Inflation protests in Europe, Alex Jones seeks new trial, and more of today’s latest news

It’s Saturday, Oct. 22. Get caught up what’s going on around the nation and world today.

LONDON (AP) — In Romania, protesters blew horns and banged drums to voice their dismay over the rising cost of living. People across France took to the streets to demand pay increases that keep pace with inflation. Czech demonstrators rallied against government handling of the energy crisis. British railway staff and German pilots held strikes to push for better pay as prices rise.

Across Europe, soaring inflation is behind a wave of protests and strikes that underscores growing discontent with the spiraling cost of living and threatens to unleash political turmoil. With British Prime Minister Liz Truss forced to resign less than two months into the job after her economic plans sparked chaos in financial markets and further bruised an ailing economy, the risk to political leaders became clearer as people demand action.

Europeans have seen their energy bills and food prices soar because of Russia’s war in Ukraine. Despite natural gas prices falling from record summer highs and governments allocating a whopping 576 billion euros (over $566 billion) in energy relief to households and businesses since September 2021, according to the Bruegel think tank in Brussels, it’s not enough for some protesters.

Energy prices have driven inflation in the 19 countries that use the euro currency to a record 9.9%, making it harder for people to buy what they need. Some see little choice but to hit the streets.

“Today, people are obliged to use pressure tactics in order to get an increase” in pay, said Rachid Ouchem, a medic who was among more than 100,000 people that joined protest marches this week in multiple French cities.

The fallout from the war in Ukraine has sharply raised the risk of civil unrest in Europe, according to risk consultancy Verisk Maplecroft. European leaders have strongly supported Ukraine, sending the country weapons and pledging or being forced to wean their economies off cheap Russian oil and natural gas, but the transition hasn’t been easy and threatens to erode public support.

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KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian-installed authorities in Ukraine told all residents of the city of Kherson to leave “immediately” Saturday ahead of an expected advance by Ukrainian troops waging a counteroffensive to recapture one of the first urban areas Russia took after invading the country.

In a post on the Telegram messaging service, the pro-Kremlin regional administration strongly urged civilians to use boat crossings over a major river to move deeper into Russian-held territory, citing a tense situation on the front and the threat of shelling and alleged plans for “terror attacks” by Kyiv.

Kherson has been in Russian hands since the early days of the nearly 8-month-long war in Ukraine. The city is the capital of a region of the same name, one of four that Russian President Vladimir Putin illegally annexed last month and put under Russian martial law on Thursday.

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has asked a Connecticut judge to throw out a nearly $1 billion verdict against him and order a new trial in a lawsuit by Sandy Hook families, who say they were subjected to harassment and threats from Jones’ lies about the 2012 Newtown school shooting.

Jones filed the requests Friday, saying Judge Barbara Bellis’ pretrial rulings resulted in an unfair trial and “a substantial miscarriage of justice.”

“Additionally, the amount of the compensatory damages award exceeds any rational relationship to the evidence offered at trial,” Jones’ lawyers, Norm Pattis and Kevin Smith, wrote in the motion.

Christopher Mattei, a lawyer for the 15 plaintiffs in the lawsuit against Jones, declined to comment on the filing Saturday, but said he and other attorneys for the Sandy Hook families will be filing a brief opposing Jones’ request.

Twenty first graders and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School died in the attack on Dec. 14, 2012.

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