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Russia's Duplicity, Haiti's Deadly Carnival, Chelsea's Racist Fans

UKRAINIAN FORCES PULL BACK
Ukraine’s government forces began withdrawing today from the eastern and key strategic city of Debaltseve, which has been under siege from pro-Russian separatists, Reuters reports. Semen Semenchenko, who heads the Ukrainian paramilitary battalion, wrote on Facebook that “the withdrawal of forces from Debaltseve is taking place in a planned and organized way.” But he added that “the enemy is trying to cut the roads and prevent the exit of the troops.”

  • But Mykola Kolesnyk, another pro-government paramilitary leader, told Ukrainian television channel 112 that not all troops were withdrawing. “We are talking only about units that are surrounded in populated areas in and around the town.”
  • The U.S. and UN have accused Russia of violating the Minsk ceasefire that became effective Saturday at midnight, The Guardian reports. “The idea that Russia, which manufactured and continues to escalate the violence in Ukraine, has tabled a resolution today calling for the conflict’s peaceful solution is ironic to say the least,” said Samantha Power, U.S. ambassador to the UN.
  • Pro-Russian separatists claim the Minsk ceasefire doesn’t apply to the city of Debaltseve, a rail hub that links eastern Ukraine’s two rebel-controlled regions, Reuters reports.

SNAPSHOT
Photo above: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire/ZUMA
Sky watchers were able to enjoy the stunning aurora borealis, or northern lights, Tuesday over Dunstanburgh Castle in Northumberland, UK.

PROSECUTORS INVESTIGATE SWISS BANKS
Officials in Switzerland have opened an investigation into suspected money-laundering by HSBC’s private banking subsidiary in Geneva, the country’s authorities announced in a statement. The bank’s premises were being searched this morning in the Swiss capital amid revelations that the bank turned a blind eye to illegal activities, the Swiss dailyLe Tempsreports. HSBC is currently at the heart of a vast tax fraud scandal revealed by “Swiss Leaks,” a journalistic investigation published Feb. 8 by several newspapers.

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Society

End Of Roe v. Wade, The World Is Watching

As the Supreme Court decides to overturn the 1973 decision that guaranteed abortion rights, many fear an imminent threat to abortion rights in the U.S. But in other countries, the global fight for sexual and reproductive rights is going in different directions.

"Don't abort my right" At 2019 pro-choice march In Toulouse, France.

Alain Pitton/NurPhoto via ZUMA
Hannah Steinkopf-Frank and Sophia Constantino

PARIS — Nearly 50 years after it ensured the right to abortion to Americans, the United States Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade case, meaning that millions of women in the U.S. may lose their constitutional right to abortion.

The groundbreaking decision is likely to set off a range of restrictions on abortion access in multiple states in the U.S., half of which are expected to implement new bans on the procedure. Thirteen have already passed "trigger laws" that will automatically make abortion illegal.

U.S. President Joe Biden called the ruling "a tragic error" and urged individual states to enact laws to allow the procedure.

In a country divided on such a polarizing topic, the decision is likely to cause major shifts in American law and undoubtedly spark outrage among the country’s pro-choice groups. Yet the impact of such a momentous shift, like others in the United States, is also likely to reverberate around the world — and perhaps, eventually, back again in the 50 States.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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