Chicago school district investigating after teacher hung stuffed Black doll on a string from a projector screen


The March 29 letter from Joyce D. Kenner, principal of Whitney Young Magnet High School, says the teacher “indicated” he had come across the doll in his room and “wanted the students to see if someone would claim it.” The letter went on to say that “a colleague approached the teacher about the doll and the conversation between the two became contentious.

“Our administrative team investigated the incident and spoke with the teachers,” Kenner’s letter said. “An official incident report has been created and filed with CPS.”

“Chicago Public Schools (CPS) strives to foster safe and secure learning environments for our students, families, and colleagues. Our schools and the District investigate and address all complaints and allegations of wrongdoing in accordance with District policies and procedures,” CPS said in a statement to CNN.

The district said the teacher who hung the doll is suspended while the investigation is ongoing. CPS has not identified the teacher.

According to Kenner’s letter, school administrators also met with a group of students Tuesday morning to discuss the incident.

“We gave students an opportunity to voice any concerns and recommendations they had. We plan to follow the disciplinary protocol established by Chicago Public Schools,” the letter said.

A California mother seeks accountability after her daughter's preschool teacher led her class in an anti-Biden chant

Kimberley Henderson, whose daughter is a sophomore and one of three Black students in the teacher’s US history class at Whitney Young, spoke to CNN.

“When I saw the picture, that’s when I went over the edge. That was unbelievable to me,” Henderson said, referencing an image of the stuffed doll circulating on the internet. “I don’t believe that he should be in front of any children, but I want to make sure that he’s not in front of mine.”

The Chicago Teachers Union said in a statement about the incident that “practices that mitigate the harm of racial biases must be ongoing, and consistent” in the city’s schools.

“Mayor (Lori) Lightfoot has a responsibility to provide a safe space for every member of our school communities, which is especially important in a district that serves a student population that is 90 percent Black and Brown children,” the statement read. “Any definition of ‘safety’ must include creating and reinforcing an environment of equity and inclusion for all students, staff and faculty of color.”

CNN reached out to the mayor’s office Thursday for response to the union statement.

CNN’s Andy Rose and Chris Boyette contributed to this report.



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Ukrainian women escaped to give birth in a country free of war. They want their children to know why Putin forced them to flee


“(That’s) because I left,” Pavluchenko says, choking on tears, as her hours-old child sleeps in the crib next to her hospital bed in the Polish capital, Warsaw.

“I didn’t want to leave. I had to.”

On February 24, when the Russian invasion began, Pavluchenko, then eight months pregnant, was jostled awake at 6 a.m. Air raid sirens blared through her hometown of Ivano-Frankivsk, a city in western Ukraine. The first Russian missiles were on the way.

Pavluchenko recounts the manic push to escape over the next 72 hours. Her husband, medically ineligible to serve in the Ukrainian military, was already in Poland.

She was desperate to stay behind with her parents, grandparents and extended family.

Khrystyna Pavluchenko tends to her newborn daughter, Adelina.

But they all insisted, “Go to Poland.”

So, reluctantly, she began to plan her dangerous escape from Ukraine.

“Missiles are flying. Where they might hit next, no one knows,” she recalls.

Pavluchenko raced to pack with that in mind. Anything she could imagine she needed for her unborn child had to fit in a bag that she could wheel across the border on foot, once her bus reached the border.

“I was afraid of delivering prematurely,” she says, as she remembers entering Poland.

That was the same fear Polish customs officers had when they saw her. They quickly called an ambulance.

She was whisked to a nearby hospital and eventually to Inflancka Specialist Hospital in Warsaw, where psychiatrist Magda Dutsch is treating Ukrainian women.

“It’s unimaginable,” says Dutsch. “They’re often evacuating. They’re talking about shelling and about bombardment, about hours, sometimes days, that they spend in a bunker. They’re talking about the escape and how difficult it was to get to the border and out of the warzone. For someone who hasn’t seen the war, I don’t think it’s possible to imagine such pain and such stress.”

At least 197 Ukrainian children have been born in Polish hospitals since the war began, according to Poland’s Ministry of Health. When she fled, Pavluchenko had no idea that so many other Ukrainian women were in a similar situation.

To her, she felt utterly alone.

A ‘second war’

In another section of the hospital sits Tatiana Mikhailuk, 58, is who is also one of Dutsch’s patients.

From her hospital bed, Mikhailuk tells the harrowing story of her escape from a town outside the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv. As a missile flew overhead, Mikhailuk fled her home with her granddaughter in her arms.

Explosions had already blown out all the windows of her apartment building. As she and her husband drove with their grandchildren out of Bucha, an hour north of Kyiv, something exploded on the left side of the road.

“We were crying and praying the whole time,” says Mikhailuk.

They made it out just in time.

Russian troops have withdrawn from Chernobyl, says Ukrainian nuclear operator

Two days later, Russian missiles would destroy the bridges into their suburb.

Mikhailuk had survived the attack at home. But once she crossed the Polish border, she began hemorrhaging blood.

Doctors at Inflancka Specialist Hospital diagnosed her with cervical cancer and performed emergency surgery.

“This is like a second war for me,” says Mikhailuk. “They (the hospital) did everything they could to save me. I’m very grateful to them, to all of Poland. I will never forget their kindness and what they’re doing for Ukrainians.”

Tatiana Mikhailuk survived an attack in her hometown of Buchad before being diagnosed with cervical cancer in Poland.

She adds, “I’m grateful to Dr. Khrystyna,” another Ukrainian refugee, who is sitting in the corner of the room while we speak with her.

Khrystyna isn’t sure how to describe what title we should use to refer to her.

At home in Lviv, Ukraine, she is a licensed gynecologist. But in Poland, her official title is “secretary.”

“I’m helping,” Khrystyna, who asked CNN to not reveal her last name. explains.

On February 24, Khrystyna’s husband sent her a text message saying, “Pack your stuff and leave. The war began.”

Like so many other Ukrainian women at the hospital, she ran, taking her young son with her.

When she arrived in Warsaw, a Polish woman took them in, becoming their host in a foreign city. Her host drove her son to a new kindergarten where he began his adjustment to living in Poland.

Khrystyna says she collapsed, consumed with grief and panic.

She realized sitting in an unfamiliar home would be bad for her mental health, so she considered volunteering at the train station, where she could cook for incoming refugees.

“When I pulled myself together, I remembered I’m a doctor. So, I came here (to the hospital) to use this opportunity to help women who fled,” she said.

“Women are lost. Women are stressed. They’re crying,” says Khrystyna, explaining how many Ukrainian women arrive.

“When I approach them and start talking in Ukrainian, that calms them down. I tell them there’s help here. And they calm down a little bit. They can turn to me if they don’t understand anything.”

Mixed emotions

Inflancka Hospital, which specializes in obstetrics and gynecology, has opened its doors to all Ukrainian women. Eighty patients have been treated since the war began and 11 Ukrainian babies have been born there.

The hospital says the refugees do not pay for any medical services. After leaving, post-partem care is also free, covered by clinics in Poland. The hospital tells CNN all patients maintain contact after leaving the hospital and if the women struggle with housing, the Warsaw Family Support Center, a local welfare organization, provides housing.

Khrystyna is grateful for Warsaw’s generosity, but filled with rage at Russian President Vladimir Putin’s attacks on the women and children of her country.

“He consciously and purposely bombards children who are not guilty of anything. Children are innocent. But he’s doing it anyway and doing it consciously.”

What helps Khrystyna, and all the doctors at Inflancka Hospital, is the arrival of the littlest survivors of war like Adelina.

These new lives offer a glimmer of hope for the future, they say.

From left: Khrystyna, a Ukrainian refugee from Lviv; Magda Dutsch, Iwona Czerwinska and Emilia Gasiorowska at Inflancka Specialist Hospital.

But it’s more complicated for Pavluchenko, who is struggling with all the emotions of new motherhood and the realities of life as a refugee.

It is hard to be happy, she says, delivering a child in a foreign place.

She hopes to one day show her daughter the beautiful and peaceful Ukraine as she remembers.

But she’s uncertain where Adelina will grow up, if she will know her extended family, or even what primary language she will speak.

One thing is for certain: Adelina will know the full journey of how — and where — she came into the world.

“We will tell her everything as it was. She should know the truth.”

Anna Odzeniak and Ksenia Medvedeva contributed reporting.



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The mystery gap in Trump phone logs has many possible explanations


While the call is not specifically noted in the presidential diary or the presidential call log, its existence has been corroborated by multiple sources who were with Trump and Pence that day, including former aides who testified before the House select committee investigating the US Capitol attack.

The mystery of the seven-hour gap has fueled furious speculation as to why calls are missing. That includes allegations that Trump was using “burner phones” (which he has denied) or that the logs were purposely suppressed.

The missing calls underscore something more endemic: the imperfect and antiquated system of tracking a president’s communications.

The White House call log is generated by a switchboard system that dates back to the 1960s, according to the National Archives. The version installed in 1963 was already considered “somewhat outdated” just two decades later.

And it’s certainly not one suited for the era of cell phones and text messages or to a President well known for his efforts to circumvent official channels of communications.

Bypassing the call log

There could be various reasons that explain the gap in the call log itself.

One possibility is that Trump was speaking to people from a cell phone. As CNN has previously reported, Trump had a habit of using his and other people’s phones to make or receive calls.

Another explanation could be that Trump had aides place direct calls from the Oval Office, bypassing the switchboard.

A former White House staffer who served in the Obama Administration told CNN that if then-President Barrack Obama wanted to make a call to someone from the Oval Office, he would normally ask an aide seated nearby to dial the person. The aide would then call the number and hit transfer to connect the caller to the President.

That call would not go through the White House switchboard and therefore would not be recorded on the White House switchboard log, the former staffer said.

Another factor seems to be where Trump was when he made certain calls. All the calls noted from the January 6 log indicate they were made from the White House residence, suggesting Trump relied on the switchboard to put those calls through. The missing calls appear to start when the diary notes Trump has moved from the residence to the Oval Office.

Analysis: There's a lot of activity in the January 6 committee's investigation

Trump used the switchboard more often when he was in the private residence, according to multiple sources. But when he was in the Oval Office, the former President would often direct aides sitting outside his office to get certain lawmakers or allies of his on the phone.

Two former Trump officials believe this, plus the chaotic nature of the West Wing on January 6, is what led to the gaps in the call logs.

Calls also should have been documented in the Presidential Daily Diary, which is compiled by an Archives employee detailed to the White House. While it’s supposed to include “impromptu moments such as staff member drop-ins and telephone calls,” the diarist’s account is only as good as the information he or she receives from the President’s staff.

The former Obama staffer also acknowledged this process was more of an honor system and dependent on how meticulous aides serving in other administrations were or what instructions they were given.

No explanation has been given so far why calls known to have been made in the hours Trump was in the Oval Office are not documented in the presidential diary.

Chaotic record-keeping

Multiple sources have described the record-keeping during the Trump administration as generally chaotic. Those sources, as well as witnesses who have testified as part of previous congressional investigations related to the former President’s conduct described Trump as deeply suspicious of the White House switchboard and detailed various ways he sought to avoid having records of certain phone calls from being kept.

A Senate Intelligence report from 2020 includes witness testimony from former aides saying that Trump regularly used the cellphone of his body man, Keith Schiller, to place calls to Republican operative Roger Stone because he did not want his to advisers to know they were talking.

“Trump hated people knowing who he spoke to, including from the residence at night when they went through the switchboard,” one former Trump official told CNN.

When John Kelly was Trump’s chief of staff, he monitored the switchboard to see who Trump was talking to. Trump would often tell people to hang up and call him back on his cellphone if he didn’t want it showing up on the switchboard call log.

When Mark Meadows took over as chief of staff, sources said he restricted the number of White House officials who had access to the call logs, limiting the group to only a small number of top aides.

Filling in the gaps

Despite the gap in the call logs, the House select committee is relying on witness testimony, additional documents and phone records obtained via subpoena to begin piecing together who Trump spoke to that day.

This is especially true for the missing call to Pence. That call is a key point in the House’s argument that Trump was taking part in criminal activity, as he kept pressuring Pence to block Congress from certifying the election. Trump has not been charged with any crime.

Pence’s former national security adviser, Keith Kellogg, described the call in his testimony before the committee earlier this year, telling investigators that he and other top aides were in the Oval Office with Trump when it took place. He said he could only hear what Trump said, and not Pence’s responses.

Kellogg’s recounting of the conversation was cited in the committee’s letter in late January to Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, requesting that she too appear before the panel and cooperate in the probe.

“As January 6th approached, President Trump attempted on multiple occasions to persuade Vice President Pence to participate in his plan. One of the President’s discussions with the Vice President occurred by phone on the morning of January 6th,” the letter stated.

“You were present in the Oval Office and observed at least one side of that telephone conversation. General Keith Kellogg was also present in the Oval Office during that call, and has testified about that discussion,” it added.

CNN reported last month that Ivanka Trump was in discussions to voluntarily appear before the committee for an interview. Others who witnessed the call take place have already testified.

January 6 committee member says panel is 'triangulating' to get 'fulsome picture' of Trump's actions

Committee members have said that witness testimony is not the only way they have been able to fill in some of the gaps in official records like the White House logs and daily diary.

“Whether it’s a witness who is unwilling to cooperate with us or whether there are gaps in documentation that we have received, we will get that information some other way,” Rep. Stephanie Murphy told CNN+’s Kasie Hunt on “The Source” on Wednesday. “Those conversations weren’t one-way conversations. There was somebody on the other side of those conversations and we’ll get the information that way.”

“We’re triangulating basically from a lot of different angles and we are getting a fulsome picture of what happened in the run up to and on the day of January 6th,” Murphy added.

Mississippi Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson, the chairman of the select committee, told CNN on Wednesday the panel has not received any vice presidential phone log records from the National Archives.

But earlier this month, Thompson told CNN the committee had “started to receive” vice presidential records, without specifying which ones. The Archives has turned over a tranche of vice presidential records, as well as documents chronicling calls to the vice president that were White House records.

One call is noted in the presidential diary even though it is not in the call log that day.

A document obtained by the House is the President’s private schedule, and it shows handwritten notes appearing to capture phone calls with Sen. Kelly Loeffler from 11:17-11:20 a.m., and with “VPOTUS” at 11:20 a.m. on January 6, 2021.

The presidential daily diary handed over to the panel does show Trump placed “a phone call to an unidentified person” at 11:17 a.m. on the morning of January 6 but does not make reference to the 11:20 a.m. call. Neither conversation is reflected in the White House call log.

CNN’s Ryan Nobles, Kaitlan Collins, Jamie Gangel and Tara Subramaniam contributed to this report



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Washington state creates nation’s first alert system for missing Indigenous people





CNN
 — 

Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington state signed a bill Thursday that creates the nation’s first alert system for missing Indigenous people.

The bill, which was passed unanimously in both the House and the Senate, highlights that “indigenous people experience disproportionate rates of violence in Washington state,” and calls for the creation of an advisory system, like the AMBER Alert system.

“Compared to the rest of the state’s population, indigenous women comprise a disproportionate number of missing people,” Inslee said during a signing ceremony. “In cases where an individual has died, this bill will help families recover the remains of their loved ones while also honoring and respecting indigenous cultural practices. For women who are found, this bill will provide treatment so that they can start to recover from the trauma of their experience.”

Inslee signed the bill, along with several other tribal-related bills, at the Tulalip Resort Casino.

Democratic Rep. Debra Lekanoff, a sponsor of the bill, spoke during the ceremony and said missing and murdered indigenous women and people “is not just an Indian issue, it’s not just an Indian responsibility. Our sisters, our aunties, our grandmothers are going missing every day.”

The bill “removes the hand so we can hear the unheard screams, it removes the hand from the Washington State Patrol. It brings together all of our governing bodies to collaborate, to take care (of) those who have been taken, those who’ve been lost, and those yet to come,” Lekanoff said.

For years, families and activists have demanded that authorities direct more attention and resources to cases involving missing and murdered Indigenous women, arguing their cases are often overlooked or dismissed.

Federal and state officials have recently publicly acknowledged that there is a crisis of violence against Native Americans, and have launched efforts to address it, but advocates say their response is not enough.



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New York judge blocks ‘unconstitutionally drawn’ congressional map





CNN
 — 

A New York judge has blocked the state’s new congressional map, which would have given Democrats the advantage in 22 of the state’s 26 congressional seats, from going into effect for violating the state’s constitution.

Judge Patrick McAllister ruled Thursday that the map “was unconstitutionally drawn with political bias” by the Democratic-controlled legislature and created no competitive seats. The state legislature has until April 11 to pass a new map and submit it to the court for review, and McAllister further stated that the map had to receive “bipartisan support.”

However, under New York law, the order would be automatically stayed upon appeal, meaning it’s still not clear if the legislature will need to redraw the map before the June primary.

The decision is the second redistricting defeat in the courts for Democrats in a week. On Friday, a Maryland judge ordered a new congressional map to be drawn after ruling its map would unfairly hurt Republicans’ chances in the state. State courts in Ohio and North Carolina have previously blocked maps that advantaged Republicans.

The New York judge further ruled that the legislature violated a 2014 constitutional amendment, which gave primary control of redistricting to a bipartisan commission, because the legislature took over the process after that commission failed to agree on a map.

Former Rep. John Faso, a Republican who was one of the leaders of the challenge to the map, celebrated the ruling.

“New York has an explicit constitutional prohibition on partisan gerrymandering. The Democrats violated that prohibition. They did it knowingly, they did it willingly, they did it joyfully. And the court today struck them down,” Faso said in a call with reporters.

“This is a victory for the people of the state, and it’s a victory for competitive and fair elections in New York state.”

Democrats vowed to appeal.

“This is one step in the process,” Mike Murphy, communications director for Democrats in the state Senate, said in a tweet. “We always knew this case would be decided by the appellate courts. We are appealing this decision and expect this decision will be stayed as the appeal process proceeds.”

New York’s primary is scheduled for June 28. However, the ruling says it’s possible for the primary to be moved to August if new maps aren’t agreed to. According to McAllister, the latest the New York primary could be held is August 23, giving “about 100 days from today” for new maps to be drawn, candidates to gather signatures and file their candidacy, prepare primary ballots, and leave time for the appellate review process.

Democrats control the state legislature and the governorship in New York. The state lost a congressional seat due to slower population growth in the 2020 census.

There are now five states without enacted congressional maps for the 2022 midterm cycle with New York joining Florida, Maryland, Missouri and New Hampshire.

This story has been updated with additional developments.



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Biden says US still looking for clear answers on Putin’s next moves



“Thus far there is no clear evidence that he’s pulling all of his forces out of Kyiv,” Biden told reporters at the White House.

Biden said, “There’s also evidence that he is beefing up his troops down in the Donbas area” — a region of Ukraine where Putin has recognized two separatist territories as independent states. “Depending on your view of Putin. I’m a little skeptical,” he added.

The Russian Ministry of Defense had said Tuesday that it has decided to “drastically reduce hostilities” in the Kyiv and Chernigov directions, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin said, according to state media RIA.

However, earlier Thursday, a US defense official told reporters that Russian forces have continued to focus their strikes on Ukraine in four areas, including the capital city.

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said Thursday that a “small number” of Russian troops are “beginning to reposition” and, while “it’s not exactly clear” where the troops are going, the US does not “see any indication that they’re going to be sent home.”

The best assessment that the US has is that the Russian troops will probably reposition into Belarus to be refit and resupplied in order to be used “elsewhere in Ukraine,” Kirby added.

The US has seen some Russian troops departing from the Chernobyl plant facility in Ukraine, Kirby added. Those troops are “leaving to the north to go back again towards Belarus,” Kirby said.

Amid the repositioning, the White House is maintaining that there are no plans for Biden and Putin to speak. Any conversation between the two men, White House communications director Kate Bedingfield said on Thursday, would require serious de-escalation by Russians in Ukraine — setting a high bar for re-engagement.

US intel says Putin was misled by his military advisers

The US government on Wednesday revealed declassified intelligence indicating Putin was led astray by military advisers about how poorly the Russian military has been performing in Ukraine and how the Russian economy is being crippled by sanctions. Bedingfield said at the time that the US intelligence community also has information indicating that the Russian leader has become aware of the misinformation, leading to a rift between him and his top defense officials.

US government officials have expressed confidence in the intelligence, with Bedingfield saying that Putin is being misled “because his senior advisers are too afraid to tell him the truth.”

Responding to the US intelligence claims, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov suggested the US is failing to understand what’s going on in Moscow, according to Russian state news agency TASS.

“To our regret, and even concern, neither the Department of State nor the Pentagon have authentic information about what is happening in the Kremlin. They just do not understand what is happening in the Kremlin. They do not understand Russian President Vladimir Putin. They do not understand the mechanism of decision-making, and they do not understand the style of our work,” Peskov said on Thursday.

Biden later Thursday said there’s some indication that Putin is isolating himself and punishing some of his advisers, but added that the US doesn’t have much hard evidence to say that with certainty.

When CNN’s MJ Lee asked the President how badly Putin is being misinformed by his advisers, Biden responded: “That’s an open question. There’s a lot of speculation, but he seems to be — I’m not saying this with a certainty — he seems to be self-isolating and there’s some indication that he has … fired or put under house arrest some of his advisers.”

“But I don’t want to put too much stock in that at this time, because we don’t have that much hard evidence,” he added.

Biden’s comments came after he announced a two-part plan to provide relief for Americans at the pump that began when Russian oil was sidelined and increase American energy independence. As part of the plan, he announced the unprecedented release of oil from US reserves and steps to spur the domestic production of critical minerals needed to manufacture batteries for electric vehicles and long-term energy storage.

The Strategic Petroleum Reserve release would amount to 180 million barrels of oil, roughly 1 million barrels per day, according to Biden.

This story has been updated with additional reporting on Thursday.

CNN’s Ellie Kaufman and Zahra Ullah contributed to this report.



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Disney: Character hugs and other interactions to return soon at US sites


(CNN) — Of the many safety measures that Disney Parks had to set up to operate during the Covid-19 pandemic, requiring guests to keep a six-foot distance from the costumed characters must have been one of the hardest. At least emotionally.

For kids (or kids at heart), running into the waiting arms of Mickey Mouse and other beloved characters had been such an impulsive and quintessential part of the experience. Hanging back can be tough.

But finally, hugs are back on the horizon at US Disney properties.

As early as April 18, Disney “will start reintroducing traditional character greetings at Disneyland (in California) and Walt Disney World Resorts, as well as aboard Disney Cruise Line and at Aulani Resort in Hawaii,” according to a new post on Thursday on the official Disney Parks blog.

Up close and personal

Ready to get up and close and personal with a Stormtrooper from the "Star Wars" universe? That time is coming soon at US Disney properties.

Ready to get up and close and personal with a Stormtrooper from the “Star Wars” universe? That time is coming soon at US Disney properties.

Patrick T. Fallon/BloombergGetty Images/

Getting autographs, snapping photos close up and just sharing a laugh face-to-face with characters such as Mulan and Goofy will all be back on the table.

Disney has a new YouTube video celebrating the upcoming change, with plenty of embraces and high-fives being distributed.

It’s all part of the unwinding of coronavirus restrictions — both at the Disney parks and in the United States at large.

“During the past two years, we’ve taken a very gradual, intentional approach to health and safety protocols,” wrote Shawn Slater, senior communications manager for Disney Live Entertainment, in the blog.

“Recent trends and guidance have provided opportunities for us to bring back some of our most beloved magic, like character greetings and dining experiences. While not all locations will be available immediately, we anticipate reopening in phases throughout the spring and early summer.”

What else is coming back

It’s not just character interactions that will be returning later this spring.

At Disneyland in California, guests can look forward to the return of several nighttime spectaculars, including:

• “Disneyland Forever”
• “Fantasmic!”
• “Main Street Electrical Parade,” celebrating its 50th anniversary
• “World of Color”

On Disney Cruise Line ships, fireworks at sea and Broadway-style shows will be coming back.

At Walt Disney World in Florida, shows such as “Mickey’s Magical Friendship Faire” have already returned.

On-site hotels

27 best disney world hotels_pop-century-resort

All on-site resorts are open at Walt Disney World, including PopCentury.

Disney

On-site lodging is also bouncing back.

For the first time since March 2020, “all Disney Resort hotels that are part of the Disney Resorts Collection at Walt Disney World” in Florida are now open, according to another Disney Parks blog post on Thursday.

Remaining safety measures

Disney still isn’t 100% back to pre-pandemic operations. Take face masks, for instance.

They are optional for fully vaccinated guests in outdoor and indoor locations. Disney asks that visitors who are not fully vaccinated continue wearing face masks in all indoor locations.

And face coverings are still required by all visitors 2 years old and older on Disney buses and monorails. You can click here for their latest safety updates.

Shanghai Disneyland closed

While things are opening up more and more in the United States, Disney has theme parks around the world. And each one must respond to local conditions.

China, an area of the world that has had few spikes during the pandemic, has seen a big increase in cases as the BA.2 variant sweeps through the country.

It’s a reminder that park patrons must be ready to adjust to changing conditions, even two years into the pandemic.

Top image: Mickey Mouse poses with visitors at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, before the pandemic. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)



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Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer argues case brought by special counsel Durham against him should be dismissed



During a court hearing, special counsel John Durham’s prosecutors repeatedly sidestepped the question of whether the underlying data was fabricated. Clinton campaign attorney Michael Sussmann, who gave the material to the FBI’s top lawyer at a September 2016 meeting, has been charged with lying during that meeting about whether he was there on behalf of a client.
The data, which was compiled by cybersecurity experts, seemed to suggest that there might be a communications backchannel between the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank, the largest private bank in Russia. An FBI investigation ultimately concluded there weren’t any improper cyber links between the companies, according to a Justice Department inspector general report.
Sussmann pleaded not guilty and is fighting the case, which is set to go to trial later this year. He wants Judge Christopher Cooper of the DC District Court to dismiss the single count against him — and a key element of his defense is that the Justice Department historically only brings false-statement cases against FBI tipsters when the underlying material itself was made up.

“This is an unprecedented false-statement prosecution,” Sussmann attorney Michael Bosworth said during a virtual court hearing on Thursday. “Nobody who has ever provided a tip to the government been prosecuted for giving ancillary information, and not for giving a false tip.”

Trump has repeatedly claimed in public statements — and in a sprawling lawsuit he filed last week — that Clinton’s campaign, Sussmann, the Democratic National Committee, former senior FBI officials, and other operatives of concocting bogus information about his ties to Russia in hopes of triggering an FBI probe and stymieing his 2016 presidential campaign.

The Durham investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia probe has been ongoing since 2018. Former special counsel Robert Mueller netted several convictions of top Trump advisers, but Mueller did not establish that there was a criminal conspiracy between Trump aides and Russia.

The judge asked Durham’s team a few times Thursday if the data Sussmann gave to the FBI was untrue. Prosecutor Andrew DeFilippis dodged the question and didn’t give a direct answer.

“We have FBI witnesses who will testify that their investigation found that it was unsupported,” DeFilippis said. Cooper replied, “That’s different than whether the data was accurate or not.”

Cooper also asked whether the FBI’s subsequent conclusions about the data were relevant to the charge pending against Sussmann, which revolves around the September 2016 meeting and whether Sussmann said he was there on behalf of a client. Prosecutors allege that he was there representing the Clinton campaign, and that his deception undermined the FBI’s work.

For his part, Sussmann maintains that he never had any reason to doubt the accuracy of the data, and that he brought the material to the FBI because he believed there were legitimate national security matters at play. The data scientists who did the underlying research have said they stand by their work and slammed Durham for cherry-picking their emails in court filings.

The data supposedly connecting servers belonging to the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank has never been fully explained. A bipartisan Senate report accepted the FBI’s conclusions but also pointed out that the companies gave contradictory explanations for the suspicious data.

Alfa Bank founder Petr Aven, who is one of the richest oligarchs in Russia, testified as part of Mueller’s investigation that Russian President Vladimir Putin indirectly instructed him to make contact with the Trump transition team after the 2016 election. Aven said he tried but failed to reach Trump aides through a former US diplomat and a think tank CEO.

Aven stepped down from the Alfa Bank board of directors earlier this month, shortly after the European Union sanctioned him and other oligarchs over Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine.

CNN’s Tierney Sneed contributed to this report.



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Today’s news in 10 minutesToday’s news in 10 minutes


Story highlights

  • This page includes the show Transcript
  • The Weekly Newsquiz tests your knowledge of events in the news

People are leaving their jobs in droves, and the issue isn’t limited to the United States. Today’s show begins by explaining some likely reasons why. Afterward, we’re headed to the Central American nation of Belize to examine efforts to conserve a big cat. And we make a stop in Texas’ Gulf Coast for a rare look at an escaped flamingo.

PASTE QUIZ HERE

CNN 10 serves a growing audience interested in compact on-demand news broadcasts ideal for explanation seekers on the go or in the classroom. The show’s priority is to identify stories of international significance and then clearly describe why they’re making news, who is affected, and how the events fit into a complex, international society.

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The body of Naomi Irion, reported missing in Nevada more than 2 weeks ago, has been found, police say



Investigators were called to a remote part of Churchill County on Tuesday after receiving a tip connected to the disappearance of Irion, according to a news release from the Churchill County Sheriff’s Office and the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office.

“Their investigative actions led them to a possible gravesite, Washoe County Sheriff’s Office Forensic Investigative Services team was contacted and responded to assist in processing the scene,” the offices said in the release.

A body was recovered and taken to the Washoe County Medical Examiners Office for an autopsy. On Wednesday, it was confirmed the body was the remains of the missing 18-year-old, the release said.

“We would like to extend our sympathy and condolences to the Irion family and thank all the volunteers for their hard work in trying to find Naomi and bring closure to the family,” the release said. “The Churchill County Sheriff’s Office and the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office will continue to work closely on these cases.”

Troy Driver, a 41-year-old Nevada man, was arrested Friday on a kidnapping charge related to Irion’s disappearance

Irion was last seen March 12

At a hearing Wednesday, Judge Lori Matheus set conditions to Driver’s bail, which was previously set at $750,000.

If the suspect posts bail, he will not be released from custody until a GPS monitoring device is installed, according to Matheus. Other conditions to his release include enhanced supervision and no contact with the victim’s family.

Irion’s family was present in court but did not make any statements.

As of 4:20 p.m. ET, Driver was still in custody at the Lyon County Detention Facility.

A pretrial hearing for Driver has been set for April 5 and a preliminary hearing is scheduled to take place April 12.

CNN has not been able to reach legal counsel for Driver.

Irion was last seen at about 5 a.m. March 12 in a Walmart parking lot in Fernley, Nevada, when she was abducted, according to the FBI.

Surveillance video showed a man wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt, dark pants or jeans and dark tennis shoes, approaching Irion’s car at 5:24 a.m.

About a minute later, her vehicle was seen leaving the parking lot with the man driving, Detective Erik Kusmerz with the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office said.

Irion’s vehicle was found near the Walmart three days later.



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