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Israel prepares assault on Rafah, seeks to allay fears of 'bloodbath'

Rafah about to be hit by IsraelisIsraeli forces geared up on Friday for a ground assault on Hamas in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where hundreds of thousands of people displaced by violence further north are trapped in desperate conditions.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said the military had been told to come up with a plan to evacuate civilians but aid agencies warned that a military offensive in such a densely populated area could end up killing large numbers of innocent people.
"There is a sense of growing anxiety, growing panic in Rafah because basically people have no idea where to go," said Philippe Lazzarini, the head of the U.N. Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA.
U.S. President Joe Biden said on Thursday Israel's response to the Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas militants was "over the top" and Washington said it would not support any military operation mounted in Rafah without due consideration for civilians.

South Dakota tribe banned Gov. Noem from reservation over comments on U.S.-Mexico border

kristie Noem banned by tribe

A South Dakota tribe has banned Republican Gov. Kristi Noem from the Pine Ridge Reservation following her remarks on deterring immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border.

“Due to the safety of the Oyate, effective immediately, you are hereby Banished from the homelands of the Oglala Sioux Tribe!” Tribe President Frank Star Comes Out said in a statement on Friday.

Oyate” means people or nation.

Star Comes Out accused Noem of using the border issues as a way to get former president Donald Trump re-elected and increase her chance of being his choice for vice president.

The tribal leader said some migrants coming to the U.S.-Mexico border are in search of a "better life" and are indigenous people from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Mexico.

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Biogen ditches Aduhelm, Alzheimer's drug that was approved amid controversy

Biogen

Biogen has announced it will give up ownership and halt sales of Aduhelm, an embattled Alzheimer's disease drug that was scrutinized following its 2021 approval.

Biogen said it terminated a licensing agreement with Neurimmune, which controls the rights to the drug.

Aduhelm, which became the first new Food and Drug Administration-approved drug for the disease since 2003, targets amyloid beta proteins that form in the brains of Alzheimer's patients. The FDA's accelerated approval of the drug in 2021 was seen as problematic by many in the medical community because the agency overruled the advice of expert outside advisers who said clinical trials had failed to prove the drug was effective.

Two years before getting approval, Biogen halted its trials early because researchers were getting mixed results that suggested the drug did not slow Alzheimer’s progression. Together, Biogen and the FDA began reanalyzing the data and concluded the drug worked, ultimately leading to the FDA's conditional approval.

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Ron DeSantis condemned as Florida removes sociology as core college class

Di Santis removes sociology classes

Educators are warning that college enrollment in Florida will plummet after the state removed sociology as a core class from campuses in the latest round of Ron DeSantis’s war on “woke ideology”.

The Republican governor’s hand-picked board of education voted on Wednesday to replace the established course on the principles of sociology at its 12 public universities with its own US history curriculum, incorporating an “historically accurate account of America’s founding [and] the horrors of slavery”.

The board faced a backlash last summer for requiring public schools to teach that forced labor was beneficial to enslaved Black people because it taught them useful skills

The removal as a required core course of sociology classes, which Florida education commissioner and staunch DeSantis acolyte Manny Díaz insisted without evidence had “been hijacked by leftwing activists”, follows several other recent “anti-woke” moves in education in Florida.

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Donald Trump wins New Hampshire primary

Trump wins NH primary

Former President Trump is projected to win the New Hampshire primary, according to Decision Desk HQ.

Trump’s win is a blow to Nikki Haley, who came in second and invested heavily in the Granite State. The rivals were polling closer in New Hampshire ahead of voting, with some showing Haley trailing Trump by just single digits.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) suspended his campaign Sunday and endorsed the former president, adding more pressure for Haley to pull off a strong win in New Hampshire. Haley now faces questions about whether she will continue her campaign heading into the South Carolina primary in February.

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French tourist finds 7.46-carat diamond at Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas

7.46 diamond carat diamond

A French tourist found a 7.46-carat diamond while visiting the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas.

Julien Navas, of Paris, found the diamond earlier this month on the surface of the park's 37.5-acre search area, according to a news release from Arkansas State Parks.

The park had received more than an inch of rain a few days before Navas' visit, according to the news release, which made it a wet and muddy day. After buying his ticket and renting a diamond-hunting kit from the park, Navas got to work.

"I got to the park around nine o'clock and started to dig," Navas said in the news release. "That is back-breaking work so by the afternoon I was mainly looking on top of the ground for anything that stood out."

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Trump lawyer quits his legal team ahead of latest E Jean Carroll trial

Joe Tacopina leaves Trump defense team

Joe Tacopina, an attorney for Donald Trump, has withdrawn from the former president’s legal team, according to court documents filed on Monday.

Mr Tacopina was representing Mr Trump in two major cases before his resignation. He filed his withdrawal in each case on Monday. His resignations come just one day before a trial begins to determine the damages Mr Trump owes E Jean Carroll for defaming her in 2019.

Mr Tacopina told The Independent he is not commenting on the reasons for his withdrawal at this time.

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