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Kyiv missile strikes: Tracking the rise of Russian attacks

Kyiv missile strikesThe Ukrainian capital Kyiv has been repeatedly hit by missiles and drones over the past few weeks. Most of the attacks come at night.

In central Kyiv, Nataliya Lyashchenko has lost count of the number of times where the sound of air sirens, drones and missiles have stopped her sleeping. During one night-time raid, she said the bright lights in the dark sky were "like Star Wars".

Strikes like these are becoming more frequent. Experts believe Russia is changing its tactics in an attempt to sap Ukraine's air defences - but also suspect that, to some degree, it is lashing out at Ukraine's civilian population in response to setbacks in the war.

BBC Verify has analysed local media reports, eyewitness accounts, and statements from local officials and the Ukrainian military to build a picture of the rise in these aerial attacks both on Kyiv and across the country since the start of this year.

In January, there were just three days when Russia launched aerial attacks on targets in Ukraine.

In May, that figure increased to 21 days. There also were attacks on the first two days of June.


Lake Maggiore boat accident: Questions remain over spy deaths

Lake Maggiore boat accident mystery

The story of a boat that sunk on Lake Maggiore on 28 May has elements of a spy novel.

Four people tragically drowned on the picturesque and popular lake south of the Swiss Alps.

One was a former agent from Israel's spy agency Mossad, two were Italian intelligence officers and the fourth victim was a Russian woman.

They were among 23 people aboard the small boat that set out to cruise the lake.

Lake Maggiore and its shoreline are divided between the Italian regions of Lombardy and Piedmont, and the Swiss canton of Ticino.

Several companies that produce technology capable of both military and civilian use are located in Lombardy - and Switzerland is considered a transit country for many intelligence members.



Multi-cancer blood test shows real promise in NHS study

Multi-cancer blood test

A blood test for more than 50 types of cancer has shown real promise in a major NHS trial, researchers say.

The test correctly revealed two out of every three cancers among 5,000 people who had visited their GP with suspected symptoms, in England or Wales.

In 85% of those positive cases, it also pinpointed the original site of cancer.

The Galleri test looks for distinct changes in bits of genetic code that leak from different cancers. Spotting treatable cancer early can save lives.

Utah primary schools ban Bible for 'vulgarity and violence'

Utah bans bible for vulgarity and violence

A school district in the US state of Utah has removed the Bible from elementary and middle schools for containing "vulgarity and violence".

The move follows a complaint from a parent that the King James Bible has material unsuitable for children.

Utah's Republican government passed a law in 2022 banning "pornographic or indecent" books from schools.

Most of the books that have been banned so far pertain to topics such as sexual orientation and identity.

The banning of the Bible comes amid a larger effort by US conservatives in states to ban teachings on controversial topics such as LGBT rights and racial identity. Bans on certain books deemed offensive are also in place in Texas, Florida, Missouri and South Carolina. Some liberal states have also banned books in some schools and libraries, citing perceived racially offensive content.

TVNL Comment:  Be careful what you wish for.



Protest over Pride month assembly at Los Angeles school turns violent

Protest over Pride month in LA turns violent

A protest over a Pride month assembly at a Los Angeles elementary school reportedly broke out into fights, forcing police officers to separate groups of protesters and counter-protesters who clashed over the school’s teaching of LGBTQ+ issues.

Tensions at Saticoy elementary school, part of the Los Angeles unified school district, have been rising since last month over the Pride assembly the school has planned to hold on Friday.

The event included a reading of The Great Big Book of Families, which includes details about different family structures including single parents, LGBTQ+ parents, grandparents and foster parents, said Kelly Gonez, a member of the Los Angeles unified school district board.

On Friday, people protesting the event gathered outside wearing T-shirts emblazoned with “Leave our kids alone” and carrying signs with slogans such as “Parental Choice Matters” and “No Pride in Grooming.”


Trump ‘hush money’ judge should recuse himself over daughter’s job, lawyers say

Judge Merchan NY

Donald Trump says the judge overseeing his “hush money” case should recuse himself because his daughter’s company has a “political and financial interest” in the outcome, new court papers show.

Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan should withdraw not only on account of his daughter’s interests, but due to his own 2020 election contributions, and because he urged former Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg to be a government witness, lawyers for the former president argued in papers unsealed Friday.

Merchan’s daughter is the chief operating officer of Authentic Campaigns, which helps political candidates with their online campaigns.


Senate passes GOP-led resolution to block Biden's student loan relief plan

Senate passes res0pution to block pass on student loans

The Senate passed legislation on Thursday seeking to repeal the Biden administration's student loan relief plan, setting up a pledged veto from the president.

The relief plan, which would cancel up $20,000 in federal student loan debt for tens of millions of Americans, has been tied up in the courts for months. A Supreme Court ruling that could block the plan is expected by early July.

The latest legislative action against the plan amounts to a symbolic show of congressional disapproval.

Republicans introduced the bill by invoking the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to reverse executive orders and requires only a simple majority in both chambers to pass. But it still requires a two-thirds majority to override a presidential veto, and Republicans aren't expected to have the numbers.


Biden hails bipartisan deal to avert debt default in a rare Oval Office address

Biden hails bipartisan debt ceiling vote

President Biden praised a bipartisan agreement that raised the debt ceiling and averted a calamitous debt default in a rare Oval Office speech Friday.

He outlined how close the economy was to being thrown into a recession. He said millions of Americans would have lost their jobs.

"There were extreme voices threatening to take America, for the first time in our 247 year history, into default on our national debt," the president said. "Nothing. Nothing would have been more irresponsible. Nothing would have been more catastrophic."

The nearly 15-minute address served as a victory lap for the president after the Senate passed the legislation he negotiated with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to raise the debt ceiling for two years and cut federal spending.

"No one got everything they wanted, but the American people got what they needed," he said.


US air quality as far south as Virginia affected by Nova Scotia wildfires

US air quality affected by Nova Scotio fires

The historically intense wildfires that battered the Nova Scotia province on the eastern coast of Canada have had a severe effect on air quality as far south as Virginia and Maryland, the US National Weather Service alerted.

Four wildfires have destroyed hundreds of buildings and homes and displaced tens of thousands of people, hitting the Halifax municipality hardest. But the blazes have also sent smoke billowing over New York City, and have prompted officials from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia to report negative effects on their air quality.

The health department of Pennsylvania’s Chester county warned “smoke and haze from wildfires in Canada continue to linger” and that air quality may be unhealthy for young children, older adults and people with respiratory problems.


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