The world should not turn its back on Belarusians | Opinions

It was on April 11 at breakfast, that I heard on the New York public radio that Belarusians alongside Russians were banned from participating in the Boston Marathon under their countries’ flags. I am not a marathon runner, but as a Belarusian-American, the news upset me. It was another sign of the world overlooking the fight by many Belarusian citizens against the authoritarian government of Alexander Lukashenko.

Since 1994, the so-called last dictator of Europe has ruled Belarus with impunity, disregarding human rights and freedom of speech, while heavily relying on Russia’s support. The resistance to his rule culminated almost two years ago, when thousands of Belarusians took to the streets nationwide to protest against the rigged election of August 9, 2020.

For a brief moment, Belarusians believed they had a real chance to topple the regime that our nation of 9.4 million people has lived under for too long. Western democracies cheered on the brave protesters and activists.

However, the regime’s response to dissent was swift and brutal: security forces met peaceful protesters with tear gas, stun grenades, water cannon and even live ammunition. In the first three days after the election, more than 6,700 people were detained, over a thousand injured, and at least three people were killed by the police. When the arrestees were released from jails, their stories shook the nation.

According to Pavel Sapelko, an analyst with the Belarusian human rights group Viasna, the nature of injuries – broken bones, electrocution wounds, brain injuries, broken teeth and traumas consistent with rape – left little doubt. Thousands were tortured in precincts, police vehicles, on the streets or in jails. In the months following the election, the Belarusian Investigative Committee, the domestic law enforcement agency tasked with pre-trial criminal proceedings, received 4,644 complaints of physical injuries, other kinds of police brutality and torture. Not a single police officer has been indicted. To date, more than 40,000 people have experienced politically motivated imprisonment, at least 1,600 people have been convicted on charges of terrorism and extremism, and 1,168 political prisoners remain behind bars.

As before, in 2020 Putin supported Lukashenko by sending Russia’s National Guard to assist the local police in controlling the population, propagandists to help control the narrative in the media, and by propping up the economy against Western sanctions with a $1.5bn loan. At the beginning of February, Russia positioned 30,000 troops and military equipment in Belarus for joint military exercises. Since the beginning of the war, Russia has been launching its air attacks and missile strikes from Belarusian territory.

I am a documentary filmmaker and journalist. For the last year and a half, my colleague Ottavia Spaggiari and I have interviewed dozens of survivors of state brutality, as well as human rights lawyers, activists, academics and members of the police to reconstruct the events of August 2020, and to explain why it is so hard to bring dictators to justice.

We have stayed in touch with many of our sources, even after the reporting was over. Many of them had to leave Belarus fearing further repressions. For example, one of our sources, Marina, 33, fled Belarus after being incarcerated twice. In August 2020, she and her husband were dragged by the riot police from their car parked near their apartment building. In July 2021, she was arrested on nonsensical charges of being party to a terrorist plot. Fearing a lengthy prison sentence, Marina and her husband first left for Lviv in Ukraine, and then moved to Kraków in Poland, less than three weeks before the war. These days Marina volunteers by helping Ukrainian refugees in Poland.

Another Belarusian, 20-year-old Max*, left the country in March, after receiving an army conscription notice. Apprehensive about being sent to Ukraine to fight, he fled to Georgia.

Since August 2020, Belarusians have been leaving the country en masse for Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Ukraine, Georgia and other countries they could get to. It is hard to pinpoint the exact number of refugees and migrants, as they travelled on a variety of visas, sometimes crossing borders illegally. It can be anywhere from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands.

After Russia invaded Ukraine in the early hours of February 24, 2021, I started hearing troubling information about the changes in attitudes towards Belarusians. It was logical, as Lukashenko pledged his allegiance to Vladimir Putin and as such, tied his nation to the appalling assault on Ukraine. However, for the most part, the negative attitudes are directed at people who either fought against Lukashenko’s regime or were its collateral damage. To put it bluntly, the victims are being victimised again

My close friends, a married couple, had to leave Minsk in haste fearing for their safety. A few months ago they landed in Tbilisi where they tried to rebuild their lives. After the war began, Georgian hospitality in some cases gave way to hostility. Belarusians alongside Russians were denied service in shops, cafes and banks. Their Airbnb reservations were cancelled and their tyres slashed. My friends said they have been reluctant to leave their apartment. Several weeks ago they received humanitarian visas and left for Lithuania.

Poland and Lithuania, two EU countries that share their borders and centuries of history with Belarus, have received tens of thousands of Belarusians in the last two years. Many Belarusians have found these countries very welcoming, but others, especially since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, have faced hostility.

In an online survey conducted among Belarusians currently living in exile by activist Darya Churko, the majority of 206 respondents (98 percent) reported facing abuse and persecution – anything from verbal abuse to broken rent agreements – due to their nationality. Most of the incidents happened in Poland, while Georgia had the second-highest number. One respondent, a Belarusian woman, said a Ukrainian man spat in her face after he found out her country of origin.

This is despite the fact that Belarusians overwhelmingly oppose the war, according to a public opinion poll conducted by the British think-tank, Chatham House, in March. Of the nearly 900 surveyed, only three percent supported Belarus’s military involvement in Ukraine.

Despite growing cases of xenophobia and discrimination, many Belarusians continue to wholeheartedly support Ukraine. They include the Kastus Kalinousky battalion of  Belarusian volunteer fighters who are now a part of the Ukrainian army and the non-profit BySol, which has raised 124,652 euros ($72,000) to support the war effort. BySol and the Free Belarus Center have helped evacuate civilians from Ukraine. All over the world, members of Belarusian diasporas volunteer their time or donate money to support our southern neighbour.

Within Belarus, thousands have faced down the draconian security apparatus to protest against the war; more than 800 people were detained for it. Meanwhile, members of the civil resistance have worked to disrupt the movement of Russian troops and their machinery through Belarus to Ukraine.

According to Yuliana Shemetovets, the spokesperson of the Cyber-Partisans hacker movement, the group has waged several attacks on the railroad’s automation system that affected operations. Other resisters support the effort by sabotaging signals and tracks. Many risk their lives to help the anti-war movement. More than three dozen “rail partisans” have been arrested so far.

With such sacrifices, it is unfair to link all Belarusians with the tyrannical regime of Lukashenko. As a global community, we should take the time to understand the situation better. As for the Boston Marathon, dear organisers, if I ever decide to participate in an organised athletic event, I’ll opt for the Vermont Half Triathlon, instead.

*His name has been changed to protect his identity.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.

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WSL: Manchester City 7-2 Brighton highlights

Watch highlights as Khadija Shaw scores four goals for Manchester City during their 7-2 win over Brighton & Hove Albion.

MATCH REPORT: Manchester City Women 7-2 Brighton & Hove Albion Women

Watch The Women’s Football Show on Sunday 1 May at 23:35 BST on BBC One, BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport app.

Available to UK users only.

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‘Hotel Rwanda’ hero’s family file $400m suit against gov’t | News

Paul Rusesabagina is serving 25 years in prison in Rwanda on terrorism charges which his supporters say are a sham.

The family of Paul Rusesabagina, whose heroism during the 1994 Rwandan genocide was depicted in the Hollywood film Hotel Rwanda, have filed a $400m lawsuit in the US over his alleged abduction and torture by the government in Kigali.

The lawsuit names the government of Rwanda, President Paul Kagame, and other senior officials including the former justice minister and intelligence chief.

“The complaint alleges that the Government of Rwanda and high-ranking Rwandan officials conspired to facilitate and execute an elaborate plot to lure Paul Rusesabagina from his home in Texas to Rwanda, where he would be tortured and illegally detained,” the family and his lawyers said in a statement on Saturday.

Holder of a US green card, as well as Belgian citizenship, Rusesabagina, 67, was tricked into travelling from the US to Burundi in 2020 by the promise of work.

“Instead, he was drugged and taken to Rwanda where President Paul Kagame’s security agents forcibly abducted him, tortured him, and forced him into illegal imprisonment,” according to the statement.

He is now currently serving 25 years in prison on terrorism charges following a trial last year, which his supporters say was riddled with irregularities.

Hotel Rwanda

A copy of the lawsuit seen by the AFP news agency indicates that the suit was filed in a Washington, DC court on February 22, and was served on the Rwandan government on March 8.

Rusesabagina’s family and lawyers will hold a news conference in Washington, DC on Wednesday, May 4 to announce further details of the suit, which is seeking at least $400m (380 million euros) in compensation, as well as punitive damages.

The government in Kigali did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Rusesabagina became a global celebrity after the release of Hotel Rwanda, which depicted him risking his life to shelter hundreds of people as the manager of a luxury hotel in Kigali during the genocide when ethnic Hutus killed more than 800,000 people, mostly from the Tutsi minority.

American actor Don Cheadle was nominated for an Oscar for his role as Rusesabagina.

Rusesabagina later used his fame to highlight what he described as human rights violations by the government of Paul Kagame, a Tutsi rebel commander who took power after his forces captured Kigali and halted the genocide.

Brought to Rwanda in 2020 and convicted in September 2021 for involvement in a rebel group blamed for deadly attacks in Rwanda in 2018 and 2019, Rusesabagina’s 25-year jail term was upheld by Rwanda’s Court of Appeal earlier this month.

His family said the ruling is effectively a death sentence for the ailing 67-year-old.

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Did J.J. Thomson Discover the Electron?

One of us (Levi) works with semiconductors and the other (Aeppli) with X-rays. So, after pondering this problem, we considered using X-rays to nondestructively image chips. You’d need to go beyond the resolution used in medical X-ray scanners. But it was clear to us that the needed resolution was possible. At that moment, what we’ve been calling the “chip scan” project was born.

A computer-generated 3D image of grey crossing bars of decreasing size.
Our first technique, ptychographic X-ray computed tomography, was tested first on a portion of a 22-nanometer Intel processor constructing a detailed 3D image of the chip’s interconnects.SLS-USC Chip-Scan team

Several years later, we’ve made it possible to map the entire interconnect structure of even the most advanced and complex processors without destroying them. Right now, that process takes more than a day, but improvements over the next few years should enable the mapping of entire chips within hours.

This technique—called ptychographic X-ray laminography—requires access to some of the world’s most powerful X-ray light sources. But most of these facilities are, conveniently, located close to where much of the advanced chip design happens. So as access to this technique expands, no flaw, failure, or fiendish trick will be able to hide.

After deciding to pursue this approach, our first order of business was to establish what state-of-the-art X-ray techniques could do. That was done at the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) in Switzerland, where one of us (Aeppli) works. PSI is home to the Swiss Light Source (SLS) synchrotron, one of the 15 brightest sources of coherent X-rays built so far.

Coherent X-rays differ from what’s used in a medical or dental office in the same way that the highly collimated beam of light from a laser pointer differs from light emitted in all directions from an incandescent bulb. The SLS and similar facilities generate highly coherent beams of X-ray photons by first accelerating electrons almost to the speed of light. Then, magnetic fields deflect those electrons, inducing the production of the desired X-rays.

To see what we could do with the SLS, our multidisciplinary team bought an Intel Pentium G3260 processor from a local store for about US $50 and removed the packaging to expose the silicon. (This CPU was manufactured using 22-nanometer CMOS FinFET technology).


A fly-though of the top layers of an Intel 22-nanometer processor reconstructed from X-ray scans.SLS-USC Chip-Scan Team

Like all such chips, the G3260’s transistors are made of silicon, but it’s the arrangement of metal interconnects that link them up to form circuits. In a modern processor, interconnects are built in more than 15 layers, which from above look like a map of a city’s street grid. The lower layers, closer to the silicon, have incredibly fine features, spaced just nanometers apart in today’s most advanced chips. As you ascend the interconnect layers, the features become sparser and bigger, until you reach the top, where electrical contact pads connect the chip to its package.

We began our examination by cutting out a 10-micrometer-wide cylinder from the G3260. We had to take this destructive step because it greatly simplified things. Ten micrometers is less than half the penetration depth of the SLS’s photons, so with something this small we’d be able to detect enough photons passing through the pillar to determine what was inside.

We placed the sample on a mechanical stage to rotate it about its cylindrical axis and then fired a coherent beam of X-rays through the side. As the sample rotated, we illuminated it with a pattern of overlapping 2-µm-wide spots.

At each illuminated spot, the coherent X-rays diffracted as they passed through the chip’s tortuous tower of copper interconnects, projecting a pattern onto a detector, which was stored for subsequent processing. The recorded projections contained enough information about the material through which the X-rays traveled to determine the structure in three dimensions. This approach is called ptychographic X-ray computed tomography (PXCT). Ptychography is the computational process of producing an image of something from the interference pattern of light through it.

The underlying principle behind PXCT is relatively simple, resembling the diffraction of light through slits. You might recall from your introductory physics class that if you shine a coherent beam of light through a slit onto a distant plane, the experiment produces what’s called a Fraunhofer diffraction pattern. This is a pattern of light and dark bands, or fringes, spaced proportionally to the ratio of the light’s wavelength divided by the width of the slit.

If, instead of shining light through a slit, you shine it on a pair of closely spaced objects, ones so small that they are effectively points, you will get a different pattern. It doesn’t matter where in the beam the objects are. As long as they stay the same distance from each other, you can move them around and you’d get the same pattern.

By themselves, neither of these phenomena will let you reconstruct the tangle of interconnects in a microchip. But if you combine them, you’ll start to see how it could work. Put the pair of objects within the slit. The resulting interference pattern is derived from the diffraction due to a combination of slit and object, revealing information about the width of the slit, the distance between the objects, and the relative position of the objects and the slit. If you move the two points slightly, the interference pattern shifts. And it’s that shift that allows you to calculate exactly where the objects are within the slit.

Any real sample can be treated as a set of pointlike objects, which give rise to complex X-ray scattering patterns. Such patterns can be used to infer how those pointlike objects are arranged in two dimensions. And the principle can be used to map things out in three dimensions by rotating the sample within the beam, a process called tomographic reconstruction.

You need to make sure you’re set up to collect enough data to map the structure at the required resolution. Resolution is determined by the X-ray wavelength, the size of the detector, and a few other parameters. For our initial measurements with the SLS, which used 0.21-nm-wavelength X-rays, the detector had to be placed about 7 meters from the sample to reach our target resolution of 13 nm.

In March 2017, we demonstrated the use of PXCT for nondestructive imaging of integrated circuits by publishing some very pretty 3D images of copper interconnects in the Intel Pentium G3260 processor. Those images reveal the three-dimensional character and complexity of electrical interconnects in this CMOS integrated circuit. But they also captured interesting details such as the imperfections in the metal connections between the layers and the roughness between the copper and the silica dielectric around it.

From this proof-of-principle demonstration alone, it was clear that the technique had potential in failure analysis, design validation, and quality control. So we used PXCT to probe similarly sized cylinders cut from chips built with other companies’ technologies. The details in the resulting 3D reconstructions were like fingerprints that were unique to the ICs and also revealed much about the manufacturing processes used to fabricate the chips.

We were encouraged by our early success. But we knew we could do better, by building a new type of X-ray microscope and coming up with more effective ways to improve image reconstruction using chip design and manufacturing information. We called the new technique PyXL, shorthand for ptychographic X-ray laminography.

The first thing to deal with was how to scan a whole 10-millimeter-wide chip when we had an X-ray penetration depth of only around 30 µm. We solved this problem by first tilting the chip at an angle relative to the beam. Next, we rotated the sample about the axis perpendicular to the plane of the chip. At the same time we also moved it sideways, raster fashion. This allowed us to scan all parts of the chip with the beam.

At each moment in this process, the X-rays passing through the chip are scattered by the materials inside the IC, creating a diffraction pattern. As with PXCT, diffraction patterns from overlapping illumination spots contain redundant information about what the X-rays have passed through. Imaging algorithms then infer a structure that is the most consistent with all measured diffraction patterns. From these we can reconstruct the interior of the whole chip in 3D.

Needless to say, there is plenty to worry about when developing a new kind of microscope. It must have a stable mechanical design, including precise motion stages and position measurement. And it must record in detail how the beam illuminates each spot on the chip and the ensuing diffraction patterns. Finding practical solutions to these and other issues required the efforts of a team of 14 engineers and physicists. The geometry of PyXL also required developing new algorithms to interpret the data collected. It was hard work, but by late 2018 we had successfully probed 16-nm ICs, publishing the results in October 2019.

Today’s cutting-edge processors can have interconnects as little as 30 nm apart, and our technique can, at least in principle, produce images of structures smaller than 2 nm.

In these experiments, we were able to use PyXL to peel away each layer of interconnects virtually to reveal the circuits they form. As an early test, we inserted a small flaw into the design file for the interconnect layer closest to the silicon. When we compared this version of the layer with the PyXL reconstruction of the chip, the flaw was immediately obvious.

In principle, a few days of work is all we’d need to use PyXL to obtain meaningful information about the integrity of an IC manufactured in even the most advanced facilities. Today’s cutting-edge processors can have interconnects just tens of nanometers apart, and our technique can, at least in principle, produce images of structures smaller than 2 nm.

A computer-generated surface textured in seemingly random patterns of copper extends into the distance at top.

The new version of our X-ray technique, called ptychographic X-ray laminography, can uncover the interconnect structure of entire chips without damaging them, even down to the smallest structures [top]. Using that technique, we could easily discover a (deliberate) discrepancy between the design file and what was manufactured [bottom].

But increased resolution does take longer. Although the hardware we’ve built has the capacity to completely scan an area up to 1.2 by 1.2 centimeters at the highest resolution, doing so would be impractical. Zooming in on an area of interest would be a better use of time. In our initial experiments, a low-resolution (500-nm) scan over a square portion of a chip that was 0.3 mm on a side took 30 hours to acquire. A high-resolution (19-nm) scan of a much smaller portion of the chip, just 40 μm wide, took 60 hours.

The imaging rate is fundamentally limited by the X-ray flux available to us at SLS. But other facilities boast higher X-ray fluxes, and methods are in the works to boost X-ray source “brilliance”—a combination of the number of photons produced, the beam’s area, and how quickly it spreads. For example, the MAX IV Laboratory in Lund, Sweden, pioneered a way to boost its brilliance by two orders of magnitude. A further one or two orders of magnitude can be obtained by means of new X-ray optics. Combining these improvements should one day increase total flux by a factor of 10,000.

With this higher flux, we should be able to achieve a resolution of 2 nm in less time than it now takes to obtain 19-nm resolution. Our system could also survey a one-square-centimeter integrated circuit—about the size of an Apple M1 processor—at 250-nm resolution in fewer than 30 hours.

And there are other ways of boosting imaging speed and resolution, such as better stabilizing the probe beam and improving our algorithms to account for the design rules of ICs and the deformation that can result from too much X-ray exposure.

Although we can already tell a lot about an IC from just the layout of its interconnects, with further improvements we should be able to discover everything about it, including the materials it’s made of. For the 16-nm-technology node, that includes copper, aluminum, tungsten, and compounds called silicides. We might even be able to make local measurements of strain in the silicon lattice, which arises from the multilayer manufacturing processes needed to make cutting-edge devices.

Identifying materials could become particularly important, now that copper-interconnect technology is approaching its limits. In contemporary CMOS circuits, copper interconnects are susceptible to electromigration, where current can kick copper atoms out of alignment and cause voids in the structure. To counter this, the interconnects are sheathed in a barrier material. But these sheaths can be so thick that they leave little room for the copper, making the interconnects too resistive. So alternative materials, such as cobalt and ruthenium, are being explored. Because the interconnects in question are so fine, we’ll need to reach sub-10-nm resolution to distinguish them.

There’s reason to think we’ll get there. Applying PXCT and PyXL to the “connectome” of both hardware and wetware (brains) is one of the key arguments researchers around the world have made to support the construction of new and upgraded X-ray sources. In the meantime, work continues in our laboratories in California and Switzerland to develop better hardware and software. So someday soon, if you’re suspicious of your new CPU or curious about a competitor’s, you could make a fly-through tour through its inner workings to make sure everything is really in its proper place.

The SLS-USC Chip-Scan Team includes Mirko Holler, Michal Odstrcil, Manuel Guizar-Sicairos, Maxime Lebugle, Elisabeth Müller, Simone Finizio, Gemma Tinti, Christian David, Joshua Zusman, Walter Unglaub, Oliver Bunk, Jörg Raabe, A. F. J. Levi, and Gabriel Aeppli.

This article appears in the May 2022 print issue as “The Naked Chip.”

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Get Rosetta Stone and Travel Hacks for All Your Summer Adventures

Disclosure: Our goal is to feature products and services that we think you’ll find interesting and useful. If you purchase them, Entrepreneur may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners.

Summer is just around the corner and, with it, a host of new adventures. Whether you’re planning on taking a break and seeing the world or you have a host of business travel on tap, there are smart ways to travel and less smart ways. Saving money on flights? That’s smart. Knowing the language of your destination? That’s really smart. Knowing how to navigate safely in a new country? Genius.



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Finally, you’ll also get a bundle of six courses to help you hack your travel. You’ll explore topics like travel hacking to go twice as far for half the money, learning how to become a digital nomad, travel photography, and more.

Get more from your summer travel and enjoy a nice spring refresh. Right now, The World Traveler Bundle ft. Rosetta Stone is just $169.15 when you use promo code TRAVEL20 at checkout.

Prices subject to change.

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Russia-Ukraine live: Russian attack destroys Odesa airport runway | Russia-Ukraine war News

Russia targets the main airport in Ukraine’s key Black Sea port of Odesa, a city so far relatively unscathed in the war.

  • Russia has carried out missile attacks across southern and eastern Ukraine, including one that destroyed the runway at Odesa airport.
  • A group of 20 civilians have left the Azovstal steelworks, where the last Ukrainian troops are holed up in Mariupol, according to the Azov regiment.
  • A Russian reconnaissance plane briefly violated Sweden’s airspace, Swedish defence officials said.
  • A Russian official told state media that the risks of nuclear war should be kept to a minimum amid conflict in Ukraine.
  • Fourteen Ukrainians including a pregnant soldier have been freed in the latest prisoner exchange with Russian forces, Ukraine says, without revealing the number of Russians returned to Moscow.

INTERACTIVE Russia Ukraine War Who controls what Day 66

Here are the latest updates:

Ballerina Olga Smirnova quits Bolshoi ballet over Ukraine war

A well-known Russian ballerina is starting a new life in the Netherlands because of the war in Ukraine.

Olga Smirnova says she was so ashamed by the invasion that she quit the Bolshoi ballet in Moscow to dance in Amsterdam.


Turkey presidential spokesman meets Zelenskyy in Kyiv

Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv on Saturday, his office said.

There were no immediate details about the content of Kalin’s meetings in Kyiv, but Ankara has been mediating between Ukraine and Russia in efforts to end the war.

Kalin was accompanied by Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal.

Turkey is trying to pave the way for an Istanbul summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Zelenskyy.


Russian military plane briefly violates Swedish airspace

A Russian reconnaissance plane briefly violated Sweden’s airspace, say Swedish defence officials, as the Scandinavian country ponders a bid for NATO membership after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“A Russian AN-30 propeller plane violated Swedish airspace on Friday evening,” the Swedish defence ministry said in a statement on Saturday evening, adding that its teams had followed the incident and photographed it.

The ministry said the plane was flying east of Bornholm, a Danish island in the Baltic, before it headed towards Swedish territory.

“It is totally unacceptable to violate Swedish airspace,” public television SVT quoted Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist as saying.


20 civilians leave Mariupol’s Azovstal site: Ukraine regiment

A group of 20 civilians have left the Azovstal steelworks, where the last Ukrainian troops are holed up in the Black Sea port of Mariupol, according to the Azov regiment.

“Twenty civilians, women and children … have been transferred to a suitable place and we hope that they will be evacuated to Zaporizhzhia, on territory controlled by Ukraine,” said Sviatoslav Palamar, the Azov regiment’s deputy commander.

Earlier on Saturday, a correspondent from Russia’s TASS news agency reported from the city that 25 civilians – including six children younger than 14 – had left the site.


Russian rocket attack destroys Odesa runway

A Russian missile attack destroyed an airport runway in Odesa, Ukraine’s third-largest city and a key Black Sea port, the Ukrainian army said.

In a Telegram post, Ukraine’s Operational Command South said there was no way that the Odesa runway could be used as a result of the missile attack.

Local authorities urged residents of the area to shelter in place as Ukrainian news agency UNIAN, citing army sources, reported that “several” explosions were heard in Odesa.

Odesa’s regional governor said that the missile was fired from Russian-occupied Crimea. Maksym Marchenko said there were no reports of any injuries.


Welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the war in Ukraine.

Read the updates from Saturday, April 30 here.

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Mariupol civilians leave besieged Azovstal steelworks

Despite an order from Vladimir Putin to completely seal off the area, 20 civilians escape Azovstal.

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Warren Buffett gives his most expansive explanation for why he doesn’t believe in bitcoin

Bitcoin has steadily been gaining acceptance from the traditional finance and investment world in recent years but Warren Buffett is sticking to his skeptical stance on bitcoin.

He said at the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholder meeting Saturday that it’s not a productive asset and it doesn’t produce anything tangible. Despite a shift in public perception about the cryptocurrency, Buffett still wouldn’t buy it.

“Whether it goes up or down in the next year, or five or 10 years, I don’t know. But the one thing I’m pretty sure of is that it doesn’t produce anything,” Buffett said. “It’s got a magic to it and people have attached magics to lots of things.”

Even bitcoin enthusiasts tend to regard the cryptocurrency as a passive asset that investors buy and hold and hope to see increase in price over a long period. Buffet himself commented that there’s “nobody” that’s short on bitcoin, everyone is a long-term holder.

For more sophisticated crypto investors, some coins offer a way for them to use their crypto productively — either through lending, or as collateral — to create additional portfolio benefits. However, they’re still young, highly speculative and haven’t broken into the mainstream like bitcoin.

Buffett elaborated on why he doesn’t see value in bitcoin, comparing it to things that generate other types of value.

“If you said… for a 1% interest in all the farmland in the United States, pay our group $25 billion, I’ll write you a check this afternoon,” Buffett said. “[For] $25 billion I now own 1% of the farmland. [If] you offer me 1% of all the apartment houses in the country and you want another $25 billion, I’ll write you a check, it’s very simple. Now if you told me you own all of the bitcoin in the world and you offered it to me for $25 I wouldn’t take it because what would I do with it? I’d have to sell it back to you one way or another. It isn’t going to do anything. The apartments are going to produce rent and the farms are going to produce food.”

Investors for years have been puzzled over how to value bitcoin in part because of its potential to serve different functions. In Western markets it has been established as an investment asset, particularly in the past year as rates and inflation have been on the rise. In other markets, people still see enormous potential for its use as digital cash.

“Assets, to have value, have to deliver something to somebody. And there’s only one currency that’s accepted. You can come up with all kinds of things — we can put up Berkshire coins… but in the end, this is money,” he said, holding up a $20 bill. “And there’s no reason in the world why the United States government… is going to let Berkshire money replace theirs.”

Both Buffett and Charlie Munger have made hostile comments toward bitcoin in the past. Most famously, Buffett said bitcoin is “probably rat poison squared.” Munger doubled down on that sentiment Saturday.

“In my life, I try and avoid things that are stupid and evil and make me look bad in comparison to somebody else – and bitcoin does all three,” Munger said. “In the first place, it’s stupid because it’s still likely to go to zero. It’s evil because it undermines the Federal Reserve System… and third, it makes us look foolish compared to the Communist leader in China. He was smart enough to ban bitcoin in China.”

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Real Madrid wins 35th La Liga title with 4-0 win against Espanyol

It is Real’s second league title in three years and one Carlo Ancelotti’s side has claimed with relative ease having moved an unassailable 18 points ahead of Barcelona — which has five games left to play this season.

Rodrygo scored twice in the first half before Marco Asensio and Karim Benzema added two more goals in the second half to complete a comfortable victory at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu.

Real has now won 35 league titles — nine more than rival Barça — and it means Ancelotti has become the first manager to win the Premier League, the Bundesliga, Serie A, Ligue 1 and La Liga in his coaching career.

“Celebrating with the fans is the best thing there is, the party is theirs,” defender Marcelo, who is now the most decorated player in Real’s history with 24 trophies, told Spanish broadcaster Movistar.

“This is the biggest joy a player can have, celebrating with their fans, a match at home … there’s only joy.”

Real has been the dominant side in Spain this season — so far winning 25 league games and losing just three — with Benzema’s 42 goals in 42 games spearheading that success.

Paris Saint-Germain defender Sergio Ramos passed on his congratulations to his former club, tweeting: “Congratulations, Real Madrid, for your 35th title!”

Real next faces Manchester City at the Bernabéu on Wednesday in the second leg of the sides’ Champions League semifinal.

The tie will be tightly contested after City won an entertaining first leg in Manchester 4-3.

“I’m proud [of the players]. I want to keep winning titles with Real Madrid,” Ancelotti told Real Madrid TV. “Congratulations [to the players and fans], we’ll see each other Wednesday. I’ll say this to the fans, Wednesday we need this atmosphere.”

Spanish tennis star Nadal waves to fans in Madrid.

Ahead of Saturday’s game, tennis star Rafael Nadal also took to the field to take the honorary kickoff.

Nadal, a 21-time grand slam champion, is a huge Real Madrid fan and has been an honorary member of the club since 2011.

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Leeds 0-4 Man City: Jesse Marsch pleased with display despite result

Leeds United head coach Jesse Marsch says it was “disappointing” to lose 4-0 against Manchester City but praises his side’s performance.

MATCH REPORT: Leeds United 0-4 Manchester City

Watch Premier League highlights on Match of the Day on Saturday 30 April at 22:20 BST on BBC One, BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport app.

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