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‘Your freedom is ours’: Biden assures Duda of NATO protection during Poland visit

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On his final day in Europe, President Joe Biden on Saturday sought to reassure Poland that the US would defend it against any attacks by Russia.

He also acknowledged that the NATO ally bore the burden of the refugee crisis from the war in neighbouring Ukraine.

“Your freedom is ours,” Biden told Poland’s president, Andrzej Duda, echoing one of Poland’s unofficial mottos.

At the Presidential Palace in Warsaw, the two leaders spoke of their mutual respect and shared goals to end the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“Although times are very difficult, today Polish-American relations are flourishing,” Duda said.

More than 3.7 million people have fled Ukraine since the war began, with 2 million going to Poland.

Earlier this week, the US announced it would take in as many as 100,000 refugees. Biden told Duda that he understood Poland was “taking on a big responsibility, but it should be all of NATO’s responsibility.”

Biden called the “collective defence” agreement of NATO a “sacred commitment” and said the unity of the Western military alliance was of the utmost importance.

“I’m confident that [Russian President] Vladimir Putin was counting on dividing NATO,” Biden said about the Russian president. “But he hasn’t been able to do it. We’ve all stayed together.”

Biden visits troops, refugees

With the war entering its second month, European security is facing its most serious test since World War II.

Western leaders have spent the past week consulting over contingency plans in case the conflict spreads. The invasion has shaken NATO from any complacency it might have felt and cast a dark shadow over Europe.

Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, said a speech that Biden was scheduled to give later Saturday in Poland’s capital would outline the “urgency of the challenge that lies ahead” and “what the conflict in Ukraine means for the world, and why it is so important that the free world stay in unity and resolve in the face of Russian aggression.”

Biden’s remarks will end a four-day trip that included a series of summits in Brussels. In addition to the meeting with Duda, he stopped by a meeting of US and Ukrainian diplomatic and defence officials for an update on Ukraine’s military, diplomatic and humanitarian situation.

Also on the schedule: a stop at a stadium where Ukrainian refugees go to obtain a Polish identification number that gives them access to social services such as health care and schools.

The stadium was built in 2012 when Poland and Ukraine hosted the European football championship and was meant to symbolise how far the two countries had come since the Cold War. More recently, it served as a field hospital for COVID-19 patients.

Biden previewed his closing speech during appearances Friday in Rzeszow.

“You’re in the midst of a fight between democracies and oligarchs,” he told members of the US Army’s 82nd Airborne Division during a visit to their temporary headquarters. “Is democracy going to prevail and the values we share, or are autocracies going to prevail?”

During a briefing on the refugee response, Biden said “the single most important thing that we can do from the outset” to force Putin to stop the war “is keeping the democracies united in our opposition.”

Biden praised the humanitarian effort as being of “such an enormous consequence” given the scope of the crisis, which adds up to the most significant flow of refugees within Europe since World War II.

He appeared to lament that security concerns “understandably” will keep him from visiting Ukraine on this trip.

Duda, who appeared with Biden on Friday, said the refugees are “guests.”

“We do not want to call them refugees. They are our guests, our brothers, our neighbors from Ukraine, who today are in a very difficult situation,” he said.

The US has been sending money and supplies to aid the refugee effort. This week, Biden announced $1 billion in additional aid in addition to accepting refugees.

The US and many of its allies have imposed multiple rounds of economic and other sanctions on Russian individuals, banks and other entities in hopes that the cumulative effect will force Putin to withdraw his troops.

Biden was scheduled to return to Washington after his Warsaw speech.



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As internet goes dark in Iran, activists fear what comes next

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When Iranian authorities pulled the plug on the internet in 2019 amid anti-government protests, the international community struggled to track the civilian carnage that followed.



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Elijah McClain’s death attributed to ketamine administrated by paramedics

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Elijah McClain died after being administrated ketamine while forcibly detained, according to a recently published autopsy report.

Denver District Court Chief Judge Christopher Baumann ordered Thursday that McClain’s autopsy report be published unredacted for the public. 

The report was published Friday afternoon. According to the coroner, McClain’s 2019 cause of death was an overdose of ketamine administered by paramedics.

“Simply put, this dosage of ketamine was too much for this individual, and it resulted in an overdose, even though his blood ketamine level was consistent with a ‘therapeutic’ blood concentration,” said coroner Dr. Stephen Cina.

ELIJAH MCCLAIN DEATH: COLORADO GRAND JURY INDICTS 3 POLICE OFFICERS, 2 PARAMEDICS 

FILE - A makeshift memorial stands at a site across the street from where Elijah McClain was stopped by Aurora, Colo., Police Department officers while walking home, before family members hold a news conference, Friday, July 3, 2020, in Aurora, Colo. Three Aurora Police Department officers have left the force after photographs surfaced of them reenacting the chokehold used on McClain across the road from the memorial, which sits in the shadow of Interstate 225. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

FILE – A makeshift memorial stands at a site across the street from where Elijah McClain was stopped by Aurora, Colo., Police Department officers while walking home, before family members hold a news conference, Friday, July 3, 2020, in Aurora, Colo. Three Aurora Police Department officers have left the force after photographs surfaced of them reenacting the chokehold used on McClain across the road from the memorial, which sits in the shadow of Interstate 225. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)
( (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File))

“I believe that Mr. McClain would most likely be alive but for the administration of ketamine,” Cina added.

In September, a Colorado grand jury indicted three officers and two paramedics in the death of Elijah McClain, a black man who was put in a chokehold and injected with a powerful sedative two years ago in suburban Denver. 

Aurora police stopped McClain, a 23-year-old massage therapist, as he walked home from a store on Aug. 24, 2019, after a 911 caller reported a man wearing a ski mask and waving his hands who seemed “sketchy.” 

AURORA, CO - JUNE 27: Elijah McClain protesters close to the Aurora place line at the Aurora Municipal Center June 27, 2020. Elijah McClain died August 30, 2019 several days after a struggle with Aurora police. Elijah became unconscious during the encounter with police August 24, 2019 and had a heart attack while being transported to a hospital. McClain died after being taken off life support. (Photo by Andy Cross/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)"n"n

AURORA, CO – JUNE 27: Elijah McClain protesters close to the Aurora place line at the Aurora Municipal Center June 27, 2020. Elijah McClain died August 30, 2019 several days after a struggle with Aurora police. Elijah became unconscious during the encounter with police August 24, 2019 and had a heart attack while being transported to a hospital. McClain died after being taken off life support. (Photo by Andy Cross/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)”n”n
( (Photo by Andy Cross/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)”n”n)

Officers put McClain in a chokehold and pinned him down. 

Paramedics injected him with 500 milligrams of ketamine, an amount appropriate for someone 77 pounds heavier than McClain’s 143-pound frame, according to the indictment. He fell unconscious, was pronounced brain-dead at a hospital, and was taken off life support.

AURORA POLICE IN COLORADO QUESTIONED ON USE OF FORCE DURING ELIJAH MCCLAIN PROTEST: REPORT

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 28: A view of BEAR THE TRUTH Protest: A Pop-Up Art Curation of Teddy Bears for Children and Families in honor of #BlackLivesMatter at Los Angeles City Hall on June 28, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Chelsea Guglielmino/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – JUNE 28: A view of BEAR THE TRUTH Protest: A Pop-Up Art Curation of Teddy Bears for Children and Families in honor of #BlackLivesMatter at Los Angeles City Hall on June 28, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Chelsea Guglielmino/Getty Images)
((Photo by Chelsea Guglielmino/Getty Images))

The city of Aurora has released bodycam footage and the 911 call that preceded the incident.

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In portions of it, McClain, in a sobbing voice, denies having done anything wrong. He tells officers he’s “just different” and can be heard saying, “I can’t breathe, please stop.”

“When we showed up, he was wearing a ski mask,” someone can be heard saying.



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Road World Championships: Injured Annemiek van Vleuten wins in 'stunning' finale

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Dutchwoman Annemiek van Vleuten wins women’s road race gold despite a fractured elbow at the Road World Championships in Australia.



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