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Global Citizen Live generates $1.1 billion to fight poverty

Stars raise $1.1B for poverty

Global Citizen Live, a 24-hour concert that featured performances from Stevie Wonder, Jennifer Lopez, BTS and Elton John and dozens of other stars, raised more than $1.1 billion in commitments and pledges over the weekend to fight extreme poverty.

Broadcasting from sites on six continents, including New York’s Central Park and in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Global Citizen also secured pledges from France for 60 million COVID-19 vaccine doses for developing countries and corporate pledges for planting 157 million trees around the world.

Vaccine pledges, which also came from the governments of Croatia and Ireland, followed numerous pleas, including from Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, onstage at Central Park on Saturday afternoon.

“This year, the world is expected to produce enough doses to meet the target of vaccinating 70% of people in every single country,” Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, said to cheers from the Central Park crowd. “But it is wrong that so much of the vaccine supply has only gone to just 10 wealthy nations so far, and not everyone else.”

The U.S. government pledged $295 million for humanitarian needs around the world caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Major philanthropic commitments came from the Lego Foundation, who pledged $150 million to support UNICEF and other partners working with children, and Rotary International, which pledged $98 million in grant funding in 2022.

The event featured numerous music collaborations, including Billie Eilish and Finneas joining Coldplay in New York and Charlie Puth joining Elton John in Paris, but joint efforts took places offstage as well. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) and a private foundation teamed up to launch a $50 million fund to support the United Nations Population Fund. The CIFF also committed $50 million to UNICEF to fund child nutrition projects.

Namati, The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation collectively committed $20 million as seed funding to launch the Legal Empowerment Fund, which they hope will help raise $100 million over 10 years to support the justice movement.

Hugh Evans, CEO of Global Citizen, told The Associated Press that the 24-hour event was needed because COVID-19 has erased decades of gains, resulting in 150 million more people in extreme poverty this year and 41 million people in Africa facing starvation. Evans says climate change is another global issue that threatens to push more people into extreme poverty.

During Global Citizen Live, more than a dozen corporations, including Proctor & Gamble, Starbucks, Delta Air Lines, American Express and Citi, joined the Race to Zero Campaign, which seeks to reduce net carbon emissions around the world to zero by 2050.

“Future generations will hold us responsible,” said Alok Sharma, president-designate for COP26, the United Nations’ climate change conference in November.

“Call on the richest countries to make good on their promise of money, to support developing countries deal with the impacts of climate change. And call on world leaders to deliver an outcome at Glasgow we can all be proud of.”



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Goats get loose in Atlanta's tony Buckhead neighborhood

Goats on the loose

A herd of goats brought in to clear weeds got loose Monday, briefly becoming a thorn in the side of Atlanta's tony Buckhead neighborhood.

Atlanta police responded after a driver called to report the goats were wandering in the road, news outlets reported. They had been brought in to eat weeds at a nearby Kroger supermarket but got free, according to police.

Television news footage showed them grazing outside a furniture store along a busy thoroughfare. They were eventually caught and removed.

Police said no one was injured.



Federal judges: NYC can impose vaccine mandate on teachers

Teachers must get vaccine

The nation's largest school district can immediately impose a vaccine mandate on its teachers and other workers, after all, a federal appeals panel decided Monday.

The three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan issued a brief order late in the day that lifted a block of the mandate that a single appeals judge had put in place on Friday.

After an adverse ruling from a Brooklyn judge, a group of teachers had brought the case to the appeals court, which assigned a three-judge panel to hear oral arguments Wednesday. But the appeals panel issued its order Monday after written arguments were submitted by both sides.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced in August that about 148,000 school employees would have to get at least a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccination by Sept. 27. The policy covers teachers, along with other staffers, such as custodians and cafeteria workers.

As of Friday, 82% of department employees have been vaccinated, including 88% of teachers.

But lawyers for teachers argued Monday in papers submitted to the 2nd Circuit that teachers who are placed on unpaid leave because they have not complied with the order will be irreparably harmed if the appeals court failed to block the mandate.

The lawyers wrote that the city's order will “leave teachers and paraprofessionals without the resources to pay rent, utilities, and other essentials. The harm is imminent.”

On Sunday, the city submitted written arguments to the appeals court, saying the preference by some teachers “to remain unvaccinated while teaching vulnerable schoolchildren is dwarfed by the public’s interest in safely resuming full school operations for a million public school students and ensuring that caregivers citywide can send their children to school secure in the knowledge that sound safety protocols are in place.”



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2 top Fed U.S. officials retire in wake of trading disclosures

2 top Fed officials retire

In a rare moment of ethical controversy for the Federal Reserve, two top officials resigned Monday in the wake of revelations about their financial trading that exposed potential shortcomings in the Fed's rules on investments.

Eric Rosengren, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, said he would step down this week for health reasons. Meanwhile, Robert Kaplan, the president of the Dallas Fed, said he would resign Oct. 8 to avoid becoming a “distraction” from the Fed's broader mission.

The two officials’ financial disclosures sparked criticism from government watchdogs after they revealed extensive stock trading in 2020, when the Fed was spending trillions of dollars stabilizing financial markets and boosting the economy. Because of their trading, the two officials could potentially have profited from the Fed’s actions.

Though the investments by Rosengren and Kaplan were permitted under the Fed’s rules, they raised at least the appearance of conflicts of interest, which Fed policy discourages. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, sharply criticized the trades and called for a ban on stock ownership by Fed officials.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell will testify Tuesday before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, which includes Warren, and will likely face questioning about the Fed's ethics rules. The resignations will give Powell a specific response he can point to, observers said.

“The departure of Rosengren and Kaplan should ease pressure on Powell, who notably failed to express confidence in the two presidents” at a news conference last week, said Krishna Guha, an analyst at the investment bank Evercore ISI.

The presidents of the 12 regional banks participate in the Fed’s private policymaking meetings, in which they discuss the central bank’s interest-rate policies and are privy to economic data not always available to the public. The Fed’s decisions can cause sharp swings in financial markets. So can the presidents’ speeches and comments to the media.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell said last week that the Fed would change its ethics policies in the wake of the disclosures. Yet the Fed may still face pressure to allow an outside investigation into whether the two officials, or any others, traded based on inside information about the Fed's actions.

“After this egregious breach of public trust, nothing but a full investigation and a referral to the (Securities and Exchange Commission) is acceptable,” said Jeff Hauser, director of the Revolving Door Project, a nonprofit group that monitors government appointments.

Last year, Kaplan made trades worth at least $1 million in 22 stocks and index funds, including Amazon, Chevron, Facebook, and Johnson & Johnson.

“The Federal Reserve is approaching a critical point in our economic recovery as it deliberates the future path of monetary policy,” Kaplan said in a written statement. “Unfortunately, the recent focus on my financial disclosure risks becoming a distraction.” Kaplan said he would resign Oct. 8.

Rosengren had invested in funds that owned mortgage-backed bonds, the same kind that the Fed has been buying hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth this year.

Rosengren said he became eligible last year for a kidney transplant and said the stress of working at the Fed during the pandemic recession worsened his health.

“It has become clear that I should aim to reduce my stress so that I can focus on my health issues,” he said.

Rosengren and Kaplan were not voting members of the Fed's policymaking committee this year, but they contributed to forecasts of the Fed’s interest rate policy, which last week showed the Fed was considering hiking its short-term rate, currently at nearly zero, by the end of 2022. That was a shift from June, when the Fed's projections did not show any hike until 2023.

Both are considered relatively “hawkish” policymakers, meaning that they often favor higher interest rates to counter inflation.

Powell's own financial disclosures show that he owned municipal bonds in 2020, even though the Fed began purchasing such bonds for the first time last year in order to stabilize that market. Powell, who was a private equity executive before being appointed to the Fed's board in 2012, said last week he had owned munis for years and cleared his continued ownership with the Office of Government Ethics.

At last week's press conference, Powell touched on a reason that these ethics concerns have flared: Previously, municipal bonds were seen as a safe asset for Fed officials to own, because the Fed didn't buy or sell them. Yet last year it did, and it also began buying corporate bonds for the first time.

The Boston Fed’s first vice president, Kenneth C. Montgomery, will take over as acting president and CEO. Dallas Fed First Vice President Meredith Black will become interim president.

Fed regional bank presidents are chosen by the six members of each bank's board of directors who are not bankers. Directors who are affiliated with banks are prohibited by law from participating.



GOP blocks bill to keep government going; new try ahead

GOP blocks bill

Republican senators blocked a bill Monday night to keep the government operating and allow federal borrowing, but Democrats aiming to avert a shutdown pledged to try again — at the same time pressing ahead on President Joe Biden’s big plans to reshape government.

The efforts are not necessarily linked, but the fiscal yearend deadline to fund the government past Thursday is bumping up against the Democrats’ desire to make progress on Biden’s expansive $3.5 trillion federal overhaul.

It’s all making for a tumultuous moment for Biden and his party, with consequences certain to shape his presidency and the lawmakers' own political futures.

Success would mean a landmark accomplishment, if Democrats can helm Biden's big bill to passage. Failure — or a highly unlikely government shutdown and debt crisis — could derail careers.

“You know me, I’m a born optimist,” Biden told reporters Monday, as he rolled up his sleeve for a COVID-19 booster shot. “We’re gonna get it done.”

Monday’s 50-48 vote against taking up the bill fell well short of the 60 needed to proceed over a GOP filibuster. Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer switched his vote to “no,” a procedural step to allow him to bring the measure back for consideration, which he said would happen this week.

With days to go, Democrats said they will try again before Thursday’s deadline to pass a bill funding government operations past the Sept. 30 fiscal yearend, stripping out the debate over the debt limit for another day, closer to a separate October deadline.

Meanwhile, the real action is unfolding behind the scenes over the $3.5 trillion measure, with Biden and his Democratic allies in Congress seeking a once-in-a-generation reworking of the nation’s balance sheets.

From fee pre-kindergarten and child care subsidies for families with small children to dental care and hearing aids for seniors with Medicare, there’s a lot in the president’s proposal — all to be paid for with higher taxes on corporations and the wealthy.

With Republicans solidly opposed, Democrats are rushing to trim the total and win holdouts within their own party.

As the overall price tag comes down, Speaker Nancy Pelosi told House Democrats the president is “working on a number,” referring to talks underway with the Senate, according to a person granted anonymity to discuss the late-evening private caucus meeting.

Despite the rush to amass votes, Pelosi said the House Democrats would not move ahead on a bill until it is acceptable to their colleagues in the Senate, the person said.

Exiting the caucus meeting, Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., the chairman of the Way & Means Committee, said as momentum builds toward Thursday, he was expecting a new total amount: “Let’s pop the number.”

Building on a separate $1 trillion bipartisan public works package that’s already cleared the Senate and is heading for a House vote, also on Thursday, Biden is seeking major spending for health care, education and efforts to tackle climate change. The total price tag, he contends, is actually “zero” — covered by the expected increase in tax revenue.

He is personally calling fellow Democrats in Congress an effort to resolve differences and bring his sweeping domestic policy vision forward.

Ticking off the weighty list of goals along with meeting the other deadlines, Biden said: “If we do that, the country’s going to be in great shape.”

Biden, Pelosi and Schumer conferred in the afternoon on the path forward and will “continue their close coordination over the coming days,” the White House said in a readout of the call.

But Republicans say it’s real spending that can’t be afforded, and a reflection of the Democrats’ drive to insert government into people’s lives.

And so far, the bill is also too big for key Democrats whose votes are needed in the face of the GOP opposition. Two Democratic holdouts, Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, have said they won’t support a bill of that size. Manchin has previously proposed spending of $1 trillion to $1.5 trillion.

Progressive lawmakers said they've already compromised enough with more centrist Democrats, but in one potential development, Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, confirmed she and Sinema have been in talks.

With all Republicans opposed, Democratic leaders can’t spare a single vote in the 50-50 Senate, relying on Vice President Kamala Harris to break a tie to pass the eventual package.

All this, as other deadlines swirl this week to pay for government operations and allow more borrowing or risk a devastating federal shutdown or debt default — though those dire scenarios appear unlikely.

The bill Senate Republicans rejected Monday night would have funded government operations temporarily, to early December, while also providing emergency funds for Hurricane Ida and other disaster relief and for Afghan refugees in the aftermath of the 20-year war.

Republican leader Mitch McConnell rejected that approach because Democrats also included a provision to suspend the debt limit, which would allow continued borrowing to pay off the nation's bills.

Once a routine matter, raising the debt limit is now a political weapon of choice wielded by Republicans to attack Democrats — even though both parties have been responsible for piling on debt.

"The Democrats will do the responsible thing—the right thing, the thing that has been done for decades by both parties—and vote yes," said Schumer ahead of the vote.

He called the Republican opposition “unhinged.”

McConnell has said he wants to fund the government and prevent a devastating debt default, but wants to force Democrats to split the package in two and take the politically uncomfortable debt ceiling vote on their own.

"Republicans are not rooting for a shutdown or a debt limit breach," he said.

The House began debating the public works bill late Monday, and while it won bipartisan support in the Senate, House Republican leaders are wary of supporting it. Donald Trump, the former president who tried and failed to secure an infrastructure deal when he was in the White House, is rallying opposition to it.

As Pelosi huddled privately Monday with House Democrats, it was clear she is pressing ahead to move as swiftly as possible on Biden's broader package.

Biden’s proposal is to be paid for by increasing the corporate tax rate, from 21% to 26.5% on businesses earning more than $5 million a year, and raising the top rate on individuals from 37% to 39.6% for those earning more than $400,000 a year, or $450,000 for couples.

While Democrats are largely in agreement on Biden’s vision — many ran their campaigns on the longstanding party priorities — stubborn disputes remain. Among them are splits over which initiatives should be reshaped, including how to push toward cleaner energy or to lower prescription drug costs.



North Korea fires suspected ballistic missile into sea

Ballistic missile into the sea?

North Korea on Tuesday fired a suspected ballistic missile into the sea, Seoul and Tokyo officials said, the latest in a series of weapons tests by Pyongyang that came days after it offered talks with South Korea.

Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement that “an unidentified projectile” fired from an inland location in North Korea flew toward the country’s eastern sea Tuesday morning. It said South Korean and U.S. intelligence authorities were analyzing details of the launch.

Japan’s Defense Ministry said North Korea fired a possible ballistic missile but gave no further details.

Earlier this month, North Korea performed tests of ballistic and cruise missiles in its first such launches in six months, displaying an ability to attack South Korea and Japan, both key U.S. allies.

But last Friday and Saturday, North Korea reached out to South Korea, saying it’s open to resuming talks and reconciliatory steps if conditions are met. Some experts said North Korea wants South Korea to play a role in winning relief from U.S.-led sanctions or other concessions.

U.S. officials have repeatedly expressed hopes to sit down for talks with North Korea but have also made it clear they will continue sanctions until the North takes concrete steps toward denuclearization.

A U.S.-led diplomatic effort aimed at convincing North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons in return for economic and political benefits remain stalled after 2 1/2 years. A main sticking point is a dispute over U.S.-led sanctions imposed on North Korea over its nuclear and missile tests.



Ronald Reagan shooter John Hinckley to be freed from oversight

Hinckley conditions to lift

A federal judge said Monday that John Hinckley Jr., who tried to assassinate President Ronald Reagan four decades ago, can be freed from all his remaining restrictions next year if he continues to follow those rules and remains mentally stable.

U.S. District Court Judge Paul L. Friedman in Washington said during a 90-minute court hearing that he’ll issue his ruling on the plan this week.

Friedman said the plan is to release Hinckley from all court supervision in June if he remains mentally stable and continues to follow the court-issued rules that were imposed on him after he left a Washington hospital in 2016 to live in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Since Hinckley, 66, moved to Williamsburg, the conditions have included doctors and therapists overseeing his psychiatric medication and deciding how often he attends individual and group therapy sessions. Hinckley also can’t have a gun. And he can’t contact Reagan’s children, other victims or their families, or actress Jodie Foster, who he was obsessed with at the time of the 1981 shooting.

Attorney Barry Levine asked for unconditional release, saying Hinckley no longer poses a threat. A 2020 violence risk assessment conducted on behalf of Washington’s Department of Behavioral Health concluded that Hinckley would not pose a danger.

The U.S. government opposed ending restrictions as of a May court filing, and retained an expert to determined whether or not Hinckley would pose a danger to himself or others if unconditionally released. Findings from such an examination have not been filed in court.

Hinckley was 25 when he shot and wounded the 40th U.S. president outside a Washington hotel. The shooting paralyzed Reagan press secretary James Brady, who died in 2014. It also injured Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy and Washington police officer Thomas Delahanty.

Jurors decided Hinckley was suffering from acute psychosis and found him not guilty by reason of insanity, saying he needed treatment and not life in prison.



Scientists: Spanish volcano has entered 'low activity' phase

Volcano activity calms

A Spanish island volcano that has buried more than 500 buildings and displaced over 6,000 people since last week lessened its activity on Monday, although scientists warned that it was too early to declare the eruption phase finished and authorities ordered residents to stay indoors to avoid the unhealthy fumes from lava meeting sea waters.

The plume of ash emerging from the main vent that opened on Sept. 19. stopped in the early hours of Monday, live footage of the Cumbre Vieja range in the La Palma island broadcasted by the public Canary Islands Television showed. But the column of ash and volcanic material returned after a two-hour hiatus.

“The volcano of La Palma has entered in a phase of lower activity,” the Madrid-based Institute of Geosciences, IGEO, said in a tweet. “Let's see how it evolves in the coming hours.”

The archipelago's volcanology institute published graphs showing a sharp decline in seismic activity in the area. “In the last hours the volcanic tremor has almost disappeared, as well as the strombolian explosive activity,” Involcan said on Twitter. But the institute had to follow later with another post announcing that, in addition to the ash cloud, “the re-emission of lava in the main cone is also confirmed.”

Experts were also on alert as the swarm of quakes that preceded and accompanied Spain's first volcanic eruption on land in half a century moved south, with more activity detected in the island's Fuencaliente area, Spain's National Geographic Institute said.

“That the volcano is now less active doesn't mean that it cannot change,” the institute's top investigator, Stavros Meletlidis, told Antena 3, a private Spanish broadcaster.

Meanwhile, the island's authorities advised residents in four neighborhoods to remain indoors to avoid toxic gases that could be released as a result of lava at more than 1,000 degrees Celsius (1,830 Fahrenheit) meeting Atlantic Ocean water at a temperature of around 20 degrees Celsius.

Scientists say that the thermal shock results in the release of water vapor plumes loaded with hydrochloric acid and tiny particles of volcanic glass that can cause skin, eye and respiratory tract irritation.

Shopkeepers and residents were also sweeping the layer of ash that had fallen over the island's capital, Santa Cruz de Las Palmas, after winds dispersed the volcano's cloud the day before.

The speed of the flow had increased since Sunday as a result of more fluid lava descending down a sharp slope toward cliffs onto the sea. The flow was some 800 meters from reaching the water early on Monday, authorities said.

More than 230 hectares have been buried by the lava, which has destroyed over 18 kilometers of roads, according to Copernicus, the EU's satellite monitoring service. The molten rock has destroyed houses, schools, churches and health centers, as well as irrigation infrastructure for the island's banana plantations, which provide nearly one-third of the island's jobs.

No fatalities or serious injuries have been reported since the volcano’s eruption.



Strong quake hits Greek island of Crete; 1 dead, 9 injured

Strong quake rocks Crete

An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of at least 5.8 struck the Greek island of Crete on Monday, killing one person and injuring several others, while damaging homes and churches and causing rock slides near the country's fourth-largest city.

The quake sent people fleeing into the streets in the city of Heraklion, and schools were evacuated. Repeated aftershocks rattled the area, adding to damage in villages near the epicenter.

The Athens Geodynamic Institute said the quake struck at 9:17 a.m., with an epicenter 246 kilometres south southeast of the Greek capital, Athens.

“This is not an event that occurred without warning. We have seen activity in this region for several months. This was a strong earthquake, it was not under sea but under land and affecting populated areas,” seismologist Gerasimos Papadopoulos said on Greece’s state broadcaster ERT.

The European-Mediterranean Seismological Center and the U.S. Geological Survey gave a preliminary magnitude of 6.0, with an epicenter seven km north of the village of Thrapsano. The Athens Geodynamic Institute said it was 5.8. It is common for different seismological institutes to give varying magnitudes for an earthquake in the initial hours and days after an event.

Greece's Climate Crisis and Civil Protection Ministry said that according to reports from local authorities, one person had been killed and a further nine people suffered injuries. The details of the circumstances of the death and injuries were not immediately available.

The fire department said it was flying 30 members of its disaster response units with sniffer dogs and specialized rescue equipment to Crete, while all its disaster response units and the fire department services on Crete were placed on general alert.

At least nine aftershocks also struck the area, with the EMSC giving a preliminary magnitude of 4.6 for the two strongest ones.

Residents of Heraklion rushed out into the streets. Local media in Crete reported damage, with collapsing walls of old stone buildings in villages near the epicenter of the temblor on the eastern part of the island.

“The earthquake was strong and was long in duration,” Heraklion mayor Vassilis Lambrinos told private Antenna television. “We have requested that schools are evacuated. The children are out in the playgrounds.”

International and domestic flights to Heraklion airport weren't affected by the quake, while the region's hoteliers association said there was no serious damage to any hotels in the area, which includes many popular holiday resorts.



Utah football player killed in house party shooting

Deadly party shooting

A University of Utah football player has been killed in a shooting at a house party early Sunday, Salt Lake City police said.

The shooting that killed Aaron Lowe occurred just after midnight, only hours after the Utes beat Washington State 24-13.

Police said another victim in the attack was in critical condition and authorities were searching for a suspect.

Lowe was the first recipient of a memorial scholarship created to honor former Utah player Ty Jordan, a 19-year-old tailback who died after an accidental shooting in December 2020.

Jordan and Lowe were high school teammates in Mesquite, Texas.

After Jordan died, Lowe switched his jersey number from No. 2 to No. 22 to honor his friend.

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox tweeted his condolences to the family of Lowe, a reserve cornerback who was in his third season with the Utes and mainly played on special teams.



Switzerland votes to legalize same-sex marriage in referendum

Same-sex marriage voted in

Swiss voters appear to have decided by a clear margin to allow same-sex couples to marry, according to a projection after a national referendum on Sunday.

The projection by the gfs.bern polling agency for Switzerland's public broadcasters showed the measure passing by 64% to 36%.

Switzerland's parliament and the governing Federal Council supported the “Marriage for All” measure, and pre-referendum polls showed solid backing. Switzerland has authorized same-sex civil partnerships since 2007.

Supporters said passage would put same-sex partners on equal legal footing with heterosexual couples such as by allowing them to adopt children together and facilitating citizenship for same-sex spouses. It would also permit lesbian couples to utilize regulated sperm donation.

Opponents believe that replacing civil partnerships with full marriage rights would undermine families based on a union between one man and one woman.

At a polling station in Geneva on Sunday, voter Anna Leimgruber said she cast her ballot for the “no” camp because she believed “children would need to have a dad and a mom.”

But Nicolas Dzierlatka, who said he voted “yes,” acknowledged that while same-sex marriage strays from “so-called” tradition, “I think what's important for children is that they are loved and respected — and I think there are children who are not respected or loved in so-called 'hetero' couples.”

The campaign has been rife with allegations of unfair tactics, with the opposing sides decrying the ripping down of posters, LGBT hotlines getting flooded with complaints, hostile emails and shouted insults against campaigners, and efforts to silence opposing views.

Switzerland, which has a population of 8.5 million, is traditionally conservative and only extended the right to vote to all its women in 1990.

Most countries in Western Europe already recognize same-sex marriage, while most of those in central and Eastern Europe don't allow wedlock involving two men or two women.

Supporters say it could still be months before same-sex couples can get married, mainly because of administrative and legislative procedures.

Another issue on Sunday’s ballot was a measure spearheaded by left-wing groups to raise taxes on returns from investments and capital such as dividends or income from rental properties in Switzerland as a way to ensure better redistribution and fairer taxation.

The projection showed that proposal failing, with 66% voting against it in a country known for its vibrant financial sector and relatively low taxes, and as a haven for many of the world’s richest people.



Petito case renews call to spotlight missing people of color

What about the others?

In the three months since 62-year-old Navajo rug weaver Ella Mae Begay vanished, the haunting unanswered questions sometimes threaten to overwhelm her niece.

Seraphine Warren has organized searches of the vast Navajo Nation landscape near her aunt's home in Arizona but is running out of money to pay for gas and food for the volunteers.

“Why is it taking so long? Why aren’t our prayers being answered?” she asks.

Begay is one of thousands of Indigenous women who have disappeared throughout the U.S. Some receive no public attention at all, a disparity that extends to many other people of color.

The disappearance of Gabby Petito, a white 22-year-old woman who went missing in Wyoming last month during a cross-country trip with her boyfriend, has drawn a frenzy of coverage on traditional and social media, bringing new attention to a phenomenon known as “missing white woman syndrome.”

Many families and advocates for missing people of color are glad the attention paid to Petito's disappearance has helped unearth clues that likely led to the tragic discovery of her body and they mourn with her family. But some also question why the public spotlight so important to finding missing people has left other cases shrouded in uncertainty.

“I would have liked that swift rush, push to find my aunt faster. That’s all I wish for,” said Warren, who lives in Utah, one of several states Petito and boyfriend Brian Laundrie passed through.

In Wyoming, where Petito was found, just 18% of cases of missing Indigenous women over the past decade had any media coverage, according to a state report released in January.

“Someone goes missing just about every day ... from a tribal community,” said Lynnette Grey Bull, who is Hunkpapa Lakota and Northern Arapaho and director of the organization Not Our Native Daughters. More than 700 Indigenous people disappeared in Wyoming between 2011 and 2020, and about 20% of those cases were still unsolved after a month. That's about double the rate in the white population, the report found.

One factor that helped people connect with Petito's case was her Instagram profile, where she lived her dream of traveling the country. Other social-media users contributed their own clues, including a traveling couple who said they spotted the couple’s white van in their own YouTube footage.

While authorities haven’t confirmed the video led to the discovery, the vast open spaces of the American West can bedevil search parties for years and anything that narrows the search grid is welcome. Public pressure can also ensure authorities prioritize a case.

The opportunity to create a well-curated social-media profile, though, isn't available to everyone, said Leah Salgado, deputy director of IllumiNative, a Native women-led social justice organization.

“So much of who we care about and what we care about is curated in ways that disadvantage people of color and Black and Indigenous people in particular," she said.

The causes are layered, but implicit bias in favor of both whiteness and conventional beauty standards play in, along with a lack of newsroom diversity and police choices in which cases to pursue, said Carol Liebler, a communications professor at Syracuse University's Newhouse School.

“What’s communicated is that white lives matter more than people of color,” she said.

One sample of 247 missing teens in New York and California found 34% of white teens' cases were covered by the media, compared to only 7% of Black teens and 14% of Latino kids, she said.

Friends of Jennifer Caridad, a 24-year-old day care worker of Mexican descent, have taken to social media to draw attention to her case out of Sunnyside, Washington, after it received little notice in August. Just as in Petito’s case, Caridad was last believed to have been with her boyfriend. He was arrested on carjacking and attempted murder charges after shooting at police during a pursuit following her disappearance.

So far, authorities have no answers for Caridad’s parents. Twice a week, Enrique Caridad heads to the police station for any updates on his daughter.

“They tell me they will not rest until she is found,” he said. “I tell them to please let me know her last whereabouts so I can also help find her. But they tell me not to get involved, not to hurt the case.”

Detectives took parental DNA samples and said there were blood stains in her SUV, but they have yet to say whether it was Caridad’s blood. At the beginning, her parents struggled to understand English-speaking detectives, but after the case was transferred to a smaller police department, they can speak Spanish to one of the investigators.

“Not knowing is what kills us — not knowing if she is alive or if she was hurt by that man," Caridad said.

David Robinson moved from South Carolina to Arizona temporarily to search for his son, Daniel, who disappeared in June. The 24-year-old Black geologist was last seen at a work site in Buckeye, outside Phoenix. A rancher found his car in a ravine a month later a few miles away. His keys, cellphone, wallet and clothes were also recovered. But no sign of him.

The Petito saga unexpectedly elevated his son’s case as people used the #findgabypetito hashtag on Twitter to draw more attention to cases of missing people of color.

“I was working hard previously trying to get it out nationally for three months straight,” said Robinson, who's communicated with other families about the coverage disparity. “This is bigger than I thought. ... It isn’t just about my son Daniel. It’s a national problem.”

Another family whose case was highlighted by that hashtag — Lauren “El” Cho, a missing 30-year-old Korean American from California — said in a Facebook statement they understand the frustrations but cautioned that differences between cases “run deeper than what meets the public eye.”

Asians and Asian Americans definitely face the same issue of news visibility, said Kent Ono, a University of Utah communications professor. The “model minority myth,” that Asians are successful and don’t get into trouble, also contributes to the problem.

“That then makes it very hard for readers and viewers to imagine that Asian and Asian American people have any problems at all, that they can’t take care of by themselves,” he said.

Public attention is vital in all missing-persons cases, especially in the first day or two after a disappearance, said Natalie Wilson, who co-founded the Black and Missing Foundation to help bring more attention to underreported cases. Dispelling racism and stereotypes linking missing people with poverty or crime is key.

“Oftentimes, the families ... don’t feel as though their lives are valued,” she said. “We need to change the narrative around our missing to show they are our sisters, brothers, grandparents. They are our neighbors. They are part of our community.”



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