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A state court judge’s ruling has placed Oregon’s tough new voter-approved gun law on hold just hours after a federal court judge in Portland allowed a ban on the sale and transfer of high-capacity magazines to take effect this week. The ruling by Harney County Judge Robert Raschio threw the law’s implementation into limbo. Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum will file an immediate appeal with the Oregon Supreme Court. Earlier Tuesday, a federal judge in Portland delivered an initial victory to proponents of the sweeping gun-control measure by allowing the high-capacity magazine ban to take effect Thursday.

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The head of New Orleans's police department is retiring. Superintendent Shaun Ferguson leaves as the city and the department struggle to fight increases in violent crime with depleted police manpower. Mayor LaToya Cantrell announced Ferguson's departure in a news release thanking him for 24 years of service with the department. Ferguson succeeded Michael Harrison, who left New Orleans to head the Baltimore police department in January 2019. While New Orleans has continued to win praise for implementing reforms the city has also faced increased violent crime in recent years. And the force has dwindled to fewer than 1,000 officers, down from 1,300 a few years ago.

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Two North Carolina Democratic government lawyers have argued on competing sides at an appeals court in a case over whether the Wake County district attorney can prosecute Attorney General Josh Stein or others for a 2020 campaign commercial. Private attorneys for Stein and Wake District Attorney Lorrin Freeman met Tuesday before a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. At issue is a state law that makes certain political speech a crime. Stein's campaign ad criticized his then-Republican challenger for AG over untested rape kits. Stein and his allies say the 1931 law is unconstitutional and want the judges to block its enforcement.

Here and there, across the far-flung Muslim and Arab world, LGBTQ people see glimmers of progress — but those are rare exceptions. Many Muslim nations criminalize gay and lesbian sex -- including World Cup host Qatar. LGBTQ people routinely are rejected by their families, denounced by Islamic authorities, hounded by security forces, and limited to clandestine social lives. Appeals for change from LGBTQ-friendly nations are routinely dismissed as unwarranted outside interference. In some countries, apparent advances for LGBTQ people have been followed by setbacks. Lebanon and Turkey are prime examples

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Attorneys for the family of a Ugandan activist killed by a swinging metal gate at Arches National Park in Utah are seeking $140 million in damages in a wrongful death lawsuit against the U.S. government. A federal judge on Monday heard opening statements in the death of 25-year-old Esther Nakajjigo. Attorneys described the accident that led to her death in 2020. She and her husband Ludovic Michaud were driving out of Arches National Park when wind blew an unsecured metal-pipe gate into the couple's car, killing her instantly. Nakajjigo was a prominent activist for women's issues in Uganda known for hosting a television program about women's issues.

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A Minnesota town has backed away from a proposal to let people sue abortion providers, including organizations that provide abortion drugs by mail, after the state attorney general warned that the plan was unconstitutional. But the legislator behind the proposal, which is based on a Texas law, said Monday he’s not giving up despite the unanimous vote by the Prinsburg City Council on Friday to drop the idea. Republican Tim Miller, of Prinsburg, says he still thinks it's constitutional despite what Democratic Attorney General Keith Ellison says. Miller said he'll continue trying to enact it in other rural Minnesota communities.

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Authorities are searching for the pilot of a small airplane that crashed into the Gulf of Mexico off the Florida coast over the weekend, with two people confirmed dead. Authorities in Venice, Florida, said Monday that they're looking for a 42-year-old man in an area offshore from the Venice Municipal Airport. The single-engine Piper Cherokee was reported overdue Saturday when it did not return to its origin airport in St. Petersburg, Florida. Police Chief Charlie Thorpe told reporters that recreational boaters found the body of a woman floating west of the Venice shore. A 14-year-old girl’s body was found in the wreckage of the aircraft. All three people who were on the plane are related.

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The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously on Friday to ban the drilling of new oil and gas wells and to phase out existing ones over the next 20 years. The vote comes after more than a decade of complaints from city residents that pollution drifting from wells was affecting their health. Los Angeles was once a booming oil town, but many of its oilfields are now played out.

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Boise Mayor Lauren McLean says the director of the city's police watchdog group has been placed on administrative leave. McLean’s office said in a news release that the decision to place Office of Police Accountability Director Jesus Jara on leave Friday is in response to ongoing concerns with his professional judgement. Jara was made director in late August 2021. Hepworth Law Offices said Friday it was representing Jara regarding a potential breach of contract by the city, retaliation concerns and “violations of law.” In September, McLean asked the city's police chief to resign.

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Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper and his real estate company are being scrutinized in a criminal investigation. The probe is examining whether they misused any public money in their failed effort to build a new practice facility for the NFL team. in South Carolina. The York County Sheriff’s Office says state agents and local prosecutors are involved in the probe, which does not mean any crime occured. Tepper’s company GT Real Estate is denying any criminal wrongdoing. It suggests the probe could be timed to disrupt a settlement the team reached agreeing to repay York County more than $21 million, roughly what it took in sales tax revenue to build access roads.

An Indiana judge imposed a gag order on Friday in the case of a man charged in the notorious slayings of two teenage girls nearly six years ago. Fifty-year-old Richard Matthew Allen of Delphi is charged with murder in the February 2017 killings of 14-year-old Liberty German and 13-year-old Abigail Williams. Judge Fran Gull’s order applies to attorneys, law enforcement officials, court personnel, the coroner and the girls’ family members. Any of these people who comment in public could face contempt of court charges. Carroll County prosecutors had sought the gag order.

The Colorado Secretary of State has ordered a recount in Colorado’s congressional race where Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert led Democrat Adam Frisch by just 550 votes in an unexpectedly tight race. The Associated Press has declared the election too close to call and will await results of the recount. Boebert, a Republican lightning rod, claimed victory in a tweeted video from the U.S. Capitol over a week after the election. Frisch is a former city councilman from the posh ski town of Aspen. He conceded the race while acknowledging that the mandatory recount is unlikely to change the results.

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About 150 Tibetan exiles holding blank pieces of paper have rallied in India’s capital to express solidarity with people in China protesting its “zero COVID” policy. The blank paper is a symbol of defiance used by protesters in China against the ruling Communist Party’s widespread censorship. Street protests broke out in several Chinese cities over the weekend over rigid restrictions to combat COVID-19. The demonstration in New Delhi was organized by the Tibetan Youth Congress, which supports the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader who fled to India in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule.

Ohio House lawmakers have advanced a proposal meant to ensure that gun owners’ lawfully held firearms and ammunition aren’t seized by the government during natural disasters, public health crises or other declared emergencies. The bill cleared the Republican-led House on Thursday. During such emergencies, it would deem certain firearms businesses “essential,” temporarily extend concealed carry licenses that would otherwise expire and keep government entities from stopping lawful hunting or fishing practices. The bill's Republican sponsor has said it doesn't add new gun rights but clarifies that owners “cannot have their rights taken away.” Opponents say the measure would hinder local governments from protecting their residents.

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A rural Arizona county has certified its midterm election results after blowing past the deadline in state law. The Cochise County Board of Supervisors voted Thursday to follow the orders of a judge who ruled that they broke the law when they refused to sign off on the vote count by this week’s deadline. Two Republicans on Cochise County’s three-member board of supervisors did not cite any problems with the election results as a reason to delay. Rather, they say they weren’t satisfied that the machines used to tabulate ballots were properly certified for use in elections, though state and federal election officials have said they were.

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The Prince and Princess of Wales have visited a green technology startup incubator in suburban Boston and a nonprofit that gives young people the tools to stay out jail and away from violence. William and Kate are in the United States for their first overseas visit since the death of Queen Elizabeth II. On Thursday, they heard about solar-powered autonomous boats and low-carbon cement at the incubator Greentown Labs. The royal couple’s trip comes as they look to foster new ways to address climate change. It culminates Friday with the prince’s signature Earthshot Prize, a global competition aimed at finding new ways to tackle climate change.

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The judge who oversaw the trial of a man convicted of killing six people when he drove his SUV through a Christmas parade last year says national exposure and encouragement she got for her handling of the case is not why she is running for a pivotal Wisconsin Supreme Court seat. But Dan Kelly, one of her challengers and a fellow conservative, said Thursday that the case is the only reason Waukesha County Circuit Judge Jennifer Dorow got in the race. Dorow and Kelly are the two conservative candidates for the open seat to be determined in the April 4 election. Two liberal judges are also running.

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The ACLU of Arizona says it is suing the city of Phoenix in order to block resumed sweeps of a huge homeless encampment downtown that they say has displaced people and destroyed identification documents, prescription medications and other belongings. The ACLU says it filed the complaint late Wednesday in the U.S. District Court of Arizona to halt the city's possible resumption in December of raids that were paused at the beginning of 2022. It's the latest move in an ongoing tug-of-war between advocates and cities in Western states over how best to tackle the problem of homelessness.

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Hate rats? Are you a “somewhat bloodthirsty” New Yorker with excellent communication skills and “a general aura of badassery”? Then you might have what it takes to be the city’s new rat czar. Mayor Eric Adams’ administration posted a job listing this week seeking someone to lead the city’s long-running battle against rats. The official job title is “director of rodent mitigation,” although it was promptly dubbed the rat czar. The salary range is $120,000 to $170,000. The posting is whimsical, but the job is daunting. New York City leaders have been trying to control the rodent population for generations, with mixed results.

A Michigan city agreed to pay $1,000 to a car owner to settle a lawsuit about marking tires to catch parking violators. The deal in Bay City followed a declaration in August that a similar practice in Saginaw was illegal. Federal Judge Thomas Ludington said chalking tires without a warrant violated constitutional protections against unreasonable searches. Jody Tyvela received tickets at least six times in 2016 and 2017. Without having time meters, parking enforcers marked tires to determine who was parked too long in downtown Bay City. Tyvela will receive $1,000 and her attorneys will get $59,000 under the settlement with Bay City and the city’s Downtown Development Authority.

A second Pennsylvania appellate court judge, Deborah Kunselman, is running for an open seat on the state Supreme Court in next November’s election. Kunselman, a Democrat, said Thursday that she'll seek her party's nomination for a 10-year term on the state's highest court. The 55-year-old Kunselman was elected to a Superior Court seat in 2017. The court handles appeals from county courts in criminal and civil cases. Kunselman became the first woman elected as a Beaver County judge in 2005. The seven-seat high court currently has a Democratic majority. One seat is open following the death of Max Baer, who was chief justice.

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A Hong Kong court has postponed a pro-democracy newspaper publisher's trial. Jimmy Lai faces a possible life sentence if convicted under a National Security Law imposed by Beijing. Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee asked Beijing to decide whether foreign lawyers who don't normally practice in Hong Kong can be rejected for national security cases. The objection came after judges on Monday approved Lai’s plan to hire British human rights lawyer Timothy Owen. The trial is being delayed until Beijing makes a decision. If Beijing intervenes, that would mark the sixth time the Communist-ruled government has stepped into the city’s legal affairs.

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More Chinese cities are easing anti-virus restrictions and police are patrolling their streets as the government tries to defuse public anger over some of the world’s most stringent COVID measures. Following weekend demonstrations at which some crowds made the politically explosive demand that leader Xi Jinping resign, the streets of major cities have been quiet in the face of a crackdown. Guangzhou, Shijiazhuang, Chengdu and other major cities announced they were easing testing requirements and controls on movement. In some areas, markets and bus service reopened. A newspaper reported Beijing has begun allowing some people with the virus to isolate at home. The government didn’t immediately respond to a request for confirmation Thursday.

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Los Angeles police are seeking a search warrant for the Reddit website as they try to identify the person who leaked a racist discussion between City Council members and a powerful labor leader, causing a scandal that has rocked the community and shaken faith in its lawmakers. The LAPD said Tuesday that it's trying to determine the origin of the recording that was posted on Reddit last month. Police want to determine whether the recording was made illegally. The recording captured then-council President Nury Martinez and Councilmen Gil Cedillo and Kevin de León scheming to protect their political clout. It also featured offensive and bigoted remarks against Blacks and others. Martinez resigned. The other council members have refused repeated calls to do so.

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The U.S. Justice Department has received a federal judge’s approval to carry out its proposal to improve the precarious water system in Mississippi’s capital city. The department filed the proposal Tuesday and U.S. District Judge Henry Wingate approved it later that day in Mississippi. Attorney General Merrick Garland said Wednesday in Washington that the proposal is necessary to “stabilize the circumstances” in Jackson as soon as possible while city, state and federal officials negotiate a court-enforced consent decree. The move authorizes the appointment of a third-party manager to oversee reforms to Jackson’s water system. It also puts a Justice Department complaint against the city on hold for six months.

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