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First Thing: Putin ties Ukraine invasion to second world war |


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Vladimir Putin has told Russian soldiers they are “fighting for the same thing their fathers and grandfathers did” as he used his Victory Day speech to tie the war in Ukraine to the memory of the second world war and justify his invasion.

Prior to the speech, foreign officials had said Putin could use it to launch a full mobilisation of Russian troops or formally declare war in Ukraine, but there were no large policy announcements.

Instead he suggested Russia was “forced” into the war by Nato and pledged to provide aid for the families of soldiers who had died in what the Kremlin is calling a “special operation”.

Speaking at the 77th annual celebration of the defeat of Nazi Germany, the Russian president launched a defence of his war in Ukraine, pivoting from a recognition of Russia’s “greatest generation” to a description of how it was believed Ukraine was being armed by the west for an imminent attack on Crimea, the peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014.

  • What did the G7’s statement marking the anniversary say? Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has brought shame on Russia and the sacrifices its people made to defeat Nazi Germany in the second world war, leaders of the G7 group of leading western economies said.

  • What else is happening? Here’s what we know on day 75 of the invasion.

Capitol attack panel moves closer to issuing subpoenas to Republicans

The US Capitol dome reflected on a puddle in Washington DC. Photograph: Shawn Thew/EPA

Members on the House select committee investigating the Capitol attack on 6 January are moving closer to issuing subpoenas to Republican members of Congress to compel their cooperation in the inquiry – though it has started to dawn on them that they may be out of time.

The panel is expected to make a final decision on the subpoena question over the next couple of weeks, according to sources directly familiar with internal deliberations, with House investigators needing to start wrapping up their work before public hearings in June.

While the members on the committee remain undecided about whether to subpoena Republican members of Congress, their refusal to assist the investigation has caused the sentiment to turn towards taking that near-unprecedented action, the sources said.

The shifting view has come as a result of the dismay among the members in January, when the House minority leader, Kevin McCarthy, and others turned down requests for voluntary cooperation, turning to anger after three more of Donald Trump’s allies last week refused to cooperate.

Canada and Mexico prepare to accept Americans seeking abortions

Pro-choice demonstrators protest in front of the US supreme court on 5 May.
Pro-choice demonstrators protest in front of the US supreme court on 5 May. Photograph: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

In the years before Canada’s supreme court legalised abortion in 1988, it was common for Canadians who needed abortions to travel to the US. “We had a network of people who could make referrals and help them get there [to the US]. If it’s necessary, that probably would happen again – but the other way,” said Carolyn Egan, spokesperson for the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada.

If, as a leaked draft decision indicates, the US supreme court votes to overturn Roe v Wade, many Americans in need of surgical abortion could be forced to travel not just across state lines but, once again, across international borders, writes Hilary Beaumont.

On Tuesday, Canada’s minister of families, Karina Gould, reaffirmed that Americans can access abortion services in Canada. “If they, people, come here and need access, certainly, you know, that’s a service that would be provided,” she told CBC News.

South of the US border, Mexican advocates are also preparing for an increase in Americans visiting to access abortion services.

  • How are GOP lawmakers prepping to ban abortion as soon as legally possible? Here is what Republican state lawmakers across the country are doing in the lead up to the decision to assure that abortion restrictions will swiftly go into effect.

  • What about the Democrats? Senator Kirsten Gillibrand called the battle over abortion rights in the US the “biggest fight of a generation”. The New York Democrat urged her party to stand up to Republicans seeking to abolish the constitutional right.

In other news …

Jill Biden greets Olena Zelenskiy, Ukraine’s first lady, outside School 6, in Uzhhorod, Ukraine.
Jill Biden greets Olena Zelenskiy, Ukraine’s first lady, outside School 6, in Uzhhorod, Ukraine. Photograph: Susan Walsh/AP
  • The US first lady, Jill Biden, made an unannounced visit to western Ukraine on Sunday, holding a surprise Mother’s Day meeting with the nation’s first lady, Olena Zelenskiy. She traveled under the cloak of secrecy, becoming the latest high-profile American to enter Ukraine during the 10-week-old conflict.

  • Polls have opened in the Philippines as the country decides its next president in a polarising race between frontrunner Ferdinand Marcos Jr, the son of the late dictator, and a human rights lawyer who has vowed to tackle old, rotten politics. Opinion surveys suggest Marcos Jr, known as Bongbong, is poised to win.

  • The torsos of two statues of boxers, dating back to the iron age, have been discovered at the Mont’e Prama necropolis in Sardinia. The latest finds, sculpted in limestone by the Nuragic civilisation, add to several other statues of boxers, wrestlers and archers dug up at the site since the 1970s.

  • The New York Times has removed the word “fetus” from its Wordle answers to keep the game “distinct from the news”, a move apparently related to last week’s leaked Roe v Wade supreme court draft ruling. The change caused confusion as it was only implemented for some of the game’s players.

Stat of the day: ‘Forever chemicals’ may have polluted 20m acres of US cropland, study says

A farmer preparing his field for spring planting near Marengo, Illinois.
A farmer preparing his field for spring planting near Marengo, Illinois. Photograph: Tannen Maury/EPA

About 20m acres of cropland in the United States may be contaminated from PFAS-tainted sewage sludge that has been used as fertilizer, a new report estimates. PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a class of about 9,000 compounds used to make products heat-, water- or stain-resistant. Known as “forever chemicals” because they don’t naturally break down, they have been linked to cancer, thyroid disruption, liver problems, birth defects, immunosuppression and more.

Don’t miss this: why do film posters for comedies always have huge red letters?

Film posters for comedies with huge red letters.
Film posters for comedies with huge red letters. Photograph: Disney

From The Nan Movie to Fun with Dick and Jane to American Pie to the Nutty Professor, ads for comedies nearly always follow one distinctive style. The titles are big and they are red. But who started the trend for big red titles on empty backgrounds trend and why is it red that tickles our funny bones? Amelia Tait looked into it and found that the humble bus shelter may have the answer.

Climate check: The growing scandal of fish waste

Roughly 100,000 dead fish dumped by a factory ship in February 2022 off La Rochelle, France.
Roughly 100,000 dead fish dumped by a factory ship in February 2022 off La Rochelle, France. Photograph: AP

Dumped at sea, lost on land or left to rot in shops and fridges, the global catch of fish is being wasted like never before – hurting not only the oceans but the nutrition of billions of people. Figures from WWF show that in 2019, at least 230,000 tonnes of fish were dumped in EU waters. But this figure is a fraction of an even larger global issue. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates 35% of all fish, crustaceans and molluscs harvested from oceans, lakes and fish farms are wasted or lost before they ever reach a plate.

Last Thing: Painting swapped in 70s for grilled cheese sandwich serves up windfall

American hot cheese sandwich. Homemade grilled cheese sandwich for breakfast.
‘It wasn’t just an ordinary grilled cheese. It was a great sandwich.’ Photograph: Elena_Danileiko/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Running a small restaurant in Ontario in the 1970s, Irene and Tony Demas soon learned the value of trading their dishes for the talents of local bakers, craftspeople and artisans. For an English painter with a predictable palate, the couple struck a deal: they would get paintings from him and his friends in exchange for grilled cheese sandwiches. By chance, that deal unwittingly netted them a painting by the acclaimed Canadian folk artist Maud Lewis – a work that nearly five decades later is expected to net more than C$35,000 (US$27,000) when it goes to auction this month.

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