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YAHIDNE, Ukraine (AP) — As the war grinds on in Ukraine, communities that were badly damaged early in the invasion are starting to rebuild. Villages such as Yahidne in the northern Chernihiv region are gradually returning to life a few months after Russian troops retreated. Now people are repairing homes, and the sound of construction tools fills the air.

HONG KONG (AP) — Chinese leader Xi Jinping has arrived in Hong Kong ahead of the 25th anniversary of the British handover and after a two-year transformation bringing the city more tightly under Communist Party control. It is Xi’s first trip outside of mainland China in nearly 2 ½ years.

MADRID (AP) — NATO is facing rebukes from Moscow and Beijing after it declared Russia a “direct threat” and said China posed “serious challenges” to global stability. The Western military alliance is wrapping up a summit in Madrid, where it invited Sweden and Finland to join the 30-member organization. Russian President Vladimir Putin said he would respond in kind if the Nordic nations allowed NATO troops and military infrastructure onto their territory.

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel’s parliament has voted to dissolve itself, sending the country to the polls for the fifth time in less than four years. The Knesset voted on Thursday in favor of disbanding, just over a year after the government was formed. Yair Lapid, Israel’s foreign minister and architect of the outgoing coalition government, will become the country’s caretaker prime minister at midnight.

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has praised his father’s legacy and glossed over its violent past as he was sworn in as Philippine president. His rise to power comes 36 years after an army-backed “People Power” revolt booted his namesake dictator father from office. In his inaugural speech, Marcos Jr. said his father accomplished many things and built better roads that had not been done since the country’s independence.

KREMENCHUK, Ukraine (AP) — Search teams and relatives are racing to find people missing after a Russian airstrike on a shopping mall killed at least 18 people in the center of Ukraine. Several families stood by what was left of the Amstor shopping center in the city of Kremenchuk on Wednesday as crews looked through the rubble.

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka’s economy, which a few years ago enjoyed strong growth that provided jobs and financial security, is now in a state of collapse, dependent on aid from India and other countries as its leaders desperately try to negotiate a bailout with the International Monetary Fund.

MADRID (AP) — NATO has declared Russia the “most significant and direct threat” to its members’ peace and security. That came as the military alliance met Wednesday to confront what NATO’s chief called the biggest security crisis since World War II. It also promised to “step up political and practical support” to Ukraine as it fights off Russia’s invasion.

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt will receive $500 million loan from the World Bank to help the Arab world's most populous country finance its purchases of wheat. The World Bank says the funds will help Egypt’s government finance procurement of imported wheat. Egypt is the world’s largest wheat importer and the country’s supply is subject to price changes on the international market.

LONDON (AP) — Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has told lawmakers in Edinburgh that she plans to hold a fresh referendum on Scottish independence on Oct. 19, 2023. That's despite U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying it wasn’t the right time for such a vote. Scottish voters rejected independence in the 2014 referendum.

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