SRN - US News

First lady Jill Biden implores an ‘often mired in gridlock’ Congress to follow governors’ lead

WASHINGTON (AP) — First lady Jill Biden lamented the partisanship that permeates Capitol Hill and politics writ large, telling governors at the White House that she wished more lawmakers would follow their lead.

She spoke on Friday in the White House’s East Room to state chief executives who were in Washington for the winter gathering of the National Governors Association. During her brief remarks, Biden recalled something that Vermont Gov. Phil Scott, a Republican, had told her when she visited his state last year.

“What you said really stayed with me,” Biden said. “You said pure partisan politics has never contributed to real solutions, and that we can and should prioritize progress over politics, especially on issues where the majority of Americans agree.”

That majority, Biden said, is “an exhausted one.”

“As Gov. Cox often points out, they’re frustrated by a Congress that is often mired in gridlock, and those who too often treat government like a sport with an us-versus-them mindset and a knee-jerk reaction to oppose anything you know the other team supports,” Biden said, referring to Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, also a Republican who is the current chairman of the governors’ association.

But the group of governors at the White House demonstrates that bipartisanship is possible, Biden said.

“I wish that the lawmakers on the Hill would follow your lead,” she added.


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3 University of Wyoming swimmers killed in highway crash in Colorado

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Three members of the University of Wyoming swimming and diving team were killed in a highway crash in northern Colorado.

The crash happened Thursday afternoon on U.S. 287 about 10 miles (16 kilometers) south of the Wyoming-Colorado line between Laramie and Fort Collins, Colo.

The crash injured two other team members who were expected to survive, according to a University of Wyoming statement.

The crash happened when the driver of the Toyota RAV4 sport utility vehicle with four others inside swerved and went off the pavement, and the vehicle rolled over multiple times, the statement said.

Two people were ejected. The crash killed Charlie Clark, 19, a sophomore psychology major from Las Vegas; Luke Slabber, 21, a junior studying construction management from Cape Town, South Africa; and Carson Muir, 18, a freshman on the women’s team and an animal and veterinary sciences major from Birmingham, Alabama.

The two injured men, 20 and 21, were taken to hospitals, according to a Colorado State Patrol statement.

The SUV was headed south and apparently not on an official team trip, the patrol statement said.

The accident was being investigated.

“We are heartsick at the news of this terrible tragedy for our university, our state, our student-athlete community and, most importantly, the families and friends of these young people,” University of Wyoming President Ed Seidel said in the statement.

In 2001, a head-on crash with a drunken driver on the same highway killed eight members of the University of Wyoming cross-country team. Clint Haskins, also a University of Wyoming student, swerved into the lane in front of the northbound sport-utility vehicle.

Haskins was the only survivor of that crash 15 miles (24 kilometers) south of Laramie. He pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide and was paroled after 9 1/2 years in prison.


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A woman was found dead on the University of Georgia campus after she failed to return from a run

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — A woman found dead on the University of Georgia campus was a student at a nearby nursing school, said authorities, who were checking security cameras and advising students to travel in groups and avoid the wooded area where her body was found.

Police do not have a suspect, University of Georgia Police Chief Jeff Clark said at a news conference late Thursday. University spokesperson Cole Sosebee confirmed on Friday that the victim is 22-year-old Laken Hope Riley.

The woman was found Thursday afternoon after a friend told police she had not returned from a morning run, authorities said. She was unconscious and had “visible injuries” when officers found her, Clark said. Foul play is suspected.

“When you have a suspect that’s on the loose, there’s always a danger but there’s no immediate danger at this time,” Clark said.

Riley was a student at the Augusta University College of Nursing’s Athens campus, the school said in a statement.

Officers searching the area found the woman’s body in a forested area behind Lake Herrick. That area is across a busy road from a large dorm and dining hall complex on what’s commonly called “East Campus.” Most of the students in those dorms are freshmen.

Clark said his department, along with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Athens-Clarke County Police Department, were conducting the investigation. He noted that there has not been a homicide on campus in the last 20 years.

“We’re not going to leave any rock unturned in this investigation,” he said.

The University of Georgia canceled classes Friday. Augusta University canceled classes at its Athens campus but said it will remain open as a gathering place for students, faculty and staff.

The death “hits a little too close to home,” said Veronica Bennett, the mother of a University of Georgia student. She’s part of a group of moms pushing for security improvements on campus that go beyond the school’s safety app, WSB-TV reported.

“As a parent, I get tired of that being UGA’s go-to. Oh, we have the safety app. Well, the safety app is not much of a deterrent,” Bennett told the Atlanta TV station.


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White House accuses House Speaker of aiding Iran in latest Ukraine aid push

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House escalated its criticism of Republican U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson on Friday, accusing him of benefiting Iran and Russia by not putting a national security bill that gives aid to Ukraine up for a vote. Iran has provided Russia with a large number of powerful surface-to-surface ballistic missiles, six sources told Reuters this week, deepening the military cooperation between the two U.S.-sanctioned countries.

Iran is “actively enabling Russia’s war in Ukraine and its attacks against Ukrainian cities,” deputy press secretary and senior communications adviser Andrew Bates said in a memo viewed by Reuters that will be distributed publicly Friday.

“President Biden is standing up to Iran. But where is Speaker Johnson’s supposed commitment not to ‘appease Iran’ in all this? Nowhere. Instead, his inaction is benefiting Putin and the Ayatollah,” the memo says.

Top Biden administration officials spent last weekend in Europe trying to soothe jitters over the prospect of U.S. military aid to Ukraine ending, assuring counterparts from Paris, Berlin and Kyiv as the war enters its third year that Washington will somehow come through.

In previous negotiations with Republicans in Congress over the debt ceiling and other spending, the Biden White House has mostly avoided sharp public criticism as it focused on behind-the-scenes negotiation. But it has targeted Johnson frequently, accusing him in a Valentine’s Day poem of threatening border security.

The Senate last week approved a $95 billion bill providing assistance for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan by an overwhelming 70-30 vote, with 22 Republicans joining most Democrats in voting “aye.”

Johnson sent the House home for a two-week recess without bringing the measure up for a vote, saying “we’re not going to be forced into action by the Senate.”

He says any package of international military and humanitarian assistance must also include measures to address security at the U.S. border with Mexico after Republicans blocked a version of the bill that included the biggest overhaul of U.S. immigration policy in decades.

Senate Republicans and Democrats have joined those urging passage of the aid bill. Many believe it would pass the House with bipartisan support if Johnson would allow the chamber to vote.

“Putin has signaled he could attack NATO countries the United States is obligated to defend if he succeeds in Ukraine,” the memo warns.

“If House Republicans facilitate Ukraine’s defeat, America could face costs infinitely more expensive than the bipartisan investments we need to make in Ukraine’s capacity to defend themselves,” it reads.

Former President Donald Trump, frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination and a long-standing critic of the NATO alliance, has in recent weeks threatened to abandon some European allies if they were to be attacked by Russia.

(Reporting by Nandita Bose in Washington; Editing by Heather Timmons and Nick Macfie)


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This week’s cellphone outage makes it clear: In the United States, landlines are languishing

NEW YORK (AP) — When her cellphone’s service went down this week because of an AT&T network outage, Bernice Hudson didn’t panic. She just called the people she wanted to talk to the old-fashioned way — on her landline telephone, the kind she grew up with and refuses to get rid of even though she has a mobile phone.

“Don’t get me wrong, I like cellphones,” the 69-year-old Alexandria, Virginia, resident said Thursday, the day of the outage. “But I’m still old school.”

Having a working landline puts her in select company. In an increasingly digital United States, they’re more and more a remnant of a time gone by, an anachronism of a now-unfathomable era when leaving your house meant being unavailable to callers.

Though as Thursday’s outage shows, sometimes they can come in handy. They were suggested as part of the alternatives when people’s cellphones weren’t working. The San Francisco Fire Department, for example, said on social media that people unable to get through to 911 on their mobile devices because of the outage should try using landlines.

In the United States in 2024, that’s definitely the exception.

According to the most recent estimates from the National Center for Health Statistics, about 73% of American adults in 2022 lived in households where there were only wireless phones and no landlines, while another 25% were in households with both. Barely over 1% had only landlines.

Contrast that to estimates from early 2003, where fewer than 3% of adults lived in wireless-only households, and at least 95% lived in homes with landlines, which have been around since Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone in 1876.

Twenty years ago, landline phone service was the “bread and butter” for phone companies, said Michael Hodel, a stock analyst at Morningstar Research Services LLC who follows the telecom industry. Now, he said, “it’s become an afterthought,” replaced by services like broadband internet access and its multiple ways of making voice contact with others.

In today’s United States, landlines have practically reached the status of urban legend in a nation where connecting over mobiles with the people you want — at the exact moments you want, on the precise platforms you prefer — feels fundamental enough to be a Constitutional right.

Among most age groups, the large majority were wireless-only, except for those 65 and older, the only group where less than half were estimated to only use cellphones.

They’re people like Rebecca Whittier, 74, of Penacook, New Hampshire. She has both types of lines but prefers to use a landline. She only got a basic cellphone in case of emergencies when she was away from home.

“I guess you’d call me old fashioned,” she said. “I’m not good with computers or electronics. So a landline’s good.”

What drove the change? It was that shift from telephones being mainly for voice communication to becoming tiny, data-saturated computers that were carried around in our pockets, Hodel says.

Of particular significance: the introduction of Apple’s first iPhone in 2007. The rise of the smartphone fundamentally changed people’s relationships with the devices in their pockets. “I do think that was the big watershed moment was when smartphone adoption really started to take off,” Hodel said.

The introduction of a new technology into society has a blowback effect on the ones it is supplanting, said Brian Ott, a professor of communication and media at Missouri State University.

“Basically, the new technology trains us to alter our use of the old technology,” Ott said. “So even though the old technology hasn’t gone away, the logic of mobile telephony exists across our entire society today, even for people who still have landlines.”

But the sometimes headlong rush to adopt new technologies can have its own problems, he said: “Anytime a new technology is introduced, there’s sort of a rapid adoption period before we understand the consequences.”

The outage, he says, is a case in point. Even though it was resolved quickly, it raises questions about what would happen if a broader-scale event disrupted cellphones more widely in a world where landline phones are no longer as ubiquitous.

Hodel was skeptical, though, at the notion that people would be unsettled enough to bring landlines and additional phone bills back into their lives.

“Unless you really are faced with something dire, the odds of you actually being concerned enough to go out and do something about it that’s going to cost you some amount of money seems to be pretty low,” he said. “The service that we get where we’re connected the vast majority of the time, if not all the time, has been sufficient to keep people satisfied by and large.”

If nothing else, the outage made Mary Minshew of Bethesda, Maryland, who is in her 40s, feel better about the landline she and her husband have so far not gotten around to scrapping. They don’t use it; they and their children all have cellphones. And if it actually rings, she figures it’s a scam or sales call and doesn’t answer.

But, she said, part of holding onto it was “out of this concern that you should always have a landline if something like this would ever happen. I mean, it’s rare. But something like that did happen.”


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US targets Russia with hundreds of sanctions over Ukraine war, Navalny death

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The United States on Friday imposed extensive sanctions against Russia, targeting more than 500 people and entities to mark the second anniversary of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine and retaliate for the death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

President Joe Biden said the measures aim to ensure Russian President Vladimir Putin “pays an even steeper price for his aggression abroad and repression at home.”

The sanctions targeted Russia’s Mir payment system, financial institutions and its military industrial base, sanctions evasion, future energy production and other areas. They also hit prison officials the U.S. says are linked to Navalny’s death.

Russia’s embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the sanctions.

The Biden administration is seeking to continue supporting Ukraine as the country faces acute shortages of ammunition and the approval of more U.S. military aid has been delayed for months in the U.S. Congress. The European Union and Britain also took action against Russia on Friday.

However, Russia’s export-focused $2.2-trillion economy has proved more resilient to two years of unprecedented sanctions than either Moscow or the West anticipated. Russia invaded neighboring Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022 and the two-year war has seen tens of thousands killed and cities destroyed.

The U.S. Treasury Department targeted nearly 300 people and entities on Friday, while the State Department hit over 250 people and entities and the Commerce Department added over 90 companies to the Entity List.

The United States and its allies have imposed sanctions on thousands of Russian targets in the past two years.

“We must sustain our support for Ukraine even as we weaken Russia’s war machine. It’s critical that Congress steps up to join our allies around the world in giving Ukraine the means to defend itself and its freedom against Putin’s barbarous assault,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a statement.

PAYMENT SYSTEM

The U.S. Treasury imposed sanctions on state-owned National Payment Card System, the operator of the Mir payment system.

Mir payments cards have become more important since its U.S. rivals suspended operations in Russia after Moscow sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine, and their payment cards which were issued in the country stopped working abroad.

“The Government of Russia’s proliferation of Mir has permitted Russia to build out a financial infrastructure that enables Russian efforts to evade sanctions and reconstitute severed connections to the international financial system,” the U.S. Treasury Department said in a statement.

It also targeted over a dozen Russian banks, investment firms, venture capital funds, and fintech companies, including SPB Bank, which is owned by SPB Exchange, Russia’s second-largest stock exchange which specializes in trading foreign shares.

FUTURE ENERGY, SANCTIONS EVASION

The United States targeted Russia’s future energy production and exports, taking further aim at Arctic LNG 2 project in Siberia. In November, Washington imposed sanctions on a major entity involved in the development, operation and ownership of the massive project.

On Friday, the State Department targeted Russia’s Zvezda shipbuilding company, which it said is involved in the construction of up to 15 highly specialized LNG tankers intended for use in support of Arctic LNG 2 exports.

U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo told reporters that Treasury plans to level additional sanctions later on Friday over the G7’s $60 price cap on Russian oil. He said the measures will increase costs for Russia to use an aging fleet of tankers to get oil to markets mainly in India and China.

The United States also imposed sanctions on entities based in China, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Kazakhstan and Liechtenstein over the evasion of Western sanctions on Russia and backfilling, including for sending items Moscow relies on for its weapons systems.

The action comes as Washington has increasingly sought to crack down on Russia’s circumvention of its measures.

The move also targeted a network through which Russia, in cooperation with Iran, has acquired and produced drones.

The Biden administration also imposed new trade restrictions on 93 entities from Russia, China, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Kyrgyzstan, India and South Korea for supporting Russia’s war effort in Ukraine, according to a federal government notice posted online on Friday.

This means companies will be put on a Commerce Department “Entity List,” essentially banning U.S. shipments to them.

NAVALNY’S DEATH

The State Department on Friday also targeted three Russian Federal Penitentiary Service officials it accused of being connected to Navalny’s death, including its deputy director who it said reportedly instructed prison staff to exert harsher treatment on Navalny.

Navalny, 47, fell unconscious and died suddenly last week at the penal colony above the Arctic Circle where he was serving a three-decade sentence, the prison service said.

Biden, who has directly blamed Putin for Navalny’s death, met the opposition leader’s widow and daughter in California on Thursday and called him “a man of incredible courage.”

The U.S. action also targeted people involved in what the State Department called the forcible transfer or deportation of Ukrainian children to camps promoting indoctrination in Russia, Belarus and Crimea.

(Reporting by Daphne Psaledakis, David Brunnstrom and Timothy Gardner in Washington, Polina Devitt in London and Mrinmay Dey in Bengaluru, Editing by William Maclean. Don Durfee and Alistair Bell)


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AP Decision Notes: What to expect in Bridgeport’s do-over mayoral election

WASHINGTON (AP) — If it’s Tuesday, there must be a mayoral election in Bridgeport.

For the fourth time in five months, Democrat Joe Ganim, the incumbent mayor of Connecticut’s largest city, will face challenger John Gomes at the ballot box in his quest for an eighth term. Joining them once again will be Republican nominee David Herz.

Ganim and Gomes first competed in the Democratic primary in September, but a judge threw out those results and ordered a new primary and general election after evidence surfaced that Ganim supporters had stuffed multiple absentee ballots into outdoor ballot collection boxes. Ganim said these supporters broke the law but denied any knowledge or involvement in the scheme.

The originally scheduled general election was still held in November, but the judge’s order for new elections rendered the results meaningless. Ganim narrowly edged Gomes in the September primary as well as the November general election, where Gomes ran as an independent. Herz placed a distant fourth.

Ganim also prevailed over Gomes in last month’s do-over primary, this time by a more comfortable 13-point margin. Since then, Ganim has won the endorsements of two former rivals: Gov. Ned Lamont, who handily defeated him in the 2018 Democratic gubernatorial primary, and Lamond Daniels, a Democrat who ran as an independent last November.

Ganim first served as mayor from 1991 to 2003 before spending seven years in federal prison for corruption and extortion charges stemming from his time in City Hall. Voters returned him to office in 2015 and 2019.

Gomes served in Ganim’s second administration as the city’s acting chief administrative officer until he was demoted in 2016 and later as an assistant chief administrative officer until his termination in July 2022. Gomes has suggested publicly that his ouster was in retaliation for considering his own run for mayor.

The mayor previously faced a primary challenge in his 2019 reelection bid, when he narrowly defeated state Sen. Marilyn Moore by 270 votes. That result was also challenged in the courts, but a judge ultimately upheld the victory.

Bridgeport is a Democratic stronghold. President Joe Biden carried the city in 2020 with 79% of the vote.

Here’s a look at what to expect on election night:

The do-over general election for mayor of Bridgeport, Connecticut, will be held on Tuesday. Polls close at 8 p.m. ET.

The Associated Press will provide coverage for the Bridgeport mayoral general election. The candidates are Ganim, Gomes and Herz.

Any voter registered in Bridgeport may participate in the mayoral general election.

Generally speaking, turnout for special elections tends to trail that of regular elections.

Turnout for regularly scheduled mayoral elections in Bridgeport is already relatively modest, with about 17% of registered voters participating in the November general election. As with any low-turnout election, a competitive race could hinge on just a handful of votes, which could slow down the race-calling process.

Ganim edged Gomes by just 251 votes in the September primary and by 179 votes in the November general election. In the three contests between Ganim and Gomes held since September, the total number of votes cast ranged from about 8,000 to about 13,000 votes.

In past races, Bridgeport has first released the results of votes cast on Election Day, followed by the results of mail-in ballots at the end of the night.

In the original primary and general election, Gomes was the vote leader among votes cast on Election Day, but Ganim pulled ahead once the absentee votes were counted.

The AP did not call a winner for the November general, since the new primary had already been ordered by that point.

Ganim’s margin was much larger in last month’s do-over primary, but since both the original primary and the general election were extremely competitive and absentee votes were at the center of this drama, it’s possible that there won’t be a race call in the do-over general election until the absentee ballots are taken into account.

The AP does not make projections and will declare a winner only when it’s determined there is no scenario that would allow a trailing candidate to close the gap. If a race has not been called, the AP will continue to cover any newsworthy developments, such as candidate concessions or declarations of victory. In doing so, the AP will make clear that it has not yet declared a winner and explain why.

Connecticut law requires an automatic recount if the margin is less than 0.5% of the total votes cast or fewer than 20 votes but not more than 1,000 votes.

The AP may declare a winner in a race that is eligible for a recount if it can determine the lead is too large for a recount or legal challenge to change the outcome.

As of Oct. 31, there were slightly more than 81,000 registered voters in Bridgeport, about 60% of them Democrats, 7% Republicans and 32% not registered with any party.

Turnout for the November 2023 Bridgeport mayoral general election was about 17% of registered voters. About 13% of all ballots were cast before Election Day. In the 2019 general election, turnout was about 21% of registered voters. About 7% of the votes cast were pre-Election Day ballots.

As of Thursday, nearly 1,500 pre-Election Day ballots had been cast, 94% from Democrats and just under 2% from Republicans.

In the Jan. 23 re-do mayoral primary, the AP first reported results at 8:08 p.m. ET. The election night tabulation ended at about 11:42 p.m. ET with all of the total votes counted.


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AP Decision Notes: What to expect in Michigan’s presidential primary

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump look to repeat their past Michigan primary victories on Tuesday, when they each face opponents who haven’t yet won a contest this year but also show no indication of dropping out.

Biden is fending off a challenge from Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota, who has done little so far to slow the president’s path to renomination, while Trump faces another head-to-head match-up with former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley. While Biden and Trump are strong favorites to win in Michigan, state and party rules create complications on both sides.

For Biden, a more significant factor on Tuesday than Phillips may be an effort by some Arab Americans and progressive activists to urge primary voters to cast their ballots for “uncommitted” in protest of Biden’s stalwart support of Israel over the war in Gaza.

The effort has the backing of Rep. Rashida Tlaib, former Rep. Andy Levin and local leaders from throughout southeastern Michigan, including Dearborn, where nearly 55% of residents are of Middle Eastern or North African ancestry, according to Census figures.

On the Republican side, the primary is just the first step in a two-part process to win delegates. Less than a third of the state’s 55 Republican delegates will be up for grabs on Tuesday. The remainder will be won at 13 congressional district meetings that will be held March 2. Complicating that process is an ongoing dispute within the Michigan Republican Party in which the current and former state party chairs are planning rival events to allocate delegates on the same day. Trump has backed the faction led by former U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra, who was recently recognized by the Republican National Committee as the new chairman.

Four years ago, the Michigan primary was held on what would become the last primary date before COVID-19 was declared a pandemic and a national public health emergency. In that contest, Biden defeated Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont by 17 points, dealing his sole remaining rival for the nomination a major blow. Sanders dropped out of the race a month later. Trump, running as the incumbent, received 94% of the vote. In 2016, he won a four-way contest by 12 points against a much more competitive field.

Here’s a look at what to expect in Michigan:

The Michigan presidential primary will be held on Tuesday. Polls close statewide at 8 p.m. local time. Most of the state closes at 8 p.m. ET, but four counties in the Upper Peninsula are in the Central time zone and close at 8 p.m. CT, which is 9 p.m. ET.

The Michigan Republican Party will also hold congressional district conventions on March 2 to award additional delegates to the presidential candidates.

The Associated Press will provide coverage for both the Democratic and Republican presidential primaries. They are the only statewide contests on the ballot. The candidates on the Democratic ballot are Biden, Phillips and former candidate Marianne Williamson. The Republican ballot includes Haley, Trump, Texas businessman and pastor Ryan Binkley, as well as former candidates Chris Christie, Ron DeSantis, Asa Hutchinson and Vivek Ramaswamy. Voters in either primary may cast their ballot for “uncommitted.”

The AP will also allocate GOP delegates based on the Republican congressional district conventions on March 2. The only result reported for these events will be the number of national convention delegates each presidential candidate has won.

Any registered voter in Michigan may participate in either primary. Michigan does not register voters by party. Voters will be asked to indicate in writing which party’s primary they wish to participate in, and the choice is recorded.

For the March 2 GOP district conventions, only about 2,000 precinct delegates elected in the August 2022 state primary may participate. Voting by the general public is not permitted at this event.

Michigan’s 117 pledged Democratic delegates are allocated according to the national party’s standard rules. Twenty-five at-large delegates are allocated in proportion to the statewide vote, as are 15 PLEO delegates, or “party leaders and elected officials.” The state’s 13 congressional districts have a combined 77 delegates at stake, which are allocated in proportion to the vote results in each district. Candidates must receive at least 15% of the statewide vote to qualify for any statewide delegates, and 15% of the vote in a congressional district to qualify for delegates in that district.

The 16 Republican statewide at-large delegates will be allocated in proportion to the primary results, with candidates needing to receive at least 12.5% of the vote to qualify for any delegates. The remaining 39 delegates will be allocated at 13 congressional district conventions on March 2. The candidate who receives the most votes at a congressional district convention will win two of each district’s three national delegates, with the second-place finisher receiving one delegate. If a candidate receives more than 50% of the vote in a congressional district convention, that candidate will receive all three of the district’s national delegates.

Both Biden and Trump head into the Michigan primary as the overwhelming favorites. Biden won every county in 2020 against Sanders, who had won the 2016 Michigan primary. He is likely to repeat that feat this year against an opponent with far less support and star power than the Vermont senator, having won every contest so far by commanding margins — even in New Hampshire, where he was not on the ballot and won as a write-in candidate. While backers of the “uncommitted” campaign admit they stand little chance of winning the primary outright – Levin said in a recent television interview he thinks second place would be a good showing – “uncommitted” would qualify for delegates if it reaches the 15% vote threshold. If so, the likeliest place would be in Tlaib’s 12th congressional district, home of Dearborn.

On the Republican side, if Haley’s pattern of support from Iowa and New Hampshire continues, her best opportunities in the state will be in Democratic strongholds like Wayne County, home of Detroit; Genesee County, home of Flint; and Washtenaw County, home of Ann Arbor. Trump narrowly lost Washtenaw to former Ohio Gov. John Kasich in 2016 but won Wayne and Genesee in convincing fashion. Haley’s relative strength in Democratic-leaning areas has not brought her close to Trump’s level of support in contests held so far. Her performance in South Carolina’s Republican primary held Saturday is likely to be a make-or-break moment for her campaign’s viability moving forward.

The AP does not make projections and will declare a winner only when it’s determined there is no scenario that would allow the trailing candidates to close the gap. If a race has not been called, the AP will continue to cover any newsworthy developments, such as candidate concessions or declarations of victory. In doing so, the AP will make clear that it has not yet declared a winner and explain why.

Although polls in most of the state close at 8 p.m. ET, AP will not call a winner before the last polls have closed at 9 p.m. ET.

There were about 8.1 million voters registered in Michigan as of April 2023, the last update available. Turnout for the 2020 presidential primaries was 21% of registered voters in the Democratic primary and 9% in the Republican primary. In the 2016 primaries, turnout was 16% of registered voters in the Democratic race and 18% in the Republican race.

In the 2022 state midterm primaries, about 1.1 million voters cast their ballots before Election Day, or about 55% of the total vote. That was up from the approximately 804,000 votes – about 35% of all votes – cast before Election Day in the 2020 presidential primaries.

As of Thursday, more than 874,000 votes had already been cast in the 2024 presidential primaries.

In the 2020 presidential primary, the AP first reported results at 8:08 p.m. ET, or eight minutes after the first polls closed. The election night tabulation ended at 4 a.m. ET with about 99% of total votes counted. It was roughly the same time frame for the 2022 Republican primary for governor.

As of Tuesday, there will be 252 days until the November general election.


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US and EU pile new sanctions on Russia for the Ukraine war’s 2nd anniversary and Navalny’s death

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States and the European Union are piling new sanctions on Russia on the eve of the second anniversary of its invasion of Ukraine and in retaliation for the death of noted Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny last week in an Arctic penal colony.

The U.S. Treasury, State Department and Commerce Department plan Friday to impose roughly 600 new sanctions on Russia and its war machine in the largest single tranche of penalties since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022. They come on the heels of a series of new arrests and indictments announced by the Justice Department on Thursday that target Russian businessmen, including the head of Russia’s second-largest bank, and their middlemen in five separate federal cases.

The European Union announced Friday that it is imposing sanctions on several foreign companies over allegations that they have exported dual-use goods to Russia that could be used in its war against Ukraine. The 27-nation bloc also said that it was targeting scores of Russian officials, including “members of the judiciary, local politicians and people responsible for the illegal deportation and military re-education of Ukrainian children.”

President Joe Biden said the sanctions come in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “brutal war of conquest” and to Navalny’s death, at a gathering of U.S. governors at the White House. “We in the United States are going to continue to ensure that Putin pays a price for his aggression abroad and repression at home,” Biden said.

While previous sanctions have increased costs for Russia’s ability to fight in Ukraine, they appear to have done little so far to deter Putin. The Biden administration is levying additional sanctions as House Republicans are blocking billions of dollars in additional aid to Ukraine.

The war is becoming entangled in U.S. election-year politics, with former President Donald Trump voicing skepticism about the benefits of the NATO alliance and saying that he would “encourage” Russia to “do whatever the hell they want” to countries that, in his view, are not pulling their weight in the alliance.

Biden on Friday called on Congress to pass Ukraine aide, which has stalled since House Speaker Mike Johnson blocked votes for packages passed by the Senate for Ukraine and other countries. “Russia is taking Ukraine territory for the first time in many months,” Biden said. “But here in America, the speaker gave the house a two week vacation. They have to come back and get this done, because failure to support Ukraine in this critical moment will never be forgotten in history.”

Many of the new U.S. sanctions announced Friday target Russian firms that contribute to the Kremlin’s war effort — including drone and industrial chemical manufacturers and machine tool importers — as well as financial institutions, such as the state-owned operator of Russia’s Mir National Payment System.

In response to Navalny’s death, the State Department is designating three Russian officials the U.S. says are connected to his death, including the deputy director of Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service, who was promoted by Putin to the rank of colonel general on Monday, three days after Navalny died.

The sanctions would bar the officials from traveling to the U.S. and block access to U.S.-owned property. It is unclear, however, how many of the sanctioned officials travel to or have assets or family in the West. If they do not, the sanctions may be largely symbolic.

The U.S. also will impose visa restrictions on Russian authorities it says are involved in the kidnapping and confinement of Ukrainian children.

In addition, 26 third-country people and firms from across China, Serbia, the United Arab Emirates, and Liechtenstein are listed for sanctions, for assisting Russia in evading existing financial penalties.

The Russian foreign ministry said the EU sanctions are “illegal” and undermine “the international legal prerogatives of the UN Security Council.” In response, the ministry is banning some EU citizens from entering the country because they have provided military assistance to Ukraine. It did not immediately address the U.S. sanctions.

The U.S. specifically was to target individuals associated with Navalny’s imprisonment a day after Biden met with the opposition leader’s widow and daughter in California. It was also hitting “Russia’s financial sector, defense industrial base, procurement networks and sanctions evaders across multiple continents,” Biden said. “They will ensure Putin pays an even steeper price for his aggression abroad and repression at home.”

The EU asset freezes and travel bans constitute the 13th package of measures imposed by the bloc against people and organizations it suspects of undermining the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.

“Today, we are further tightening the restrictive measures against Russia’s military and defense sector,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said. “We remain united in our determination to dent Russia’s war machine and help Ukraine win its legitimate fight for self-defense.”

In all, 106 more officials and 88 “entities” — often companies, banks, government agencies or other organizations — have been added to the bloc’s sanctions list, bringing the tally of those targeted to more than 2,000 people and entities, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and his associates.

Companies making electronic components, which the EU believes could have military as well as civilian uses, were among 27 entities accused of “directly supporting Russia’s military and industrial complex in its war of aggression against Ukraine,” a statement said.

Those companies — some of them based in India, Sri Lanka, China, Serbia, Kazakhstan, Thailand and Turkey — face tougher export restrictions.

The bloc said the companies “have been involved in the circumvention of trade restrictions,” and it accuses others of “the development, production and supply of electronic components” destined to help Russia’s armed forces.

Some of the measures are aimed at depriving Russia of parts for pilotless drones, which are seen by military experts as key to the war.

Since the start of the war, U.S. Treasury and State departments have designated over 4,000 officials, oligarchs, firms, banks and others under Russia-related sanctions authorities. A $60 per barrel price cap has also been imposed on Russian oil by Group of Seven allies, intended to reduce Russia’s revenues from fossil fuels.

Critics of the sanctions, price cap and other measures meant to stop Russia’s invasion say they are not working fast enough.

Maria Snegovaya, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said that primarily sanctioning Russia’s defense industry and failing to cut meaningfully into Russia’s energy revenues will not be enough to halt the war.

“One way or another, they will have to eventually address Russia’s oil revenues and have to consider an oil embargo,” Snegovaya said. “The oil price cap has effectively stopped working.”

Treasury Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo, in previewing the new sanctions, told reporters that the U.S. and its allies will not lower the price cap; “rather what we’ll be doing is taking actions that will increase the cost” of Russia’s production of oil.

He added that “sanctions alone are not enough to carry Ukraine to victory.”

“We owe the Ukrainian people who have held on for so long the support and resources they desperately need to defend their homeland and prove Putin wrong once and for all time.”

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Associated Press writers Josh Boak and Zeke Miller in Washington and Emma Burrows in London contributed to this report.


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KEYWORD NOTICE – Rape and sexual violence in Sudan’s ongoing conflict may amount to war crimes, a new UN report says

GENEVA (AP) — The U.N. human rights office said in a new report Friday that scores of people, including children, have been subjected to rape and other forms of sexual violence in the ongoinng conflict in Sudan, assaults that may amount to war crimes.

Sudan plunged into chaos in mid-April when clashes erupted in the capital, Khartoum, between rival Sudanese forces — the country’s military, led by Gen. Abdel Fattah Burhan, and a paramilitary faction known as the Rapid Support Forces, under the command of Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo.

The fighting quickly spread across the African country, especially urban areas but also the restive western Darfur region, and has so far killed at least 12,000 people and sent over 8 million fleeing their homes, the report said.

The report, which covers a period from the outbreak of the fighting up to Dec. 15, documents abuses in a country that has been largely inaccessible to aid groups and rights monitors recently, clouding the impact of a conflict that been overshadowed by wars in places like Gaza and Ukraine.

The report found that at least 118 people had been subjected to sexual violence, including rape — with many of the assaults committed by members of the paramilitary forces, in homes and on the streets.

One woman, the U.N. said, “was held in a building and repeatedly gang-raped over a period of 35 days.”

The report also pointed to recruitment of child soldiers on both sides of the conflict.

“Some of these violations would amount to war crimes,” said U.N. human rights chief Volker Türk, calling for prompt, thorough and independent investigations into alleged rights abuses and violations.

The report is based on interview of more than 300 victims and witnesses, some conducted in neighboring Ethiopia and Chad where many Sudanese have fled, along with analysis of photographs, videos, and satellite imagery from the conflict areas.

The ravages of the war, beyond the period examined, are continuing, the U.N. said.

The U.N. cited video that emerged last week from the country’s North Kordofan State showing men wearing Sudanese army uniforms carrying severed heads of members of the rival paramilitary faction.

“For nearly a year now, accounts coming out of Sudan have been of death, suffering and despair, as the senseless conflict and human rights violations and abuses have persisted with no end in sight,” Türk said.

“The guns must be silenced, and civilians must be protected,” he added.

Speaking from Nairobi, Kenya, by videoconference to the U.N. briefing in Geneva on Friday, Seif Magango, a regional spokesman for the U.N. human rights office said that “the number of people displaced (in Sudan) has now crossed the 8 million mark, which should concern everyone.”

Earlier in February, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres told reporters that there is no military solution to Sudan’s conflict and urged the rival generals to start talking about ending the conflict. He stressed that continued fighting “will not bring any solution so we must stop this as soon as possible.”


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