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Trump faces contempt motion after social media posts about New York trial

Trump faces contempt charges

About an hour after day one of Donald Trump’s criminal trial in Manhattan closed, the former president published the first of what would be a series of posts on Truth Social about his disdain for the trial, specifically his required attendance.

The Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg, filed a motion in papers made public on Tuesday to hold Trump in contempt of court for violating a partial gag order in the case.


Russian US election interference targets support for Ukraine after slow start

Russian influence getting to US electionsForeign malign influence in the U.S. presidential election got off to a slower start than in 2016 and 2020 due to the less contested primary season. Russian efforts are focused on undermining U.S. support for Ukraine while China seeks to exploit societal polarization and diminish faith in U.S. democratic systems.

Additionally, fears that sophisticated AI deepfake videos would succeed in voter manipulation have not yet been borne out but simpler “shallow” AI-enhanced and AI audio fake content will likely have more success. These insights and analysis are contained in the second Microsoft Threat Intelligence Election Report published today.


Columbia University president takes heat at congressional antisemitism hearing

Anti-semitism hearingA U.S. congressional committee on Wednesday accused Columbia University's president of failing to protect Jewish students on campus, echoing accusations leveled against three other elite university leaders at a hearing last year that sent shockwaves through higher education.

Columbia President Minouche Shafik responded to the accusations by some members of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce by strongly denouncing antisemitic behavior by students and professors at the New York City-based Ivy League university, and by pledging there would be consequences.

A new report on the Maui wildfires cites communications breakdowns

Maui fires reportAs wildfires ripped across Maui last August, the head of the emergency management agency dragged his heels about returning to the island amid the unfolding crisis, while a broad communications breakdown left authorities in the dark and residents without emergency alerts, according to a report released Wednesday.

Communications problems were also encountered by the Hawaiian Electric Company, with officials unable to confirm that power lines were de-energized until well after flames had caused widespread damage, the report from the Hawaii Attorney General said.


NPR editor Uri Berliner resigns with blast at new CEO

Uri Berliner

NPR senior business editor Uri Berliner resigned this morning, citing the response of the network's chief executive to his outside essay accusing NPR of losing the public's trust.

"I am resigning from NPR, a great American institution where I have worked for 25 years," Berliner wrote in an email to CEO Katherine Maher. "I respect the integrity of my colleagues and wish for NPR to thrive and do important journalism. But I cannot work in a newsroom where I am disparaged by a new CEO whose divisive views confirm the very problems at NPR I cite in my Free Press essay."

NPR and Maher declined to comment on his resignation.


Moskowitz confronts Greene on Ukraine, Nazi remarks

Moskowitz challenges Greene

Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-Fla.) confronted Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) in a Wednesday hearing about her false claims that Nazism was rampant in Ukraine — an argument frequently touted by Russian President Vladimir Putin to justify his country’s invasion of Ukraine.

In a House Oversight Committee hearing titled “Defending America from the Chinese Communist Party’s Political Warfare,” Moskowitz issued a searing rebuke of the Georgia congresswoman’s efforts to paint Ukrainians as Nazis and pushed back against her comparisons of Ukraine’s government to that of Nazi Germany.


Israel reportedly deploys extra weapons for assumed Rafah offensive

Rafah invasion plans set

Israel has reportedly deployed extra artillery and armoured personnel carriers to the Gaza Strip periphery, suggesting that the military is preparing for its long-threatened ground offensive on Rafah, the only place of relative safety for at least 1.4 million displaced Palestinian civilians.

Israeli daily Ma’ariv also said on Wednesday that troops had been put on alert and “the governing principle of the operation” had been approved by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) general staff and Yoav Gallant, the defence minister. The IDF declined to comment on the reports.

The IDF confirmed on Tuesday it was buying 40,000 tents to prepare for the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of displaced civilians who have sought shelter in Rafah, the southernmost town in the Gaza Strip, which is only major urban area in the territory that Israeli ground forces have not yet entered.


Indonesia volcano eruption sparks tsunami fears

Indonesia volcano eruption

Authorities in Indonesia have issued a tsunami alert after a volcano erupted several times in the province of North Sulawesi, spewing a column of smoke more than a mile into the sky and forcing the evacuation of hundreds of people from their homes.

Mount Ruang, a stratovolcano, first erupted at 9.45pm local time on Tuesday and then four times on Wednesday, Indonesia’s volcanology agency said.

Officials worry that part of the volcano could collapse into the sea and cause a tsunami, as happened in 1871. Tagulandang island to the volcano’s north-east is again at risk, and its residents are among those being told to evacuate.

The alert level for the volcano, which has a peak of 725 metres above sea level, was raised on Wednesday evening from three to four, the highest level in the four-tiered system.


US supreme court backs police officer in workplace sex discrimination lawsuit

SCOTUS supports female police officer

The US supreme court on Wednesday gave a boost to a St Louis police officer who sued after claiming she was transferred to an undesirable new job because of her sex, in a case testing the scope of federal workplace protections.

The 9-0 ruling by the justices threw out a decision by a lower court to dismiss the lawsuit brought by the officer, Jatonya Muldrow, and directed it to reconsider the matter.

At issue in the case is whether federal law banning workplace bias requires employees to prove that discrimination caused them tangible harm such as a pay cut, demotion or loss of job.


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