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Russia says that nearly 1,000 Ukrainian troops who doggedly defended a giant steelworks in Mariupol have surrendered. The plant became a symbol of their country’s resistance. The announcement Wednesday comes as the battle for the strategic port city appeared all but over. Ukraine ordered the fighters to save their lives and said their mission to tie up Russian forces is now complete. The fighters face an uncertain fate. Russia's Defense Ministry spokesman said 959 Ukrainian troops have now abandoned the stronghold since they started coming out Monday.

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The fall of Mariupol appears at hand as Ukraine is moving to abandon a sprawling steel plant where its soldiers had held out under relentless bombardment for months, which would make it the biggest city to fall into Russian hands. Much of it, though, has been reduced to rubble. Ukraine estimates some 20,000 civilians have been killed in the Russian assault on Mariupol, a city on the Azov Sea that stands between the Russian mainland and the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia seized from Ukraine in 2014. Hundreds of Ukrainian fighters have left the Azovstal steel plant and turned themselves over to Russian hands. 

Australia’s prime minister says he is aware of China’s ambitions in the southwest Pacific after a newspaper reported plans by Beijing to build wharves, shipyards and underwater cables in the Solomon Islands. The Australian newspaper published a leaked draft agreement between China and the Solomon Islands dated this year. That follows the recent confirmation by China and the Pacific island nation that they have signed a separate security agreement that the U.S. and its allies fear could lead to a Chinese naval base less than 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles) from the Australian coast. Prime Minister Scott Morrison says his government is not surprised by the reported draft maritime cooperation agreement.

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Gulfstream Aerospace executive Charles Krugh has been tapped by General Dynamics to lead Navy shipbuilder Bath Iron Works. Krugh has served in a variety of aerospace manufacturing roles, and will be tasked with keeping the shipyard and its 7,000 workers on schedule after falling behind on deliveries. Krugh will be replacing Dirk Lesko, who resigned abruptly last month. He led the shipyard through a reset after his predecessor’s stormy relationship with the workforce and then dealt with a tumultuous period that included a pandemic and his own labor troubles including a strike.

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The state-owned Russian news agency TASS is reporting that Russia's Defense Ministry says more than 1 million people have been taken from Ukraine to Russia since the Russian invasion began. The figure includes , nearly 200,000 children. Defense Ministry official Mikhail Mizintsev said those included 11,550 people, including 1,847 children, in the previous 24 hours, without, he said, the participation of Ukrainian authorities. He said those civilians were evacuated to Russia from what he called dangerous regions in Ukraine. No details were provided about the moves. Throughout the war, Ukraine has accused Moscow’s troops of taking civilians against their will to Russia or Russian-controlled areas. 

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The state of Georgia and local governments will give Rivian Automotive $1.5 billion of incentives to built a 7,500-job, $5 billion electric vehicle plant. That's according to documents the company and state signed Monday. That's by far the largest incentive package Georgia has ever offered to a company. Georgia Economic Development Commissioner Pat Wilson says the size of the package is “appropriate” for the largest single industrial announcement in Georgia history. Rivian hopes to break ground as early as this summer and begin production in Georgia in 2024. The plant has been beset by opposition from residents east of Atlanta who say Rivian will spoil their rural quality of life.

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The first civilians evacuated from the bombed-out steel plant that has become the last stronghold of Ukrainian fighters in Mariupol are slowly making their way toward safety Monday, as others who managed to escape the city describe terrifying weeks of bombardment and deprivation. More than 100 civilians — including elderly women and mothers with small children — left the sprawling, rubble-strewn Azovstal steel mill on Sunday and set out in buses and ambulances for the Ukrainian-controlled city of Zaporizhzhia. about 140 miles (230 kilometers) to the northwest. If successful, the evacuation would represent rare progress in easing the human cost of the almost 10-week war.

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The Navy says the commander of its submarine training school in San Diego has been fired after less than a year on the job. A Navy announcement says Cmdr. Jared Severson was relieved of command on Thursday after an investigation found a “loss of trust and confidence in his ability to command.” The Navy didn't provide details. The Submarine Training Facility is located at Naval Base Point Loma. It provides basic through advanced instruction for both submarine and surface ship officers and enlisted members. The facility's executive officer will take over command.

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