being repeatedly told that the American election process is deeply corrupted.

In fact, Mr. Mastriano’s candidacy has from its inception been propelled by his role in disputing the 2020 presidential election lost by Mr. Trump.

county by county, but election experts say they do not reflect factors as benign as changes in addresses.

“They’re in search of solutions to a problem that doesn’t exist,” Kyle Miller, a Navy veteran and state representative for Protect Democracy, a national advocacy organization, said in an interview in Harrisburg. “They are basing this on faulty data and internet rumors.”

Some Republican lawmakers have leaned on false claims to call for changes to rules about mail-in ballots and other measures intended to make it easier for people to vote. Several counties have already reversed some of the decisions, including the number and location of drop boxes for ballots.

Mr. Miller, among others, warned that the flurry of false claims about balloting could be a trial run for challenging the results of the presidential election in 2024, in which Pennsylvania could again be a crucial swing state.

In Chester County, a largely white region that borders Delaware and Maryland that is roughly split between Republicans and Democrats, the effort to sow confusion came the old-fashioned way: in the mail.

Letters dated Sept. 12 began arriving in mailboxes across the county, warning people that their votes in the 2020 presidential election might not have counted. “Because you have a track record of consistently voting, we find it unusual that your record indicates that you did not vote,” the letter, which was unsigned, said.

The sender called itself “Data Insights,” based in the county seat of West Chester, though no known record of such a company exists, according to county officials. The letters did include copies of the recipients’ voting records. The letters urged recipients to write to the county commissioners or attend the commission’s meetings in the county seat of West Chester, in September and October. Dozens of recipients did.

The county administrator, Robert J. Kagel, tried to assure them that their votes were actually counted. He urged anyone concerned to contact the county’s voter services department.

Even so, at county meetings in September and October, speaker after speaker lined up to question the letter and the ballot process generally — and to air an array of grievances and conspiracy theories.

They included the discredited claims of the film “2000 Mules” that operatives have been stuffing boxes for mail-in ballots. One attendee warned that votes were being tabulated by the Communist Party of China or the World Economic Forum.

“I don’t know where my vote is,” another resident, Barbara Ellis of Berwyn, told the commissioners in October. “I don’t know if it was manipulated in the machines, in another country.”

As of Oct. 20, 59 people in Chester County had contacted officials with concerns raised in the letter, but in each case, it was determined that the voters’ ballots had been cast and counted, said Rebecca Brain, a county spokesman.

Who exactly sent the letters remains a mystery, which only fuels more conspiracy theories.

“It seems very official,” Charlotte Valyo, the chairwoman of the Democratic Party in the county, said of the letter. She described it as part of “an ongoing, constant campaign to undermine the confidence in our voting system.” The county’s Republican Party did not respond to a request for comment.

Disinformation may not be the only cause of the deepening partisan chasm in the state — or the nation — but it has undoubtedly worsened it. The danger, Ms. Valyo warned, was discouraging voting by sowing distrust in the ability of election officials to tally the votes.

“People might think, ‘Why bother, if they’re that messed up?’”

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TV Prepares for a Chaotic Midterm Night

Gearing up to report this year’s midterm election results, American television networks are facing an uncomfortable question: How many viewers will believe them?

Amid rampant distrust in the news media and a rash of candidates who have telegraphed that they may claim election fraud if they lose, news anchors and executives are seeking new ways to tackle the attacks on the democratic process that have infected politics since the last election night broadcast in 2020.

“For entrepreneurs of chaos, making untrue claims about the election system is a route to greater glory,” said John Dickerson, the chief political analyst at CBS News, who will co-anchor the network’s coverage on Nov. 8. “Elections and the American experiment exist basically on faith in the system, and if people don’t have any faith in the system, they may decide to take things into their own hands.”

CBS has been televising elections since 1948. But this is the first year that the network has felt obligated to install a dedicated “Democracy Desk” as a cornerstone of its live coverage. Seated a few feet from the co-anchors in the network’s Times Square studio, election law experts and correspondents will report on fraud allegations and threats of violence at the polls.

one-third of adults in a recent Gallup poll expressing confidence in it.

“I can’t control what politicians are going to say, if they choose to call an election result into question,” said David Chalian, CNN’s political director. “You’ve got to be clear, when it’s a partial picture, that nothing about that is untoward.”

Two years ago, TV networks prepared for pandemic-related ballot headaches and speculation that President Donald J. Trump might resist conceding defeat.

“blue wave” had fizzled and that Republicans would retain control of the House. It was Fox News again, working off a proprietary data model, that made the correct call that Democrats would take the chamber.

controversial Arizona call in 2020. Although Fox’s projection was eventually proved correct, it took several days for other news outlets to concur, and Mr. Trump turned his wrath on the network in retaliation. The network later fired a top executive, Chris Stirewalt, who was involved in the decision to announce the call so early; another executive involved in the decision, Bill Sammon, promptly retired.

“What we want to be, always, is right — and first is really nice — but right is what we want to be,” said Mr. Baier of Fox. “In the wake of 2020, we’re going to be looking at numbers very closely, and there may be times when we wait for more raw vote total than we have in the past.”

“It’ll be a lot smoother than that moment,” he added, referring to when he and his fellow co-anchors were visibly caught by surprise as their colleagues projected a victory for Mr. Biden in Arizona. Fox officials later ascribed the confusion to poor communication among producers.

“I think,” Mr. Baier said, “we all learned a lot from that experience.”

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AHF Condemns ‘LA’s Housing Standstill’ in Latest L.A. Times Ad

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–AHF and its housing advocacy division, Housing Is A Human Right (HHR), will run the latest in a series of housing advocacy ads, this time targeting both the City of Los Angeles and the entrenched bureaucracy at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) in a full-page, full-color ad set to run this Sunday, October 30th in the Los Angeles Times. The ad headlined “LA’s Housing Standstill,” condemns all the players holding up creation of affordable housing, stating that “It is virtually impossible to get anything built in Los Angeles in less than five years.”

After launching its Healthy Housing Foundation (HHF) in 2017 to help alleviate the twin homelessness and housing affordability crises in Los Angeles, AHF quickly learned that working within the city’s existing framework and bureaucracies—like the DWP—to produce low-income housing in Los Angeles is disastrous for people seeking to create affordable housing—even more so for those individuals who need it.

AHF’s ad continues:

“The city claims homelessness is an emergency, but it sure doesn’t act like it.

Whether it’s DWP bringing in power or getting plans approved-nobody’s in a hurry.

But if we are to tackle homelessness, we need urgency.”

AHF summed up its cri de couer for far greater urgency by all city departments, including DWP, noting:

“1,500 people die on the streets every year.”

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over 1.6 million clients in 45 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Europe. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org, find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare and Instagram: @aidshealthcare

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Elon Musk Takes Twitter, and Tech Deals, to Another Level

Forget about the endless drama, the bots, the abrupt reversals, the spectacle, the alleged risk to the Republic and all we hold dear. Here is the most important thing about Elon Musk’s buying Twitter: The moguls have been unleashed.

In the old days, when a tech tycoon wanted to buy something big, he needed a company to do it. Steve Case used AOL to buy Time Warner. Jeff Bezos bought Whole Foods for Amazon. Mark Zuckerberg used Facebook to buy Instagram and WhatsApp and Oculus and on and on. These were corporate deals done for the bottom line, even if they might never have happened without a famous and forceful proprietor.

Mr. Musk’s $44 billion takeover of Twitter, which finally became a reality on Thursday, six months after he agreed to the deal, is different. It is an individual buying something for himself that 240 million people around the world use regularly. While he has other investors, Mr. Musk will have absolute control over the fate of the short-message social media platform.

It’s a difficult deal to evaluate even in an industry built on deals, because this one is so unusual. It came about whimsically, impulsively. But, even by the standards of Silicon Valley, where billions are casually offered for fledging operations — and even by the wallet of Mr. Musk, on most days the richest man in the world — $44 billion is quite a chunk of change.

the midterm elections’ most prominent campaign contributor, pumping tens of millions of dollars into right-wing congressional candidates. Two of his former employees are the Republican nominees for senator in Ohio and Arizona.

Richard Walker, a professor emeritus of economic geography at the University of California, Berkeley and a historian of Silicon Valley, sees a shift in the locus of power.

“In this new Gilded Age, we’re being battered by billionaires rather than the corporations that were the face of the 20th century,” he said. “And the tech titans are leading the way.”

bought The Washington Post for $250 million. Marc Benioff of Salesforce owns Time magazine. Pierre Omidyar of eBay developed a homegrown media empire.

Deals have been a feature of Silicon Valley as long as there has been a Silicon Valley. Often they fail, especially when the acquisition was made for technology that either quickly grew outdated or never really worked at all. At least one venerable company, Hewlett-Packard, followed that strategy and has practically faded away.

$70 billion-plus acquisition of Activision Blizzard, which is pending, has garnered a fraction of the attention despite being No. 2.

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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Why Am I Seeing That Political Ad? Check Your ‘Trump Resistance’ Score.

The advent of computer modeling helped automate voter targeting, making it more efficient.

In the 1960s, a market researcher in Los Angeles, Vincent Barabba, developed a computer program to help political campaigns decide which neighborhoods to target. The system overlaid voting precinct maps with details on individuals’ voting histories along with U.S. census data on household economics, ethnic makeup and family composition.

In 1966, political consultants used the system to help Ronald Reagan’s campaign for governor of California identify neighborhoods with potential swing voters, like middle-aged, white, male union members, and target them with ads.

Critics worried about the technology’s potential to influence voters, deriding it as a “sinister new development dreamt up by manipulative social scientists,” according to “Selling Ronald Reagan,” a book on the Hollywood actor’s political transformation.

By the early 2000s, campaigns had moved on to more advanced targeting methods.

For the re-election campaign of President George W. Bush in 2004, Republican consultants classified American voters into discrete buckets, like “Flag and Family Republicans” and “Religious Democrats.” Then they used the segmentation to target Republicans and swing voters living in towns that typically voted Democrat, said Michael Meyers, the president of TargetPoint Consulting, who worked on the Bush campaign.

In 2008, the Obama presidential campaign widely used individualized voter scores. Republicans soon beefed up their own voter-profiling and targeting operations.

A decade later, when Cambridge Analytica — a voter-profiling firm that covertly data-mined and scored millions of Facebook users — became front-page news, many national political campaigns were already using voter scores. Now, even local candidates use them.

This spring, the Government Accountability Office issued a report warning that the practice of consumer scoring lacked transparency and could cause harm. Although the report did not specifically examine voter scores, it urged Congress to consider enacting consumer protections around scoring.

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Beazer Homes USA, Inc. to Webcast Its Fourth Quarter and Full Year Fiscal 2022 Financial Results Conference Call on November 10, 2022

ATLANTA–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Beazer Homes (NYSE: BZH) (www.beazer.com) has scheduled the release of its financial results for the quarter ended September 30, 2022 on Thursday, November 10, 2022 after the close of the market. Management will host a conference call on the same day at 5:00 PM ET to discuss the results.

The public may listen to the conference call and view the Company’s slide presentation on the “Investor Relations” page of the Company’s website, www.beazer.com. In addition, the conference call will be available by telephone at 800-475-0542 (for international callers, dial 517-308-9429). To be admitted to the call, enter the pass code “8571348.” A replay of the conference call will be available, until 10:00 PM ET on November 18, 2022 at 888-566-0411 (for international callers, dial 203-369-3041) with pass code “3740.”

About Beazer Homes

Headquartered in Atlanta, Beazer Homes (NYSE: BZH) is one of the country’s largest homebuilders. Every Beazer home is designed and built to provide Surprising Performance, giving you more quality and more comfort from the moment you move in – saving you money every month. With Beazer’s Choice Plans™, you can personalize your primary living areas – giving you a choice of how you want to live in the home, at no additional cost. And unlike most national homebuilders, we empower our customers to shop and compare loan options. Our Mortgage Choice program gives you the resources to easily compare multiple loan offers and choose the best lender and loan offer for you, saving you thousands over the life of your loan.

We build our homes in Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Maryland, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. For more information, visit beazer.com, or check out Beazer on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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How Disinformation Splintered and Became More Intractable

On the morning of July 8, former President Donald J. Trump took to Truth Social, a social media platform he founded with people close to him, to claim that he had in fact won the 2020 presidential vote in Wisconsin, despite all evidence to the contrary.

Barely 8,000 people shared that missive on Truth Social, a far cry from the hundreds of thousands of responses his posts on Facebook and Twitter had regularly generated before those services suspended his megaphones after the deadly riot on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6, 2021.

And yet Mr. Trump’s baseless claim pulsed through the public consciousness anyway. It jumped from his app to other social media platforms — not to mention podcasts, talk radio or television.

Within 48 hours of Mr. Trump’s post, more than one million people saw his claim on at least dozen other media. It appeared on Facebook and Twitter, from which he has been banished, but also YouTube, Gab, Parler and Telegram, according to an analysis by The New York Times.

gone mainstream among Republican Party members, driving state and county officials to impose new restrictions on casting ballots, often based on mere conspiracy theories percolating in right-wing media.

Voters must now sift through not only an ever-growing torrent of lies and falsehoods about candidates and their policies, but also information on when and where to vote. Officials appointed or elected in the name of fighting voter fraud have put themselves in the position to refuse to certify outcomes that are not to their liking.

a primary battleground in today’s fight against disinformation. A report last month by NewsGuard, an organization that tracks the problem online, showed that nearly 20 percent of videos presented as search results on TikTok contained false or misleading information on topics such as school shootings and Russia’s war in Ukraine.

continued to amplify “election denialism” in ways that undermined trust in the democratic system.

Another challenge is the proliferation of alternative platforms for those falsehoods and even more extreme views.

new survey by the Pew Research Center found that 15 percent of prominent accounts on those seven platforms had previously been banished from others like Twitter and Facebook.

F.B.I. raid on Mar-a-Lago thrust his latest pronouncements into the eye of the political storm once again.

study of Truth Social by Media Matters for America, a left-leaning media monitoring group, examined how the platform had become a home for some of the most fringe conspiracy theories. Mr. Trump, who began posting on the platform in April, has increasingly amplified content from QAnon, the online conspiracy theory.

He has shared posts from QAnon accounts more than 130 times. QAnon believers promote a vast and complex conspiracy that centers on Mr. Trump as a leader battling a cabal of Democratic Party pedophiles. Echoes of such views reverberated through Republican election campaigns across the country during this year’s primaries.

Ms. Jankowicz, the disinformation expert, said the nation’s social and political divisions had churned the waves of disinformation.

The controversies over how best to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic deepened distrust of government and medical experts, especially among conservatives. Mr. Trump’s refusal to accept the outcome of the 2020 election led to, but did not end with, the Capitol Hill violence.

“They should have brought us together,” Ms. Jankowicz said, referring to the pandemic and the riots. “I thought perhaps they could be kind of this convening power, but they were not.”

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Ukraine troops hold key town, Russia fires more missiles, Zelenskiy says

Oct 15 (Reuters) – Ukrainian troops are still holding the strategic eastern town of Bakhmut despite repeated Russian attacks while the situation in the Donbas region remains very difficult, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Saturday.

Zelenskiy, speaking in an evening address, also said Russian missiles and drones had continued to hit Ukrainian cities, causing destruction and casualties.

Although Ukrainian troops have recaptured thousands of square kilometres (miles) of land in recent offensives in the east and south, officials say progress is likely to slow once Kyiv’s forces meet more determined resistance.

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Fighting is particularly intense in the eastern Donetsk and Luhansk provinces bordering Russia. Together they make up the larger industrial Donbas, which Moscow has yet to fully capture.

Russian forces have repeatedly tried to seize Bakhmut, which sits on a main road leading to the cities of Sloviansk and Kramatorsk. Both are situated in the Donetsk region.

“Active fighting continues in various areas of the front. A very difficult situation persists in the Donetsk region and Luhansk region,” Zelenskiy said.

“The most difficult (situation) is in the direction of Bakhmut, as in previous days. We are holding our positions.”

Separately, the Ukrainian armed forces’ general staff said in a Facebook post that troops had on Saturday repelled a total of 11 separate Russian attacks near Kramatorsk, Bakhmut and the town of Avdiivka, just to the north of Donetsk.

Zelenskiy said Russian forces, which rained cruise missiles on several Ukrainian cities on Monday, had hit targets in seven regions over the last two days.

“Some of the missiles and drones were shot down but unfortunately, not all of them. Unfortunately, there is destruction and casualties,” he said. Kyiv said on Friday that it expected the United States and Germany to deliver sophisticated anti-aircraft systems this month.

Zelenskiy also said almost 65,000 Russians had been killed so far since the Feb. 24 invasion, a figure far higher than Moscow’s official Sept. 21 estimate of 5,937 dead. In August the Pentagon said Russia has suffered between 70,000 and 80,000 casualties, either killed or wounded.

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Reporting by David Ljunggren; editing by Grant McCool

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

David Ljunggren

Thomson Reuters

Covers Canadian political, economic and general news as well as breaking news across North America, previously based in London and Moscow and a winner of Reuters’ Treasury scoop of the year.

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Three Women of Bucha: Their Deaths and Lives

BUCHA, Ukraine — One woman was badly beaten and shot through the eye. Another, held captive by Russian soldiers, was found in a cellar, shot in the head. An 81-year-old grandmother was discovered hanging in her garden, perhaps killed, perhaps driven to suicide.

They were three victims among hundreds during the Russian occupation of Bucha in the spring. Bucha, a suburb of Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, quickly became the main focus of atrocities by Russian soldiers before they withdrew from the area.

The crimes gained worldwide attention. But these women were unknown, their deaths unseen and unexplained.

reported at the time on the Russian brutality and came across these cases. So we went back to Bucha, the place of so many deaths, to learn about these three women — to find out about their lives and who they were.

We found that each woman, in her own way, was a fighter, struggling to survive weeks of hunger, cold, bombardment and shooting, yet tragically vulnerable to the ruthless violence of an occupying army.

Many of the circumstances of their last days remain unclear, but for their families and Ukrainian officials, there is no doubt that they were victims of Russia’s aggression against their country.

Oksana Sulyma, 34, was in Bucha only by chance.

A former public servant, she lived in Kyiv with her 5-year-old daughter, but had visited Bucha to stay with friends only 48 hours before the war began in February. Within days, Russian troops had stormed the wooded suburb and roads and transport links had been cut. Oksana was stuck, said Oleksiy, a childhood friend, who asked that only his first name be used for privacy.

She had grown up and lived much of her adult life in Bucha. Her grandmother lived in an apartment near the center of town. Oksana had moved to Kyiv only after divorcing her husband several years ago; she wanted to be closer to her parents, who helped look after her daughter.

Her mother, Larysa Sulyma, agreed to provide a few details of Oksana’s life for her to be remembered by.

“She was a very bright child,” her mother said. She learned French during an exchange visit to France, completed a degree in sociology at the National Aviation University in Kyiv, and later worked at the Ministry of Infrastructure.

“She was very vivacious,” her mother added. She shared photographs of her daughter on a beach in Crimea, where she used to vacation every year before Russia annexed the peninsula in 2014. “She loved life, she loved to travel.”

In early March, Russian troops set up bases and firing positions in Bucha and began to impose greater control on the streets. They searched houses, confiscated cellphones and began detaining people and killing.

Oksana was last seen by friends on March 10 at Shevchenko Square, her mother said. The square, marked by a statue of the Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko, is a popular meeting place.

Her mother posted a message on Facebook on March 15 expressing concern. Oksana had experienced mental health issues, and anxiety at the onset of the war may have exacerbated her condition, her mother wrote.

“Her behavior may have manifestations of anger, aggression or incompetence,” her post said. “If anyone knows her whereabouts, please call.”

Anna Noha, 36, had lived most of her life in Bucha and had no intention of leaving.

She had friends and family in the town, and even when her former partner and half sister fled the occupation in early March, she chose to stay. Anna hung out with friends in the basement of her two-story building, sometimes venturing into the streets, visiting her father and rescuing cats.

“She was very independent, very active,” said her stepmother, Tetyana Kopachova, 51. “At the same time, she was very kind, very helpful. She chopped wood all winter for me.”

Anna’s father and stepmother were dog breeders and kept 11 Central Asian sheepdogs in cages on their property in the center of town. Anna would come around to help.

She had always been a tearaway, her stepmother said. She married young, divorced, had a teenage daughter. She had served time in prison for dealing drugs, but had since given that up, her stepmother said.

Anna was also a survivor. Her former partner was abusive and she came over to their house for a couple of nights with a friend, nursing bruises, Ms. Kopachova said.

Her parents pressed her to stay, but she left again on March 13, promising to find dog food because they were running out. She never came back.

Lyudmyla Shchehlova, 81, also did not want to leave Bucha. A retired epidemiologist, she had lived for almost 40 years in a cottage styled like a wood cabin, nestled amid pine trees.

The house had belonged to her husband, also a physician, and together they had raised a daughter, Olena, and later their grandson, Yevhen.

His grandfather was the soft one, Yevhen, 22, recalled in an interview. His grandmother was strict, “It was like good cop, bad cop,” he said laughing. “She taught me a lot,” he added.

Ms. Shchehlova was Russian by origin, and her bookshelves were full of Russian classics. Since her husband died a few years ago, she had lived alone, surrounded by her books and family photographs, with Ralph, a German shepherd, and a cat for company.

Her daughter, Olena, lived in a neighboring suburb, Irpin, and wanted her mother to join her there when the war started, but the roads were blocked by the fighting. Within days, the electricity and telephones went down. She tried to call her mother on March 7, her birthday, but could not reach her.

When the bombardment worsened sharply in their neighborhood, Olena and Yevhen fled on foot across a destroyed bridge toward Kyiv.

The last time Yevhen spoke to his grandmother, she was weeping but was happy that they were out of danger. “She said everything was fine,” he said.

By mid-March, the atmosphere in Bucha was growing uglier. New Russian units had taken over control and reprisals against civilians grew.

For several days around March 18, a lot of killing occurred in Bucha.

Russian troops had occupied School No. 3 on Vokzalna Street, and they were firing mortars from empty land behind it. Soldiers smashed their armored vehicles through garden fences and camped in people’s homes.

At some point, Oksana Sulyma was apprehended and taken to a house on Vokzalna Street. The house backed up to School No. 3, which she had attended as a girl. Oksana was found there in April, imprisoned in a potato cellar, shot in the head. She was wearing only a fur coat.

The police found bullet casings by the trap door of the cellar and determined she was killed on March 17, a week after going missing. Her passport and ID card were later found by the Ukrainian police near the railway tracks.

Russian soldiers had been living in the house, sleeping on mattresses in the living room and heating water for washing. In a bedroom upstairs, women’s clothes and underwear were strewn about and the police found a used condom. An official familiar with the case said there was evidence that Oksana had been raped.

Around the same time, Anna Noha moved to an apartment a few blocks away, just west of Vokzalna Street. Her windows had been blown out by the shelling and it was freezing, so a friend, Vladyslav, took her and a former classmate, Yuriy, to stay with his mother, Lyudmyla.

Anna brought coffee and tea with her and asked Lyudmyla if she could also bring an abandoned cat, a beautiful longhaired Siamese, that she had found.

“She seemed very kind,” said Lyudmyla, who asked that only her first name be used. “That’s why I gave her shelter.”

On the evening of March 18, the three friends cleaned the apartment and took out the trash, Lyudmyla said. They said they would have a smoke while they were outside. They never came back.

Lyudmyla later learned from neighbors that Russian troops had detained them by the trash bins and marched them with bags over their heads into the basement of a nearby 10-story building. Neighbors said Anna had shouted out “Glory to Ukraine.”

A week later, Lyudmyla was gathering firewood with a friend when she found their bodies. First she saw Anna and Yuriy, lying in the garden of an unoccupied house. Later she found her son, Vladyslav, inside a shed. They had been beaten and each was shot through an eye. Anna was so badly bludgeoned that her face was unrecognizable, Lyudmyla said.

“She was cheerful, strong,” Lyudmyla said of Anna. “Maybe she suffered for her outspokenness.”

By March 19, only two residents, Ms. Shchehlova, the 81-year-old retired epidemiologist, and Mariya, 84, a former factory worker, remained on their narrow lane.

Soldiers occupied a house at the end of the lane, Mariya said. “There were 15 of them in that gang and they made such trouble here,” she said. Someone stole bottles of alcohol from her fridge while she dozed in an armchair, she said.

A builder, Bogdan Barkar, 37, was out scouring for food one day and came across Ms. Shchehlova in the alley behind her house. “She had tears in her eyes,” he said. He sensed she was being threatened by someone. “Just come by in two days and see if I am alive or not,” she told him.

Some days later, Mariya said she heard Ms. Shchehlova arguing with someone and saw a strange man in her yard. But weak from hunger and fearful, Mariya did not intervene.

It was only days later when the Russians withdrew from Bucha that Mariya’s son came back and discovered Ms. Shchehlova hanging from a tree, a ladder propped against the trunk.

The police recorded it as a suicide, but few who knew Ms. Shchehlova believed she could have done it herself. She was religious and knew it to be a sin, said her neighbor Valentyn Melnyk.

Her grandson Yevhen cut the ropes down from the tree and said he doubted that she would have been able to tie them on the high branches. But he was resigned to his doubts.

“I am a realist,” he said. “How is it possible to find out what happened if all the neighbors left, and she was alone at that moment?”

The grief and loss remains overwhelming. His mother, a refugee in Sweden, wept at missing her mother’s funeral.

Anna Noha’s father, Volodymyr Kopachov, died on July 7, soon after burying his daughter. He lies beside her in Bucha City Cemetery in the section reserved for victims of the war.

Oksana Sulyma’s parents made separate visits to the cellar where she died. Weeping, her mother distributed sweets to the neighbors.

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U.S. Department of Energy Extends Fluor-led Savannah River Site Management and Operating Contract through September 2027

IRVING, Texas–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Fluor Corporation (NYSE: FLR) announced today that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has extended the Fluor-led Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, LLC (SRNS) management and operating contract at the Savannah River Site near Aiken, South Carolina. The extension includes 4 years with an additional 1-year option. The total reimbursable contract value is $12 billion for 5 years, and Fluor will book its 4-year, $4.5 billion portion in the third quarter.

SRNS will continue uninterrupted management and operations activities at the site.

“This extension represents the DOE’s confidence in our performance to help safeguard our nation’s security and deliver on the important mission at the site,” said Tom D’Agostino, group president of Fluor’s Mission Solutions business. “We are continually improving efficiencies to accelerate program objectives and lower costs while also delivering capital projects of every scale. Our success is the result of a constant focus on the safety and security of our workers and protecting the surrounding communities and the environment.”

Work performed at the Savannah River Site includes environmental management and the cleanup of legacy materials, facilities and waste remaining from the Cold War. The site also supports and maintains the nuclear weapons stockpile as well as processing and storing nuclear materials in support of U.S. nuclear non-proliferation efforts.

About Fluor Corporation

Fluor Corporation (NYSE: FLR) is building a better future by applying world-class expertise to solve its clients’ greatest challenges. Fluor’s 41,000 employees provide professional and technical solutions that deliver safe, well-executed, capital-efficient projects to clients around the world. Fluor had revenue of $12.4 billion in 2021 and is ranked 259 among the Fortune 500 companies. With headquarters in Irving, Texas, Fluor has provided engineering, procurement and construction services for more than 110 years. For more information, please visit www.fluor.com or follow Fluor on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube.

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