Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024 |
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Parkland school killer formally sentenced to life in prison
Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz has been formally sentenced to life in prison without parole. Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer sentenced him Wednesday for the 2018 murder of 14 students and three staff members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Scherer could not sentence him to death because the jury in his recently concluded trial could not unanimously agree that he deserved execution. Before Cruz was sentenced, parents and other relatives of Cruz’s victims spent two days telling him of their anger and hate toward him. They called him evil, a coward, a monster and a subhuman.
CBS, Moonves must pay $30.5 million for insider trading
CBS and its former president, Leslie Moonves, will pay $30.5 million as part of an agreement with the New York attorney general’s office, which says the network’s executives conspired with a Los Angeles police captain to conceal sexual assault allegations against Moonves. The broadcast giant is required to pay $22 million to shareholders and another $6 million for sexual harassment and assault programs. Moonves will have to pay $2.5 million, all of which will benefit stockholders who the New York attorney general said were kept in the dark because network executives concealed the allegations.
USDA says more than $200M will help meat processors expand
The Agriculture Department has announced more than $223 million in grants and loans to help small- and mid-sized meat processing plants expand. It’s part of a larger $1 billion effort to boost competition in the highly concentrated industry. The effort is expected to increase cattle and pig slaughter capacity by more than 500,000 head a year. It will also help poultry plants process nearly 34 million more birds while adding more than 1,100 jobs, mostly in rural areas where the plants are located. The Biden administration wants to add meat-processing capacity to give farmers and ranchers more options where they can sell their animals, while hopefully reducing prices for consumers by increasing competition.
Biden spending $4.5 billion to help lower home heating costs
The Biden administration is making $4.5 billion available through a low-income home energy assistance program to help lower heating costs heading into what is expected to be a brutal winter. The White House says the money will help more than 5 million families pay heating and utility bills and can be used to make home energy repairs. The Energy Department also says will begin allocating $9 billion over the next 10 years for a program aimed at supporting energy upgrades to 1.6 million households. Vice President Kamala Harris highlighted energy programs at an event Wednesday in Boston.
Trump 2024 campaign prepares for post-midterms launch
Former President Donald Trump has been teasing another presidential run since before he left the White House. But aides to the former president are now preparing for a 2024 campaign that could be announced soon after next week’s midterms. Another campaign would be a remarkable turn for any former president, much less one who made history as the first to be impeached twice. He remains embroiled in multiple and intensifying criminal investigations, including probes of classified information held at his Mar-a-Lago club and his effort to pressure election officials to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
Truce is reached in Ethiopia’s brutal civil war
After two years of civil war, the Ethiopian government and the leadership of the northern Tigray region agreed to stop fighting Wednesday as part of a deal that offered a path out of a conflict that has killed hundreds of thousands and displaced millions. Senior officials from both sides shook hands and smiled after signing an agreement in South Africa to cease hostilities. The deal came one day before the second anniversary of the start of the war, on Nov. 3, 2020, when tensions between Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia and the leaders of the country’s Tigray region exploded into violence.
Russia rejoins grain deal
Russia on Wednesday rejoined an agreement allowing the shipment of Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea, easing uncertainty over the fate of a deal seen as crucial to preventing famine in other parts of the world. Moscow had suspended its participation in the deal over the weekend after an attack on Russian warships in the Black Sea port of Sevastopol that it blamed on Ukraine. President Vladimir Putin said that the agreement was tied to Ukraine’s ensuring the safety of Russian vessels. But Ukrainian officials suggested that Russia had reconsidered after seeing that other parties were committed to continuing with or without Moscow’s involvement.
Hurricane Lisa batters Belize as it makes landfall
Hurricane Lisa was battering parts of Belize as it made landfall Wednesday while many residents took shelter from the powerful winds and threat of flooding. As the storm hit the nation of about 400,000 people, lampposts fell, some houses lost their roofs and others collapsed. The storm, forecast to bring dangerous conditions to several countries in Central America, made landfall about 10 miles southwest of Belize City, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said. The Hurricane Center said the storm would move through Belize and would cross northern Guatemala into southeastern Mexico by Thursday.
By wire sources
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