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‘Why do we deserve to die?’ The Hazaras of Kabul bury their daughters.

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KABUL, Afghanistan – One by one, the girls were led up the steep hill, their bodies wrapped in a ceremonial prayer cloth, the pallbearers staring off into the distance. Shouts of prayers for the dead broke the silence.

The bodies kept coming and the gravediggers kept busy, straining in the blazing sun. The relentless pace was grim proof of yesterday’s news: Saturday afternoon’s triple bombing at a local school had been an outright massacre, targeting girls. There was barely room at the top of the steep hill for all the new graves.

The scale of the slaughter and the innocence of the victims seemed more disconcerting proof of the country’s violent collapse, as the Taliban make daily advances and the government seems unable to stop their advances or protect its people from mass killings. On Sunday there were mourners everywhere in the neighborhood of the bombing, home to the persecuted Hazara Shiite ethnic minority, but with little security to protect them.

The death toll, possibly reaching more than 80 girls, surpassed even previous massacres in this bustling neighborhood of a minority long hunted by the Taliban and, in recent years, the Islamic State. Afghanistan’s second vice president, Sarwar Danesh, himself a Hazara, said more than 80 girls were killed in the attack.

After the US invasion of 2001, the Hazara were a minority making the most of the country’s new educational and business opportunities. and they make up a large part of the country’s generation of young technocrats. But despite everything, the Shiite Hazara became the preferred target of Sunni militants such as the new Taliban insurgency and ISIS.

They have grown increasingly angry at the government, accusing the security forces of standing on the sidelines while suffering horrific casualties. Now, on the brink of what many fear will become the return of the Taliban government in many areas, and a new civil war that some see as inevitable, the Hazara are increasingly determined to take their security into their own hands.

On Sunday, a wheelbarrow full of the girls’ bloody clothes, packed in plastic bags, was parked outside a mosque where the bodies had been brought. In another mosque, a basement room, crowded with black-clad women, echoed with muffled sobs. In a third mosque, grim-faced men huddled on the steps, muttering about taking up arms and joining forces with a Hazara chieftain named Abdul Ghani Alipur, who was fleeing the government.

Outside the metal gates of Sayed Ul-Shuhada High School, twisted by the blast, the remains of the girls’ final moments (smashed backpacks, charred notebooks, crushed sneakers, loose pages of notes) were piled up in a pit, scrutinized by silent onlookers.

Across the Dasht-e Barchi neighborhood on Sunday, grieving Hazara families buried their daughters, ages 11 to 18. Streams of mourners snaked up the area’s hills. The air was filled with laments for the dead who came from the mosques. Some girls were so disfigured by the blasts that they could not be identified Sunday.

There was a fear that the massacre was just a prelude.

“We can do nothing but cry,” said Jawed Hassani, a shopkeeper, outside the Imam Ali mosque. He said, “We support the government, but all we get in return is being exploited. These girls, they came from working-class families.” They have nothing. “

No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.

The government blamed the Taliban, who denied any role. However, the Taliban continually target the Hazaras for violent persecution. And they have a history of opposing the education of girls, especially adolescent girls. But some analysts blamed remnants of renegade Taliban who once asserted their loyalty to ISIS.

Whoever was responsible, they seem to have gone to the trouble of killing as many girls as possible.

First, a suicide bomber blew up a car filled with explosives at the school gates. When the students, all girls at that time, ran out of the co-ed school in panic and headed for the neighborhood of dusty streets, two more bombs exploded, killing even more. Almost all the victims were girls.

“Yesterday his dreams were shattered,” said Ghulam, a day laborer, who was preparing to cry at the Qamar-e-Bani Hashim mosque.

“Today we are going to bury them with thousands of dreams,” he said. “That is one of the poorest schools in the neighborhood. Those girls don’t even have 15 cents to buy bread. “

For the Hazaras of sprawling Dasht-e Barchi, home to more than a million people, the precise identity of the killers didn’t seem to matter much on Sunday. Their faces had the resigned look of the perennial minority persecution. They bitterly noted that, more than an hour after Saturday’s attack, it was difficult to detect a single member of the security forces in the vicinity of the school.

And they cited many of the other attacks they had been subjected to and the government’s repeated failure to protect them.

“They exploit us in the street, in the mosque, in the hospital, in the wrestling club, everywhere,” Kazim Ehsani said. the Imam of the Qamar-e-Bani Hashim mosque. “And yesterday when the attack happened, there was not a single police officer,” he said. “Now, there is a crowd and there is not even a security officer,” said the imam.

“People are collecting the bodies of their loved ones,” he said. “We are in a state of shock. Everyone is terrified. “

Everyone here can easily analyze the litany of attacks that Dasht-e Barchi’s Hazaras have suffered over the years.

“We have not committed any crime and now it has happened to us again,” said Mohammed Hakim Imon, one of the mourners.

“Why do we deserve to die?” I ask. “The people who commit these crimes are enemies of humanity.”

There was the last October attack in front of an educational center that killed 30, and the May 2020 attack on a hospital maternity ward in which 15 women died, both linked to the Islamic State. There was the September 2018 attack on a wrestling club that killed 20, the attack on the school that August in which 34 students were killed, and the 2017 mosque bombing in which 39 were killed. of the Hazara massacres in civil war-ravaged Kabul of the early 1990s by the forces of warlord Abdul Rasul Sayyaf and his ally, Ahmad Shah Massoud, now revered, not by the Hazaras, as a hero national.

The absence of government security forces on Sunday, despite funerals often being the target of extremists, led some to say the community could only rely on itself.

“If we want to protect ourselves, men and women must take up arms,” ​​said Ghulam, the day laborer.

The attack “forces the Hazaras to take up arms and defend themselves,” said Arif Rahmani, a Hazara member of Parliament. “If the government doesn’t like it, the people will stand up and provide their own security,” he said. “The Hazaras will have to make their own decisions,” he said. “There will be armed men on every corner and street in your neighborhood.”

Outside the school on Sunday, a crowd surrounded an elderly man yelling, “God, please help us!” A man listening said: “The only option is to take up arms. We just buried an 11-year-old girl. What is your crime? “

The man, Qasim Hassani, a vendor, continued: “If the government doesn’t stop these terrorists from entering our neighborhoods, we will. Today I am just a salesperson. But if they keep pushing, I will be the next Alipur. “

President Ashraf Ghani proclaimed Tuesday a national day of mourning for the victims.

The blast was so powerful that it shattered shop windows a considerable distance down the street.

“It’s scary,” said Naugiz Almadi, a mother hugging her young daughter outside of school. “The Hazaras have nothing to protect them. Only God.”

Fatima Faizi contributed reporting.

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Apple Daily Executives Face National Security Charges in Hong Kong Court | Hong Kong protests news

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Two newspaper officials are accused of collusion with foreign powers, which raises alarm about the freedom of the media in the financial center.

Crowds gathered outside a Hong Kong court early Saturday when two executives of the pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily face a charge under the city’s national security law, in a case that has drawn international condemnation. .

Editor-in-chief Ryan Law, 47, and CEO Cheung Kim-hung, 59, were among five Apple Daily executives arrested Thursday when 500 police officers raided the outlet’s newsroom, which authorities described like a “crime scene”.

The two arrived in a police van before the hearing.

Both are accused of collusion with foreign powers, raising alarm over media freedom in the financial center as authorities intensify repression under controversial legislation.

The other three, COO Chow Tat-kuen, Deputy Editor-in-Chief Chan Puiman and Executive Editor-in-Chief Cheung Chi-wai, were released on bail Friday night, according to Apple Daily.

“I have already left Apple Daily for personal and security reasons,” said Chan, 37, a former Apple Daily reporter.

“I hope the two defendants can think of themselves first. They also have their families. I worked with them before. We are like friends.”

‘Without fear, keep fighting’

The National Security Act imposed by Beijing in 2020 on the former British colony has brought an authoritarian tone to most aspects of life in Hong Kong, including education and the arts.

It punishes what Beijing broadly refers to as secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces with up to life in prison.

Police said dozens of newspaper articles were suspected of violating national security law, the first time media articles have been cited as potentially contrary to the law.

Crowds gathered at dawn Saturday in front of the West Kowloon Magistrates Courts, some with yellow umbrellas or Apple Daily T-shirts saying, “Fear not, keep fighting.”

“Right now, they can charge you with NSL for a word or speech that they didn’t like. It’s a huge regression, ”said Lo, 29, a 26-year-old reader of the popular newspaper.

The arrests and the scale of the Apple Daily raid have been criticized by Western nations, global rights groups, press associations and the UN’s chief spokesperson for human rights.

Apple Daily and its listed publisher, Next Digital, have come under increasing pressure since their owner, pro-democracy activist and staunch critic of Beijing, Jimmy Lai, was arrested last year in under the legislation.

Lai, whose assets have been frozen under security law, is already in jail for participating in unauthorized meetings and awaiting trial in his national security case.

As investigations of Apple Daily and its top executives mount, some employees and observers have expressed growing concern about the future of the newspaper.

Since Beijing imposed the law in June last year, more than 100 people have been arrested, and most have been denied bail.

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UN condemns Myanmar military for coup

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UN condemns Myanmar military for coup

The United Nations General Assembly on Friday adopted a resolution rebuking the Myanmar military and demanding an end to its five-month coup.

“A system based on brutality and bloodshed will not survive. It is not too late for the military to reverse the negative trajectory on the ground, exercise restraint and respect the will of its own people. We must speak out for those who have been silenced, detained, injured or killed. We must be fervent defenders of the protection of all fundamental human rights, including the rights to freedom of expression, access to information and peaceful assembly, which have been repeatedly violated by the military authorities. “” Time is of the essence. The opportunity to reverse the military takeover is shrinking and the regional threat is increasing. Attempts to discredit democratically elected leaders and eliminate a party that has obtained a large majority in two consecutive general elections, the silencing of free media and the arrests of journalists, nationals and foreigners, as well as blocking access to the information, fundamentally indicate a deviation of democratic space. Any sustainable peace must reflect the will of the people. Any transition out of this crisis will present an opportunity to reshape Myanmar society free from ethnic divisions and a more inclusive constitutional and legal framework that places the armed forces under civilian control.

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UN fails to call for a global arms embargo against Myanmar | United Nations News

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The UN General Assembly has fallen short of calling for a global arms embargo against Myanmar’s military, even as it took the rare step of urging member states to “prevent the flow of weapons” into the violence-ravaged country after the coup of February 1.

The resolution condemning the coup also demands that the military “immediately stop all violence against peaceful protesters.”

It was approved on Friday by 119 countries, 36 of which abstained, including China, Myanmar’s main ally. Only one country, Belarus, voted against. It was sponsored by 50 countries.

“We must advocate for the protection of all fundamental human rights, including freedom of expression, access to information and peaceful assembly, which have been repeatedly violated by the military in Myanmar,” said Volkan Bozkir, President of the 75th Assembly. UN General of Turkey, in a statement.

At the meeting, UN special envoy for Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener, also warned the 193-member body that “the risk of a large-scale civil war is real” in the country.

“Time is of the essence. The opportunity to reverse the military takeover is shrinking,” Schraner Burgener said after the General Assembly adopted the non-binding resolution.

Hundreds of thousands of refugees are currently fleeing violence in the country following clashes between the army and ethnic groups.

The vote came on the same day that the Security Council was holding informal talks on the situation in the Southeast Asian nation, where the military deposed civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi in February.

The resolution was not passed by consensus, as expected, but rather through a vote, forcing all 193 UN countries to reveal their views.

On a whim of history, Myanmar’s envoy to the world body, Kyaw Moe Tun, voted in favor of the text. He has passionately rejected the coup and has set aside claims by the military that he no longer represents Myanmar. The United Nations still considers him the legitimate envoy.

After the vote, the diplomat regretted that the Assembly took three months to pass the resolution and that it was not more explicit about an arms embargo.

“The military is still operating in its own twisted reality,” while ignoring calls to stop the violence, “he said.

“People inside and outside the country are determined to stop the illegal military regime and restore democracy.”

‘Weird’ move

Among the countries that abstained were Russia, Mali, where a second military coup recently took place in less than a year, Iran, Egypt, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand.

UN special envoy for Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener, warned the UN that “the risk of a full-scale civil war is real” in the country after the February 1 coup. [Stringer/Reuters]

The UN General Assembly rarely adopts resolutions condemning military coups or calling for limits on the weapons supplied to the target country.

“It is the most comprehensive and universal condemnation of the situation in Myanmar to date,” said Olof Skoog, European Union ambassador to the UN.

“The EU is proud of the resolution just passed by the UN General Assembly. Send a strong and powerful message. It delegitimizes the military junta, condemns its abuses and violence against its own people and shows its isolation in the eyes of the world, ”he said.

The resolution also calls for the restoration of democracy in Myanmar and the release of all detained civilian leaders.

“It is absolutely necessary to create the conditions for democracy to be restored,” UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said before the vote on the resolution, waiting for a “very clear message” from the General Assembly.

‘Do the obvious’

It calls for the implementation of a five-point plan drawn up by ASEAN in April that includes the appointment of an envoy from the bloc.

The text also asks the military to allow the UN representative, Burgener, to visit the country and the safe passage of humanitarian aid.

Burgener briefed the Security Council during its closed-door meeting on Myanmar on Friday. A joint statement was not adopted at that meeting due to persistent divisions among its members, diplomats told AFP.

The Assembly resolution “calls on UN member states to do the obvious: stop providing weapons to Myanmar,” Human Rights Watch said.

“Months of atrocities and gross human rights abuses by the junta’s security forces have shown time and again why no government should send a single bullet to them. The UN Security Council should now step forward and pass its own resolution imposing a global arms embargo on Myanmar, ”said Louis Charbonneau, UN director at HRW.

The resolution is an opportunity “to show that the world stands with the people of Myanmar, and not with the military” who “committed horrible acts of violence against ordinary civilians,” said British Ambassador to the UN Barbara Woodward.

More than 860 civilians have died in Myanmar since the coup, according to the UN and the Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners (AAPP).

On Friday, two people were killed when a military truck exploded in one of the two explosions near an office of an army-backed political party in the country’s largest city, Yangon. Local media reported, and a senior rescue official said six other people were injured.

There were also reports of a huge fire in Monywa, the largest city in the Sagaing region, although the cause of the incident was not immediately determined.

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EXPLANATOR: What is the Catholic Communion controversy?

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A committee of Catholic bishops in the United States is getting to work on a policy document that has sparked controversy among colleagues before even a word has been written.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops overwhelmingly approved the writing of a document “on the meaning of the Eucharist in the life of the Church” that some bishops hope will be a reprimand for politicians who support the right to abortion but continue to receive Communion.

The 168-55 vote to proceed, vehemently opposed by a minority of bishops amid heated debate during virtual meetings, came despite calls from the Vatican for a more cautious and collegiate approach.

Here’s a look at what happened and what’s to come:

IS IT ADDRESSED TO PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN?

USCCB doctrinal committee chair Bishop Kevin Rhoades says no decisions have been made on the final content of the proposed document, but he will not mention Biden or others by name. And it will offer guidelines, it will not establish a mandatory national policy.

However, several bishops on both sides acknowledge the political importance of the document and say that it is inevitably about the president. Supporters say a strong reprimand from Biden is needed because of his recent actions to protect and expand access to abortion, while opponents warn that by doing so they risk being perceived as a partisan force.

“It’s pretty clear that for many bishops, much of the impact is political,” said William Cavanaugh, a professor of Catholic studies at DePaul University in Chicago. “Some of them say this is not about Joe Biden, but in the comments the bishops made at that Zoom session, a lot of them mentioned Biden and revealed the game.”

Biden is the nation’s second Catholic president and the first to take office since abortion became a major political issue. He supports the legality of abortion, while Catholic bishops have long made its abolition a primary political goal.

The issue is particularly important with Biden because he has long been very public in his devotion, fluent in the language of faith and regularly attending mass even on busy days like his own inauguration and the recent G-7 summit. in Great Britain.

WHAT DO BIDEN AND OTHER CATHOLIC DEMOCRATS SAY?

“It’s a private matter, and I don’t think it’s going to happen,” the president said when asked at the White House on Friday.

Sixty Catholic Democrats in Congress signed a letter to the bishops saying: “We solemnly urge you not to go ahead and deny this sacrament, the most sacred of all, the source and the summit of all gospel work on one subject.”

They said they are inspired by Catholic social doctrine to serve those most in need and promote alternatives to abortion. They added that the “arming” of the Communion for those who support abortion rights is inconsistent, since the bishops have not targeted Catholic politicians who endorse other policies that contradict the teachings of the church, such as the death penalty or the positions of hardline immigration and asylum.

WHAT IS THE POSITION OF THE BISHOPS ON THAT?

In a document titled Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, last updated in 2019, the U.S. bishops set out their official teachings on the political responsibilities of Catholics. He cites a wide range of political concerns, but also prioritizes abortion.

“The threat of abortion remains our top priority because it directly attacks life itself, because it takes place within the family sanctuary and because of the number of lives destroyed,” it reads. “At the same time, we cannot rule out or ignore other serious threats to human life and dignity such as racism, the environmental crisis, poverty and the death penalty.”

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The bishops also deplore the “inhumane treatment” and family separations of immigrants, as well as “gun violence, xenophobia, capital punishment and other problems that affect human life and dignity.”

But it is much less common for bishops to discuss the denial of communion on issues other than abortion.

CAN THE BARRIER OF THE CONFERENCE OF BISHOPS BUILD COMMUNION?

No. Only the local bishop where he goes to church can do that. Cardinal Wilton Gregory, Archbishop of Washington, has made it clear that Biden is welcome to receive Communion in the churches of the archdiocese.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

The USCCB Committee on Doctrine will spend the next few months preparing a preliminary document.

At the next national meeting of bishops in November, which is expected to take place in person in Baltimore, the bishops will have the opportunity to offer amendments. For adoption, the final draft would require the approval of two-thirds of the bishops, and then the Vatican itself.

During the debate at this week’s meeting, several bishops suggested meeting regionally in the coming months to discuss their differences face-to-face.

Rhoades indicated that his committee could begin work soon on the uncontroversial sections and await input from regional meetings on the most contentious parts.

___

The Associated Press religious coverage is supported by the Lilly Endowment through The Conversation US. The AP is solely responsible for this content.

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Conservative activists boo Pence at Florida conference

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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – Some attendees at a Florida conference for conservative activists interrupted former Vice President Mike Pence during a speech Friday.

Some attendees shouted, “Traitor!” As Pence spoke at the Policy Conference of the Coalition for Faith and Freedom on the Road to the Majority at a resort in Orlando. Pence ignored the screams and reviewed their address.

“It’s great to be back with so many patriots, dedicated to faith and freedom and the path to the majority!” Said Pence.

At least one of those who interrupted was removed for safety, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

Many supporters of former President Donald Trump have been angry at Pence after the former vice president said he did not have the power to overturn Democrat Joe Biden’s election victory. During the assault on the Capitol on January 6, angry protesters chanted, “Hang Mike Pence!”

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Virus cases reappear in Russia, many of the Delta variant.

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Russia is once again in the grip of a wave of viruses, despite months of assurances from the government of President Vladimir V. Putin that the worst of the pandemic is over. The spiraling outbreak has come as a surprise, even in the words of the top officials behind those assurances.

Russian virologists say that the Delta variant, which was first found in India, is now the most prevalent version in Moscow. The rapidly increasing number of cases put Russia at risk of following the path of other countries like India that appeared to have quelled infections only to see a resurgence.

The outbreak is most pronounced in Moscow, the capital, where the number of cases has tripled in the past two weeks, according to city officials, who have added 5,000 beds to coronavirus wards. Moscow’s health authorities reported 9,056 positive tests on Friday, the highest daily number for the city since the pandemic began.

Russia has reported 125,853 deaths from Covid-19 since the pandemic began, but statistics showing excess mortality over the past year suggest that the actual number is much higher.

Across Russia, only 9.9 percent of the population is fully vaccinated, although last summer Russia claimed to be the first country in the world to approve a vaccine. By comparison, 44 percent of Americans are fully vaccinated.

Cases increased slowly during the spring and then increased this month. And during the winter, little was done to encourage Russians to get vaccinated.

In fact, to avoid stimulating demand late last year, when vaccines were in short supply, Putin delayed his own inoculation until March, although in terms of age he qualified months earlier, the Kremlin press office said. He did not receive it on camera.

Today, skepticism persists even though vaccines are widely available. The Levada Center, a polling agency, surveyed Russian attitudes on vaccination in April and found that 62 percent did not intend to receive a Russian-made vaccine, all of which is available in Russia.

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11 U.S. mayors pledge to develop repair pilot projects

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SACRAMENTO, California (AP) – Eleven U.S. mayors, from Los Angeles to tiny Tullahassee, Oklahoma, pledged to pay slavery reparations to a small group of black residents in their cities, saying their goal is to set an example by federal government on how the national program might work.

The mayors had no details on how much it would cost, who would pay for it, or how people would be chosen. All those details would be worked out with the help of local commissions made up of representatives of black-led organizations created to advise the mayor of each city. But mayors say they are committed to paying for repairs rather than just talking about them.

“African Americans don’t need another study that’s on a shelf,” said St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones, the city’s first black mayor and a member of the group. “We need decisive action to address the racial wealth gap holding communities back across our country.”

The effort comes as June 16, which marks the end of slavery in the United States, has become a federal holiday. President Joe Biden signed a bill Thursday that was approved by Congress to set aside June 16, or June 19, as a holiday.

Slavery officially ended in the United States in 1865 with the adoption of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. But its effects have lasted well beyond that, contributing to disparities in wealth and health between white and black populations.

Since 1989, legislators in Congress have presented a bill that would form a commission to study and develop proposals for reparations in the United States. But it has never happened. Last year, California became the first state to establish its own repair commission. That group held its first meeting earlier this month.

Friday’s announcement marks the city’s biggest effort to pay for repairs to date, but it isn’t the first. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted in march appoint a 15-member African American Reparations Advisory Committee. That same month, the Evanston, Illinois City Council, voted to pay $ 400,000 for eligible black households, as part of a commitment to spend $ 10 million over the next 10 years. Qualifying households would receive $ 25,000 to use for things like home repairs or making a down payment on the property.

Last year, the Asheville, North Carolina City Council, voted to approve the repairs in the form of investments in areas of disparity for black residents.

This group of mayors, nicknamed Mayors Organized for Reparations and Equity (MORE), is led by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock. Their stated goal is for these reparations programs “to serve as high-profile demonstrations of how the country can more quickly move from conversation to action on reparations for African Americans,” according to the group’s website.

“Let me be clear: cities will never have the funds to pay for repairs on our own,” Garcetti said during a news conference Friday to announce the group. “When city labs show that there is much more to embrace than fear, we know that we can also inspire national action.”

It is similar to the goal of another group of mayors who have experimented with guaranteed income programs, where a small group of low-income people receive cash payments each month with no restrictions on how they can spend it. The first such program was established in Stockton, California, by former Mayor Michael Tubbs, who is listed as a “member emeritus” of the repair group.

The other mayors are Jorge Elorza of Providence, Rhode Island; Steve Adler from Austin, Texas; Steve Schewel from Durham, NC: Esther Manheimer from Asheville, NC: Quinton Lucas from Kansas City; Darrell Steinberg of Sacramento, California; Melvin Carter of St. Paul, Minnesota; and Keisha Currin of Tullahassee, Oklahoma.

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Tullahassee, a small city of fewer than 200 in northeastern Oklahoma, is the oldest of the all-black cities to survive in the states that were founded after the United States abolished slavery. Many of the first black people to live there had been enslaved by Native American tribes that had allied with the Confederacy during the Civil War.

“Slavery has played a huge role in my family and in my community,” Currin said. “This program will show our community that we care.”

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Business

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India abstains from voting on UNGA resolution on Myanmar

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Entertainment

Entertainment35 mins ago

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Tech

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2022 Toyota Tundra revealed in first official photo

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Lifestyle

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15 naturally sweetened desserts for when you’re cutting back on sugar

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