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The number of coronavirus deaths globally dropped by about 21% in the past week while cases rose in most parts of the world, according to the World Health Organization.

In its weekly report on the pandemic released Thursday, the U.N. health agency said the number of new COVID-19 cases appears to have stabilized after weeks of decline since late March, with about 3.5 million new cases last week, or a 1% rise.

Some 9,000 deaths were recorded. WHO said cases increased in the Americas, the Middle East, Africa and the Western Pacific, while falling in Europe and Southeast Asia.

Russia says hundreds more fighters have emerged from the Mariupol stronghold where they made their last stand and surrendered.

The International Committee of the Red Cross is working to register the fighters as prisoners of war, as the end of a key battle in the conflict draws closer.

A monthslong siege of Mariupol that left it in ruins and the drama of last-ditch fighters at a steel plant holding off Russian forces turned the strategic port city into a worldwide symbol of suffering and defiance.

The Russian military said Thursday that a total of 1,730 Ukrainian troops at the Azovstal steelworks have surrendered since Monday.

The white man accused of slaughtering 10 Black people at a Buffalo supermarket was scheduled to appear in court Thursday as authorities continue to investigate the possibility of hate crime or terrorism charges.

Payton Gendron livestreamed the attack from a helmet camera before surrendering to police outside the grocery store. Shortly before the attack last Saturday, he posted hundreds of pages of writings to online discussion groups where he detailed his plans for the assault and his racist motivation.

At his initial court appearance last week, Gendron’s court-appointed lawyer entered a plea of “not guilty” on his behalf.

President Joe Biden has invoked the Defense Production Act to speed production of infant formula and has authorized flights to import supply from overseas.

He is facing mounting political pressure over a domestic shortage caused by the safety-related closure of the country’s largest formula manufacturing plant.

The Defense Production Act order requires suppliers of formula manufacturers to fulfill orders from those companies before other customers.

Many experts fear there will soon be a recession. Stocks closed sharply lower on Wall Street Wednesday as dismal results from Target renewed fears that inflation is battering U.S. companies.

The S&P 500, the benchmark for many index funds, fell 4%.

Target lost a quarter of its value, dragging other retailers down with it, after saying its profit fell by half in the latest quarter as costs for freight and transportation spiked. That comes a day after Walmart cited inflation for its own weak results.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 1,164 points, or 3.6% and the tech-heavy Nasaq pulled back 4.7%. Treasury yields fell as investors sought safer ground.

Officials in a North Carolina town on the Outer Banks are pleading with beachgoers to think twice before digging deep holes on the beach.

They posted a warning on Facebook on Tuesday just hours before a man died at a New Jersey beach when a hole collapsed on him.

The town of Kill Devil Hills on the Outer Banks posted a picture of ocean rescue supervisor David Elder standing in a large hole that he said was as much as 7 feet deep.

The Warriors roll over the Mavericks in the NBA Western Conference opener, Panthers and Flames win their NHL playoff series openers, the Dodgers keep winning, Hiura’s blast lifts the Brewers, and the PGA Championship will begin without a big name. 

President Joe Biden’s top health official has tested positive for COVID-19, the latest member of his Cabinet to be infected with the virus. A spokeswoman for U.S. Health Secretary Xavier Becerra said he tested positive for the coronavirus on Wednesday while visiting Berlin.

COVID-19 cases are increasing in the United States – and could get even worse over the coming months, federal health officials warned in urging areas hardest hit to consider reissuing calls for indoor masking.

Increasing numbers of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations are putting more of the country under guidelines issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that call for masking and other infection precautions.

Right now, about a third of the U.S. population lives in areas that are considered at higher risk — mostly in the Northeast and Midwest.

NATO diplomats say national envoys have failed to reach a consensus about whether to start membership talks with Finland and Sweden.

Wednesday’s development comes just as Turkey renewed its objections to the two Nordic countries joining.

U.S. President Joe Biden voiced optimism on the matter Wednesday. “I think we’re going to be OK,” he said.

A former Minneapolis police officer has pleaded guilty to a state charge of aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd.

As part of Wednesday’s plea deal, a count of aiding and abetting second-degree unintentional murder against Thomas Lane will be dismissed.

Lane and prosecutors have agreed to a recommended sentence of three years, which is below state sentencing guidelines.

Lane and former Officers J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao have already been convicted on federal counts of violating the civil rights of Floyd, who was Black. Lane hasn’t been sentenced yet in the federal case.

Their former colleague, Derek Chauvin, was convicted of murder last year and also pleaded guilty to a federal civil rights violation.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul is touting a package of executive orders and gun control bills in the aftermath of a racist attack on a Buffalo supermarket.

The Democrat’s executive orders would require state police to seek court orders to keep guns away from people who might pose a threat to themselves or others.

New York is among states that have a so-called “red flag” law. It allows law enforcement officials to petition a court to take away someone’s guns if they’re potentially dangerous because of a mental health problem.

Convicted pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli has been freed from prison after serving much of a seven-year prison sentence for lying to hedge fund investors and cheating investors in a drug company.

Shkreli’s attorney, Ben Brafman, said in a statement Wednesday that the 39-year-old Shkreli was released from a prison in Allenwood, Pennsylvania. He said his client was transferred to a Bureau of Prisons halfway house after completing programs that enabled him to earn early release.

A Vatican cardinal has shed light on a scandal that had sparked questions about the Vatican’s commitment to financial transparency and accountability.

Cardinal Angelo Becciu testified Wednesday that Pope Francis himself ordered the resignation of the Vatican’s first auditor general, because the auditor no longer had his trust.

“The Greatest Show on Earth” is making a comeback — without animal acts — five years after shutting down it’s three-ring circus. Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey announced Wednesday that their show will go on in September 2023.

It will be interactive, featuring audience engagement, and celebrate performers from around the world, displaying what it calls “incredible feats that push the limits of human potential.”

The falling out came after Libero Milone apparently engaged an outside investigative firm to spy on Vatican hierarchs. His ouster had long been cited by Cardinal George Pell, the Vatican’s former financial czar, as evidence of possible shady dealings by Becciu and the secretariat of state and a step back in the Vatican’s efforts at financial transparency and reform.

 A 21-year-old Russian soldier facing the first war crimes trial since Moscow invaded Ukraine has pleaded guilty to killing an unarmed civilian.

Sgt. Vadim Shishimarin could get life in prison for shooting a a 62-year-old Ukrainian man in the head through an open car window on Feb. 28.

Shishimarin is being prosecuted under a section of the Ukrainian criminal code on the customs of war. Ukraine’s prosecutor general has said her office was preparing cases against 41 Russian soldiers for alleged war crimes such as bombing civilian infrastructure, killing civilians and rape.

The racist massacre that killed 10 Black people in Buffalo, New York, is the latest mass shooting in which the gunman apparently came prepared for anyone trying to stop him with a gun.

A database maintained by The Violence Project shows at least 21 mass shooters over the last four decades have worn body armor, most of those within the last decade.

Printing mistakes will force local election officials in Pennsylvania and Oregon to redo thousands of mailed ballots, a laborious process that could delay results for some closely contested races in Tuesday’s primaries.

In Pennsylvania, where GOP primaries for governor and U.S. Senate are drawing national attention, officials in Republican-leaning Lancaster County said the company that printed its mailed ballots included the wrong ID code.

That is preventing scanning machines from being able to read them. In Clackamas County, Oregon, about half the ballots sent to voters included a blurry bar code that cannot be read by ballot-scanning machines.

Hundreds of climbers who scaled Mount Everest over the last few days taking advantage of favorable weather conditions have begun to return safely down the mountain.

Among them are some who set records on the world’s highest peak, including the first Ukrainian woman to scale Mount Everest. Lakpa Sherpa, a 48-year-old Nepali Sherpa, broke her own record reaching the 29,032-foot summit for the 10th time — the most times any woman has climbed Mount Everest.

British climber Kenton Cool scaled it for the 16th time, setting the record for the most Everest summits by a non-Nepalese climber. And Ukrainian climber Antonina Samoilova said she hoped her achievement would call more attention to the war in her country.

—The Associated Press