Ukraine Alarmed by surging violence UN rights chief urges greater effort to

As she urged all sides to do more to resolve the crisis, especially in towns which have seen a recent surge in violent protests, Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, appealed to armed opposition groups to “stop all illegal actions, including detaining people and seizing public buildings in violation of Ukraine’s laws and Constitution.” She added that these “organized and well-armed groups” should lay down their weapons, free arbitrarily detained persons, and vacate occupied public and administrative buildings.Ms. Pillay also called on the Government to ensure that military and police operations are undertaken in line with international standards. “It is extremely important that the authorities themselves demonstrate full respect for the rule of law and scrupulously protect the human rights of all, including the Russian-speaking population,” the High Commissioner said.She also called on authorities to carry out “prompt, transparent and comprehensive” investigations into events in Odessa and Donetsk eastern regions, where dozens of people have been killed in recent days.Briefing reporters in Geneva, Ms. Pillay’s spokesperson, Rupert Colville, said the Office of the High Commissioner (OHCHR) is calling for authorities to undertake “inclusive and participatory dialogue” and to take “serious steps to halt the rhetoric of hatred and confrontation, before the situation spirals totally out of control”.Ukrainian officials have announced that the presidential election will be held later this month. It was originally scheduled for May of next year, but was brought forward following the political crisis in the country. The upcoming polls “represent the best opportunity for Ukraine to begin the process of reconciliation and stabilization,” Ms. Pillay said. She urged authorities to permit genuine peaceful demonstrations, both as a matter of international law and “as a release valve for people’s legitimate fears and frustrations”. The High Commissioner also emphasised the need to create an environment where freedom of expression and opinion are fully respected, allowing journalists the space to work.OHCHR teams are currently monitoring the human rights situation from five locations in the country and are due to publish their next report on 15 May. read more

Irish and Huskies ready for latest chapter of rivalry

There’s been no better and more entertaining rivalry in women’s college basketball over the past decade than the one between Notre Dame and UConn.From Breanna Stewart’s dominance of the Irish in the Final Four while UConn won four straight national championships to Arike Ogunbowale’s last-second shot in overtime of the national semifinals last season that beat the Huskies, these storied programs have gone toe-to-toe on the game’s biggest stage.Their history goes back even further. Even as Pat Summitt and Tennessee were playing the main foil to Geno Auriemma’s Huskies in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Muffet McGraw’s Irish were right there, too, playing memorable games with their former Big East rival. Who could forget the Irish knocking UConn out of the Final Four in 2001? That came weeks after UConn great Sue Bird hit a shot at the buzzer in the Big East tournament title game to lift UConn to that championship.This meeting has a different feel: The Irish are the clear favourites. Something that’s rarely been the case over the past two decades.The top-ranked national champions and No. 2 Huskies will play in South Bend, Indiana, on Sunday in the Jimmy V Classic with the No. 1 ranking on the line. They’ve played evenly over the past eight seasons, splitting their 16 games.“When you play each other in December it’s more of a, we’re going all the way over there and they are going all the way over here and we happen to be passing each other on the street corner,” Auriemma quipped after a win over DePaul on Wednesday. “Somebody’s going to say something and somebody is going to say something, then we’re going to slap each other around a little bit and then go home and then say, ‘See you in March.’ We know they’re out there and they know we’re out there and then it just becomes for a couple days, big. Then after that it goes away.”The game Sunday, which is the 58th meeting between the top two teams in the AP poll, has long been sold out. The last 1 vs. 2 matchup was also UConn and Notre Dame in 2016 in South Bend. That was after UConn lost its Big 3 of Stewart, Morgan Tuck and Moriah Jefferson and the Huskies were also expected to lose to the Irish. They came away with a 11-point win.“I’m excited that it’s a sellout. It was a sellout pretty much from the day the tickets went on sale,” McGraw said. “I think our fans are excited about the game. I think nationally it’s one of the best rivalries in women’s basketball, so I think people will be tuning in to see what happens here. It’s a great rivalry — we really enjoy it.”The Irish return nearly the entire team from last season that won the school’s second title. They also have Brianna Turner back after she sat out last season with an ACL injury.“This is a great opportunity for women’s college basketball,” Turner said. “I think a lot of people are going to tune in.”The Huskies lost three major components from last season’s team that was undefeated until losing to the Irish in the semis. It was the third time in the last eight years that Notre Dame ended UConn’s season in the Final Four.“We lost two of our starters and they kept all of their starters and added another big person. So, it’s going to be a dog fight, we know that,” UConn senior Napheesa Collier said. “We’re always the ones people are shooting at, so I don’t feel any less than before. We’re not the underdog, but people are always rooting against us and nothing’s different for this game, so nothing has changed.”Auriemma is excited to see what his young players do in their first exposure to a big-time atmosphere, yet knows that a win or loss won’t really determine the outcome of the season. The Huskies are starting a freshman and sophomore to go along with their Big 3 of Collier, Katie Lou Samuelson and Crystal Dangerfield.“Either way. I mean we beat them last year at the XL Center and that didn’t do us any good in March. So, I don’t think what comes out of this game other than we have two young players and I’m anxious to see how they do more than anything,” he said.“I mean, I want to win the game.”While UConn doesn’t have one of its gaudy winning streaks on the line, the Huskies do have a few things at stake. UConn has won 121 consecutive regular-season games since falling to Stanford in 2014. The Huskies also have won 53 straight non-conference contests in the regular season and 158 games without a loss in regulation.All of those could come to an end on Sunday.___AP Sports Writer Pat Eaton-Robb in Hartford, Connecticut and AP Freelancer John Fineran in South Bend, Indiana contributed to this story.___More AP college basketball: and Doug on Twitter at Feinberg, The Associated Press read more