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Wednesday, Apr 24th

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Reuters: Israeli teen speaks of Hamas captivity with her dog in Gaza

Mia Leimberg and BellaMia Leimberg emerged from nearly two months' captivity in Gaza with Bella, her Shih Tzu, in her arms, one of the most astonishing moments of a week-long ceasefire between Israel and Hamas that ended last Friday.

"When we were there we had to feed her our leftovers - yeah I'm talking about you Bella," said Mia, 17, looking down at the small white dog in her arms. "And we had to make sure that she doesn't run wild where we were. We had to keep her so that she doesn't go exploring and annoy anybody there."

Mia and her mother Gabriela were visiting family in Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak when they were taken hostage by Hamas during its Oct. 7 killing spree through southern Israel, sparking the war with the Palestinian Islamist group in Gaza.

The mother, daughter, aunt and dog were set free as part of a swap for Palestinian prisoners, but her uncle and her aunt's partner remain in captivity.

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Hamas Agrees to Tentative Deal to Free 50 Hostages: Report

Tentative deal for 50 prisoners

Hamas agreed to free at least 50 women and children held captive in Gaza in exchange for a multi-day pause in fighting and an increase in aid, The Washington Post reported, citing an Arab diplomat.

Israel had yet to accept the deal, which would allegedly involve the release of some Palestinians jailed in Israel. It is expected to reach a decision sometime Wednesday.

While Israel and U.S. leaders had balked at a ceasefire in the conflict, a three-to-five-day pause in the fighting appears to be a possibility. Israel bombarded Gaza in recent weeks in a campaign that has killed thousands, left many more without access to resources or care and decimated hospitals in the region.

American officials had signaled on Wednesday that such a deal was coming to fruition, with a number of reports suggesting that the two sides were “close” to a deal.

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20 women are now suing Texas, saying state abortion laws endangered them

Abortion lawsuits in TexasCristina Nuñez's doctors had always advised her not to get pregnant. She has diabetes, end-stage renal disease and other health conditions, and when she unexpectedly did become pregnant, it made her extremely sick. Now she is suing her home state of Texas, arguing that the abortion laws in the state delayed her care and endangered her life.

Nuñez and six other women joined an ongoing lawsuit over Texas's abortion laws. The plaintiffs allege the exception for when a patient's life is in danger is too narrow and vague, and endangered them during complicated pregnancies.

The case was originally filed in March with five patient plaintiffs, but more and more patients have joined the suit. The total number of patients suing Texas in this case is now 20 (two OB-GYN doctors are also part of the lawsuit). After a dramatic hearing in July, a district court judge agreed with the plaintiffs that the law needed to change, but the state immediately appealed her ruling directly to the Texas Supreme Court. That move allows Texas' three overlapping abortion bans to stand.

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No Charges Against Georgia State Troopers Who Killed 'Cop City' Activist

Atlanta Public Safety training

No charges will be brought against the Georgia State Troopers who fatally shot an activist who was protesting the planned construction of a police training center outside of Atlanta.

Manuel Teran, 26, was shot 57 times by police in January while protesting the intended site of the new training facility, dubbed “Cop City” by critics. Teran, who went by the nickname Tortuguita, was nonbinary and used they/them pronouns.

In a statement, Stone Mountain Judicial Circuit District Attorney George Christian said the six officers who shot Teran acted lawfully.

“The use of lethal (deadly) force by the Georgia State Patrol was objectively reasonable under the circumstances of this case,” Christian wrote. “No criminal charges will be brought against the Georgia State Patrol Troopers involved in the shooting of Manuel Perez Teran.”

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Prosecutors in DC election case are seeking a partial gag order for Trump

Trump gag orderFederal prosecutors are seeking an order that would prevent Donald Trump from making "inflammatory" and "intimidating" comments about witnesses, lawyers and other people involved in the criminal case charging the former president with scheming to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

Special counsel Jack Smith's team said in a motion filed Friday that such a "narrow, well-defined" order was necessary to preserve the integrity of the case and to avoid prejudicing potential jurors.

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US pro-Israel groups in bitter feud over Netanyahu’s far-right government

netanyahu's far right government

A public feud has broken out between the US’s leading pro-Israel lobby groups over who represents the true interests of the Jewish state in Washington under the most rightwing government in its history.

The hardline American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac) has called its smaller and more liberal rival, J Street, a “grave threat” to Israel’s security and accused it of endorsing the country’s “most virulent critics” in Congress.

J Street has responded by portraying Aipac as a front for Benjamin Netanyahu’s extremist coalition, while accusing it of failing to support unprecedented Israeli public protests against an undemocratic power grab by the government.

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Supreme Court backs web developer who didn't want to create same-sex wedding sites

Web designer wins decision in SCThe Supreme Court on Friday backed a web designer who wants to decline to create websites for same-sex weddings because of her religious beliefs – the latest legal setback for LGBTQ Americans from the high court.

Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote the opinion for a 6-3 majority. The case was decided on ideological lines.

"Laws along these lines have done much to secure the civil rights of all Americans," Gorsuch wrote. "But in this particular case Colorado does not just seek to ensure the sale of goods or services on equal terms. It seeksto use its law to compel an individual to create speech she does not believe."

In a case that could have profound implications for when businesses may turn away customers, the Colorado website designer argued a state anti-discrimination law couldn't be used to compel her to develop same-sex wedding sites.

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