resume manufacturing of Similac formulas at its plant in Sturgis.

The company also said that it increased production at other U.S.-based manufacturing plants and one in Ireland, and that it would supply the United States with more than eight million pounds of formula in August, an increase from the year before. But it noted it would take six weeks for the Similac product from the Sturgis plant to start to hit store shelves.

But some industry experts say it will take time for Abbott to gain back the market share it once had. “To be frank, there is a lot of consumer mistrust around Similac right now,” said Mr. Dittmeier of the W.I.C. program.

That could be a boon for Reckitt Benckiser, which has been running its formula manufacturing plants at full tilt all summer, hoping to hold on to the market share it has gained at Abbott’s expense. Its market share has climbed to nearly 60 percent from 35 percent before the recall, said Robert Cleveland, who oversees the Mead Johnson nutrition business at Reckitt.

“We remain committed to making as much formula as we can,” Mr. Cleveland said. “We continue to maximize our domestic manufacturing, running overtime and going 24/7.” He added that the company had received approval to bring in formula from its plants in Singapore and specialty formula from its facilities in Mexico.

Still, in late August, when Lori Sharp, a first-time mother in Port Hueneme, Calif., realized she was down to one container of Reckitt’s Enfamil Sensitive infant formula for her 3-month-old daughter, the formula was out of stock on

Panicking, she scoured more websites and widened her geographic search. She eventually discovered a container of formula at a Target 40 minutes away in Moorpark, Calif. “I went into the store and they actually had four more, but their shelves were so bare,” Ms. Sharp said. “I bought all of them.”

In Georgia, some of the most acute shortages are in rural areas. Jennifer Kelly, who is the family services manager at the early Head Start program in Swainsboro, which is between Macon and Savannah, said trying to find formula earlier this summer had become a “daily chore.”

The 14 babies she watches drink seven different kinds of formula. She and her staff were often driving to Walmart, Walgreens or a local grocery chain or scouring Amazon for some of the more obscure brands.

“It’s not like it was a few months ago when the shelves were bare,” Ms. Kelly said. “I am hoping we are on the other side of this dilemma.”

When the formula shortage was at a crisis point in May, Ms. Robinson of Bucks County, Pa., created a Facebook group that connected parents around the country. The group, called Formula Hunters, does not exchange money to keep out profiteers who have been hoarding formula and seeking to resell it at a markup.

The group operates on the notion that a parent who buys a hard-to-find formula brand and sends it to another parent in the group will eventually be repaid when others do the same for them.

Formula Hunters now has 1,500 members, who are still actively helping each other locate formula. “This has been going on for so many months,” Ms. Robinson said. “The frustration has been high.”

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Guaranteed Income Programs Spring Up City by City

Early in the pandemic, Alondra Barajas had a temporary job for the Census Bureau, doing phone work from the two-bedroom apartment she shared with her mother and four younger siblings. When that job ended in late 2020, she struggled to find employment.

But Ms. Barajas learned from an ad on Instagram that she might qualify for an unusual form of assistance: monthly payments of $1,000 for a year.

Since she started receiving the funds this year — while caring for her newborn, searching for a job and looking for a new place to stay — her outlook has seemed brighter.

Oakland pledged to give 600 low-income families $500 for 18 months, and in San Diego, some families with young children will get $500 a month for two years.

Last year, the state set aside $35 million over five years for cities to carry out pilot programs, which can use different criteria, including income level, people leaving the foster care system and residence in low-income neighborhoods. An application process for municipalities to tap into those funds is underway.

one of the country’s first guaranteed income programs in 2019, notes that these payments are not meant to be a sole means of income but aim to provide a buffer for people to break the cycle of poverty.

Mr. Tubbs sees the programs as crucial tools in achieving racial justice for Black people and Latinos.

“The ways in which racism and capitalism have intersected to steal wealth from some communities,” he said, “creates the disparities we see today.”

Damon Jones, an economics professor at the University of Chicago, who has studied such programs, noted that unrestricted cash — including stimulus payments — was used broadly by the federal government to stem the economic devastation of Covid-19.

“Policymakers were surprisingly open to this idea following the onset of the pandemic,” Mr. Jones said. Now the emergency aid programs have largely lapsed, ending what for some was a lifeline.

Opponents argue that guaranteed income programs are too expensive and are counterproductive.

Oren Cass, executive director of American Compass, a conservative-leaning think tank, said the case against guaranteed income was not that people “receiving random windfalls can’t benefit from them — in at least some cases, they can and do.”

Los Angeles pilot program, said the goal of her city’s effort was to promote changes to the ways federal public benefit programs were designed.

“Many, if not all, public benefit program regulations contradict each other, are difficult to navigate and are not focused on creating pathways to greater economic opportunity,” Ms. Marquez said. (Some states, including California, have built-in exemptions to ensure that accepting funding from the pilot programs does not put recipients at risk of losing certain state and federal assistance.)

The Los Angeles program received $38 million from the city. A small portion of the money comes from private funds.

According to city data, one-third of adults in Los Angeles are unable to support their families on income from full-time work alone.

“When you provide resources to families that are struggling, it can give them the breathing room to realize goals that many of us are fortunate enough to take for granted,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said when the program began.

That breathing room came at an opportune time for Ms. Barajas. After graduating from high school in 2017, she pushed aside dreams of college and began working a string of retail gigs — Claire’s, Old Navy, Walmart. She set aside $300 from her paycheck each month to help cover her family’s rent.

“I had to work,” she said. “We had no foundation, no money in our pockets.”

Last year, Ms. Barajas, 22, received funds from an extension of the child tax credit. She used some of the money for essentials like clothes and food.

On a recent afternoon in Chatsworth, a Los Angeles neighborhood, Ms. Barajas reflected on how the money from the guaranteed income program was helping her stay afloat. She moved out of her mother’s apartment in April, after an argument. Since then, she and her daughter, now 15 months old, have slept on friends’ couches and sometimes stayed at pay-by-the-week motels.

For now, they are living at a 90-day shelter for women and children. Ms. Barajas hopes to attend community college this fall, but is focused first on finding a job. Many mornings, she scrolls her iPhone looking at postings before her daughter wakes up.

Most of the money from the guaranteed-income payments goes toward food, diapers and clothing, but she’s trying to save several hundred dollars, enough for a security deposit for an apartment she hopes to move into with a friend.

“I’m one emergency away from having to spend money and then live on the streets and become homeless,” she said. “A lot of people are just hanging on with the smallest amount of wiggle room financially.”

Zohna Everett, who was part of the Stockton program, knows how it feels to live within that razor-thin margin.

Before the program began in 2019, she was driving for DoorDash five days a week, bringing in about $100 a day. Her husband at the time worked as a truck driver, and the rent for their two-bedroom apartment was $1,000. To help earn gas money, Ms. Everett sometimes collected recyclables and turned them in for cash.

“The money was a godsend,” Ms. Everett said of the Stockton program, adding that while enrolled in it, she got a contract job at the Tesla factory in Fremont, Calif., on a production line.

Until then, Ms. Everett, 51, had been in a perpetual state of hustle, never stopping long enough to realize her exhaustion. After the payments started, she noticed she was sleeping better than she had in years.

“A weight truly was lifted from me,” she said.

The payments stopped during the pandemic, but she then received stimulus money from the federal government. She had started to save some money, but after a case of Covid left her with persistent fatigue and breathing problems, she recently took a leave from her Tesla job.

“With this pandemic, there is a lot of struggling,” she said. “There needs to be a permanent solution to help people.”

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Iran sentences two women to death for ‘corruption on earth’ – IRNA

An LGBT activist attends a rally against Homophobia and Transphobia in Kiev, Ukraine, May 17, 2017. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

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DUBAI, Sept 5 (Reuters) – Two women have been sentenced to death in Iran on charges of “corruption on earth” and human trafficking over the last few days, Iran’s official IRNA news agency reported on Monday.

Advocates and rights group took to social media to share pictures of the two women, saying they are LGBT rights activists and are innocent. The pictures could not be verified by Reuters.

“Contrary to news published online, the sentenced have deceived and trafficked young women and girls out of the country by promising them educational and work opportunities, thus leading to the suicide of several of their victims,” IRNA said.

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“Corruption on earth” is a term Iranian authorities use to refer to a broad range of offences, including those related to Islamic morals.

In March, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei described homosexuality as part of a “moral deprivation” widespread in Western civilisation. read more

Western rights groups have often criticised Iran for its treatment of LGBT issues. Under Iran’s legal system, homosexual acts can be punished by the death penalty.

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Reporting by Dubai Newsroom, Editing by William Maclean, Robert Birsel

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Chile Votes on Constitution That Would Enshrine Record Number of Rights

SANTIAGO, Chile — Voters in Chile on Sunday could transform what has long been one of Latin America’s most conservative countries into one of the world’s most left-leaning societies.

In a single ballot, Chileans will decide whether they want legal abortion; universal public health care; gender parity in government; empowered labor unions; greater autonomy for Indigenous groups; rights for animals and nature; and constitutional rights to housing, education, retirement benefits, internet access, clean air, water, sanitation and care “from birth to death.”

It is perhaps the most important vote in the 204-year history of this South American nation of 19 million — a mandatory, nationwide plebiscite on a written-from-scratch constitution that, if adopted, would be one of the world’s most expansive and transformational national charters.

legalized divorce only in 2004, would suddenly have more rights enshrined in its constitution than any other nation. If they reject it, Chile would have little to show for what had once been seen as a remarkable political revolution.

the new administration of President Gabriel Boric, a tattooed, 36-year-old former student-protest leader who took office in March, but has quickly faced plummeting approval ratings amid rising inflation and crime. The constitution would enable Mr. Boric to carry out his leftist vision, while rejection could mire his term in more political fighting about what to do next.

A year ago, most Chileans would have bet that the country would embrace the proposed constitution. There has long been widespread discontent with the current constitution, which has roots in the brutal dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet, who ruled from 1973 until 1990.

In 2019, nationwide protests that left 30 people dead led Chile’s political leadership to grant a referendum on the constitution. A year later, nearly four out of five Chileans voted to replace it.

banned all forms of abortion until 2017, when it legalized the procedure only in cases of rape, an unviable fetus or a threat to the mother’s life.

some of the most expansive rights for Indigenous people anywhere, according to experts.

protesting in a Pikachu costume. Seventeen seats also went to Indigenous people.

Leftists won more than two-thirds of the convention’s seats, putting them in full control of the process since a two-thirds majority was necessary to add measures.

The motley crew deciding Chile’s future drew unwanted attention at times. There was the woman who gave a speech bare-chested and the man who left his camera on while showering during a remote vote. Many voters felt that the convention was not taking the process seriously.

“The behavior of the convention members pushed people away the most,” said Patricio Fernández, a leftist writer who was a convention member.

In recent months, Chileans have been bombarded with marketing from the “apruebo” and “rechazo” campaigns, some of it misleading, including claims that the constitution would allow abortion in the ninth month of pregnancy and ban homeownership.

On Thursday night, each side held closing rallies. Hundreds of thousands of “apruebo” supporters packed downtown Santiago and watched concerts by famous Chilean music acts, from rap to Andean folk.

“I’ve already lived, but I want deep change for the children of Chile,” said María Veloso, 57, who runs a food stand.

In a wealthier part of town, in a hillside amphitheater named after the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, a much smaller crowd gathered to mark their campaign to reject the leftist text. (Mr. Neruda, ironically, was a communist.) Hundreds of people waved Chilean flags and danced to an act impersonating the flamboyant Mexican singer Juan Gabriel.

“Here in Chile, they’re defending dogs more than babies,” said Sandra Cáceres Ríos, 50, an herb seller.

Regardless of the vote’s outcome, there is more political negotiating ahead. In the case of approval, Chile’s Congress, which is ideologically split, will be tasked with figuring out how to implement many of the changes. Lawmakers could try to significantly limit the scope or impact of some policies, such as abortion or Indigenous rights, by passing laws interpreting the constitution’s language in a narrow way.

Ultimately, the real effect of many provisions would probably be determined by the courts.

If the text is rejected, Mr. Boric, Chile’s president, has said that he would like to see a new convention draft another proposed charter.

He would, in other words, like to try it all again.

Pascale Bonnefoy and Ana Lankes contributed reporting from Santiago, Chile.

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$10K HAVEN Grant Helps Texas Army Veteran with Home Repairs

SCURRY, Texas–(BUSINESS WIRE)–U.S. National Guard veteran Jesus Vazquez endured two deployments and nearly two decades of wear and tear on his body during his time as an aircraft mechanic in the U.S. military.

Working on aircraft and lifting machinery daily took a toll on his body, causing chronic pain and a medical discharge from the National Guard, leaving behind the only career he knew. Because of his injuries, Mr. Vazquez has been unable to work since April 2022, and, as a result, his family had to move into a home that needed repairs.

“Back in 2021, the housing market was competitive and expensive, and the house we bought was livable, but not ideal,” Mr. Vazquez said. “The windows were in poor condition and unable to regulate the heat or the cold.”

Mr. Vazquez and his family now have new windows thanks to a $10,000 Housing Assistance for Veterans (HAVEN) grant from First National Bank Texas (FNBT) and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas).

“My wife is the one who found the HAVEN program,” Mr. Vazquez said. “I am so grateful she found it because I don’t know what we would have done without it. Once we connected with April (Niswonger) at FNBT, the whole process was smooth, and she helped us out so much.”

HAVEN funds assist with necessary modifications to homes of U.S. veterans and active-duty, reserve or National Guard service members who became disabled as a result of their military service since September 11, 2001. Alternatively, the funds can be awarded to Gold Star Families impacted during this time frame for home repairs/rehabilitation.

The two banks gathered for a celebratory check presentation Friday afternoon at the Vazquez home where Mr. Vazquez lives with his wife, Carmen Vasquez, and four young children.

April Niswonger, assistant vice president at FNBT, said working with Mr. Vazquez was a rewarding experience for everyone involved.

“Taking care of soldiers and their families is a high priority for us at FNBT and utilizing the HAVEN grant is a perfect way to do that,” she said. “It was wonderful working with the Vazquez family, and it means a lot to be able to help make their home more comfortable.”

Greg Hettrick, first vice president and director of Community Investment at FHLB Dallas, said HAVEN is a unique program because it specifically reaches certain military veterans and their families. “We are thankful for FNBT and its interest in stepping in to help Mr. Vazquez and his family,” he said. “We’d like to encourage other FHLB Dallas members to consider the HAVEN grant as a way to give back to our men and women of the armed forces.”

For more information about HAVEN, visit

About First National Bank Texas

First National Bank Texas (FNBT) is dedicated to providing customers with quality financial products and services. The bank was founded in 1901 in the Central Texas town of Killeen and has grown to over $3.7 billion in assets and operates in over 340 locations in Texas, Arizona, Arkansas and New Mexico.

About the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas

The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas is one of 11 district banks in the FHLBank System created by Congress in 1932. FHLB Dallas, with total assets of $77.7 billion as of June 30, 2022, serves approximately 800 members and associated institutions across our five-state District of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico and Texas. FHLB Dallas provides financial products and services including advances (loans to members) and grant programs for affordable housing and economic development. For more information, visit our website at

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U.N. Inspectors Arrive at Embattled Nuclear Plant

Credit…Eleonore Dermy/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

He wrote a book describing a Russian military so ill-prepared when it invaded Ukraine that he didn’t know his unit had entered the country until he awoke to the sound of artillery fire.

Now 34-year-old Pavel Filatiev, who says he was a paratrooper in Russia’s military, is seeking political asylum in France after arriving there last weekend. He has been greeted as a hero by some in the West, his book embraced by Kremlin opponents as proof of what he has called a “terrible war.”

But Mr. Filatiev remains a scourge and a traitor in his native Russia, at least among proponents of the war who know of his existence, as opponents of the invasion are aggressively censored. Some critics also say his book ignores the strong support for President Vladimir V. Putin and the war among many Russians and Russian soldiers.

Mr. Filatiev’s account of his time in Ukraine could not be independently verified by The New York Times. Kamalia Mehtiyeva, his lawyer, said he was awaiting a decision in the coming days on whether he could remain in France as a refugee. “He fears persecution from the Russian Federation,” she said by phone from Paris.

According to his book, Mr. Filatiev spent about two months as a paratrooper stationed in the southern Ukrainian cities of Kherson and Mykolaiv, and contracted an eye infection in a trench. He then tried to leave the army after being sent to a military hospital in Sevastopol, citing health reasons. But he writes that he was threatened with prosecution unless he returned.

He fled Russia in August after publishing his book “ZOV,” which refers to the symbols painted on Russian military vehicles, and escaping to France via Tunisia.

“We had no moral right to attack another country, especially the people closest to us,” he writes in the book, which he self-published on VKontakte, a Russian social media network, in August. “We started a terrible war,” he writes, “a war in which cities are destroyed and which leads to the deaths of children, women and the elderly.”

“ZOV” describes a chaotic Russian army in which demoralized recruits were equipped with rusty guns and ill-fitting uniforms. On Feb. 24, the day the invasion began, Mr. Filatiev writes that he and other soldiers were shocked to learn they were invading Ukraine.

“I woke up at around 2 a.m.,” he writes. “The column was lined up somewhere in the wilderness, and everyone had turned off their engines and headlights,” he continues. “I couldn’t understand: Are we firing at advancing Ukrainians? Or maybe at NATO? Or are we attacking? Who is this hellish shelling aimed at?”

Later, he characterizes the Russian Army as lacking basic supplies. During a military operation in occupied Kherson in March, he writes, desperate Russian soldiers raided buildings looking for food, water, showers, and a place to sleep, and looted everything they could find of value, including computers and clothing.

Mr. Filatiev’s account was widely reported by independent Russian media outlets, most of them based outside the country. But state-run outlets have conspicuously ignored him. And even some Ukrainians on social media have lashed out against attempts to glorify or praise him, given that he fought in Ukraine.

Ivan Zhdanov, a Russian opposition activist and ally of the jailed dissident Aleksei A. Navalny, said that Mr. Filatiev had blood on his hands.

“Honestly, I am skeptical about his decision because he went there and fought there,” he said on his show on YouTube.

In an interview with the Agence France-Presse news agency, Mr. Filatiev said he believed he had a moral imperative to say what was happening in Ukraine.

“I want people in Russia and in the world to know how this war came about,” he told the news agency.

Constant Méheut contributed reporting from Paris.

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Ukraine to expand mandatory evacuations on front lines

FILE PHOTO – People walk past the office building of the head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, which was damaged by recent shelling in the course of Ukraine-Russia conflict in Donetsk, Ukraine, August 23, 2022. REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko

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KYIV, Aug 26 (Reuters) – Ukraine plans to expand the number of districts on the war’s front lines where civilian evacuations will be mandatory, as those areas could be occupied and face central heating problems this winter, a deputy prime minister said on Friday.

The Ukrainian government launched a campaign of mandatory evacuations in July for people in the eastern Donetsk region that it began implementing this month.

Ukrainian-controlled districts and towns in the industrial east are under constant shelling from Russia and its proxies. read more

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“If they stay there, people will suffer, especially children,” Iryna Vereshchuk said on national television, announcing the campaign’s expansion.

She said evacuating women with children and elderly people would be a priority from some districts of the eastern Kharkiv region and the southern Zaporizhzhia and Mykolaiv regions.

“I’m not talking about the entire regions, but some parts will require mandatory evacuation and we are preparing for it,” said Vereshchuk.

She urged residents not to resist, adding they also faced the threat of Russian occupation.

“I know very well what the enemy can do to force people to collaborate. That’s why I call on people to evacuate so often and not to hope for the enemy to show mercy and… to follow international humanitarian law. This will not happen,” she said.

Russia denies deliberately targeting civilians in an invasion that it refers to as a “special military operation” and that Ukraine and its Western allies consider a colonial-style power-grab.

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Reporting by Natalia Zinets; editing by Tom Balmforth and John Stonestreet

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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JLC LIVE Announces First-Ever ‘Next Live’ Presenter Contest, Offering Skilled Construction Professionals the Opportunity to Compete for a Leading Voice in the Industry and a Cash Prize

PROVIDENCE, R.I.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Informa Markets’ JLC LIVE Residential Construction Show today announced the launch of its Next Live Presenter Contest, a new competition for highly-skilled industry professionals to join the Building Clinic Crew at JLC LIVE 2023, New England’s must-attend event for residential construction professionals. Leading industry experts demonstrate best-in-class building techniques at building clinics sprinkled throughout the JLC LIVE exhibit halls. The largest component of the exhibit hall, building clinics offer hands-on education on topics ranging from drywall, high performance, air quality, deck building, window installation, stair building and much more. The ‘Next Live Presenter’ contest will provide a platform for one passionate, skilled industry specialist to join the Building Clinic panel amongst top industry experts including Mike Sloggatt, Myron Ferguson, Ben Bogie, Mike Guertin, Peter Heard and many others, and the opportunity to present at JLC LIVE 2024.

The competition, open now through September 19th, calls for talented construction professionals to upload a short video demonstrating their skills and enthusiasm to earn a spot on the 2023 JLC LIVE Building Clinic team, and become a leading voice in the industry. In addition to the opportunity for nation-wide exposure as a credible and recognized industry voice, the winner will receive a $1,000 cash prize.

“Introducing the newly launched JLC LIVE contest creates an opportunity to reach the broader community and access the wide pool of talent that exists beyond New England, providing top industry experts a platform to share their skills and earn recognition, while also connecting them to the regional community. As residential construction professionals adopt new technologies and techniques, their practices are changing and evolving at a constant pace. That’s what we’re looking to bring to our audience, in the truly-unique setting that JLC LIVE building clinics provide… our live presenters are the key. Sue Pino, Show Manager, JLC LIVE.

Participants who think they have what it takes are encouraged to apply here. The top ten online entries will be featured in a “People’s Choice” contest, where the JLC LIVE audience will vote for their favorite submissions via social media channels, giving the top ten finalists broad exposure and recognition. The three participants with the most votes will join the Clinic Crew onstage at JLC LIVE New England 2023. Hotel, travel, and registration fees will be covered for the three finalists.

“Many talented builders are emerging through social media… we’re excited to see who’s interested in raising their hand to join the JLC LIVE team in-person. I think they’ll find an audience of real people, who are also engaged and passionate about the trades, far more exciting. I’ve been presenting for 22 years, and I still love it!” Mike Sloggatt, Lead Presenter, JLC LIVE.

Guidelines for the JLC LIVE Next Live Presenter Contest entry can be found below:

JLC LIVE New England is slated for March 23-25, 2023, with exhibits from March 24-25 at the Rhode Island Convention Center. Sign up here to be notified when registration opens and receive news about the upcoming show. Follow JLC LIVE on social to stay connected.





Imagery from the 2022 JLC LIVE Building Clinics can be found here.


JLC LIVE events are the most anticipated regional trade events of the year for residential construction. Remodelers, home builders, contractors, and other tradesmen and women learn from the leading industry experts through live, on-floor building clinics, demonstrations, and classroom-style conference sessions. JLC LIVE attendees can expect to see the hottest products, learn the newest building techniques, and expand their professional network through fun, free-to-attend networking events. For more information, please visit Register to attend at

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Informa Markets creates platforms for industries and specialist markets to trade, innovate and grow. Our portfolio comprises more than 550 international B2B events and brands in markets including Engineering, Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals, Infrastructure & Construction, Fashion & Apparel, Hospitality, Food & Beverage, and Health & Nutrition, among others. We provide customers and partners around the globe with opportunities to engage, experience and do business through face-to-face exhibitions, specialist digital content and actionable data solutions. As the world’s leading exhibitions organizer, we bring a diverse range of specialist markets to life, unlocking opportunities and helping them to thrive 365 days of the year. For more information, please visit

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Ukraine Grain Ship Passes Russia’s Black Sea Blockade

MYKOLAIV, Ukraine — A ship loaded with corn on Monday became the first cargo vessel to sail from Ukraine in more than five months of war, passing through Russia’s naval blockade of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports and raising hopes that desperately needed food will soon reach nations afflicted by shortages and soaring prices.

The ship’s journey was the culmination of months of negotiations and an international campaign to get grain out of Ukraine, one of the world’s breadbaskets before the war. Russia’s invasion and blockade, along with Western sanctions impeding Russian exports and factors like drought and climate change, have sharply cut global grain supplies, threatening to bring famine to tens of millions of people, particularly in the Middle East and Africa.

Mediators from the United Nations and Turkey, which shares the Black Sea coast with Russia and Ukraine, oversaw months of talks in Istanbul. Though discussions seemed hopelessly mired for weeks, in late July the parties struck a deal to free more than 20 million tons of grain.

the causes of a looming global hunger crisis.

“Ensuring that grain, fertilizers, and other food-related items are available at reasonable prices to developing countries is a humanitarian imperative,” António Guterres, the U.N. secretary general, said Monday. “People on the verge of famine need these agreements to work, in order to survive.”

major supplier of fertilizer, and with Ukraine it supplies more than a quarter of the world’s wheat.

But as the Razoni’s Black Sea crossing raised hopes for some degree of cooperation between the combatants, the fighting intensified on multiple fronts in Ukraine.

a counteroffensive in the southern Kherson region, Ukraine has used long-range precision weapons, recently supplied by the West, to disrupt Russian supply lines and logistics. Ukrainian forces have attacked Russian command and control centers, hit supply routes, tried to isolate Russian forces into pockets and enlisted Ukrainian saboteurs behind enemy lines.

adept at attacking Russian command and control hubs and destroying large amounts of Russian equipment. On Monday, the Biden administration announced another round of support for Ukraine: $550 million in military aid, including more ammunition for 155-millimeter howitzer artillery pieces and High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS, that the United States has already provided.

But for all its sluggish or faltering progress in the war, Russia retains vast advantages in the size of its arsenal, and its military has shown a willingness and ability to strike all over the country, even as it focuses on gaining ground in eastern Ukraine. There, Russia has blanketed town after town with overwhelming artillery fire as it tries to reposition ground forces to press forward.

The strategy slowly gave Russia control of the eastern Luhansk Province, leaving many cities and villages in ruins. Russian forces have since moved to reinforce the south and to push into another eastern province, Donetsk.

“Their tactic remains much the same as it was during the hostilities in Luhansk region,” Serhiy Haidai, head of Ukraine’s Luhansk regional government, said on Monday.

He said the Russians were making daily attempts to mount an offensive on the city of Bakhmut, in Donetsk, but so far had failed to break through the main Ukrainian defensive lines.

Russian forces have also continued to shell residential and military areas in and around the city of Kharkiv in the northeast, putting pressure on Ukraine not to shift too many of its defenses from there.

In Chuhuiv, in the Kharkiv region and just 10 miles from Russian lines, residents were still recovering on Monday from missile strikes last week on the House of Culture, a building used since Soviet times for cultural events. In wartime, the building’s kitchens were used to prepare food for the needy, but members of the city government had also used it as a temporary office, possibly a reason for the attack.

The missiles killed three people sheltering in the basement and wounded several more, according to Oleh Synyehubov, the Kharkiv regional administrator. A volunteer cook was among the dead, residents said. His brother and several other people survived.

Two women were also killed, one of whom had been helping the cook, said a resident who gave only his first name, Maksim, wary of possible retribution. They were making an Uzbek rice dish, plov, for people in the neighborhood.

“She was just cleaning vegetables,” Maksim said.

Chuhuiv has come under increasing bombardment in recent days, as have the city of Kharkiv and other villages and towns in the province. Soldiers guarding the approaches to the city on Sunday said that artillery strikes had been steady much of the day, hitting an industrial area around the train station.

The Russians “are hitting lots of places like this, all the schools as well,” said Maksim. “They are doing it to make the people leave.”

People were getting the message, and the town was largely empty, he said. He was preparing to leave too, he said. He and his family had plans to emigrate to Canada.

“There is nothing left here,” he said.

Michael Schwirtz reported from Mykolaiv, Ukraine, Matina Stevis-Gridneff from Brussels and Matthew Mpoke Bigg from London. Reporting was contributed by Carlotta Gall and Kamila Hrabchuk from Chuhuiv, Ukraine, Marc Santora from London and Alan Yuhas from New York.

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