AP Top News at 11:08 a.m. EDT
Supermarket shooter sought Black neighborhood, official says
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — The white 18-year-old who shot and killed 10 people at a Buffalo supermarket had researched the local demographics while looking for places with a high concentration of Black residents, arriving there at least a day in advance to conduct reconnaissance, law enforcement officials said Sunday. Authorities said the gunman shot, in total, 11 Black people and two white people Saturday in a rampage motivated by racial hatred that he broadcast live. “This individual came here with the express purpose of taking as many Black lives as he could,” Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said at a news conference Sunday.
Small wins buoy Ukraine; West says Russians losing momentum
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Almost three months after Russia shocked the world by invading Ukraine, its military faces a bogged-down war, the prospect of a bigger NATO and an opponent buoyed Sunday by wins on and off the battlefield. Top diplomats from NATO met in Berlin with the alliance’s chief and declared that the war “is not going as Moscow had planned.” “Ukraine can win this war,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said, adding that the alliance must continue to offer military support to Kyiv. He spoke by video link to the meeting as he recovers from a COVID-19 infection. On the diplomatic front, both Finland and Sweden took steps bringing them closer to NATO membership despite Russian objections.
Finland, Sweden inch closer to seeking NATO membership
BERLIN (AP) — Finland’s government declared a “new era” is underway as it inches closer to seeking NATO membership, hours before Sweden’s governing party on Sunday backed a plan to join the trans-Atlantic alliance amid Russia’s war in Ukraine. Russia has long bristled about NATO moving closer to its borders, so the developments will be sure to further anger Moscow. President Vladimir Putin has already warned his Finnish counterpart on Saturday that relations would be “negatively affected.” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Sunday the process for Finland and Sweden to join could be very quick. He also didn’t expect Turkey to hold up the process.
In early primaries, voters favor polling places over mail
ATLANTA (AP) — The great vote-by-mail wave appears to be receding just as quickly as it arrived. After tens of millions of people in the United States opted for mail ballots during the pandemic election of 2020, voters in early primary states are returning in droves to in-person voting this year. In Georgia, one of the mostly hotly contested states, about 85,000 voters had requested mail ballots for the May 24 primary, as of Thursday. That is a dramatic decrease from the nearly 1 million who cast mail ballots in the state’s 2020 primary at the height of the coronavirus pandemic.
Buddhist chaplains on the rise in US, offering broad appeal
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Wedged into a recliner in the corner of her assisted living apartment in Portland, Skylar Freimann, who has a terminal heart condition and pulmonary illness, anxiously eyed her newly arrived hospital bed on a recent day and worried over how she would maintain independence as she further loses mobility. There to guide her along the journey was the Rev. Jo Laurence, a hospice and palliative care chaplain. But rather than invoking God or a Christian prayer, she talked of meditation, chanting and other Eastern spiritual traditions: “The body can weigh us down sometimes,” she counseled. “Where is the divine or the sacred in your decline?”
US set to remove 5 groups from foreign terrorism blacklist
BERLIN (AP) — The United States is poised to remove five extremist groups, all believed to be defunct, from its list of foreign terrorist organizations, including several that once posed significant threats, killing hundreds if not thousands of people across Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Although the groups are inactive, the decision is politically sensitive for the Biden administration and the countries in which the organizations operated, and could draw criticism from victims and their families still dealing with the losses of loved ones. The organizations include the Basque separatist group ETA , the Japanese cult Aum Shinrikyo, the radical Jewish group Kahane Kach and two Islamic groups that have been active in Israel, the Palestinian territories and Egypt.
Independent probe points to Israeli fire in journalist death
JERUSALEM (AP) — As Israel and the Palestinians wrangle over the investigation into the killing of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, several independent groups have launched their own probes. One open-source research team said its initial findings lent support to Palestinian witnesses who said she was killed by Israeli fire. The outcome of these investigations could help shape international opinion over who is responsible for Abu Akleh’s death, particularly if an official Israeli military probe drags on. Israel and the Palestinians are locked in a war of narratives that already has put Israel on the defensive. Abu Akleh, a Palestinian-American and a 25-year veteran of the satellite channel, was killed last Wednesday while covering an Israeli military raid in the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank.
EXPLAINER: ‘Neutral’ Europe recedes as NATO set to expand
BERLIN (AP) — With Finland and Sweden inching closer to applying for NATO membership amid Russia’s war in Ukraine, the list of “neutral” or nonaligned countries in Europe appears poised to shrink. Security concerns over the war have changed the calculus for Finland and Sweden, and caused other traditionally “neutral” countries to rethink what that term really means for them. “This is the key thing about neutrality: It means different things to different people,” said historian Samuel Kruizinga of the University of Amsterdam. While European Union members are committed to coming to each other’s defense in case of an external attack, the pledge has largely remained on paper as NATO’s might overshadows the bloc’s own notions of collective defense.
Chicago alt-weekly survives column clash, going nonprofit
CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Reader, the city’s famed alt-weekly, is expected to become a nonprofit this month after the sale was nearly derailed over a co-owner’s column opposing COVID-19 vaccine requirements for children. The publication was on track to be sold to the new nonprofit last year until the November printing of defense attorney Leonard Goodman’s column headlined “Vaxxing our kids” prompted allegations of misinformation and censorship. Goodman agreed to step aside in late April, allowing the sale to go through. Still, the standoff among the alt-weekly’s managers left staff members in limbo for months, wondering if the Reader would be shut down after surviving multiple previous sales and the coronavirus pandemic.
K-9 featured in Netflix’s ‘Rescued by Ruby’ euthanized
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A Rhode Island dog whose inspiring story of going from shelter dog to lifesaving police K-9 became the subject of a recent Netflix movie has been euthanized. State Police said Sunday K-9 Ruby was put down Friday following a “sudden, acute, and untreatable illness.” She was 11 years old. Col. Darnell Weaver, superintendent of the state police, expressed gratitude for K-9 Ruby’s years of service. “K-9 Ruby dedicated her life to serve the citizens of Rhode Island and make a positive impact on every person she ever interacted with,” he said in a statement. “She became a symbol of hope for all shelter dogs, showing the world what a shelter dog can do when just given love and the chance to shine.” Ruby served with the Rhode Island State Police for 11 years and was handled by Corporal Daniel O’Neil, Weaver said.