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February 16, 2024
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February 16, 2024

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February 16, 2024

Alexei Navalny, galvanizing opposition leader and Putin’s fiercest foe, died in prison, Russia says

Alexei Navalny, who crusaded against official corruption and staged massive anti-Kremlin protests as President Vladimir Putin’s fiercest foe, has died in the Arctic penal colony where he was serving a 19-year sentence. That’s according to Russia’s prison agency. He was 47. The stunning news comes less than a month before an election that will give Putin another six years in power. It brought renewed criticism of the Kremlin leader who has cracked down on all opposition at home. The Federal Penitentiary Service said in a statement that Navalny felt unwell after a walk on Friday and lost consciousness. An ambulance arrived but paramedics failed to revive him.

Western officials and Kremlin critics blame Putin and his government for Navalny’s death in prison

TALLINN, Estonia (AP) — World leaders and Russian opposition activists wasted no time in blaming the reported death of Alexei Navalny on President Vladimir Putin and his government. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said, “It is obvious that he was killed by Putin.” The outpouring of sympathy for Navalny’s family and outrage at the Kremlin came from all over the world. Former world chess champion-turned-opposition activist Garry Kasparov said “Putin tried and failed to murder Navalny quickly and secretly with poison, and now he has murdered him slowly and publicly in prison.” Navalny’s associates stressed that they don’t yet have independent confirmation of his death, which came in a report from Russia’s prison officials.

Fani Willis’ father says he didn’t know about Willis’ relationship with prosecutor until recently

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia prosecutors are trying to knock down misconduct allegations against Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis by calling her father to the witness stand to testify about his knowledge of her romantic relationship with the special prosecutor she hired to lead Donald Trump’s case. Willis’ father, John Clifford Floyd III, testified on the second day of an extraordinary hearing that could result in Willis being removed from the case against the former president over a romantic relationship with special prosecutor Nathan Wade. Willis’ father testified that he had not met Wade until last year and didn’t find out until weeks ago that they had been in a romantic relationship.

5 patients die as oxygen runs out in Gaza hospital seized by Israeli forces, health officials say

RAFAH, Gaza Strip (AP) — Health officials say five patients died after their oxygen ran out in southern Gaza’s main hospital that was stormed by Israeli troops. The Israeli military says its forces are searching Nasser Hospital for the possible remains of hostages abducted by Hamas. Negotiations over a cease-fire in Gaza, meanwhile, appear to have stalled, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday pushed back hard against the U.S. vision for after the war — particularly its calls for the creation of a Palestinian state. After speaking overnight with President Joe Biden, Netanyahu wrote on X that Israel will not accept “international dictates regarding a permanent settlement with the Palestinians.”

West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin announces he won’t run for president in 2024

NEW YORK (AP) — West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin has said he is not running for president. Manchin announced his decision in a speech Friday at West Virginia University, saying he didn’t want to be a “spoiler.” The centrist Democrat who often bucked his party’s leadership had been considering a run for the presidency and had said he thought it would be clear by March if there was a path for a third-party candidate this year. Manchin is not running for reelection in 2024. His Senate seat in a heavily Republican state is expected to be a prime pickup opportunity for the GOP.

A chaotic US House is losing three Republican committee chairs to retirement in the span of a week

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a single week, the Republican chairs of three U.S. House committees announced they would not be seeking reelection, raising questions about whether the chaos that has reigned this Congress is driving out some of the GOP’s top talent. What makes the retirements particularly noteworthy is that none of the chairs were at risk from the term limit requirements House Republicans impose on their committee leaders. They conceivably could have returned to the same leadership roles in the next Congress, but they chose to leave and give up jobs they had worked years to achieve.

Judge declares, then retracts, a mistrial in the murder trial of a former Ohio deputy

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A judge declared a mistrial, then retracted it minutes later, in the murder trial of a former Ohio sheriff’s deputy. Judge David Young declared the mistrial Friday morning then almost immediately called attorneys back to say he had set aside the mistrial and that deliberations would continue. Jason Meade was charged in the December 2020 fatal shooting of Casey Goodson Jr. in Columbus. Meade testified that Goodson waved a gun at him from his vehicle. No one else testified that they saw Goodson holding a gun. Prosecutors have said Goodson was holding a sandwich bag in one hand and his keys in the other when he was killed. Meade is white and Goodson was Black.

Tech companies sign accord to combat AI-generated election trickery

Major technology companies signed a pact Friday to voluntarily adopt “reasonable precautions” to prevent artificial intelligence tools from disrupting democratic elections worldwide. Tech executives from Adobe, Amazon, Google, IBM, Meta, Microsoft, OpenAI and TikTok gathered at the Munich Security Conference to announce a new voluntary framework for how they will respond to AI-generated deepfakes that deliberately trick voters. Twelve other companies — including Elon Musk’s X — are also signing on. The accord is largely symbolic, but targets increasingly realistic AI-generated images, audio and video that make candidates say something they didn’t or mislead about how to vote. Tech watchdogs said the accord was a positive step but more action needs to be taken.

2 juveniles charged in mass shooting at the Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl parade

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Authorities say two juveniles have been charged with crimes connected to the mass shooting at the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl rally. A news release from the Jackson County Family Court on Friday said the juveniles are being detained in the county’s Juvenile Detention Center “on gun-related and resisting arrest charges.” The release said it is “anticipated that additional charges are expected in the future as the investigation by the Kansas City Police Department continues.” No further information was released. A mother of two was killed and 22 people were injured by gunfire Wednesday afternoon, when shots erupted amid the throng of fans gathered at a rally outside Union Station after a parade through the city