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City elections official faces murder charge after police say she fatally shot her neighbor

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HARTFORD, Conn. — A Norwalk city official faces a murder charge after she fatally shot her neighbor Thursday, police said.

Ellen Wink, 61, was arrested at the scene and remained in custody early Friday on $1 million bail, they said. She was expected to be arraigned in Superior Court in Stamford later in the day.

Police identified the victim...Read more

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NY state data show COVID-19 rate drops below 10% for 2nd day in a row

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NEW YORK — COVID-19 infection rates for tested New York state residents dipped below 10% for a second day in a row — a trend hailed by Gov. Kathy Hochul on Saturday as “extraordinary progress.”

Of nearly 300,000 COVID-19 test results reported, 9.23% were positive, the state data showed. The data showed the downward trend was evident ...Read more

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LA public schools to require students to wear noncloth face masks

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LOS ANGELES — Students in Los Angeles Unified School District will now be prohibited from wearing cloth masks, according to an announcement distributed Saturday by the district.

Starting Monday, students must wear “well-fitted, non-cloth masks with a nose wire” at all times, including outdoors. District officials said surgical masks or ...Read more

Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Times/TNS

COVID-19 still spreading widely in LA County, though signs of decline continue

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LOS ANGELES — Health officials on Saturday reported more encouraging signs that the omicron wave may be past its peak in Los Angeles County, though the coronavirus is still circulating widely and a large number of people are becoming seriously ill with COVID-19.

The county saw 39,117 new infections Saturday, pushing the total for the week ...Read more

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Washington state's at-home COVID-19 tests out of stock shortly after website launch

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SEATTLE — Less than a day after the Washington State Department of Health launched a website where residents could order free, rapid coronavirus tests to be sent to their homes, those tests were out of stock.

The state said its inventory of testing kits ran out around 6 p.m. Friday.

“We expect more tests will be available soon. Please ...Read more

Bernhard Richter/Dreamstime/TNS

Gunman in NY officer's killing had argument with mother over diet before police were called, sources say

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NEW YORK — A young NYPD officer was fighting for his life Saturday after he was shot and his partner killed in a Harlem apartment ambush set off by a bizarre family feud between a mother and her gun-toting, ex-con son over his vegan diet, police sources said.

Officer Wilbert Mora, 27, survived the bullets fired by the gunman who stepped over ...Read more

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UK says Russia plotting to put pro-Kremlin leader in Kyiv

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LONDON — The U.K. says it has information that Moscow is plotting to install a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv, as fears of an invasion of Ukraine persist.

The assertions, offered without a timeline on the intelligence, were contained in U.K. Foreign Office statement on Saturday as tensions over Russian activity around Ukraine continue to build. ...Read more

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In Biden's start, Democrats see a troubling repeat of Obama's presidential pattern

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WASHINGTON — One was a new Democratic president who inherited an intractable crisis while pushing a stalled legislative agenda marked by contentious debate.

The other was Joe Biden.

As the current president begins his second year in office, some Democrats fear Biden is stuck in a painful cycle similar to one that beset former President ...Read more

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German Navy chief quits after favorable Russia remarks cause spat

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Germany’s top naval officer resigned after comments he made about Russia, including a call to show respect toward President Vladimir Putin, caused a diplomatic incident.

Ukraine summoned the German ambassador in Kyiv earlier Saturday to protest the remarks by Navy Inspector Kay-Achim Schoenbach, who also said Crimea would never return to ...Read more


Italy's Berlusconi abandons presidency race, boosting Draghi's chances

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ROME — Media mogul Silvio Berlusconi pulled out of the running for Italy’s presidency shortly before voting starts, strengthening the prospect that Prime Minister Mario Draghi could be elected as head of state.

Italy’s longest-serving postwar premier, Berlusconi, 85, announced his decision in a statement as his Forza Italia party held a ...Read more

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Florida lead factory faces $518,000 more in fines for environmental violations

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TAMPA, Fla. — A Tampa lead factory is facing $518,000 in additional fines following a two-month inspection by local environmental regulators prompted by a Tampa Bay Times investigation.

If finalized, the penalty against Gopher Resource would be the largest in the history of the Hillsborough County Environmental Protection Commission, said ...Read more


NC man who livestreamed sex abuse of Filipino children receives a record prison sentence

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Jake Ross paid a mother in the Philippines to sexually abuse her children while he watched it live, 8,800 miles away.

Now he will be paying with the rest of his life.

On Friday, the McDowell County man was sentenced to 55 years in prison for his conviction on a half-dozen child pornography charges. Chief U.S. District Judge...Read more


More than100 dead or wounded in latest Yemen airstrike, Red Cross says

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More than 100 people were killed or wounded Friday when the Saudi-led coalition bombed a prison operated by Yemen’s Houthi fighters in their northern stronghold of Saada, the International Committee of the Red Cross said, days after an attack on Abu Dhabi led to an escalation in the war.

The Houthi rebels’ media center said 80 people were ...Read more


League of Women Voters threatens to sue Texas over shortage of voter registration cards

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AUSTIN, Texas — Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir said earlier this week that her office is rejecting an unusually high share of applications for mail-in ballots because they do not meet standards set under the state's new elections law.

On Friday, the League of Women Voters of Texas sent a letter to Texas Secretary of State John Scott, ...Read more

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Texas synagogue hosts Saturday service, one week after hostage standoff

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FORT WORTH, Texas — Dozens around the world tuned into Congregation Beth Israel’s Saturday service in Colleyville to offer their support to the synagogue just a week after it was taken hostage.

The livestream on Facebook — which last week at around 11 a.m. was interrupted when 44-year-old British national Malik Faisal Akram held the ...Read more

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Oxford High is about to reopen. Parents, students say they have mixed feelings

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OXFORD, Mich. — Increased security, new paint in "calming colors" and hand-written messages of support on hearts and snowflakes will greet students returning to Oxford High School on Monday for the first day of school since a mass shooting on Nov. 30.

A team of therapy dogs will walk the hallways with handlers, including where the shooting ...Read more


Omicron nears US peak even as some regions still face struggle

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The omicron variant is starting to loosen its grip on the U.S. Northeast, but experts warn that it will take more time for the latest wave of COVID-19 to recede nationwide.

The strain’s fast surge and swift descent in one of the most populous parts of the U.S. echoes its trajectory in areas of Europe and South Africa, where infections ...Read more

Bernhard Richter/Dreamstime/TNS

Gunman's argument with mother over diet led to NYPD call, officer's killing, police say

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NEW YORK — A fatal Harlem shooting that killed one officer and left another fighting for his life began as a spat over diets between a mother and the son who later opened fire on officers responding to the mom’s call for help, police sources said.

Suspected gunman Lashawn McNeil came to Harlem to take care of his mother after she underwent ...Read more

Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times/TNS

Big Sur wildfire forces evacuations, closes California's Hwy. 1

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BIG SUR, Calif. — A wildfire that started near the coast in Big Sur jumped to 1,500 acres by Saturday morning, largely due to gusty winds that blew the flames in unpredictable directions and prompted a large number of evacuations, Cal Fire officials said.

The Colorado fire was reported at about 7:15 p.m. in the Palo Colorado Canyon and Rocky ...Read more

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Florida reports 22,818 new COVID-19 cases, lowest daily count since Christmas

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Florida reported 22,818 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, dropping the state’s 7-day average to 37,414, a 31% decline from one week ago, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

Hospitalizations have held steady for nearly two weeks, another key indicator that the omicron wave is slowing. There were...Read more