Former Trump Officials Must Testify in 2020 Election Inquiry, Judge Says

A federal judge has ruled that several former officials from President Donald Trump’s administration — including former chief of staff Mark Meadows — cannot invoke executive privilege to avoid testifying to a grand jury investigating Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. The recent ruling by Judge Beryl A. Howell paves the way for them to answer questions from federal prosecutors, according to two people briefed on the matter. Trump’s lawyers had tried to rebuff the grand jury subpoenas by arguing that Trump’s interactions with the officials would be covered by executive privilege.


Los Angeles Schools and 30,000 Workers Reach Deal After Strike

The union representing 30,000 education workers reached a tentative deal with the Los Angeles Unified School District on Friday, following a strike that closed hundreds of campuses and canceled classes for 422,000 students this week. Local 99 of the Service Employees International Union, which represents support workers in the district, sought a 30% pay increase and said that many of its employees made little more than the minimum wage and struggled to afford the cost of living in Southern California. The union and the district announced the deal late Friday afternoon. Schools had reopened Friday morning before the tentative deal. The union said that Los Angeles Unified had met its key demands.

Divided House Passes GOP Bill on Hot-Button Schools Issues

A divided House on Friday approved legislation that would mandate that schools make library catalogs and curricula public and that they obtain parental consent before honoring a student’s request to change their gender-identifying pronouns, part of a Republican effort to wring political advantage from a raging debate over contentious social issues. The bill, approved almost entirely along party lines on a vote of 213-208, is a centerpiece of the Republican agenda that its sponsors call the Parents Bill of Rights Act. It has no chance of passing the Democratic-controlled Senate or being signed by President Joe Biden, whose advisers say it endangers transgender children without actually supporting parents.

Hidden Fentanyl Can Kill. Test Strips Can Help Make Drug Use Safer.

As the nation grapples with a deadly overdose crisis, mostly driven by illicit fentanyl, a consensus is developing — from the Biden White House to political leaders in conservative states including Texas, Georgia and Alabama — that widespread distribution of fentanyl test strips can be an effective, if limited, way to reduce the drug’s destructive impact. Over the past 18 months, as fentanyl, which can be 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine, has killed tens of thousands of Americans, 16 additional states have passed laws legalizing the strips. Mississippi, Ohio and South Dakota have joined about 20 other states, including New York, where the strips were already legal.

Army Base Renamed for Native American War Hero, Replacing Confederate

It was a name synonymous with failure. More than 80 years ago, an Army base in Blackstone, Virginia, was named for George Pickett, the defeated Confederate general who led the disastrous “Pickett’s charge” at the Battle of Gettysburg. Now the base is the first of nine named for a Confederate to be redesignated by the end of this year. On Friday, Fort Pickett became Fort Barfoot, in honor of Col. Van Barfoot, a Native American soldier and World War II hero who is also a Medal of Honor recipient. Col. James C. Shaver Jr., the base’s garrison commander, said it was an honor to be the first base renamed.

Northern Lights Were Visible in Southern States

The aurora borealis, colorful streaks in the sky also known as northern lights, are often visible from places such as Alaska, Canada and Iceland. But on Thursday night, a “severe” geomagnetic storm brought the auroras to Minnesota, New York and Virginia, and the views even moved as far south as Arizona and North Carolina. The Space Weather Prediction Center at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration rated the geomagnetic storm’s severity a Level 4 on its five-tier scale. “It felt like the sky was alive,” said James Reynolds, 45, a professional photographer who drove an hour from his home in Asheville, North Carolina, with this family to catch a glimpse.

Conflict in Syria Escalates Following Attack That Killed a U.S. Contractor

The conflict in northeast Syria escalated Friday as Iran-backed militias launched a volley of rocket and drone attacks against coalition bases after U.S. reprisals for a drone attack that killed a U.S. contractor and injured six other Americans. President Joe Biden, speaking at a news conference in Canada, sought to tamp down fears that tit-for-tat strikes between the United States and militant groups could spiral out of control, while at the same time warning Iran to rein in its proxies. The fighting, among the most serious in the area since 2019, threatens to upend recent efforts to de-escalate tensions across the wider Middle East.

Biden and Trudeau Meet for First Summit in Canada

President Joe Biden praised the economic and military connections between Canada and the United States as well as their strong support for Ukraine in a speech to Canada’s Parliament on Friday, in his first official visit to the country as president. He also announced that the two countries had reached a new agreement on migrants at their borders, a change that will see Canada accepting 15,000 asylum-seekers from the Americas. The meeting showcased the new tone in the relationship between the two allies, following the presidency of Donald Trump, who belittled Trudeau and whose trade policies threatened Canada’s economy and diminished goodwill toward the United States.

No Letup in Bakhmut as Ukraine and Russia Brace for Battles Elsewhere

Despite the high cost in lives, Ukrainian and Russian leaders said the battle for Bakhmut would rage on, even as they brace for a war that they expect to widen and intensify as the weather warms. Officials in both Kyiv and Moscow predicted that Ukraine, taking delivery of Western tanks, missiles and other arms, would soon launch a renewed push to reclaim territory lost in the east and south. The Ukrainians “are preparing for various offensive operations — everyone knows that,” Dmitry Medvedev, a former president of Russia and vice chair of President Vladimir Putin’s Security Council, said in comments released Friday.

Scotland’s Leader Apologizes for Past Practice of Forced Adoptions

Nicola Sturgeon, leader of Scotland’s government, apologized Wednesday for the country’s practice of forcing tens of thousands of unmarried women to give up their babies for adoption from the 1940s until the 1970s. Sturgeon said the injustices carried out against these women, who were stigmatized because they were young and unmarried, were among the worst in Scotland’s history. “No words could ever make up what has happened to you, but I hope this apology can bring you some measure of solace,” she said, appearing to hold back tears, in a speech at the Scottish Parliament that was one of her final acts as leader.

Rwanda Announces Release From Prison of ‘Hotel Rwanda’ Hero

Paul Rusesabagina, whose heroism in the face of genocide was portrayed in the movie “Hotel Rwanda,” will be released from prison Saturday after having been captured, held and tried by the Rwandan government in a case that drew international condemnation. His release, announced Friday, will end 2 1/2 years in captivity for Rusesabagina, 68, who had moved to the United States and become a detractor of Rwanda’s leader, Paul Kagame. Rusesabagina’s enforced disappearance and trial drew criticism of Kagame, whose achievements in developing his country since the genocide in 1994 have at times been overshadowed by his autocratic rule, dismal human rights record and destabilizing military intervention in neighboring Congo.

A River Choking on Fish Corpses, and a Community Full of Anger

Millions of fish have died in the Darling River near Menindee, in New South Wales, Australia, their bodies packing the water’s surface from bank to bank for miles. After days under the sun, their bodies had started to “break up and turn into fish soup,” as local resident Graeme McCrabb put it, transforming the river that locals rely on for drinking and showering into an ecological wasteland. Authorities say the mass death was caused by a lack of oxygen in the water, a result of recent floods and a heat wave. But furious locals say the root of the problem is the overuse of Australia’s biggest and most vital river system.

By wire sources

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