Bombed, not beaten: Ukraine’s capital flips to survival mode
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Residents of Ukraine’s bombed capital clutched empty bottles in search of water and crowded into cafés for power and warmth Thursday, switching defiantly into survival mode after new Russian missile strikes a day earlier plunged the city and much of the country into the dark.
In scenes hard to believe in a sophisticated city of 3 million, some Kyiv residents resorted to collecting rainwater from drainpipes, as repair teams labored to reconnect supplies.
Friends and family members exchanged messages to find out who had electricity and water back. Some had one but not the other. The previous day’s aerial onslaught on Ukraine’s power grid left many with neither.
Cafés in Kyiv that by some small miracle had both quickly became oases of comfort on Thursday.
Oleksiy Rashchupkin, a 39-year-old investment banker, awoke to find that water had been reconnected to his third-floor flat but power had not. His freezer thawed in the blackout, leaving a puddle on his floor.
Witness: Walmart shooter seemed to target certain people
CHESAPEAKE, Va. (AP) — The Walmart supervisor who shot and killed six co-workers in Virginia seemed to target people and fired at some victims after they were already hit and appeared to be dead, said a witness who was present when the shooting started.
Jessica Wilczewski said that workers were gathered in a store break room to begin their overnight shift late Tuesday when team leader Andre Bing entered and opened fire with a handgun. While another witness has described Bing as shooting wildly, Wilczewski said that she observed him target certain people.
“The way he was acting — he was going hunting,” Wilczewski told The Associated Press on Thursday. “The way he was looking at people’s faces and the way he did what he did, he was picking people out.”
She said that she observed him shoot at people who were already on the ground.
“What I do know is that he made sure who he wanted dead, was dead,” she said. “He went back and shot dead bodies that were already dead. To make sure.”
Gay club owner: Shooting comes amid a new ‘type of hate’
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — The co-owner of the Colorado Springs gay nightclub where a shooter turned a drag queen’s birthday celebration into a massacre said he thinks the shooting that killed five people and injured 17 others is a reflection of anti-LGBTQ sentiment that has evolved from prejudice to incitement.
Nic Grzecka’s voice was tinged with exhaustion as he spoke with The Associated Press on Wednesday night in some of his first comments since Saturday night’s attack at Club Q, a venue Grzecka helped build into an enclave that sustained the LGBTQ community in conservative-leaning Colorado Springs.
Authorities haven’t said why the suspect opened fired at the club before being subdued into submission by patrons, but they are facing hate crime charges. The suspect, Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, has not entered a plea or spoken about the incident.
Grzecka said he believes the targeting of a drag queen event is connected to the art form being cast in a false light in recent months by right-wing activists and politicians who complain about the “sexualization” or “grooming” of children. Even though general acceptance of the LGBTQ community has grown, this new dynamic has fostered a dangerous climate.
“It’s different to walk down the street holding my boyfriend’s hand and getting spit at (as opposed to) a politician relating a drag queen to a groomer of their children,” Grzecka said. “I would rather be spit on in the street than the hate get as bad as where we are today.”
Biden brings Thanksgiving pies to Nantucket first responders
NANTUCKET, Mass. (AP) — President Joe Biden on Thursday delivered at least half a dozen pumpkin pies to Massachusetts firefighters during a Thanksgiving Day show of appreciation and his toddler grandson walked away with a red fire hat topping his blond curls.
“Oh wow,” Biden was heard to say upon seeing Beau Biden, who is nearly 3, emerge from the headquarters building wearing the hat. The president was with the firefighters who had lined up outside the building to welcome him.
Biden had expressed appreciation for firefighters and other emergency personnel earlier in the day when he and his wife, Jill, spoke by telephone to the hosts of NBC’s broadcast of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York.
“I want to say thanks to the firefighters and police officers, first responders. They never take a break,” he said during the call. The Bidens spoke later Thursday with units from each of the six branches of the U.S. military, stationed in Europe, at sea, at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri, the White House said.
“We remember them every single day,” he said during the broadcast. “God bless our troops.”
Iranian soccer player arrested amid World Cup scrutiny
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Iran arrested a prominent former member of its national soccer team on Thursday over his criticism of the government as authorities grapple with nationwide protests that have cast a shadow over its competition at the World Cup.
The semiofficial Fars and Tasnim news agencies reported that Voria Ghafouri was arrested for “insulting the national soccer team and propagandizing against the government.”
Ghafouri, who was not chosen to go to the World Cup, has been an outspoken critic of Iranian authorities throughout his career. He objected to a longstanding ban on women spectators at men’s soccer matches as well as Iran’s confrontational foreign policy, which has led to crippling Western sanctions.
More recently, he expressed sympathy for the family of a 22-year-old woman whose death while in the custody of Iran’s morality police ignited the latest protests. In recent days he also called for an end to a violent crackdown on protests in Iran’s western Kurdistan region.
The reports of his arrest came ahead of Friday’s World Cup match between Iran and Wales. At Iran’s opening match, a 6-2 loss to England, the members of the Iranian national team declined to sing along to their national anthem and some fans expressed support for the protests.
Musk says granting ‘amnesty’ to suspended Twitter accounts
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — New Twitter owner Elon Musk said Thursday that he is granting “amnesty” for suspended accounts, which online safety experts predict will spur a rise in harassment, hate speech and misinformation.
The billionaire’s announcement came after he asked in a poll posted to his timeline to vote on reinstatements for accounts that have not “broken the law or engaged in egregious spam.” The yes vote was 72%.
“The people have spoken. Amnesty begins next week. Vox Populi, Vox Dei,” Musk tweeted using a Latin phrase meaning “the voice of the people, the voice of God.”
Musk used the same Latin phrase after posting a similar poll last last weekend before reinstating the account of former President Donald Trump, which Twitter had banned for encouraging the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection. Trump has said he won’t return to Twitter but has not deleted his account.
Such online polls are anything but scientific and can easily be influenced by bots.
Shoppers hunt for deals but inflation makes bargains elusive
NEW YORK (AP) — Consumers holding out for big deals — and some much-needed relief from soaring costs on just about everything — may be disappointed as they head into the busiest shopping season of the year.
While retailers are advertising sales of 30%, 50% and 70% off everything from TVs to gadgets, many items will still cost more than they did last year because of inflation and finding a true bargain may prove to be a challenge.
From September through October, shoppers paid roughly 18% more for furniture and appliances than they did a year ago, according to a recent major data analysis by analytics company DataWeave, which tracks prices for hundreds of thousands of items across roughly three dozen retailers including Amazon and Target. For toys, they paid roughly 2% more.
Things looked a bit better for consumers shopping for clothing — they paid nearly 5% less compared with last fall, according to DataWeave. Meanwhile, prices held steady for footwear.
“It’s just a weird time for everybody to figure out what is the right price, and what is the real price,” said Nikki Baird, vice president of strategy of Aptos, a retail technology firm. “Consumers are really bad at discount math, and retailers are fully aware of it and do everything they can to take advantage of it.”
Holiday shopping kicks off with inflation dampening spirits
NEW YORK (AP) — While Black Friday will mark a return to familiar holiday shopping patterns, uncertainty still remains.
The U.S. job market remains strong, consumer spending is resilient and inflation has been slowing. But elevated prices for food, rent, gasoline and other household costs have taken a toll on shoppers.
As a result, many are reluctant to spend unless there is a big sale and are being more selective with what they will buy — in many cases, trading down to cheaper stuff and less expensive stores.
Shoppers are also dipping more into their savings, turning increasingly to “buy now, pay later” services like Afterpay that allow users to pay for items in installments, as well as running up their credit cards at a time when the Federal Reserve is hiking rates to cool the U.S. economy.
Such financial hardships could help drive shoppers to look for bargains.
High-flying balloon characters star in Thanksgiving parade
NEW YORK (AP) — Throngs of spectators lined the streets of New York on Thursday as colorful, high-flying balloons helped usher in the holiday season during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
The annual tradition, which dates back nearly a century, packed streets as a procession of giant inflatables and floats streamed for more than 40 blocks from Central Park to Herald Square.
Children balanced atop metal barricades and hung from scaffolding to watch the balloons amid mostly sunny skies and a slight breeze.
“Blue, Blue. There’s Blue,” yelled Divyam Kumar, 6, as his father helped balance him and his 4-year-old brother Aanu Aryan on a metal rail.
The youngster was referring to the star of the animated show “Blue’s Clues” — not to be confused with the international cartoon sensation Bluey, an Australian cattle pup making her parade debut.
2 brothers, 2 teams, 2 contrasting experiences at World Cup
DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Joy for the Williams family of Spain on Wednesday at the World Cup. Then despair for the same Williams family, who are also of Ghana, on Thursday.
Williams brothers Iñaki and Nico have managed to mark both sides of their family’s heritage in the most incredible way at this World Cup in Qatar by playing for two different countries. They were both born in Spain but their parents are from Ghana.
Nico was part of the Spain team that beat Costa Rica 7-0 on Wednesday in the tournament’s most compelling performance so far. He came on as a second-half substitute to make his World Cup debut in Spain’s record win at the tournament.
A day later, big brother Iñaki played his first World Cup game for Ghana, a 3-2 loss to Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal.
That meant a complicated 24 hours in the family home back in Spain with celebrations for 20-year-old Nico no doubt swiftly followed by commiserations for 28-year-old Iñaki. The same for the two brothers, who Ghana coach Otto Addo said both feel as Spanish as they do Ghanaian.
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