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Russian forces pound key cities in Ukraine.

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Reuters
The Reuters Daily Briefing

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

by Linda Noakes

Hello

Here's what you need to know.

The pope kisses a Ukrainian flag as he condemns "the massacre of Bucha", Oklahoma lawmakers pass a near-total abortion ban, and why manure is a hot commodity

Today's biggest stories

Oleksii Shcherbo, 98, walks past his burnt out house and a destroyed Russian tank in the village of Sloboda, outside Chernihiv, Ukraine, April 5, 2022. REUTERS/Marko Djurica

RUSSIA AND UKRAINE AT WAR

Artillery pounded key cities in Ukraine, as its president urged the West to act decisively in imposing new and tougher sanctions being readied against Russia in response to civilian killings widely condemned as war crimes.

Western sanctions over Russia's invasion gained new impetus this week when dead civilians shot at close range were found in the town of Bucha after it was retaken from Russian forces.

Authorities in the eastern Ukrainian region of Luhansk urged civilians to evacuate "while it is safe," warning that Russian bombardments could cut off escape routes.

India condemned the killings of civilians in Bucha and called for an independent investigation, having earlier declined to explicitly criticize the invasion of Ukraine by its long-time partner Russia.

Hungary's foreign ministry summoned Ukraine's ambassador over what it called offensive comments from Kyiv regarding Budapest's stance on Russia's invasion. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said yesterday that Prime Minister Viktor Orban feared Russia's influence and would have to choose between Moscow and the "other world".

Pope Francis condemned "the massacre of Bucha" and kissed a Ukrainian flag sent from the town where tied bodies shot at close range littered the streets after Russian troops withdrew and bodies poked out of a mass grave at a church.

Here's what you need to know about the conflict right now

BUSINESS

U.S. chipmaker Intel said it has suspended business operations in Russia, joining a slew of companies to exit the country. The company, which last month suspended shipments to customers in Russia and Belarus, said it has implemented business continuity measures to minimize disruption to its global operations.

The Russian finance ministry said it had to pay roubles to holders of its dollar-denominated Eurobonds maturing in 2022 and 2042 as a foreign bank refused to process Russia's order to pay $649.2 million to holders of its debt.

U.S. stock buybacks appear to be hitting new records as companies head into quarterly earnings season, even as some investors worry about the growing threat of inflation, a potential recession and stagnant share prices.

U.S. oil executives will tell Congress today they are boosting energy output and no one company sets the price of gasoline, according to pre-released written testimony, as they defend charges by lawmakers of gouging with high fuel prices.

For nearly two decades, Abe Sandquist has used every marketing tool he can think of to sell the back end of a cow. Poop, after all, needs to go somewhere. Now, facing a global shortage of commercial fertilizers made worse by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, more U.S. growers are knocking on his door.

A man helps a woman to consume a packet of traditional Chinese medicine as she sits by the side of a road in Shanghai, April 5, 2022. REUTERS/Aly Song


WORLD

Shanghai made concessions on an unpopular COVID isolation policy that has separated children from their parents and sparked a public outcry, but extended a citywide lockdown that has left some residents struggling to buy food. Here's how China is relying on traditional medicine to fight the COVID surge.

Hong Kong Chief Secretary John Lee, a security official during the global financial hub's prolonged and often violent 2019 pro-democracy protests, said he had resigned in a bid to run in an election in May to become the city's new leader. Lee was among Chinese and Hong Kong officials sanctioned by the United States in June 2020 for what Washington described as their role in curbing Hong Kong's freedoms.

Sri Lanka's President Gotabaya Rajapaksa will not resign, a minister said, despite protests against his handling of the country's worst economic crisis in decades and as doctors held street protests over a shortage of medicine. In a stunning reversal, the protests have left the country's ruling dynasty teetering.

Peruvian President Pedro Castillo lifted a curfew order following widespread defiance on the streets, as protests spiraled against rising fuel and fertilizer prices triggered by the Ukraine conflict.

Greek workers began a day-long nationwide strike over what they call a "deepening crisis" of rising prices and squeezed incomes, disrupting transport, ferries, schools and public hospitals.

U.S.

The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to approve 'contempt of Congress' charges against Peter Navarro and Daniel Scavino, two former aides to ex-President Donald Trump, over their failure to cooperate with the probe into the Capitol riot. Trump's daughter Ivanka testified to the committee for about eight hours yesterday.

Oklahoma lawmakers passed a bill that would make it illegal to perform an abortion in the state except in medical emergencies, penalizing those who do with up to $100,000 in fines and 10 years in prison. Here's how states are taking sides on abortion.

Early voting began in Ohio for the May 3 primary elections, all but ensuring that voters will pick their candidates for the U.S. Congress using a Republican-backed congressional map despite ongoing litigation over its legality.

President Joe Biden's public approval rating rose this week to 45%, boosted by stronger support from within the Democratic Party, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll.

A 27-year-old man who was seriously wounded in a shooting in Sacramento over the weekend that left six people dead was arrested for illegal possession of a firearm and possession of a machine gun.

BREAKINGVIEWS

Agenda-setting insight from the international commentary brand of Reuters

Read Pierre Briancon on why Ukraine should be rebuilt without Russian money, Lisa Jucca on a Russian blunder helping Germany address its energy security headache, and Robert Cyran on how Elon Musk is fully cashing in on the Twitter hype.

Quote of the day

"Has it occurred to you that Russia has not overrun Ukraine because of what we've done? And our allies have done? Have you ever even thought about that?"

Lloyd Austin

In heated exchange, U.S. defense chief defends Ukraine response

Video of the day

Robot can peel bananas cleanly... most of the time

While the dual-armed machine is only successful 57% of the time, banana peeling points to a future where machines undertake more subtle operations than moving metal parts or delivering coffee.

And finally…

Tiger return at Augusta National has Masters buzzing

The Masters is always something special but add in a Tiger Woods comeback and the end of COVID restrictions and the year's first major is turning into a golfing celebration.

More from Reuters

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