Federal prosecutors are trying to prohibit FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried from privately contacting current and former employees of the bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange to prevent potential witness tampering in a criminal case accusing him of bilking investors and customers. The request, made in a letter filed late Friday by U.S. Justice Department lawyers, prompted an indignant response from Bankman-Fried’s lawyer, who accused prosecutors of twisting the facts to cast the FTX founder in a sinister light ahead of his trial scheduled later this year. The 30-year-old Bankman-Fried has been under court confinement in his parents California home since pleading not guilty to the charges against him.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear's efforts to ride the advantages of incumbency to reelection this year were on display in his most recent news conference. He touted the state’s newest round of job-creation successes, honored a retiring police officer and highlighted recovery assistance for a flood-stricken region. A dozen Republicans are competing for a shot at trying to unseat Beshear. The Democratic governor's approval ratings remain high despite steady criticism from the other side. He's trying to fend off attacks by offering a steady dose of optimism. But he'll also will have plenty of money to fight back.
Two inmates who fled a southwest Virginia jail are being held without bond after authorities said they were captured in northeast Tennessee. The sheriff's office in Washington County, Virginia, said that officers located Johnny Shane Brown and Albert Lee Ricketson in a barn on Friday in Rogersville, Tennessee, and arrested them without incident. It was a few miles away from a stolen SUV that the sheriff’s office said it believed was used by the inmates. Authorities say the two men fled the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail Authority in Abingdon on Thursday. The Virginia sheriff's office said Ricketson had been convicted on two counts of first-degree murder. Brown is a federal inmate.
The U.S. population center is on track this decade to take a southern swerve for the first time in history. Last year, the South outgrew other U.S. regions by well over 1 million people. If the trend continues through this decade, by 2030 the mean center of the U.S. population will head due south from a rural county in the Missouri Ozarks. It will be the first time in U.S. history without a westward extension. Since the population center was first calculated in 1790, it has moved continuously westward. Experts say the southern allure has to do with housing affordability, lower taxes and remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As mass shootings are again drawing public attention, states across the U.S. seem to be deepening their political divide on gun policies. A series of recent mass shootings in California come after a third straight year in which U.S. states recorded more than 600 mass shootings involving at least four deaths or injuries. Democratic-led states that already have restrictive gun laws have responded to home-state tragedies by enacting or proposing even more limits on guns. Many states with Republican-led legislatures appear unlikely to adopt any new gun policies after last year’s local mass shootings. They're pinning the problem on violent individuals, not their weapons.
As mass shootings are again drawing public attention, states across the U.S. seem to be deepening their political divide on gun policies. A series of recent mass shootings in California come after a third straight year in which U.S. states recorded more than 600 mass shootings involving at least four deaths or injuries. Democratic-led states that already have restrictive gun laws have responded to home-state tragedies by enacting or proposing even more limits on guns. Many states with Republican-led legislatures appear unlikely to adopt any new gun policies after last year's local mass shootings. They're pinning the problem on violent individuals, not their weapons.
Across the country, there’s a silent frustration brewing over the ever-presence of tipping. Some fed-up consumers are posting rants on social media complaining about tip requests at drive-thrus, while others say they’re tired of being asked to leave a gratuity for a muffin or a simple cup of coffee at their neighborhood bakery. As more businesses adopt digital payment methods, customers are automatically being prompted to leave a gratuity at places they normally wouldn’t. And some say it has become more frustrating as the price of items has skyrocketed due to inflation, which eased to 6.5% in December but still remains painfully high. For workers, though, the surge in tip requests is a welcome development.
Authorities in Memphis have released video showing Black motorist Tyre Nichols being beaten by five police officers who held him down and repeatedly struck him with fists, batons and boots. The footage released Friday also shows the Black officers pummeling the 29-year-old and leaving him propped against a squad car as they fist-bump and celebrate their actions. The officers have been charged with murder in the assault that the Nichols family legal team likened to the infamous 1991 police beating of Los Angeles motorist Rodney King. The chilling images of another Black man dying at the hands of police provoked tough questions about the nation’s policing culture.
An out-of-state physicians’ group is said to lack legal standing to challenge a 25-year-old Mississippi Supreme Court ruling recognizing a right to abortion under the state constitution. That's the argument made in court papers Friday by attorneys for six Mississippi women who support abortion rights. The state's only abortion clinic shut down in July, weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court upended abortion rights nationwide with a case that originated in Mississippi. The American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists sued in November. The suit argues that there is a potential conflict between a law now in effect banning most abortions and the 1998 ruling that abortion is protected by the state constitution.
For 17 seasons the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra has been under the musical direction of Carlos Miguel Prieto. That changes this summer when the LPO begins to take its cues from conductor Matthew Kraemer. The orchestra’s Board of Trustees recently announced that Kramer will take over in July and have his official introduction in mid-September. Kraemer, a native of Indiana, was appointed music director and principal conductor of the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra in 2015. He also served as music director of the Butler County Symphony in Pennsylvania and artistic director of Orchestra Indiana. Kraemer has called the new appointment an “opportunity of a lifetime.”
A mobile app for migrants to seek asylum in the United States has been overwhelmed since it was introduced this month in one of several major changes to the government’s response to unprecedented migration flows. New appointments are made available daily. But migrants are increasingly frustrated by a variety of error messages. Many can’t log in. Others are hopeful when they get a date, only to be deflated when the screen freezes at final confirmation. The daily ritual resembles a race for concert tickets when online sales begin for a major act.
Mali’s Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop has defended the military government’s cooperation with Russia. He also rejected on Friday three options proposed by the U.N. chief to reconfigure the U.N. peacekeeping force in the west African country where Al-Qaida and Islamic State extremist groups are driving insecurity. Diop told the U.N. Security Council that security is the country’s top priority and Mali will not continue to justify its partnership with Russia, which is providing training and equipment to the military. He did not mention Russia’s Wagner Group, the private military contractor with ties to the Kremlin — but Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ internal review of the U.N. force did.
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are both condemning the Memphis police beating of Tyre Nichols that ended in his death. The president said in a statement that he was “outraged and deeply pained to see the horrific video” of the beating and said people who see it will be “justifiably outraged.” But he’s also urging protesters to avoid any violence. Harris issued a statement that said: “Yet, once again, America mourns the life of a son and father brutally cut short at the hands of those sworn to protect and serve.” She said the video images will “open wounds that will never fully heal.”
Tyre Nichols was brutally attacked by police in Memphis after they pulled him over Jan. 7. Video of the deadly beating was released to the public on Friday. Family and friends remember Nichols as a generous, lovable man who worked hard to be a good father to his 4-year-old son. He was passionate about photography. He was an avid skateboarder and hailed from Sacramento, California. He got stuck in Memphis during the coronavirus pandemic, but didn't mind because he was with his mother. They were close, and she says she's still in shock he won't walk through her door anymore.