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Canadian Nobel-winning author Alice Munro dies aged 92

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Canadian Nobel-winning author Alice Munro dies aged 92

Munro was renowned for her short stories, which focussed on the frailties of the human condition.

Alice Munro, the Nobel Prize-winning Canadian author known for her mastery of the short story, has died at the age of 92.

Munro died at her home in Port Hope, Ontario, publisher Kristin Cochrane, chief executive officer of McClelland & Stewart, said in a statement on Tuesday.

“Alice’s writing inspired countless writers … and her work leaves an indelible mark on our literary landscape,” Cochrane said.

Munro published more than a dozen collections of short stories, which she focused on the frailties of the human condition and set in the rural Ontario countryside where she grew up.

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Awarded the International Booker Prize for her body of work in 2009, and the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2013, Munro was diagnosed with dementia about a decade ago and was living in a care home.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the world had “lost one of its greatest storytellers”.

“A true literary genius … her short stories about life, friendship, and human connection left an indelible mark on readers,” he said.

Munro was born on July 10, 1931, in Wingham, Ontario. Her father raised foxes and poultry, while her mother was a smalltown teacher.

Munro decided she wanted to be a writer when she was 11, and never wavered in her career choice.

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“I think, maybe I was successful in doing this because I didn’t have any other talents,” she once explained in an interview.

“I’m not really an intellectual,” Munro said. “There was never anything else that I was really drawn to doing, so nothing interfered in the way life interferes for so many people.”

“It always does seem like magic to me.”

Munro’s first story, The Dimensions of a Shadow, was published in 1950, while she was studying at the University of Western Ontario.

Munro was three times awarded the Governor General’s Award for fiction, the first for Dance of the Happy Shades, a collection of stories published in 1968. Who Do You Think You Are (1978) and The Progress of Love (1986) also won Canada’s highest literary honour.

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Her short stories were often published in the pages of prestigious magazines, such as The New Yorker and The Atlantic. Her last collection of work, Dear Life, appeared in 2012.

The characters in Munro’s stories were often girls and women who led seemingly unexceptional lives but struggled with issues ranging from sexual abuse and stifling marriages to repressed love and the ravages of age.

She was often likened to Anton Chekhov, the 19th-century Russian known for his brilliant short stories – a comparison made by the Swedish Academy when it awarded her the Nobel Prize.

Calling Munro a “master of the contemporary short story”, the Academy also said: “Her texts often feature depictions of everyday but decisive events, epiphanies of a kind, that illuminate the surrounding story and let existential questions appear in a flash of lightning.”

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Russia hits Kharkiv supermarket in deadly attack

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Russia hits Kharkiv supermarket in deadly attack

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy called the airstrike “a manifestation of Russian madness”.

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Scores of people were killed or wounded when an aerial bomb hit a large store in the city of Kharkiv on Saturday afternoon, according to local officials.

The airstrike caused a huge fire to break out, with huge plumes of smoke seen filling the sky in social media footage. 

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy said more than 200 people could have been inside the store. 

A second bomb hit the city’s central park, Kharkiv Mayor Ihor Terekhov said.

Zelenskyy called the airstrike “a manifestation of Russian madness”, and appealed to Western countries to provide Ukraine with air defence systems.

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“When we tell world leaders that Ukraine requires adequate air defence protection … we are literally talking about how not to allow such terrorist strikes,” he said in a post on X.

“Only madmen like [Russian President Vladimir] Putin are capable of killing and terrorising people in this way,” Zelenskyy added.

Kharkiv region is situated about 20 kilometres from the Russian border. 

Moscow’s troops have in recent weeks captured villages in the area as part of a broad push, and analysts say they may be trying to get within artillery range of Kharkiv city. 

Ukrainian authorities have evacuated more than 11,000 people from the region since the start of the offensive on 10 May.

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Russia’s Kharkiv push appears to be a coordinated new offensive that includes testing Ukrainian defences in the Donetsk region further south, where Russia’s Defense Ministry said Saturday that its forces had taken over the village of Arkhanhelske. 

They have also launched incursions in the northern Sumy and Chernihiv regions.

Russian president Vladimir Putin has said the Kremlin’s army is attempting to create a “buffer zone” in the Kharkiv region to prevent Ukrainian cross-border attacks.

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Biden Set to Deliver Commencement at West Point on Saturday

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Biden Set to Deliver Commencement at West Point on Saturday
By Jarrett Renshaw WILMINGTON, Delaware (Reuters) – U.S. President Biden will deliver the commencement speech on Saturday at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, amid conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza. The speech before some 1,000 U.S. Army cadets is part of a push by Biden to highlight the …
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Israel forced to work on Jewish Sabbath as UN court judge calls out colleagues in scathing dissent

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Israel forced to work on Jewish Sabbath as UN court judge calls out colleagues in scathing dissent

A U.N. International Court of Justice (ICJ) chided her colleagues on Friday for requiring Israel to work on the Sabbath when responding to a case brought by South Africa to the ICJ under the Genocide Convention.

The dissenting opinion from ICJ Vice President Julia Sebutinde came in a nine-page document, issued in response to the court’s order for Israel to end its military offensive in the southern city of Rafah in Gaza. That ruling stems from South Africa’s request, which accuses Israel of genocide in its ongoing war with Hamas terrorists in Gaza. Israel has vehemently denied these charges. 

Among her disagreements with her colleagues, Sebutinde, who is Ugandan, objected to the court’s handling of South Africa’s request, and the “incidental oral hearings.” 

Judge Nawaf Salam, president of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), speaks next to Judge Julia Sebutinde, vice president of the ICJ, at the start of a hearing in The Hague Netherlands, on May 16. (Reuters/Yves Herman)

“In my view, the Court should have consented to Israel’s request to postpone the oral hearings to the following week to allow for Israel to have sufficient time to fully respond to South Africa’s Request and engage counsel,” Sebutinde wrote, noting that the Israel’s preferred Counsel was not available on the dates scheduled by the Court. 

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“It is also regrettable that Israel was required to respond to a question posed by a Member of the Court over the Jewish Sabbath,” Sebutinde said. “The Court’s decision in this respect bear upon the procedural equality between the Parties and the good administration of justice by the Court.” 

Sebutinde also argued that the court’s initial ruling “does not entirely prohibit the Israeli military from operating in Rafah.” She also urged the court, to maintain its judicial integrity, to “avoid reacting to every shift in the conflict and refrain from micromanaging the hostilities in the Gaza Strip, including Rafah.” 

LINDSEY GRAHAM TELLS UN INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE TO ‘GO TO HELL’ OVER RULING AGAINST ISRAEL

Sebutinde clarified that the ruling operates to “partially restrict Israel’s offensive in Rafah to the extent it implicates rights under the Genocide Convention.” She warned that the ruling is “susceptible to ambiguity and could be misunderstood or misconstrued as ordering an indefinite, unilateral cease-fire, thereby exemplifying an untenable overreach on the part of the Court.” 

Smoke billows during Israeli bombardment in eastern Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on May 19, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas. (AFP via Getty Images)

The judges’ ruling on Friday stopped short of ordering a full cease-fire across the entire Palestinian territory, and Israel is unlikely to comply with the court’s ruling. Friday’s decision comes just days after Norway, Ireland, and Spain said they would recognize the Palestinian state, and the chief prosecutor of a separate international court sought arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as well as leaders of Hamas.

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Since Oct. 7, Israeli bombardments and ground offensives in Gaza have killed more than 35,000 Palestinians, according to the Hamas-run Ministry of Health, which doesn’t distinguish between combatants and civilians.

Israel launched its war in Gaza after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack in which militants stormed into southern Israel, killed about 1,200 people — mostly civilians — and abducted about 250. Israel says around 100 hostages are still captive in Gaza, along with the bodies of around 30 more.

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