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Mayor Brandon Johnson's mental health plan in Chicago starts small but carries big political implications

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At roughly 0.1% of the city’s recently passed $16.77 billion budget, the initial cost of Mayor Brandon Johnson’s effort to begin reopening Chicago’s city-run mental health clinics is minuscule.

But the political ramifications are potentially huge.

Johnson rode into office on a progressive wave powered by unions and activists who have ...Read more

New York officer failed to check cells where Nepali man died of overdose, says city report

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A correction officer responsible for checking cells on Rikers Island failed to properly tour the jail unit where a Nepali man died of a suspected drug overdose, the city Board of Correction says in a preliminary report obtained by the Daily News.

The officer didn’t do required rounds and check inside each cell with a flashlight over three ...Read more

'Our heart is captive in Gaza': Families of Israeli hostages plead for return of loved ones

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At 6:30 a.m. on Oct. 7, the piercing sound of sirens woke up Naama Weinberg in her Tel Aviv apartment. As she always did when sirens warned of an incoming missile attack, she immediately checked her family's WhatsApp group chat for messages from relatives living in a kibbutz near the Gaza border.

"Please pray for us," her aunt wrote, describing...Read more

Thousands of Cal State faculty to walk out in rolling strike, demanding higher pay

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Thousands of California State University faculty are expected to walk out beginning Monday during the crucial end-of-term time, demanding higher pay and marking a high-profile escalation in contract negotiations between their union and the nation's largest four-year public higher education system.

Faculty — including professors, lecturers, ...Read more

Israel's wider war has US cautioning of 'strategic defeat'

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Israel is expanding military operations into southern Gaza, putting at risk hundreds of thousands of Palestinians escaping the north as U.S. officials grow increasingly uneasy about the war’s toll on civilians.

Southern Gaza was hit by airstrikes overnight, when the Israeli military struck around 200 targets, including weapons depots used by...Read more

Stanford study wades into reading wars with high marks for phonics-based teaching

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Test scores at 66 of the state's lowest-performing schools strongly outpaced similar schools after educators adopted phonics-based instruction, offering some of the most compelling evidence to date that so-called science of reading methods are effective, a Stanford study concluded.

In science-of-reading practices, students are taught to use ...Read more

Biden's border asylum app has migrants waiting months in danger

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Domiciano Estrada Cruz fled gang violence at his home in southern Mexico to seek asylum at the U.S. border crossing in Tijuana. He was prepared with a raft of papers documenting his family’s case. But Mexican officials explained that they would need to seek protection the digital way — using an app.

He downloaded CBP One, the asylum ...Read more

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'Limbless' creature found digging beneath rotten tree in Vietnam. It's a new species

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In Vietnam’s “driest and hottest” region, a “limbless” forest creature took refuge under a rotten log, scrounging around for termites to eat. Suddenly, something lifted the nearly-blind animal into the air. It tried to defend itself, but to no avail.

Scientists successfully captured the “elusive” animal — and discovered a new ...Read more

JOHN SPINK/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS

In face of threats, election workers vow: 'You are not disrupting the democratic process'

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Hundreds of election workers in Washington state’s second-largest county were busy opening mail-in ballots earlier this month when one of them came across a plain white envelope. As she cut it open, white powder leaked out.

She carefully took off her gloves, put them down, backed away and called her supervisor. Workers evacuated the building ...Read more

ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images North America/TNS

Korea's army of senior citizens ready for battle. 'I don't remember the rifles being so heavy'

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SEOUL, South Korea — Dressed in borrowed camouflage fatigues, they fumbled with their ammunition belts and K2 assault rifles. Some had white hair and a slow, shuffling gait; their average age was 63, the oldest 75.

It was the most unconventional batch of trainees that the 52nd Infantry Division's Seocho Reserve Forces Training Center had ever...Read more

Trent Sprague/Chicago Tribune/TNS

Chicago seeing a drop in homicides as 2023 nears end, but not in every neighborhood

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Chicago is poised to see a double-digit percentage drop in homicides in 2023, welcome news for a freshman mayor and a police superintendent who took the reins of the department just a couple of months ago.

But the small measure of success may not be exactly as it seems, a Tribune analysis of police data has found. While citywide figures show ...Read more


Tea time: Boston prepares for 250th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party

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BOSTON — Tea bags are coming in from all over the U.S. for a semiquincentennial bash in Boston.

Dec. 16 marks the Boston Tea Party’s 250th Anniversary, with reenactments, retrospectives, and, of course, the dumping of British tea into the Boston Harbor.

Spearheading these efforts is Revolution 250, a consortium of more than 70 ...Read more

Katheryn Houghton/KFF Health News/TNS

Medicaid 'unwinding' makes other public assistance harder to get

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MISSOULA, Mont. — An hour before sunrise, Shelly Brost walked a mile in freezing rain to the public assistance office. She was running out of time to prove she still qualified for food aid after being stymied by a backlogged state call center.

Twice, she’d tried to use Montana’s public assistance help line to complete an interview ...Read more


High fees, long waits cast shadow over new criminal expungement laws

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More states are making it easier for residents to clear or seal their criminal records.

The effort has drawn bipartisan support, as lawmakers across the political spectrum say it will help people find jobs and housing, in turn boosting local economies and reducing reliance on social services.

“Folks that get out of jail or prison with ...Read more

KENT NISHIMURA/AFP/Getty Images North America/TNS

Biden hosts artists from opera to disco at Kennedy Center honors

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President Joe Biden spotlighted the arts as shaping “the very soul of the nation” as he celebrated the latest group of Kennedy Center honorees at the White House on Sunday.

Comedian Billy Crystal, rapper Queen Latifah, and singer Dionne Warwick were among the group honored for their contributions. Soprano Renee Fleming and Bee Gees frontman...Read more

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Tab lovers hope to convince Coca-Cola to revive the once popular diet soda

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Coca-Cola discontinued its once groundbreaking Tab diet soda three years ago and a hardy group of fans are actively trying to get the company to bring it back to retail shelves.

Last month, on a sunny fall Friday, a dozen of them from all over the country gathered at the World of Coca-Cola Museum and handed over a petition with 6,500 names and ...Read more

Jose A. Iglesias/El Nuevo Herald/Jose A. Iglesias

Is door opening for women in the Catholic Church? Miami woman leading the call has new hope

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For more than a decade, Ellie Hidalgo has been campaigning to expand the role of women in the Catholic Church.

The Miami woman is co-director of a nonprofit, Discerning Deacons, which invites other Catholics to consider ordaining women as deacons — a clergy role that has already been opened to married men. That would allow women for the first...Read more

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China says US Navy ship 'seriously violated' its sovereignty

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China criticized the U.S. after an American warship sailed in disputed waters in the South China Sea, underscoring lingering military tensions between the nations.

The appearance of the U.S.S. Gabrielle Giffords near the Second Thomas Shoal on Monday “seriously violated China’s sovereignty and security,” according to a statement from the ...Read more


Milei plans labor, tax reform in 'shock' package, La Nacion says

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President-elect Javier Milei aims to present reforms to Argentina’s tax and labor laws, political processes and potential privatizations in an economic “shock” package immediately after taking office on Dec. 10, La Nacion newspaper reported Sunday.

Milei, a radical libertarian who swept to victory on a promise to shake up Argentina’s ...Read more

Alejandro Tamayo/The San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS

Long waits for rooms leaving patients in ER hallways for hours. Could new state law worsen problem?

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Bill Dixon, 80, lay on a bed between two white fabric dividers in the hallway of the emergency department at Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas Friday, one of 14 patients waiting for an emergency bed to open up.

He had been there for two hours, having come in from his Solana Beach home with chest pain and dizziness, comfortable with the ...Read more