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World Briefing

Body found in Wyoming believed to be Gabrielle Petito

MOOSE, Wyo. (AP) — Authorities say a body discovered Sunday in Wyoming is believed to be Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito.

The FBI said the body was found by law enforcement agents who had spent the past two days searching campgrounds.

The cause of death has not yet been determined, said FBI Supervisory Special Agent Charles Jones.

“Full forensic identification has not been completed to confirm 100% that we found Gabby, but her family has been notified,” Jones said. “This is an incredibly difficult time for (Petito’s) family and friends.”

An attorney who has been acting as a spokesman for the Petito family could not be reached immediately for comment.

An undeveloped camping area on the east side of Grand Teton bordering national forest land will remain closed until further notice while the investigation continues, Jones said.

Jones said investigators are still seeking information from anyone who may have seen Petito or Brian Laundrie around some camping sites located on Grand Teton National Park’s eastern boundary, the same site that was the subject of law enforcement search efforts over the weekend.

Petito and her boyfriend, Laundrie, left in July on a cross-country trek in a converted van to visit national parks in the U.S. West. Police said Laundrie was alone when he drove the van back to his parents’ home in North Port, Florida, on Sept. 1.

Laundrie has been identified as a person of interest in the case. He was last seen Tuesday by family members in Florida.

More than 50 law enforcement officers on Sunday started a second day of searching for Laundrie at the more than 24,000-acre (9,712-hectare) Carlton Reserve in Sarasota County, Florida, a wildlife area with more than 100 miles (160 kilometers) of trails, as well as campgrounds.

Petito’s family filed a missing persons report Sept. 11 with police in Suffolk County, New York.

Petito’s family had been pleading for the Laundrie family to tell them where their son last saw her. Petito and Laundrie were childhood sweethearts who met while growing up on Long Island, New York. His parents later moved to North Port, about 35 miles (55 kilometers) south of Sarasota.

The couple’s trek in the Ford Transit van began in July from Long Island. They intended to reach Oregon by the end of October, according to their social media accounts, but Petito vanished after her last known contact with family in late August from Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, authorities said.

Police video released by the Moab Police Department in Utah showed that an officer pulled the van over on Aug. 12 after it was seen speeding and hitting a curb near the entrance to Arches National Park. The body cam video showed an emotional Petito, who sat inside a police cruiser while officers also questioned Laundrie.

Moab police ultimately decided not file any charges and instead separated the couple for the night, with Laundrie checking into a motel and Petito remaining with the converted sleeper van.

US launches mass expulsion of Haitian migrants from Texas

DEL RIO, Texas (AP) — The U.S. flew Haitians camped in a Texas border town back to their homeland Sunday and tried blocking others from crossing the border from Mexico in a massive show of force that signaled the beginning of what could be one of America’s swiftest, large-scale expulsions of migrants or refugees in decades.

Three flights with 145 passengers each arrived in Port-au-Prince, and Haiti said six flights were expected Tuesday. In all, U.S. authorities moved to expel many of the more 12,000 migrants camped around a bridge in Del Rio, Texas, after crossing from Ciudad Acuna, Mexico.

The only obvious parallel for such an expulsion without an opportunity to seek asylum was in 1991, when the Coast Guard intercepted Haitian refugees at sea and sent them to a camp in Guantanamo Bay after the overthrow of the Caribbean nation’s president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, said Yael Schacher, senior U.S. advocate at Refugees International whose doctoral studies focused on the history of U.S. asylum law.

Similarly large numbers of Mexicans have been sent home during peak years of immigration but over land and not so suddenly.

Central Americans have also crossed the border in comparable numbers without being subject to mass expulsion, although Mexico has agreed to accept them from the U.S. under pandemic-related authority in effect since March 2020. Mexico does not accept expelled Haitians or people of other nationalities outside of Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

Same goal, different paths: US, EU seek max vaccine rates

BRUSSELS (AP) — The Belgian town of Aarschot has a vaccination rate of 94% of all adults, but Mayor Gwendolyn Rutten worries her town is too close for comfort to the capital of Brussels, where the rate stands at 63%. But there’s not much she can do about it.

Her hope is that the government mandates vaccination. “Otherwise, you drag all others back into danger,” Rutten said in a recent interview.

But few European Union countries have issued outright mandates, instead requiring people to show proof of immunization, a negative test or recent recovery from COVID-19 to participate in ever more activities — even sometimes to go to work.

More sweeping requirements are the order of the day in the U.S., which has faced significant vaccine resistance. President Biden announced mandates last week that cover large portions of the population, sometimes without any option to test instead.

Despite apparently divergent strategies, officials in both the U.S. and the EU are struggling with the same question: how to boost vaccination rates to the max and end a pandemic that has repeatedly thwarted efforts to control it.

Biden pitching partnership after tough stretch with allies

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden goes before the United Nations this week eager to make the case for the world to act with haste against the coronavirus, climate change and human rights abuses. His pitch for greater global partnership comes at a moment when allies are becoming increasingly skeptical about how much U.S. foreign policy really has changed since Donald Trump left the White House.

Biden plans to limit his time at the U.N. General Assembly due to coronavirus concerns. He is scheduled to meet with Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday and address the assembly on Tuesday before shifting the rest of the week’s diplomacy to virtual and Washington settings.

At a virtual COVID-19 summit he is hosting Wednesday, leaders will be urged to step up vaccine-sharing commitments, address oxygen shortages around the globe and deal with other critical pandemic-related issues.

The president also has invited the prime ministers of Australia, India and Japan, part of a Pacific alliance, to Washington and is expected to meet with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the White House.

Through it all, Biden will be the subject of a quiet assessment by allies: Has he lived up to his campaign promise to be a better partner than Trump?

France’s Macron to talk to Biden amid crisis over submarines

PARIS (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron will speak in the coming days with President Joe Biden in their first contact since a major diplomatic crisis erupted between France and the United States over a submarine deal with Australia, an official said Sunday.

The phone call is at the request of Biden, government spokesman Gabriel Attal said, adding that there was “shock” and “anger” at first in France over news of the deal. But now it’s time to try to move forward, he said.

What the French now call a “grave crisis” erupted over the sudden, surprise end to a 2016 contract worth at least $66 billion between France and Australia to build 12 conventional diesel-electric submarines. Instead, Australia signed on with the United States and Britain for eight nuclear-powered submarines. France insists it was not informed of the deal in advance.

France recalled its ambassadors from the United States and Australia in a sign of the seriousness of the crisis.

Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian met Sunday with the two ambassadors to discuss “the strategic consequences of the current crisis,” the ministry said without elaborating.

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