Ancestry, the leading global family history company based in Lehi, has acquired French genealogy company Geneanet. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)
Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
LEHI — Ancestry, the global leader in family history, has acquired leading French genealogy company Geneanet.
Geneanet alone has a large community in Europe of more than 4 million members and is available in 10 languages and more than 25 countries. The company has a free family tree platform, and the acquisition will allow for even greater access to historical records for Ancestry members, especially those with European ancestry, to explore their family history and connect with extended family all over the world.
The move is part of a larger effort by the Lehi-based family history giant to reach people all over the world who want to learn more about their ancestors. Ancestry currently has more than 30 billion records in over 80 countries, including the largest collection of European records. It already has projects digitizing and indexing French historical records, such as the soon-to-be-available complete French census birth, marriage and death records.
“Our members will greatly benefit from Ancestry’s vast record collections and global network as they build their family trees and connect with new relatives and share their family stories,” said Jacques Le Marois, founder and CEO of Geneanet in a recent press release. “I am delighted to build the next chapter together and look forward to the opportunity to play an active role in the company’s future.”
“We are thrilled to welcome Geneanet to the Ancestry family and look forward to working together to grow our…
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SALT LAKE CITY — There’s a 13% chance for any woman to develop breast cancer in the course of their lifetime. But for 24-year-old twins, Emma and Gabriella Friel. there’s a much higher chance. An 80% change.
The sisters, from Utah, live together, hike together, snowboard together, travel together and so much more. And recently, they underwent double mastectomies together — on the same day, at the same hospital.
In early 2021, Emma, who works in the genetics field, set out to satisfy a nagging worry she had about her genealogy and genetics: Was her family history of breast cancer a sign that she had inherited a gene mutation that put her at a very high risk of developing the disease?
A family history of breast cancer
“This BRCA gene runs in our family,” said Emma. “Our cousin had it and her mom, so our aunt had it. It was very off-handed. I got tested, I didn’t think anything about it, I figured I would be negative and then it turned out I was positive.”
Emma’s test result foreshadowed Gabriella’s.
“I was hoping, by some chance, that I wouldn’t have it,” said Gabriella. “I don’t know, by the grace of God or something, but I assumed I did.”
The results were back within a month. They both had the BRCA1 gene. And then they had a decision to make.
How the sisters took action for their health
So, there’s a 13% chance for women to get breast cancer in their life. For the Friel sisters, it’s six times that.
“There is about an 85% chance of us developing breast cancer by the time we turn 70, 75,” explained Emma. “It’s not super scientific where they can see, like this is your percentage by the age of 30. And this is your percentage by the age of 50. It’s very broad. They’re doing more research to try and pinpoint it. But science isn’t there yet.”
Emma decide she would undergo a double mastectomy to significantly cut her odds for developing the disease. Gabriella looked into other options.
“Another option is I could get tested every six months for the rest of my life until someday I get breast cancer,” said Gabriella. “I wasn’t keen on that option. It just seemed like a lot of anxiety, and a lot of time.”
In February 2022, both admitted themselves to the same hospital, on the same day, to undergo double mastectomies.
A mother’s reaction
Emma and Gabriella’s mother, Sandra Garofalo was the first person Emma called after she got her test results.
“I just, I immediately felt guilty,” said Garofalo. “I thought I should have tested myself long ago, like I, I just made a lot of excuses of why not to get tested, you know. I had lost my cousin. And I knew that she was positive. But you know, our parents are half-siblings. And they had breast cancer on the side of the family that was not blood-related to me. So I just always kind of thought, ‘Oh, it must have come from that side of the family.’ I put it out of my head for a long time.”
The irony is, that Garofalo is a nurse practitioner who works with cancer patients.
“Here’s Emma, the first one positive, and I immediately felt like this should not be on her, I should have done this first,” she said. “I want them to make the right decision, but I know that it needs to be theirs, and not mine.”
She says she would be there to emotionally support them, but not make the decision for them.
“Of course, I didn’t want them to get it yet,” Garofalo said. “They’re really active, and they’re having so much fun. I don’t want to interrupt their lives with this mess and thinking about cancer. As I was struggling over that, I met a new patient, literally a week, after all of this kind of hit. And this girl walks in. She’s one year older than my twins. She’s this really dynamic young woman. And she’s like the girl she likes to rock climb and snowboard and adventure and do all this stuff. And she’s BRACA-1 positive, and she has triple-negative breast cancer, which is traditionally a harder cancer to treat and harder to cure. I’ve been going through wrestling with this, that it was this way of saying this is what you need to do. They’re doing the right thing. They’re not too young to get surgery.”
All the while, Garofalo got tested herself. She was positive for the gene, too.
So while her girls were weighing their options, Garofalo got her double mastectomy in the fall of 2021.
An oncologist’s perspective
The BRCA-1 and BRCA-2 are genes that women normally have two copies of that help protect them from cancer. If one of the genes we inherit is defective, it puts the body’s ability to fight cancer at a disadvantage.
“They are more at risk for getting breast, ovarian cancer, sometimes pancreas, melanoma, and men, of course, are more at risk for getting prostate cancer,” said Huntsman Cancer Institute’s Dr. Sarah Colonna.
Colonna wasn’t involved in the Friel sister’s diagnosis.
She recommends speaking to a genetic counselor before making the decision to test for gene mutations and says there are a couple of options: One is an FDA-approved at-home saliva test, and the other is to get tested at your doctor’s office.
“Costs used to be several thousand dollars, it’s come down. Now it’s like a couple of hundred dollars.”
She warns federal law makes it illegal for health insurance companies to base coverage on a person’s DNA but things differ when it comes to life and disability insurance.
And though Colonna urges people to consider the insurance implication before testing themselves, she says that by undergoing double mastectomies Emma and Gabriella significantly dropped their risk of cancer.
“Let’s say Gabriella’s risk was 70%,” said. Colonna. “A risk-reducing mastectomy would take it from 70% to 7%.”
At-home testing for breast cancer
The FDA has approved an at-home test kit, and the genetic testing website 23andMe markets a saliva test, which costs about $200.
“We test for the three mutations on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes that are some of the most common, the most well-studied and convey the largest risk. We do not test for all possible variants in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, as more than 1,000 variants in these genes are known to increase cancer risk,” a spokesperson responded to KSL NewsRadio’s inquiry.
An aerial view of Salt Lake City taken in 1950. The National Archives and Records Administration will release individual information from the 1950 census on April 1, providing a window into the country at the start of a transformative time in American history. (Utah State History)
Estimated read time: 9-10 minutes
Editor’s note: This article is a part of a series reviewing Utah and U.S. history for KSL.com’s Historic section.
SALT LAKE CITY — The 1950s were a metamorphic decade in American history, not just because of emerging technology but also in how people lived, where they moved to and, of course, the baby boom.
However, before all that happened, the heads of American households filled out their census forms.
Now, after 72 years, the information collected from the beginning of the decade is set to be released for the first time. The National Archives and Records Administration will publish a new website on April 1, where people can find all sorts of new information, including the names and addresses of the heads of households who submitted their census based on where they and their families were on that date in 1950.
“The 1950 census opens a window into one of the most transformative periods in modern American history,” Marc Perry, a senior demographer for the U.S. Census Bureau, said Monday.
“Collectively, data from the 1950 census revealed a country of 151 million people that had only recently emerged from the disruptions of World War II and the Great Depression,” he said.
Why the wait?
The U.S. first released past census records in 1942, less than a decade after the National Archives was created. The first release provided information from the first census taken in 1790 up through the 1870 census, a range of 72 to 152 years after the censuses were filled out.
Since then, the country has had a long-standing policy that it doesn’t release the complete information of a decennial census until 72 years after the census is completed, commonly referred to as the “72-year rule.” This policy dates back to 1952, when the Census Bureau and National Archives agreed that personal information filled out from a census cannot be released until at least 72 years after a census data.
Why 72? The answer isn’t very clear but likely dates back to the timing of the first release, said Claire Kluskens, a genealogy and census subject expert for the National Archives and Records Administration. The deal was made two years after Congress passed the 1950 Federal Records Act that established at least a 50-year delay on personal records, according to the National Archives.
This agreement was nearly nullified 20 years later when the 72-year window of the 1900 census arrived. As noted by the agency, a law passed ahead of the 1900 census barred its information from being released. U.S. Attorney General Elliot Richardson, however, declared the records could be opened to researchers; in 1977, the data was made public.
And then, in 1978, Congress passed a law codifying the agreement. This “72-year rule” has not changed since. It’s why all the answers from the census Utahns filled out two years ago won’t be made public until 2092, barring a change to the law.
It also means April 1 is when the seal is lifted on the 1950 census information.
1950 census: The beginning of the modern era
The U.S. was in the midst of a post-World War II transformation at the time of the 1950 census. Sharon Tosi Lacey, the chief historian for the U.S. Census Bureau, pointed out the signs of upcoming transformation should be in the data.
New education opportunities were made available for many military veterans through the G.I. Bill; people were moving out of large cities into new suburbs and new regions of the country; 1.4 million African-Americans were moving to parts of the North and West; and the baby boom was starting to happen. This period didn’t just start a population boom but also a building boom.
“For the first time, more than half of all homes were owner-occupied,” Lacey said. “And also for the first time, a large number of Americans were living overseas with military families and federal workers, particularly in Germany and Japan.”
There were some changes to the document and data collection that year, as well.
For instance, there were 38 questions on the census, a dozen fewer than the 1940 document. There were also 47 final reports compiled by the bureau, compared to 25 from the prior census. The total number of enumeration districts also changed from 147,000 in 1940 to 230,000 in 1950.
The Census Bureau used a computer to tabulate some of the 1950 census for the first time. Lacey said physical sampling made the 1950 census the beginning of the “modern census.” It was the beginning of self-enumeration, a separate form for residents of Native American reservations and, for just the second time ever, “infant cards” were used to count babies who were generally “a missed population count.”
With a record number of students at universities across the nation, the Census Bureau also started counting students at their respective colleges and not at their homes for the first time in 1950. And there were also new efforts to track missing populations in 1950.
“We started making greater efforts to count missed people by using forms printed in the newspaper and having specific nights to count transient locations such as hotels, tourist courts and shelters, which is something we would continue to do in following censuses,” Lacey said.
This was also the first time the bureau went back to double-check its work. It started using a post-enumeration survey in areas where it began new data collection experiments and thousands of small areas to identify households it otherwise would have missed — a practice still conducted today. The heads of about 22,000 American households were reinterviewed for data confirmation following the 1950 census.
What we already knew from the 1950 census
For the past seven decades, the overall population statistics and trends are all that’s been made available. One preliminary report of the 1950 census data summarized that the U.S. had an “unprecedented” number of marriages and young children while having a smaller size of a household than ever before, according to Perry.
Two-thirds of all men and women were married in 1950, much higher than the rate that’s below 50% today.
The average household size of 3.51 in 1950 is still higher than the estimate of 2.6 in 2019, Perry said. That’s because the percentage of people living alone has jumped from just below 10% in 1950 to about 28% in 2019.
The number of women in the workforce has also increased significantly. In 1950, only 29% of all U.S. women were in the workforce; that percentage is now close to 60%.
The baby boom also started to begin. About 31% of the American population was under the age of 18 in 1950; the number grew to 34.3% by 1970. The median age, which had risen for decades heading into 1950, dropped from 30.2 in 1950 to 29.5 in 1960 and 28.1 in 1970. It’s now 38.1, according to a 2019 estimate.
A new highway system in the 1950s ultimately put more cars on the road and allowed for people to spread out. New building construction, which was hampered in the 1930s and 1940s by the Great Depression and World War II, exploded heading into the 1950s to accommodate the rapid post-war life.
That meant new families could get their own home to raise their children, which is the reason household sizes dropped at the time.
Despite all the major changes, most of the population revolution isn’t quite captured in the 1950 census. The document is more of a snapshot of the starting point of when everything started to change in America.
“The country had yet been impacted by most of those major post-war demographic and economic trends that would greatly change the size, the shape and the compilation of the U.S. population,” Perry said. “Back in 1950, things likely felt very different than in 1940; yet in hindsight, we can kind of now see that on many demographic dimensions the U.S. population in 1950 looked more like the country of 1940 than the rapidly growing, youthful generation that was to come in 1960 or 1970.”
The 1950s are when suburban communities began to take over. Aside from New York City and Los Angeles, all of the 10 largest cities in the U.S. in 1950 hit their current peak populations with the 1950 census. People also started moving away from the Northeast and Midwest regions to the South and West about this same time as air conditioning became more accessible.
Perry points to Cleveland and the Denver suburb of Aurora, Colorado, as a perfect example for both trends in motion over the ensuing seven decades. In 1950, Cleveland outnumbered Aurora 914,808 to 11,396; however, Aurora surpassed Cleveland with a population of 386,261 to 372,624 in the latest census.
Utah also falls under this migration wave. The state had a population of about 696,000 people in 1950. Its population has nearly quintupled since the 1950 census was filled out, becoming the fastest-growing — percentage rate-wise — state between 2010 and 2020 along the way.
Only through a recent change of urban growth — matching some new trends — has Salt Lake City’s population exceeded where it was during this time. Its population eventually topped out at nearly 190,000 in 1960 before a steady decline between 1960 and 1990, as suburban communities grew in popularity. It started to increase again after 1990, reaching a record 199,723 in the 2020 census.
What’s being released now
On April 1, the National Archives will release:
About 6.57 million digital images from the 1950 census
33,000 images related to the Indian reservation schedules
2,000 images from population forms taken from citizens living overseas at the time.
All of the new materials will join the data already made available online.
Researchers, geologists and others will be able to see the demographic snapshots of specific individuals and households and get a clearer picture of the larger societal trends that were going on that time.
–Marc Perry, U.S. Census Bureau demographer
People will be able to search the photos by state, county, reservation name or enumeration district number. There are about 140,000 enumerators in the collection with differing levels of handwriting, legibility and quality, according to Kluskens. She adds users can help correct any incorrect names in the data.
Historians are eager for the April 1 release because it will help paint a better history of life at the time through every individual story contained within the data. Perry surmises that the data could show where someone’s grandparents were in a city before moving to the suburbs, an African American family moving out of the rural South to an urban portion of the Northeast or Midwest, or quite possibly a family moving from the Midwest to the West.
“The upcoming release of the 1950 census individual records is a genealogy gold mine,” he said. “Researchers, geologists and others will be able to see the demographic snapshots of specific individuals and households and get a clearer picture of the larger societal trends that were going on that time.”
That means, after all these years, there will finally be names behind the numbers and maps that have been public records for some time. Aside from population numbers, there are enumeration district maps and other datasets.
Ultimately, the individual touch is what makes old census surveys so important.
“A decennial census is, above all, a collection of data on every individual in the United States,” Perry said. “And after 72 years, the individual stories of each person enumerated in the 1950 census sort of reverberate through new generations.”
KYIV, UKRAIN —
Russia renewed its assault Wednesday on Ukraine’s second-largest city in a pounding that lit up the skyline with balls of fire over populated areas, even as both sides said they were ready to resume talks aimed at stopping the new devastating war in Europe.
The escalation of attacks on crowded cities followed an initial round of talks between outgunned Ukraine and nuclear power Russia on Monday that resulted in only a promise to meet again. It was not clear when new talks might take place — or what they would yield. Ukraine’s leader earlier said Russia must stop bombing before another meeting.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has decried Russia’s bombardment as a blatant terror campaign, while U.S. President Joe Biden warned on Tuesday that if the Russian leader didn’t “pay a price” for the invasion, the aggression wouldn’t stop with one country.
On Wednesday, a Russian strike hit the regional police and intelligence headquarters in Kharkiv, a city of about 1.5 million, killing four people and wounding several, the state emergency service of Ukraine said. It added that residential buildings were also being hit, but did not provide further details.
A blast blew the roof off of the five-story police building and set the top floor alight, according to videos and photos released by the service. Pieces of the building were strewn across adjacent streets.
The attack followed a day after one in Kharkiv’s central square that killed at least six people and shocked many Ukrainians for hitting at the centre of life in a major city. A Russian strike also targeted a TV tower in the capital of Kyiv.
Roughly 874,000 people have fled Ukraine and the UN refugee agency warned the number could cross the 1 million mark soon. Countless others have taken shelter underground.
The overall death toll from the seven-day war is not clear, with neither Russia nor Ukraine releasing the number of troops lost. The UN human rights office said it has recorded 136 civilian deaths, though the actual toll is surely far higher.
Ukrainian authorities said five people were killed in the TV tower strike, which also hit the site of the Babi Yar Holocaust memorial. A spokesman for the memorial said a Jewish cemetery at the site, where Nazi occupiers killed more than 33,000 Jews over two days in 1941, was damaged.
Russia previously told people living near transmission facilities used by Ukraine’s intelligence agency to leave their homes. But Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov claimed Wednesday that the airstrike on the TV tower did not hit any residential buildings. He did not address the reported deaths or the damage to Babi Yar.
Zelensky, who called the strike on the square in Kharkiv a war crime that the world would never forget, expressed outrage Wednesday at the attack on Babi Yar and concern that other historically significant and religious sites, such as St. Sophia’s Cathedral, could be targeted. Shelling earlier hit the town of Uman, a significant pilgrimage site for Hasidic Jews.
“This is beyond humanity,” Zelensky said in a speech posted on Facebook. “They have orders to erase our history, our country and all of us.”
Zelensky, who is Jewish, called on Jews around the world to protest the invasion.
Even as Russia pressed its assault, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Wednesday that a delegation would be ready later in the day to meet Ukrainian officials.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba also said his country was ready — but noted that Russia’s demands have not changed and that he wouldn’t accept any ultimatums. Neither side said where the talks might take place.
As the war wears on, Russia finds itself increasingly isolated, beset by the sanctions that have thrown its economy into turmoil and left the country practically friendless, apart from a few nations like China, Belarus and North Korea. Leading Russian bank Sberbank announced Wednesday that it is pulling out of European markets amid the tightening Western sanctions.
In Washington, Biden used his first State of the Union address Tuesday to highlight the resolve of a reinvigorated Western alliance that has worked to rearm the Ukrainian military and adopt those tough sanctions.
“Throughout our history we’ve learned this lesson — when dictators do not pay a price for their aggression, they cause more chaos,” Biden said. “They keep moving. And the costs and threats to America and the world keep rising.”
As Biden spoke, a 64-kilometre-long convoy of hundreds of Russian tanks and other vehicles advanced slowly on Kyiv, the capital city of nearly 3 million people, in what the West feared was a bid by Russian President Vladimir Putin to topple the government and install a Kremlin-friendly regime.
The invading forces also pressed their assault on other towns and cities. Britain’s Defence Ministry said Kharkiv and the strategic port of Mariupol were encircled by Russian forces and that troops had reportedly moved into the centre of a third city, Kherson. Russia’s Defence Ministry said it had seized Kherson, although the city’s mayor denied Russia had taken full control.
The Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, said it had received a letter from Russia saying its military had taken control around Ukraine’s largest nuclear power plant. According to the letter, personnel at the plant continued their “work on providing nuclear safety and monitoring radiation in normal mode of operation,” and it said the “radiation levels remain normal.”
Russia has already seized control of the decommissioned Chornobyl nuclear power plant, scene of the world’s worst nuclear disaster in 1986.
The IAEA says that it has received a request from Ukraine to “provide immediate assistance in coordinating activities in relation to the safety” of Chornobyl and other sites.
Many military experts worry that Russia may be shifting tactics. Moscow’s strategy in Chechnya and Syria was to use artillery and air bombardments to pulverize cities and crush fighters’ resolve.
Britain’s Defence Ministry said it had seen an increase in Russian air and artillery strikes on populated urban areas over the past two days. Human Rights Watch said it documented a cluster bomb attack outside a hospital in Ukraine’s east in recent days. Residents also reported the use of such weapons in Kharkiv and Kiyanka village. The Kremlin denied using cluster bombs.
Cluster bombs shoot smaller “bomblets” over a large area, many of which fail to explode until long after they’ve been dropped. If their use is confirmed, that would represent a new level of brutality in the war.
In the southern port city of Mariupol, the mayor said Wednesday morning that the attacks had been relentless.
“We cannot even take the wounded from the streets, from houses and apartments today, since the shelling does not stop,” Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boychenko was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying.
Boychenko referred to Russia’s actions as a “genocide” — using the same word Putin has used to justify the invasion.
On Tuesday, Moscow made new threats of escalation, days after raising the spectre of nuclear war. A top Kremlin official warned that the West’s “economic war” against Russia could turn into a “real one.”
Russia has blamed the conflict on Western threats to Russia’s security, and Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, said Moscow was weighing counter-sanctions against “unfriendly countries.” He didn’t elaborate on what they could target.
Peskov acknowledged the global economic punishment hitting Russia and Russians now is “unprecedented” but said Moscow had been prepared for all manner of sanctions, and the potential damage had been taken into account before launching the invasion.
“We have experience with this. We have been through several crises,” he said.
Ukraine’s Defence Ministry said it had evidence that Belarus, a Russian ally, is preparing to send troops into Ukraine. A ministry statement posted early Wednesday on Facebook said Belarusian troops have been brought into combat readiness and are concentrated close to Ukraine’s northern border. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has said his country has no plans to join the fight.
Isachenkov and Litvinova reported from Moscow; Karmanau reported from Lviv, Ukraine. Mstyslav Chernov in Mariupol, Ukraine; Sergei Grits in Odessa, Ukraine; Robert Burns, Zeke Miller and Eric Tucker in Washington; Francesca Ebel, Josef Federman and Andrew Drake in Kyiv; Lorne Cook in Brussels; and other AP journalists from around the world contributed to this report.
Transport Canada says it’s launching a review of a Russian airline after one of its planes allegedly violated a ban on entering Canadian airspace just hours after it was imposed.
“We are aware that Aeroflot flight 111 violated the prohibition put in place earlier today on Russian flights using Canadian airspace,” Transport Canada wrote in a tweet.
“We are launching a review of the conduct of Aeroflot and the independent air navigation service provider, NAVCAN, leading up to this violation. We will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action and other measures to prevent future violations.”
Aeroflot flight 111 departed Miami at 2:29 p.m. local time Sunday on its way to Moscow and appears to have flown over parts of New Brunswick, Quebec and Labrador, according the flight tracking website FlightAware.
On Sunday morning, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra announced that Canada’s airspace would be closed to all Russian aircraft operators.
“We will hold Russia accountable for its unprovoked attacks against Ukraine,” he wrote in a tweet.
Aeroflot typically operates several flights per day through Canadian airspace en route to destinations in the United States and elsewhere.
With files from CTVNews.ca writer Michael Lee
(2/2) We are launching a review of the conduct of Aeroflot and the independent air navigation service provider, NAVCAN, leading up to this violation. We will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action and other measures to prevent future violations.
Russian forces pounded Ukrainian cities with artillery and cruise missiles on Saturday for a third day running but a defiant President Volodymyr Zelensky said the capital Kyiv remained in Ukrainian hands.
As hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians fled westwards towards the European Union, top Russian security official and ex-president Dmitry Medvedev said Moscow’s military operations would be waged relentlessly until their goals were achieved.
Ignoring weeks of warnings from Western leaders, Russian President Vladimir Putin launched the invasion of Ukraine on Thursday from the north, east and south, an assault that threatens to upend Europe’s post-Cold War order.
In a significant ratcheting up of Russia’s rhetoric, Medvedev said on social media that new Western sanctions had helped unite Russians and hinted at a severing of diplomatic ties with Western nations, saying it was time to “padlock the embassies.” He said Moscow might also restore the death penalty.
After a night of airstrikes, there were some signs of panic in center of Kyiv. Reuters reporters saw Ukrainian soldiers with guns and a group of women running along the street. Nearby, Ukrainian soldiers forced a man in civilian clothes to lie down on the pavement.
Kyiv’s mayor Vitali Klitschko said there was currently no major Russian military presence in Kyiv, but added that saboteur groups were active. The metro system is now serving only as a shelter for citizens and trains have stopped running, he said.
Klitschko said 35 people, including two children, had been wounded overnight.
At least 198 Ukrainians, including three children, have been killed and 1,115 people wounded so far in Russia’s invasion, Interfax quoted Ukraine’s Health Ministry as saying. It was unclear whether the numbers comprised only civilian casualties.
“We have withstood and are successfully repelling enemy attacks. The fighting goes on,” Zelensky said in a video message posted on his social media. “We have the courage to defend our homeland, to defend Europe.”
Britain said the bulk of Russian forces were now 30 kilometres from the center of Kyiv and said Russia had yet to gain control of Ukraine’s airspace.
Ukraine, a democratic nation of 44 million people, won independence from Moscow in 1991 and wants to join NATO and the EU, goals Russia opposes. Putin says Ukraine is an illegitimate state carved out of Russia, a view Ukrainians see as aimed at erasing their distinctive history and identity.
Western intelligence sources say Russian forces have encountered far stronger Ukrainian resistance to their invasion than they had expected.
Russia’s Defence Ministry said its forces had captured Melitopol, a city of 150,000 in southeastern Ukraine. Ukrainian officials were not immediately available to comment and Britain cast doubt on the report.
If confirmed, it would be the first significant population centre the Russians have seized.
Ukraine said more than 1,000 Russian soldiers had been killed. Russia did not release casualty figures.
Putin has said he must eliminate what he calls a serious threat to his country from its smaller neighbour and has cited the need to “denazify” Ukraine’s leadership, accusing it of genocide against Russian-speakers in eastern Ukraine – a charge dismissed by Kyiv and its Western allies as baseless propaganda.
Zelensky signaled on Friday a readiness to discuss a ceasefire and peace talks, as did the Kremlin, but tentative diplomatic contacts have so far produced no results.
About 100,000 people have crossed into Poland from Ukraine since Thursday, including 9,000 who have entered since 7 a.m. on Saturday, Polish Deputy Interior Minister Pawel Szefernaker told a news conference.
At Medyka in southern Poland, refugees described a 30-kilometre line at the border. Ukrainians were also crossing the borders into Hungary, Romania and Slovakia.
Ukraine has evacuated its embassy staff in Moscow to Latvia, the Baltic country’s foreign ministry said on Saturday.
The mayor of Chernihiv, some 150 kilometres northeast of Kyiv, told citizens on Saturday: “We need to prepare for street combat. Those of you who know and understand what I am talking about, prepare the petrol bombs.”
Fighting was also underway on Saturday in the northeastern city of Sumy, the municipal administration said.
Western nations have announced a raft of sanctions on Russia, including blacklisting its banks and banning technology exports.
They have stopped short of forcing Russia out of the SWIFT system for international bank payments, but the governor of a central bank in the euro zone told Reuters on Saturday such a decision was “just a matter of time, very short time, days.”
“Is it sufficient? No. Is it necessary? Absolutely. Sanctions only make sense if there are costs for both sides and this will be costly,” the central banker said.
Zelensky said he hoped “Germany and Hungary will have the courage to support” such a decision, which would cause economic disruption to Western countries reliant on Russian energy as well as to Moscow.
Russia’s Medvedev said sanctions showed the West’s impotence to change Moscow’s course. Moscow will respond symmetrically to the seizure of money of Russian citizens and companies abroad by seizing the funds of foreigners in Russia, he said.
The United States has imposed sanctions on Putin, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov. The European Union and Britain earlier froze any assets Putin and Lavrov held in their territory. Canada took similar steps.
(Reporting by Aleksandar Vasovic, Natalia Zinets and Maria Tsvetkova in Kyiv, Aleksandar Vasovic in Mariupol, Alan Charlish in Medyka, Poland, Fedja Grulovic in Sighetu Marmatiei, Romania and Reuters bureaus; Writing by Robert Birsel and Gareth Jones; Editing by William Mallard and David Clarke)
Russian forces captured the southeastern Ukrainian city of Melitopol on Saturday, Russia’s Interfax news agency reported, as Moscow launched coordinated cruise missile and artillery strikes on several cities, including the capital Kyiv.
Ukrainian officials were not immediately available for comment on the fate of Melitopol, a city of about 150,000 people. If the Interfax report citing the Russian defense ministry is confirmed, it would be the first significant population center the Russians have seized since their invasion began on Thursday.
Earlier, Ukrainian officials said Russian forces fired cruise missiles from the Black Sea at Mariupol, also in the southeast, as well as Sumy in the northeast and Poltava in the east.
Kyiv authorities said a missile hit a residential building, and a Reuters witness said another hit an area near the airport. There was no immediate word on casualties. Gunfire erupted near city-center government buildings at around dawn, a Reuters witness said. The cause was not clear.
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, speaking in a video message from outside his Kyiv office, was defiant.
“We will not put down weapons, we will defend our state,” he said.
After weeks of warnings from Western leaders, Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded from the north, east and south, an attack that threatens to upend Europe’s post-Cold War order.
Putin said he had to eliminate what he called a serious threat to his country from its smaller neighbor and he cited the need to “denazify” Ukraine’s leadership, accusing it of genocide against Russian-speakers in eastern Ukraine.
Kyiv and its Western allies dismiss the accusations as baseless propaganda.
In a televised meeting with Russia’s Security Council on Friday, Putin appealed to Ukraine’s military to overthrow their “neo-Nazi” leaders.
“Take power into your own hands,” he said.
Western countries have announced a barrage of sanctions on Russia, including blacklisting its banks and banning technology exports. But they have stopped short of forcing it out of the SWIFT system for international bank payments.
At the United Nations, Russia vetoed a draft Security Council resolution deploring its invasion, while China abstained, which Western countries took as proof of Russia’s isolation. The United Arab Emirates and India also abstained while the remaining 11 members voted in favor.
The White House asked Congress for $6.4 billion in security and humanitarian aid for the crisis, officials said, and Biden instructed the U.S. State Department to release $350 million in military aid.
Russia’s defense ministry said their forces used air- and ship-based cruise missiles to carry out overnight strikes on military targets in Ukraine, Interfax said.
It said Russian troops had hit hundreds of military infrastructure targets and destroyed several aircraft and dozens of tanks and armored and artillery vehicles.
Ukraine’s air force command earlier said one of its fighters had shot down a Russian transport plane. Reuters could not independently verify the claim.
Mykhailo Podolyak, adviser to the president’s office, said the situation in Kyiv and its outskirts was under control.
“There are cases of sabotage and reconnaissance groups working in the city, police and self-defense forces are working efficiently against them,” Podolyak said.
Ukrainian authorities have urged citizens to help defend Kyiv from the advancing Russians. Some families took cover in shelters and hundreds of thousands have left their homes to find safety, according to a U.N. aid official.
Ukraine said more than 1,000 Russian soldiers had been killed. Russia did not release casualty figures. Zelenskiy said late on Thursday that 137 soldiers and civilians been killed with hundreds wounded.
Ukrainians voted overwhelmingly for independence at the fall of the Soviet Union and Kyiv hopes to join NATO and the EU – aspirations that infuriate Moscow.
Putin says Ukraine, a democratic nation of 44 million people, is an illegitimate state carved out of Russia, a view Ukrainians see as aimed at erasing their more than thousand-year history.
The United States imposed sanctions on Putin, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov. The European Union and Britain earlier froze any assets Putin and Lavrov held in their territory. Canada took similar steps.
The invasion triggered a flurry of credit rating moves on Friday, with S&P lowering Russia’s rating to “junk” status, Moody’s putting it on review for a downgrade to junk, and S&P and Fitch cutting Ukraine on default worries.
But even as the fighting grew more intense, the Russian and Ukrainian governments signaled an openness to negotiations, offering the first glimmer of hope for diplomacy since Putin launched the invasion.
A spokesman for Zelenskiy said Ukraine and Russia would consult in coming hours on a time and place for talks.
The Kremlin said earlier it offered to meet in the Belarusian capital Minsk after Ukraine expressed a willingness to discuss declaring itself a neutral country, while Ukraine had proposed Warsaw as the venue. That, according to Russian spokesman Dmitry Peskov, resulted in a “pause” in contacts.
“Ukraine was and remains ready to talk about a ceasefire and peace,” Zelenskiy spokesman Sergii Nykyforov said in a Facebook post. “We agreed to the proposal of the President of the Russian Federation.”
But U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said Russia’s offer was an attempt to conduct diplomacy “at the barrel of a gun” and Putin’s military must stop bombing Ukraine if it was serious about negotiations.
(Reporting by Aleksandar Vasovic, Natalia Zinets and Maria Tsvetkova in Kyiv, Aleksandar Vasovic in Mariupol, Alan Charlish in Medyka, Poland, Fedja Grulovic in Sighetu Marmatiei, Romania and Reuters bureaus; Writing by Robert Birsel; Editing by William Mallard)
A new study involving more than 1.1 million women worldwide has identified those most at risk for developing postpartum depression. They include first-time mothers, mothers under 25, and mothers of twins
Published Tuesday in the Journal of Affective Disorders, the study also found that mothers over 40 with twins are the highest risk group of all.
“The size of this study, in over one million new mothers, make the findings highly significant and definitive,” senior author Dr. Jennifer Payne explained in a press release. Payne directs reproductive psychiatry research at the University of Virginia’s medical school.
“Clinicians caring for new mothers can be aware of factors like age, first pregnancy and twin pregnancies that put women at a higher risk of developing postpartum depression and screen and intervene early,” Payne said.
The peer-reviewed study was based on the results of a survey conducted on Flo, a women’s health and menstrual cycle tracking app. A total of 1.135 million women in 138 countries aged 18 to 40-plus responded. Nearly 35 per cent were located in the U.S., Russia and Brazil.
By age, postpartum depression was self-reported most amongst those 18 to 24, at 10 per cent. Rates steadily declined from ages 25 to 40, when they rose slightly again to 6.9 per cent. In all age groups, the study found that already having kids significantly lowered one’s risk.
Women with twins were also more likely to experience postpartum depression, with 11.3 per cent reporting symptoms versus 8.3 per cent of mothers of one child. Mothers ages 40 and up with twins reported the highest rates of postpartum depression of all groups at 15 per cent.
“Clinicians might take special consideration in caring for women in this group, given their markedly elevated risk,” the study advised. “With concurrent delay of motherhood and increasing availability of reproductive technologies, we are likely to see a growing number of this particularly high-risk group of older first-time mothers with twins.”
Postpartum depression is the most common complication of childbirth, and is believed to affect seven to 25 per cent of new mothers worldwide. Symptoms include debilitating mood swings and anxiety that can last for weeks or more.
According to the new study, children of women suffering postpartum depression are more likely to develop depression and other psychiatric disorders themselves. The study notes postpartum depression has also been linked to lower IQ, slower language development and behavioural issues in affected children.
“Most women with postpartum depression are not diagnosed or treated,” said Payne, who specializes in psychiatric illnesses influenced by reproductive hormonal changes. “Early intervention can prevent the negative outcomes associated with postpartum depression for both mothers and their children.”