US, Ukraine top military chiefs meet in person for 1st time

A MILITARY BASE IN SOUTHEASTERN POLAND (AP) — The top U.S. military officer has traveled to a site near the Ukraine-Poland border and talked with his Ukrainian counterpart face to face for the first time. The meeting underscores the growing ties between the two militaries and comes at a critical time as Russia's war with Ukraine nears the one-year mark. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Gen. Mark Milley, met for a couple of hours Tuesday with Ukraine’s chief military officer, Gen. Valerii Zaluzhnyi, at an undisclosed location in southeastern Poland. The leaders have talked frequently about the war and Ukraine’s military needs over the past year but had never met.

White House defends its delayed, limited document disclosure

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House is brushing aside criticism of its fragmented disclosures about the discovery of classified documents and official records at President Joe Biden’s home and former office. Ian Sams, a spokesperson for the White House counsel's office, told reporters Tuesday the White House may withhold information to protect the Justice Department’s investigation and was releasing information as it deemed it “appropriate.” Responding to questions about the piecemeal disclosures, Sams said the White House has been trying to be mindful of the “risk” in sharing information “that’s not complete.”

Fugitive's arrest like a 'quake,' but Mafia very resilient

ROME (AP) — Prosecutors are likening the arrest of a Mafia boss who was Italy's No. 1 fugitive to an “earthquake” rocking the Sicily-based crime syndicate. Still, experts say Monday's capture at a Palermo clinic of Matteo Messina Denaro after 30 years on the lam won't eradicate the centuries-old crime organization. On Tuesday, police searched the convicted mobster's last hideout in western Sicily and investigated a townsman for allegedly lending his identity to the fugitive. Anti-Mafia magistrates say Cosa Nostra has put behind it the strategy of bombings of three decades ago that triggered a fierce crackdown by the state. These days, the Mafia is focused on enormous earnings from drug trafficking, which "has made a comeback in a big way,'' in the words of one prosecutor.

US won't seek death penalty for alleged Texas Walmart gunman

Federal prosecutors will not seek the death penalty for a man accused of fatally shooting nearly two dozen people in a racist attack at a West Texas Walmart in 2019. The U.S. Department of Justice disclosed the decision not to pursue capital punishment against Patrick Crusius in a one-sentence notice filed with the federal court in El Paso on Tuesday. Crusius is accused of targeting Mexicans during the mass shooting that left dozens wounded and killed 23 people. The 24-year-old is charged with federal hate crimes and firearms violations and has pleaded not guilty. Crusius could still face the death penalty if convicted on a state capital murder charge.

Greta Thunberg carried away by police at German mine protest

BERLIN (AP) — German news agency dpa is reporting that Swedish climate activist Great Thunberg and several other protesters have been carried away by German police from the edge of an open coal pit mine. They were demonstrating against the ongoing destruction of a village to make way for the mine’s expansion. Hundreds of others resumed the anti-mine protests elsewhere a day after the last two activists holed up in a tunnel beneath the village of Luetzerath left the site. Dozens glued themselves to a main street in the city of Cologne and to a state government building in Duesseldorf on Tuesday. A group of about 120 activists occupied the coal car tracks to a power plant.

Police arrest failed candidate in shootings at Democrats

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A 39-year-old felon who overwhelmingly lost his bid for the New Mexico statehouse as a Republican paid for four men to shoot at Democratic lawmakers’ homes in recent months, including one where a 10-year-old girl was sleeping, police said. The case against Solomon Peña, who has posted photos of himself online with Donald Trump campaign material, is one of dozens across the United States where people have threatened, and in some cases attempted to carry out, violence against members of Congress, school board members and other elected officials. In Kansas, a trial began this week for a man who prosecutors say threatened to kill a congressman.

Passenger's video captures last moments before Nepal crash

NEW DELHI (AP) — The twin-engine aircraft that crashed in Nepal and killed all 72 on board was co-piloted by Anju Khatiwada. Her husband had flown for the same airline and died in a 2006 plane crash. Inside the aircraft, passenger Sonu Jaiswal was shooting smartphone footage of the plane’s descent seconds before it veered to the left and crashed into a gorge. The camera went on to record the screeching sound of an engine along with fire and smoke. The deaths of Khatiwada and Jaiswal are part of a deadly pattern in Nepal, a country that has seen a series of air crashes over the years, with Sunday’s being the deadliest in 30 years.

Jury selected for Elon Musk trial about Tesla buyout tweets

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A nine-person jury has been seated to hear a trial that will determine whether Tesla CEO Elon Musk cheated investors by asserting in 2018 tweets that he had lined up financing to take the electric automaker private. The five-hour process set the stage for opening statements to begin Wednesday in the case. The trial is expected to include testimony from Musk to explain his thinking while engaged in one of his favorite activities — tweeting on the Twitter service that he now owns. The tweets fueled a rally in the company’s stock price that abruptly ended a week later.

EXPLAINER: How ominous is the debt limit problem?

WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal government is on the brink of hitting its legal borrowing limit on Thursday. In response, the Treasury Department plans to launch “extraordinary measures” to avoid a default. That may sound ominous. But the phrase technically refers to a bunch of accounting workarounds. Because the debt cap limits the issuance of government bonds, these workarounds would shift money among accounts to keep the government open through at least June. President Joe Biden and Congress are supposed to use that additional time to work out an agreement to raise the debt ceiling. These talks often grow heated and go down to the wire. But there have been roughly 80 deals to raise or suspend the borrowing cap since the 1960s.

Renner says he's home from hospital after snow plow accident

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Actor Jeremy Renner says he is out of the hospital after being treated for serious injuries from a snow plow accident. In response to a Twitter post Monday about his TV series “Mayor of Kingstown,” Renner tweeted that other than the brain fog that remains, he is very excited to watch the next episode with his family at home. Authorities in Nevada say Renner suffered serious chest injuries when he was run over by his own snow plow while helping free a relative's car on a road near Lake Tahoe on New Year's Day. The 52-year-old Oscar nominee also plays Hawkeye in Marvel's “Avengers” movies.

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