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Amid the heightened political debate on gun reform, most Americans actually agree that some gun laws need to be more strict, according to recent polls. The question now is whether some conservative lawmakers will be flexible in their politics and open to compromise – and consider the data that shows children and teens are more likely to die by guns than anything else.
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1. Nashville shooting
Grief-stricken Nashville residents came together for a citywide vigil on Wednesday to mourn three 9-year-old children and three adults killed in the mass shooting at a private Christian school. First lady Jill Biden was also in attendance as community members honored the victims with prayers and songs. As the city struggles to process the tragedy, more details are emerging about how the shooting unfolded. A former police officer who provided active shooter training at the school told CNN that the quick-thinking actions of teachers who locked down classrooms helped save lives. Also credited with saving lives are the officers who rushed into the school and fatally shot the 28-year-old attacker after 14 minutes of terror.
As Russia’s Wagner mercenary group continues to suffer major losses in the key area of Bakhmut, Ukraine’s defense minister said Wednesday that Western tanks will likely be deployed as early as next month. German Leopard tanks, which have begun arriving in Ukraine, will be part of the counteroffensive campaign in April or May, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said. Germany also said this week it will increase military support to Ukraine by $13 billion. Also in the region, a journalist with the Wall Street Journal – Evan Gershkovich – has been arrested in Russia on suspicion of espionage, according to the country’s Federal Security Service. Russia has tightened censorship laws since launching its invasion last year.
The Senate on Wednesday voted to end the national Covid-19 emergency declared by then-President Donald Trump in March of 2020. The final vote was overwhelmingly bipartisan, 68-23. The joint resolution, which cleared the House earlier this year, now heads to President Joe Biden’s desk. A White House official said in a statement to CNN that while the president “strongly opposes” this bill, the administration is already winding down the emergency by May 11, the date previously announced for the end of the authority. Still, the official noted, if the Senate passed the measure and it heads to Biden’s desk, “he will sign it, and the administration will continue working with agencies to wind down the national emergency with as much notice as possible to Americans who could potentially be impacted.”
4. Artificial intelligence
Dozens of tech leaders, including Elon Musk, signed a letter calling for artificial intelligence labs to stop developing powerful AI systems for at least six months, citing “profound risks to society and humanity.” The letter comes just weeks after OpenAI announced GPT-4, an even more powerful version of the technology that underpins the AI chatbot tool, ChatGPT. In early tests, the technology was able to draft lawsuits, pass exams and build a working website from a hand-drawn sketch. “Recent months have seen AI labs locked in an out-of-control race to develop and deploy ever more powerful digital minds that no one – not even their creators – can understand, predict, or reliably control,” the letter said. If a pause is not put in place soon, the letter said governments should step in and create a moratorium.
5. Social media
The state of Arkansas has sued TikTok, its parent ByteDance, and Facebook-parent Meta over claims the companies’ products are harmful to users. The new lawsuits – which seek millions, if not billions, in potential fines – mark the latest effort by officials to take social media companies to court over mental health and privacy concerns. Lawsuits by school districts and officials in California, Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Washington state have also targeted multiple social media platforms over addiction allegations. This also comes as TikTok is fighting to stay alive in the US while pressure mounts on Capitol Hill to ban the app if its Chinese owners don’t sell the company.
THIS JUST IN
Several casualties reported after helicopter crash in Kentucky
A pair of helicopters with the 101st Airborne Division have crashed in southwestern Kentucky, resulting in “several casualties,” according to the 101st. The status of the crewmembers is unknown at this time. Officials said crewmembers were flying “during a routine training mission” when the incident occurred Wednesday night. An investigation remains ongoing.
These US restaurants and chefs are James Beard Award finalists
View the finalists for this year’s James Beard Awards, one of the culinary world’s highest honors. Some of these chefs and restaurants might even be in your area.
Rare T-Rex skeleton set to be auctioned next month
This dinosaur skeleton is expected to fetch nearly $9 million when it goes under the hammer. Its teeth are impressive – and frightening…
Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin speaks on Capitol Hill
The NFL player is trying to help ensure schools are prepared to respond to cardiac emergencies.
Pet cats and dogs may help protect infants from food allergies
Some researchers say exposure to cats and dogs might be beneficial against the development of certain food allergies.
Spat intensifies between Disney and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis
It appears Disney pulled a stealth move and quietly took power from DeSantis’ new board before the state’s hostile takeover last month. Read about the ongoing feud.
That’s how many days astronaut Frank Rubio is expected to spend in space before returning to Earth in September – breaking the record for the longest mission conducted by a US astronaut. Rubio traveled to the International Space Station in September 2022 for what he thought would be a six-month mission. But the spacecraft that carried him sprang a coolant leak, delaying his return trip by several months. The previous record of 355 days was set by Mark Vande Hei in 2022.
“We are seeing them moving closer together, and that’s troublesome … those three countries together are going to be problematic for many years to come.”
– Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, reiterating his concerns to US lawmakers on Wednesday about the growing partnerships between China, Russia and Iran. While the US has made clear that the three countries are focuses of the military – particularly China and Russia – tensions with all three have been on the rise in recent months and even weeks.
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The smallest sculptures in the world
These record-breaking micro-sculptures are so small, they can fit in the eye of a needle! (Click here to view)