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    The president of Uzbekistan has backed off proposed constitutional changes that would have prevented a region from holding a referendum on splitting away from the country. A large protest against the proposed changes broke out in the Karakalpakstan region's capital on Friday. President Shavkat Mirziyoyev later met regional lawmakers and announced that a proposed new constitution would retain the region’s right to seek secession. He also imposed a nighttime curfew for the region lasting until Aug. 2. Karakalpakstan is a sprawling, mostly desert region in northwest Uzbekistan. Russian news agency Tass on Sunday quoted a National Guard spokesperson as saying no unrest took place during the first night of the curfew.

      Kathy Gannon has reported on Afghanistan for the AP for the past 35 years, during an extraordinary series of events and regime changes that have rocked the world. Through it all, the kindness and resilience of ordinary Afghans has shone through for her – which is also what has made it so painful for her, she says, to watch the slow erosion of their hope. Gannon says she has always been amazed at how Afghans stubbornly hung on to hope against all odds, greeting each of several new regimes with optimism. But by 2018, a Gallup poll showed that the fraction of people in Afghanistan with hope in the future was the lowest ever recorded anywhere. It didn’t have to be this way, Gannon says.

        Kathy Gannon has reported on Afghanistan for the AP for the past 35 years, during an extraordinary series of events and regime changes that have rocked the world. Through it all, the kindness and resilience of ordinary Afghans has shone through for her – which is also what has made it so painful for her, she says, to watch the slow erosion of their hope. Gannon says she has always been amazed at how Afghans stubbornly hung on to hope against all odds, greeting each of several new regimes with optimism. But by 2018, a Gallup poll showed that the fraction of people in Afghanistan with hope in the future was the lowest ever recorded anywhere. It didn’t have to be this way, Gannon says.

          China’s top diplomat has arrived on his first visit to Myanmar since the military seized power last year to attend a regional meeting. The government says it's a recognition of its legitimacy while opponents protested it as a violation of peace efforts. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will join counterparts from Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam in a meeting of the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation group in the central city of Bagan. The grouping is a Chinese-led initiative that includes the countries of the Mekong Delta, a potential source of regional tensions due to an increasing number of hydroelectric projects that are altering the flow and raising concerns of ecological damage. China has built 10 dams along the upper stretch of the Mekong.

            California voters will weigh in on seven ballot measures this fall. It's the fewest number to appear on a statewide general election ballot since 2014. Thursday was the deadline to qualify measures for the November ballot. One question was placed on the ballot by the state Legislature and six are initiatives that gathered enough verified signatures to go before voters. Voters will be asked to weigh in on issues including whether to enshrine the right to an abortion in the California Constitution, whether to expand sports betting and whether to set aside public school funding for arts and music.

              North Korea has slammed the U.S., South Korea and Japan for pushing to boost their trilateral military cooperation targeting the North, warning that the move is prompting urgent calls for the country to reinforce its military capability. Sunday’s statement comes as North Korea’s neighbors say the country is ready for its first nuclear test in five years as part of its provocative run of weapons tests this year. The Foreign Ministry statement took issue with a recent trilateral meeting among the U.S., South Korean and Japanese leaders, during which they underscored the need to strengthen their cooperation to deal with North Korean nuclear threats.

                Clinics are shutting down abortion services in Texas after the Supreme Court in the nation's second-largest state blocked an order that briefly allowed the procedure to resume in some cases. It's the latest development in legal scrambles taking place across the country following the reversal of reversal of Roe v. Wade. The Friday night ruling stopped a three-day-old order allowing abortions to resume up to six weeks into pregnancy. On Saturday, the American Civil Liberties Union said it doubted that any abortions were now being provided in the state. One provider, Whole Woman’s Health, says the ruling forced it to stop offering the procedure in its four Texas clinics.

                Russian forces are pounding the city of Lysychansk and its surroundings in an all-out attempt to seize the last stronghold of resistance in eastern Ukraine’s Luhansk province. The regional governor said Saturday that Russians "opened fire from all available kinds of weapons” in the last day.  A presidential adviser said its fate will be decided within the next two days. Ukrainian fighters have spent weeks trying to defend the city and to keep it from falling to Russia, as neighboring Sievierodonetsk did a week ago. Luhansk and neighboring Donetsk are the two provinces that make up the Donbas region, where Russia has focused its offensive since the spring.

                The Uvalde school district’s police chief has stepped down from his position in the City Council just weeks after being sworn in following allegations that he erred in his response to the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School that left 19 students and two teachers dead. Chief Pete Arredondo told the Uvalde Leader-News Friday that his resignation is “the best decision for Uvalde.” He was elected to the District 3 council position on May 7 and sworn in on May 31. The director of the Texas Department of Public Safety told a Senate hearing last month that Arredondo made “terrible decisions” as the massacre unfolded on May 24 , and that the police response was an “abject failure.”

                Fearing Russia might cut off natural gas supplies, the head of Germany’s regulatory agency for energy is calling on residents to save energy and to prepare for winter, when use increases. Federal Network Agency President Klaus Mueller urged property owners to have their gas boilers and radiators checked and adjusted to maximize their efficiency. Mueller told the Funke Mediengruppe, a German newspaper and magazine publisher. on Saturday that residents need to use the 12 weeks before cold weather sets in to get ready. He says families should start talking now about “whether every room needs to be set at its usual temperature in the winter, or whether some rooms can be a little colder.”

                Google will automatically purge information about users who visit abortion clinics and other places that could trigger legal problems now that the U.S. Supreme Court has opened the door for states to ban the termination of pregnancies. The company behind the internet’s dominant internet search engine and Android phone software outlined the new privacy protections in a Friday blog post. Other places Google plans to erase from location histories include counseling centers and fertility centers. The move is made as Google and other Big Tech companies face escalating pressure to safeguard the sensitive personal information collected through their products.

                Serbian media say one person has been killed and seven others have been injured in a clash between two groups of migrants stranded in northern Serbia while attempting to cross into European Union nation Hungary. The injured in Saturday's violence have been taken to a local hospital. Serbian media reports say they include a 16-year-old girl who was seriously injured. Thousands of migrants fleeing wars and poverty in Africa, Asia and the Middle East are stranded in the Balkans which is one of the major European routes for those trying to reach Western Europe.

                U.S. officials are testing a new wildfire retardant after two decades of buying millions of gallons annually from one supplier, but watchdogs say the expensive strategy is overly fixated on aerial attacks at the expense of hiring more fire-line digging ground crews. The Forest Service says tests started last summer are continuing this summer with a magnesium-chloride-based retardant from Fortress. Fortress contends its retardants are effective and better for the environment than products offered by Perimeter Solutions. That company says its ammonium-phosphate-based retardants are superior. The Forest Service used more than 50 million gallons of retardant for the first time in 2020 as increasingly destructive wildfires plague the West.

                The Supreme Court's ruling on carbon emission controls on power plants this past week has cast light on the world of federal regulation. The ruling is seen as a potential blow to the fight against global warming, and it may have broader implications, too. Federal regulations run through American life, touching on everything we consume, the air we breathe, the water we drink. Regulation has become the go-to way for presidents to make policy when they can’t get Congress to pass a law, as on climate change. Barack Obama and Donald Trump did it, and so does Joe Biden. But the court’s conservative majority said not so fast to Biden.

                The deadliest smuggling attempt in U.S. history underscores the limitations of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s massive border security operation. Texas is spending $3 billion on a mission that includes National Guard members, jail for suspects arrested on trespassing charges and buses to shuttle migrants to Washington, D.C. But the number of people found illegally crossing the nation’s entire southern border is around its highest in two decades. Abbott has pointed the finger at the Biden administration. This week, Abbott said Texas state troopers would begin additional inspections of tractor-trailers. State authorities haven't said how many trucks are being stopped.

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                Content by Brand Ave. Studios. The annual Amazon Prime Day is coming July 12 and 13, and per usual will offer discounts on many of your favorite things.

                Content by Brand Ave. Studios. The annual Amazon Prime Day is coming July 12 and 13, and per usual will offer discounts on many of your favorite things.

                Airlines worked Saturday to deliver luggage to passengers around the world after a technical breakdown left at least 1,500 bags stuck at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport. It was the latest of several tangles hitting travelers this summer. The airport operator said the baggage sorting system had a technical malfunction Friday morning that caused 15 flights to leave without luggage. The airport handled about 1,300 flights overall Friday, the airport operator said. It came as airport workers are on strike at French airports to demand more hiring and higher pay to keep up with inflation.

                Medication abortions were the preferred method for ending pregnancy in the U.S. even before the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. As more states seek abortion limits, demand is expected to grow. They involve using two prescription medicines days apart _ pills that can be taken at home or in a clinic. The drug mifepristone is taken first. It blocks the effects of the hormone progesterone, which is needed to sustain a pregnancy. Misoprostol is taken 24 to 48 hours later. It cause the womb to contract, expelling the pregnancy. Use of the pills has been increasing in recent years.

                Tourism is booming again in France, and so is COVID-19. French government officials have “invited” or “recommended” people to go back to using face masks but stopped short of renewing restrictions that would scare visitors away or revive protests. From Paris commuters to tourists on the French Riviera, many people seem to welcome the government’s light touch, while some worry that required prevention measures may be needed. Infections are rising across Europe and the United States, but government data shows France had nearly 1,000 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 per day over the past two weeks. Local officials are contemplating new measures, including indoor mask mandates, but nothing that would potentially curb economic activity.

                Pope Francis is urging the people and leaders of Congo and South Sudan to “turn a page” and forge new paths of reconciliation, peace and development. Francis issued a video message on the day he had planned to begin a weeklong pilgrimage to the two African countries. He canceled the trip last month because of knee pain that makes walking and standing difficult. In the message delivered Saturday, Francis said he was “greatly disappointed” by the turn of events and promised to reschedule “as soon as possible.” He sent his No. 2, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, to visit both Congo and South Sudan on the days the pope was supposed to have been there.

                Australia’s new government is putting climate change at the top of its legislative agenda when Parliament sits next month for the first time since the May 21 election, with bills to enshrine a cut in greenhouse gas emissions and make electric cars cheaper. Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen told the National Press Club on Wednesday a bill will be introduced to commit Australia to reducing its emissions by 43% below 2005 levels by 2030 when Parliament sits on July 26. Another bill would abolish import tariffs and taxes for electric vehicles that are cheaper than a luxury car threshold. Bowen says legislating the 43% target would create greater confidence.

                Abortion, guns and religion _ a major change in the law in any one of these areas would have made for a fateful Supreme Court term. In its first full term together, the court’s conservative majority ruled in all three and issued other significant decisions limiting the government’s regulatory powers. And it has signaled no plans to slow down. With three appointees of former President Donald Trump in their 50s, the six-justice conservative majority seems poised to keep control of the court for years to come, if not decades. Its remaining opinions issued, the court began its summer recess Thursday, and the justices will next return to the courtroom in October.

                The Texas Supreme Court has blocked a lower court order that had given some abortion clinics confidence to resume performing abortions. The order handed down Friday night by the state’s highest court comes just days after some abortion providers rushed to resume services. An lower court order issued this week by a Houston judge had reassured some doctors they could temporarily resume abortions up to six weeks into pregnancy. Before that, doctors across Texas had stopped performing abortions in the state after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and ended the constitutional right to abortion.

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