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Amid Ukraine crisis, commerce, energy and history color Germany's Russia policy

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BERLIN — Europe’s most powerful nation, Germany, was probably not expecting its latest gesture of solidarity toward Ukraine — menaced by some 100,000 Russian troops massed near its borders — to become something of a bitter punchline.

But that was more or less what transpired after Germany’s defense minister, Christine Lambrecht, ...Read more

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Martine Colette, founder of LA's Wildlife Waystation who rescued animals by the thousands, dies at 79

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LOS ANGELES — Martine Colette, an animal rights advocate who founded the sprawling Wildlife Waystation at the doorstep of the Angeles National Forest where thousands of rescued animals — lions, alligators, wolves, owls, pot-bellied pigs and chimpanzees — awaited new homes, has died at 79.

For years the 160-acre sanctuary stood as a model ...Read more

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Kansas Sen. Roger Marshall pushes for an end to testing, tracking most COVID-19 cases

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WASHINGTON — Kansas Sen. Roger Marshall on Tuesday called for less COVID-19 testing and an end to tracking COVID-19 cases that don’t result in hospitalizations or deaths, as part of an effort to “learn to live” with a virus that has disrupted the country for two years.

In an op-ed for the conservative outlet The Daily Caller, Marshall ...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 Joel Greenberg and a former radio talk show host — has agreed to plead guilty to paying thousands of dollars in a cash bribe to the disgraced Seminole County tax collector on behalf of an unnamed company, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

In return, Greenberg would pay the company ...Read more

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As surge of migrants arriving in Puerto Rico by sea continues, 45 are detained in beach town

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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — John Parry was at his rental home in the Puerto Rican coastal town of Rincón on Monday afternoon when he spotted dozens of people, wet and coming toward his driveway. As the group walked up the steep hill up from a nearby beach, he called over his wife, Laura Goldman, to come see.

Leaning over her railing, Goldman ...Read more


Man convicted in 1988 explosion that killed 6 Kansas City firefighters wins $344K in records suit

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A federal judge has awarded more than $344,000 in legal fees to a former prisoner who sued the Justice Department seeking answers about a 1988 explosion that killed six Kansas City firefighters, for which he spent nearly 20 years in prison.

Bryan Sheppard, who maintains his innocence in the explosion, filed the lawsuit ...Read more

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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

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Surfside commission approves paying up to $500,000 for court-ordered collapse inspection

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MIAMI — Much remains unclear about what Surfside’s role may be in any on-site inspections of the Champlain Towers South collapse site, but town commissioners made clear Wednesday they would not cut a “blank check” to take part in court-sanctioned testing and sampling to investigate what caused the June 24 collapse.

Commissioners — who...Read more

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A bronze statue of Kobe and Gigi Bryant appears at site of chopper crash as fans mourn

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LOS ANGELES — Before dawn’s light crested over the Calabasas peak, sculptor Dan Medina dragged his 150-pound bronze statue of Kobe and Gianna “Gigi” Bryant up the steep, narrow trail.

Medina, negotiating the eroding trail, could not see the rising hills. He finally made it to the crest, where he placed his formal yet temporary memorial ...Read more

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New bill in California would force courts to clear cannabis convictions faster

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LOS ANGELES — California would set new deadlines to dismiss and seal many cannabis convictions under a bill introduced Wednesday aimed at redressing anti-drug laws that disproportionately targeted communities of color.

The move comes two weeks after a Los Angeles Times investigation found that tens of thousands of Californians are still stuck...Read more

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Supreme Court prospect Brown Jackson was 'star in the making' at her Miami high school

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Before Ketanji Brown Jackson was one of the front-runners for a U.S. Supreme Court nomination, she was a speech and debate superstar at Miami Palmetto Senior High School.

As a high school senior in 1988, Jackson, who then went by Ketanji Brown, won the national oratory title at the National Catholic Forensic League Championships, one of the ...Read more

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Charities lobbying to restore expanded tax deduction for giving

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WASHINGTON — Nonprofits are urging lawmakers to restore more generous tax breaks for charitable giving as they consider a fresh round of pandemic aid with the omicron variant caseload still at worrying levels.

After temporary expansions meant to help charities stay afloat during the COVID-19 crisis expired at the end of the year, advocates ...Read more

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Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes to remain jailed pending trial in Capitol riot case

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FORT WORTH, Texas — Stewart Rhodes, the founder and leader of the Oath Keepers who was charged with seditious conspiracy in the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, will be held without bail until his trial, according to a decision Wednesday from Federal Magistrate Judge Kimberly C. Priest Johnson.

Johnson, of the U.S. District Court for...Read more

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San Jose is first US city to mandate gun owners carry insurance and pay a fee; federal lawsuit is filed to challenge ordinance

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SAN JOSE, Calif. — San Jose firearm owners will soon be bound by new gun control laws that no U.S. citizen has faced before.

That is, if the divisive regulations hold up in court.

Under the city’s new ordinance, residents who own a gun must carry liability insurance and pay an annual fee aimed at reducing gun violence.

Within minutes of ...Read more

News briefs

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Missouri AG has sued 45 school districts with mask rules

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 ...Read more

Los Angeles Times/TNS

Man gets 18 months for trying to enter cockpit, then jumping from taxiing plane at LAX

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LOS ANGELES — A man was sentenced Wednesday to 18 months in prison after he attempted to breach the cockpit of a taxiing plane before jumping from the craft last summer at Los Angeles International Airport.

Luis Armando Victoria Dominguez, 34, of La Paz, Mexico, was on a SkyWest Airlines flight scheduled to depart to Salt Lake City around 7 p...Read more

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US refuses to budge on Ukraine in response to Russian demands

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WASHINGTON — With tensions rising over a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Biden administration on Wednesday rejected Moscow’s main demands to ease the crisis, dampening hopes that diplomats can find a peaceful resolution to the standoff.

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken told reporters that in a letter delivered Wednesday, the ...Read more

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DeSantis: Patients, doctors should decide which COVID therapy is best, not the feds

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MIAMI — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is not letting up after the federal government said two of the most common therapies for treating COVID-19 — available until recently — should not be used because they don’t work against the omicron variant.

In a press conference Wednesday afternoon, DeSantis said patients, with their doctors, should be...Read more

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About 100 bags of fentanyl found in bedroom of Connecticut student who died after overdosing at school, police say

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HARTFORD, Conn. — About 100 bags of fentanyl were allegedly found in the bedroom of a Hartford child who died this month after overdosing on the drug at school, police said this week.

In a release Tuesday evening, police said that a search warrant was executed at the juvenile’s residence, revealing “approximately 100 additional bags of ...Read more

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North Korea barrage mounts with 2 suspected ballistic missiles

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North Korea fired two suspected short-range ballistic missiles Thursday, adding to its biggest monthly barrage of weapons tests since August 2019 and forcing its nuclear program back onto the Biden administration’s agenda.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the military “detected two projectiles that appeared to be short-range ...Read more