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Russian Plot to kill Zelensky foiled

The Ukrainian security service (SBU) says it has foiled a Russian plot to assassinate President Volodymyr Zelensky and other high-ranking Ukrainian officials, reported British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). Two colonels of the Ukrainian government protection unit have been arrested in this connection. The SBU said they were part of a network of agents belonging to the Russian state security service (FSB). They had reportedly been searching for willing “executors” among Zelensky’s bodyguards to kidnap and kill him, said the BBC report. Earlier, the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs has put Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on the wanted list, reported Xinhua, quoting the ministry’s database. Zelensky is wanted under the article of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, the database showed, without offering further details on the crime.

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Carlton Band ‘Pop, Rock and a little Disco’ concert brings familiar music

Carlton Comprehensive High School’s band students will showcase their skills at a live concert titled ‘Pop, Rock and a little Disco’ on Thursday, May 5 in the Carlton Cafetorium.Carlton Band teacher Brenda Bernath said the students enjoyed last year’s concert, entitled ‘A Night at the Movies’, and this concert continues the rebuilding process for a young program.“We were graduating some key players, and with rebuilding the program after COVID, we knew the band would consist of a larger number of younger students,” Bernath said. “The pop/rock theme was different from the other themed concerts we have had. It was somethingthe students were interested in, and it was also manageable for them.”They then expanded the idea to include some more types of music. Bernath said that during practice she will often catch students singing or moving to the music.“Originally we were going to add some classics to the concert, but after going through music options with the students, Pop, Rock, and the Classics turned into Pop, Rock and A Little Disco,” Bernath said. “It is a very light concert with familiar tunes.”The students will also act as emcees for the concert. In keeping with the light and fun theme, and members dress the part rather than wear their formal uniforms. Bernath said the audience is welcome to join in by wearing their favourite concert t-shirt.“The formal attire just didn’t fit with the theme this year,” Bernath said. “We are looking forward to a fun night of entertainment.”The performance includes songs and medleys by everyone from the Beatles to Coldplay and an entire disco medley.Bernath said concerts like this are important because they are an opportunity to highlight all that the students have learned.“It is comparable to playing a game in sports,” she said. “We practice together as a team and then put it out there for others to hear. When students perform well, it instills a sense of pride and accomplishment while celebrating the success of the group. A band really is one big teamwith each student having a role (and an instrument) to play.”Bernath said band practices were not disrupted by the STF job sanctions. With band class scheduled during the regular school day, it was not impacted like other activities in the school.“However, extracurricular activities such as meeting with students and planning concerts, band trips, or even the division wide ExtravaBANDza has been a bit tricky. There have been many unknowns, so we continue to do our best to serve our students and their families,”Bernath said.The concert starts on Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Carlton Cafetorium and there is a silver collection and concession stand.michael.oleksyn@paherald.sk.ca

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Ireland’s non-binary Eurovision act wears trans Pride outfit as they secure a spot in final

Ireland’s Eurovision Song Contest entrant Bambie Thug exuded trans Pride in their on-stage outfit, as they managed to secure a spot in the final. The non-binary Cork native flew the flag for both Ireland and the trans community with their song “Doomsday Blue” as they took to the stage for the first semi-final in Malmo, Sweden on 7 May. The star took to the stage in a black feathered tutu, but left revealing the trans flag on their costume as a fire was lit around the stage – giving a nod to trans rights. The host, Petra Mede, later made a reference to this. X (formerly Twitter) was ablaze with reactions to their performance. Fans noticed that when the camera panned to Ireland’s corner, instead of holding the Irish flag, they held the trans flag. “bambie thug wearing a costume in the trans flag colours while singing avada kedavra” – the dark witches’ “killing curse” – “is actually chef’s kiss,” wrote one onlooker, while another added: “COMING BACK FROM MY LOCK IN ERA TO SAY BAMBIE THUG IS LITERALLY WEARING THE TRANS FLAG. BAMBIE THUG IS MY F**KING GOAT.” “As if I couldn’t love Bambie Thug anymore, they strip down to an outfit of trans flag colours,” said a third fan. “Ireland continues to be based with that trans pride flag! @Bambiethug,” wrote a fourth. Thanks to their stellar “Ouija-pop” performance, Ireland secured a place in the final for the first time since 2018. Their performance also marked the first non-binary artist to represent the country at the contest. Nonetheless, Bambi is aware that their finals performance will be watched by a huge LGBTQ+ following, including younger queer people looking for someone like them to admire. They told PinkNews in an interview: “I’ve had parents reach out about their non-binary children or their queer kids… representation is always important, [but] especially now. It’s not the safest world for non-binary and trans people, for any of our community.” The Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final is available to watch on BBC One and BBC iPlayer on Saturday 11 May at 8 pm GMT in the UK. In Australia, you can watch the final on SBS at 5 am AEST on Sunday 12 May, and later that morning on SBS On Demand.

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Jimmy Lai gave company to Hong Kong activist during 2019 protests as ‘reward,’ witness tells national security trial

Hong Kong media mogul Jimmy Lai transferred one of his private companies to an activist engaged in international lobbying during the 2019 protests as “a reward for his service,” a prosecution witness has said in the mogul’s national security trial. Royston Chow, a former executive of Apple Daily’s parent company Next Digital, began his testimony on Tuesday. He was arrested alongside Lai on suspicion of conspiring to collude with foreign powers in June 2021, but was granted immunity by the prosecution in February 2022 in exchange for testifying against the tycoon in the present trial and a separate fraud case. Wearing a navy suit, Chow told the court that he signed a document to transfer the ownership of Lacock Inc. to paralegal Chan Tsz-wah in December 2019, when the city was embroiled in protests and unrest. Chan, who was charged alongside Lai, was also a prosecution witness in the mogul’s national security trial. He pleaded guilty in August 2021 to one count of conspiring to collude with foreign forces. Lacock Inc, an off-shore company registered in the British Virgin Islands, was “owned 100 per cent” by Lai, Chow continued. The witness added that he was also the firm’s director. Chow said he was instructed by Mark Simon, Lai’s right-hand man, to transfer the company during a September 2019 meeting at Next Digital’s headquarters in Tseung Kwan O. But he said that he had no knowledge of Chan’s identity. “Mark Simon came to my office and explained that Chan Tsz-wah helped Mr Lai with some matters, therefore Mr Lai gave him the company as a reward for his service. I didn’t ask any further than that,” the witness said in Cantonese on the 71st day of the trial. The court previously heard that Chan connected Lai with the “Fight for Freedom, Stand with Hong Kong” (SWHK) advocacy group in June 2019 when SWHK needed a loan for a campaign to garner international support for the protests at that time. Lai, the 76-year-old founder of Next Digital and Apple Daily, is standing trial on two counts of conspiring to collude with foreign forces under a Beijing-imposed national security law and a third count of conspiring to publish “seditious” materials. He has pleaded not guilty to all three charges. Prosecutors allege that Lai, through Chan as a middleman, financed and instructed SWHK in requesting international sanctions against Hong Kong and China. Ex-employee The court heard on Tuesday that Chow joined Next Digital in 1993 as a financial controller and later became the media conglomerate’s chief operating officer. He told the trial that he was also the Next Digital’s chief financial officer between 2016 and 2020, and that he was responsible for overseeing departments including finance, advertising and logistics. He added that he was the shareholder and director of several of Lai’s private non-listed companies. They included DICO Consultants Limited (DICO) and Lais Hotel Properties Limited, two companies that that the prosecution said funded SWHK’s international lobbying campaign. “Mr Lai has many smaller companies,” Chow said. “Many of them I could no longer recall.” The prosecution displayed email correspondence between Chow, Simon, and several individuals who Chow said were DICO’s employees. The correspondence suggested that the transfers of Lacock Inc. and its associated HSBC account to Chan were completed in January 2020. ‘Frightened’ Before Chow addressed the court Tuesday, Chan completed his testimony after 13 days on the witness stand. The paralegal recalled a meeting with Lai in which he told the tycoon he was “frightened and wished to step back” in June 2020, when the Beijing-imposed security law came into force. But he said he was “convinced” by Lai during the meeting and continued international lobbying, adding that he joined the “US front,” a division of SWHK that pushed for US sanction acts on Hong Kong and China, shortly afterwards. Chan said, however, he could not recall any videos or articles published after the security law was enacted in which Lai called for sanctions on Hong Kong. The trial resumes on Wednesday with Chow expected to continue his testimony. Support HKFP | Policies & Ethics | Error/typo? | Contact Us | Newsletter | Transparency & Annual Report | Apps Help safeguard press freedom & keep HKFP free for all readers by supporting our team

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NYC Mayor Eric Adams donates $5K of own money to catch anti-Israel agitators who defaced World War I memorial

New York Mayor Eric Adams reacted with anger and disgust on Tuesday, after anti-Israel protesters vandalized a World War I memorial in New York City on Monday. The 107th United States Infantry monument, located along Central Park on the Upper East Side, depicts seven U.S. Army soldiers in the throes of battle in September 1918, as they burst through the Hindenburg Line — the last and strongest of the German army’s defense. On Monday, as anti-Israel protests were underway in the area near Hunter College and the star-studded Met Gala, demonstrators placed pro-Palestinian stickers on the memorial, spray-painted “Free Gaza” and burned the American flag at the site. Adams, whose uncle died while serving in Vietnam at age 19, offered $5,000 of his own money to catch the vandals. NYPD Crime Stoppers is offering another $10,000 as a reward. MEET THE AMERICAN WHO INSPIRED THE NATION IN TWO WORLD WARS: CHRISTIAN SOLDIER SGT. ALVIN YORK “We’re going to treat this crime with the seriousness that it deserves,” Adams said Tuesday in front of the monument. “I will not stand by while people desecrate memorials for those who fought for democracy and human rights. The right rights that they (pro-Palestinian groups) are calling for.” Video footage posted online shows a group of anti-Israel supporters placing a flag on the statue and using spray paint to advocate for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Fox News Digital has reached out to multiple veterans’ groups for comment on the matter. Officials noted that the memorial is different from most others, which generally honor high-ranking military officials. “This is a [monument] to the Doughboys,” said Zachary Iscol, commissioner of the city’s Department of Emergency Management, who was referring to the nickname for troops under Army Gen. John Pershing’s American Expeditionary Forces. COLUMBIA LAW STUDENT GROUP REPORTEDLY DECLARES NO JEW IS SAFE UNTIL ‘EVERYONE IS SAFE’ In an online post, Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., who served in Iraq and Afghanistan as a U.S. Army infantry officer, said the “terrorist sympathizers committed felony violations of the Veterans’ Memorial Preservation and Recognition Act by defacing this memorial to the 107th Infantry.” New York City Councilor Vickie Paladino, who represents a portion of Queens, said a friend cleared the site of “Hamas propaganda” and planted American flags. “He and another Veteran went into action as soon as images emerged of what had happened here. Sadly this is far from over,” she wrote online. The Veterans of Foreign Wars, an advocacy group with chapters across the country, pointed Fox News Digital to a May 1 statement on the anti-Israel protests. “The first amendment of the Constitution grants the rights of freedom of speech and of the people peacefully to assemble, the same rights members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) swore an oath to support and defend, said VFW Commander-in-Chief Duane Sarmiento. “We also support the rule of law in our country and those working to uphold it. Without them, segments of our population would have their rights infringed upon.” CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP Elsewhere on Monday night, protesters also put a Palestinian flag on a statue honoring Union Army Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman near Central Park. NYPD officers arrived and blocked the crowd while an officer climbed on a ladder to remove it. The monument was also defaced with spray paint. Three suspects are being sought for that alleged act of vandalism.

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Video shows gun-wielding Army vet storeowner scare off attempted thief

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Body of Last Missing Construction Worker Recovered From Baltimore Bridge Collapse Site

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Explosives will be used to free Dali cargo ship from Baltimore Key Bridge wreckage: report

Baltimore salvage crews will detonate explosives to free cargo ship Dali from the wreckage of the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge, according to a report. The explosion will separate a massive chunk of the bridge’s truss that’s currently lying on the bough of the ship, Unified Command’s Petty Officer Ronald Hodges told WBAL-TV. Officials determined that Dali’s crew — who have been living on the ship since the wreck — can remain safely on board and will not have to be evacuated during the blast. Hodges could not say exactly where on the ship the crew will hunker down. “What they’re doing are best practices and historic best practices, and the way that you remove large amounts of steel,” Maryland Gov. Wes Moore told reporters on Tuesday. “We know that as soon as that operation, that precision cutting is done, then we also have the tools to be able to remove that steel from the water, to safely refloat the Dali, and to reopen up the federal channel.” It will take several days to place the precision explosives on the truss, sources told WBAL-TV. Weather and tides can also impact the timing. Hodges said the media will be alerted 48 hours before the explosion. Unified Command has been using a giant hydraulic claw and precision-cutting tools to clear as much of the wreckage as possible. The Dali smashed into one of the main supports of the nearly 50-year-old bridge around 1:30 a.m. on March 30, killing six construction workers and blocking vital shipping traffic into the Port of Baltimore. The sixth victim’s body was finally recovered on Tuesday, officials announced. The body of 37-year-old Baltimore resident José Mynor López, was located by Unified Command salvage teams, who then contacted Maryland State Police and the FBI. “With heavy hearts, today marks a significant milestone in our recovery efforts and providing closure to the loved ones of the six workers who lost their lives in this tragic event,” said Colonel Roland L. Butler, Jr., Superintendent of the Maryland Department of State Police. “As we mourn with the families, we honor the memory of José Mynor López, Alejandro Hernandez Fuentes, Dorlian Ronial Castillo Cabrera, Maynor Yasir Suazo-Sandoval, Carlos Daniel Hernandez Estrella, and Miguel Angel Luna Gonzalez,” he added. Baltimore officials said last week they have targeted May 10 as the date to remove the truss, refloat the Dali and open a 45-foot deep channel to ship traffic. A permanent 700-foot wide, 50-foot deep channel would be open by the end of May, officials added.

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Transgender activists flood Utah tip line with hoax reports to block bathroom law enforcement

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Transgender activists have flooded a Utah tip line created to alert state officials to possible violations of a new bathroom law with thousands of hoax reports in an effort to shield trans residents and their allies from any legitimate complaints that could lead to an investigation. The onslaught has led the state official tasked by the law with managing the tip line, Utah Auditor John Dougall, to bemoan getting stuck with the cumbersome task of filtering through fake complaints while also facing backlash for enforcing a law he had no role in passing. “No auditor goes into auditing so they can be the bathroom monitors,” Dougall said Tuesday. “I think there were much better ways for the Legislature to go about addressing their concerns, rather than this ham-handed approach.” In the week since it launched, the online tip line already has received more than 10,000 submissions, none of which seem legitimate, he said. The form asks people to report public school employees who knowingly allow someone to use a facility designated for the opposite sex. Utah residents and visitors are required by law to use bathrooms and changing rooms in government-owned buildings that correspond with their birth sex. As of last Wednesday, schools and agencies found not enforcing the new restrictions can be fined up to $10,000 per day for each violation. Although their advocacy efforts failed to stop Republican lawmakers in many states from passing restrictions for trans people, the community has found success in interfering with the often ill-conceived enforcement plans attached to those laws. Within hours of its publication Wednesday night, trans activists and community members from across the U.S. already had spread the Utah tip line widely on social media. Many shared the spam they had submitted and encouraged others to follow suit. Their efforts mark the latest attempt by advocates to shut down or render unusable a government tip line that they argue sows division by encouraging residents to snitch on each other. Similar portals in at least five other states also have been inundated with hoax reports, leading state officials to shut some down. In Virginia, Indiana, Arizona and Louisiana, activists flooded tip lines created to field complaints about teachers, librarians and school administrators who may have spoken to students about race, LGBTQ+ identities or other topics lawmakers argued were inappropriate for children. The Virginia tip line was taken down within a year, as was a tip line introduced in Missouri to report gender-affirming health care clinics. Erin Reed, a prominent trans activist and legislative researcher, said there is a collective understanding in the trans community that submitting these hoax reports is an effective way of protesting the law and protecting trans people who might be targeted. “There will be people who are trans that go into bathrooms that are potentially reported by these sorts of forms, and so the community is taking on a protective role,” Reed said. “If there are 4,000, 5,000, 6,000 form responses that are entered in, it’s going to be much harder for the auditor’s office to sift through every one of them and find the one legitimate trans person who was caught using a bathroom.” The auditor’s office has encountered many reports that Dougall described as “total nonsense,” and others that he said appear credible at first glance and take much longer to filter out. His staff has spent the last week sorting through thousands of well-crafted complaints citing fake names or locations. Despite efforts to clog the enforcement tool they had outlined in the bill, the Republican sponsors, Rep. Kera Birkeland and Sen. Dan McCay, said they remain confident in the tip line and the auditor’s ability to filter out fake complaints. “It’s not surprising that activists are taking the time to send false reports,” Birkeland said. “But that isn’t a distraction from the importance of the legislation and the protection it provides women across Utah.” The Morgan Republican had pitched the policy as a safety measure to protect the privacy of women and girls without citing evidence of threats or assaults by trans people against them. McCay said he hadn’t realized activists were responsible for flooding the tip line. The Salt Lake City senator said he does not plan to change how the law is being enforced. LGBTQ+ rights advocates also have warned the law and the accompanying tip line give people license to question anyone’s gender in community spaces, which they argue could even affect people who are not trans. Their warnings were amplified earlier this year when a Utah school board member came under fire — and later lost her reelection bid — for publicly questioning the gender of a high school basketball player she wrongly assumed was transgender. Hannah Schoenbaum, The Associated Press

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