Saturday, April 01, 2023
The first group of chaplains to join the Ukrainian military’s command structure has graduated. Although chaplains have ministered to Ukraine’s armed forces for years, they worked as embedded civilians rather than as officers. Now, they will undergo a six-week training program and get inducted. The first group of military chaplains to fall under this new system began training Feb. 20 and had their graduation ceremony on Saturday at Kyiv’s 11th century Saint Sophia Cathedral. With Ukraine entering its second year of war against Russia’s invasion, the need for chaplains to support its soldiers is greater than ever. In their new assignments, they won’t use weapons but are expected to know general military concepts and tactical medicine, according to Ukrainian authorities.
For this year’s Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Target rolled out its first dedicated Ramadan and Eid, or feast, collection, including decorations. It’s one of the latest signs of big U.S. retailers catering to American Muslims. Many Muslim Americans welcome the recognition and applaud those retailers that are making it easier for them to bring home the cheer that publicly marks some other faiths’ holidays. Still, the issue of Ramadan decorations has in recent years sparked debates about inclusivity and representation versus supporting small, Muslim-owned businesses and commercialization concerns. Ramadan is a month of fasting, increased worship and charity. It’s also often a time for festive gatherings. Ramadan is followed by the Eid al-Fitr holiday.
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Unrelenting tornadoes that tore through parts of the South and Midwest have killed at least 10 people. The storms shredded homes and shopping centers and collapsed a theater roof during a heavy metal concert in Illinois. Emergency responders across the region counted the dead and surveyed the damage Saturday morning after tornadoes touched down into the night. They were part of a sprawling storm system that also brought wildfires to the southern Plains and blizzard conditions to the Upper Midwest. A coroner says the dead included four in the small town of Wynne, Arkansas. Other deaths were reported in Alabama, Illinois, Indiana and the Little Rock area.
A Taliban official says a women-run radio station in Afghanistan's northeast was closed for playing music during the holy month of Ramadan. During their previous rule in the late 1990s, the Taliban barred most television, radio and newspapers. They have not formally barred music since they took power again in August 2021. Sadai Banowan, which means women’s voice in Dari, is Afghanistan’s only women-run station. The Taliban official said Saturday the station broke laws and regulations several times and must accept the rules to reopen. The head of the radio station denies any music was broadcast.
Tensions have simmered between migrants and residents in Mexican border cities for years, with camps set up near crossings by those who can’t afford housing or who cling to hopes the U.S. will suddenly admit them. In Ciudad Juarez, constant new arrivals facing an indeterminate wait were already the subject of debate. The fire at an immigration detention center that left 39 migrants dead this week has only added to the strained situation. It's a city of 1.5 million, with as many as 25,000 migrants. Many border residents take pride in their cities as beacons of diversity and hospitality, but challenges mounted after the U.S. introduced a practice under which migrants were forced to wait in border cities for appointments to enter.
A mother charged with murder in the deaths of her two children is set to stand trial in Idaho. The proceedings against Lori Vallow Daybell beginning Monday could reveal new details in the strange, doomsday-focused case. Vallow Daybell is charged in the killings of 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow, and 16-year-old Tylee Ryan. She's also charged in the death of her husband's previous wife. Vallow Daybell has pleaded not guilty and her attorneys say she has an alibi. Her ex-husband told police she had religious delusions and a close friend said she referred to her children as “zombies” before they were killed.
Sixteen Alaska Native men are being honored for rescuing the crew of a U.S. Navy plane shot down over the Bering Strait by Soviet fighter jets nearly 70 years ago. The plane made a controlled crash landing on Alaska's St. Lawrence Island. The Alaska Natives saw the crash and eventually got all 11 men back to the village of Gambell alive, where they were treated for their wounds before being returned to Anchorage. The Siberian Yupik Eskimo rescuers received letters, but family members over the years said that wasn't enough. This week, the Alaska National Guard presented them with Alaska Heroism Medals.
Sixteen Alaska Native men have been honored for rescuing the crew of a U.S. Navy patrol plane shot down over the Bering Strait by Soviet fighter jets nearly 70 years ago. With that belated honor, The Associated Press is republishing its story filed July 3, 1955, from Oakland, California, detailing the arrival of seven of the injured Navy crew members who were flown from Alaska after their plane was shot down by Soviet MiGs the previous month. Four other crew members did not need to be transported for care, and all 11 survived after being rescued by Alaska National Guardsmen on St. Lawrence Island.
Norwegian authorities say they plan to evacuate an area in northern Norway where avalanches and landslides have killed four people. Norwegian police tweeted the decision was based on a recommendation from the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute and would affect several parts of the Arctic municipality of Tromsoe. Four people died and one person was critically injured in three separate avalanches in the area on Friday. A tourist group from Slovenia was caught in the middle of one avalanche, and one of the visitors was killed. Two new landslides were reported in the Tromsoe area on Saturday. Police advised residents and visitors to stay indoors, if possible.