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January US shutdown odds lessen as House GOP softens demands

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WASHINGTON — Ultra-conservatives in the U.S. House on Wednesday softened their demands for deep spending cuts to domestic programs, heightening the odds the two parties can reach a spending agreement and avert a Jan. 20 partial government shutdown.

The shift came after the House has failed to pass bills at the lower spending levels demanded ...Read more

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Israel and Hamas exchange more captives as truce's end looms

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Israel and Hamas exchanged more captives late Wednesday, as hopes grew that negotiators from Qatar and the U.S. could persuade the two sides to again extend a truce agreement set to expire within a few hours.

The 10 hostages released by Hamas — five children and five women, including dual nationals of the U.S., Germany and the Netherlands —...Read more

Barry Williams/New York Daily News/TNS

NYPD deploys drones to track subway surfers -- air superiority helps cops nab 12-year-old

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NYPD air superiority is fighting subway surfing — and the top transit cop says its drone program has nabbed four surfers, including a 12-year-old.

Drones are being deployed to spot people who climb on top of subway trains on elevated lines, said NYPD transit chief Michael Kemper.

“Over the last several weeks the NYPD has been piloting a ...Read more

Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune/TNS

Biden EPA proposes requirements for utilities to remove toxic lead water pipes within a decade; Chicago likely to get more time

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CHICAGO — President Joe Biden’s administration is moving to require utilities to replace every toxic lead pipe connecting homes to water mains during the next decade, though Chicago and several other cities likely will get more time to finish the job.

Ingesting tiny concentrations of lead can permanently damage the developing brains of ...Read more

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Henry Kissinger, who dominated international relations with charisma, intellect and cynicism, dies at 100

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Henry A. Kissinger, the architect of U.S. foreign policy at the apex of the Cold War and a towering intellectual force in world affairs for more than half a century, has died at his Connecticut home.

Kissinger died Wednesday, according to his consulting firm, Kissinger Associates. He was 100.

As national security adviser and secretary of State...Read more

Jerry Jackson/Baltimore Sun/TNS

Confederate monuments, vandalized and missing parts, leave Baltimore to appear in Los Angeles art exhibit

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BALTIMORE — Without any fanfare or warning Wednesday, four Confederate-linked monuments were loaded into two trucks that left Baltimore for Los Angeles, where they will eventually be shown in an art exhibit put on by nonprofit visual art space LAXART and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.

But the exhibit that will mix Confederate ...Read more

Jose F. Moreno/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS

Philadelphia is poised to pass a ski mask ban, drawing support from police and criticism from the ACLU

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PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia City Council is poised to ban the wearing of ski masks in certain public spaces this week, a move that police say could help them solve more crimes and stop more pedestrians they suspect of being involved in criminal activity.

The measure is cosponsored by 10 members, more than the majority needed to pass the ...Read more

Amy Davis/Baltimore Sun/TNS

Survivors object to Archdiocese of Baltimore's proposed abuse claims cut-off date in church bankruptcy case

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BALTIMORE — Survivors are pushing back against a February deadline proposed by the Archdiocese of Baltimore for potential victims to provide proof of claims of child sex abuse in the Catholic Church’s bankruptcy case.

In a filing Wednesday, attorneys for the creditors committee, a group of seven abuse survivors selected to represent the ...Read more

Jose F. Moreno/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS

Penn students who screened film on Israel could face discipline

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PHILADELPHIA — University of Pennsylvania student organizers who screened a film critical of Israel on campus against the university’s direction face potential disciplinary consequences.

The screening of "Israelism" by Penn Chavurah, a progressive Jewish student group, occurred Tuesday without incident with about 60 students and faculty in ...Read more

Broward Center for the Performing Arts/Broward Center for the Performing Arts/TNS

State settles Christmas drag show complaint with Miami hotel, venue. The fine: $5,000

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MIAMI — The Hyatt Regency Miami has agreed to pay a $5,000 fine to settle a legal dispute with the administration of Gov. Ron DeSantis over a minor’s presence at a Christmas-themed drag queen show last year.

The event — “A Drag Queen Christmas” — was held on Dec. 27, 2022 at the James L. Knight Center, a 4,500-seat auditorium ...Read more

EVA HAMBACH/AFP/Getty Images North America/TNS

Following worrying rockfish population data, Maryland looks to cancel spring trophy season for 2024

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After five straight years of troubling data on the population of young rockfish in the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland officials plan to enact emergency regulations canceling this spring’s trophy season for recreational anglers.

The rules would eliminate the once exciting two weeks each spring when anglers targeted large fish swimming up the bay to ...Read more

Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune/TNS

Protesters in Chicago neighborhood speak out against migrant camp as construction begins

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CHICAGO — Winterized tent structures began to take shape Wednesday on the Southwest Side at Chicago’s first government-run tent encampment for migrants despite continued protests from neighbors and contradictory messages from local, city and state officials.

Construction on the site in the Brighton Park neighborhood began early Wednesday, ...Read more

Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times/TNS

Arizona election officials who refused to certify 2022 results charged with conspiracy

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Two rural Arizona election officials who attempted to block the 2022 results have been charged with crimes, Arizona’s attorney general announced Wednesday.

Peggy Judd, 61, and Tom Crosby, 64, were charged with conspiracy and interfering with an election officer.

“The repeated attempts to undermine our democracy are unacceptable,” ...Read more

Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Times/TNS

Los Angeles County says hate crimes surged in 2022, with nearly 75% of them violent

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Hate crimes in Los Angeles County surged in 2022 to the highest level in two decades, according to a report released Wednesday by the county Commission on Human Relations.

The report, which the county has produced annually since 1980, found that at least 929 people were victims of hate crimes in that year, an 18% increase over 2021. It is the ...Read more

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Drama ahead of third Santos expulsion vote

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WASHINGTON — Ahead of the third attempt to expel Rep. George Santos from Congress, some House Republicans say there are enough votes to make the New York Republican the first member to be booted without a criminal conviction or ties to the Confederacy.

But there are still concerns among others and uncertainty about the outcome. Speaker Mike ...Read more

Los Angeles Times/Los Angeles Times/TNS

Frenzied tabloid case ends quietly: Plea deal, probation for former Orange County surgeon Grant Robicheaux

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More than five years ago, Orange County's top prosecutor stood before the cameras and declared Grant Robicheaux a prolific sex criminal — a hand surgeon accused of weaponizing his looks and reality-TV celebrity to lure women, then drugging and assaulting them. More than a dozen accusers had come forward, the district attorney said, alleging ...Read more

Theodore Parisienne/New York Daily News/TNS

NYC schools face Biden administration probe of antisemitism, Islamophobia

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NEW YORK — The Biden administration has launched an investigation into discrimination in New York City’s public school system, the latest in a series of federal probes of antisemitism and Islamophobia at schools across the U.S. this fall.

The federal Education Department declined to describe the contours of its investigation into the city ...Read more

News briefs

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Lawsuit says Minneapolis police shot non-protester during unrest

MINNEAPOLIS — A recently filed lawsuit claims that a 56-year-old man was waiting for the bus — not protesting the police murder of George Floyd— when Minneapolis police fired a projectile at him from the 3rd Precinct roof, leaving him injured.

More than three years later, ...Read more

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At NATO, untangling Ukraine and Israel is the Biden administration's challenge

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BRUSSELS — Washington's battle over aid to Israel and Ukraine — should it be one, both or neither? — moved to the largest of global stages this week when senior U.S. and European diplomats attempted to make the case for waging two wars at once.

The foreign ministers of the NATO transatlantic alliance, the cornerstone of peace and ...Read more

Denver Police Department/Denver Police Department/TNS

Man killed by police in Denver park had assault rifle, more than 400 rounds of ammunition on him

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DENVER — The man shot and killed by Denver police on Nov. 20 after chasing people in Commons Park with an AK-47 assault rifle and shooting at officers had more than 400 rounds of ammunition on him, Denver Police Department officials said Wednesday.

Police responded to calls of a man with a rifle yelling at a group of people and chasing people...Read more