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Ukraine’s energy facilities under Russian air raids

Energy facilities across Ukraine came under Russia’s massive air strikes early Wednesday, Ukrainian Energy Minister Herman Galushchenko said, reported Xinhua. The attack targeted power generation and transmission facilities in the central Poltava, Kirovograd, and Vinnytsya regions, the western Lviv and Ivano-Frankivsk regions, and the southern Zaporizhzhia region, Galushchenko wrote on Facebook. Equipment at three thermal power plants of Ukraine’s largest private energy company DTEK sustained damage during the attack, the company said in a statement. The air strikes marked the fifth attack on DTEK’s energy facilities in less than two months, according to the DTEK’s press service. Russia fired 55 missiles, including 50 cruise missiles and an aeroballistic missile, and 21 drones at Ukraine overnight, said the Ukrainian Air Force, adding that 20 drones and 39 missiles were downed by air defense. At least two people were wounded in the attack in the Kiev region, while another person was injured in the Kirovograd region, said regional authorities.

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April breaks global heat record: EU agency

The year 2024 has seen the warmest April ever recorded globally, the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) said on Wednesday, reported Xinhua. This April also marked the 11th month in a row that was the hottest on record, the agency said. The average global surface air temperature hit 15.03 degrees Celsius last month, 0.67 degrees Celsius above the 1991 to 2020 April average, and 0.14 degrees Celsius higher than the previous record set eight years ago. “The extra energy trapped into the ocean and the atmosphere by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases will keep pushing the global temperature towards new records,” C3S Director Carlo Buontempo said. In Europe, temperatures were 1.49 degrees Celsius above the 1991 to 2020 April average, with eastern European regions recording the highest increases. The findings are based on computer-generated analyses that include billions of measurements from satellites, ships, aircraft, and weather stations around the world. The global average temperature for the past 12 months was also the highest on record, at 1.61 degrees Celsius above the 1850 to 1900 pre-industrial average. “There is a general concern that the current record temperatures point to an intensifying dynamic of climate change and the associated global warming,” Andreas Becker from Germany’s National Meteorological Service (DWD) told Xinhua on Wednesday.

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UK to expel Russian defense attache

The United Kingdom (UK) is set to expel the Russian defense attache as part of a series of measures against Moscow, UK Home Secretary James Cleverly announced Wednesday, reported Xinhua. Cleverly told the House of Commons, the lower house of the British parliament, that the Russian defense attache is an “undeclared military intelligence officer.” “We will remove diplomatic premises status from several Russian-owned properties in the UK … which we believe have been used for intelligence purposes,” he said. “We are imposing new restrictions on Russian diplomatic visas, including capping the length of time Russian diplomats can spend in the UK,” he added. A Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said that the Kremlin will respond appropriately following the expulsion, according to Russian media.

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China-Serbia sign joint statement on building community with shared future

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic on Wednesday signed a joint statement on the building of a China-Serbia community with a shared future in the new era, making Serbia the first European country to build such a community with China, reported Xinhua. In the joint statement, the two countries decided to deepen and elevate the China-Serbia comprehensive strategic partnership. Serbia was the first Central and Eastern European country to become China’s comprehensive strategic partner eight years ago. “It is a strategic choice made by both sides to build a China-Serbia community with a shared future in the new era. Its goal is to realize the aspiration of the two peoples for a better life. Its foundation and driving force come from the firm support and extensive participation of the two peoples,” Xi told reporters during a joint press conference with Vucic.

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Storms claim 100 lives, damage 100,000 homes in south Brazil

At least 100 people have died and nearly 100,000 homes have been destroyed or significantly damaged from more than a week of record rainfall and flooding in south Brazil’s Rio Grande do Sul state, local authorities said on Wednesday, reported Xinhua. The National Confederation of Municipalities said in an update that overflowing rivers and floods in the state have affected around 1.45 million people and forced some 200,000 residents to flee their homes. Based on data from the Civil Defense agency, some 99,800 residences of all types have sustained either total or partial damage since the state’s worst weather-related disaster hit on April 29, according to the confederation. As many as 414 of 497 towns in the state, a top agricultural and livestock producer that borders Argentina and Uruguay, have suffered from the storms and declared emergencies. The confederation estimates the economic losses at 4.6 billion reals (about 904 million U.S. dollars), taking into account the damage to housing and public infrastructure, as well as agriculture, livestock, industry, commerce and services. In just one week, Rio Grande do Sul saw five months’ worth of rain, sparking unprecedented flooding.

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Washington police arrest 33 pro-Palestine demonstrators at GWU

Police in the U.S. capital of Washington, D.C. made 33 arrests early Wednesday at George Washington University (GWU) as they cleared the tent encampment there set up by pro-Palestinian demonstrators protesting Israel’s war effort in Gaza, reported Xinhua. D.C. Metropolitan Police Chief Pamela Smith told a press briefing that 33 arrests were made at the university in the city’s downtown for offenses including unlawful entry and assault on a police officer. Smith confirmed that police used pepper spray when they engaged the protesters outside the encampment, as the protesters tried to break police lines. According to Smith, protests on GWU campus were peaceful during the initial days after they began on April 25, but were assessed by the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) to have escalated on Thursday following an assault by protesters on a police officer performing her duties. “On Monday, MPD learned of more indicators that the protest was becoming more volatile and less stable,” Smith said, dynamics that led to Smith making preparation for the early morning dispersal on Wednesday. “We allowed protesters ample time to leave the area,” she said. “In total, there were six dispersal announcements before our officers took action.” Smith and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser were originally scheduled to testify at the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability in the afternoon about protests citywide, but the hearing was canceled following the arrests at GWU. Bowser told reporters at the briefing that she spoke with Committee Chair James Comer earlier in the day, and that the chair “expressed his interest in making sure the city and the chief could focus on this ongoing operation.” “I expect that the hearing will be pulled down,” Bowser added. The protest at GWU is part of the ongoing wave of pro-Palestine protests sweeping college campuses throughout the United States. Several universities, including Columbia where the protest first erupted, have either canceled or relocated their commencement ceremonies or other graduation events later this month due to the chaos on campus.

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House Rejects Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Effort to Remove Speaker Johnson From Office

More Must-Reads From TIME The 100 Most Influential People of 2024 How Far Trump Would Go Why Maternity Care Is Underpaid Scenes From Pro-Palestinian Encampments Across U.S. Universities Saving Seconds Is Better Than Hours Why Your Breakfast Should Start with a Vegetable Welcome to the Golden Age of Ryan Gosling Want Weekly Recs on What to Watch, Read, and More? Sign Up for Worth Your Time Contact us at letters@time.com

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IVF doctor used own sperm to impregnate patient lawsuit claims

A fertility doctor has been accused by twins of using his own sperm to get their mother pregnant using IVF, and they have sued his family’s estate for fertility fraud. Allison Vece and Kevin Phelps say that Dr Joseph Plautz impregnated their mother, Gayle Fedele, with his sperm around June 1984 in Clark County, Nevada. According to the lawsuit filed in the county district court last month, Ms Fedele first started seeing Dr Plautz that year when she decided she wanted to get pregnant but could not do so naturally due to her husband’s vasectomy. The doctor told the woman about artificial insemination and said he’d be able to obtain a sperm sample from the Rocky Mountain Sperm Bank in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The woman then told the doctor about the physical characteristics she’d like in a donor and the doctor said he’d take care of getting the sample. At no point did the doctor ask the woman to sign any forms about the authorization of the sperm sample, the lawsuit states. The doctor then gave the woman fertility drugs. Later that month, she told Dr Plautz she was ovulating and made arrangements for the insemination. When she came in to do the procedure, the doctor allegedly inseminated the woman with his own semen, the lawsuit claims. Not knowing what had happened, the woman continued to see the doctor for prenatal care and had him deliver her twin children nine months later. Dr Plautz remained the woman’s gynaecologist up until 2013. When her daughter, Ms Vece, turned 17, he performed the teenager’s first gynaecological exam even though he was her biological father, the suit states. As the child began to experience ongoing health issues, including severe headaches, Ms Fedele asked Dr Plautz for information relating to her sperm donor. The doctor told her that a fire broke out at the sperm bank and all the records relating to her pregnancy were destroyed. Dr Plautz died in 2015. In his obituary, he was described as a Navy veteran who served on a hospital’s board of directors and was a bishop in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was married twice and had 13 children, 31 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. In 2021, Mr Phelps received the results of a DNA test allegedly detailing that Dr Plautz was his biological father and the man’s children were his half-siblings. Still, Mr Phelps thought the connections were related to his mother’s sperm donor and did not question the results. It wasn’t until the Netflix documentary “Our Father” was released that Ms Vece asked her brother to see the results. The 2022 film is about Dr Donald Cline, a fertility doctor who fathered at least 90 children through alleged fertility fraud in Indiana. Speaking to KTNV, Ms Vece said that Dr Plautz worked at the same hospital as Dr Cline for 10 years. Upon seeing the results of the DNA test, she suspected that the relatives with the last name Plautz were likely related to the doctor both she and her mother saw. The woman then took a DNA test which allegedly confirmed that the doctor’s children were also her half-siblings and told her mother. Ms Fedele later contacted the sperm bank where the sample for her pregnancy came from. She was told that the bank closed in 2009 but that the facility did not have a fire when it was operational and no records were destroyed in a fire. The siblings and mother are suing on counts of negligence, liability, negligent infliction of emotional distress, intentional infliction of emotional distress and fraud, among other counts. The lawsuit argues that Dr Plautz’s actions are a violation of Nevada’s fertility fraud law SB309 and that inseminating a patient in such a way is a criminal act. Additionally, it states that sperm donors are required to undergo screening to detect and prevent hereditary and genetic health issues that could be passed down through pregnancy. The lawsuit states that Dr Plautz did not undergo such screening and his DNA contains conditions that could cause serious health conditions for the siblings and their children. The plaintiffs are seeking damages exceeding $15,000. It’s not clear if Dr Plautz’s estate has responded to the lawsuit.

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