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Sergei Babenko/Dreamstime/TNS

Crypto, NFTs Are Rife With 'Mountains' of Fraud, IRS Says

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IRS criminal investigators see cryptocurrencies and nonfungible tokens as ripe for fraud, including money laundering, market manipulation and tax evasion — and even celebrities could get caught up in the agency’s probes.

Digital assets have been a growing concern for government agencies as they’ve become more mainstream, with regulators ...Read more

Brian Peterson/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS

Biden administration cancels leases for controversial copper-nickel mine near Boundary Waters

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MINNEAPOLIS — The Biden administration on Wednesday canceled two minerals leases for the proposed Twin Metals copper-nickel mine in northern Minnesota, likely killing a project widely condemned for being too close to the pristine Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

The huge underground mine would have tapped major reserves of copper and ...Read more

Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times/TNS

Optimism as omicron peaks in California, but new BA.2 subtype raises questions

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LOS ANGELES — There is growing optimism that the overall omicron surge has peaked in California, but progress across the state remains uneven.

The improvement is most pronounced in places like Los Angeles County and the San Francisco Bay Area, where health officials have voiced increased confidence in recent days that the coronavirus test ...Read more

Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images North America/TNS

Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer to retire, giving Biden his first appointment

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WASHINGTON — Justice Stephen G. Breyer, the Supreme Court’s 82-year-old liberal pragmatist, plans to retire this year, clearing the way for President Joe Biden to make his first appointment to the high court, two sources told The Associated Press Wednesday.

Breyer, a 1994 appointee of President Bill Clinton, is the senior member of the ...Read more

-/AFP/Getty Images North America/TNS

A foiled prison break brings a sense of deja vu -- and fears of an Islamic State resurgence

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BEIRUT — The two trucks raced toward the prison and then split up. One hurtled into the gates, the other the security wall, before both erupted in fireballs of metal and masonry. With the perimeter breached, other suicide attackers swarmed inside, toting weapons for themselves and the fellow jihadists they aimed to release. They remained ...Read more

Star Tribune/Hennepin County Sheriff's Office/TNS

Day 3 of testimony underway as paramedic describes how George Floyd was likely dead at scene

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MINNEAPOLIS — The paramedic who first rendered aid to an unresponsive George Floyd testified Wednesday that Floyd was likely already dead in the officers' restraint when he arrived.

Derek Smith, a paramedic for Hennepin Healthcare, recounted the events in the civil rights trial of three former Minneapolis police officers who were on scene ...Read more

ALEX BRANDON/AFP/Getty Images North America/TNS

US to answer Russia demands on Ukraine on Wednesday. Moscow signals it will reject response

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WASHINGTON — The Biden administration on Wednesday was set to provide Russia a written response that rejects most of its demands over Ukraine, as the Kremlin signaled that such a rebuff is certain to escalate the crisis.

With global tensions raging over a possible Russian invasion of the pro-West former Soviet republic, the Biden ...Read more

New York Police Department/TNS/TNS

Funeral for slain NYPD Officer Wilbert Mora will be at St. Patrick's Cathedral days after partner's service

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NEW YORK — The second New York Police Department officer to die from a Harlem apartment shootout will be laid to rest at St. Patrick’s Cathedral a few days after his partner’s funeral.

A wake for Officer Wilbert Mora will be held at the iconic Midtown church on Tuesday beginning at 1 p.m. with his funeral set for 10 a.m. the next day, ...Read more

Dreamstime/Dreamstime/TNS

Lawsuit: CEO wore 'Bikini lives matter' mask, discriminated against women

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The workplace at Leawood, Kansas, architecture firm Hoefer Welker was so sexist and hostile toward women that the CEO frequently referred to female subordinates as "sexy bitches," according to a federal lawsuit.

Margaret Fitzgerald, the former director of marketing strategies, describes the workplace culture and company ...Read more

Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/Orlando Sentinel/TNS

Joel Greenberg friend and former employee to plead guilty in federal court

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ORLANDO, Fla. — Joe Ellicott — a close friend of disgraced Seminole County Tax Collector Joel Greenberg and a former radio talk show host — agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and distribution of a controlled substance, according to court documents filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Each charge carries a maximum ...Read more

Dreamstime/Dreamstime/TNS

Kansas police believe dog attacks, including beheading, are related; reward money at $40K

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Police believe the recent attacks on three dogs in a southeast Kansas town are related.

The last time a crime in Parsons, Kansas, got this much media attention was the 2013 quadruple homicide of a mother and her three children, Sgt. Jason Ludwig, a spokesman for the police department in Labette County, told The Star on Tuesday.

The southeast ...Read more

Missouri AG has sued 45 school districts with mask rules. What about charter schools?

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt filed nine additional lawsuits against school districts with mask mandates this week, bringing the total number of systems targeted to 45.

Schmitt, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, has cast school mask mandates as government intrusion on private family decisions.

But left ...Read more

In a search for 40 missing migrants on boat, Coast Guard finds one dead and one survivor

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MIAMI — The Coast Guard found the body of one person Wednesday morning believed to be among a group of 40 migrants whose vessel overturned between the Bahamas and Florida over the weekend.

A Coast Guard airplane crew spotted the person floating in the water, and a cutter crew retrieved the body, Capt. Jo-Ann Burdian, sector commander for ...Read more

David McNew/Getty Images North America/TNS

Activision's next few 'Call of Duty' games will be on PlayStation

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Activision Blizzard Inc. will release at least the next three games in its hit video game franchise "Call of Duty" on Sony Group Corp.’s PlayStation, even after the publisher was bought by rival Microsoft Corp.

Before news of the $69 billion acquisition broke last week, Activision had already committed to make the next few "Call of Duty" ...Read more

Drew Angerer/Getty Images North America/TNS

One America News faces streaming pressure as DirecTV deal ends

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DirecTV’s decision to drop One America News Network puts pressure on the conservative cable outlet to replace that lost revenue, possibly by building out its online presence.

That will be a steep hill to climb. The number of people installing OAN’s app has plummeted in the past year after surging around the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. ...Read more

Rachel Murray/Getty Images North America/TNS

No ifs, ands or butts: California bill would ban single-use smoking products like cigarette filters

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California could see fewer cigarette butts and vape pods on the streets under a measure introduced Tuesday.

Assembly Bill 1690 would ban single-use cigarette filters, e-cigarettes and vape products in the state with the aim of benefiting the environment and public health.

"For more than half a century, tobacco filters have caused a public and ...Read more

Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Times/TNS

COVID conflicts smolder in states

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Omicron has proven the most transmissible of any COVID-19 variant so far, straining hospital systems in every corner of the country. But it hasn’t changed the dynamics surrounding the politics of the pandemic in the states.

As the crisis grinds toward its third lethal year, states have shown little letup in their approaches to the emergency. ...Read more

Johnson refuses to quit as he awaits lockdown parties probe

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Boris Johnson batted away calls from opposition Labour Party Leader Keir Starmer to resign over allegations of rule-breaking parties at Downing Street during lockdown.

Johnson told the House of Commons he couldn’t comment on the matter while it’s still under investigation, and reiterated a promise to publish senior civil servant Sue Gray’...Read more

Senators push Biden to fight to preserve the child tax credit

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WASHINGTON — Five Democratic senators urged President Biden on Wednesday to continue to fight hard to extend the child tax credit, which he suggested last week might have to be dropped from a revamped version of his sweeping climate and domestic spending package.

The credit, which delivered monthly payments of $250 or $300 per child to more ...Read more

Journalists throughout Mexico say enough to killings and crimes against press

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MEXICO CITY — Journalists across Mexico took to the streets Tuesday to condemn the killings of colleagues and demand that authorities to do more to protect news gatherers in one of the world’s most dangerous countries for the press.

Protesters in more than three dozen Mexican cities hoisted images of slain journalists and chanted, “You ...Read more