said in April after sealing the deal. “I don’t care about the economics at all.”

He cared a little more when the subsequent plunge in the stock market meant that he was overpaying by a significant amount. Analysts estimated that Twitter was worth not $44 billion but $30 billion, or maybe even less. For a few months, Mr. Musk tried to get out of the deal.

This had the paradoxical effect of bringing the transaction down to earth for spectators. Who among us has not failed to do due diligence on a new venture — a job, a house, even a relationship — and then realized that it was going to cost so much more than we had thought? Mr. Musk’s buying Twitter, and then his refusal to buy Twitter, and then his being forced to buy Twitter after all — and everything playing out on Twitter — was weirdly relatable.

Inescapable, too. The apex, or perhaps the nadir, came this month when Mr. Musk introduced a perfume called Burnt Hair, described on its website as “the Essence of Repugnant Desire.”

“Please buy my perfume, so I can buy Twitter,” Mr. Musk tweeted on Oct. 12, garnering nearly 600,000 likes. This worked, apparently; the perfume is now marked “sold out” on its site. Did 30,000 people really pay $100 each for a bottle? Will this perfume actually be produced and sold? (It’s not supposed to be released until next year.) It’s hard to tell where the joke stops, which is perhaps the point.

Evan Spiegel.

“What was unique about Twitter was that no one actually controlled it,” said Richard Greenfield, a media analyst at LightShed Partners. “And now one person will own it in its entirety.”

He is relatively hopeful, however, that Mr. Musk will improve the site, somehow. That, in turn, will have its own consequences.

“If it turns into a massive home run,” Mr. Greenfield said, “you’ll see other billionaires try to do the same thing.”

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Ukraine’s Donbas, Where Putin Sowed the Seeds of War

CHASIV YAR, Ukraine — On a clear spring morning eight years ago, Oleksandr Khainus stepped outside his house to go to work at the town factory when he spotted new graffiti scrawled across his fence. “Glory to Russia,” vandals had written in angry black spray paint. “Putin,” another message said.

Mr. Khainus was perplexed. It was true that Chasiv Yar, the Rust Belt-like town where he has spent his entire life in a region called the Donbas, had long contained many conflicting opinions on its identity. Geographically, the Donbas was part of Ukraine, no question, but it was so close to Russia and so tied to it historically that many maintained that their true home really lay eastward.

“It was the type of stuff you’d argue about over the dinner table,” he said. “But nothing that anyone would get violent over.”

protests exploded. Armed separatists seized chunks of the Donbas right under the authorities’ noses. Two so-called People’s Republics were declared. Russian troops stormed in.

the most far-reaching war in generations. It was the Donbas that became Mr. Putin’s pretext for a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. And now it is heating up again.

masterful offensive in the Kharkiv region, in Ukraine’s northeast, where town after town fell without a shot. Now they are heading south. Columns of dark green military trucks and American-made rocket launchers are thundering down the long, straight highways into the Donbas. But they will have a much harder fight on their hands.

Wagner Group and close air cover because of the proximity to the Russian border. They can also rely on separatist fighters and a well-financed network of citizen-spies who relay secret information to the invaders, often with devastating consequences.

Viktor Yanukovych, Ukraine’s pro-Russia president, out of office. Mr. Yanukovych came from a Donbas steel town. In one stroke, Russia lost its ally and the Donbas elite its godfather. That is when the trouble started.

People flooded into the Donbas streets waving Russian flags. At first, said Alisa Sopova, a journalist for a Donbas newspaper at the time, “We were sure they were fake people brought in from Russia to pose for Russian TV.”

to speak so much Russian. A critical aspect of Ukrainian independence was reviving the Ukrainian language, marginalized during Soviet times. But those arguments were typically confined to social media posts or intellectual debates, until this moment.

“I’d go into the supermarket to buy some meat, and the shopkeeper tells me, ‘If you don’t speak Ukrainian, I’m not going to sell you any meat,’” Mr. Tsyhankov said. “I’ve been speaking Russian my whole life. How do you think that made me feel?”

done something similar in 2008 in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, two regions of Georgia, and before that the Russians had meddled in Moldova, backing the breakaway Transnistria region. The tools were generally the same: bankrolling pro-Russia political parties; deploying intelligence agents to foment protests; sowing disinformation through Russian TV.

Mr. Putin’s strategy was to turn strategic slices of the former Soviet Union into separatist hotbeds to hobble young nations like Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, all struggling to break free from Moscow and move closer to Europe.

Under the Kremlin’s wing, Donbas’s separatists killed Ukrainian officials, took territory and declared the breakaway Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic. When Ukrainian forces rolled in to quell the rebellion, some residents saw them as occupiers. They spoke a different language, hailed from a different region, embraced a different culture — or so went the pro-Russia narrative. In some villages, babushkas lay down in the roads blocking Ukrainian tanks, officers said, and in one, an especially cunning babushka kept stealing the soldiers’ helmets.

“It was frustrating,” said Anatolii Mohyla, a Ukrainian military commander. “We’d come to liberate them and they’d give us the finger.”

Mr. Putin dispatched thousands of Russian troops to support the separatists, later saying he had been “forced to protect” the Russian-speaking population. Towns like Chasiv Yar were occupied by separatist fighters, then liberated by Ukrainian troops a few months later. By 2015, the heavy fighting had died down. But it was not like Mr. Putin forgot about the Donbas.

He upped the ante in 2021, saying, “Kyiv simply does not need the Donbas.” And on Feb. 21 of this year, three days before he invaded Ukraine, Mr. Putin accused the Ukrainian government of perpetrating a “genocide.” He justified the most cataclysmic war in decades by citing the very tensions he himself stoked.

In early April, the agricultural land around Chasiv Yar began to thaw. Mr. Khainus, the pro-Ukraine farmer, drove out to check a sunflower field. A Ukrainian military vehicle raced up. A soldier leaned out the window and fired an assault rifle, the bullets skipping up in the dirt. Mr. Khainus slammed on the brakes.

A Ukrainian commander he recognized, a man whom Mr. Khainus said he had complained about before, jumped out. The commander greeted him with a punch to the head, Mr. Khainus said, and then smashed him in the face with a rifle butt.

He does not remember much after that. He shared photographs of himself lying in a hospital bed with two black eyes. Military and law enforcement officials declined to comment.

Mr. Khainus remains a supporter of the military, saying, “One stupid person doesn’t represent the army.”

But, he added wryly: “It’s one thing to be a patriot in Kyiv. It’s another to be a patriot in the Donbas.”

At 9 p.m. on July 9, four cruise missiles slammed into a dormitory at the old ceramic plant. The buildings crumbled as if they were made out of sand. Viacheslav Boitsov, an emergency services official, said there were “no military facilities nearby.”

But according to Mr. Mohyla and Oleksandr Nevydomskyi, another Ukrainian military officer, Ukrainian soldiers were staying in that building. The night before, they said, a mysterious man was seen standing outside flashing light signals, most likely pinpointing the position.

The military calls such spies “correctors,” and they relay navigational information to the Russians to make missile and artillery strikes more precise. Ukrainian officials have arrested more than 20 and say correctors are often paid several hundred dollars after a target is hit. The strike in Chasiv Yar was one of the deadliest: 48 killed, including 18 soldiers, the officers said.

“For sure there are Russian agents in this town,” Mr. Mohyla said. “There might even be spies in our unit.”

Few in Chasiv Yar are confident that the town will stay in government hands.

Mr. Khainus said the Russians were steadily moving closer to his sunflower fields. About a week ago, a friend’s house was shelled. A day later, in an online messaging channel, separatist supporters said Mr. Khainus should be next, calling him a “hero” — adding an epithet.

Is he scared?

“Why should I be?” he said. “They’re nobodies.”

Mr. Tsyhankov, the retired dump truck driver nostalgic for the Soviet times, seemed pained by all of the bloodshed but did not blame the Russians or the separatists. “They’re doing the right thing,” he said. “They’re fighting for the Russian language and their territory.”

As he said goodbye, insisting that his guests take with them a jug of his homemade apple juice and some fresh green grapes, he shook his head at the enormity of it. “Why can’t we be friends with you guys, the Americans?” he asked. “Politics are keeping all of us hostage.”

Every night, the horizon in Chasiv Yar lights up with explosions. Ukrainian soldiers operate here almost as if they are on enemy territory, hiving themselves off from the public, watching their backs, traveling by night in long convoys of cars with the lights blacked out, the drivers wearing night vision goggles. According to separatist messaging channels, the Wagner mercenaries have reached the outskirts of Bakhmut, a major Donbas town. As for Soledar, it is now off limits to journalists, but volunteers there trying to rescue civilians say it is as deadly as ever.

People here used to describe the Donbas in simple terms like “beautiful,” “honest,” “unbreakable” and “free.”

Now it is destroyed, depopulated, sad and empty.

“It’s like the Rust Belt,” Ms. Sopova said. “It’s not needed anymore. All that industry is obsolete.”

Countless communities have risen in the Donbas. Many are now falling. Ms. Sopova glimpses a perhaps not so faraway future where the Donbas goes back to what it once was: a wild field.

Oleksandra Mykolyshyn contributed reporting.

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Debate On Monarchy’s Ties To Commonwealth Reignited After Queen Death

By Luke Hanrahan
September 15, 2022

Fourteen countries retain the British sovereign as their head of state. Should the country begin a process of constitutional change?

During Queen Elizabeth II’s reign, British soldiers committed widespread atrocities against Kenyans at the height of the Mau Mau uprising between 1952 and 1960. Roughly 1.5 million people were forced into concentration camps, subjected to torture, rape and other violation. 

It’s little wonder that on the streets of Nairobi, people’s memories of colonial Britain — an empire fundamentally connected to monarchy — are not often positive.  

“I remember the Mau Mau struggle with a lot of bitterness,” Nairobi resident Max Kahindi said. “One: I was young. But even as young as I was, we suffered a lot. Our fathers, our uncles, our relatives — they either were in detention or they were killed. It is a lot of bitter memories.”

Unlike Kenya, which declared independence in 1963, there are 14 countries that retain the British sovereign as their head of state.  

On Saturday, the prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda announced plans to hold a referendum on becoming a republic. And debates that have rumbled on for years about ties to the monarchy have been reignited across the Commonwealth, from Australia to Canada to the Caribbean.   

“I think mainly out of respect for Elizabeth II, these discussions were not taking place,” historian Ed Owens said. “There was, I think, an anticipation that these conversations would start when the new king came to the throne, and that’s what we’re seeing.”

The recent visit of Prince William and Kate to Jamaica earlier this year triggered debates about Britain’s colonial past.

From the photos of Will and Kate shaking hands with Jamaican children through a wire fence, to the military parade in which the pair stood dressed in white in an open top Land Rover — the optics were described as a throwback.

As the trumpets rang out amidst the pomp and ceremony of centuries old tradition, few inside the 900-year-old Westminster Hall would have questioned the existence of monarchy in Britain in 2022.

But for Race on The Agenda Chief Executive Maurice McLeod, who is the son of South African and Jamaican immigrants to the U.K., the royal family and its connection to democratic constitution needs a complete rethink. 

“If we’re talking about a world of freedom and inclusivity and equality, it just doesn’t tally,” he said. “They are the symbol of Britain’s history and that’s what they’re held up as … But if you’re doing that, you also have to take the bad. They’re also the symbol of the Mau Maus, the symbol of all that slavery and oppression. You can’t unpick those two things. And I think that’s what’s so difficult, especially in the Commonwealth.”   

Queen Elizabeth II was the living embodiment of an institution, which, for some, bears no rational justification whatsoever; in fact, a hereditary position that harks back to an era in which atrocities, genocides even were committed in the name of the crown all over the globe. Should this country now begin a process of constitutional change?

“I think looking at what certain countries have done recently to reject the royal family, to remove them from state — it’s time to move on, I think,” said Feliks Mathur, the son of an Indian immigrant.

“They’re going to have to change all the pound coins and that sort of thing. The queen’s image is synonymous with Britain,” said Kemi Akinola, the daughter of Nigerian and Granadian immigrants. “We might be looking at how this relationship will develop and what the modern-day monarch will look like to the U.K. moving forward, and now is a good time to start doing that.”

“I don’t really think, to be honest with you, that it has any great relevance. We have moved on,” Jamaican immigrant to the U.K. Noel Taylor said. “And as far as I’m concerned, coming from an African-Caribbean background, I don’t see monarchy has played any definitive role in advancing our way of life.”  

The death of the queen brings the constitutional role of monarchy in 21st century Britain and 14 other Commonwealth countries into sharp focus.

Source: newsy.com

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‘Succession,’ ‘Ted Lasso’ Top Emmys; 1st-Time Winners Shine

Television’s biggest stars gathered to celebrate their achievements at the 2022 Emmy Awards, hosted by Kenan Thompson.

“Succession” and “Ted Lasso” topped the Emmy Awards on Monday, in a ceremony that touted the influence of TV and extended honors to global sensation “Squid Game” and winners who delivered messages of empowerment.

The evening’s uplifting tone, as voiced especially by Zendaya, Lizzo and Sheryl Lee Ralph, was in contrast to the darkness that pervaded the storytelling of best drama series winner “Succession” and even comedy series victor “Ted Lasso.”

“Thanks for making such a safe space to make this very difficult show,” said Zendaya, claiming her second best drama actress award for “Euphoria,” about a group of teens’ tough coming-of-age.

“My greatest wish for ‘Euphoria’ was that it could help heal people. Thank you for everyone who has shared your story with me. I carry them with me, and I carry them with” Rue, her character, Zendaya said.

“Succession,” about a media empire run by a grasping and cutthroat family, split drama series honors with “Squid Game,” the bold South Korean-set drama about the idle rich turning the poor into entertainment fodder.

Lee Jung-jae of “Squid Game,” who played the show’s moral center, became the first Asian to win the Emmy for best drama series actor.

“Thank you for making realistic problems we all face come to life so creatively on the screen,” Lee said to “Squid Game” creator Hwang Dong-hyuk, who earned the Emmy for best drama series directing. In Korean, Lee thanked the audience in his native country for watching.

Backstage, Hwang said this was “a major moment for us,” and Lee said he expected the awards to open doors for other Asian actors.

Jason Sudeikis and Jean Smart collected back-to-back acting trophies, but several new Emmy winners were minted, with Lizzo and Quinta Brunson and Sheryl Lee Ralph of “Abbott Elementary” collecting trophies.

Brunson, who created and stars in the freshman series, won the Emmy for comedy series writing. ABC’s “Abbott Elementary,” also nominated for best comedy, is a rare bright spot for network broadcasting in the age of streaming and cable dominance.

Sudeikis won his second consecutive trophy for playing the unlikely U.S. coach of a British soccer team in the comedy “Ted Lasso,” with Smart matching that haul for her role as a veteran comedian in “Hacks.”

Sudeikis gave a rare awards show shoutout to TV consumers: “Thanks to the people who watch this show and dig it as much as we dig making it.”

There was a ripple of reaction in the theater when “Succession” creator Jesse Armstrong mentioned Britain’s new king, Charles III, in accepting the show’s trophy, the cast standing alongside him.

“Big week for successions, new king in the U.K., this for us. Evidently a little bit more voting involved in our winning than Prince Charles,” Armstrong said. “I’m not saying we’re more legitimate in our position than he is. We’ll leave that up to other people.”

Ralph stopped the Emmy Awards show by accepting the best supporting actress comedy award for “Abbott Elementary” with a brief but rousing song of affirmation.

“I am an endangered species, but I sing no victim song. I am a woman, I am an artist and I know where my voice belongs,” she belted out. She then encouraged anyone doubting their dream “I am here to tell you this is what believing looks like.”

The audience, including Lizzo and many of television’s biggest stars, leapt to their feet to cheer on Ralph.

When Lizzo herself accepted the award for best-competition series trophy for “Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls,” she offered another emotional pep talk.

“When I was a little girl, all I wanted to see was me in the media. Someone fat like me, Black like me, beautiful like me,” the music artist said.

There were also cheers for presenter Selma Blair, who has discussed her multiple sclerosis diagnosis publicly and who used a cane on stage.

“Ted Lasso” co-star Brett Goldstein, won comedy supporting actors, while Matthew Macfadyen of “Succession” and Julia Garner of “Ozark” earned drama series supporting actor honors.

“It’s such a pleasure and privilege for me to play this bonkers gift of a role in this wonderful show,” Macfadyen said in accepting the trophy for his role as a scheming member of a media empire family.

Garner was among the winners who took advantage of covering all bases by thanking her husband and others in an on-screen message.

“The White Lotus” collected several honors, including best limited or anthology series.

The achievements of “Squid Game,” “Abbott Elementary” and a few other shows didn’t change the relative lack of diversity in this year’s nominations, which included significantly fewer people of color than in 2021.

Host Kenan Thompson kicked off the Emmys with a tribute to TV, dismissing TikTok as “tiny vertical television,” and a musical number saluting series’ theme songs from “Friends” to “The Brady Bunch” to “Game of Thrones.”

Once the music stopped, Thompson provided a mic-drop moment — announcing Oprah Winfrey as the first presenter. Winfrey strutted onto the stage holding an Emmy statuette, declaring the night “a party!” The night’s first award went to Michael Keaton for his role in “Dopesick.” Winfrey and Keaton hugged before she handed him his trophy.

“It means something,” Keaton said of the award for playing a caring doctor ensnared with his patients by addiction. He went on to recall the “magic” of being introduced to TV when his dad won a set at a raffle and thanked his parents for not mocking his youthful attempts at acting.

Amanda Seyfried earned the limited-series lead actress trophy for “The Dropout,” in which she played ill-fated Silicon Valley whiz kid Elizabeth Holmes. She thanked a list of family and colleagues and even her dog, Finn.

Murray Bartlett won the best supporting actor award for “The White Lotus,” a tragicomedy set in a Hawaii resort. Jennifer Coolidge, who won best supporting actress honors for the show, delighted the audience by shimmying to the music intended to cut off her acceptance speech.

The award for best variety talk show went to “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver,” with stand-up special “Jerrod Carmichael: Rothaniel” winning for best writing for a comedy special.

“Good night, everybody. I’ma go home. I’m not like a sore winner, but I’m going to go home because I can’t top this right now,” an overcome Carmichael told the audience.

Glamour was back with some metallic sparkle and lots of bright color as an otherworldly Britt Lower, Old Hollywood Elle Fanning and their fellow stars posed for photographers.

Additional reporting by the Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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Queen Elizabeth II’s Coffin Makes Journey Through Scotland

The hearse drove past piles of bouquets and other tributes as it led a seven-car cortege from Balmoral, where the queen died.

Queen Elizabeth II’s flag-draped coffin is passing through the rugged Scottish countryside Sunday on a final journey from her beloved summer estate Balmoral Castle to London, with mourners quietly lining roads and some tossing flowers to honor the monarch who died after 70 years on the throne.

The hearse drove past piles of bouquets and other tributes as it led a seven-car cortege from Balmoral, where the queen died Thursday, for a six-hour trip through Scottish towns to Holyroodhouse palace in Edinburgh. The late queen’s coffin was draped in the Royal Standard for Scotland and topped with a wreath made of flowers from the estate, including sweet peas, one of the queen’s favorites.

“A sad and poignant moment as Her Majesty, The Queen leaves her beloved Balmoral for the final time,” the first minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon tweeted. “Today, as she makes her journey to Edinburgh, Scotland will pay tribute to an extraordinary woman.”

Crowds lined parts of the route as the nation mourns its longest-reigning monarch, the only one most Britons have ever known. In the Scottish village of Ballater, where residents regard the royal family as neighbors, hundreds of people watched in silence and some threw flowers in front of the hearse as it passed.

“She meant such a lot to people in this area. People were crying, it was amazing to see,” said Victoria Pacheco, a guest house manager.

In each town and village the cars drove through, they were met with similar muted scenes of respect. People stood mostly in silence; some clapped politely, others pointed their phone cameras at the passing cars.

Before reaching the Scottish capital, the cortege is traveling down what is effectively a royal memory lane — passing through locations laden with House of Windsor history including Dyce, where in 1975 the queen formally opened the U.K.’s first North Sea oil pipeline, and Fife near St. Andrews University, where her grandson William, now the Prince of Wales, studied and met his future wife, Catherine.

Sunday’s solemn drive through Scotland came as the queen’s eldest son was formally proclaimed the new monarch — King Charles III — in the rest of the nations of the United Kingdom: Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It came a day after a pomp-filled accession ceremony in England steeped in ancient tradition and political symbolism.

“I am deeply aware of this great inheritance and of the duties and heavy responsibilities of sovereignty, which have now passed to me,” Charles said Saturday.

Just before the proclamation was read Sunday in Edinburgh, a protester appeared with a sign condemning imperialism and urging leaders to “abolish the monarchy,” getting taken away soon afterward by police. The crowd applauded.

One man shouted, “Let her go! It’s free speech!” while others shouted: “Have some respect.”

It’s a sign of how some, including the former British Empire colonies, are struggling with the legacy of the monarchy. Earlier, proclamations were read in other parts of the Commonwealth countries, including Australia and New Zealand.

Charles, even as he mourned his late mother, was getting to work at Buckingham Palace, meeting with the secretary-general and other representatives of the Commonwealth, nations grappling with affection for the queen and lingering bitterness over their colonial legacies, ranging from slavery to corporal punishment in African schools to looted artifacts held in British institutions.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who had started laying the groundwork for an Australian republic after elections in May, said Sunday that now was the time not for a change but for paying tribute to the late queen.

India, a former British colony, observed a day of state mourning, with flags lowered to half-staff on all government buildings throughout the country.

Amid the grief enveloping the House of Windsor, there were hints of a possible family reconciliation. Prince William and his brother Harry, together with their respective wives, Catherine, Princess of Wales, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, delighted mourners near Windsor Castle with a surprise joint appearance Saturday.

The queen’s coffin will take a circuitous journey back to the capital. On Monday, it will be taken from Holyroodhouse to nearby St. Giles’ Cathedral, where it will remain until Tuesday, when it will be flown to London. The coffin will be moved from Buckingham Palace on Wednesday to the Houses of Parliament to lie in state until a state funeral at Westminster Abbey on Sept. 19.

In Ballater, the Rev. David Barr said locals consider the royals as “neighbors” and try to treat them as locals when they spend summers in the Scottish Highlands.

“When she comes up here, and she goes through those gates, I believe the royal part of her stays mostly outside,” he said. “And as she goes in, she was able to be a wife, a loving wife, a loving mum, a loving gran and then later on a loving great-gran — and aunty — and be normal.”

Elizabeth Taylor, from Aberdeen, had tears in her eyes after the hearse carrying the queen’s coffin passed through Ballater.

“It was very emotional. It was respectful and showed what they think of the queen,” she said. “She certainly gave service to this country even up until a few days before her death.”

Additional reporting by the Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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King Charles III, In First Address, Vows ‘Lifelong Service’

King Charles III speech was broadcast on television at St. Paul’s Cathedral, where some 2,000 people were attending a service of remembrance.

King Charles III vowed in his first speech to the nation as monarch Friday to carry on Queen Elizabeth II’s “lifelong service,” as Britain entered a new age under a new sovereign. Around the world, the queen’s exceptional reign was commemorated, celebrated and debated.

Charles, who spent much of his 73 years preparing for the role of king, addressed a nation grieving the only British monarch most people alive today had ever known. He takes the throne in an era of uncertainty for both his country and the monarchy itself.

He spoke of his “profound sorrow” over the death of his mother, calling her an inspiration.

“That promise of lifelong service I renew to all today,” he said in the recorded, 9 1/2-minute address, delivered with a framed photo of the queen on a desk in front of him.

“As the queen herself did with such unswerving devotion, I, too, now solemnly pledge myself, throughout the remaining time God grants me, to uphold the constitutional principles at the heart of our nation,” he said.

The king’s speech was broadcast on television and streamed at St. Paul’s Cathedral, where some 2,000 people attended a service of remembrance for the queen. Mourners at the service included Prime Minister Liz Truss and members of her government.

As the country began a 10-day mourning period, people around the globe gathered at British embassies to pay homage to the queen, who died Thursday at Balmoral Castle in Scotland.

In London and at military sites across the United Kingdom, cannons fired 96 shots in an elaborate, 16-minute salute marking each year of the queen’s life.

In Britain and across its former colonies, the widespread admiration for Elizabeth herself was occasionally mixed with scorn for the institution and the imperial history she symbolized.

On the king’s first full day of duties, Charles left Balmoral and flew to London for a meeting with Truss, appointed by the queen just two days before her death.

He arrived at Buckingham Palace, the monarch’s London home, for the first time as sovereign, emerging from the official state Bentley limousine alongside Camilla, the queen consort, to shouts from the crowd of “Well done, Charlie!” and the singing of the national anthem, now called “God Save the King.” One woman gave him a kiss on the cheek.

Under intense scrutiny and pressure to show he can be both caring and regal, Charles walked slowly past flowers heaped at the palace gates for his mother. The mood was both grieving and celebratory.

The seismic change of monarch comes at a time when many Britons are facing an energy crisis, the soaring cost of living, the war in Ukraine and the fallout from Brexit.

As the second Elizabethan Age came to a close, hundreds of people arrived through the night to grieve together outside the gates of Buckingham Palace and other royal residences, as well as British embassies worldwide. Some came simply to pause and reflect.

Finance worker Giles Cudmore said the queen had “just been a constant through everything, everything good and bad.”

At Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh, mourner April Hamilton stood with her young daughter, struggling to hold back tears.

“It’s just such a momentous change that is going to happen,” she said. “I’m trying to hold it together today.”

Everyday politics was put on hold, with lawmakers paying tribute to the monarch in Parliament over two days, beginning with a special session where Truss called the queen “the nation’s greatest diplomat.”

Senior lawmakers will also take an oath to King Charles III.

Meanwhile, many sporting and cultural events were canceled as a mark of respect, and some businesses — including Selfridges department store and the Legoland amusement park — shut their doors. The Bank of England postponed its meeting by a week.

But while Elizabeth’s death portends a monumental shift for some, day-to-day life in Britain went on in other respects, with children in school and adults at work, facing concerns about inflation.

Charles, who became the monarch immediately upon his mother’s death, will be formally proclaimed king at a special ceremony Saturday. The new king is expected to tour the United Kingdom in the coming days.

The queen’s coffin will be brought to London, where she is expected to lie in state before a funeral at Westminster Abbey, expected around Sept. 19.

Elizabeth was Britain’s longest-reigning monarch and a symbol of constancy in a turbulent era that saw the decline of the British empire and disarray in her scandal-plagued family.

The impact of Elizabeth’s loss will be unpredictable. The public’s abiding affection for the queen had helped sustain support for the monarchy during the family scandals, including the divorce of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, but Charles does not command that kind of popularity.

“Charles can never replace her, you know,” said 31-year-old Londoner Mariam Sherwani.

Like many, she referred to Elizabeth as a grandmother figure. Others compared her to their mothers, or great-grandmothers.

But around the world, her passing revealed conflicting emotions about the nation and institutions she represented.

In Ireland, some soccer fans cheered.

In India, once the “jewel in the crown” of the British empire, entrepreneur Dhiren Singh described his own personal sadness at her death, but added, “I do not think we have any place for kings and queens in today’s world.”

For some, Elizabeth was a queen whose coronation glittered with shards of a stunning 3,106-carat diamond pulled from grim southern African mines, a monarch who inherited an empire they resented.

In the years after she became queen, tens of thousands of ethnic Kikuyu in Kenya were rounded up in camps by British colonizers under threat from the local Mau Mau rebellion. Across the continent, nations rejected British rule and chose independence in her first decade on the throne.

She led a power that at times was criticized as lecturing African nations on democracy but denying many of their citizens the visas to visit Britain and experience it firsthand.

While the global fascination with the British queen is puzzling to some, others felt a personal connection to a woman who seemed ubiquitous, from banknotes used on multiple continents to TV shows like “The Crown” — which is pausing production to honor her.

Adi Trivedi, a 33-year-old British lawyer living in Paris, called Elizabeth “a model of humility, a model of duty, taking the ego out of an office of state.” He hopes to join the mourners at Buckingham Palace soon, so that “we can really celebrate the life of Queen Elizabeth II together.”

Additional reporting by The Associated Press. 

Source: newsy.com

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Odessa’s Catacombs: Same Strange Bomb Shelter, Different Enemy

Young Ukrainians are transforming a network of underground tunnels in Ukraine’s southern port city into bomb shelters.

Five stories below the streets of Odessa, there’s a labyrinth of tunnels. 1,500 miles of them have provided, in the best of times, a challenge for urban explorers like Roman Mauser. 

In the worst of times, it’s been a sanctuary for the unthinkable.  

“In Soviet times, it was decided to make bomb shelter inside the catacombs because they lay very deep underground,” said Mauser. 

The foe then was the United States and the fear of nuclear bombs dropping on Odessa.  

“It was designed to protect from nuclear blast wave to doors,” said Mauser. 

The Cold War thawed, the Soviet Union dissolved, Ukraine gained its independence and the catacomb’s relevance slid into that of a rusty, dusty curiosity. 

But then Putin trained his missiles on the prized seaport city above it. Since February, strikes have killed more than 30 people. 

And with frontline fighting just 90 miles away, the city remains under constant threat. 

ROMAN MAUSER: The idea to use this place as a bomb shelter came almost immediately when the first shock from the first cruise missiles came. We understood that it will be a long term war.   

NEWSY’S JASON BELLINI: What did you have to do to prepare it for people to be down here?   

MAUSER: First of all, build places people can rest.  

BELLINI: This doesn’t seem very comfortable. 

MAUSER: It’s comfortable enough. If you hide from cruise missiles. 

Mauser and his friends hauled down wood, and plastic crates, to build beds, benches and a dining table.  

MAUSER: For me when the war started. I donated almost all my resources I could. 

An electrical engineer by profession, Mauser established a way to maintain contact with the world above. And he strung electrical wires down into the dark depths. 

MAUSER: The waves go through this cable and you will have internet. I brought more than 200 meters of my own cable here. 

BELLINI: You brought electricity down here where it wasn’t before? 

MAUSER: Nothing. It was completely abandoned. We cleaned this place.  

BELLINI: All this stuff down here. The water, these plastic bags. Who do those belong to?

MAUSER: This supplies were brought by people who live nearby, and everybody has his own place here.  

Back in May, on Russia’s victory day, more than 100 people sought shelter in the catacombs. 

MAUSER: People with children, dogs, cats, old people, everybody. Because people are really afraid that Putin will launch lots of cruise missiles.

In finding safety beneath their city, they became part of a long line of the underground’s hiders and seekers. 

MAUSER: During the time of the Russian empire, catacombs were used by criminals to hide from policemen and [for smuggling]. During the time of the Second World War, catacombs were used by partisans as shelters to fight with Nazi invaders. And now, in 2022, we again make a bomb shelter in this place. So every period of time, catacombs were used somehow. These drawings are very old. Made by miners, I think.  

Miners of the 19th century who excavated the limestone with which Odessans built their city by the sea into a world-renowned metropolis.  

Eventually, 20th century highrises caused the collapse of some sections of the catacombs. Other parts can only be accessed with specialized equipment.  

BELLINI: Past this point it gets a lot narrower and a lot less headspace. And I’m told if you keep walking for about an hour through these tunnels, you’ll eventually come to an area where it’s flooded and a natural lake under the city exists.  

MAUSER: It’s very difficult to live in catacombs, very difficult for one week, maybe for one month is some sort of hell — for one year it’s like a post-apocalypse game.  

Despite the dangers of war, Mauser continues his YouTube channel documenting his Odesian underground odysseys.

MAUSER: We do not know what will happen in this war. We do not know what Putin will do. We also, we are really afraid of nuclear attack. If he will get a lack of conventional weapons, the only power he will still have is his nuclear weapons. And this place can save you for a long time. The underground world will save lives if there will be a need for it.  

Source: newsy.com

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Odesa’s Catacombs: Same Strange Bomb Shelter, Different Enemy

Young Ukrainians are transforming a network of underground tunnels in Ukraine’s southern port city into bomb shelters.

Five stories below the streets of Odesa, there’s a labyrinth of tunnels. 1,500 miles of them have provided, in the best of times, a challenge for urban explorers like Roman Mauser. 

In the worst of times, it’s been a sanctuary for the unthinkable.  

“In Soviet times, it was decided to make bomb shelter inside the catacombs because they lay very deep underground,” said Mauser. 

The foe then was the United States and the fear of nuclear bombs dropping on Odesa.  

“It was designed to protect from nuclear blast wave to doors,” said Mauser. 

The Cold War thawed, the Soviet Union dissolved, Ukraine gained its independence and the catacombs’ relevance slid into that of a rusty, dusty curiosity. 

But then Russian President Vladimir Putin trained his missiles on the prized seaport city above it. Since February, strikes have killed more than 30 people. 

And with front-line fighting just 90 miles away, the city remains under constant threat. 

ROMAN MAUSER: The idea to use this place as a bomb shelter came almost immediately when the first shock from the first cruise missiles came. We understood that it will be a long-term war.   

NEWSY’S JASON BELLINI: What did you have to do to prepare it for people to be down here?   

MAUSER: First of all, build places people can rest.  

BELLINI: This doesn’t seem very comfortable. 

MAUSER: It’s comfortable enough. If you hide from cruise missiles. 

Mauser and his friends hauled down wood and plastic crates to build beds, benches and a dining table.  

MAUSER: For me when the war started. I donated almost all my resources I could. 

An electrical engineer by profession, Mauser established a way to maintain contact with the world above. And he strung electrical wires down into the dark depths. 

MAUSER: The waves go through this cable and you will have internet. I brought more than 200 meters of my own cable here. 

BELLINI: You brought electricity down here where it wasn’t before? 

MAUSER: Nothing. It was completely abandoned. We cleaned this place.  

BELLINI: All this stuff down here. The water, these plastic bags. Who do those belong to?

MAUSER: This supplies were brought by people who live nearby, and everybody has his own place here.  

Back in May, on Russia’s victory day, more than 100 people sought shelter in the catacombs. 

MAUSER: People with children, dogs, cats, old people, everybody. Because people are really afraid that Putin will launch lots of cruise missiles.

In finding safety beneath their city, they became part of a long line of the underground’s hiders and seekers. 

MAUSER: During the time of the Russian empire, catacombs were used by criminals to hide from policemen and [for smuggling]. During the time of the Second World War, catacombs were used by partisans as shelters to fight with Nazi invaders. And now, in 2022, we again make a bomb shelter in this place. So every period of time, catacombs were used somehow. These drawings are very old. Made by miners, I think.  

Miners of the 19th century excavated the limestone with which Odesans built their city by the sea into a world-renowned metropolis.  

Eventually, 20th century high-rises caused the collapse of some sections of the catacombs. Other parts can only be accessed with specialized equipment.  

BELLINI: Past this point it gets a lot narrower and there’s a lot less headspace. And I’m told if you keep walking for about an hour through these tunnels, you’ll eventually come to an area where it’s flooded, and a natural lake under the city exists.  

MAUSER: It’s very difficult to live in catacombs, very difficult for one week, maybe for one month is some sort of hell — for one year it’s like a post-apocalypse game.  

Despite the dangers of war, Mauser continues his YouTube channel documenting his Odesian underground odysseys.

MAUSER: We do not know what will happen in this war. We do not know what Putin will do. We also, we are really afraid of nuclear attack. If he will get a lack of conventional weapons, the only power he will still have is his nuclear weapons. And this place can save you for a long time. The underground world will save lives if there will be a need for it.

Source: newsy.com

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Russian Media: Ex-Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev Dead At 91

By Associated Press
August 30, 2022

Mikhail Gorbachev has died at 91, Russian media reported Thursday.

Mikhail Gorbachev, who as the last leader of the Soviet Union waged a losing battle to salvage a crumbling empire but produced extraordinary reforms that led to the end of the Cold War, has died at 91, Russian media reported Thursday.

News organizations quoted a statement from the Central Clinical Hospital as saying he died after a long illness. No other details were given.

Though in power less than seven years, Gorbachev unleashed a breathtaking series of changes. But they quickly overtook him and resulted in the collapse of the authoritarian Soviet state, the freeing of Eastern European nations from Russian domination and the end of decades of East-West nuclear confrontation.

His decline was humiliating. His power hopelessly sapped by an attempted coup against him in August 1991, he spent his last months in office watching republic after republic declare independence until he resigned on Dec. 25, 1991. The Soviet Union wrote itself into oblivion a day later.

A quarter-century after the collapse, Gorbachev told The Associated Press that he had not considered using widespread force to try to keep the USSR together because he feared chaos in a nuclear country.

“The country was loaded to the brim with weapons. And it would have immediately pushed the country into a civil war,” he said.

Many of the changes, including the Soviet breakup, bore no resemblance to the transformation that Gorbachev had envisioned when he became the Soviet leader in March 1985.

By the end of his rule he was powerless to halt the whirlwind he had sown. Yet Gorbachev may have had a greater impact on the second half of the 20th century than any other political figure.

“I see myself as a man who started the reforms that were necessary for the country and for Europe and the world,” Gorbachev told The AP in a 1992 interview shortly after he left office.

“I am often asked, would I have started it all again if I had to repeat it? Yes, indeed. And with more persistence and determination,” he said.

Gorbachev won the 1990 Nobel Peace Prize for his role in ending the Cold War and spent his later years collecting accolades and awards from all corners of the world. Yet he was widely despised at home.

Russians blamed him for the 1991 implosion of the Soviet Union — a once-fearsome superpower whose territory fractured into 15 separate nations. His former allies deserted him and made him a scapegoat for the country’s troubles.

The official news agency Tass reported that Gorbachev will be buried at Moscow’s Novodevichy cemetery next to his wife.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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Kobe Bryant’s Widow Says Crash Photos Turned Grief To Horror

Vanessa Bryant testified for three hours over photos of her husband and daughter’s bodies shot and shared by deputies and firefighters.

Vanessa Bryant testified Friday that she was only beginning to grieve the loss of her husband, basketball star Kobe Bryant, and their 13-year-old daughter Gianna when she was faced with the fresh horror of learning that sheriff’s deputies and firefighters had shot and shared photos of their bodies at the site of the helicopter crash that killed them.

“I felt like I wanted to run, run down the block and scream,” she said, her tears turning to sobs and her voice quickening. “It was like the feeling of wanting to run down a pier and jump into the water. The problem is I can’t escape. I can’t escape my body.”

During her three hours on the witness stand in a Los Angeles federal court, where she is suing LA County for invasion of privacy over the pictures, Bryant said she had fought to get through both public and private memorials for her loved ones and seven others who were killed Jan. 26, 2020, and thought she was ready to really begin the grieving process about a month later. She was with friends and her surviving daughters, and holding her 7-month-old baby, when she received a call about a Los Angeles Times story on the crash-site photos.

“I bolted out of the house and around to the side so my girls wouldn’t see,” she said. “I was blindsided again, devastated, hurt. I trusted them. I trusted them not to do these things.”

Evidence presented at trial showed that a sheriff’s deputy showed a photo of Bryant’s body to a bartender as he drank, spurring an official complaint from another man drinking nearby, and that firefighters shared them with each other at an awards banquet. Others shared them with spouses. An attorney for the county said the photos had been taken only because they were essential for assessing the site moments after the crash, and that when LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva learned they were being shared, he demanded they all be deleted.

No photos emerged publicly, but Vanessa Bryant said she has constant worry that some still might.

“I live in fear every day of being on social media and these popping up,” she testified. “I live in fear of my daughters being on social media and these popping up.”

She said the thought keeps her awake at night as she lies next to her 3-year-old and her 5-year-old, and sometimes leads to panic attacks in which she can’t breathe.

Under cross-examination from J. Mira Hashmall, the lawyer representing LA County at the trial, Bryant testified that she had not received any medical diagnosis of having had panic attacks, or any mental health disorder, nor had she taken any medications for them.

She said she had talked to a therapist for about 18 months after the crash, but had not since.

“I feel like sometimes it helps,” Bryant said, “but sometimes it’s completely draining.”

Hashmall spent much of her 90-minute cross-examination going through the business roles Bryant now plays, including acting as president of her husband’s multimedia company, Granity Studios, overseeing the publication of one book he wrote and helping to finish and publish another, heading the foundation started for Kobe and Gianna, and establishing several other companies.

Hashmall suggested that Bryant’s ability to do all of this meant she was functioning well and was not overcome with fear and anxiety.

“It sounds like on top of everything else you’re juggling a business empire,” Hashmall said at one point.

“For me, it’s a labor of love,” said Bryant, who remained calm and composed during cross-examination.

She cried frequently, and laughed occasionally, during the questioning of her attorney Luis Li, who had her describe her life with her “proud girl-dad” husband and their daughters.

“He was just such a beautiful and devoted father,” she said.

Bryant chronicled the day of the crash, her anguish, and her frustration at trying to learn whether her husband and daughter were still alive after she initially heard from an assistant that there were five survivors.

She described Sheriff Villanueva coming into a room where she waited at Lost Hills sheriff’s station and confirming that her husband and daughter had been killed. He asked if there was anything he could do for her.

“I told him, if you can’t bring my babies back, then please secure the area,” Bryant said. “I’m concerned about paparazzi.”

“Did the sheriff tell you one of his deputies had already gone to the hill to take close-up pictures of crash victims?” Li asked.

“No,” Bryant responded.

During cross-examination, Hashmall said the deputy, Doug Johnson, who hiked through tough terrain into the hills in northern Los Angeles County to the crash site and shot the photos that were later shared, was only trying to use them to assess the situation.

“You can understand why he would want the same information you did,” Hashmall said.

“I don’t think you need to take close-up photos of people to determine how many people are on an aircraft,” Bryant replied. “I think he could have just counted.”

Bryant’s side rested its case after her testimony, which came on the eighth day of the trial.

Additional reporting by the Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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