First things first: Ukrainians pay with their lives for ‘weak’ sanctions, says Zelenskiy | united states news

Good Morning.

Ukraine’s neutrality and the status of disputed areas in the east could be on the table in ceasefire talks that began this morning in Turkey, but with Russia’s invasion largely stalled, kyiv will make no concessions on territorial integrity, officials said.

Before the discussions, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy delivered some emphatic lines in his most recent national address regarding what he described as “passive” sanctions imposed by the West on Russia, saying that Ukrainians were paying “weak” sanctions with their lives.

Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, for his part, has said Sanctions on trade and oligarchs are akin to “total war” against Russia, and that the West has cornered the Kremlin with the expansion of NATO.

Dmitry Peskov said the sanctions imposed on Russia were “quite hostile” and made the country feel like it was at war with the United States and its Western allies.

  • Will the talks be a success? Both sides have downplayed the chances of a significant breakthrough, and a senior US official said Putin seemed unwilling to compromise.

  • What else is going on? Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich and Ukrainian deputy Rustem Umerov experienced symptoms consistent with poisoning during the talks this month. Abramovich has not let that discourage him, as he has been portrayed in today’s talks in Istanbul.

  • What is happening in Ukraine? Here it is what we know on day 34 of the Russian invasion.

US Capitol Strike Panel Votes to Recommend Prosecution of Trump Duo

Peter Navarro
Peter Navarro, a former senior adviser to Trump, in 2020. He declined to provide documents or testimony after being subpoenaed. Photograph: Alex Brandon/AP

The House select committee investigating the Capitol attack voted yesterday to recommend criminal prosecution of two of Donald Trump’s top former White House aides, Peter Navarro and Dan Scavino, for defying subpoenas to try to undermine the January 6 investigation.

The select committee unanimously approved the contempt of Congress report it had been considering. The subpoenas are now up for a vote in the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, which is expected to pass resolutions for referrals to the justice department.

Congressman Bennie Thompson, chairman of the select committee, said the panel was seeking criminal prosecution of Navarro and Scavino to punish their failure to cooperate over claims of executive privilege it did not acknowledge.

“Executive privilege does not belong to any White House official. It belongs to the president. Here, President Biden has made it clear that executive privilege does not preclude cooperation with the Select Committee by either Mr. Scavino or Mr. Navarro,” Thompson said.

  • What about Ginni Thomas? The select committee was expected to meet to discuss whether to require Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, to help in the investigation.

  • What did the congressman jamie raskin say? “This is the United States, and here there are no executive privileges for presidents, let alone trained advisers, to plan coups and organize insurrections.”

Progressives press Biden to act with Democrats’ intermediate hopes in balance

Pramila Jayapal, chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
Pramila Jayapal, Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus: ‘Our work is far from done.’ Photograph: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times/Rex/Shutterstock

When Senator Joe Manchin announced in December that he would not support the Build Back Better Act, House progressives immediately went to work. writes Joan E Greve. As the Congressional Progressive Caucus continued to push to pass a social spending package, its members also began crafting a list of possible executive orders that Biden could sign to advance the Democrats’ political agenda.

That list was released in mid-March after months of deliberations and outlines a specific strategy for Biden to combat the climate crisis and cut costs for American families with a stroke of his pen.

The CPC’s suggestions demonstrate the mounting pressure Biden faces from progressive Democrats to take more decisive action ahead of November’s midterm elections, where many in his party fear they could be defeated.

Progressives warn that if Biden doesn’t start signing more executive orders, Democrats’ failure to follow through on many of his campaign promises will result in severely depressed voter turnout among his supporters in November, likely allowing Republicans regain control of the House and Senate.

  • What is in the list of possible orders of the CPC? The list tackles everything from the climate crisis to immigration reform to health care costs, covering a wide range of issues that affect a large part of the Democratic coalition.

In other news …

Smith's slap on stage
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences condemned Will Smith’s actions and said it would launch an investigation. Photograph: Brian Snyder/Reuters
  • Will Smith has apologized to Chris Rock, the Academy and viewers after slapping the comedian onstage at the 94th Academy Awards, saying it was “out of character.” and his actions were “It is not indicative of the man I want to be”. Smith added apologies to the film academy, television producers, attendees and viewers.

  • London Police will issue 20 fixed penalty notices for non-compliance with confinement rules following allegations of numerous illegal parties in Downing Street, the house and office of the prime minister. The Metropolitan Police said those who received the tickets would not be publicly named.

  • The Republican Governor of Florida, rum desantisenacted a bill banning instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity from kindergarten through third gradea policy, known as the “don’t say gay” bill – which has drawn intense national scrutiny.

  • El Salvador’s government said it had arrested more than 600 gang suspects and ordered reductions in food for inmates. after a wave of murders over the weekend. The government declared a state of emergency and closed prisons after 87 murders were committed throughout Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Stat Of The Day: Climate Groups Say Encoding Change Can Cut Bitcoin’s Power Consumption By 99%

A facility once used by Alcoa's coal-fired power plant that now provides electricity for the Whinstone US bitcoin mining facility in Rockdale, Texas
A facility once used by Alcoa’s coal-fired power plant now provides electricity for the Whinstone US bitcoin mining facility in Rockdale, Texas. Photograph: Mark Felix/AFP/Getty Images

Bitcoin mining already uses as much energy as Sweden, according to some reports, and its growing popularity is reinvigorating bankrupt fossil fuel companies in the US. But all that could change with a simple coding change, according to a campaign launched today that affirms such a change could reduce the energy consumption of bitcoin by 99%. The US now leads the world in cryptocurrency mining after China launched a crackdown on mining and trading last May.

Don’t Miss This: Bunker Sales Soar as Russia Anxiety Rises

Ukrainians take refuge
Ukrainians have been huddling underground, but the US has few public shelters and some people are panic buying. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Gary Lynch is the CEO of Rising S Company in Texas. When I first visited his warehouse in 2018, I saw his team assemble, deliver, and bury a handful of bunkers in people’s backyards each month. writes Bradley Garrett. Bunkers are thick plate steel boxes welded together like a giant Lego set. Sales, he says, have increased 1,000% since then, as anxiety around the pandemic, civil unrest, the climate crisis and war have driven more shoppers to his company.

… or this: The United States enters the great hybrid work experiment

Businessmen traveling to the office in the morning carrying office bags and using mobile phones
“Surveys show that people have liked working from home so much that many are willing to change jobs to keep that option.” Photograph: Jacob Lund/Alamy

It can be hard to remember what office work was like before the pandemic forced millions of Americans to start working from home. writes lauren aratani. That change was monumental and seemingly implausible, until it happened. But people soon adapted to saying “sorry, you’re on silent” on Zoom calls and wearing sweatpants all day. This spring, workers are finally returning to the office en masse and in another ambitious and untested experiment in working life: hybrid operation.

Climate check: Three months after wildfire swept through, displaced Colorado residents struggle to rebuild

The remains of a house in Superior three months after the Marshall fire.
The remains of a house in Superior three months after the Marshall fire. Photograph: The Guardian

Although it burned for only six hours, the Marshall Prairie Fire became the most destructive in Colorado history, destroying 6,000 acres and nearly 1,100 homes and businesses in the cities of Louisville, Superior and unincorporated Boulder County. One person was killed and tens of thousands of people were displaced. Three months later and many are fighting to rebuild their lives amid delays and gaps in insurance coverage and building regulations.

Last Thing: The Irish Lake Dispute That Won’t Go Away

Tom Carney, on the makeshift road that maintains access to his house.  Gate, trees and his farm submerged for six years
Tom Carney on the makeshift path that maintains access to his house. Photography: Lisa O’Carroll

It is the disappearing lake that has stopped disappearing. Lough Funshinagh in the west of Ireland used to drain through a ‘swallow hole’, as if someone had pulled a plug from a toilet, but for an unknown reason nature’s pipe broke, flooding an area believed to be which is twice the normal size of the lake. and threatening homes and livelihoods. Now the lake is in the center of is a bitter environmental legal fight.

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