Nation and world news in brief, Friday, Feb. 23, 2024

In this grab taken from video provided by the Navalny Team on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024, Russian Opposition Leader Alexei Navalny’s mother Lyudmila Navalnaya speaks during a video statement from the Arctic city of Salekhard, 1937 km (1211 miles) northeast of Moscow, Russia. The mother of Russia’s top opposition leader Alexei Navalny says that investigators conducting a probe into her son’s death have resorted to blackmail to try to persuade her to agree to his secret burial outside the public eye. (Navalny Team via AP)

Navalny’s mother resists pressure for secret burial

The mother of Russia’s late opposition leader Alexei Navalny said Thursday that she has seen her son’s body and that she is resisting strong pressure by authorities to agree to a secret burial outside the public eye.


Lyudmila Navalnaya said investigators allowed her to see her son’s body in the city morgue. She said she reaffirmed the demand to give Navalny’s body to her and protested what she described as authorities trying to force her to agree to a secret burial.

“They are blackmailing me, they are setting conditions where, when and how my son should be buried,” she said in a video statement from the Arctic city of Salekhard. “They want it to do it secretly without a mourning ceremony.”

Navalny’s spokesman, Kira Yarmysh said on X, formerly Twitter, that his mother was also shown a medical certificate stating that the 47-year-old politician died of “natural causes.” Yarmysh didn’t specify what those were.

Navalny, Russia’s most well-known opposition politician, suddenly died in an Arctic prison last week, prompting hundreds of Russians across the country to stream to impromptu memorials with flowers and candles. The Russian authorities have detained scores of them as they seek to suppress any major outpouring of sympathy for President Vladimir Putin’s foe before the presidential election he is almost certain to win.

AT&T says its cellphone network is restored

AT&T says it has restored wireless coverage after an outage knocked out cellphone service on its network across the U.S. for hours. A statement from the Dallas-based company Thursday says it has service to all its affected customers. Outage tracker Downdetector noted that outages began at about 3:30 a.m. ET and peaked at around 73,000 reported incidents. AT&T had more than 58,000 outages around noon ET, in locations including Houston, Atlanta and Chicago. The carrier has more than 240 million subscribers, the country’s largest. By 5 p.m. ET, the reports were down to fewer than 1,500.

More Alabama IVF providers pause treatment

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — More in vitro fertilization providers in Alabama have paused parts of their treatment after the state Supreme Court ruled that frozen embryos are legally considered children. Alabama Fertility Services said in a statement Thursday that has “made the impossibly difficult decision to hold new IVF treatments due to the legal risk to our clinic and our embryologists.” The Center for Reproductive Medicine at Mobile Infirmary also decided to pause IVF treatment because of the ruling. The decisions come a day after the University of Alabama at Birmingham health system said in a statement that it was pausing in vitro fertilization treatments so it could evaluate whether its patients or doctors could face criminal charges or punitive damages for IVF treatments.

Reddit strikes $60M deal allowing Google to train AI models on its posts

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Reddit has struck a deal with Google that allows the search giant to use posts from the online discussion site for training its artificial intelligence models and to improve services such as Google Search.

The arrangement, announced Thursday and valued at roughly $60 million, will also give Reddit access to Google AI models for improving its internal site search and other features. Reddit declined to comment or answer questions beyond its written statement.

Separately, the San Francisco-based company announced plans for its initial public offering Wednesday. In documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Reddit said it reported net income of $18.5 million — its first profit in two years — in the October-December quarter on revenue of $249.8 million. The company said it aims to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol RDDT.

Volkswagen to recall 261,000 cars

DETROIT (AP) — Volkswagen is recalling more than 261,000 cars in the U.S. to fix a potential fuel leak that can increase the risk of fires. The recall covers certain Audi A3s and VW Golfs and GTIs from the 2015 through 2020 model years. Also included are 2015 through 2019 Golf Sportwagens, and 2019 and 2020 VW Jettas. All the recalled cars have front wheel drive. VW says in documents posted Thursday by the U.S. safety regulators that a problem with a pump seal can let fuel leak from a charcoal canister in the emissions control system. The agency says leaking fuel increases the risk of a fire. Dealers will replace the pump at no cost to owners. VW will send notification letters starting April 12.

Man accused of stabbing another passenger on a flight charged with assault

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A man who allegedly used a makeshift knife to stab another passenger on an airline flight faces a charge of assault with a dangerous weapon. The weapon was several pens bound together by rubber bands. A grand jury in Nevada handed down a one-count indictment against Julio Alvarez Lopez on Wednesday over the incident, which happened on a Jan. 24 Alaska Airlines flight from Seattle to Las Vegas. The victim is identified in court records as an off-duty law enforcement officer who was seated with his family across the aisle from Lopez. An FBI agent says Lopez said he had never seen the victim before the flight but believed the man was following him.

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