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Can witches fly? A historian unpacks the medieval invention − and skepticism − of the witch on a broomstick

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The image of a witch flying on a broomstick is iconic, but it is not nearly as old as the idea of witchcraft itself, which dates to the earliest days of humankind.

Several theologians, church inquisitors, secular magistrates and other authorities first wrote about such flight in the early 1400s. The earliest known visual depiction of ...Read more

Scorsese’s gods of the streets: From ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ to ‘Silence,’ faith is rarely far off in his films

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A widely circulated still from the set of Martin Scorsese’s latest film, “Killers of the Flower Moon,” shows the director sitting in a church pew. Next to him is Lily Gladstone, who plays the role of Mollie Kyle, an Osage woman whose family is targeted as part of a broader conspiracy by white Americans to steal the tribe’s wealth, to ...Read more

Despite UN warnings, Iran’s execution of Kurds and political dissidents continues unchecked

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Since the 2022 death of Jîna Mahsa Amini, a young Kurdish woman held in police custody for wearing her hijab inappropriately, Iranian demonstrators have protested against the repressive regime and the surge of executions of ethnic and religious political dissidents.

In the first 11 months of 2023, Iran had executed 746 people, ...Read more

Publishing Taylor Swift’s flight information: Is it stalking or protected free speech?

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Jack Sweeney, a junior at the University of Central Florida, says the First Amendment gives him the right to publish publicly available information about the flight paths of private jets owned by the rich and famous – including Taylor Swift.

Swift’s legal team – and many of her fans – say that Sweeney posting the comings and ...Read more

Michigan Gov. Whitmer proposes a caregiver tax credit − an idea many Americans support

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People caring for elderly or disabled relatives need a break – and, in Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has a proposal to give them one.

Whitmer’s recently proposed $5,000 tax credit, the Caring for MI Family Tax Credit, is part of a growing trend of public subsidies for families shouldering the responsibilities of caring for ...Read more

Kena Betancur/AFP/GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/TNS

Forget California exodus. New Jersey residents lead an influx back into the Golden State

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LOS ANGELES — After a half decade of Californians moving to places like Texas and Florida, an unlikely state has been supplying California with new residents.

New Jersey, a similarly expensive and densely populated state, saw more residents move to California than the other way around in 2022 — a rarity amid the state's population exodus. ...Read more

STATELINE/TNS

States consider menthol cigarette bans as feds delay action

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CLERMONT, Fla. — It was just after sunset, and the evening traffic was buzzing on Highway 50 as 24-year-old Elijah Kinlaw popped into his local Walgreens in Clermont, Florida, to pick up some smokes. He had just finished a long day working at a local roofing company, and he was still wearing his neon green work T-shirt and a red beanie.

After...Read more

Dreamstime/Dreamstime/TNS

California lawsuit spotlights broad legal attack on anti-bias training in health care

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Los Angeles anesthesiologist Marilyn Singleton was outraged about a California requirement that every continuing medical education course include training in implicit bias — the ways in which physicians’ unconscious attitudes might contribute to racial and ethnic disparities in health care.

Singleton, who is Black and has practiced for 50 ...Read more

Scott Olson/Getty Images North America/TNS

Infernos rage from Texas to Australia as fire season kicks off early

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After a year of deadly wildfires around the globe, the world is burning again from Texas to Australia — and in some regions, the blazes are igniting early.

Canada’s Alberta province said last month that wildfire season had already begun, well before the typical March start. On the other side of the planet, South Australia instituted outdoor...Read more

Leon Neal/Getty Images North America/TNS

Rishi Sunak's Rwanda bill suffers first defeats in UK House of Lords

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LONDON — The House of Lords inflicted the first defeats on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s government as it tries to pass controversial legislation designed to enable the deportation of asylum seekers to Rwanda.

The government’s bill seeks to designate Rwanda a “safe” destination for deportees, despite a Supreme Court ruling last year ...Read more

Mara H. Gottfried/Pioneer Press/TNS

Second 911 call from Burnsville home: Child reported 'there was a big shootout here'

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ST. PAUL, Minnesota — A second 911 call from a Burnsville house came from a child who reported, “There was a big shootout here and my dad’s down,” according a newly released transcript.

Shannon Gooden, 38, barricaded himself in the home with seven children. He fatally shot Burnsville officers Paul Elmstrand and Matthew Ruge and ...Read more

Georgia Department of Natural Resources/NOAA MMHSRP permit 24359/TNS/TNS

Endangered right whale calf found dead on Georgia's Cumberland Island

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An endangered North Atlantic right whale calf that was recently spotted with severe wounds from a vessel strike has been found dead on Georgia’s Cumberland Island, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Monday.

The calf was first seen with significant head injuries in early January off the coast of South Carolina while ...Read more

Kevin Frayer/Getty Images North America/TNS

China defense spending to climb 7.2% as Xi pursues buildup

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China’s defense spending will grow by 7.2% this year, the most in five years, an increase that comes amid signs corruption is undermining a military revamp.

Military expenditure by the central government is expected to rise to 1.67 trillion yuan ($231 billion) in 2024, according to an annual Finance Ministry report seen by Bloomberg News on ...Read more

Mara Gottfried/Pioneer Press/TNS

Minnesota House passes bill aimed at clarifying police force use in schools

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ST. PAUL, Minn. — After weeks of committee hearings and compromises, the Minnesota House on Monday passed a bill aimed at clarifying the kinds of force police officers can use on students in schools.

Lawmakers have been working since the beginning of the legislative session on Feb. 12 to address law enforcement concerns about a 2023 state law...Read more

Handout/New York Daily News/TNS

Arizona court won't send alleged SoHo hotel killer to NYC until local trial ends

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NEW YORK — The suspect in a recent grisly SoHo murder will not be extradited to New York until he’s been tried and sentenced for other alleged crimes in Arizona — a lengthy process that could take over a year — a local court official ruled Monday.

That means a Queens mom and sex worker will be the last of Raad Almansoori’s alleged ...Read more

LUCKENSON JEAN/AFPTV/AFP/Getty Images North America/TNS

Biden rejects US troop deployment to Haiti as crisis spirals

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The Biden administration will not send U.S. troops to Haiti to help its national police respond to a rapidly evolving security crisis, as a united front of gang leaders has led attacks on the country’s main seaport, airports and prisons, a White House official told McClatchy.

Their decision comes after a frantic 72 hours of communication ...Read more

Jay Beiler/Dreamstime/TNS

Washington Senate passes three initiatives covering taxes, schools and police chases

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OLYMPIA, Washington — The Washington state Senate on Monday passed three of six initiatives to the Legislature, which would bar an income tax, put a "parents' bill of rights" into law and lift some restrictions on when police can chase suspects.

If the House also passes these three initiatives, they will become law, taking effect three months...Read more

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images North America/TNS

Americans sour on both Israel and Palestinian Authority in poll

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WASHINGTON — Americans across the political spectrum have less favorable opinions of both Israel and the Palestinian Authority after the onset of the Israeli-Hamas war last year, a Gallup survey found.

Overall, 58% of Americans have a positive view of Israel, down 10 percentage points since last year and the lowest favorable rating in more ...Read more

Jessica Griffin/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS

Shooting in Philly leaves 1 teen dead and 4 people wounded, including 2 bus passengers struck by stray bullets

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PHILADELPHIA — A teenager was killed and two others were injured in a street shooting that also left two passengers on a SEPTA bus wounded by stray gunfire Monday afternoon in the city’s Ogontz section, police said.

The shooting occurred around 3:45 p.m. at a bus stop at the intersection of Godfrey and Ogontz Avenues, Police Commissioner ...Read more

Amy Davis/The Baltimore Sun/TNS

Maryland Senate passes juvenile justice bill to the House chamber

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BALTIMORE — The Maryland Senate gave final approval Monday to its version of the bill intended to bring more stringent accountability measures to the state’s juvenile justice system.

The legislation passed out of the Senate chamber on a vote of 43-2. Sens. Jill P. Carter of Baltimore City and Charles Sydnor of Baltimore County — both of ...Read more