Across Ukraine and the world, buildings and monuments have been illuminated in blue and yellow lights and special services and vigils are being held to commemorate the victims of Russia’s invasion, as the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, proclaims that “this will be the year of victory”.
In New York, a silent candlelight vigil took place front of the Russian embassy last night, while Ukrainian refugees and locals gathered for a ceremony in the village of Grabie, Wieliczka, Poland. Closer to home, a commemoration event took place at the Lychakiv military cemetery in Lviv, Ukraine, where family members visited the graves of fallen soldiers.
Zelenskiy marked the first anniversary with a sombre message of defiance to his people, saying ‘we will defeat everyone’. In a video released to the media titled The Year of Invincibility, he recalled how he addressed Ukrainians a year ago in a hurried statement, as Kyiv and the world reeled from Russia’s act of war. On Friday morning he took part in a ceremony in Kyiv for those lost.
In a statement to mark the anniversary, Joe Biden said that over the course of the last year, Putin has “met the bravery of Ukraine and the iron will of nations everywhere.” The president also said that Nato, which Putin thought “would fracture and divide”, is “stronger and more unified than ever before”.
What else did Zelenskiy say? On Telegram he said: “On 24 February, millions of us made a choice. Not a white flag, but a blue and yellow flag. Not fleeing, but facing. Facing the enemy. Resistance and struggle. It was a year of pain, sorrow, faith and unity. And this is a year of our invincibility. We know that this will be the year of our victory!”
How are people in Ukraine feeling about the anniversary? In the last year, houses have been destroyed, lives uprooted and loved ones lost, but despite this terrible toll, Ukrainians remain upbeat.
Classified Trump schedules were moved to Mar-a-Lago after FBI search – sources
Donald Trump’s lawyers found a box of White House schedules, including some that were marked classified, at his Mar-a-Lago resort in December because a junior aide to the former president had transported it from another office in Florida after the FBI completed its search of the property, according to two sources familiar with the matter.
The former president does not appear to have played a direct role in the mishandling of the box, though he remains under investigation for the possible improper retention of national security documents and obstruction of justice.
Known internally as Rotus, short for Receptionist of the United States, the junior aide initially kept the box at a converted guest bungalow at Mar-a-Lago called the “tennis cottage” after Trump left office, and she soon took it with her to a government-leased office in the Palm Beach area.
The box remained at the government-leased office, where the junior aide worked through most of 2022, explaining why neither Trump’s lawyer who searched Mar-a-Lago in June for any classified-marked papers nor the FBI agents who searched the property in August found the documents.
Why was it moved to Mar-a-Lago? At the end of summer, the junior aide was told that she was being relocated to a desk in the anteroom of Trump’s own office at Mar-a-Lago. She retrieved her work belongings – including the box – from the government-leased office and took them to her new Mar-a-Lago workspace around September.
What has the junior aide said about the documents and their movements? A lawyer for the junior aide declined to comment on Thursday night.
Nearly a million across US without power as wild winter storm hits
Nearly a million people across the US were without power yesterday afternoon as a powerful winter storm brought bitter cold, stirred up gusty winds and pounded several states with blizzard conditions from coast to coast.
Michigan bore the brunt of power outages, with more than 820,000 homes and businesses left cold into the evening, as the state faced one of the worst ice storms seen in decades. DTE, one of the largest power providers in the state, reported “extreme amounts of damage” to power infrastructure after ice roughly three-quarters of an inch thick accumulated in some areas.
“That’s a level we haven’t seen in nearly 50 years,” Matt Paul, the executive vice-president of distribution operations at DTE, said in a press briefing on Thursday morning, adding that the extreme weather downed more than 2,000 power lines and caused utility poles to snap.
It is unclear how quickly the dangerous situation can be addressed. Along with the perils of exposure for those left without power during the storms, the downed lines create hazards all on their own.
Will conditions improve? Not yet. Temperatures are expected to drop up to 40F below average across several regions of the US, leaving many areas, especially in the high plains, bracing for sub-zero conditions, travel hazards and more power outages. The dangerous storm system has prompted the National Weather Service to issue winter weather advisories to swaths of the country, covering areas where more than 13 million people live.
In other news …
In a startling reversal on previous claims, Alex Murdaugh admitted to lying for 20 months about a key detail in his account of the night that his wife, Maggie, and son Paul were killed on the family’s hunting estate. Prosecutors call the murders a scheme to conceal his financial and addiction problems.
The US has transferred two brothers from its Guantánamo Bay detention centre to Pakistan, bringing the total number of people held at Guantánamo down to 32, according to the Pentagon. Abdul and Mohammed Rabbani were arrested in 2002 for allegedly working with al-Qaida.
Prosecutors have charged a man with killing a Catholic bishop in a crime that stunned religious and immigrant communities in Los Angeles. Auxiliary bishop David O’Connell was shot to death in his bedroom. The suspect, Carlos Medina, is the husband of O’Connell’s housekeeper.
An 11-year-old girl in Cambodia has died after being infected by a strain of avian influenza, commonly known as bird flu, the government says. It was the first known human infection with the H5N1 strain in the country since 2014, the health minister, Mam Bunheng, said in a statement yesterday.
Don’t miss this: ‘Nobody has answers’ – Ohio residents fearful of health risks near train crash site
The preventative burn of giant quantities of toxic vinyl chloride in the wake of the train wreck in East Palestine, Ohio has created potential risks over the horizon.
Compounds such as dioxins, chlorinated PAHs and other chemical byproducts of vinyl chloride combustion, some of which are highly toxic, can accumulate in the environment and could pose a long-term health threat in the East Palestine area and downwind.
Retirees Ron Caratelli, 63, and his wife Peggy, 64, live less than a mile from the toxic spill site and have been unable to return home due to the effects on their health. “Every time we try to come back to the house, I get burning eyes and throat, and a chemical taste in the back of my mouth, it’s not good … yesterday I had a weird sensation in my lungs,” said Ron Caratelli.
… or this: beauty breeds obsession – the fight to save orchids from a lethal black market
Orchids are a billion-dollar business; global exports of live orchids were estimated to be $2.51bn a year between 2016 and 2020.
Commodities that desirable have an inevitable dark side – and among the fragrant pedigree dendrobiums at the orchid show are a few plants that are more like strays: orchids rescued from the black market trade in rare and exotic plants, rehabilitated by the New York Botanical Garden in its lesser-known role as a plant rescue centre. When trafficked plants are seized by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, they are sent to the NYBG to be restored to health. The plants come in, ratty and tortured, with bare roots and “on the verge of death”, and are inspected for pests and diseases. The team rebuild the plants’ root systems, rehydrate them and rehome them in the right habitat. They don’t all make it.
Climate check: ‘We have no time to lose’ – Ban Ki-moon criticises climate finance delays
The former UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon has warned that the world’s largest fund to help developing nations weather the climate crisis remains an “empty shell”, despite decades of promises by rich nations. “We need to see a massive acceleration in mobilising trillions of dollars needed to keep the world from climate collapse,” he said.
International climate finance from rich to poor countries is between five and 10 times short of what is needed, according to the UN. In 2020, money set aside to help poorer countries adapt to climate breakdown amounted to $29bn – far below the $340bn a year that could be needed by 2030. The largest such fund, the Green Climate Fund, stands at $11.4bn. Rich countries have also been accused by NGOs of misleading accounting and issuing loans instead of grants.
Last Thing: ‘Delicate as the seashore’ – rare Frank Lloyd Wright home sells for $22m
The only oceanfront home designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright has sold for $22m in California’s Carmel-by-the-Sea.
Known as the Mrs Clinton Walker house and the Cabin on the Rocks, the residence was built for the artist Della Walker in 1952 and comes with a fascinating origin story. The famed architect agreed to design the home after Walker, the widow of a lumber executive, wrote him a letter in 1945. “I am a woman living alone – I wish protection from the wind and privacy from the road and a house as enduring as the rocks but as transparent and charming as the waves and delicate as the seashore,” she wrote, according to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported on the sale. “You are the only man who can do this – will you help me?”
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