Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024 |
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Oath Keepers leader testifies at Jan. 6 sedition trial
Stewart Rhodes, leader of the Oath Keepers militia, took the witness stand at his seditious conspiracy trial Friday, telling jurors that after the 2020 election, he was afraid that leftist protesters might physically drag President Donald Trump out of the White House and that he hoped Trump would mobilize his far-right group to come to his aid. In U.S. District Court in Washington, Rhodes sought to defend himself against sedition charges by painting an apocalyptic, albeit imaginary, scene of the White House being overrun by antifa activists and Trump being hauled from the building if he failed to concede that he had lost the election.
Former Trump adviser acquitted on charges of acting as UAE agent
Thomas Barrack Jr., a close friend and adviser to former President Donald Trump, was acquitted Friday on charges that he had worked as an agent of the United Arab Emirates and then lied to federal investigators about it. Barrack’s acquittal on all counts, after a seven-week trial and two days of jury deliberation, deals a blow to the Justice Department, which has sought to root out foreign influence in U.S. politics. As the verdict was read Friday, in a federal courthouse in Brooklyn, Barrack bowed his head and his family wept in the courtroom benches. Minutes later, he praised the jury. “It is the common people who make it work,” Barrack said.
Florida restricts doctors from providing gender treatments to minors
Florida has effectively banned medications and surgery for new adolescent patients seeking gender transitions after an unprecedented vote by the state’s medical board. The move makes Florida one of several states to restrict what’s known as gender-affirming care for adolescents but the first to do so through the actions of its Board of Medicine, whose 14 members were appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis. The strategy circumvented the Republican-controlled state Legislature, which had twice declined to take up a bill aiming to restrict such treatment. Doctors who flout the rules against, for example, prescribing puberty blockers and hormones risk losing their medical licenses.
China lucks out again as out-of-control rocket booster falls in the Pacific
Early Friday, pieces of a 23-ton Chinese rocket stage tumbled back to Earth in the Pacific Ocean, the U.S. Space Command reported. It was China’s latest round of celestial roulette involving a deliberate uncontrolled atmospheric reentry. The rocket stage did not include a system to guide it into a specific spot on Earth, away from people. As it had three times before, China launched a Long March 5B rocket, one of the most powerful rockets in operation, on Monday to transport a third and final module of its Tiangong space station. Each time, China has gambled that the rocket’s parts would not cause injury to people on the ground.
Russian soldiers enter Kherson homes, dig in for urban war
A resident of the Russian-occupied capital of Ukraine’s Kherson region says soldiers are forcing civilians from their apartments and moving in themselves. His account of soldiers spreading throughout the city Friday suggested that Russia could be preparing for intense urban warfare as the southern city becomes a growing focus of the war. Russia-installed authorities in Kherson have urged civilians to leave the city in anticipation of Ukrainian advances and say that Russian forces might soon withdraw. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has suggested the Russians were feigning a pullout to lure in Ukrainian army into an entrenched battle.
Twitter slashes its staff as Musk era takes hold on platform
Twitter has begun widespread layoffs as new owner Elon Musk overhauls the company. The move has raised grave concerns about chaos enveloping the platform as a source of reliable information just days ahead of the U.S. midterm elections. The speed and size of the cuts also opened Musk and Twitter to lawsuits. At least one was filed in San Francisco alleging Twitter has violated federal law by not providing the required notice. The company had told employees by email that they would find out Friday if they had been laid off. Yoel Roth, Twitter’s head of safety and integrity, confirmed on Twitter the cuts affected about half of the company’s staff of 7,500.
It’s that time: Daylight saving time out, standard time in
A transition is coming this weekend across most of the United States, and it has nothing to do with the election: Daylight saving time is out, standard time is in this weekend. Standard time begins at 2 a.m. local time Sunday and lasts until March 12. Relish the chance to catch up on sleep and remember to set clocks back an hour before going to bed Saturday night. The time change means darkness will arrive earlier in the evening but it will be lighter earlier in the morning than now. Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and most of Arizona do not observe daylight saving time.
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