Russia to be hit with new sanctions in response to ‘war crimes’
The United States and the European Union plan to impose stiff new sanctions against Russia in retaliation for its “war crimes” in Ukraine after revelations of atrocities in towns near Kyiv, including the discovery Tuesday of six burned and blackened corpses. The new penalties by the U.S. and its allies, which will be announced Wednesday, include a ban on new investment in Russia and are intended in part to “impose acute and immediate economic harm on Russia.” The news comes after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told the U.N. Security Council Tuesday that the U.N. must bring war crimes charges against Russian leaders. In other developments, Russian forces overnight struck a fuel depot and a factory in Ukraine’s Dnipropetrovsk region, and the number of casualties remains unclear, the region’s Governor Valentyn Reznichenko said Wednesday on the Telegram messaging app via an Associated Press report.
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2 dead as South hit by severe storms again; extreme weather to move north
Violent storms killed at least two people, one in Georgia and another in Texas, on Tuesday as hail, strong winds and tornadoes tore across the South, where authorities warned a second day of violent weather could follow. A woman died Tuesday evening in Pembroke, Georgia, where a suspected tornado ripped through. In Whitehouse, Texas, about 100 miles southeast of Dallas, a 71-year-old man died when storm winds toppled a tree onto his home. There were also several reports of tornadoes in Mississippi and South Carolina on Tuesday, the Storm Prediction Center said. The threat of damaging weather will move further north Wednesday, forecasters said, with severe storms possible across an area stretching from western Alabama to the western tip of the Carolinas. More than 10 million people in metro areas including Atlanta; Birmingham; and Chattanooga, Tennessee, will be at risk, the Storm Prediction Center said.
Biden to delay student loan repayment, again extending pause
President Joe Biden plans to extend the moratorium on federal student loan payments through Aug. 31, the Associated Press reported, citing a federal official. For tens of millions of Americans, student debt limbo will continue another three months. The move will mark the fifth extension since the pause took effect in March 2020. This time, inflation is climbing and gas prices are soaring in connection to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The freeze saves 41 million borrowers about $5 billion a month, the Department of Education has said previously. Though borrowers likely will appreciate the extra wiggle room, many have grown frustrated with the continued extensions without a plan for widespread forgiveness. Both conservative and liberal politicians are expected to pan the Biden administration’s actions.
House to vote on contempt for Scavino, Navarro in Jan. 6 probe
The House will vote Wednesday on whether to hold Peter Navarro and Dan Scavino, who were advisers to former President Donald Trump, in contempt of Congress after their monthslong refusal to comply with subpoenas from the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. If approved as expected, the criminal referrals will be sent to the Justice Department, which would decide whether to prosecute. The House committee investigating the attack voted late last month to urge the full House to find Navarro and Scavino in contempt. Navarro, 72, a former White House trade adviser, was subpoenaed in early February over his promotion of false claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election that the committee believes contributed to the attack. Scavino, a communications aide, was with Trump the day of the attack on the Capitol and may have “materials relevant to his videotaping and tweeting” messages that day, the committee said.
Jury deliberations in Whitmer kidnap plot case head into third day
Jury deliberations are entering a third day in a trial that centers on a plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. No verdict was reached Tuesday, hours after U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker turned down the jury’s request for trial transcripts. Transcripts aren’t available yet. But even if they were, the judge said, jurors shouldn’t have them and instead must rely on their memory. Adam Fox, Barry Croft Jr., Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta are charged with a kidnapping conspiracy. Prosecutors said the conspiracy against Whitmer was fueled by anti-government extremism and anger over her COVID-19 restrictions. Former federal prosecutor Mark Chutkow told the Detroit Free Press, part of the USA TODAY Network, a rule of thumb in the trial world is that a jury deliberates around one day per every week of trial. In the Whitmer case, the trial lasted for 15 days. “That would suggest at least three days of deliberations in a closely contested trial,” Chutkow said, noting it’s only a guideline.
Contributing: The Associated Press