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What takes years to make and costs more than $20,000? A trash can in San Francisco. The pricey, boxy bin is one of three custom-made trash cans the city is testing this summer as part of its yearslong search for another tool to use against its dirty streets. San Francisco began its search for the perfect trash can in 2018 when officials decided it was time to replace the more than 3,000 round public bins that have been on the streets for nearly 20 years. What trash can the city gets will depend in part on the feedback from residents. The city promises the new bins will be in place by the end of 2023 and will cost a maximum of $3,000 each.
A ship has docked in a Ukrainian Black Sea port to begin loading wheat for hungry people in Ethiopia. That would be the first food delivery to Africa under a U.N.-brokered plan to unblock grain trapped by Russia’s war on Ukraine and bring relief to some of the millions worldwide on the brink of starvation. For months, fighting and a Russian blockade meant grain produced in Ukraine, known as the world’s breadbasket, piled up in silos. In recent days, several ships carrying grain have left Ukrainian ports under the new deal — but those shipments were animal feed and went to previous buyers. The ship named Brave Commander will carry its wheat to Djibouti, where it will be unloaded and sent on to Ethiopia.
Canada arguably has the world’s most permissive euthanasia rules, but human rights advocates say those regulations devalue the lives of disabled people. They say the regulations also are prompting doctors and health workers to suggest the procedure to those who might not otherwise consider it. Families say that has led to disturbing conversations and controversial deaths. The current law allows people with serious disabilities to choose to be killed in the absence of any other medical issue. Next year, Canada is set to allow people to be killed exclusively for mental health reasons. Some critics say the system warrants further scrutiny.
The Kremlin has refused to announce a full-blown mobilization as Russia suffers military losses in its invasion of Ukraine which is nearing its sixth month. Such a move could be very unpopular for President Vladimir Putin. Russia is engaged instead in a covert recruitment effort that includes using prisoners to make up for the manpower shortage. This also is happening amid reports that hundreds of soldiers are refusing to fight and are trying to quit the military. Authorities seem to be pulling out all the stops to bolster enlistment although the Defense Ministry denies any “mobilization activities” are happening. Billboards urge men to join up and authorities have set up mobile recruiting centers.
Artists in a small Mexican town are using their talents to revive muralism, a movement that put the country at the vanguard of art a century ago. Just as their famous predecessors did shortly after the Mexican Revolution, teachers and students at the Siqueiros School of Muralism in the central state of Hidalgo are decorating walls with images that encapsulate themes such as social injustice and workers' rights. Their pieces also reflect current global issues of concern, including climate change and violence against transgender people and women. Their goal is to keep alive the practice of using visual imagery to share messages of social and political importance.
In Portland, Oregon, the police chief recently pulled detectives from cold case and assault units to backfill the homicide unit, which is overwhelmed by a spike in gun violence. In Philadelphia, the police disbanded its abandoned car unit and in Los Angeles, homeless outreach and animal cruelty teams have largely shut down. In major American cities, police departments are losing officers and can’t find enough recruits to replace them. Pandemic burnout, budget cuts and anti-police protests after George Floyd’s murder have combined to reduce police ranks and many departments are downsizing. The evolution has affected residents in ways large and small.
Colombia’s first leftist president has been sworn into office, promising to fight inequality and bring peace to a country long haunted by bloody feuds between the government, drug traffickers and rebel groups. Gustavo Petro, a former member of Colombia’s M-19 guerrilla group, won the presidential election in June by beating conservative parties that offered moderate changes to the market-friendly economy, but failed to connect with voters frustrated by rising poverty and violence. On Sunday, Petro said Colombia was getting a “second chance” to tackle violence and poverty, and called on Washington to change its drug policies.
Israeli airstrikes have flattened homes in Gaza and Palestinian rocket barrages into southern Israel are persisting for a second day, raising fears of another major escalation in the Mideast conflict. Gaza’s health ministry said on Saturday that 24 people had been killed so far in the coastal strip, including six children and two women. The fighting began with Israel’s targeted killing of a senior commander of the militant Islamic Jihad group on Friday. Gaza’s Hamas rulers so far appear to be staying on the sidelines, keeping the conflict's intensity somewhat contained, for now. The Israeli military says an errant rocket fired Saturday by Palestinian militants killed civilians, including children, in northern Gaza.
A Texas jury has ordered conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to pay $45.2 million in punitive damages to the parents of a child who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, adding to the $4.1 million he has to pay for the suffering he put them through by claiming for years that the nation’s deadliest school shooting was a hoax. The parents of 6-year-old Jesse Lewis say they were tormented by the Infowars host’s false claims that the worst classroom shooting in U.S. history was orchestrated by the government to tighten gun laws. The total of nearly $50 million marks the first time Jones has been held financially liable for peddling lies about the 2012 attack in Newtown, Connecticut.
New Mexico officials say a drunk man barreled an SUV through a parade that celebrates Native American culture and that least 15 people were injured, including two Gallup police officers. The state police agency said Friday they have no reason to suspect the crime was motivated by hate. The incident stoked fear in the crowd of thousands who lined the parade route in front of businesses selling Native American jewelry, arts and crafts. Police arrested 33-year-old Jeff Irving and said his blood-alcohol content was three times the state's legal limit for driving. Court records didn't list an attorney who could comment on his behalf