Here’s what we’re reading:
1. Russia frees Ukrainian pilot Savchenko
Russia has freed jailed Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko, who became a symbol of resistance in her homeland during two years of detention.
“I am free,” Savchenko told a crowd of reporters and politicians as she arrived in Kiev as part of a prisoner swap with two alleged Russian soldiers.
She was sentenced to 22 years in jail for killing two Russian journalists in eastern Ukraine, charges she denied.
Savchenko went on a hunger strike last year to protest her detention, telling CNN in a letter that she had already been in Russian captivity for an hour when the journalists died.
2. Taliban appoints new leader after Mansour killed
The Afghan Taliban confirmed on Wednesday that their leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour was killed in a U.S. drone strike last week and that they have appointed a successor — Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada — a scholar and religious cleric known for extremist views.
The announcement came as a suicide bomber struck a minibus carrying court employees in the Afghan capital, killing at least 10 people, an official said. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, making good on its vow to target government workers in Kabul’s judiciary.
3. Toyota to invest in Uber
“Toyota said Tuesday it is investing in Uber, making it the latest car company to put money into a ride-hailing app.
The Japanese company did not say how much the investment is worth.
As part of the deal, Uber drivers can lease Toyota vehicles with money earned from their driving.
Investing in ride-hailing services can be a way for automakers to sell more cars. Earlier this year, General Motors Co. invested $500 million US in Uber rival Lyft.”
4. Google “working on” getting back into China
“Speaking at Startup Fest Europe, Alphabet’s executive chairman and former CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt, said: ‘We are working on [getting back into China]. I think our role in China is largely determined not by us but by what the Chinese government will allow.’
Schmidt told the audience of developers and entrepreneurs that Google withdrew almost all of its services from China in 2010 because the company was ‘uncomfortable with [China’s] laws, which have not gotten better since we left.’
Asked if public demand for access to Google and its various services could sway the Chinese government to change its restrictions, Schmidt said: ‘There is always hope.'”
5. Violence erupts at yet another Trump rally
Demonstrators outside a Donald Trump rally last night in New Mexico have hurled rocks, smashed a door, and set fire to campaign merchandise and clashed with police.
Protesters threw burning T-shirts and plastic bottles at police outside the rally at a convention centre in Albuquerque. Demonstrators held banners that read “Trump is Fascist” and “We’ve heard enough,” and some waved a Mexican flag.
Police responded by firing pepper spray and smoke grenades at the crowd.