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Puerto Ricans Deserve Better Than Separate and Unequal

When I was a child in the 1980s, my mom, Abigail, suffered from severe asthma attacks that often sent her to the emergency room. Her health eventually deteriorated to a point where she had to give up her teaching job. At the same time, she and my dad separated. She worried about making ends meet as a single parent with a chronic disease. A hospital case worker let my mom know that she could be eligible for a program called Supplemental Security Income, which provides monthly cash payments to older, blind and disabled people with limited income and resources.

The hitch was that she resided in Puerto Rico — where the same benefits are not available to residents who are U.S. citizens. The case worker suggested we move to the states, where there was wider access to federal assistance and also a change in climate that might do her good. A few months later, we packed our bags and moved to Topeka, Kan., where my mom’s childhood friend lived.

Our story is far from unique. Forty years later, Puerto Ricans are still not able to access the same social safety net as other U.S. citizens. This situation has been made more dire by austerity policies that have led to cuts in special education and social services. People who are disabled or care for children with special needs must routinely relocate to the 50 states to get care.

Last month the United States Supreme Court could have ended this disparity. Instead, it held that Congress has the right to deny disability benefits to residents. While disheartening, the ruling was hardly surprising. The court used the same racist logic that for over a century has affirmed second-class citizenship for Puerto Ricans.

The case before the court centered on José Luis Vaello-Madero, a former resident of New York who in 2013 moved to Puerto Rico to care for his ailing spouse. Mr. Vaello-Madero continued to receive S.S.I. benefits, but when the Social Security Administration learned he had relocated, it suspended his benefits and sued him for the $28,000 he had received while residing in Puerto Rico. He countersued for discrimination and won in a district court, but the federal government appealed and the case went before the Supreme Court, where the initial ruling was overturned.

The justices established that the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause doesn’t require equal treatment for U.S. citizens living in the territory. The fact that Puerto Ricans do not pay certain federal taxes was used as justification. “Just as not every federal tax extends to residents of Puerto Rico, so too not every federal benefits program extends to residents of Puerto Rico,” argued Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Yet there is no direct relationship between taxes and federal programs, as many S.S.I. recipients do not earn enough to pay federal income tax. Moreover, the program could be reformed to include Puerto Rico residents, as it already includes residents of the Northern Mariana Islands, which are also excluded from federal income taxes.

The real question is not whether Puerto Ricans should pay taxes or have access to disability benefits, voting rights or any other individual right or entitlement, but whether the United States should continue to treat Puerto Rico as a colony, arbitrarily deciding the future of its residents while denying them both sovereignty and democracy.

Territories acquired by the United States, most notably through western expansion, were extended full protection under the Constitution and eventually incorporated as states with full rights and duties. That changed after the Spanish-American War, when the United States took possession of Puerto Rico, the Philippines, Guam and other islands.

In a series of Supreme Court cases settled in the early 20th century known as the Insular Cases, jurists and legal scholars argued that Puerto Rico and other newly acquired territories were “inhabited by alien races” that were too culturally and racially distinct to be governed under “Anglo-Saxon principles.” The court created the category of “unincorporated territories” to justify the unequal application of constitutional rights in these areas. Congress has since leaned on this distinction to justify denying Puerto Ricans equal benefits.

Indeed, the Vaello-Madero decision reaffirms the uneven application of constitutional rights. Justice Neil Gorsuch devoted his concurring opinion to the history of the Insular Cases and called for them to be overruled. He argued that they “have no foundation in the Constitution and rest instead on racial stereotypes.”

It’s certainly past time to repeal these racist and xenophobic precedents. But even if the Insular Cases were repealed, there is no guarantee that other arguments would not be used to keep denying S.S.I. and other entitlements to Puerto Ricans and residents of other unincorporated territories. What we need to address is the very concept of unincorporation, which is little more than a justification for colonialism.

Two competing bills that seek to end Puerto Rico’s colonial status are currently deadlocked in Congress. The Puerto Rico Statehood Admission Act, introduced by Darren Soto and Puerto Rico’s nonvoting representative Jenniffer González-Colón, would lead to an immediate and binding yes or no vote on statehood. The other bill, known as the Puerto Rico Self-Determination Act, co-sponsored by Representatives Nydia Velázquez and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Robert Menendez, would facilitate a longer process of discussion, deliberation and, most importantly, education on the question of status options. A third consensus bill is now under consideration.

If passed, this would be the first time Puerto Ricans have ever been given the chance to truly participate in a democratic process aimed at decolonization. Until now, we have only ever been presented with check boxes on symbolic ballots that were not tied to actual legislation.

Decolonization is not just a matter of Puerto Ricans coming to terms with their political options but also of ending the silence and obfuscation of the United States’ imperial history. Today most Americans know little about the details of Puerto Rico’s relationship to the United States. Indeed, many are not aware that the United States remains a federation of states and territories, as well as associated republics and sovereign tribal nations.

Colonialism is deeply embedded into our governmental institutions in ways that impact not just the decisions of Supreme Court justices but also the everyday decisions made by average Puerto Ricans seeking a dignified life. Like my mom, many today are forced to make the same hard choices — between their homeland, their friends and family ties and the care they need and are entitled to.

As Justice Sonia Sotomayor argued in her dissenting opinion, access to health care and support for those with disabilities should not be a question of politics but, like self-determination, a matter of fundamental human rights.

Yarimar Bonilla (@yarimarbonilla) is the director of Centro, the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College, a professor of anthropology at the City University of New York Graduate Center and a co-editor of “Aftershocks of Disaster: Puerto Rico Before and After the Storm.”

The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips. And here’s our email:

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Harriette Cole: My husband’s jokes about our kids aren’t funny

DEAR HARRIETTE: I don’t find the jokes that my husband makes about our children to be funny.

Harriette Cole 

He jokes about needing to get away from our kids all the time. I have overheard him “joking” about how fun his life would be if he weren’t a dad.

I know that he loves our kids. He is a great father to our young children, but his jokes aren’t very funny to me.

I fear that part of him really does regret having children. Should I confront him about these “jokes”?

— Hurtful Jokes

DEAR HURTFUL JOKES: You absolutely should talk to your husband about this — primarily for the children.

If they overhear him saying this, which they surely will, they may grow to believe that he is serious.

By the way, what people say usually is a reflection of what they believe, even when they are joking. So you are right. Something deep inside your husband is uncomfortable about his role as a father. It could be the responsibility of being in that role, the cost of caring for children, the changed dynamics of your relationship with him or something else.

Ask him what he’s really feeling. Attempt to get him to talk to you about his concerns. By bringing them to the surface in a serious conversation, you may be able to get to the root of his issues and work together to address them.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I’ve started working in nightlife, and it makes perfect sense for my schedule. I’m a full-time student during the week, and I rack up a lot of tips on the weekend by working the bar at a popular nightclub.

I need to have a job to help pay for my expenses. But it’s a little tricky. When my parents ask me what I’m doing to make money, I tell them that I am a waitress. It is hard for me to be honest with them.

As much as I hate to admit it, I would like them to approve of what I do. I don’t see them approving of this. Should I tell them about my nightclub job?

— Side Hustle

DEAR SIDE HUSTLE: First, let me ask: What aren’t you saying?

What does “working the bar” mean? What exactly do you think will embarrass your parents?

I can imagine they may not prefer you to work at a nightclub, but they also may understand if you explain it to them.

Yet I suspect there is more to the story than you have revealed. Is it a strip club? What do you have to wear? Do? More, do you feel that you are compromising your integrity to be and work there?

If you do not feel like you are compromising your integrity, you can tell them, even if you think they may not love the idea. If you share the context for your job, at least it will help them to understand.

Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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What Oprah Winfrey Knows About American History That Tucker Carlson Doesn’t

In Buffalo this past weekend — as in El Paso, Pittsburgh, Charleston and Christchurch, New Zealand, before it — the “great replacement” conspiracy theory appears to have inspired another mass shooting.

The theory argues that elites are using government policy to replace white people with nonwhite and non-Christian ones. Previous great replacement massacres prompted concerns about the radicalizing power of social media sites like YouTube and Twitch, Reddit and 4chan, Twitter and Gab. But because the conspiracy theory has become a major theme on Tucker Carlson’s popular prime-time show, as a recent New York Times investigation carefully detailed, the Buffalo massacre has also raised questions about what role a show like Mr. Carlson’s plays in the ecosystem of white-power violence.

It may seem appealing to explain the violence by drawing a straight line between an outlet and a massacre, but it’s not a particularly useful way of understanding radicalization. Not only because there are seldom such direct connections — there do not appear to be any in the Buffalo case — but also because that approach relies on a narrow way of thinking about how conspiracy theories spread and turn violent.

In the case of the great replacement conspiracy theory, the ideas are far older than Mr. Carlson’s show, or even the Fox News Channel, on which it appears. It repackages the mass of reactionary ideas and anxieties that have fed nativism, racism and antisemitism in the United States and Europe for centuries.

Those ideas, always present but periodically erupting into bouts of heightened panic and brutality, were embedded in legal systems and political institutions and enforced through a blend of state and extralegal violence. Jim Crow laws, for instance, had the veneer of a nonviolent system of legal segregation but required both police brutality and the vigilante violence of groups like the Ku Klux Klan to keep the system in place.

Racist conspiracy theories helped rationalize these systems: whispered rumors of Indigenous uprisings and slave rebellions justified eruptions of racist violence, fears of “Negro rule” fueled pogroms and insurrections across the late 19th century South, and in the 1910s, stories like Jack London’s “The Unparalleled Invasion” and J. Allen Dunn’s “The Peril of the Pacific” spread “yellow peril” talk of an imminent attack from places like China and Japan.

The great replacement conspiracy theory emerged in the early part of the 20th century, as both French and American nationalists fretted that white people were in danger of being replaced. It played a prominent role in Madison Grant’s best-selling 1916 book, “The Passing of the Great Race,” which obsessed over the falling birthrates of white Americans and the mass migration of people from southern and Eastern Europe, who at the time were not considered fully white (both birthrates and immigration are central themes of great replacement conspiracy theories).

Nor were these fringe beliefs. Within a few years of the publication of Mr. Grant’s book, its ideas could be found across the United States, from the resurgent Ku Klux Klan to the popular eugenics movement to the draconian, and explicitly racist, immigration restrictions put in place in the early 1920s.

In the 1970s, the great replacement served as the central idea for two profoundly racist and violent novels, Jean Raspail’s French novel, “The Camp of the Saints,” and William Luther Pierce’s American white-power tract, “The Turner Diaries.”

“The Turner Diaries” circulated widely in white-power circles, and it ultimately served as an inspiration for the Oklahoma City bombers in 1995. In that case, the book did not make nonviolent people suddenly turn violent — the bombers had been moving in white-power circles for a while. But it helped shape how their violence unfolded: “The Turner Diaries” includes a scene describing a bombing at F.B.I. headquarters that closely resembled the attack on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.

While “The Turner Diaries” has largely remained an obsession of white-power groups, “The Camp of the Saints” found new popularity in right-wing political circles in the 2010s. Steve Bannon, who was the executive chairman of the right-wing website Breitbart News and a senior counselor to President Donald Trump, regularly invoked the book to describe the flow of migrants and refugees in both Europe and the United States. “It’s not a migration,” he said in 2016. “It’s really an invasion. I call it the Camp of the Saints.” Stephen Miller, the hard-line nativist who served as a senior adviser to Mr. Trump throughout his presidency, also favored the book as a framework for talking about immigration to the United States.

Over the last decade, the great replacement conspiracy theory became institutionalized in right-wing nationalist politics in both the America and Europe, where the publication of Renaud Camus’s “Le Grand Remplacement” in 2011 became the seed of a pan-European movement to oppose migration, especially nonwhite and Muslim migrants. In the United States, Mr. Bannon leaned heavily on the European forms of the conspiracy theory, which created an air of legitimacy and even sophistication around what were, at root, crude racist claims. Not only was the conspiracy theory nimble enough to cross borders, it also allowed for a broad range of targets: Muslims, Jews, African Americans, immigrants (notably, all targets of great replacement massacres).

But while books like “The Camp of the Saints” proved influential for far-right activists like Mr. Bannon, they did not become popular texts among people who were not already radicalized. Getting conspiracy theories like the great replacement into the mainstream took work.

For white-power groups, it has been a decades-long project to find outlets where they could spread their ideas. Sometimes, those strategies landed them in surprising places. In the 1980s and 1990s, members of neo-Nazi groups and the Klan found they could gain respectability and attention by appearing in some of the most popular television venues in the country.

Tom Metzger, a neo-Nazi and founder of the notoriously violent group White Aryan Resistance, not only hosted his own television show but landed appearances for himself and his followers across daytime television in the 1980s and 1990s, on shows hosted by Oprah Winfrey, Phil Donahue and Geraldo Rivera. Ms. Winfrey hosted an entire panel of skinheads on one of her shows in the late 1980s. She hoped the episode would expose their racism; her producers hoped it would be ratings gold.

The producers were right and Ms. Winfrey was wrong. Halfway through the taping, it occurred to her that the men were using her show to burnish their image and spread their ideas. “I realized in that moment that I was doing more to empower them than I was to expose them,” she said in an interview in 2011, “and since that moment, I’ve never done a show like that again.”

As Ms. Winfrey’s comments suggest, appearing on such shows was part of a deliberate media strategy by white-power groups. In these mainstream appearances, men like Mr. Metzger and the ex-Klan leader David Duke showed up in suits, speaking in cleaned-up language in an attempt to present their violent ideologies as mere political differences. Mr. Duke, for instance, spoke the language of “white rights,” attempting to launder his beliefs with a kind of legalistic advocacy language at odds with his former membership in a domestic terrorist organization, a mission that succeeded well enough for him to be elected as a Louisiana state representative and run as a candidate for senator, governor and president.

Part of the strategy was to present white-power ideas as more palatable. Another was to draw in new recruits attracted, or at least intrigued, by the ideas they heard. Potential recruits could, even in the 1980s and 1990s, find their way to a wide array of alternative media: newsletters, VHS tapes, internet message boards, radio shows. The arrival of more sophisticated digital and social media has made accessing this material easier, but the basic process of the mainstream bait luring recruits onto the hook of radicalism has remained the same.

To understand all this, it is useful to think about traditional and social media in tandem, part of an infrastructure of radicalization. Not only because they are part of the same strategy, but also because they overlap more than we generally think.

For instance, while Fox News’s audience skews much older, younger people encounter Tucker Carlson’s content on social media, where clips circulate regularly in right-wing and far-right spaces, and ideas from the more extreme parts of the internet often find their way on to the show. That such a prominent and charismatic media figure gives voice to those conspiracy theories gives them a power and legitimacy they might not have if they were just random ideas presented on 4chan or a meme-cluttered subreddit.

So how should we think about Mr. Carlson’s show and the radicalization around the great replacement conspiracy theory?

As a prime-time host on Fox News, Mr. Carlson has refashioned himself into a right-wing economic populist who emphasized and empathizes with people’s financial struggles, then offers pungent conspiracy theories to explain their plight. It’s a familiar figure in American politics. There was Tom Watson, the Georgia congressman who, after first attempting to build biracial alliances in the South, became an ardent white supremacist and antisemite in the early 20th century. And there was Father Charles Coughlin, who fought for a bountiful economic security program during the Great Depression while becoming increasingly antisemitic.

By arguing that white Americans face economic and cultural decline purposefully engineered by political elites, Mr. Carlson’s show plays an important role in spreading and legitimating the great replacement conspiracy theory and other white-supremacist ideas, He has regularly invoked great replacement, even after that same theory inspired a number of massacres. Rather than backing away, he has doubled down, insisting that white supremacy does not exist and that the great replacement conspiracy theory isn’t racist. On his Tuesday night show, Mr. Carlson first professed ignorance of the conspiracy theory, then said it was true, then insisted, “The great replacement theory is coming from the left.”

All of this has had an effect. In the years since Mr. Carlson began talking about the conspiracy theory, it has spread rapidly on the right, not just in the dark hollows of the violent white-power movement, but also among Republican politicians and voters. Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, and Representative Elise Stefanik, the No. 3 Republican in the current House, have echoed the theory, and a recent Associated Press-NORC poll showed that nearly a third of Fox News viewers believe in the tenets of the great replacement conspiracy theory (for viewers of the far-right cable channels Newsmax and OANN, that number is even higher).

If Mr. Carlson truly were opposed to spreading the conspiracy theory, he could easily stop. As Ms. Winfrey showed, it is possible to opt out of far-right co-optation. While there will always be bad-faith actors ready to twist innocuous statements into weapons of radicalization, television hosts and producers have the ability to limit the usefulness of their programs to these extremist groups. All of which suggests that Mr. Carlson has no desire to remove his show from the infrastructure of radicalization, no matter how important a role it plays. And as the massacres continue, that becomes an ever more damning decision.

Nicole Hemmer (@pastpunditry) is an associate research scholar at Columbia University and the author of “Messengers of the Right: Conservative Media and the Transformation of American Politics” and the forthcoming “Partisans: The Conservative Revolutionaries Who Remade American Politics in the 1990s.”

The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips. And here’s our email:

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Man shot by police, critically wounded in Austin

A person was critically wounded by Chicago police officers in a shooting Wednesday night in Austin on the West Side.

About 10:15 p.m., officers were attempting to pull over a vehicle in the 800 block of North Cicero Avenue that had been reported stolen from a neighboring suburb, according to preliminary information by Chicago police.

As officers approached the vehicle, a suspect jumped out and attempted to flee on foot, police said. An officer pulled out his weapon and fired shots, striking the suspect.

The suspect was taken to an area hospital in critical condition, police said. Details on his injuries weren’t immediately known.

The driver of the stolen vehicle continued to flee, police said. The vehicle was later found unoccupied in the 3800 block of West Monroe Street.

No officers were injured but were taken to a hospital for observation, according to police.

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Miss Manners: She’s been frosty to me for years, and I have no idea why

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My sister-in-law has always given me an extremely frosty reception.

She never says anything rude, but she will avoid saying hello when we visit,  only doing so an hour after we arrive. She also drinks beverages in front of us without offering, and generally avoids speaking to me for the entire visit.

Anything I say to try and get a conversation going is often met with an odd stare or her not understanding what I mean, despite it being very clear. If we’re at the dinner table, she will either remain silent or talk to someone else.

After years of this happening — despite my best attempts to make small talk, compliment her cooking, ask her about her interests, etc. — I find myself very uncomfortable in her home.

We only visit three to four times a year, when invited, mainly for the purpose of getting our kids together with their cousins.

My husband feels that because she doesn’t actually say anything rude, this shouldn’t be an issue. Am I overreacting here?

GENTLE READER: Your discomfort is justified and understandable, and your husband’s comment is, well, understandable: It absolves him, the obvious go-between for you and his sister, of any further responsibility.

As Miss Manners’ Gentle Readers are well aware, it is possible to be cold and hostile without, technically, being rude. But your sister-in-law has not been so fastidious: Her behavior is genuinely rude.

What to do about it? Having put up with it for years — and limiting your exposure to three or four times a year — may make it endurable, or at least better than the alternative. If not, it is time for your husband to step up and speak with his sister; if he does not, then perhaps the three to four visits should be reduced to one or two.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My brother passed away and I found out about it from a nephew (not my brother’s son) who posted it on social media. I find it absolutely disrespectful that my sister-in-law would not personally call me or any of my siblings (there are four of us) to notify us of his death.

It’s not a matter of conflict with anybody. My sister-in-law left it up to her children to notify others, and this nephew just posted it. Of course, not everyone is on social media.

What is your opinion on the proper etiquette on death notifications to relatives, especially immediate family members?

GENTLE READER: Someone should have called, Miss Manners agrees. The question is: Who?

The widow’s not being up to the task may be understandable. One can understand distraught children falling short. But eventually, someone in the family has to take responsibility.

After the nephew bungled it and you learned the news, the kindest course of action would have been to call your sister-in-law and offer to make any remaining calls yourself.

Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website,; to her email,; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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Dear Abby: He splurges on himself and blames me when the money’s tight

DEAR ABBY: My husband is retired from the military and living with a mental illness caused by a traumatic brain injury. As a result, he’s disabled. We have four children.

Over the years, he has developed an extreme sense of financial entitlement. Although I’m responsible for our finances, I cannot control his spending.

His compulsions include luxury coffee, fast food and “medical” marijuana, which cost hundreds every month, yet he complains when money is tight. Last week he lashed out, saying, “I hate that everything has to go through you,” as if I am the reason we don’t have more spending money.

Money is scarce and our children are going without things they need. I’m always fighting for his respect, decency and self-control. I feel frustrated, exhausted and lost. Advice, please?


DEAR ANGERED: I wish I could wave a magic wand and make your very real problem disappear. Because I can’t, you are going to have to step up yet again and impress upon your husband that while you are sad that he regards what you are doing for your family as “controlling,” your children’s needs must come before his own.

By that I mean, he should treat “luxury coffee” as a luxury and buy it no more than X times a week, ditto for fast food and his “medical” marijuana.

If he needs more pharmaceutical support for his stress, he should address it to his doctor (at the VA, I assume). Make clear that you cannot carry more of the load, and that you are not the cause of the financial stress. Circumstances are to blame for that, and he cannot continue to kick his golden goose or he will kill it.

DEAR ABBY: My mother, who lives with me, insists on keeping her bedroom window open several inches year-round.

While I don’t mind so much in the winter because I know she tends to run hot, we clash in the summer because I need the windows and doors closed so I can run the air conditioning to optimal efficiency. She thinks keeping her window open is cooling her bedroom off and doesn’t understand what the problem is if she keeps her door to the rest of the house shut.

This issue has caused major arguments because it’s making my AC unit work harder than it needs to, not to mention I have allergies and my doctor has told me to keep the air on all summer long. This is a ranch-style home, and the temperature is kept at 70 degrees.

I don’t want to fight with her, but I feel disrespected since this is my house and she blatantly disregards my requests. Am I overreacting? Or does she need to be respectful of my home?


DEAR T.R.I.O.: You aren’t overreacting. Let’s get down to basics. Whose house is it? It is yours.

When you lived in your mother’s home, she made the rules and you had to abide by them.

If keeping her bedroom windows ajar is “making your air conditioner work harder,” then it’s likely adding to your electric bill, which is disrespectful, inconsiderate and bad manners. If she can’t adjust, she should contribute toward the extra cost of air conditioning.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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Best Online Psychic Reading Sites In 2022 – Top Psychic Mediums For Astrology Answers

Best Online Psychic Reading Sites In 2022
Sponsored Content

When riddled with doubt and uncertainty, we often find ourselves looking for guidance from powers greater than ourselves. For thousands of years, people have sought direction from psychics. Psychics can provide hints about your future or a new perspective to deal with past events.

In the past, people would have to travel long distances to find a suitable psychic. Fortunately, modern technology means you can now get a psychic reading from the comfort of your own home. Online psychic readings are a great way to get quick guidance when feeling unsure about yourself. Additionally, online psychic readings allow you to find hundreds of qualified psychics that work for you.

We looked at countless online psychic reading websites to determine which ones provide the best service. Therefore, this article breaks down our top 5 list of the best online psychic reading sites you can visit today. We also go over a beginner’s guide for those new to online psychic readings.

We also compare the differences between online and traditional readings, and finally, answer some frequently asked questions regarding online psychic readings.

Top 5 Online Psychic Reading Sites For Life Guidance:

  1. Purple Garden: Best Online Psychic Reading Platform For Tarot Reading
  2. Kasamba: Great Range of  Psychic Mediums For Astrology Answers
  3. Mystic Sense: Popular Psychic Reading Platform For Tarot & Face Reading
  4. Keen: Expert Psychics & Tarot Readers To Get Future Predictions
  5. Psychic Oz: Psychic Community With Reliable Fortune Teller & Astrologers

#1. Purple Garden – Best Online Psychic Reading Platform For Tarot Reading

Purple Garden

Purple Garden is relatively new to the online psychic reading scene. However, they have proven themselves to be the number one destination for getting psychic readings in that short time. Purple Garden provides every psychic service you could wish for.

Services include tarot card readings, love readings, astrology readings, dream analysis, etc. Having several psychics in one place means it’s easy to pick the perfect one for you. Each psychic has to go through a rigorous admission phase before they are allowed to operate in the Purple Garden. As a result, only qualified and experienced psychics are available at Purple Garden.


  • A Psychic For Everyone

Purple Garden facilitates the connection between qualified psychics and everyday clients. With over a hundred psychics available, you’re guaranteed to find one that’s just right for you. In addition, each psychic has their bio and a short clip of who they are and what they can do for you. These profiles make it easy to see if they will be the right fit for you and can do what you are looking for.

  • Complete Transparency

Purple Garden prides itself on being completely transparent between psychics and their clients. Clients can see psychics’ ratings, how many sessions they’ve facilitated, and what their clients have to say about them, both the good and bad. As a result, you can decide who you want to have a reading from and leave your feedback about the experience.

  • Personal Psychic Finder

The best thing about Purple Garden is that you can set up a profile, and based on your desires and wishes, Purple Garden will find the best psychic to match your criteria. In addition, you get to filter psychics by their specialties. For example, if you’re looking for a tarot card reading, simply click that box, and Purple Garden will recommend the best tarot card readers. Or perhaps you had a concerning dream and would like some clarification. Purple Garden has countless professional dream readers that can provide the answers to your questions.


  • A diverse range of psychics
  • Transparent
  • Professional services
  • Personal Psychic finder


  • Can be expensive
  • Some psychics are rarely available

What Customers Say 
Many Purple Garden customers reported that it was their first online psychic reading and that they were ecstatic with the results. They love how easy it is to find a great psychic and love the various ways to connect with a psychic. As a result, Purple Garden is a fantastic place for people new to online psychics.

⇒ Visit the Official Website of Purple Garden

#2. Kasamba: Great Range of Psychic Mediums For Astrology Answers


Kasamba is celebrating 20 years in the online psychic industry. They have a long reputation for providing accurate and insightful readings to over 3 million clients!

Kasamaba’s psychics provide a wide range of services, including career readings, pet readings, tarot cards, aura analysis, etc. In addition to the readings, they also provide some reading points about what you can and should expect from a psychic reading and some helpful life advice blogs.

Kasamba has the outstanding feature of listing all the top-rated psychics at the beginning of each page, making finding a great psychic a breeze.


  • Complimentary Minutes

While many online psychic services may offer free minutes to their customers, it’s generally only for their first reading. However, Kasamba is different. Kasamba provides each of its clients five free minutes with every new psychic. Doing so is invaluable for clients trying to find a new psychic that works for them. In addition, you also get 50% off on your first reading.

  • Free Trial

Kasamba offers new users a free trial to determine what type of psychic specialty works for them. The free trials let users experiment with psychic readings and see if they are for them. Giving customers this chance shows that Kasamba is a trustworthy company that puts the interests of its customers first.

  • Wide Range of Specialties

While most online psychic reading sites provide a range of specialties, Kasamaba goes the extra mile. Kasamba offers psychics who can teach topics such as Eastern Philosophy, Universal Laws, Picture Readings, and much more. No other site offers this many specialties, and as a result, you’re bound to find exactly what you’re looking for.


  • A free trial is available.
  • Regular promotions
  • Best psychics for life advice


  • Outdated visuals
  • Live video readings are not available
  • Searching for psychics needs improvement

What Customers Say 
Overall, customers give great reviews to the psychics on Kasamba, specifically praising their ability to provide readings that help with love and relationship building. Additionally, Kasamba customers are typically pleased with the regular promotions both the site and individual psychics offer.

⇒ Visit the Official Website of Kasamba

#3. Mystic Sense: Popular Psychic Reading Platform For Tarot & Face Reading

Mystic Sense

We all love getting accurate psychic readings and peering into our future now and then, but unfortunately, our wallets might hold us back. That is not the case with Mystic Sense. Mystic Sense provides fantastic value for money and provides the ultimate customer satisfaction. Not only do you get complimentary minutes, but Mystic Sense will also give you a full refund should you find your psychic didn’t meet your expectations.

Additionally, Mystic Sense separates its psychics into three tiers: top-rated, elite advisors, and master advisors. Each tier comes with its own rise in cost per minute, but you get the expected jump in the quality of your reading. As a result, everyone has an option. Whether you’re just looking for a quick read or need some significant advice before a big decision, Mystic Sense has you covered.


  • Refunds for Unsatisfied Customers

If you are unhappy with the reading you received, you can get in touch with customer service, and they will promptly issue a refund in the form of up to five free minutes for your next session. So, while it’s not a complete cash refund, it does allow you the comfort of being able to experiment with other psychics.

  • Tested and Proven Psychics

Mystic Sense goes the extra mile to ensure the psychics on their website are the real deal. Mystic Sense tests their psychics for accuracy and service quality every six months. As a result, you can be guaranteed to be treated professionally, respectfully, and receive helpful readings.


  • Superior customer service
  • Professional psychics
  • A 3-tier system to meet your budget


  • Difficult to find specialized psychics
  • Elite and Master services jump exceptionally in price

What Customers say 
Customers love Mystic Sense because the tier system is excellent. In addition, the ability to choose the level of reading they desire is genuinely unique. Sometimes you don’t need a reading that encompasses your whole past and what it means for your future. Sometimes you only want a little guidance on a small matter or need some quick relationship advice. Mystic Sense gives customers that opportunity, and at a very reasonable price.

⇒ Visit the Official Website of Mystic Sense

#4. Keen: Expert Psychics & Tarot Readers To Get Future Predictions


Keen has been a long-running psychic website specializing in love horoscopes and providing romantic guidance. They offer their services via phone calls, live video chats, and email readings. Keen has been featured in various popular magazines and websites, such as Cosmopolitan and Women’s Health.

Their website is a little dated, but it is incredibly easy to navigate and find a phone psychic that fits your criteria. In addition, they always have close to a hundred live psychics online at any given time, so that you can get a reading ASAP.

The psychics on Keen all have great reviews, with many praising their accuracy, kindness and willingness to listen. In addition, some reviewers have stated that Keen’s psychics go above and beyond to ensure their clients are happy and have reported great success in their relationships after a reading.


Keen has their app available on IOS and Android. As a result, finding a psychic and getting a psychic reading has never been easier. The app runs excellent and allows you to get in touch with your psychic whenever and wherever.

  • Free Minutes

Keen allows you to get to know a potential psychic before committing any funds. It’s great because you have to find a psychic you can build a relationship with, and they have to be someone you trust. Generally, you’ll know if they’re the right fit for you within the first few minutes, so it’s a bargain when those first minutes don’t cost you a cent.


  • Interactive App
  • Accurate Psychics
  • Relationship psychic experts
  • Free minutes


  • Slightly outdated website
  • No free trial

What Customers Say 
Keen has been consistently praised for its professional love and relationship psychics. Customers love the great selection of phone psychics and the wide range of options for connecting. In addition, Keen allows their customers to email their psychics with any questions, which is excellent for people who prefer not to live chat or have phone anxiety.

⇒ Visit the Official Website of Keen

#5. Psychic Oz: Psychic Community With Reliable Fortune Teller & Astrologers

Psychic Oz

Psychic Oz is a premium online psychic site that provides users with a host of online psychics with various specialties. Their website is neatly laid out and easy to use. Additionally, Psychic Oz allows its users to sign up for their site without having to link a credit card immediately. Doing so will enable you to explore the site and ensure it has what you want before making a financial commitment.

On top of this, Psychic Oz is currently running a promotion where they give you $10 worth of credits free just for signing up. That’s more than enough to find a psychic you might like and see if it’s for you.


  • Credit System

Most online psychic sites use a charge-per-minute system, but Psychic Oz is different. Instead, they allow you to purchase credit bundles with which you can engage in video calls, group psychic reading sessions, text chat, and more. While it might take some getting used to if you are used to the traditional method, we find it convenient and straightforward.

  • Educational Videos

A significant feature that sets Psychic Oz psychics apart from the rest is the educational videos they provide in their bios. Some psychics will provide their clients with some helpful self-help tips. It allows their psychics to build a fanbase and become more content creators than just psychics. It also allows you to check out a psychic before committing credits to them. Some of these videos are free, while others require payment.

  • Psychic Matcher

With a genuinely monumental number of psychics on the Psychic Oz site, it can be challenging to find the right one for you. Fortunately,Psychic Oz has a useful tool to match customers with psychics. The tool asks you a few short questions about what you’re looking for, and within seconds, the best psychics who match your answers will be recommended.


  • Well designed website
  • Convenient credit system
  • Sign up for free credits
  • Free psychic self-help content


  • Difficult to find psychic ratings and reviews
  • No satisfaction guarantee

What Customers Say
Psychic Oz is highly recommended for those looking for a fresh and new way to interact with psychics. The live stream service is enjoyable to watch and allows you to get to know a psychic before you pay anything. In addition, many customers praise that they can be a part of a community and that this can lead to some genuinely magical interactions.

⇒ Visit the Official Website of Psychic Oz

Factors To Consider When Choosing Psychic Sites For Real Readings:

Finding the right psychic for you can be both time-consuming and expensive. While the best psychic reading sites on this list make every effort to make this process easy for you, you can still take a few steps. As a result, we created a list of advice on what you should look out for when choosing an online psychic.

  • Credibility and Rating

When choosing an online psychic, the first thing you should look for is their rating. Unfortunately, many scammers and fakes give vague and open-ended tarot readings without ever forming a genuine connection. As a result, the best way to avoid these psychics is to go to the higher-rated psychics. High-rated psychics have earned that rating by providing customer satisfaction and in-depth psychic readings online. Therefore, we wouldn’t recommend going past the first page of top psychics.

Another great way to scope out a psychic is to read their customer reviews. Many online psychic sites do not let their psychics change or delete negative comments. As a result, you can read those comments knowing they haven’t been influenced or altered by the psychic themselves. However, it is essential to take each statement with a pinch of salt as every reading can be different and is a subjective experience. Don’t go into a reading expecting excellent results just because others did. However, sticking with those who have great reviews means it is more likely you will have a successful reading experience.

  • Complimentary Minutes/Credits

If you are new to online psych websites or looking to try a new type of reading, then finding a site that offers complimentary minutes is vital. Sites allow you to try out a psychic first before committing funds to create trust between the site and its users. It also shows they value your experience and are not in it to siphon money from you. It’s also a great way to try new types of reading.

For example, maybe you have always preferred tarot card readings, but you recently had a weird dream and would like some clarification. Receiving free minutes to try out a dream interpreter means you get to see if dream reading is for you or not without having to spend money first.

  • Methods of Connecting

Choosing a site that allows you to connect with a psychic in different ways is convenient and welcoming. Not everyone feels comfortable discussing their personal lives in real time via video chat. As a result, being able to message our psychic whenever we need it is comforting and convenient.

Others seek community and connection, so joining live chat rooms or having face-to-face time is excellent. Having different communication choices is essential because it allows you to take full advantage of online psychic readings.

For example, messaging your psychic about your dream on your commute to work while having face time with them in the evening makes online psychic readings different and wonderful.

Online Psychics vs. Psychics Near Me:

Both online and offline psychic readings have their advantages and disadvantages. First, you must understand what they are and which one suits you best.

For starters, in-person psychic readings have the obvious advantage of being better at establishing a real connection with the psychic. In addition, when you visit a psychic in person, you get to experience the room’s energy, see how they work close up and have a more intimate experience overall.

However, in-person phone and chat readings also come with a lot of disadvantages. For example, you need to consider the cost of the reading and transport to see the psychic. In addition, if you have a horrible reading experience, there’s no customer service team you can rely on to get you a refund or credit. Finally, if you have never been to this psychic before, you risk not being able to form a solid connection with them.

This is where online psychic readings thrive. Online readings suit individuals who are always on the go but still want a convenient way to receive a reading. Online psychic sites provide more choices in the types of readings you can receive. In addition, you can change it up every week if you want. You also benefit from seeing previous customer reviews that help inform you if this psychic is right for you.

Finally, you don’t need to worry about transport costs or the risk of not forming a connection. If one psychic doesn’t meet your expectations, you have a hundred more to try, and you are bound to find one that does what you need.

Right now, online psychic sessions are far superior to in-person ones because of the sheer variety of ways to interact, the convenience they offer, and the excitement of being part of a greater psychic community.

FAQs Regarding Cheap Psychics Online:

Q1. Are online psychics authentic? 
Yes! Online psychics are the real deal. Many online psychic sites have rigorous tests and checks to ensure that the psychics on their sites are authentic. While a few frauds may slip through the cracks, it’s generally a safe bet if you stick with top-rated psychics.

Q2. What is an online psychic reading?
Online psychic readings are generally facilitated using an online website where a psychic and customer connect online through various means. By using methods such as video chats, direct messaging, phone calls, or email, a psychic can connect with you and provide you with a reading from the comfort of your own home.

Q3. Are online psychic readings free?
Most online psychics charge their customers a set fee per minute. However, many online psychic reading sites will offer new customers free minutes on their first call. Other sites will have regular promotions. As a result, it is entirely possible to sign up with an online psychic site and take advantage of some free minutes or an entire first online psychic reading session.

Q4. Is online psychic reading real?
Yes! Many individuals who use online psychic readings report that the psychic was able to describe their situation down to the last detail and predict the event that happened to them the next day. However, each reading is different, and some receive readings that can change their lives, while for others, it is merely a fun exercise.

Q5. Who is the best online psychic reader? 
Every psychic is different, and receiving a reading is subjective. As a result, it is difficult to say which online psychic reader is the best. However, all of the sites on this list provide professional and highly rated psychics that you can pick from. There is no best psychic, only the best online psychic for you.

Q6. How do you conduct a successful online reading?
There is a trick to make sure you get an accurate psychic reading without spending a large amount of money. The trick is to write down all your questions before you have the reading. Doing so ensures you don’t waste time and money trying to convey exactly what it is you seek guidance for. Furthermore, asking your psychic precise and detailed questions means you are more likely to get clear answers.

Fortunately, some top tarot reading websites will require you to submit two questions to the psychic before starting the psychic reading session. As a result, you won’t have to waste time explaining your predicament, and your psychic online can start with the reading right away. Again, doing so saves you money and time.

Concluding – Trusted Psychic Readings Platforms To Know How To Cast A Love Spell:

Online psychic readings are an exciting and convenient way to peer into your future or find guidance on important decisions. You can have access to thousands of professional psychics right from the comfort of your own home. However, choosing the best sites can be challenging. As a result, we created this list and provided the best five online psychic reading sites for 2022.

We went through countless sites and looked at hundreds of reviews, ratings, and experiences to determine the best sites. Once we narrowed down our list, we broke down each psychic reading site and listed their best features, pros and cons, and what their customers had to say.

Then we provided a beginner’s guide detailing what you need to look out for when using online psychics. Following this, we argued the pros and cons of traditional and online readings. Ultimately, we believe psychic readings by phone to be superior due to their ease of use and convenience.

Finally, we answered some common questions about best online psychic readings.

The news and editorial staff of the Bay Area News Group had no role in this post’s preparation.

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In Ukraine, Gruesome Injuries and Not Enough Doctors to Treat Them

Operating with skeleton crews, doctors and nurses race to save limbs, and lives. It’s a grim routine for medical personnel often working around the clock. And not all limbs can be saved.

KRAMATORSK, Ukraine — Days after Russian forces invaded, Yaroslav Bohak, a young cardiovascular surgeon, was at home with his family in the relative safety of western Ukraine, when a colleague placed a desperate call from the east, pleading with him to come help.

Many doctors had fled the fighting, his friend said, and conditions at the hospital resembled a bygone era of warfare, with the surgeons who remained amputating limbs, instead of trying to repair them, to save grievously wounded soldiers.

“He called me and said he could no longer cut off the arms of young people,” Dr. Bohak said, as he stood in an operating room of a hospital in Kramatorsk. “When I came here, I had surgery on the first day.”

As Russian forces pummel eastern Ukraine with a mix of artillery, airstrikes and rocket attacks, frontline hospitals, many of them in poorer, rural areas, have become overwhelmed. They are severely short-staffed or have been abandoned completely, as doctors and nurses have fled the violence.

All day long, the walls of the hospital shake with the thunder of battles raging near Kramatorsk, an industrial city in the Donbas region, where Russian forces have been waging a bloody offensive. A steady stream of ambulances arrives at the sandbag-reinforced emergency room, ferrying soldiers and civilians, many with life-threatening wounds.

But the hospital is staffed by a skeleton crew. Only two of its 10 doctors remain, aided by six nurses working 24 hour shifts with only one day off for rest, said Tatyana Bakaeva, the senior nurse. (Hospital officials asked that its name not be published for security reasons.)

“Only the most stoic remain,” Ms. Bakaeva said. “People are scared, what can you do?”

It is a similar story throughout the Donbas: As the toll of wounded mounts, the need for more doctors and nurses becomes even more acute.

In Avdiivka, right on the front lines, the lone remaining surgeon and the hospital medical director described spending months in the emergency room, never leaving except for quick dashes to the grocery store amid shelling. In Sloviansk, a city just to the north of Kramatorsk where plumes of smoke from battle can be seen on the horizon, only about a third of the hospital staff remains.

The city of Bakhmut sits at a crossroads between Russian forces pushing from the east and the north. There, ambulances jam a small courtyard of the military hospital and the emergency room is almost always full.

“Nobody ever prepares for war, and this region is not so densely populated to be able to deal with this many wounded,” said Svitlana Druzenko, who coordinates emergency evacuations of wounded soldiers and civilians from the battle zones. “The wounds are the same for civilians and soldiers because rockets do not choose where to fall.”

Many of the wounded from the East are brought to Dnipro, a city of one million that has six big hospitals. But it is four hours’ drive from many frontline positions. And the hospitals there have also been depleted of nursing staff, said Dr. Pavlo Badiul, a surgeon at the Burn and Plastic Surgery Center in Dnipro.

The center was full to capacity with war wounded and staff were working continuously without a break, he said.

A member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, after training in California, Dr. Badiul put out an appeal through the society’s newsletter for equipment and medical supplies. “Although we get some targeted aid, much is still lost, diverted or taken to the wrong place,’’ he said.

Volunteers have pitched in to pick up some of the slack. Ms. Druzenko works for a volunteer emergency medical organization known by its Ukrainian initials PDMSh. Its ambulances and personnel are ubiquitous at hospitals and at so-called yellow zone transfer points, locations on the edge of the battlefield where wounded soldiers are picked up by ambulances and rushed to the nearest hospital.

It is dangerous work. Last week, a yellow zone base that Ms. Druzenko’s organization established north of Bakhmut was bombed by Russian forces.

“Not only drones, but aviation is working in that area,” Ms. Druzenko said.

Most of the surgeons operating out of the hospital in Kramatorsk, including Dr. Bohak, are volunteers. Since he arrived, the hospital has had almost no amputations.

Dr. Bohak showed off cellphone videos of his surgeries last week. Digging into singed and shredded flesh, he extracted severed arteries and painstakingly stitched them back together, restoring circulation to the damaged limbs, allowing them and the soldiers they are attached to be saved.

“The nearest serious clinic is in Dnipro, which is 280 kilometers from here,” he said. “It takes time to get there, and it may be too late to save the limb. That’s why my arrival was very important.”

Not all the limbs can be saved though. Eduard Antanovskyy, the deputy commander of the military unit at the hospital, said that recently a Russian soldier was brought in with a serious leg wound. While at the hospital, he said, the soldier was provided with security guards for protection.

“We had to take the leg because the tourniquet was on for too long,” he said. “Even if we wanted to, we couldn’t have saved his leg. We treated him humanely, not the way he deserved to be treated.”

Despite months of warnings from the White House and others that Russia was planning to invade, many in Ukraine, including much of the political establishment and even some in the military, refused to believe it. When Russian rockets began to hit Ukrainian cities on Feb. 24, it set off a scramble. Hospitals in particular, were unprepared to handle the sudden surge in patients suffering from the vicious and difficult wounds that war inflicts.

In the first week, Dr. Maksim Kozhemyaka, a civilian trauma surgeon, volunteered to assist at the military hospital in Zaporizhzhia, one of the main hubs treating soldiers in eastern and southern Ukraine. Almost immediately, he said, the hospital was inundated with 30 to 40 patients a day and did not have sufficient supplies to handle gunshot wounds or other grievous injuries.

“We didn’t believe that this could happen because we understood that in any case there would be huge losses on their side as well,” Dr. Kozhemyaka said in an interview in the hospital’s emergency room. “And of course, we thought that no rational leader of a country would do this.”

For the hospital workers persisting through the grim routine, the losses can feel personal, and are sometimes deeply so.

One recent morning, ambulances raced up to the small hospital in Sloviansk carrying soldiers wounded in an airstrike just a few miles up the road. One of them carried the battered body of Ihor Ihoryuk, 33, the only child of the hospital’s head nurse. Much of the hospital staff had known him since he was a boy.

The force of the explosion, outside a room in a seed factory where he and his comrades were sleeping, had ripped off his arm and his blood spilled onto the asphalt in front of the hospital as he was raced inside.

A few hours later, a nurse named Anna emerged from the hospital, her green eye liner running down her face. Ihor could not be saved, she said.

“He grew up in front of our eyes,” she said, fighting back the tears.

She was holding a box containing Ihor’s black army boots. “He won’t be needing them anymore,” she said.

She took them to a spot a short distance from the hospital entrance and set them next to a pair of black tennis shoes that were soaked with blood. They belonged to a soldier who was killed the day before.

Carlotta Gall contributed reporting from Dnipro, Ukraine.

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Driver, 80, strikes and seriously injures bicyclist in Torrey Highlands

An SUV driver exiting a freeway struck and seriously injured a bicyclist Wednesday evening in the Torrey Highlands area of San Diego, police said.

It happened about 5:25 p.m. near the bottom of the exit from east state Route 56 to Camino Del Sur, in a crossing for the SR-56 Bike Trail, San Diego police Officer John Buttle said.

The driver, an 80-year-old man behind the wheel of a Volvo XC90 SUV, was turning right from the freeway exit onto Camino Del Sur when he struck the bicyclist, Buttle said. The rider was in a crosswalk dedicated to a protected bike trail.

The victim, a 57-year-old woman, sustained serious injuries that included fractures of her pelvis and fifth lumbar vertebrae, Buttle said. The injuries were not believed to be life-threatening.

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Russia-Ukraine war latest: culture of cover-ups and scapegoating impacting Russian military efforts, says UK – live

The UK’s ministry of defence has issued its daily public intelligence briefing on the situation with Russia and Ukraine, and this morning it is concentrating on the situation within Russia’s military. The ministry claims that Lieutenant General Serhiy Kisel has been suspended for failing to capture Kharkiv and Vice Admiral Igor Osipov has been suspended from commanding the Black Sea Fleet. It says:

A culture of cover-ups and scapegoating is probably prevalent within the Russian military and security system. Many officials involved in the invasion of Ukraine will likely be increasingly distracted by efforts to avoid personal culpability for Russia’s operational set-backs.

Latest Defence Intelligence update on the situation in Ukraine – 19 May 2022

Find out more about the UK government’s response:

🇺🇦 #StandWithUkraine 🇺🇦

— Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) May 19, 2022

Russia’s news agency Tass is quoting Denis Pushilin, who is head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic in eastern Ukraine, as saying that more than half of the Ukrainian fighters who were inside Mariupol’s Azovstal steel plant have now left the plant.

The reports are unclear on an exact number, and have not been independently verified. There has been confusion over exactly how many fighters were besieged in the plant.

Yesterday Russia claimed that 959 Ukrainian service personnel had surrendered, of which 51 were taken to hospital. The remainder had been sent to a former prison colony in the town of Olenivka in a Russian-controlled area of Donetsk region.

Serhiy Haidai, Ukraine’s governor of Luhansk, has published his latest assessment of overnight events in Ukraine. He told his Telegram followers:

During 18 May, the Russians used aircraft to destroy civilian objects in the areas of the settlements of Loskutivka, Katerynivka and Orikhove. They carried out assaults in the Ustynivka and Zolotoho-4 areas, but were unsuccessful. Settlements have numerous destructions. Damage to houses was also recorded in Vrubivka, Nyrkovo and Komyshuvas.

As previously reported, in Lysychansk yesterday afternoon, the Russians cut off a powerful power substation. The area was left without light.

Sixteen enemy attacks were repulsed in Luhansk and Donetsk last night, eight tanks, seventeen units of armoured combat vehicles, four special armoured vehicles and six conventional enemy vehicles were destroyed. Air defence units shot down an enemy Su-34 fighter-bomber.

The claims have not been independently verified.

The UK’s ministry of defence has issued its daily public intelligence briefing on the situation with Russia and Ukraine, and this morning it is concentrating on the situation within Russia’s military. The ministry claims that Lieutenant General Serhiy Kisel has been suspended for failing to capture Kharkiv and Vice Admiral Igor Osipov has been suspended from commanding the Black Sea Fleet. It says:

A culture of cover-ups and scapegoating is probably prevalent within the Russian military and security system. Many officials involved in the invasion of Ukraine will likely be increasingly distracted by efforts to avoid personal culpability for Russia’s operational set-backs.

Latest Defence Intelligence update on the situation in Ukraine – 19 May 2022

Find out more about the UK government’s response:

🇺🇦 #StandWithUkraine 🇺🇦

— Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) May 19, 2022

Financial markets have wobbled again over concerns that the war and inflation is pushing the global economy into recession.

Poor figures from American retailers sparked a rout on Wall Street on Wednesday which has continued in Asian trading on Thursday.

The Hang Seng in Hong Kong fell below 20,000 points for the first time in more than five years earlier, while Tokyo is off 1.88% and the Sydney market closed down 1.5%.

Hebe Chen, market analyst at IG in Sydney, said: “It must be said that the concern for inflation has never gone away since we stepped into 2022, however, while things haven’t reached the point of no return, they are seemingly heading in the direction of ‘out of control’. That, is probably the most worrying part for the market.”

The US embassy in Kyiv has reopened after closing at the beginning of the war nearly three months ago.

Staff ran the star-spangled banner up the flagpole outside the embassy at a ceremony on Thursday morning.

Russian president Vladimir Putin is “weaponising” global food supplies by ordering his forces to deliberately destroy grain supplies and farm equipment in Ukraine in order to create shortages, according to report in the UK’s Daily Telegraph.

Quoting unnamed western officials, the Telegraph’s lead story on Thursday morning says Russia’s military has targeted “silos and other food production infrastructure in cities including Kherson, Luhansk and Donetsk”.

The paper then quotes an official saying: “[Russia] has exacerbated a pre-existing bad situation and has created a major threat to global food security through a deliberate policy of weaponisation of global food supply.”

The front page of tomorrow’s Daily Telegraph:

‘Putin turns screw on global food supplies’#TomorrowsPapersToday

Sign up for the Front Page newsletter

— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) May 18, 2022

It’s an intriguing story and it comes amid growing concern among western leaders about the impact of the war in stoking commodity prices and now critical shortages caused by Russia’s blockade of ports in Ukraine, which is a major exporter of grain.

As we posted earlier, UN secretary general António Guterres has warned that the food crisis “could last years”, and the World Bank is so concerned it has committed another $12bn to relieving shortages.

There’s also a full report on the food story.

George W Bush was always good for a verbal slip during his eight years as president of the United States.

And he’s proved that he’s still got what it takes with a spectacular slip at an event in Dallas on Wednesday when he was criticising Russia’s political system. He said: “The result is an absence of checks and balances in Russia, and the decision of one man to launch a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq”

He quickly corrected himself to say “I mean Ukraine” but it seems certain to launch a thosuands memes – or more.

Bush authorised an invasion of Iraq in 2003 to find and destroy alleged weapons of mass destruction that were never found. The prolonged conflict killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced many more.

In another update on what’s happening on the actual battleground, Ukraine’s territorial defence force said on Wednesday night that its fighters had blown up an armoured train carrying Russian troops.

However, an adviser to president Volodymyr Zelenskiy later said the alleged attack near the occupied southern Ukrainian city of Melitopol had been confined to rails near the train.

The defence force – the reservist branch of Ukraine’s armed forces – said in an online posting that explosives had detonated under a rail car carrying military personnel. It did not elaborate on the extent of the damage, according to Reuters.

Hours later, presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych said: “The partisans got it, although they did not blow up the armoured train itself,” he said in a video posted on social media, saying the Russians “got off lightly.”

Ukrainian forces have shelled a Russian village close to the border between the countries at dawn on Thursday, killing at least one civilian, the regional governor said.

Shells hit an alcohol factory in the village of Tyotkino in the Kursk region and several other buildings, Roman Starovoit wrote on messaging app Telegram.

G7 finance ministers will meet in Germany on Thursday hoping to thrash out a plan to bolster Ukraine’s war-ravaged economy.

United States treasury secretary Janet Yellen said ahead of the meeting in Koenigswinter that what had been agreed so far was “not enough” and called on US partners to “join us in increasing their financial support”.

US treasury secretary Janet Yellen in Koenigswinter ahead of the G7 finance ministers’ meeting on Thursday.

The United States has forged ahead with a $40bn aid package to fill Kyiv’s coffers and military stores.

Japan said on Thursday morning that it will double aid for Ukraine to $600m in a coordinated move with the World Bank.

UN secretary general António Guterres has warned that the food shortages stoked by the war in Ukraine could cause “malnutrition, mass hunger and famine, in a crisis that could last for years” across the world.

Speaking at a food summit in New York, Guterres implored Russia to lift its Black Sea blockade which is preventing shipments of Ukrainian grain to overseas markets.

“Let’s be clear: there is no effective solution to the food crisis without reintegrating Ukraine’s food production,” Guterres said. “Russia must permit the safe and secure export of grain stored in Ukrainian ports.”

However, he said he was in “intense” talks with Russia to try to find a solution.

Workers unload wheat at a wholesale market near Delhi. India has banned the export of wheat amid continued inflationary pressure and food shortages.

Between them, Ukraine and Russia produce 30% of the world’s wheat and experts are concerned a lack of supply will mean millions of people will go hungry.

The blockade has also exacerbated already high grain prices with wheat almost doubling in the past year. High energy prices – also in part caused by the war – has made production of fertiliser more expensive, further pushing up prices.

Here’s our full story:

Hello. I’m Martin Farrer and welcome to our rolling coverage of the war in Ukraine.

If you’re just waking up or dropping in for an update on what’s been happening, these are some of the main developments in the past few hours.

  • UN secretary general António Guterres has warned that the food shortages stoked by the war in Ukraine could last years and cause mass hunger and famine across the world. Speaking at a food summit in New York, Guterres implored Russia to lift its Black Sea blockade which is preventing shipments of Ukrainian grain to overseas markets.
  • The World Bank will make $30bn available to help stem a food security crisis threatened by Russia’s war in Ukraine, which has cut off most grain exports from the two countries. The total will include $12bn in new projects and over $18bn funds from existing food and nutrition-related projects that have been approved but have not yet been disbursed, the bank said.
  • Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy used his nightly address to say that Russia’s alleged use of laser weapons systems “indicates the complete failure of the invasion” and that mistakes had been made at the highest level. He compared their use to propaganda efforts by Nazi Germany promoting a “wunderwaffe” or “wonder weapon”. Russia has claimed it is using a new generation of laser weapons to burn up drones.
  • Zelenskiy said he had signed a decree to extend martial law by 90 days in order to allow further time to expel invasion forces. The decree needs to be approved by parliament.
  • A Russian tank commander has pleaded guilty to shooting dead a civilian on a bicycle, in Ukraine’s first trial for war crimes committed during the Russian invasion. Vadim Shysimarin, 21, has been accused of firing his AK-47 at a 62-year-old man from the window of a car in the north-eastern Sumy region in late February.
  • G7 finance ministers meet in Germany on Thursday hoping to find a solution for Kyiv’s budget troubles. The European Commission has proposed an extra €9bn (£7.6bn) in EU loans to Ukraine to keep the country running as well as a €210bn plan for Europe to end its reliance on Russian fossil fuels by 2027. Zelenskiy said the €9bn support package would “help Ukraine win the war.
  • The US embassy in Kyiv has resumed operations, the US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said after nearly three months of closure. A small number of diplomats will return initially to staff the embassy, according to a spokesperson.
  • At least 10 Ukrainian civilians, including two children, were killed by Russian forces Donetsk, regional governor Pavlo Kirilenko said. A further seven people had been injured, he said.