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U.S. Sen. Edward Markey, who was once banned in the Philippines by former President Rodrigo Duterte, has met a long-detained Filipino opposition leader, whom he says was wrongfully imprisoned under Duterte and should be freed. Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, and a group of U.S. legislators met former Sen. Leila de Lima for more than an hour Friday in her high-security detention cell in the main police camp in Metropolitan Manila. Duterte had banned Markey and two other American legislators from traveling to the Philippines after they called for de Lima’s release and raised alarm over human rights violations under his presidency. Duterte was succeeded by Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who met Markey and his group in Manila on Thursday.

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Symbolically and spiritually, the Jordan River in the Middle East is of mighty significance to many as where the Bible says Jesus got baptized. Physically, the Lower Jordan River of today is a lot more meager than mighty. Environmentalists have for years been warning that the Lower Jordan River, which runs south from the Sea of Galilee, is particularly threatened by decades of water diversions and by pollution. Only a tiny fraction of its historical water flow now reaches its terminus in the Dead Sea. The transboundary river's history and water have been as politically fraught as holy, intertwined with the entanglements of the decades-old Arab-Israeli conflict. This has fueled its decline and complicates efforts to save it.

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When bestselling author JD Vance founded “Our Ohio Renewal” a day after the 2016 presidential election, he promoted the charity as a vehicle for helping solve the scourge of opioid addiction he’d lamented in his memoir, “Hillbilly Elegy.” But Vance shuttered the nonprofit last year and closed its foundation in May, shortly after he clinched the Republican nomination for Senate in Ohio. An Associated Press review finds that the charity’s most notable accomplishment — sending an addiction specialist to Ohio’s Appalachian region for a yearlong residency — was tainted by ties among the doctor, the institute that employed her and Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of OxyContin. Vance’s campaign says the nonprofit is on temporary hold during Vance’s Senate run.

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Home gardening has been on a tear during the pandemic, and now it's harvest time in many places. It's also vacation season. How do you maintain a garden and what do you do with your hard-won vegetables and flowers during extended trips away? Some home gardeners hire professional sitters. Others rely on neighbors and hope for the best. The New York Botanical Garden's Adam Choper suggests designating one trusted person to avoid a free-for-all in your garden. There also are steps you can take to help protect your plants while you're gone from water loss and competition from weeds.

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This year’s back-to-school season will restore a degree of pre-pandemic normalcy. But many of COVID-19′s lasting impacts remain a troubling reality for schools. Among them: student mental health reached crisis levels last year. The pressure on schools to figure out solutions has never been greater. Districts across the country are using federal pandemic money to hire more mental health specialists, rolling out new coping tools and expanding curriculum that prioritizes emotional health.

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The head of the World Health Organization has described the ongoing crisis in Ethiopia’s Tigray region as “the worst disaster on Earth” and asked if the reason global leaders haven't responded is due to “the color of the skin" of the people who live there. In an emotional statement on Wednesday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the Ukraine conflict has the global community potentially “sleepwalking into a nuclear war,” but he argued the situation in his home country is far worse. The conflict in Ethiopia began in November 2020, and little humanitarian aid has arrived since Tigray forces retook much of the region. Tigray's 6 million people are essentially cut off from the world.

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An elected Florida prosecutor who was removed from office by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis because of his positions on abortion and transgender rights is suing to get his job back. The lawsuit filed Wednesday says DeSantis violated Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren's First Amendment rights and retaliated against him for his views on several issues. DeSantis suspended Warren because he signed a pledge not to prosecute women and doctors under the Florida's new 15-week abortion ban and to support treatments for transgender minors. Warren was twice elected by Tampa voters. He says the governor is trying to throw out free and fair elections.

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Olympic sprinter Kimia Yousofi has arrived in Australia to start afresh just over a year after carrying the Afghan flag into the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Games and then having to watch from afar as the Taliban regained control of her country. The Australian Olympic Committee says Yousofi and Asian Games taekwondo medalist Ahmad Abasy are among the members of five Afghan families with ties to the Olympic movement who have recently arrived in Australia. Yousofi says “It’s been a journey for me but I am very happy to be here. I am starting a new life here.” She's aiming to compete in the 2024 Olympics in Paris either for Afghanistan or for the IOC's Refugee Team.

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FILE - Kimia Yousofi, front left, and Farzad Mansouri, of Afghanistan, carry their country's flag during the opening ceremony in the Olympic Stadium at the 2020 Summer Olympics on July 23, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. Afghanistan's flag bearer at the Tokyo 2020 Games and other prominent women's sports campaigners have been safely relocated to Australia following a year-long Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) project. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)