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  1. Shares of Donald Trump’s media and technology firm fell as much as 12% on Monday, extending a selloff that has now reduced the value of his stake in the operator of Truth Social to $2.9 billion.After its strong debut in late March, investors have soured on Trump Media & Technology Group after the company disclosed millions of dollars in losses earlier this month and said it would struggle to meet its financial liabilities.The company’s stock closed 8.4% lower at $37.17 on Monday, a far cry from the record high of $79 it had notched during its debut on March 26. It is down about 40% so far in April.The declines are reducing a potential windfall for Trump who could sell his shares to raise money for his 2024 presidential campaign and legal expenses, although lock-up restrictions for six months could prevent him from selling or borrowing against his shareholding.Former U.S. President Trump – who owns about 78.75 million shares in the company – has seen a sharp slide in the valuation of his stake from around $6 billion last month.The market value of whole of Trump Media & Technology Group is now below that figure, at about $5.55 billion.But the declines are welcome news for short-sellers who have suffered hefty losses on the stock so far this year.Trump Media & Technology Group has a short interest of about 4.75 million shares, or 12% of its free float, according to analytics firm S3 Partners.Monday’s decline meant those betting against the stock made about $16 million in market-to-market profits, though those shorting the stock are still down 69% for the year.”DJT’s recent price weakness has offset the huuuuge financing costs short sellers are incurring and keeping many of them in the trade,” said Ihor Dusaniwsky, managing director of predictive analytics at S3 Partners.Politicians and news outlets in Colorado expressed anger over the expulsion from a Republican gathering this weekend of an experienced politics reporter who was told that the state party chairman “believes current reporting to be very unfair.”Journalists and prominent politicians, including the former chair of the Colorado Republican Party, came to the defense of Colorado Sun reporter Sandra Fish and against current state GOP Chairman Dave Williams, who said he had “no apologies” for ejecting Fish.The controversy follows the contours of attacks on the press nationally, partly brought on by former President Donald Trump with the popularization of the term “fake news.” The ejection also appears to have influenced an endorsement Monday in the Republican primary race.The state Republican Party announced on the social media platform X that it was endorsing U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert over one of her primary opponents, Deborah Flora, in the state’s 4th Congressional District race, partly because “Deb Flora lied about participating in the CD4 Assembly process, & now she’s boot licking fake journalists who only help Democrats.”The post was a direct reply to Flora’s post on X defending Fish, in which Flora said the expulsion was “wrong and a violation of the First Amendment.”The chairman, who introduces himself on the state GOP website as “Dave ‘Let’s Go Brandon’ Williams,” is seeking the nomination to run for the 5th District seat held by Republican U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, who is retiring from Congress.In a text, the MAGA-aligned Williams said he had no apologies for kicking Fish out of the assembly in Pueblo on Saturday and accused her of being a “fake journalist” and The Colorado Sun of being biased. When asked by text for examples, Williams did not respond. The Colorado Sun is an independent, nonprofit and nonpartisan news outlet that covers Colorado.“I invite anyone to share any example of The Colorado Sun or Sandra Fish being unfair or inaccurate. So far I have heard nothing,” said Larry Ryckman, editor of the news outlet. “The Founding Fathers weren’t any big fans of newspapers back in the day. But they understood that a healthy democracy demands free, unfettered press.”The assembly about two hours south of Denver was partly to select representatives to the Republican National Committee and to work on a party platform for the election.“There are 900,000 Republicans in the state of Colorado and a lot of unaffiliated voters who are interested in what happens at this assembly. And how they find out is via reporters like me being there to cover it,” Fish told The Associated Press by phone Monday.“I am, as one person on Twitter noted, a little old lady and I’ve been in this business for a long time, and I just don’t think it’s right to eject a reporter from a meeting like this,” said Fish, who has covered politics since 1982.Fish said she heard rumors prior to the event that she’d be barred from attending, and she asked event organizer, Eric Grossman, who texted her Thursday that he’d get back to her.“Thanks. I’ve been covering these assemblies for at least seven cycles and have never had issues before,” Fish texted back. Ryckman attempted to reach Williams on Thursday night to discuss, but said Williams never responded.Before dawn on Saturday, Grossman texted Fish saying she wouldn’t be included on the press list and that “the state chairman believes current reporting to be very unfair.”“I went anyway because, come on, this should be an open event,” said Fish, who was checked in and given press credentials that she wore around her neck along with a Colorado Sun nametag.About an hour later, security asked her to leave. Fish showed her press credentials, then Grossman arrived and soon a sheriff’s deputy was called. Fish left with the deputy.“We make no apologies for kicking out a fake journalist, who actually snuck into our event,” Williams said in a text. “Her publication is just an extension of the Democrat Party’s PR efforts, and the only backlash we see is from the fake news media, radical Democrats, and establishment RINOs who hate our conservative base.”Grossman, in a text, said Fish’s actions were “a selfish political stunt.”Republican state Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer defended the reporter, writing in a post on X: “Sandra Fish is a fair; honest and respected reporter, as a Republican I’m embarrassed by the GOP chair.”Former Colorado Republican Party chair Kristi Burton Brown also chimed in on X, describing Fish as “hard-hitting but fair. … This is a dangerous take by the current (Colorado GOP). … Transparency is necessary for our nation.”Among other stories, Fish has reported on how the Colorado Republican Party under Williams’ leadership paid for mailers that subtly attacked one of Williams’ primary opponents, and that fundraising slowed under his chairmanship.Security video captured most of an ambush at an Idaho hospital that left three corrections officers with gunshot wounds and allowed a white supremacist prison gang member to escape, a police detective testified Monday.The testimony from Matthew Canfield, a violent crimes detective with the Boise Police Department, came during a preliminary hearing for Skylar Meade, the inmate charged with escaping from a hospital last month when an accomplice opened fire on guards who had been transporting him back to prison.Nicholas Umphenour, who police say did the shooting, and Tia Garcia, who is accused of having provided the car the pair used to escape, had their preliminary hearings set for April 29.Prosecutors did not play the surveillance video in court but submitted it as an exhibit. Magistrate Judge Abraham Wingrove found that there was enough evidence to send the case against Meade to district court. His arraignment was set for April 17.Video clips show three Department of Correction officers escorting Meade to the prison transport van from the emergency department when they “are approached by another individual who appears to point an object at them and shoot and fire rounds at them,” Canfield said.The video also shows Meade and the shooter running to a parked vehicle, which they used to flee, Canfield said.Part of the encounter is blocked by the prison transport van itself, Canfield said.Investigators have also obtained video from a private ambulance that was parked in the emergency bay during the escape.The attack on the corrections officers came just after 2 a.m. on March 20 in the ambulance bay of Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center. Meade was brought to the hospital earlier in the night because he injured himself, officials said, but he refused treatment upon arrival.Two corrections officers were wounded in the attack and a third was shot by responding police officers who mistook him for the gunman. All are expected to recover.Meade and Umphenour are each being held on $2 million bail. Authorities said they are also suspected of killing two men during their 36 hours on the run — one in Clearwater County and one in Nez Perce County, both about a seven-hour drive north of where they were arrested in Twin Falls, Idaho. No charges have been filed in the deaths.The victims have been identified as James L. Mauney, 83, of Juliaetta, Idaho, who was reported missing when he failed to return from walking his dogs, and Gerald Don Henderson, 72, who was found dead outside his remote cabin near Orofino, Idaho.Henderson had taken in Umphenour for about a month when he was in his late teens, according to authorities. Police said Umphenour and Meade stole Mauney’s minivan and used it to get to the Twin Falls area.Idaho Department of Correction officials have said Meade and Umphenour are members of the Aryan Knights white supremacist prison gang, which federal prosecutors have described as a “scourge” in the state’s penitentiary system.Meade, 31, was serving 20 years at the Idaho Maximum Security Institution in Kuna, south of Boise, for shooting at a sheriff’s sergeant during a chase. Umphenour was released from the same lockup in January after serving time for theft and gun convictions.The two were at times housed together and had mutual friends in and out of prison, officials said. Meade recently had been held in solitary confinement because officials deemed him a security risk.One other person has been charged in connection with the escape: Tonia Huber, who was driving the truck Meade was in when he was arrested, according to investigators. Huber has been charged with harboring a fugitive, eluding police and drug possession.The man charged with setting a fire outside the Vermont office of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders had been staying at an area hotel for nearly two months and was spotted outside Sanders’ office the day before and the day of the fire, according to court paperwork filed by a federal agent.Shant Michael Soghomonian, 35, who was previously from Northridge, California, entered the building on Friday and went to Sanders’ third-floor office where security video showed him dumping a liquid on the bottom of the door and setting it afire with a lighter, according to the special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.The building’s interior suffered some damage from the fire and sprinklers that doused the area with water, but no one was hurt. Sanders, an independent, was not in the office at the time. Seven employees working in the office at the time were unharmed and able to evacuate.The agent who investigated spotted what appeared to be the remains of a canister of lighter fluid and a red cap on the floor near the office door.Soghomonian was arrested Sunday on a charge of using fire to damage a building used in interstate commerce, according to the U.S. attorney for Vermont. He had been staying at the Inn at Burlington in South Burlington for several weeks, an employee told authorities, according to the affidavit.When police knocked on the hotel room door, they heard a male saying he was getting dressed, according to an application to search the hotel room and a vehicle with New York plates. Officers then heard what sounded like the man dragging heavy items near the door. Officers got a key and attempted to open the door but it was blocked, according to the court document. They forced the door open and arrested Soghomonian without incident, they said.Sanders said in a statement that he is “deeply grateful to the swift, professional, coordinated efforts of local, state, and federal law enforcement in response to the fire” and thankful that none of the people in the office were hurt.The motive remained unclear. It was not immediately known if Soghomonian had a lawyer, and an initial court appearance had not been set, officials said. A phone message left with the Chittenden County public defenders’ office was not immediately returned. Soghomonian was being held at the Northwest State Correctional Facility in St. Albans.The crime carries a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000.The case was investigated by police departments in Burlington, Shelburne and Williston; Vermont State Police; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and U.S. Capitol Police, officials said.CAIRO (Reuters) – Hamas said early on Tuesday Israel’s proposal that it received from Qatari and Egyptian mediators did not meet any of the demands of Palestinian factions.However, the group added in a statement it would study the proposal, which it described as “intransigent”, and deliver its response to the mediators.A Hamas official told Reuters on Monday that the group has rejected the Israeli ceasefire proposal made at talks in Cairo, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said a date was set for an invasion of Rafah, Gaza’s last refuge for displaced Palestinians.Israel and Hamas sent teams to Egypt on Sunday for talks that included Qatari and Egyptian mediators as well as CIA Director William Burns.Burn’s presence underlined rising pressure from Israel’s main ally the U.S. for a deal that would free Israeli hostages held in Gaza and get aid to Palestinian civilians left destitute by six months of conflict.But senior Hamas official Ali Baraka told Reuters: “We reject the latest Israeli proposals that the Egyptian side informed us of. The politburo met today and decided this.”Another Hamas official had earlier told Reuters that no progress had been made in the negotiations.”There is no change in the position of the occupation (Israel) and therefore, there is nothing new in the Cairo talks,” the Hamas official, who asked not to be identified, told Reuters. “There is no progress yet.”Israel said it was keen to reach a prisoners-for-hostages deal, by which it would free a number of Palestinians jailed in its prisons in return for the hostages in Gaza, but it wasn’t ready to end the military offensive before it invaded Rafah.Hamas wants any agreement to secure an end to Israeli military offensive, get Israeli forces out of Gaza and allow the displaced to return to their homes across the enclave.Rafah is the last refuge for Palestinian civilians displaced by relentless Israeli bombardments that have flattened their home neighbourhoods. It is also the last significant redoubt of Hamas combat units, Israel says.More than one million people are crammed into the southern city in desperate conditions, short of food, water and shelter, and foreign governments and organisations have urged Israel against storming Rafah for fears of a bloodbath.”We are constantly working to achieve our goals, first and foremost the release of all our hostages and achieving a complete victory over Hamas,” Netanyahu said.”This victory requires entry into Rafah and the elimination of the terrorist battalions there. It will happen – there is a date.” He did not specify the date.Of the 253 people Hamas seized on Oct. 7, 133 hostages remain captive. Negotiators have spoken of around 40 going free in the first stage of a prospective deal.As a deadly tornado barreled toward their home in the Mississippi Delta, Ida Cartlidge only had time to scoop up her 1-year-old son, Nolan, and hold him close.Cartlidge huddled with her husband and three sons on the living room floor of their Rolling Fork mobile home, its thin walls all that separated the family from 200 mph (320 kph) winds.“I was holding my baby so tight. I said ‘Baby, I’m probably hurting you right now, but I just can’t let you go,’” she recalled.Then the tornado hit, and the home was gone. The twister launched Cartlidge into the air and pulled Nolan from her arms. She remembers seeing him floating above her, as though both were suspended in the air.She landed with a thud. Miraculously, Nolan fell on her chest. He was the only family member to escape the storm unscathed.The tornado that destroyed Cartlidge’s home last March killed 14 of Rolling Fork’s roughly 1,700 residents and reduced the town to rubble as it charted a merciless path across one of the country’s poorest regions. For the people there, a complicated story of struggle and resilience has emerged in the year since the storm changed everything and exposed vulnerabilities many survivors had been dealing with long before March 2023.The Cartlidge family spent the next year in a cramped motel room in search of a more permanent home, like many of their displaced neighbors.“There’s still a lot of suffering,” Sen. Joseph Thomas, who represents Rolling Fork in the state Legislature, said in a recent interview. “And you’re looking at an area that was already depressed.”Rolling Fork is in Sharkey County, where the poverty rate hovers around 35% — nearly double Mississippi’s roughly 19% rate and triple the nation’s nearly 12% rate, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.Before the storm, Cartlidge, 33, and her husband, Charles Jones, 59, had forged a quiet life in a long, narrow three-bedroom, two-bath mobile home with their sons: Jakavien, 13, Amarii, 12, and Nolan. She worked in customer service for an appliance company and Jones was a mechanic for a local auto parts shop.Cartlidge suffered a crushed pelvis and broken shoulder in the tornado. Jakavien punctured a lung and shattered bones in his spine and shoulder blade. Amarri had deep lacerations on his back and ankles. Jones injured his ribs and spine.The mobile home park where they lived was also home to most of the 14 people who died in the tornado. Large families crowded into one- or two-bedroom units, which helped offset the financial strain endemic to a region where stable jobs are scarce.Sharkey County lost nearly 400 jobs after the tornado, according to Rolling Fork Mayor Eldridge Walker. The tornado laid waste to about 300 structures, including numerous homes and businesses, which meant lost tax revenue for the city, he said. In February 2024, Walker wrote to Thomas pleading for additional state funds.The city’s infrastructure suffered millions of dollars in damage. Public buildings, streets and the city’s sewer and drainage systems either sustained severe damage or were destroyed. One year after the tornado, buildings throughout town remain boarded up, and the remnants of destroyed properties dot the landscape.The local high school remains closed because of lingering damage, leaving students to ride buses to nearby towns. Destroyed vehicles still hinder residents’ ability to navigate their daily lives.“People were displaced from their transportation networks,” said William Keith, who worked on disaster response for the American Red Cross. “A lot of people went to the grocery store with their neighbor next door, or they had a buddy a couple blocks away, and then went to work with them.”After everyone was discharged from the hospital, the Cartlidge family moved into a two-bed motel room only minutes down the highway from where their mobile home used to be. The Rolling Fork Motel is a one-story brick building with green doors and a bright yellow sign that looms over Route 61, known as the “Blues Highway.”Music is integral to Rolling Fork’s history. Blues legend Muddy Waters is a native son. The highway running through town symbolizes the genre’s popular theme of packing up and leaving one’s troubles behind, according to the Mississippi Blues Commission.Convincing locals to stay is a harder proposition these days.More than 70% of Rolling Fork residents displaced by the tornado were renters. Housing assistance programs run by nonprofits stepped in after the tornado, but most are geared toward homeowners rather than renters or people who lived with family members, Thomas said.Queen’terica Jones, 23, lived with her mother, Erica “Nikki” Moore, and three children in a mobile home just down the street from the Cartlidge place. On the evening of the tornado, she found her mother’s lifeless body facedown amid the rubble.Jones had no legal rights to her mother’s property and didn’t have the documents required by many programs that financed new mobile homes for displaced residents. Objects that had previously seemed ordinary — housing documents, family heirlooms, tax returns — suddenly took on life-altering significance for her.“It’s a hard period. From losing your mom to having to start all over again,” Jones said. “Jesus, that’s a whole lot.”Without stable work and housing, Jones has moved between the homes of friends and family members since the storm. It’s a common story in Rolling Fork, where public services and steady work that had always been elusive grew even more scarce in the storm’s aftermath.“Towns such as Rolling Fork generally have a smaller tax base with fewer economic resources to respond and recover from such disasters,” said Ryan Thomson, a professor of rural sociology at Auburn University. “Federal and state aid oftentimes lag behind local needs.”Nonprofits, the state and the federal government rallied to help. But if the assistance doesn’t address some of the town’s lingering needs, officials fear an exodus is likely.“We are striving for a better Rolling Fork,” Walker wrote in his letter to Thomas. “And the chance to keep our people in this town.”The Red Cross paid for extended stays at the Rolling Fork Motel for displaced residents, and for months, volunteers clad in red vests doled out groceries and supplies to weary residents. They stacked whatever the storm hadn’t carried off in corners and made room for donated packages of Cup Noodles and Capri Sun.For nearly a full year in that cramped motel room, the Cartlidge family lived with only basic necessities. But they had owned their destroyed mobile home, making them eligible for a new one through a nonprofit called Samaritan’s Purse.In February, they moved into a renovated trailer near downtown, with a “Home Sweet Home” mat greeting them at the door. They cried in each other’s arms upon seeing the property.That night, Ida served the children popcorn and soda on a platter and they all watched horror films — none as scary as the nightmare they’d lived through together a year earlier.Then they went to bed, each in their own room.The Vatican on Monday declared gender-affirming surgery and surrogacy as grave violations of human dignity, putting them on par with abortion and euthanasia as practices that it said reject God’s plan for human life.The Vatican’s doctrine office issued “Infinite Dignity,” a 20-page declaration that has been in the works for five years. After substantial revision in recent months, it was approved March 25 by Pope Francis, who ordered its publication.From a pope who has made outreach to the LGBTQ+ community a hallmark of his papacy, the document was received as a setback, albeit predictable, by trans Catholics. But its message was also consistent with the Argentine Jesuit’s long-standing belief that while trans people should be welcomed in the church, so-called “gender ideologies” should not.In its most eagerly anticipated section, the Vatican repeated its rejection of “gender theory,” or the idea that one’s biological sex can change. It said God created man and woman as biologically different, separate beings, and said people must not tinker with that or try to “make oneself God.”“It follows that any sex-change intervention, as a rule, risks threatening the unique dignity the person has received from the moment of conception,” the document said.It distinguished between gender-affirming surgeries, which it rejected, and “genital abnormalities” that are present at birth or that develop later. Those abnormalities can be “resolved” with the help of health care professionals, it said.Advocates for LGBTQ+ Catholics immediately criticized the document as outdated, harmful and contrary to the stated goal of recognizing the “infinite dignity” of all of God’s children. They warned it could have real-world effects on trans people, fueling anti-trans violence and discrimination.“While it lays out a wonderful rationale for why each human being, regardless of condition in life, must be respected, honored, and loved, it does not apply this principle to gender-diverse people,” said Francis DeBernardo of New Ways Ministry, which advocates for LGBTQ+ Catholics.Nicolete Burbach, lead expert in social and environmental justice at the London Jesuit Centre, said the document showed the Vatican continues to fail to engage with queer and feminist approaches to the body “which it simply dismisses as supposedly subjecting both the body and human dignity itself to human whims.”“I think the main difficulty faced by the document is that it attempts to affirm the church’s authentic commitment to human dignity in the face of a troubling history on the part of the church itself around attacks on that dignity,” said Burbach, a trans Catholic theologian who researches transness and the Catholic Church.The document’s existence, rumored since 2019, was confirmed in recent weeks by the new prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, Argentine Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández, a close Francis confidant.Fernández had cast the document as something of a nod to conservatives after he authored a more explosive document approving blessings for same-sex couples that sparked criticism from conservative bishops around the world, especially in Africa.And yet, in an apparent attempt at balance, the document takes pointed aim at countries — including many in Africa — that criminalize homosexuality. It echoed Francis’ assertion in a 2023 interview with The Associated Press that “being homosexual is not a crime.”The new document denounces “as contrary to human dignity the fact that, in some places, not a few people are imprisoned, tortured, and even deprived of the good of life solely because of their sexual orientation.”The White House said President Joe Biden, a devout Catholic, was “pleased” to see that the declaration “furthers the Vatican’s call to ensure that LGBTQ+ (individuals) are protected from violence and imprisonment around the world,” press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.On the specifics involving gender theory, Jean-Pierre stressed that it was not Biden’s role to “litigate internal church policy.”Asked how its negative take on trans people squared with Francis’ message of welcome, Fernández said the welcome remained but that the pope fervently believed that the idea that gender was fluid “rather than helping to recognize dignity, impoverishes the vision” of a man and woman coming together to create new life.The document is something of a repackaging of previously articulated Vatican positions, read now through the prism of human dignity. It restates well-known Catholic doctrine opposing abortion and euthanasia, and adds to the list some of Francis’ main concerns as pope: the threats to human dignity posed by poverty, war, human trafficking, the death penalty and forced migration.In a newly articulated position, it says surrogacy violates both the dignity of the surrogate mother and the child.While much attention about surrogacy has focused on possible exploitation of poor women as surrogates, the Vatican asserts that the child “has the right to have a fully human (and not artificially induced) origin and to receive the gift of a life that manifests both the dignity of the giver and that of the receiver.”“Considering this, the legitimate desire to have a child cannot be transformed into a ‘right to a child’ that fails to respect the dignity of that child as the recipient of the gift of life,” it said.The Vatican had previously published its most articulated position on gender in 2019, when the Congregation for Catholic Education rejected the idea that people can choose or change their genders and insisted on the complementarity of biologically male and female sex organs to create new life.The new document from the more authoritative Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith quotes from that 2019 education document, but tempers the tone. Significantly, it doesn’t repeat Vatican doctrine that homosexual people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect but that homosexual actions are “intrinsically disordered.”In a news conference to introduce the document, Fernández acknowledged that the “intrinsically disordered” language was very strong. He suggested there might be a better way, “with other words,” to express the church’s vision of sex between husband and wife to create new life.Francis has ministered to trans Catholics, including trans sex workers, and insisted that the Catholic Church must welcome all children of God.But he has also denounced “gender theory” as the “worst danger” facing humanity today, an “ugly ideology” that threatens to cancel out God-given differences between man and woman. He has blasted in particular what he calls the “ideological colonization” of the West in the developing world, where development aid is sometimes conditioned on adopting Western ideas about gender.Transgender activists immediately called the document “hurtful” and devoid of the voices and experiences of real trans people, especially in the distinction it makes between gender-affirming surgeries and surgeries on intersex people.“The suggestion that gender-affirming health care — which has saved the lives of so many wonderful trans people and enabled them to live in harmony with their bodies, their communities and (God) — might risk or diminish trans people’s dignity is not only hurtful but dangerously ignorant,” said Mara Klein, a nonbinary, transgender activist who has participated in Germany’s church reform project.Klein said the Vatican “hypocrisy” was furthered by the document’s approval of surgery on intersex people, “which if performed without consent especially on minors often cause immense physical and psychological harm.”The document comes at a time of some backlash against transgender people, including in the United States where Republican-led state legislatures are considering a new round of bills restricting medical care for transgender youths — and in some cases, adults.“On top of the rising hostility towards our communities, we are faced with a church that does not listen and refuses to see the beauty of creation that can be found in our biographies,” Klein said in an email.Poland’s local and regional elections over the weekend failed to give Prime Minister Donald Tusk the sweeping victory he had hoped for in his efforts to reverse eight years of rule by a populist party that was accused by the European Union of eroding democratic norms.Exit polls released after voting closed Sunday show that Tusk’s centrist Civic Coalition did well in big cities, where it is popular with social liberals. However, the opposition Law and Justice party won more votes in elections for the country’s 16 regional assemblies, maintaining its dominance in conservative rural areas in eastern Poland.The elections were a test for Tusk four months after he returned to power as prime minister, a job he held previously from 2007-2014.He won on promises to restore judicial independence and democratic guardrails after changes to the judiciary led the EU to cut billions of euros in funding to Poland.Funding is being restored but Tusk still faces a difficult path. New laws must be passed to reverse many of the judicial changes. Meanwhile his vow to liberalize the country’s strict abortion law is being hampered by conservatives within his governing coalition.The results from Sunday’s vote show that Poland remains deeply divided and that Tusk continues to face a formidable opponent in the conservative Law and Justice party and in its 74-year-old leader Jarosław Kaczyński.Some had dismissed Law and Justice after they lost power at the national level last year. But on Monday it was clear that the party, which ruled from 2015-2023, remains a force even though it’s lost some of the advantages it had when in power. That includes control over public media, a tool it used for years to push party propaganda. Tusk’s government stripped his opponents’ political control over taxpayer-funded media in one of its earliest moves.According to an exit poll by Ipsos, Law and Justice won 33.7% and Tusk’s Civic Coalition 31.9%. The state electoral committee was still counting votes on Monday.Tusk also has reasons to be pleased following the election.His allies won key mayoral roles, including in the capital. Warsaw Mayor Rafał Trzaskowski celebrated a sweeping reelection victory, with nearly 60% of the votes won on Sunday. That puts him in a strong position ahead of an expected run for the presidency next year, when President Andrzej Duda will finish his second and final term. Trzaskowski, now 52, barely lost to Duda in the 2020 presidential race.Tusk’s party, the Civic Coalition, was also projected to increase its control over the regional assemblies. The parties in his national governing coalition — which includes the Third Way and the Left — together won about 52%.The Third Way was projected to get 13.5%, a solid result for a new electoral group that includes an agrarian party and is conservative on social issues. But it was a poor showing for the Left, which was projected to win just 6.8%.Tusk, in a post on social platform X early Monday, said he was happy about his party’s “record victory in cities” and the new advantage it had gained in the regional assemblies. But he expressed worries about “demobilization, especially among young people, failure in the east and in the countryside.A ransomware attack that has affecting New Mexico Highlands University for nearly a week so far has caused officials to cancel classes through Tuesday.It’s the latest in a string of cyberattacks targeting state entities.New Mexico Highland’s Information Technology Services department identified a technology issue on April 3, verifying a few days later that the network issue stemmed from a ransomware attack.The hack caused the Las Vegas, New Mexico, university to cancel all classes from Wednesday afternoon, through Tuesday, as of Monday afternoon.The attack was identified on the server that operates the college’s internal portal for staff, students and faculty, university spokesperson David Lepre said, which is necessary in order to conduct classes.Lepre said a majority of the campus also accesses payroll through the college’s network, so New Mexico Highlands set up a help center for people to log their time via phone instead. The university is working to make sure employees and student employees get paid on time, according to an online page with updates on the cyberattack.New Mexico Highlands is still investigating the ransomware attack and then can start mitigation work once officials know the full extent of the hack, Lepre said.He said the university has been working with the state’s Department of Information Technology and the Higher Education Department to resolve the issue.”We’re just working as fast as we can to restore service as soon as possible to the campus community,” he said.There should be another update from the university on the status of the attack Tuesday afternoon, Lepre said.He said that according to New Mexico Highlands University’s vendors, which specialize in cybersecurity and mitigation, the school isn’t the first state entity to be attacked by this specific group. He said he personally didn’t have the name of the entity and it wouldn’t be in the public interest to publicize it anyway.Last week, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham issued an executive order focused on enhancing cybersecurity protection among state agencies. She wrote in the order that “a surge in cybersecurity breaches and hacks poses a severe threat to the integrity of sensitive information held by state agencies.”The order directs the state’s IT department to conduct IT and security assessments on state agencies. By Nov. 1, state agencies have to comply with specific security protocols from the National Institute of Standards and Technology.In the order, Lujan Grisham encouraged public bodies that weren’t required to follow the cybersecurity rules to do so anyway.”Cybersecurity is not just a technological issue; it’s a matter of public safety and national security,” Lujan Grisham said in a statement. “That’s why I’ve taken decisive action to fortify the resilience of our state agencies against potential cyber intrusions.”A cybersecurity measure was one of the few bills that got through lawmakers in the most recent Legislature but not the governor. It was one of two pocket-vetoed bills.Sen. Michael Padilla, D-Albuquerque, previously told the Journal if he’s reelected, he plans to introduce a larger, more comprehensive IT package next year that would include the 2024 session bill, which he believed needed more work.A woman was arrested after performing multiple doughnuts inside a Hobby Lobby parking lot and then leading police on a car chase in Northeast Albuquerque.Kathryn Edmiston, 21, of Albuquerque is being charged with two counts of aggravated fleeing law enforcement and reckless driving, Albuquerque Police Department spokeswoman Rebecca Atkins said.She is being held in the Metropolitan Detention Center. It is unknown if she has an attorney.Edmiston’s arrest was part of APD’s citywide illegal street racing operation, which resulted in officers breaking up three separate events over the weekend and issuing 38 citations in the Valley, Northeast and Northwest Area Commands, Atkins said.According to police, one of the events involved Edmiston in Northeast Albuquerque.A criminal complaint filed at Metropolitan Court states that on March 30, an APD officer saw a driver in a white Dodge Charger — later identified as Edmiston — do doughnuts inside the Hobby Lobby parking lot, near Montgomery and Eubank.The complaint states the officer then put their lights and sirens on to “affect a stop” for reckless driving, but instead, Edmiston did “one or two more” doughnuts before fleeing onto Eubank at a “high rate of speed.”According to police, she accelerated south on Eubank and turned off her lights. The vehicle was later found traveling southbound on Interstate 25, where the driver got onto Interstate 40 and before getting off at the Louisiana exit.The complaint states she again turned off her vehicle lights and sped southbound on Louisiana before turning into a residential area. Other officers saw the vehicle near Eubank and Montgomery and identified her as the driver through a photo provided by the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division.On Friday, Edmiston was arrested inside a Maverick gas station in the 5000 block of Jefferson after officers noticed her parked vehicle, according to police.The judge overseeing former President Donald Trump’s hush money case in New York has approved a questionnaire for jury selection and instructions for prospective jurors in the trial, which is set to begin next week.In a letter Monday, state Judge Juan Merchan provided attorneys in the case with a jury questionnaire that consists of 42 numbered questions on a range of topics. The form does not ask about party affiliation, political contributions or voting history.Merchan pushed back against a contention by Trump’s attorneys that potential jurors’ political affiliations and whether they like Trump is important to jury selection, saying that “contrary to defense counsel’s arguments, the purpose of jury selection is not to determine whether a prospective juror likes or does not like one of the parties.””Such questions are irrelevant because they do not go to the issue of the prospective juror’s qualifications,” Merchan wrote. “The ultimate issue is whether the prospective juror can ensure us that they will set aside any personal feelings or biases and render a decision that is based on the evidence and the law.”The form asks prospective jurors numerous questions, including:Their neighborhoods, professions, employers (present and past), marital status, hobbies and interests, and relationships with others who have been victims of crimes or, alternatively, have worked in places like the FBI or prosecutors’ offices or in criminal lawWhether because “political, moral, intellectual, or religious beliefs or opinions” they would be unable to follow the judge’s instructions or render a verdictWhether they’ve read any of either Mark Pomerantz’s or Michael Cohen’s books about the alleged crimes and/or the investigation that led to the hush money case and whether what they have read or heard via audiobook “affects your ability to be a fair or impartial juror in this case”About their personal, familial or close friends’ ties to Trump or the Trump Organization before it addresses whether they have engaged in certain activities that would reflect political support for Trump or “any anti-Trump group or organization” and/or extremist movementsWhether they practice “a religion that would prevent you from sitting as a juror on any particular weekday or weeknight”; Merchan noted in his letter that if any observant Jews are selected as jurors, the court will not convene during PassoverWhat they read, watch and listen to in terms of media consumption, followed by a list of options to check, including The New York Times, the New York Post and The Wall Street Journal, as well as CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and Newsmax and social media platforms like Facebook, X, TikTok and Truth Social.Merchan suggested in his letter that the question of political affiliation “may easily be gleaned from the responses to other questions” but warned the attorneys in the case “not to seek to expand the degree of intrusion beyond what is relevant and has already been approved.”Attorneys for Trump and the Manhattan district attorney’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment Monday evening.The dispute over political preferences has also been raised in Trump’s classified documents case in Florida, with his lawyers and prosecutors battling over disclosures about political affiliation in a questionnaire for prospective jurors there.Trump pleaded not guilty in Manhattan last year after he was indicted on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in connection with hush money paid to adult film star Stormy Daniels during the 2016 presidential campaign.In addition to detailing the jury questions, Merchan also said Monday that prospective jurors will be informed before they enter the courtroom that they will be identified by the numbers printed on their jury summonses “as a necessary measure to ensure anonymity.”Merchan ruled last month that he will use an anonymous jury, effectively shielding jurors’ names from the media and the public, citing “a likelihood of bribery, jury tampering, or of physical injury or harassment of juror(s).”In Monday’s letter, Merchan said the court won’t conduct individual interviews with prospective jurors who say they’re unable to serve, saying the step is “unnecessary, time consuming, and of no benefit” to the case.The jury questionnaire and instructions come the same day a state appeals court judge rejected Trump’s effort to delay the trial, which is set to begin April 15 with jury selection.Fifty animals were removed from a home in Butler County after two dogs were found dead in garbage bags.The gruesome discovery was made on Friday afternoon when a deputy stopped to let his K-9 out.The criminal complaint said a Butler County Sheriff’s deputy stopped at the Vagabonds event center off Whitestown Road in Butler Township to let his K-9 out. That K-9 immediately sniffed out two garbage bags.Each garbage had a dead German Shepherd inside. Both were severely underweight, and a veterinarian determined they were starved to death.Police said the dogs had collars that were traced back to Paul Frederick.Audrey Clark grew up on the street where Frederick lives and is familiar with the family.“I think that’s absolutely disgusting. That’s foul,” Clark said. “There’s nothing that you can really say to justify that. There is a million other things that they could’ve done if they didn’t want the animals except for starving them. “Neighbors told Channel 11 the Fredericks are pet breeders and occasionally cater out of the Vagabonds venue, about five miles away from their home in Connoquenessing Township.The criminal complaint said when police questioned Frederick, he claimed he didn’t know how the dogs died.Channel 11 tried to talk to Frederick’s wife at their home but she was too emotional and told us, “No comment.”On Saturday, April 6, the day after the horrific discovery, police got a search warrant and seized 50 animals from the home, including dogs, cats, pigs, goats and ducks.Norman Herald lives next door to the Fredericks.“They’re good people,” Herald said. “I was shocked. I was really shocked because they don’t bother nobody and as far as I know they take good care of their animals.”Herald said he doesn’t think Frederick would kill his dogs.“No, I don’t believe that,” he said. “Definitely, I don’t believe that.”Other neighbors believe he should be held accountable.“He should definitely be charged, and those charges should stick,” said Clark. “Personally, I think you should be in jail.”All the animals taken out of the home were brought to Anna Shelter in Erie.Paul Frederick is charged with cruelty to animals and resisting arrest.A 45-year-old driver was held without bail after being accused of striking and killing a pedestrian over the weekend and then hitting the victim with a brick in the head more than 20 times.Vasco Semedo of Brockton wore handcuffs as he faced a judge during his arraignment on Monday, and listened through an interpreter as a prosecutor detailed a bloody and brutal attack on pedestrian Stuart Smith, 50, who died of injuries he suffered after Saturday’s incident.Semedo was behind the wheel of a blue Toyota RAV 4 and hit Smith twice with his SUV on North Main Street on Saturday morning before getting out of the vehicle and attacking Smith with a brick, Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Sprague said in court.Both the pedestrian crash and the brick attack were captured on surveillance video, Sprague said. She added that Semedo accelerated his SUV, and appeared to have hit Smith with the vehicle intentionally. Some debris fell onto the SUV after it struck a building nearby.That’s when, according to Sprague, Semedo unleashed a violent assault on the victim as he lay injured on the ground until bystanders intervened.“He got out of the car. He took a brick off the hood of the car. He went over to where the victim was laying on the ground, and struck him in the head with that brick over 20 times,” Sprague said. “Bystanders had to pull him away. He fought back against the bystanders. Several times he tried to get back into his car, but the bystanders would not let him leave the scene.Around 8:52 a.m. Saturday, police responded to the area of 65 North Main St. after receiving a 911 call reporting a vehicle striking a pedestrian, Sprague said.When officers arrived, witnesses told police that the driver of a blue Toyota RAV4, later identified as Semedo, had struck the victim, Smith, with his vehicle twice, “and then he got out of his car and struck the victim in the head with a brick,” Sprague said.Semedo was arrested at the scene and brought to the police station for booking. There, he told officers he had been out with friends at a bar drinking the night before, and had arrived home at approximately 3 a.m. Saturday, Sprague said.Hours later, at 7 a.m., he told police he left his home to go to work. He told police that he tried to park his car in front of the homeless shelter at 54 North Main St., and then he gave several different versions of the pedestrian crash to police, Sprague said.First, Semedo told police that “he accidentally hit the gas on his vehicle and struck either a person or a dog,” Sprague said. “Then he changed that and said it was a woman that he struck, and then changed that to say it was a doll he had struck.”Semedo then told investigators that “he didn’t know person he had hit but he had seen the person a few times in the past,” Sprague said. In yet another account, Semedo told police he accidentally hit the gas and hit a blue metal pole.During his interview with police, Semedo had “blood on his clothing and his hands,” Sprague said.When officers asked him about the blood, “He froze initially, then he said ‘Made a mistake,’ and then he said that the blood was from the person that he hit with his car,” the prosecutor said.Police found Smith unresponsive on the pavement in front of the RAV4. Neighbors said Smith lived nearby in a boarding house.Surveillance video obtained by investigators show Smith, the victim, walking along the sidewalk before he suffered fatal injuries. According to Sprague, the video shows Semedo’s car turn left on North Main Street and then stop. The vehicle initially appears to let Smith pass by.“As the victim is about to clear the car, Semedo accelerates, and appears to purposely hit the victim,” Sprague said. “The victim lands in the parking lot, and the car then goes and strikes a metal pole to the right.”Then, Semedo opened the driver’s side door, closed the door and then put the SUV in reverse. Smith, who had gotten up, began walking and stumbling towards a building, “appearing injured or dazed,” Sprague said.Semedo then “drove his vehicle directly at the victim as (Smith) ran away from the car, striking him for a second time,” Sprague said, adding that Semedo then allegedly got out of the SUV and began attacking Smith with a brick.A blue Toyota RAV4 with front-end damage was seen at the crash scene on Saturday, parked in a parking lot in an area surrounded by yellow police tape. A building nearby was also damaged and a utility pole was knocked over.Prosecutors said Semedo does not appear to have a prior criminal record. A native of Cape Verde, he has been in the United States lawfully for about two years, Sprague said.The pedestrian death in Brockton is the latest fatal crash involving a pedestrian and apparent road rage in Massachusetts.Over the weekend, 26-year-old Destini Decoff died of her injuries after authorities said a driver struck her during an apparent road rage incident near a pub in Hopkinton last week. Ryan Sweatt, 36, of Milford is accused of striking Decoff with his car near Cornell’s Irish Pub on Hayden Rowe Street in Hopkinton around 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

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