least some damage near the epicenter Alarms for the new quake came less than an hour after a quake alarms warbled in a nationwide earthquake simulation marking major quakes that struck on the same date in 1985 and 2017.
GOP’s election-year standing with independents at risk
COLUMBUS, Wis. (AP) — Some independent voters who began 2022 looking to Republicans for answers have drifted back to moving toward Democrats. This comes as the GOP’s indictment of President Joe Biden’s and majority Democrats’ handling of the economy has run into mixed Republican messaging. Interviews with independent voters in a competitive county in swing-voting Wisconsin reveal how the June U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe. v. Wade and former President Donald Trump’s protests over the 2020 election and the federal investigation of records recovered at his Florida home are disrupting Republican leadership’s hope of making November a straight-up referendum on Democratic control in Washington.
At UN, leaders confront COVID’s impact on global education
School disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic have set back children around the globe, from the United States to sub-Saharan Africa. At a summit Monday, world leaders are expected to make commitments to prioritize their school systems, many of which saw their budgets slashed when the pandemic hit. The percentage of 10-year-old children in poor and middle-income countries who cannot read a simple story increased to an estimated 70% –- up 13 percentage points — since before the pandemic shuttered classrooms. That’s according to a report from the World Bank, UNESCO and UNICEF.
Uvalde children grapple with trauma after school massacre
UVALDE, Texas (AP) — Students who survived the May 24 shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, are spending the summer with a host of mental health issues including grappling with post-traumatic stress disorder. One 11-year-old girl was hospitalized for weeks due to her racing heart following the massacre at Robb Elementary. Another girl hides when she sees people who resemble the gunman who killed 21 people at her school. Meanwhile, parents find themselves unable to help and worry about access to adequate mental health care in the largely Hispanic town.
How to get a student loan refund if you paid during pandemic
NEW YORK (AP) — When President Joe Biden announced a plan to forgive student loan debt, many borrowers who kept making payments during the pandemic wondered if they’d made the right choice. Borrowers who paid down their debt during a pandemic freeze that started in March 2020 can in fact get a refund — and then apply for forgiveness. But the process for doing that hasn’t always been clear. The Department of Education says borrowers who hold eligible federal student loans and have made voluntary payments since March 13, 2020, can get a refund.
NASA Mars lander captures strikes by 4 incoming space rocks
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — A NASA lander on Mars has captured the vibrations and sounds of four meteoroids striking the planet’s surface. Scientists reported Monday that Mars InSight has detected seismic and acoustic waves from a series of impacts in 2020 and 2021. A satellite orbiting the red planet confirmed the impact locations, as far as 180 miles from the lander. Scientists are delighted by the detections _ a first for Mars _ and the resulting craters. They’ve been waiting more than three years for InSight’s seismometer to sense impacts from incoming space rocks. InSight has already detected more than 1,300 marsquakes.
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