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Ukraine prepares 'for a new phase of the war' as counteroffensive appears imminent

Ukraine soldiersUkraine has entered “a new phase of the war,” a senior adviser to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told NBC News Saturday as speculation about its long-anticipated counteroffensive ratcheted up.

“Now we see the intensifying attacks on the Russian rear supplies,” said Mykhailo Podolyak, adding that preparations were taking place to strike back at the Kremlin's forces.

“We are preparing the battlefield for the new phase of the war. It’s going on now. It is a large number of measures in different sectors of the front line,” he said, conceding that preparation was well underway.

During the interview, Podolyak also praised a slickly produced video posted on Telegram Saturday by Valerii Zaluzhnyi, the commander in chief of Ukraine's armed forces.


A service dog gets his own college diploma, winning huge cheers

Service dog gets diploma

They got through college together — and when Grace Mariani took to the stage to receive her diploma at Seton Hall University this week, her service dog, Justin, was right beside her.

Her fellow graduates cheered as school President Joseph Nyre handed Mariani her diploma. She earned a B.S. in education, graduating magna cum laude.

Then Nyre held out a diploma for Justin, and the crowd inside the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., erupted. The scene was captured on video by the school.

Justin paused before accepting the white cylinder, glancing over to Mariani. Then he mastered the moment, grasping the tube in his mouth, his tail wagging while Mariani grinned.

The pair left the stage together to a chorus of cheers, and more than a few barks.

More and video...

Creating a sperm or egg from any cell? Reproduction revolution on the horizon

Sperm or egg from any cell?

It's a Wednesday morning at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine in downtown Washington, D.C., and Dr. Eli Adashi is opening an unprecedented gathering: It's titled "In-Vitro Derived Human Gametes as a Reproductive Technology."

It's the academy's first workshop to explore in-vitro gametogenesis, or IVG, which involves custom-making human eggs and sperm in the laboratory from any cell in a person's body.

"It is on the precipice of materialization," says Adashi, a reproductive biology specialist from Brown University. "And IVF will probably never be the same."

For the next three days, dozens of scientists, bioethicists, doctors, and others describe the latest scientific advances in IVG and explore the potentially far-reaching thicket of social, ethical, moral, legal and regulatory ramifications of the emerging technology. Hundreds more attend the workshop remotely.


Chevron deference is a vital check on the judicial branch


It’s an unlikely blockbuster case: a dispute over who pays for federal observers on herring fishing boats. But the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to take on Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo tees up what may be one of the most consequential decisions of the fall 2023 term. At issue is whether courts can substitute their own policy preferences for those of expert agencies when it comes to filling in the details of federal regulatory programs.

In the Loper Bright case, the Supreme Court will consider whether to overrule a four-decade-old decision called Chevron U.S.A. v. NRDC. In Chevron, the court formally stated a principle it had long applied: When Congress does not provide a clear answer about how a law applies to a particular situation and a regulatory agency fills that gap in a reasonable way, judges must defer to the agency’s decision.


Most Americans say they would support stricter gun control laws: poll

Americans support gun control laws

A majority of Americans in a new poll released on Friday said they would support stricter gun control laws.

Sixty-four percent said they were in favor of stricter laws, while 36 percent said they were opposed, the CNN-SSRS poll found.

A slightly smaller portion — 54 percent — said that such gun control laws would reduce gun-related deaths in the country, and 58 percent said they believe the government is able take effective action to prevent mass shootings.

Some 59 percent in the survey said they were in favor of banning semi-automatic rifles, while 94 percent said they would support taking measures to prevent convicted felons and those with mental health issues from owning guns.

Eight in 10 also said people under the age of 21 should be barred from purchasing any type of gun, the poll found.

Immunologist Akiko Iwasaki: ‘We are not done with Covid, not even close’

Immunologist: Covid Isn't OverAccording to the most recent estimates, more than 65 million people worldwide may be living with some form of long Covid, a startling number that will only continue to increase, given the lack of available treatment options.

One of the scientists leading the race to try to unravel the complexities of long Covid is Akiko Iwasaki, an immunology professor at Yale School of Medicine. Iwasaki has been at the forefront of numerous research breakthroughs throughout the course of the pandemic, from understanding why men were more vulnerable to the Sars-CoV-2 virus, the autoimmunity that made some people unexpectedly susceptible, and why a small minority have experienced heart inflammation in response to the Covid-19 vaccines. Most recently, Iwasaki has been awarded the prestigious Else Kröner Fresenius Prize for Medical Research, worth €2.5m (£2.2m), in part due to her ongoing work on long Covid.

Are we getting closer to understanding some of the causes of long Covid?
Long Covid is a blanket term that likely describes multiple diseases with different causes. We still don’t have the answers, but there are some hypotheses that are becoming more likely and others less likely. There’s more evidence now showing either viral proteins or viral RNA in various tissues, months after infection.


Biden and McCarthy reach ‘in principle’ deal to raise debt ceiling days before US default

Biden and McCarthy reach 'in principle' deal on debt

Joe Biden and the House Republican speaker, Kevin McCarthy, have reached a deal in principle to raise the federal government’s $31.4tn debt ceiling, with just days left before America was expected to default.

“I just got off the phone with the president a bit ago. After he wasted time and refused to negotiate for months, we’ve come to an agreement in principle that is worthy of the American people,” McCarthy said in a tweet.

Biden and McCarthy held a 90-minute phone call earlier on Saturday evening to discuss the deal.

It was reported that the deal would raise the debt limit for two years, averting any further standoffs until after the 2024 presidential election.


Texas House Votes To Impeach GOP Attorney General Ken Paxton

Ken Paxton

Texas’ Republican-led House voted Saturday to impeach the state’s Republican attorney general, Ken Paxton, finally moving to show him the door after a long series of scandals and possible crimes.

Lawmakers introduced 20 articles of impeachment against the three-term attorney general, whose antics have roiled the Texas GOP.

The affirmative 121-23 vote means Paxton will be suspended as the state’s top law enforcement officer pending the outcome of a trial in the Texas Senate, with Gov. Greg Abbott (R) given the option of appointing an interim attorney general. The timing of a trial is uncertain, however, given that the current Texas legislative session ends Monday.

Paxton is the first person impeached in the state of Texas in nearly half a century.

A Republican-led investigatory committee earlier this week spelled out the various ways Paxton is accused of abusing the power of his office through bribery, retaliation and a culture of fear.


Ron DeSantis Wants To Take His 'War On Woke' National. There’s One Big Problem: The Constitution.

DiSantisFlorida Gov. Ron DeSantis launched his bid for the Republican presidential nomination Wednesday by promising to bring the suite of culture war policies he’s signed into law in Florida to the whole nation if he’s elected in 2024.

“The woke mind virus is basically a form of cultural Marxism,” DeSantis said in an appearance on Fox News the same day he announced his campaign. “At the end of the day, it’s an attack on the truth. And because it’s a war on truth, I think we have no choice but to wage a war on woke.”

This “war on woke” serves as the central justification and argument for DeSantis’ bid for the GOP nomination. By challenging the supposed liberal tilt in American culture as expressed in schools, the media and the corporate workplace culture, this “war,” and the legislation behind it, shows DeSantis as a culture fighter who gets things done.



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