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AP
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Russian forces are pounding the city of Lysychansk and its surroundings in an all-out attempt to seize the last stronghold of resistance in eastern Ukraine’s Luhansk province. The regional governor said Saturday that Russians "opened fire from all available kinds of weapons” in the last day. Ukrainian fighters have spent weeks trying to defend the city and to keep it from falling to Russia, as neighboring Sievierodonetsk did a week ago. Luhansk and neighboring Donetsk are the two provinces that make up the Donbas region, where Russia has focused its offensive since the spring. Pro-Russia separatists have held portions of both provinces since 2014, and Moscow recognizes all of Luhansk and Donetsk as sovereign republics.

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Ukrainian authorities say Russian missile attacks on residential buildings in a coastal town near the port city of Odesa have killed at least 21 people, including an 11-year-old boy, his mother and a soccer coach. Video of the pre-dawn attack Friday showed the charred remains of buildings in the small town of Serhiivka. The Ukrainian president’s office said three X-22 missiles fired by Russian bombers struck an apartment building and a campsite. The assault came after Russian forces withdrew from a nearby Black Sea island on Thursday. Despite the withdrawal, Ukraine's military reported Friday that Russian warplanes bombed Snake Island.

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Russia has pulled back its forces from a Black Sea island where they have faced relentless Ukrainian attacks, but is keeping up its push to encircle the last bulwark of Ukraine’s resistance in the eastern province of Luhansk. Russia’s Defense Ministry said it withdrew its forces from Snake Island off Ukraine’s Black Sea port of Odesa in what it described as a “goodwill gesture.” Ukraine’s military said the Russians were forced off the island by a barrage of artillery and missile strikes, and claimed Ukraine would deploy its own forces there. In central Ukraine, funerals were to be held for some of the 18 confirmed victims of Monday’s Russian missile strike on a busy shopping mall in Kremenchuk.

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Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has praised his father’s legacy and glossed over its violent past as he was sworn in as Philippine president. His rise to power comes 36 years after an army-backed “People Power” revolt booted his namesake dictator father from office. In his inaugural speech, Marcos Jr. said his father accomplished many things and built better roads that had not been done since the country’s independence. Activists and survivors of the martial law era say the stunning election victory was pulled off by whitewashing the Marcos family’s image. Protests took place at the same time as Marcos Jr. took oath at the steps of the National Museum in Manila. He called for unity and avoided the mention of abuses under his father's rule.

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As the war grinds on in Ukraine, communities that were badly damaged early in the invasion are starting to rebuild. Villages such as Yahidne in the northern Chernihiv region are gradually returning to life a few months after Russian troops retreated. Now people are repairing homes, and the sound of construction tools fills the air. Volunteers from all over Ukraine, and from other countries, are coming to help because there is so much to do before another winter approaches. One volunteer rebuilding group is called Dobrobat. The name combines “dobro,” or kindness, with “bat” for battalion.

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Russian forces are battling to surround the Ukrainian military’s last stronghold in a long-contested eastern province, as shock still reverberates from a Russian airstrike on a shopping mall that killed at least 18 people. Moscow’s battle to wrest the entire Donbas region from Ukraine saw Russian forces pushing toward two villages south of Lysychansk while Ukrainian troops fought to prevent their encirclement. The U.S. director of national intelligence said Wednesday the most likely scenario is a “grinding struggle” in which Russia consolidates its hold over southern Ukraine by the fall. Meanwhile, search teams and relatives raced to find people missing in the wreckage of the Amstor shopping center in the city of Kremenchuk.

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The only surviving attacker from the 2015 terrorist massacre at the Bataclan theater and other sites in Paris has been convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole. That is the most severe sentence possible in France, and very rare. Salah Abdeslam was the chief suspect in an exceptional trial over the attacks, which killed 130 people and were claimed by the Islamic State group. The judge in a special terrorism court found him guilty of murder and attempted murder in relation to a terrorist enterprise. The court found that his explosives vest malfunctioned, dismissing his argument that he ditched the vest because he decided not to follow through with his attack.

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Unilever says it has reached a new business arrangement in Israel that will effectively end Ben & Jerry’s policy of not selling ice cream in annexed east Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank. Israel hailed the move as a victory against the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. BDS aims to bring economic pressure to bear on Israel over its military occupation of lands the Palestinians want for a future state. Unilever, which owns Ben & Jerry’s, had distanced itself from the ice cream maker's apparent boycott of Israeli settlements. It said Wednesday that it had sold its business interest in Israel to a local company that would sell Ben & Jerry’s ice cream throughout Israel and the West Bank.

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Lawyers and trial goers gather outside the court house after the verdict in Paris Wednesday, June 29, 2022. The lone survivor of a team of Islamic State extremists was convicted Wednesday of murder and other charges and sentenced to life in prison without parole in the 2015 bombings and shootings across Paris that killed 130 people in the deadliest peacetime attacks in French history. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

AP
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Police officers walk past the the special court room in Paris Wednesday, June 29, 2022. The lone survivor of a team of Islamic State extremists was convicted Wednesday of murder and other charges and sentenced to life in prison without parole in the 2015 bombings and shootings across Paris that killed 130 people in the deadliest peacetime attacks in French history. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)