WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. officials say the Pentagon is speeding up its delivery of Abrams tanks to Ukraine, opting to send a refurbished older model that can be ready faster. The aim is to get the 70-ton battle powerhouses to the Russia-Ukraine war zone in eight to 10 months. The original plan was to send 31 newer M1A2 Abrams, which could’ve taken a year or two to build and ship. But officials said Tuesday the decision was made to send the older M1A1 version, which can be taken from Army stocks and will be easier for Ukrainian forces to learn to use and maintain. Pentagon officials are expected to make a formal announcement Tuesday.
Los Angeles schools shut down as staff begin 3-day strike
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Tens of thousands of workers in the Los Angeles Unified School District are walking off the job over stalled contract talks. They’re being joined Tuesday in solidarity by teachers for a planned three-day strike that’s shutting down the nation’s second-largest school system. Demonstrations began at a bus yard and are planned at schools across the city by members of Local 99 of the Service Employees International Union, which represents about 30,000 teachers’ aides, special education assistants, bus drivers, custodians, cafeteria workers and other support staff. They are demanding better wages and increased staffing. Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho says the union has refused to negotiate.
Recovering teacher shot by 6-year-old: ‘It’s changed me’
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A Virginia teacher who was shot and wounded by her 6-year-old student says it has changed her life and she has vivid memories and nightmares about that day. First-grade teacher Abby Zwerner spoke publicly for the first time since the Jan. 6 shooting during an exclusive interview with NBC’s Savannah Guthrie that partially aired Tuesday morning on “Today.” Zwerner said she’ll never forget the look on the student’s face while he pointed the gun at her. She said she’s still in shock and can’t make sense of it, but she thinks about it daily and it has changed her life.
Army of lobbyists helped water down banking regulations
WASHINGTON (AP) — A handful of red-state Democrats were instrumental in helping Republicans secure a rollback of banking regulations sought by then-President Donald Trump in 2018. Now those changes are being blamed for contributing to the recent collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank that prompted a federal rescue and stoked anxiety about a broader banking contagion. The rollback was leveraged with a lobbying campaign that cost tens of millions of dollars and drew an army of more than 1,000 lobbyists into the effort. It also was seeded with ample campaign contributions. It offers a fresh reminder of the power that bankers wield in Washington, where the industry spends prodigiously.
Gwyneth Paltrow’s trial begins for Deer Valley ski crash
PARK CITY, Utah (AP) — Actor Gwyneth Paltrow goes on trial in the Utah ski town of Park City where she is accused in a lawsuit of crashing into a skier during a 2016 family ski vacation, leaving him with brain damage and four broken ribs. The retired optometrist suing the actor-turned-lifestyle influencer has accused her of skiing out of control at Deer Valley Resort. Paltrow has countered that he was actually the culprit in the collision, is overstating his injuries, and trying to exploit her celebrity and wealth. The trial starts Tuesday and is slated to last longer than a week.
Garbage: In Paris streets, heaps of it become protest symbol
PARIS (AP) — Garbage. Heaps, mounds and piles of it are growing daily and in some places standing as high as a human being. A two-week strike by Paris garbage collectors is taking a toll on the renowned aesthetics of the French capital, a veritable blight on the City of Light. One strike-hardened resident says he prefers “Chanel to the stink.” There’s broad opposition to President Emmanuel Macron’s decision to raise the retirement by from 62 to 64. And in the neighborhoods of the City of Light, garbage looms everywhere and in some cases has choked off narrow streets. Protesters say there’s more to come.
TikTok updates rules; CEO on charm offensive for US hearing
LONDON (AP) — TikTok has rolled out updated rules and standards for content and its CEO warned against a possible U.S. ban on the video sharing app as he prepares to face Congress. It’s part of a counteroffensive against Western pressure on the Chinese-owned company over cybersecurity and misinformation concerns. TikTok’s CEO said Tuesday that the hearing “comes at a pivotal moment” for the company after lawmakers introduced measures that would expand the Biden administration’s authority to enact a U.S. ban on the app. TikTok also rolled out updated rules and standards for content and users in a reorganized set of community guidelines that include eight principles to guide content moderation decisions.
Last call: Dodge unveils last super-fast gasoline muscle car
DETROIT (AP) — The last gas-powered muscle car from Dodge isn’t leaving the road without some squeals, thunder and crazy-fast speed. The 2023 Challenger SRT Demon 170 will deliver 1,025 horsepower from its 6.2-liter supercharged V-8. The automaker says it will be the quickest production car made. Stellantis says it can go from zero to 60 miles per hour in a scary 1.66 seconds, making it faster than even electric supercars from Tesla and Lucid. It’s what the performance brand from Stellantis is calling the last of the rumbling cars that for decades were a fixture of American culture on Saturday night cruises all over the country. Stellantis will stop making gas versions of the Dodge Challenger and Charger by the end of this year.
Itching to start spring garden cleanup? Not so fast!
Spring gardening is an exercise in patience.The longer hours of daylight might have you itching to start gardening. But hold off on clearing away last year’s leaves and stalks. Doing your spring cleanup too early removes beneficial insects that are sheltering there. Without them, there’s less food for birds and fewer flowers and vegetables later. Many experts recommend removing plant matter only after several days of 50-plus-degree temperatures. Also beware of mulching too early as it can inhibit plant growth. And premature fertilizing can hurt the lawn and the environment. But there is one gardening task that’s perfectly suited for early spring. Now’s a great time to repot houseplants. The longer days are stimulating them to resume actively growing.