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Robert Cohen/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/TNS

Ferguson to pay $4.5 million to settle 'debtors prison' lawsuit, filed after protests, unrest

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ST. LOUIS — The city of Ferguson is set to pay $4.5 million to settle a class-action lawsuit accusing the north St. Louis County municipality of running modern-day debtors’ prisons, legal nonprofit ArchCity Defenders announced Tuesday.

A federal judge this week granted initial approval of the settlement between Ferguson and the more than 15...Read more

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images North America/TNS

Pro-Palestinian protesters shut down event organized by Jewish student groups at UC Berkeley

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University of California, Berkeley police evacuated an event organized by Jewish student groups after pro-Palestinian demonstrators broke open a door to the building and shattered a window.

At one point, about 200 protesters gathered outside the event site, Zellerbach Playhouse, holding up signs that read, "Stop the genocide," and at times ...Read more

Saul Loeb/Getty Images North America/TNS

Top Pennsylvania official pushes back against accusations by lawmakers on election operations

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HARRISBURG, Pa. — Pennsylvania’s top elections official on Tuesday fielded more than two hours of questions — and some accusations — from state lawmakers as his agency prepares for the state’s April 23 presidential primary.

Secretary of State Al Schmidt, representing the Democratic administration of Gov. Josh Shapiro, pushed back on ...Read more

Laura S. Diaz/Fresno Bee/TNS

Undocumented immigrants in California could have a new path to homeownership

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Undocumented immigrants could have a new pathway to the American dream of owning a home.

Assemblymember Joaquin Arambula (D-Fresno) introduced Assembly Bill 1840 last month to expand the eligibility requirement for a state loan program to clarify that loans for first-time buyers are available to undocumented immigrants.

The California Dream ...Read more

Rokas Tenys/Dreamstime/TNS

AI chatbots not ready for election prime time, study shows

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In a year when more than 50 countries are holding national elections, a new study shows the risks posed by the rise of artificial intelligence chatbots in disseminating false, misleading or harmful information to voters.

The AI Democracy Projects, which brought together more than 40 experts, including U.S. state and local election officials, ...Read more

AFP/Getty Images North America/TNS

One in four Gazans are now 'one step away' from famine, UN says

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The United Nations warned that one in four people in the Gaza Strip are “one step away” from experiencing famine, a situation it says will further worsen as humanitarian agencies report trouble delivering aid into the war-torn area.

Some 575,000 people in Gaza are now on the verge of starvation, and essentially all of the local population ...Read more

Idaho Department of Correction/TNS

Final appeals pending, Thomas Creech set for Idaho's first execution in almost 12 years

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BOISE, Idaho — The debate over the death penalty has come to Idaho for the first time in almost a dozen years.

Anti-capital punishment groups have descended across the state to protest ahead of Idaho’s first execution since 2012. Death row prisoner Thomas Creech, convicted of killing five people, is scheduled for a lethal injection ...Read more

U.S. Border Patrol/U.S. Border Patrol/TNS

California seized enough fentanyl last year to kill everyone in the world 'nearly twice over'

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LOS ANGELES — Roughly 62,000 pounds of fentanyl smuggled into California were confiscated by authorities in 2023. The total amount of the potent synthetic opioid seized last year “is enough to potentially kill the global population nearly twice over,” Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office announced Tuesday.

In 2023, the California National Guard ...Read more

Jeff Kowalsky/AFP/Getty Images North America/TNS

'We can't stay silent': In Dearborn, 'betrayal' sparks backlash against Biden in primary

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DEARBORN, Mich. — Yahya Elgahmi usually votes in presidential primaries, but Tuesday's largely uncontested Democratic primary in Michigan bore more importance for him than others.

He saw it as a way to condemn genocide.

The 50-year-old Dearborn resident cast an uncommitted vote at Salina Intermediate School and hopes it sends a clear message...Read more

Sergey Fadeichev/Sputnik/AFP/Getty Images North America/TNS

Russian security chief meets with Castro, vows 'comprehensive support' to allies in Latin America

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Russia’s top security official and Vladimir Putin ally Nikolai Patrushev promised “comprehensive support” to Russian allies in Latin America against U.S. “interference” during a meeting with officials from Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua, hosted in Managua on Tuesday.

“You are well aware of the aggressive methods of the ...Read more

Arvin Temkar/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS

Georgia House panel advances bill aimed at 'sanctuary cities'

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Georgia law already restricts cities and counties from adopting a “sanctuary policy,” where local officials give safe harbor to people who are living in the country without legal permission.

However, House Bill 1105, sponsored by Republican state Rep. Jesse Petrea, would build upon that restriction by imposing penalties on sheriffs and ...Read more

JIM WATSON/Getty Images North America/TNS

Alaska GOP lawmaker proposes bill that would define life as beginning at conception

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JUNEAU, Alaska — A Republican state lawmaker has proposed a bill that could limit abortion access in Alaska by defining human life as beginning at conception.

Rep. Kevin McCabe of Big Lake is sponsoring a bill that would include new definitions of “person” and “life” under Alaska’s criminal statutes. The bill, which is unlikely to ...Read more

News briefs

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Immigration rises to top of voters' minds ahead of Super Tuesday, polls find

Many Americans view illegal immigration as a "very serious" problem, and a majority support building a border wall, new polling has found a week before the Super Tuesday primaries.

Republican candidates who want to frame the Biden administration as weak on immigration...Read more

Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune/TNS

Jurors view harrowing body-camera footage in trial of man accused of killing Chicago police Officer Ella French

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CHICAGO — The traffic stop started like most others: Lights and sirens were activated, the police cruiser slowed to a stop and Officer Ella French and her partners walked to the vehicle.

Jurors on Tuesday watched footage from police body cameras that showed a relatively normal traffic stop devolve into stunning violence. They saw and heard ...Read more

Gun shop owner: Shooter in Minnesota killings possessed firearm illegally through 'straw purchase'

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MINNEAPOLIS — One of the guns seized by law enforcement in the home where Shannon Gooden shot and killed two Burnsville police officers and a firefighter/paramedic was bought illegally in what is called a "straw purchase," according to the owner of the gun shop where the weapon was obtained weeks before the shooting.

John McConkey told the ...Read more

Jason Getz/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS

Georgia House passes bill to grant tax credits for gun safety measures

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ATLANTA — The Georgia House on Tuesday passed the third bill this session that could save gun owners money.

State representatives voted 162-3 to approve House Bill 971, which would grant tax credits of up to $300 to Georgia residents who purchase gun safes or gun safety accessories, or who take a firearm safety course.

Earlier this year, ...Read more

Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun/TNS

Catholic group asks Maryland attorney general to end investigation of Catholic Church abuse

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A Catholic advocacy group called on Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown to halt investigations into child sex abuse in the Archdiocese of Washington and the Diocese of Wilmington, Delaware, in a letter Tuesday.

Bill Donahue, president of the national Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, wrote that it was “exasperating” that ...Read more

Luiz C. Ribeiro/New York Daily News/TNS

NYC Comptroller's report slams Mayor Adams on migrant contract spending

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NEW YORK — The cost of comparable migrant services provided by contractors hired by Mayor Eric Adams’ administration “varied widely” and came in “significantly higher” than what the city typically pays, leading to mismanaged taxpayer dollars, a report released Tuesday by city Comptroller Brad Lander revealed.

The audit, which ...Read more

David Guralnick/The Detroit News/TNS

Judge finds Kristina Karamo was removed as Michigan GOP chairwoman

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A Kent County Circuit Court judge ruled Tuesday that Kristina Karamo had been removed as the Michigan Republican Party's chairwoman on Jan. 6 and barred her from continuing to assert that she holds the position.

Judge J. Joseph Rossi said there were sufficient votes to unseat Karamo in a special meeting of the party's ...Read more

David Guralnick/The Detroit News/TNS

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel will not defend state's 24-hour abortion waiting period against litigation

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LANSING, Mich. — Attorney General Dana Nessel and two key state agencies will not fight efforts by a group of abortion providers to overturn the state's 24-hour abortion waiting period, telling a court Tuesday that it's likely the clinics will succeed in their efforts to eliminate the laws.

Nessel, a Democrat tasked with defending Michigan ...Read more