At least 100,000 listed missing in Mexico as disappearances surge

More than 100,000 people are now listed as missing in Mexico, the country’s National Registry of Missing Persons announced as the United Nations on Tuesday called the situation a “human tragedy of enormous proportions.”

The National Registry of Missing Persons, which has been tracking disappearances since 1964, said that as of Monday the whereabouts of 100,012 people were unknown. About 75% are men.

Disappearances have skyrocketed in the wake of mounting drug violence that has plagued the country for 16 years.

The Movement for Our Disappeared warned that the figure was “certainly well below the number” of actual cases, calling for the government to deal with the crisis “in a comprehensive and immediate manner.”

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said the disappearances represented a “human tragedy of enormous proportions.”

“No effort should be spared to put an end to these human rights violations and abuses of extraordinary breadth, and to vindicate victims’ rights to truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-repetition,” she added.

Only 35 of the disappearances recorded have led to convictions – a “staggering rate of impunity” that is “mostly attributable to the lack of effective investigations,” Bachelet’s office said.

The U.N. Committee on Enforced Disappearances and the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances described the situation as “heartbreaking.”

“We also note that, in many cases, disappearances go unreported, and thus the scale of this tragedy may even go beyond what is currently registered,” they added.

The U.N. committee, which is made up of independent experts, warned in April that Mexico was facing an “alarming trend of rising enforced disappearances.”

Organized crime groups were mainly responsible for these disappearances, “with varying degrees of participation, acquiescence or omission by public servants,” it said.

‘Staggering number’

Frustration at slow progress in official investigations has led families of the disappeared, especially mothers, to form groups that search for clandestine graves hoping to find their relatives.

Mexico’s government has reported around 37,000 unidentified bodies are being held in forensic services, though civil organizations warn the number could be much higher.

Authorities are working to consolidate a database of the disappeared with genetic samples, though many corpses have been buried without being identified due to the country’s overflowing morgues.

The International Committee of the Red Cross described the 100,000 missing as “a staggering number that underscores the immediate need to strengthen prevention, search, and identification mechanisms for those who are missing and their families.”

However, it recognized “important progress” made by Mexico in some areas including identifying the dead and easing the pain of families of the missing.

“The first few hours are the most important,” said Marlene Herbig, head of the ICRC’s missing persons program in Mexico.

“When someone disappears, their relatives have the right to know what has happened. Knowing the fate of disappeared persons is primarily a humanitarian act.”

The first reported disappearances in Mexico date back to the authorities’ so-called “dirty war” against leftist movements from the 1960s to 1980s.

Mexico has also registered over 340,000 deaths – mostly attributed to organized crime groups – since 2006, when a major anti-drug military offensive was launched.

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Jill Biden heading to Latin America on three-country tour

Biden will be joined on the trip by her daughter, Ashley Biden. The tour will “emphasize the importance of the US partnership,” as well as the three countries’ commitment to democracy, “in a region where democratic backsliding is increasingly common,” says the release.

In Ecuador, Biden is scheduled to meet with President Guillermo Lasso, and deliver a keynote speech focused on democracy and the challenges of migrating Latin Americans, according to an official. The trip comes as the Biden administration faces several challenges on the immigration front, including a heated debate over Title 42, a Trump-era pandemic restriction that allows migrants to be turned away at the US-Mexico border because of the public health crisis.

Biden will also visit an elementary school that is “hosting a US-supported accelerated learning program that helps Ecuadorian, Venezuelan, and Colombian teenagers — who were previously out of school for at least two years — rejoin the formal school system,” says the release, a visit she will make with Ecuador first lady Maria de Lourdes Alcivar de Lasso.

In Panama, Biden will hold joint events with the first lady of that country, Yazmín Colón de Cortizo. She will also visit a health care facility in Panama City that is supported by the United States’ PEPFAR program.

In Costa Rica, Biden plans to meet one-on-one with President Rodrigo Chaves, who took office on May 8.

On Sunday, Biden will tour the National Children’s Hospital of Costa Rica, which was part of a visit made by then-President John F. Kennedy during his March 1963 visit to that country. Biden is scheduled to deliver remarks after her tour.

The first lady’s trip comes on the heels of her solo visit earlier this month to Romania, Slovakia and Ukraine. In Ukraine, she held a previously unannounced meeting with Olena Zelenska, the first lady of Ukraine, who came out of hiding to meet with Biden in person.

Biden’s Latin America visit will also serve as a precursor to the Summit of the Americas, being held in June in Los Angeles. The summit convenes every three to four years and brings together leaders of North, South, and Central America, as well as the Caribbean. This year will be the first time the United States has hosted the summit since its inception in 1994.


Dow jumps more than 300 points as some investors see bargains following steep sell-off

U.S. stocks were higher on Tuesday as the market tried to bounce from a punishing bear market for the tech-heavy Nasdaq and a sharp pullback for the S&P 500.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 180 points, or 0.6%. The S&P 500 gained 1.2%, while the Nasdaq Composite added 1.7%.

Those gains marked the market’s latest attempt at a recovery following weeks of steep losses. The S&P 500 is coming off a six-week losing streak — its longest since 2011. The Dow, meanwhile, has fallen for seven straight weeks, marking its longest weekly slide since 2001. Year to date, the S&P 500 and Dow are down 15.9% and 11.3%, respectively.

“Our inputs today support the kind of momentum that we saw on Friday and a continuation of that,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities. “But the most important thing for investors is you get to a point where you’ve priced in a lot of worst case scenarios.”

Earnings reports from major consumer companies Home Depot and Walmart appeared to convey diverging stories on consumer resiliency amid inflation.

Home Depot shares were flat after rising more than 3% earlier in the day following better-than-expected quarterly results. The home improvement retailer also raised its full-year outlook. In a Tuesday note, Jefferies analysts called the company a “beneficiary of a healthy consumer” committed to remodeling projects.

At the same time, Walmart shares dropped more than 10% after the retail giant reported an earnings miss because of rising prices. The company raised its sales outlook, but lowered its profit forecast.

Shares of Citigroup and Paramount Global surged on Tuesday after Berkshire Hathaway disclosed its holdings in the two companies. Citigroup jumped 8% after Warren Buffett’s conglomerate revealed it added a nearly $3 billon stake in the struggling bank during the first quarter.

Citi shares have underperformed the rest of the financial sector in the past 12 months, down nearly 40% while the Financial Select Sector SPDR Fund is off by 12% over the same period.

Meanwhile, shares of Paramount Global also surged nearly 13% after Berkshire built a stake worth $2.6 billion in the company as of the end of March.

Semiconductor stocks climbed. Shares of Advanced Micro Devices jumped more than 4% following an upgrade from Piper Sandler, which said the stock looked attractive after falling 34.5% this year. Nvidia’s stock price rose 3%, Qualcomm’s jumped 2.4% and Micron Technology’s rose 2%.

Travel stocks popped after United Airlines raised its revenue outlook for the second quarter on improved consumer demand. United Airlines’ stock price rose 4%, Delta’s jumped 3% and American Airlines’ advanced 3%.

Investors will also be monitoring comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell who will speak on the central bank’s plans to address inflation at a Wall Street Journal conference at 2 p.m. ET.

On the economic front, retail sales numbers came in about as expected. Consumer spending on retail rose 0.9% in April, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Retail sales excluding autos rose 0.6% in April.

Inflation concerns

Wall Street seemed to largely shake off concerns of inflation on Tuesday, though some investors are worried the economy could ultimately tip into a recession.

“We see clear late-cycle indicators, and while the risk of economic growth contraction or recession has risen steadily through the first four-and-a-half months of this year, we are now beginning to cross over a probability level that makes recession a base case for the end of this year and beginning of next,” Darrell Cronk, president of Wells Fargo Investment Institute wrote in a note Monday.

Stock picks and investing trends from CNBC Pro:

The firm added that ultimately it should be a “relatively mild economic growth contraction and a short-lived one.”

Correction: Retail sales excluding autos rose 0.6% in April. A previous version of this story misstated the increase.


Ukraine war sanctions force Russia to lower safety and environmental standards for new cars

Moscow — Russia has eased safety standards for cars produced on its territory, such as dropping the requirement for airbags, after Western sanctions over the war in Ukraine caused a shortage of electronic components and car parts. In a decree signed on May 12, the Russian government announced a list of reduced requirements to certify some types of new vehicles produced in the country.

It includes the production of cars without Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) sensors, airbags or Emergency Locking Retractors (ELR) for seatbelts. The decree is in effect until February 1, 2023.

Russia Victory Day Mood
A car drives past a billboard with a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin that reads: “For Russia,” in Grozny, Russia, May 7, 2022.

Musa Sadulayev/AP

According to the same decree, Russia will also significantly reduce its environmental standards for cars, the Kommersant business daily said in its Monday edition, bringing them back to standards for vehicles produced in 1988.

After Moscow sent troops into Ukraine in late February, Western countries hit Russia with a barrage of sanctions, banning the export of car parts to the country, among other measures.

Volkswagen’s CEO on suspending operations in Russia


Numerous car makers have stopped sales of their cars or parts to Russia, including Audi, Honda, Jaguar and Porsche, while BMW, Ford, Hyundai, Mercedes, Volkswagen and Volvo halted Russian production.

Earlier this month, Russia allowed for hundreds of categories of goods, including major car brands and spare parts, to be imported without the agreement of the intellectual property owner in order to bypass restrictions imposed over the Ukraine conflict.

President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly said that Russia’s economy has weathered the sanctions well, but economists believe that the worst economic impact is still to come.


Mariupol defiance changed course of war, says Ukraine’s presidential adviser

Although Mariupol’s complete capture would represent Russia’s biggest victory of the war, its campaign has faltered elsewhere.

Russian troops around Ukraine’s second-largest city of Kharkiv in the northeast lately retreated at the fastest pace since they were driven out of the north and the area around the capital Kyiv at the end of March.

Podolyak, Ukraine’s lead negotiator, reiterated that Ukraine was not prepared to give away territory in negotiations so that Russian President Vladimir Putin could save face.

He said peace talks with Russia were effectively frozen but that they could restart if there were concrete issues to discuss.

“Objectively speaking, the negotiation process is indeed in a pause … but I underline that any war will all the same end at the negotiating table,” he said.

Ukraine and Russia have not held face-to-face peace talks since Mar 29. Russian chief negotiator Vladimir Medinsky was quoted by Interfax news agency last week as saying peace talks were being held remotely.


Buffalo shooting: How far-right killers are radicalised online

Packed full of racist and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, memes, hoaxes and and in-jokes, his manifesto is also clearly influenced by the message board 4chan, one of the biggest and most controversial hubs of internet subculture. It is the birthplace of many famous online memes, harassment and trolling campaigns, as well as social, political and conspiratorial movements.


North Korea mobilizes army, steps up tracing amid COVID-19 wave

KYIV/NOVOAZOVSK, Ukraine: Ukraine’s military said on Tuesday it was working to evacuate all remaining troops from their last stronghold in the besieged port of Mariupol, ceding control of the city to Russia after months of bombardment.
The evacuation likely marked the end of the longest and bloodiest battle of the Ukraine war and a significant defeat for Ukraine. Mariupol is now in ruins after a Russian siege that Ukraine says killed tens of thousands of people in the city.
With the rest of Mariupol firmly in Russian hands, hundreds of Ukrainian troops and civilians had holed up beneath the city’s Azovstal steelworks. Civilians inside were evacuated in recent weeks, and more than 260 troops, some of them wounded, left the plant for Russian-controlled areas late on Monday.
“The ‘Mariupol’ garrison has fulfilled its combat mission,” the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces said in a statement announcing evacuations.
“The supreme military command ordered the commanders of the units stationed at Azovstal to save the lives of the personnel… Defenders of Mariupol are the heroes of our time,” it added. Ukraine’s deputy defense minister said 53 injured troops from the Azovstal steelworks were taken to a hospital in the Russian-controlled town of Novoazovsk, some 32 kilometers (20 miles) to the east.
Another 211 people were taken to the town of Olenivka, in an area controlled by Russian-backed separatists, Deputy Defense Minister Anna Malyar said. All of the evacuees will be subject to a potential prisoner exchange with Russia, she added.
It was not clear how many troops remained in Azovstal. Ukraine’s military said efforts were under way to evacuate those still inside.
Reuters saw five buses carrying troops from Azovstal arrive in Novoazovsk late on Monday. Some of the evacuated troops were wounded and carried out of the buses on stretchers. Some 600 troops were believed to have been inside the steel plant.
“We hope that we will be able to save the lives of our guys,” Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an early morning address. “There are severely wounded ones among them. They’re receiving care. Ukraine needs Ukrainian heroes alive.”
Arriving in Novoazovsk in a bus marked with Z, a symbol for Russia’s invasion, men could be seen stacked on stretchers on three levels. They stared out the windows without reacting. One man was wheeled out, his head tightly wrapped in thick bandages.
Since Russia launched its invasion in February, Mariupol’s devastation has become a symbol both of Ukraine’s resistance and of Russia’s willingness to devastate Ukrainian cities that hold out.
The first evacuations late on Monday came hours after Russia said it had agreed to evacuate wounded Ukrainian soldiers to a medical facility in Novoazovsk.

Moscow calls its nearly three-month-old invasion a “special military operation” to rid Ukraine of fascists, an assertion Kyiv and its Western allies say is a baseless pretext for an unprovoked war.
Russia’s invading forces have run into apparent setbacks, with troops forced out of the north and the environs of Kyiv in late March. A Ukrainian counterattack in recent days has driven Russian forces out of the area near Kharkiv, the biggest city in the east.
Areas around Kyiv and the western city of Lviv, near the Polish border, have continued to come under Russian attack. A series of explosions struck Lviv early on Tuesday, a Reuters witness said. There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage.
On Monday, Ukraine’s defense ministry troops had advanced all the way to the Russian border, about 40 km north of Kharkiv.
The successes near Kharkiv could let Ukraine attack supply lines for Russia’s main offensive, grinding on further south in the Donbas region, where Moscow has been launching mass assaults for a month yet achieving only small gains.

Russian President Vladimir Putin appeared on Monday to climb down from threats to retaliate against Sweden and Finland for announcing plans to join the US-led NATO military alliance.
“As far as expansion goes, including new members Finland and Sweden, Russia has no problems with these states — none. And so in this sense there is no immediate threat to Russia from an expansion to include these countries,” Putin said.
The comments appeared to mark a major shift in rhetoric, after years of casting NATO enlargement as a direct threat to Russia’s security, including citing it as a justification for the invasion of Ukraine itself.
Soon before Putin spoke, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, said Finland and Sweden were making a mistake that would have far-reaching consequences: “They should have no illusions that we will simply put up with it.”
Putin said NATO enlargement was being used by the United States in an “aggressive” way to aggravate an already difficult global security situation, and that Russia would respond if the alliance moves weapons or troops forward.
“The expansion of military infrastructure into this territory would certainly provoke our response. What that (response) will be — we will see what threats are created for us,” Putin said.
Finland and Sweden, both non-aligned throughout the Cold War, say they now want the protection offered by NATO’s treaty, under which an attack on any member is an attack on all.
“We are leaving one era behind us and entering a new one,” Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said, announcing plans to formally abandon militarily non-aligned status — a cornerstone of national identity for more than 200 years.


Ukraine Mounts Effort To Rescue Last Fighters At Steel Mill In Mariupol

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Efforts were underway Tuesday to rescue the last of the defenders inside the Azovstal steel plant in the ruined city of Mariupol after Ukrainian officials said the fighters had “completed their mission” and there was no way to free the plant by military means.

The Ukrainian military avoided using the term “surrender” to describe the effort to pull out of the steel plant to save as many lives as possible. Officials planned to keep trying to save an unknown number of fighters who stayed behind. It was unclear if soldiers evacuated to Russian-controlled areas would be considered prisoners of war.

Ukraine’s deputy defense minister said more than 260 fighters, including some badly wounded, were evacuated from the plant Monday and taken to areas under Russia’s control.

“The work to bring the guys home continues, and it requires delicacy and time,” said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

He said the evacuation to separatist-controlled territory was done to save the fighters who endured weeks of Russian assaults in the maze of underground passages below the plant.

“Ukraine needs Ukrainian heroes to be alive. It’s our principle,” he said.

In this photo provided by Azov Special Forces Regiment of the Ukrainian National Guard Press Office, Azov Special Forces Regiment's servicemen, injured during fighting against Russian forces, pose for a photographer inside the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, Ukraine, on May 10, 2022.
In this photo provided by Azov Special Forces Regiment of the Ukrainian National Guard Press Office, Azov Special Forces Regiment’s servicemen, injured during fighting against Russian forces, pose for a photographer inside the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, Ukraine, on May 10, 2022.

Dmytro ‘Orest’ Kozatskyi/Azov Special Forces Regiment of the Ukrainian National Guard Press Office via AP

Russian forces were pounding targets in the industrial heartland of eastern Ukraine known as the Donbas, and the death toll kept climbing with the war set to enter its 12th week.

Ukraine made a symbolic gain when its forces reportedly pushed Russian troops back to the Russian border in the Kharkiv region. Video showed Ukrainian soldiers carrying a post that resembled a Ukrainian blue-and-yellow-striped border marker and then posing next to it.

The Ukrainian border service said the video showing the soldiers was from the border “in the Kharkiv region,” but would not elaborate, citing security reasons. It was not immediately possible to verify the exact location.

Zelenskyy thanked the soldiers, saying in a video message: “I’m very grateful to all the fighters like you.”

Ukraine Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said 53 seriously wounded fighters were taken from the Azovstal plant to a hospital in Novoazovsk, east of Mariupol. Another 211 fighters were evacuated to Olenivka through a humanitarian corridor. She said an exchange would be worked out for their return home.

Before the evacuations began, the Russian Defense Ministry announced an agreement for the wounded to leave the mill for treatment in a town held by pro-Moscow separatists.

After nightfall Monday, several buses pulled away from the steel mill accompanied by Russian military vehicles. Maliar confirmed the evacuation had taken place.

She said the “defenders of Mariupol” had fulfilled all their tasks, and it was impossible to “unblock Azovstal by military means.”

“Mariupol’s defenders have fully accomplished all missions assigned by the command,” Maliar said.

The commander of the Azov Regiment, which led the defense of the plant, said in a prerecorded video message released Monday that the regiment’s mission had ended with as many lives saved as possible.

“Absolutely safe plans and operations don’t exist during war,” Lt. Col. Denis Prokopenko said.

Ukrainian serviceman wave a flag with writing reading in Ukrainian "Glory to Ukraine," top, and "Death to the enemies" as they ride atop of a tank in the Kharkiv region, eastern Ukraine, on May 16, 2022.
Ukrainian serviceman wave a flag with writing reading in Ukrainian “Glory to Ukraine,” top, and “Death to the enemies” as they ride atop of a tank in the Kharkiv region, eastern Ukraine, on May 16, 2022.

Elsewhere in the Donbas, the eastern city of Sievierdonetsk came under heavy shelling that killed at least 10 people, said Serhiy Haidai, the governor of the Luhansk region. In the Donetsk region, Gov. Pavlo Kyrylenko said on Facebook that nine civilians were killed in shelling.

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv was rocked by loud explosions early Tuesday. Witnesses counted at least eight blasts accompanied by distant booms. An Associated Press team in Lviv, which was under an overnight curfew, said the sky west of the city was lit up by an orange glow.

The chairman of the Lviv Regional Military Administration said the Russians fired on military infrastructure in the Yavoriv district. The city of Yavoriv is less than 10 miles (about 15 kilometers) from the Polish border.

Ukrainian border guards said they also stopped a Russian attempt to send sabotage and reconnaissance troops into the Sumy region, some 90 miles (146 kilometers) northwest of Kharkiv.

Russia has been plagued by setbacks in the war, most glaringly in its failure early on to take the capital of Kyiv. Much of the fighting has shifted to the Donbas but also has turned into a slog, with both sides fighting village-by-village.

Howitzers from the U.S. and other countries have helped Kyiv hold off or gain ground against Russia, a senior U.S. defense official said. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the U.S. military assessment, said Ukraine has pushed Russian forces to within a half-mile to 2.5 miles (1 to 4 kilometers) of Russia’s border but could not confirm if it was all the way to the frontier.

In another setback for Moscow, Sweden’s decided to seek NATO membership following a similar decision by neighboring Finland. That is a historic shift for the countries, which have been nonaligned for generations.

Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said her country would be in a “vulnerable position” during the application period. She urged her fellow citizens to brace themselves for disinformation or other attempts to divide them.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, a NATO member, has objected to allowing Sweden and Finland to join NATO, saying they failed to take a “clear” stance against Kurdish militants and other groups that Ankara considers terrorists, and imposed military sanctions on Turkey.

All 30 current NATO members must agree to let the Nordic neighbors join.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow “does not have a problem” with Sweden or Finland as they apply for NATO membership, but that “the expansion of military infrastructure onto this territory will of course give rise to our reaction in response.”

Putin launched the invasion on Feb. 24 in what he said was an effort to check NATO’s expansion but has seen that strategy backfire. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said the membership process for both could be quick.

McQuillan and Yuras Karmanau reported from Lviv, Ukraine. Mstyslav Chernov and Andrea Rosa in Kharkiv, Elena Becatoros in Odesa and other AP staffers around the world contributed.

Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine:


‘Copycat’ shootings becoming deadlier, experts warn after Buffalo attack – National

An 18-year-old white man suspected of fatally shooting 10 people in a Black neighborhood in Buffalo, New York, appears to be the latest in a line of “copycat” gunmen carrying out deadlier mass shootings inspired by previous attackers, experts warned on Sunday.

Payton Gendron, who surrendered to police on Saturday after the attack, apparently publicized a racist manifesto on the internet and broadcast the attack in real time on social media platform Twitch, a live video service owned by AMZN.O. Authorities called the mass killing an act of “racially motivated violent extremism.”

Read more:

Canada must confront white supremacist ‘trash’ after racist Buffalo shooting: experts

Experts say the trend of mostly young white men being inspired by previous racist gun massacres is on the rise, citing recent mass shootings, including the 2015 attack at a Black church in Charleston, South Carolina, a 2018 shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh and a 2019 attack at a Walmart in an Hispanic neighborhood of El Paso.

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Adam Lankford, a criminology professor at the University of Alabama, has studied trends in mass shootings over time. His 2020 study analyzing victim data showed that the “deadliest” shootings – where more than eight people are killed – had doubled in number since 2010, compared to the previous 40 years.

“It’s clearly not just random. They are not people dreaming this up on their own. They are learning it from each other,” Lankford said.

He added: “They want to be like the previous attacker, who is a role model.”

Click to play video: 'Buffalo shooting was ‘act of domestic terrorism,’ attorney of victim’s family says'

Buffalo shooting was ‘act of domestic terrorism,’ attorney of victim’s family says

Buffalo shooting was ‘act of domestic terrorism,’ attorney of victim’s family says

Lankford’s study found that the “deadliest” shootings comprised 25% of mass public shootings from 1966 to 2009, but from 2010 to 2019 had increased to 50% of mass public shootings, in which there was “direct evidence that perpetrator was influenced by another specific attacker or attackers.”

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Lankford said the rise in these copycat mass killings have a specific trend: the gunmen find their inspiration from the personal life details of previous mass shooters. “It’s not repeating the incident that inspires them. It’s the intimate details of their lives that promotes the influence,” he said.

Lankford said one way to try and combat the rise in such hate crimes is for the media to avoid publishing details of the shooters personal lives.

Red flags

Hate-motivated mass shootings and fame-seeking perpetrators have rapidly increased since 2015, according to an analysis by The Violence Project, which tracks mass shootings in the United States.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which tracks hate and extremist groups, told Reuters on Sunday the Buffalo gunman “had a substantial online history in niche, toxic online communities.”

Read more:

Security guard who died confronting Buffalo mass shooter hailed as ‘a true hero’

“From what he wrote online, by his own account he was radicalized through participation in these forums,” Susan Corke, director of SPLC’s Intelligence Project, said in an emailed statement.

The SPLC said that even though it had not seen any evidence yet of the gunman’s affiliation to a specific far right or racist group, there were red flags.

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“He discussed building up a weapons cache and asked detailed questions about body armor on a Discord channel dedicated to gun culture. He also posted about allegedly killing a cat and dismembering it. He appears to have posted detailed plans for an attack as early as two weeks ago and posted frequently after that about his planning,” Corke added.

Click to play video: 'Learning about the lives lost in Buffalo supermarket shooting'

Learning about the lives lost in Buffalo supermarket shooting

Learning about the lives lost in Buffalo supermarket shooting

The SPLC said it had obtained a transcript of the suspect’s Discord chat log, adding they have “high confidence” when asked about its authenticity. Reuters could not independently authenticate the postings.

Social media and streaming platforms like Twitch, which said it removed the stream of Saturday’s shooting after less than two minutes, have grappled with controlling violent and extremist content for years.

Read more:

Buffalo mass shooting: How should platforms respond to violent livestreams?

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The live-nature of the broadcasts make it particularly difficult to moderate as streaming platforms do not have time-delays like television broadcasts. Facebook has sought to address the livestream violence issue in 2019 after allowing 17 minutes of a livestream of a mass shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand, before taking it down. It now has a one-strike policy which temporarily restricts users after breaking a rule.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul said on Sunday the stream should have been taken down faster and that she would take the matter up with social media platforms.

Democratic U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also urged social media companies to address and track down extremism on their platforms.

(Reporting by Tim Reid in Los Angeles and Kanishka Singh in Washington; Editing by Aurora Ellis)


New French PM Elisabeth Borne faces mountain of economic challenges

Issued on:

Elisabeth Borne has been appointed France’s new prime minister. The former transport, ecology and labour minister faces numerous challenges, with the most pressing priority being helping French households with the soaring cost of living. She will also need to tackle the thorny issue of pension reform as well as steer the country through a major energy transition. Plus, Moscow residents display mixed feelings after US fast food giant McDonald’s announces it’s pulling out of Russia for good.