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Congress clears $95bn aid package for Ukraine and Israel

Congress passes foreign aid bill

The US Senate has approved a $95bn (£76bn) foreign aid package that includes military support for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan.

President Joe Biden is expected to sign the legislation into law on Wednesday.

The Senate on Tuesday evening backed the measure passed by the US House of Representatives on Saturday.

It includes $61bn in military aid for Ukraine, which the Pentagon says can start being delivered to the war-torn nation "within days".

It passed in a bipartisan vote of 79-18.


Man who stormed Capitol with Confederate flag, pepper sprayed officers sentenced to prison

James Easterday sentenced A Kentucky man charged for using pepper spray against law enforcement officers and who carried a Confederate flag while storming the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, was sentenced Monday to over two years in prison.

Israel James Easterday, 23, was sentenced to two and a half years in prison and 500 hours of community service. He was also ordered to pay $2,000 in restitution, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.

Easterday traveled from Kentucky to the nation’s capital because he was upset with the results of the 2020 presidential election and then joined the mob to storm the Capitol building, per the release. He was among the group of rioters outside the East Rotunda doors of the Capitol building.


Rep. Summer Lee beats back primary challenge in Pennsylvania

Summer Lee wins Pa. Dem primaryRep. Summer Lee has won the Democratic primary for Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District, according to Decision Desk HQ, fending off a primary challenge amid frustrations over her views on the Israel-Hamas war.

A first-term member of the Squad and a rising star within the progressive coalition, Lee will go on to compete in the blue district in the general election, having withstood Edgewood Councilmember Bhavini Patel’s primary challenge.

Lee was a top target this cycle of Democrats and Republicans alike looking to oust the left-wing congresswoman from her western Pennsylvania seat. Her positions on the Israel-Hamas war, including calling for a cease-fire throughout the conflict and expressing pro-Palestinian sentiments, made her more vulnerable than other House progressives.


David Pecker tells hush-money trial about paying Trump doorman $30,000 to take a story ‘off the market’ – as it happened

David Pecker testimony

Ultimately, David Pecker decided to broker an agreement with Dino Sajudin, the former Trump Tower doorman.

“How did that come about?” Prosecutor Joshua Steinglass asked.

“I asked Dylan to negotiate a price a number, to buy the story and take it off the market,” Pecker said.

Dylan went ahead and there was two parts to this. The first part was our normal procedures is we have the source, the tipster, take a polygraph test…

“Please don’t tell us any polygraph results,” Steinglass warned. “We pursued the story,” Pecker said.


UN rights chief ‘horrified’ by reports of mass graves at two Gaza hospitals

Mass Graves found near Gaza hospital

The UN human rights chief, Volker Türk, has said he was “horrified” by reports of mass graves containing hundreds of bodies at two of Gaza’s largest hospitals.

Palestinian civil defence teams began exhuming bodies from a mass grave outside the Nasser hospital complex in Khan Younis last week after Israeli troops withdrew. A total of 310 bodies have been found in the last week, including 35 in the past day, Palestinian officials have said.

“We feel the need to raise the alarm because clearly there have been multiple bodies discovered,” said Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the UN high commissioner for human rights.

She described bodies “buried deep in the ground and covered with waste”, adding that “among the deceased were allegedly older people, women and wounded”, including some bound and stripped of their clothes.


US priest accused of raping teen in 1975 not fit to stand trial, psychiatrists say

Priest accused of rape is not fit to stand trial

A 92-year-old retired Catholic priest charged with strangling a teenager and raping him in a New Orleans church in 1975 has short-term memory loss that prevents him from assisting in his defense, according to a team of forensic psychiatrists whose findings could influence whether one of Louisiana’s most prominent cases of clergy abuse is ever tried.

In a report which has not been publicly released but was reviewed Tuesday by WWL Louisiana and the Guardian, the psychiatrists said the priest – Lawrence Hecker – should not be tried for now on rape, kidnapping, crimes against nature and theft charges until he is re-evaluated later.

However, the report found Hecker’s mental health is good enough that he could recover his competence to stand trial after a relatively short time. It called for him to be re-evaluated in a matter of months, after he is given a chance to recover from various physical ailments and to be given treatment by the state’s mental health hospital.


Tennessee Lawmakers Pass Bill To Allow Armed Teachers A Year After Shooting

Tennessee legislature passes gun for teachersProtesters chanted “Blood on your hands” at Tennessee House Republicans on Tuesday after they passed a bill that would allow some teachers and staff to carry concealed handguns on public school grounds, and bar parents and other teachers from knowing who was armed.

The 68-28 vote in favor of the bill sent it to Republican Gov. Bill Lee for consideration. If he signs it into law, it would be the biggest expansion of gun access in the state since last year’s deadly shooting at a private elementary school in Nashville.

Members of the public who oppose the bill harangued Republican lawmakers after the vote, leading House Speaker Cameron Sexton to order the galleries cleared.


Trump urged to return docs nearly a year before search, FBI filing says

Cannon releases 400 pages of evidence

An associate of former President Trump told the FBI of advising Trump to return documents the National Archives was seeking nearly a year before agents searched his Mar-a-Lago home, according to newly unsealed filings.

The big picture: The summary of the unnamed associate's FBI interview was among a trove of documents that the judge handling Trump's classified documents case released with redactions on Monday.

  • Other revelations included that the Bureau initially referred to the Trump investigation with the code name "PLASMIC ECHO; Mishandling of Classified or National Defense Information."

Driving the news: The associate, identified in the filings only as "person 16," told the FBI that they had said to Trump while at Mar-a-Lago in Florida: "Whatever you have, give everything back. Let them come here and get everything. Don't give them a noble reason to indict you, because they will."


Russian air strike took out TV tower in Ukraine's Kharkiv, Zelenskiy says

TV tower hit in UkraineA Russian missile strike that broke in half a 240-metre (787-foot) television tower in Kharkiv on Monday is part of a deliberate effort by Moscow to make Ukraine's second largest city uninhabitable, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said.

Dramatic footage obtained by Reuters showed the main mast of the television tower breaking off and falling to the ground in the city that has been pounded by missile and drone strikes for weeks.

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