UN chief: World is ‘paralyzed’ and equity is slipping away
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — In an alarming assessment, the head of the United Nations is telling world leaders that nations are “gridlocked in colossal global dysfunction” and aren’t ready or willing to tackle major challenges. Speaking at the opening of the General Assembly’s annual high-level meeting, Antonio Guterres pointed to the war in Ukraine and multiplying conflicts around the world, the climate emergency and “suicidal war against nature,” the dire financial situation of developing countries, and many reversals in U.N. goals for 2030 including to end extreme poverty and provide quality education for all children.
4 Ukrainian regions schedule votes this week to join Russia
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — The separatist leaders of four Russian-controlled areas of Ukraine say they are planning to hold referendums this week for the territories to become part of Russia as Moscow loses ground in the war it launched. The votes will be held in the Luhansk, Kherson and partly Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk regions. The announcement of the balloting starting Friday came after a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that they were needed. Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev also said that folding Luhansk and Donetsk in eastern Ukraine into Russia itself would make their redrawn frontiers “irreversible” and enable Moscow to use “any means” to defend them.
Feds: Minnesota food scheme stole $250M; 47 people charged
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Federal authorities have charged 47 people in what they’re calling the largest fraud scheme yet to take advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic by stealing and defrauding the government of $250 million. Documents made public Tuesday charge the defendants with counts including conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering and bribery. Prosecutors say the defendants created companies that claimed to be offering food to thousands of low-income children across Minnesota, then sought reimbursement through a federal program. But prosecutors say few meals were actually served, and the defendants used the money to buy luxury cars, property and jewelry. This year, the U.S. Justice Department has made prosecuting pandemic-related fraud a priority and has stepped up enforcement actions.
Trump legal team balks at judge’s declassification questions