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Wednesday, Feb 28th

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Kyiv troops withdraw from villages as Nato says no plans for soldiers on the ground

Ukrraine wihdraws from wo villagesUkraine's military said on Tuesday it had withdrawn from two more villages near the eastern town of Avdiivka which was captured earlier this month by Russian forces, losing more territory as support from its Western allies runs short.

A senior commander said troops had consolidated new defensive positions west of Avdiivka, whose capture was the biggest Russian battlefield gain in nine months.
Ukrainian military spokesperson Dmytro Lykhoviy said troops had pulled back from Sieverne and Stepove, a day after Kyiv announced it had abandoned the village of Lastochkyne.
"Our forces withdrew from the small villages of Sievierne and Stepove... Heavy battles for Sievierne went on yesterday in the evening and night," Lykhoviy said, adding that Russia had taken significant losses in that fight.

Alabama justice's ties with far-right Christian movement raise concern

Alabama Justice Tom Parker

In the days since Alabama's Supreme Court ruled that frozen embryos should be considered "extrauterine children," the involvement of that court's chief justice with a once-fringe Christian Nationalist movement has come under renewed scrutiny.

Tom Parker, a Republican who joined the court in 2005, wrote a concurring opinion that quoted at length from sources such as the Book of Genesis, the Ten Commandments and Christian thinkers of centuries ago, such as Thomas Aquinas. But comments he has made in other media have raised questions about his seeming espousal of "Seven Mountains" theology, a concept that some experts consider to be Christian extremism.

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Florida Republicans’ war on the war on heat

FLorida workers are forced to work in heat

Florida workers would not be able to count on shade breaks or water on hot days under a Republican proposal to block cities and counties from requiring those protections.

The effort comes as many states — particularly Florida — experience more extremely hot days as the climate warms, writes Adam Aton. Last year, at least two farm workers died in South Florida amid extreme heat, including a 28-year-old on his first day harvesting vegetables.

Miami-Dade County has since proposed mandating 10-minute breaks in the shade every two hours for construction and farm workers. But a bill that advanced in a Florida state House committee last week would prevent the county from imposing the mandate, with Republicans arguing such protections would harm the state’s economy.

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Michael Steele warns of GOP being ground ‘into the dust of nothing’ over Trump support

Mochael SteeleFormer Republican National Committee (RNC) Chair Michael Steele offered a stark assessment of the Republican Party on Tuesday, arguing long-term growth for the party is not likely with former President Trump at the helm.

MSNBC “Morning Joe” co-host Willie Geist pointed out Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley still garnered about 40 percent of South Carolina’s GOP primary vote last weekend, despite losing by nearly 20 points to Trump in her home state, when speaking with Steele on Tuesday. Some political analysts have argued this indicates Trump could struggle to hold a lead in November’s general election.

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Star witness for Trump defendants in Georgia fails to give damning testimony

Terrence BradleyLawyers for Donald Trump’s co-defendants charged in Georgia over efforts to overturn the 2020 election were unable on Tuesday to get their star witness to repeat in court what he had previously alleged about the Fulton county district attorney’s affair, as they seek to have her thrown off the case.

“I was speculating and I never witnessed anything. It was speculation,” Terrence Bradley said about text messages he sent to one of the defense lawyers in January that alleged the district attorney Fani Willis and her deputy Nathan Wade were romantically involved earlier than they had claimed.

Bradley’s inability to confirm anything about the affair meant there was no new evidence introduced at the hearing in Fulton county superior court as the presiding judge, Scott McAfee, weighs whether there was a conflict of interest requiring Willis’s disqualification.

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Biden wins Michigan primary but sheds support over Gaza

Trump wins Michigan primaryJoe Biden has won the Democratic primary in Michigan – but a concerted effort by anti-war activists to vote “uncommitted” in the race could overshadow his win.

The US president faced no real primary challenger in the contest. But a campaign that formed just weeks before the primary to vote “uncommitted” in protest of his continued support for Israel’s war in Gaza signaled the deep level of fury and betrayal some Arab American and younger voters in the state feel for Biden.

The group pushing for voters to choose “uncommitted” – called Listen to Michigan – set the goal of 10,000 uncommitted votes in the primary, roughly the same margin that Biden won Michigan by in 2020. With only 17% of the votes tallied, “uncommitted” had received nearly 23,000 votes. For context, when the then president, Barack Obama, ran uncontested in the 2012 race, about 21,000 voted “uncommitted” against him in that state’s primary, with about 194,000 voting in total.

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Texas wildfire: fifth-largest blaze in state prompts mandatory evacuations

Texas wildfiresMandatory evacuations were issued in Texas on Tuesday afternoon as wind-swept wildfires continued to burn uncontrollably across the panhandle.

With unseasonably warm temperatures and strong gusts helping to fuel the flames through dry grasses, the largest blaze, known as the Smokehouse Creek fire, consumed more than 250,000 acres since it ignited Monday, and remains 0% contained. Two others had collectively scorched more than 38,000 acres and were each 20% contained.

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NBC News Shows Receipts After CPAC Denies Nazis Mingled at Conference

NBC News Shows receipts shoing Nazis at CPAC

The organizers behind the Conservative Political Action Conference denied an NBC News story about neo-Nazis openly mingling at the annual confab, branding the report “false” and “fake news” while touting the group’s pro-Israel stance.

However, following the right-wing organization’s repeated denials, NBC News reporter Ben Goggin posted video and photographic evidence of prominent white supremacists attending last week’s event—including one openly giving a Nazi salute. CPAC did not respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment.

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Macy's to close 150 stores in new turnaround effort, forecasts weak 2024 sales

Macy's to close 150Macy's on Tuesday forecast annual sales and profit below expectations and said it would shutter about 150 stores through 2026 as part of a new plan that would help save $100 million in costs this year.

Its shares rose 7% as the department store chain also beat quarterly profit estimates. They have lagged peers in 2023, declining about 3% compared to a 13% jump in rivals Nordstrom and Kohl's.

The locations made up for less than 10% of Macy's annual sales and were mostly underperforming mall-based stores, CFO Adrian Mitchell told Reuters. No additional layoffs were planned due to the closures.

Sluggish sales have landed the upscale retailer in the crosshairs of activist shareholders and attracted potential bidders, while it also faces a proxy battle from Arkhouse Management after it nominated nine candidates to its board.

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