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Hundreds of people gathered outside a church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the deadliest racist massacre in the US – and President Joe Biden is set to honour the victims later today.

The Tulsa race massacre took place between 31 May and 1 June 1921, when white residents in Tulsa’s Greenwood district attacked black residents and burned down businesses, with estimates of death tolls ranging from dozens to 300.

Earlier, civil rights leaders joined local faith leaders offering prayers outside Vernon African Methodist Episcopal Church, which was under construction at the time but largely destroyed during the massacre.

Edna Osborne (centre) holds her head down in prayer during the dedication of a prayer wall outside of the historic Vernon African Methodist Episcopal Church in Tulsa. Pic AP
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Edna Osborne (centre) holds her head down in prayer outside Vernon African Methodist Episcopal Church. Pic AP

Reverend William Barber, a civil rights activist, said he was “humbled even to stand on this holy ground”.

“You can kill the people, but you cannot kill the voice of the blood,” he said.

Although the church was nearly destroyed, worshippers continued to meet in the basement and rebuilt it several years later – becoming a symbol of resilience in Tulsa’s black community.

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Among those who spoke at the outdoor ceremony were Democratic representatives Barbara Lee, Lisa Blunt Rochester and Chris Coons.

“We’re here to remember, to mourn, to rebuild equitably,” Ms Rochester said.

People hold candles at a candlelight vigil in honour of the victims of the Tulsa race massacre. Pic AP
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A candlelight vigil was held to remember victims of the massacre. Pic AP

As the ceremony came to an end, participants put their hands on the prayer wall along the side of the sanctuary while soloist Santita Jackson sang Lift Every Voice and Sing.

Monday’s activities were supposed to culminate in a headline event at ONEOK Fields, with a performance from John Legend and a keynote speech from voting rights activist Stacey Abrams.

However, the event was cancelled last week after an agreement could not be reached over payments for three survivors of the attack.

Police Sargeant Joel Ward views the Field of Heroes at Centennial Park. The field contains empty boots to give a visual representation of Oklahoma's fallen service members. Pic AP
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Police Sargeant Joel Ward views the Field of Heroes at Centennial Park, which contains empty boots to represent Oklahoma’s fallen service members. Pic AP
A memorial wall for Black Wall Street in the Greenwood district, where the 1921 massacre took place. Pic AP
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Mr Biden will be the first president to be part of the remembrances of what happened in what used to be known as ‘Black Wall Street’. Pic AP

In a statement tweeted on Sunday, Legend did not specifically address the cancellation of the event but said: “The road to restorative justice is crooked and rough – and there is space for reasonable people to disagree about the best way to heal the collective trauma of white supremacy.

“But one thing that is not up for debate – one fact we must hold with conviction – is that the path to reconciliation runs through truth and accountability.”

A woman points at a picture of devastation from the Tulsa Race Massacre in a prayer room at the First Baptist Tulsa church
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Estimates of death tolls from the violence range from dozens to 300. Pic: AP
Reverend John Faison Senior kneels in prayer after preaching at a joint service for the centennial of the Tulsa Race Massacre at First Baptist Church of North Tulsa on Sunday. Pic AP
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Other events included a joint service at the First Baptist Church of North Tulsa led by Reverend John Faison Sr. Pic AP

Meanwhile, other events included a joint service for the massacre at the First Baptist Church of North Tulsa led by Reverend John Faison Sr on Sunday.

On Monday, the Centennial Commission hosted a candlelight vigil to honour the victims of the massacre, and President Biden is scheduled to visit Tulsa on Tuesday.

He will be the first president to be part of the remembrances of what happened in what used to be known as “Black Wall Street”.

Last October, at least 10 bodies were found in an unmarked mass grave during a search for victims of the massacre.

The discovery of 10 coffins was described as significant by the city’s mayor, GT Bynum, who budgeted $100,000 (£71,000) to find victims after previous searches had failed.

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Crucial $60.8bn Ukraine aid package approved by US House of Representatives after months of deadlock

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Crucial .8bn Ukraine aid package approved by US House of Representatives after months of deadlock

The US House of Representatives has approved sending $60.8bn (£49bn) in foreign aid to Ukraine.

Democrats and Republicans joined together after months of deadlock over renewed American support to help Ukraine fend off Russia’s invasion.

Representatives could be seen waving small Ukrainian flags as it became clear the package was going to pass.

Representatives wave Ukrainian flags
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Representatives wave Ukrainian flags

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy tweeted to say he was “grateful” for the decision, which he said “keeps history on the right track”.

He said: “Democracy and freedom will always have global significance and will never fail as long as America helps to protect it.

“The vital US aid bill passed today by the House will keep the war from expanding, save thousands and thousands of lives, and help both of our nations to become stronger.”

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‘Grateful’ Zelenskyy reacts to US aid

Representatives also approved bills to send foreign aid to Israel and provide humanitarian relief to Palestinians in Gaza, give security assistance to Taiwan and allies in the Indo-Pacific, and a measure containing several foreign policy proposals including a threat to ban Chinese-owned social media app TikTok.

The package will now go to the US Senate, where it is likely to be passed on Tuesday. President Joe Biden has then promised to sign it immediately.

“I urge the Senate to quickly send this package to my desk so that I can sign it into law and we can quickly send weapons and equipment to Ukraine to meet their urgent battlefield needs,” Mr Biden said.

What aid package means for Ukraine after profound impact of delay

The impact of this American blockage has been profound.

I have had multiple conversations with diplomats and military officials in Washington DC and all have said the same thing: the situation for Ukraine is depressing, Russia has the upper hand and prospects for Kyiv, without more weapons, are bleak.

The Ukrainians have been running low on all weapons types, even small arms – bullets for their soldiers’ rifles.

Before the House of Representatives approved the $60.8bn aid package on Saturday, it had been more than 480 days since Congress last passed a bill allowing for American weapons to be sent to Ukraine.

There was a White House budgetary fudge earlier this year which freed up some more cash from an existing bill and allowed for some more weapons to be sent. But it wasn’t enough.

Read more of Mark Stone’s analysis here.

Bill will ‘further ruin’ Ukraine, Russia warns

Moscow said the passage of the bill would “further ruin” Ukraine and result in more deaths.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the TASS news agency a provision allowing Washington to confiscate seized Russian assets and transfer them to Ukraine for reconstruction would tarnish the image of the US.

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Major Russian strike on Ukraine kills eight

‘Ukraine can and will win’

UK Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron said the funding was “a vital step forward”.

“If Putin ever doubted the West’s resolve to back Ukraine, this shows our collective will is undimmed,” he tweeted.

“With support, Ukraine can and will win.”

But Donald Trump ally Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican representative who has opposed helping Ukraine in its war against Russia, said “people have been too obsessed with voting for foreign wars and the war industry”.

Speaking after the vote passed, she said: “This is the sellout of America today. When we had members of Congress in there waving the Ukrainian flag on the United States House of Representatives floor, while we’re doing nothing to secure our border, I think every American is going to be furious.”

Mr Biden first requested the funding in October, as Ukraine’s military supplies began to dwindle.

In February, Mr Zelenskyy urged Congress to pass the funding, saying if it did not “it will leave me wondering what world we are living in”.

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TikTok could be banned in US after House of Representatives passes bill

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TikTok could be banned in US after House of Representatives passes bill

TikTok could be banned in the US if the social media app’s Chinese owner doesn’t sell its stake after the House of Representatives voted in support of the measure.

The TikTok legislation has been included in a US foreign policy package, which has already seen representatives approve sending $60.8bn (£49bn) in foreign aid to Ukraine, security assistance for Taiwan and allies in the Indo-Pacific, and will likely see the approval of foreign aid funding for Ukraine and Israel.

Once approved, the package will then go to the US Senate, where it is likely to be passed on Tuesday. President Joe Biden has said he would sign the TikTok legislation once it reaches his desk.

If the bill becomes law, the owner of the popular video-sharing app will have nine months to find a buyer, with a possible three-month extension while a sale is in progress, or face a ban.

A previous bill passed by the House last month would have given owner ByteDance only six months to sell.

The company will likely try to challenge the law in court, arguing it would deprive the app’s millions of users of their First Amendment rights, which protect freedom of speech.

Such court challenges could significantly delay the timeline set out by Congress or block the law from coming into effect.

TikTok’s chief executive has appealed to US users directly to campaign to stop the bill.

“We will not stop fighting and advocating for you,” Shou Zi Chew said in a video posted on the platform last month that was directed at the app’s users.

“We will continue to do all we can, including exercising our legal rights, to protect this amazing platform that we have built with you.”

The FBI has warned TikTok owner ByteDance could share user data, such as browsing history, location and biometric identifiers, with China’s authoritarian government.

TikTok has said it has never done that and would not do so if asked.

Read more on Sky News:
Home Office to pay TikTok influencers urging migrants not to cross Channel
How ‘TikTok idiots’ are disrupting police investigations

In 2022, Mr Biden banned the use of TikTok by the federal government’s nearly four million employees on devices owned by its agencies, with limited exceptions for law enforcement, national security and security research purposes.

The approved bill including the TikTok legislation would also allow the US to seize frozen Russian central bank assets to help rebuild Ukraine and impose sanctions on Iran, Russia and China, as well as criminal organisations that traffic the drug fentanyl.

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Crucial $60.8bn Ukraine aid package approved by US House of Representatives after months of deadlock

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Iran grounds flights across country after reports of explosions

The US House of Representatives has approved sending $60.8bn (£49bn) in foreign aid to Ukraine.

Democrats and Republicans joined together after months of deadlock over renewed American support to help Ukraine fend off Russia’s invasion.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy tweeted to say he was “grateful” for the decision, which he said “keeps history on the right track”.

He said: “Democracy and freedom will always have global significance and will never fail as long as America helps to protect it.

“The vital US aid bill passed today by the House will keep the war from expanding, save thousands and thousands of lives, and help both of our nations to become stronger.”

US President Joe Biden first requested the funding in October, as Ukraine’s military supplies began to dwindle.

In February, Mr Zelenskyy urged Congress to pass the funding, saying if it did not “it will leave me wondering what world we are living in”.

Representatives also approved a bill providing security assistance to Taiwan and other allies in the Indo-Pacfic, as well as a bill containing several foreign policy proposals including a threat to ban Chinese-owned social media app TikTok.

It will vote on one further bill to send money to Israel.

Once approved, the package will go to the US Senate, where it is likely to be passed on Tuesday. Mr Biden has then promised to sign it immediately.

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