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AP News in Brief at 6:04 a.m. EDT

Inside a Ukrainian brigade’s battle ‘through hell’ to reclaim a village on the way to Bakhmut ANDRIIVKA, Ukraine (AP) — The Russian bullet struck the sergeant just above the left ear. The leader of the Ukrainian platoon was down.

Inside a Ukrainian brigade’s battle ‘through hell’ to reclaim a village on the way to Bakhmut

ANDRIIVKA, Ukraine (AP) — The Russian bullet struck the sergeant just above the left ear. The leader of the Ukrainian platoon was down. Headquarters radioed a battlefield promotion to the private who had called him “brother” — a man known as Courier.

Courier knew the platoon's orders were to move forward through the forest, on the road to Bakhmut. He hesitated for 30 seconds near his mortally wounded commander. Maybe a minute. Then he decided: There would be no turning back. “Forward!” he howled.

He fired toward a trench just ahead until he was sure the Russians inside would never shoot again. Then the men stumbled through the charred spindles of trees toward the village of Andriivka — the objective of the 3rd Assault Brigade since the start of Ukraine’s counteroffensive this summer, about 6 miles (10 kilometers) south of the city of Bakhmut.

The sergeant, Gagarin, and other injured soldiers could only be evacuated after dark, because the Russians were also hunting downed Ukrainians. Days later, as he prepared for Gagarin's funeral, Courier predicted his own future, his pale eyes unfocused.

“This forest is taking our friends away, and this is the worst,” he said. “And when I think about how far we still need to move forward ... most likely someday I will be the one to remain lying in the forest, and my friends will just go forward.”


Talks have opened on the future of Nagorno-Karabakh as Azerbaijan claims full control of the region

Representatives from Nagorno-Karabakh and the Azerbaijan government are meeting for talks Thursday to discuss the future of the breakaway region Azerbaijan claims to fully control following a military offensive this week.

Nagorno-Karabakh authorities and the Azerbaijan State News Agency say the talks Thursday between regional leaders and the Baku government will focus on Nagorno-Karabakh’s “reintegration” into Azerbaijan.

The talks come after local Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh agreed to lay down their weapons following the latest outbreak of fighting in the decades-long separatist conflict.

According to the Azerbaijan State News Agency, a delegation from Nagorno-Karabakh, accompanied by Russian peacekeepers, arrived for talks in the Azerbaijani city of Yevlakh which is about 100 km (62 miles) north of Stepanakert, Nagorno-Karabakh's regional capital.

Authorities in the ethnic Armenian region that has run its affairs without international recognition since fighting broke out in the early 1990s declared around midday Wednesday that local self-defense forces will disarm and disband under a Russia-mediated cease-fire.


Under pressure over border, Biden administration to protect hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration said Wednesday that it was granting temporary legal status to hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans who are already in the country — quickly making them eligible to work — as it grapples with growing numbers of people fleeing the South American country and elsewhere to arrive at the U.S. border with Mexico.

The move — along with promises to accelerate work permits for many migrants — may appease Democratic leaders who have pressured the White House to do more to aid asylum seekers, while also providing grist for Republicans who say the president has been too lax on immigration.

The Homeland Security Department plans to grant Temporary Protected Status to an estimated 472,000 Venezuelans who arrived in the country as of July 31, 2023, making it easier for them to get authorization to work in the U.S. That's been a key demand of Democratic mayors and governors who are struggling to care for an increased number of migrants in their care.

That's in addition to about 242,700 Venezuelans who already qualified for temporary status before Wednesday's announcement.

The protections for Venezuelans are significant because they account for such a large number of the migrants who have been arriving in the country in recent years.


Wave of migrants that halted trains in Mexico started with migrant smuggling industry in Darien Gap

HUEHUETOCA, Mexico (AP) — Thousands of migrants riding atop railway cars in Mexico this week or waiting in mile-long lines by the tracks to hitch a ride to the U.S. have triggered the closure of one U.S. border crossing and forced Mexico’s largest railroad to suspend dozens of freight trains.

But the upsurge has also revealed a much larger phenomenon — an almost unbroken chain of migrants being shuffled from Colombia through the Darien Gap jungle into Panama on an industrial scale that could approach 500,000 this year.

Those migrants are then moving steadily without interruption up through Central America into Mexico and on to the U.S. border.

“Behind us, there are thousands more. It's continuous,” Juan Carlos Leal, a Venezuelan migrant who was waiting Wednesday with his 5-year-old son beside railroad tracks about 35 miles north of Mexico City.

He and other migrants waiting to hop passing trains — some while still running — in the Mexican town of Huehuetoca said 3,500 migrants are being moved every day through jungle camps organized by smugglers on the Colombian side of the Darien Gap, because that is the number of people that can fit in each camp.


Canada gets muted allied support after alleging India may have been involved in killing of Canadian

TORONTO (AP) — When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stood up in Parliament and said India may have been involved in the killing of a Canadian citizen, the muted international response offered a lesson in modern geopolitics.

India, it seems, may be too powerful to alienate.

None of Canada’s most important allies — not the U.S., Britain, Australia or New Zealand, all knitted tightly together in the “Five Eyes” intelligence-sharing alliance — echoed Trudeau’s allegations.

They’ve declared their concern. They’ve urged full investigations. But none have stepped up to condemn India for its alleged involvement in the June slaying on Canadian soil of a Sikh separatist, Hardeep Singh Nijjar.



Behind all the speechmaking at the UN lies a basic, unspoken question: Is the world governable?

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Work together. Go it alone. The apocalypse is at hand. But the future can be bright. The squabbles never cease, yet here are human beings from all across the world — hashing out conflicts with words and processes, convening under one roof, trying to write the next chapter of a common dream.

At the United Nations, “multilateralism” is always the goal. Yet so is the quest for a coherent storyline that unites all 193 member states and their ideas. Those two holy grails often find themselves at odds when leaders gather each September at the United Nations — a construct whose very name can be a two-word contradiction.

You hear a lot about “the narrative” these days in politics (and everywhere else). It's a way to punch through the static and make sure people are absorbing your message — and, ultimately, doing what you want them to do. But how to establish a coherent storyline when the very notion of many nations with many voices is baked into the pie to begin with?

Which raises the bigger question, the one that sits beneath it all at this assembling of people trying to figure out how to run their patches of the planet and be part of an increasingly interconnected civilization: With the 21st century unfolding in all of its unimaginable complexities and conundrums, with fracture and fragmentation everywhere, can the world even be governed?

“Yes, it can, but only in the sense that the world has ever been governed, including in this highly institutionalized and regulated world — that is, minimally," Jeffrey Martinson, an associate professor of political science at Meredith College in North Carolina, said in an email.


A grandmother seeks justice for Native Americans after thousands of unsolved deaths, disappearances

HARDIN, Mont. (AP) — Yolanda Fraser is back near a ragged chain-link fence, blinking through tears as she tidies up flowers and ribbons and a pinwheel twirls in the breeze at a makeshift roadside memorial in a small Montana town.

This is where the badly decomposed body of her granddaughter Kaysera Stops Pretty Places was found a few days after the 18-year-old went missing from a Native American reservation border town.

Four years later, there are still no answers about how the Native American teenager was killed. No named suspects. No arrests.

Fraser’s grief is a common tale among Native Americans whose loved ones went missing, and she's turned her fight for justice into a leading role with other families working to highlight missing and slain Indigenous peoples' cases across the U.S. Despite some early success from a new U.S. government program aimed at the problem, most cases remain unsolved and federal officials have closed more than 300 potential cases due to jurisdictional conflicts and other issues.

As she told her granddaughter’s story, Fraser pushed past tears and began listing other names among the thousands of disappearances and violent deaths of Native Americans and Alaska Natives.


Officers who put Elijah McClain in neck hold ignored pleas of 'I can't breathe,' prosecutors say

BRIGHTON, Colo. (AP) — Two Denver-area police officers who put Elijah McClain in a neck hold ignored his pleas of “I can’t breathe” before the Black man was injected by paramedics with a powerful sedative and died, prosecutors said Wednesday, as a trial began over the 2019 confrontation that became a rallying cry for protests and spurred police reform.

In opening arguments for the first of several trials stemming from McClain's death, lawyers for the two sides painted contrasting pictures of the fatal struggle after he was stopped by police in Aurora.

Officers Randy Roedema and Jason Rosenblatt approached McClain, a 23-year-old massage therapist, as he walked home from a convenience store carrying only a plastic bag with three cans of iced tea and his phone. A 911 caller had reported him as “sketchy.”

If prosecutors can convince jurors the Aug. 24, 2019 stop was unjustified, that would undermine any argument that McClain’s injuries were a result of the officers just doing their jobs.

Roedema and Rosenblatt are both charged with criminally negligent homicide, manslaughter and assault. They have pleaded not guilty but have never spoken publicly about the allegations against them. The trial is expected to last about a month.


No Labels push in closely divided Arizona fuels Democratic anxiety about a Biden spoiler

PHOENIX (AP) — More than 15,000 people in Arizona have registered to join a new political party floating a possible bipartisan “unity ticket” against Joe Biden and Donald Trump.

While that's less than the population of each of the state’s 40 largest cities, it's still a number big enough to tip the presidential election in a critical swing state. And that is alarming people trying to stop Trump from winning the White House again.

The very existence of the No Labels group is fanning Democratic anxiety about Trump’s chances against an incumbent president facing questions about his age and record. While it hasn't committed to running candidates for president and vice president, No Labels has already secured ballot access in Arizona and 10 other states. Its organizers say they are on track to reach 20 states by the end of this year and all 50 states by Election Day.

“If they have someone on the ballot who is designed to bring the country together, that clearly draws votes away from Joe Biden and does not draw votes away from Donald Trump,” said Rodd McLeod, a Democratic strategist in Arizona.

That's raising the stakes for Biden allies who are mounting a furious pressure campaign against No Labels and politicians taking meetings with the group.


Jeep maker Stellantis makes a new contract offer as auto workers prepare to expand their strike

General Motors and Stellantis announced fresh layoffs Wednesday that they blamed on damage from the United Auto Workers strike, and the labor standoff grew more tense just two days before the union was expected to call for new walkouts.

Stellantis provided a glimmer of hope for a breakthrough by giving the union a new contract proposal. However, a company spokeswoman said the offer primarily covered non-economic issues.

It was not clear whether the Stellantis offer would satisfy union President Shawn Fain, who vows to announce new strike targets on Friday unless there is “serious progress” toward agreements with GM, Stellantis and Ford.

So far UAW workers are striking at just three factories, one for each company. It's a novel approach for the union, which in the past has focused negotiations on one company and limited a 2019 strike to GM. Fain says his approach will keep the companies guessing about UAW's next move.

“He is trying to distinguish himself from the old leadership of the UAW,” said Harry Katz, a professor of collective bargaining at Cornell University. “He's different, he's tough, and he's trying to put pressure on the companies.”

The Associated Press