Nation and world news in brief, Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024

Hunter Biden, left, son of President Joe Biden, arrives with attorney Abbe Lowell at the O'Neill House Office Building for a closed-door deposition in a Republican-led investigation into the Biden family, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024. Lawmakers from the House Oversight and Accountability Committee and the House Judiciary Committee are conducting the inquiry. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

FILE - In this handout photo taken from video provided by the Moscow City Court on Feb. 2, 2021, Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny shows a heart symbol while standing in a defendants’ cage during a hearing in the Moscow City Court in Moscow, Russia. Navalny, who died in an Arctic penal colony on Feb. 16, spent months in punishment cells for infractions like not buttoning his uniform properly or not putting his hands behind his back when required. (Moscow City Court via AP, File)

Idaho halts execution by lethal injection after 8 failed attempts

KUNA, Idaho (AP) — Idaho halted the execution of serial killer Thomas Eugene Creech on Wednesday after medical team members repeatedly failed to find a vein where they could establish an intravenous line to carry out the lethal injection. The 73-year-old was imprisoned in 1974 and has been convicted of five murders in three states and suspected of several more. He was already serving life in prison when he beat a fellow inmate, 22-year-old David Dale Jensen, to death in 1981 — the crime for which Creech was to be executed. The Idaho Department of Correction said its death warrant for Creech would expire, and that it was considering next steps.


French Senate approves bill to make abortion a right

PARIS (AP) — France’s Senate has adopted a bill meant to enshrine a woman’s right to an abortion in the French Constitution, clearing a major hurdle. The measure was promised by President Emmanuel Macron following a rollback of abortion rights in court rulings in the United States. Wednesday’s vote came after the lower house, the National Assembly, overwhelmingly approved the proposal in January. The measure now goes before a joint session of parliament for its expected approval by a three-fifths majority. Macron’s government wants Article 34 of the constitution amended to specify that “the law determines the conditions by which is exercised the freedom of women to have recourse to an abortion, which is guaranteed.”

Pope Francis had diagnostic tests in a Rome hospital

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis was taken briefly to a hospital in central Rome after the papal audience on Wednesday. The Vatican said it was for diagnostic testing without elaborating. The 87-year-old pope, who has been suffering from the flu, made regular appearances to the faithful on Sunday and Wednesday, but has canceled appointments on other days.

Alexei Navalny’s funeral will be on Friday, spokesperson says

The funeral of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who died earlier this month in a remote Arctic penal colony, will take place on Friday in Moscow after several locations declined to host the service, his spokesperson says. Kira Yarmysh says the funeral will be held at a church in Moscow’s southeast Maryino district on Friday afternoon. The burial is to be at a nearby cemetery. Navalny died in mid-February in one of Russia’s harshest penal facilities. Russian authorities said the cause of his death at age 47 is still unknown. Many Western leaders have said they hold Russian President Vladimir Putin responsible for his death. Yarmysh says most venues said they were fully booked.

Hunter Biden in deposition blasts GOP, insists he did not involve his father in business

WASHINGTON (AP) — Hunter Biden has appeared on Capitol Hill for a defiant closed-door deposition with lawmakers. He blasted the Republican impeachment inquiry into his father and the family’s business affairs as a “house of cards” built on “lies” as he faced a battery of probing questions. The deposition of the president’s son Wednesday marks a decisive point for the 14-month Republican investigation into the Biden family. The probe has centered on Hunter Biden and his overseas work for clients in Ukraine, China, Romania and other countries. Republicans have long questioned whether those business dealings involved corruption and influence peddling by President Joe Biden, particularly when he was vice president. But they have yet to produce direct evidence of misconduct by the president.

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