Venezuela's auto mechanics are increasingly busy these days, trying to coax a little more life out of aging vehicles. The country's new car market has collapsed and few can afford a better used one. Industry officials say Venezuela produced only eight trucks last year — and nary a single car. At the century’s peak, some 172,000 vehicles rolled out of domestic plants. Imports haven’t filled the gap. Analysts say only 1,886 new light vehicles were sold in Venezuela last year. Years of hyperinflation obliterated much of the middle class that could once dream at least of a used car.
Australia’s prime minister has conceded defeat after an election that could deliver a minority government. Prime Minister Scott Morrison acted quickly after Saturday’s election despite millions of votes yet to be counted because an Australian prime minister must attended a Tokyo summit on Tuesday with U.S., Japanese and Indian leaders. Morrison said: “I believe it’s very important that this country has certainty. I think it’s very important this country can move forward.” Opposition leader Anthony Albanese will be sworn in as prime minister after his Labor party clenched its first electoral win since 2007.
Russia’s claimed seizure of a Mariupol steel plant that became a symbol of Ukrainian tenacity gives Russian President Vladimir Putin a sorely needed victory in the war he began. the Russian Defense Ministry said its forces had removed the last Ukrainian fighters from the plant’s underground tunnels, capping a nearly three-month siege that left more than 20,000 residents feared dead. Concern mounted Saturday for the Ukrainian soldiers who now are prisoners in Russian hands. A separatist leader in eastern Ukraine said they were sure to face a tribunal for their wartime actions. The Ukrainian government hasn't not commented on Russia’s claim of capturing the plant and completing Moscow’s long-sought goal of controlling the city
The Palestinian Health Ministry says Israeli troops have shot and killed a 17-year-old Palestinian militant during a raid in the occupied West Bank. The shooting came at a time of intensified military activity in the northern West Bank town of Jenin over the past months. Local media reported that clashes erupted outside Jenin’s refugee camp when Israeli forces stormed the area. Israel has been conducting raids regularly in Jenin following a series of deadly attacks inside Israel. The army says its soldiers opened fire Saturday after gunmen opened fire and threw explosives toward the troops from a passing car.
For nearly three months, Azovstal’s garrison clung on, refusing to be winkled out from the tunnels and bunkers under the ruins of the labyrinthine mill. Because of its tenacious defense, not only were Russian troops who had captured the rest of Mariupol unable to declare victory, they couldn’t even all be peeled away to fight in battles on other Ukrainian fronts. A Ukrainian soldier-photographer documented the events and sent them to the world. Now he is a prisoner of the Russians. His photos are his legacy.
Ukraine's ambassador to neighboring Poland says his country is grateful for the welcome that Poles have given to millions of Ukrainians, but hopes the European Union will soon release billions of euros to Poland so that helping those fleeing the war does not come “at the cost of the Polish people.” Ambassador Andrii Deshchytsia said that while there have been no real social tensions in the three months since Ukrainians began crossing into Poland seeking safety, he worries they could appear in the future given how much Poland has done. The government has extended free medical care, education and other social services to the Ukrainians, while more than 80% of them are being housed in private Polish homes.
North Korea says it has found nearly 220,000 more people with feverish symptoms, even as leader Kim Jong Un claims progress in slowing a largely undiagnosed spread of COVID-19 across an unvaccinated population of 26 million. The outbreak has caused concern about serious tragedies in the poor, isolated country with one of the world’s worst health care systems and a high tolerance for civilian suffering. Experts say North Korea is almost certainly downplaying the true scale of the viral spread, including a strangely small death toll, to soften the political blow on Kim, who seemed to hint at relaxing his pandemic response.
James Gray’s autobiographical coming of age film “Armageddon Time,” starring Anthony Hopkins, Anne Hathaway and Jeremy Strong, has made the biggest splash of an American film not starring Tom Cruise at the Cannes Film Festival. Gray’s richly detailed film is as personal as it is political, and is often both at once. The New York writer-director based “Armageddon Time” on his own 1980s childhood in Queens. But the film is less a portrait of a young artist than it is a case study of how race and money can tip the scales in the formative years of young people. The Cannes Film Festival runs through May 28.
Russia claims to have captured Mariupol in what would be its biggest victory yet in its war with Ukraine. A spokesman said the Russian defense minister reported the “complete liberation” of the Azovstal steel plant — the last stronghold of Ukrainian resistance — and the city as a whole. The announcement followed a nearly three-month siege that reduced much of the strategic port city to a smoking ruin. More than 20,000 civilians are feared dead. There was no immediate confirmation from Ukraine. A Russian state news agency quoted the ministry as saying that more than 2,400 Ukrainian fighters who had been holed up at the steelworks had surrendered since Monday, including over 500 on Friday.
Scientists who have monitored numerous outbreaks of monkeypox in Africa say they are baffled by the disease’s recent spread in Europe and North America. Cases of the smallpox-related disease haven’t previously been seen among people with no links to central and West Africa. But in the past week, Britain, Spain, Portugal, Italy, the United States, Sweden and Canada have all reported infections, mostly in young men who hadn’t traveled to Africa. On Friday, France, Germany, Belgium and Australia all confirmed their first cases of monkeypox. One of the theories British health officials are exploring is whether the disease is being sexually transmitted.
Pakistan's new foreign minister says his country has resumed engagement with the United States after years of strained relations under former Prime Minister Imran Khan. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari spoke in an interview with The Associated Press in New York, where he was attending meetings this week on the global food crisis at the U.N. headquarters. He has also held talks with top diplomats, including a one-hour discussion with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Bhutto Zardari, the 33-year-old son of assassinated Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, called the talks with Blinken “very encouraging and very positive and productive.”
GENEVA (AP) — Russian athletes and officials who have been banned from international sports because of the war in Ukraine are being protected rather than punished, International Olympic Commit…
Tesla and SpaceX chief executive officer Elon Musk has met with Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro to discuss connectivity and other projects in the Amazon rainforest. The meeting, held in a luxurious resort in Sao Paulo state, was organized by Communications Minister Fábio Faria, who has said he is seeking partnerships with the world’s richest man to bring or improve internet in schools and health facilities in rural areas using technology developed by SpaceX and Starlink, and also to preserve the rainforest.
The top U.S. trade negotiator says with world economies all suffering from more than two years of the coronavirus pandemic and global supply problems exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the United States has an “incredible opportunity” to engage with other nations and forge new partnerships and agreements. Ahead of a planned announcement with President Joe Biden of a new Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai told The Associated Press that the time is ripe for the proposal. She says: “I don’t think anybody’s economy is stronger because of COVID and there is a pretty pervasive sense of anxiety about how we recover. I actually think that this presents an incredible opportunity.”
Schools are closed and public officials are staying home from work Friday in Sri Lanka. The Indian Ocean island nation's Public Administration Ministry called for the closures in preparation for days of acute fuel shortages. Sri Lanka is in the midst of its worst economic crisis in decades, now almost without gasoline and other fuels. People have been waiting for days in long lines at fuel stations across the country. The government has been struggling to find money to pay for importation of fuel, gas and other essentials in recent months. Sri Lanka is on the brink of bankruptcy and has suspended payments on its foreign loans.
Australians will go to the polls Saturday following a six-week election campaign that has focused on pandemic-fueled inflation, climate change and fears of a Chinese military outpost being established less than 1,200 miles off Australia’s shore. Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s conservative coalition is seeking a rare fourth three-year term. Recent opinion polls have put the center-left Labor Party narrowly ahead of the coalition. But pollsters’ credibility has yet to recover since their spectacular failure in the 2019 election. The split of votes between the government and Labor in 2019 was 51.5% to 48.5% — the mirror opposite of the result that Australia’s five most prominent polls had predicted.
The explosions started in the middle of the night, shaking the house to its foundations. Roof timbers splintered and windows shattered, sending shards of glass hurtling above three sleeping children into the opposite wall. It wasn’t the first time the Ukrainian village of Velyka Kostromka, just a few kilometers (miles) from the southern front line, was hit. But local officials said Thursday’s attack was the most intense and widespread. Two people were injured and 20 houses were damaged, three beyond repair. One family tried to leave their damaged home five times in the dark, but were driven back by explosions each time. Three children 7-and-under and their mother finally crawled out a back window and ran to safety.
Russia's war in Ukraine has accelerated inflation across Europe, with prices for energy, materials and food surging at rates not seen for decades. It’s causing sticker shock at the grocery store, gas pumps, electricity bills and construction sites. Inflation is expected to hit nearly 7% this year in the 27-nation EU and is contributing to slowing growth forecasts. Fishmongers and farmers are being forced to charge prices for their catch and crops that even they see as astronomical. High fuel prices threaten to paralyze ground transport of goods, and bread prices are soaring from Poland to Belgium.
Asian stock markets are higher after Wall Street fell closer to bear territory, China cut a key interest rate and Japanese inflation rose. Market benchmarks in Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Sydney advanced. Oil prices fell more than $1 per barrel. Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index lost 0.6% as rising interest rates, Russia’s war on Ukraine and a Chinese economic slowdown added to investor unease. The benchmark is down 18.7% from its January high and close to the 20% decline that defines a bear market. The Chinese central bank reduced its rate on a five-year loan in a move that would shore up weak housing sales by cutting mortgage costs.
Russia says hundreds more fighters have emerged from the Mariupol stronghold where they made their last stand and surrendered. The Red Cross is working to register the fighters as prisoners of war, as the end of a key battle in the conflict draws closer. Meanwhile, in the first war crimes trial held by Ukraine, a captured Russian soldier testified Thursday that he shot an unarmed Ukrainian civilian in the head on his officer’s orders. A monthslong siege of Mariupol that left it in ruins and the drama of last-ditch fighters at a steel plant holding off Russian forces turned the strategic port city into a worldwide symbol of suffering and defiance. The Russian military said Thursday that a total of 1,730 Ukrainian troops at the Azovstal steelworks have surrendered since Monday.
Chile holds itself out as a global leader on climate change. Nearly 22% of the nation's power is generated by solar and wind, putting it far ahead of both the global average and the United States, at 13%. Chile was one of the first nations to declare a target for renewable energy, back in 2008. Yet even as solar farms have spread across the north and center of the long, narrow nation, imported natural gas, a polluting fossil fuel, has been able to sideline the clean electricity they provide thanks to a sweet deal won from the government.
LONDON (AP) — European and American health authorities have identified a number of monkeypox cases in recent days, mostly in young men. It's a surprising outbreak of a disease that rarely appe…
Canada says wireless carriers in Canada won’t be allowed to install Huawei equipment in their high-speed 5G networks. In announcing the decision Thursday joined the U.S. and other allies that previously banned the giant Chinese technology company. The U.S. government has been lobbying allies for years to exclude Huawei from new ultra-fast 5G mobile networks over worries that China’s Communist rulers could compel the company to help with cyberespionage. The U.S. has warned that it will reconsider intelligence sharing with any countries that use Huawei gear. The company has repeatedly denied the allegations.
A celebrated Ukrainian medic recorded her time in Mariupol on a data card no bigger than a thumbnail. Associated Press journalists smuggled it out to the world in a tampon. Yuliia Paievska is now in Russian hands, and Mariupol is on the edge of falling. Paievska is known in Ukraine as Taira. She used a body camera to record 256 gigabytes of her team’s frantic efforts over two weeks to bring people back from the brink of death. The footage shows her treating wounded Russian soldiers as well as Ukrainian civilians. The 53-year-old medic last was seen March 21 on Russian television as a captive, handcuffed and with bruises on her face.
The Greek electronic composer who wrote the unforgettable Academy Award-winning score for “Chariots of Fire” and music for dozens of other movies, documentaries and TV series, has died. The composer known as Vangelis was 79. Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and other officials expressed their condolences Thursday. Greek media reported that Vangelis died in a French hospital late Tuesday. Vangelis started playing the piano at age 4, although he claimed he never learned to read notes. His big breakthrough came with the score for “Chariots of Fire,” a 1981 film that told the story of two British runners in the 1924 Olympics. Vangelis’ score received one of the four Academy Awards the film won, including best picture.