March Madness: Indiana cheerleaders save stuck basketball

But two creative cheerleaders from Indiana sprang into action to rescue the ball after several failed attempts to reach it using a mop handle. Cassidy Cerny stood atop Nathan Paris’ hands and quickly removed the ball.

The official NCAA March Madness Twitter account applauded the cheerleaders’ play, writing, “The cheerleader saves the day.”
Video shows the exuberant crowd cheering as Cerny dislodges the ball and Paris carefully lowers her to the ground. A video of the maneuver has already reached over 700,000 views on YouTube.
During an interview after the game with March Madness host Andy Katz, Cerny said that she felt “very comfortable” in the air because of her experience regularly performing similar stunts in cheerleading routines.

“Every single day, we stunt together,” she said, adding that she trusts Paris “with my life.”

Unfortunately, the cheerleaders’ move wasn’t enough to bring the Hoosiers the win. Saint Mary’s won the match 82-53 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament.

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Oklahoma City home catches fire multiple times over weekend

An Oklahoma City family’s home caught fire multiple times over the weekend.The family told KOCO 5 they are just glad to have each other.”My son busted in the door, and was screaming, ‘Daddy Daddy Daddy,'” said Adam Carter, one of the fire victims.He told KOCO 5 he knew something was wrong.”I ran outside, and saw the whole back porch was just completely engulfed,” Carter said.With the high winds, the house caught fire two more times over the weekend.”The wind was blowing probably 25 miles an hour — and it was a matter of 10 minutes and whatever was left of the house was completely engulfed,” Carter said.They were forced to take matters into their own hands.”We were out there with garden hoses soaking my shop down while they were on their way,” Carter said.But their one-year-old home was completely gone. Carter said his son helped to save valuable items and things he knew his family needed.”He ran through the living room and saw my middle daughter’s favorite doll, and he turned around and went back and grabbed it,” Carter said.The family has a temporary home they’re staying in and the community around Wellston started a GoFundMe page raising more than $20,000 for the family. They said this is all just a temporary setback. “From the very beginning we’ve said that we know God has a plan, and even in this, He’s still in control,” Carter said.

An Oklahoma City family’s home caught fire multiple times over the weekend.

The family told KOCO 5 they are just glad to have each other.

“My son busted in the door, and was screaming, ‘Daddy Daddy Daddy,'” said Adam Carter, one of the fire victims.

He told KOCO 5 he knew something was wrong.

“I ran outside, and saw the whole back porch was just completely engulfed,” Carter said.

With the high winds, the house caught fire two more times over the weekend.

“The wind was blowing probably 25 miles an hour — and it was a matter of 10 minutes and whatever was left of the house was completely engulfed,” Carter said.

They were forced to take matters into their own hands.

“We were out there with garden hoses soaking my shop down while they were on their way,” Carter said.

But their one-year-old home was completely gone. Carter said his son helped to save valuable items and things he knew his family needed.

“He ran through the living room and saw my middle daughter’s favorite doll, and he turned around and went back and grabbed it,” Carter said.

The family has a temporary home they’re staying in and the community around Wellston started a GoFundMe page raising more than $20,000 for the family. They said this is all just a temporary setback.

“From the very beginning we’ve said that we know God has a plan, and even in this, He’s still in control,” Carter said.

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Ron DeSantis follows the Trump playbook ahead of 2024

Still, there are stories on the domestic front that have also been making waves, both from a statistical angle and for their political implications.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis positions himself for 2024 run against Donald Trump

DeSantis seems like he’s the next major “free media” beneficiary. One of the few non-Ukraine news stories to break through in the last few weeks was the outcry over the new Florida legislation that critics have dubbed “Don’t Say Gay.” (My colleague Zach Wolf has a strong article on what is actually in the bill and what it means.)
Indeed, DeSantis is continuing to lap other potential non-Trump 2024 candidates in Fox cable mentions. In about the last six months, “DeSantis” has been mentioned 920 to 950 times (depending on the day you start counting from), per the Internet Archive’s Television News Archive. “[Mike] Pence” and “[Ted] Cruz” have been mentioned about 900 times — combined.
The same was true nearly a year ago when I wrote “How the numbers show Ron DeSantis’ stock is rising.” It doesn’t hurt DeSantis that the bill that recently passed in Florida is popular among Republicans, both in-state and nationally, and that he is a strong favorite for reelection as governor this year.

The idea behind my piece in 2021 was that DeSantis should be considered a Republican front-runner for 2024, if Trump decided not to run.

At this point, I think we can replace “a” with “the” in that last sentence. To be sure, Trump is the favorite for the GOP nomination in 2024 if he runs, but DeSantis is clearly the next most likely nominee.

The Florida governor is second in pretty much every national 2024 GOP primary poll that includes Trump as an option. He’s also the only other Republican to almost always crack double digits in these polls.

When Trump is not included, DeSantis has the advantage in nearly every survey, usually polling in the mid-20s. That’s quite similar to where Biden was in early 2020 Democratic primary polls. It’s an enviable, though not infallible, position.

DeSantis is polling this well despite not being as well known to voters as Trump and Biden. Nearly 40% of Republicans had no opinion of DeSantis, a January Marquette University Law School poll found.

But while Trump had a higher favorability rating among Republicans than DeSantis (74% versus 52%), DeSantis’ favorability rating among Republicans who were knowledgeable enough to have an opinion was higher than Trump’s (about 83% to about 75%).

Indeed, the governor is in a much stronger position in the one place where voters know both DeSantis and Trump well — Florida. DeSantis and Trump are within single digits of each other in an average of polls for a hypothetical 2024 primary in the Sunshine State. Trump calls Florida home now, and he easily won the 2016 Republican primary there over home-state Sen. Marco Rubio.

We’ll have to see what happens once Republicans nationwide know DeSantis as well as Republicans in Florida do.

Violent crime continues to rise in major cities

Another story that garnered major headlines this week was about a man who senselessly shot homeless people in New York and Washington, DC. While a suspect is under arrest, the fact is that crime continues to be an issue in American cities.
Violent crime rose during the coronavirus pandemic in many American cities. Although we don’t know exactly why, it’s notable that this increase happened just when daily life was interrupted.

This year, the pandemic has been less of an issue, but rates of violent crime still seem to be rising in the biggest American cities.

In New York, the number of complaints for violent crime is up 27% from this point last year.
In Los Angeles, it’s up 5% from this time last year.
And in Chicago, complaints of violent crime are up 9% from last year.

All three cities have seen similar (in the case of Los Angeles) or larger (45% in New York and 34% in Chicago) increases in their overall crime rates within the past year.

The good news from the stats is that the murder (or homicide) rate does seem to be down in all three cities. Unfortunately, the murder rate tells only part of the story.

The higher crime rate in these cities is getting people’s attention. A record percentage of New York City voters (74%) said crime was a very serious problem, according to a recent Quinnipiac University poll. It ranked as the top issue facing the city, the poll found.
In Washington, (where violent crime is up 20% and overall crime is up 9% from this point last year), 36% of residents said the No. 1 problem facing the city that they wanted the mayor to solve was crime, violence or guns, per a recent Washington Post poll. No other issue mentioned by DC residents as the biggest problem got more than 14% in the survey.

We’ll see if this eventually translates into crime becoming a bigger national story. As I pointed out in January, it hasn’t yet.

For your brief encounters: No one wants to hear about your NCAA bracket

On the lighter side of the news, you may be watching or about to watch an NCAA basketball tournament game. If you have any interest in the topic, I’d suggest you check out my piece on the tournament, how much work productivity is lost during March Madness and the chances of Duke losing.

One thing I will point out is that only about 15% of Americans even fill out college basketball brackets every year. Given that low percentage, I can assure you that no one really wants to hear how good or bad you’re doing at predicting results.

Question of the week: Are you more excited for the NCAA tournament or for the start of Major League Baseball in April? Tell us about it here, and we’ll report the results next week.
Last week’s results: I asked you all last week to give us your thoughts on changing the clocks for daylight saving time.
Most of you were in favor of making daylight saving time permanent. For instance, Chris Peterson tweeted, “Daylight Saving time all year, but time zones should shift east by several hundred miles to ensure sunrise times in winter are within a reasonable window.”
A vocal minority were in favor of keeping standard time all year round. “It’s the natural time, defined by the sun and longitude. Why fight nature instead of working with it?” tweeted Kristen Tullo.
And Mark Pritchard came in with this novel idea: “What we need is Weekend Savings Time. Clocks move forward one hour every Friday at 4 pm: suddenly it’s 5 pm and the weekend! Clocks move back every Sunday night: now you have an extra hour of sleep before Monday.”
Little did I know then that the US Senate would hear your calls and vote by unanimous consent to make daylight saving time a year-round affair. We’ll see what the House and Biden do about it.

Leftover polls

Sleep problems: Having trouble sleeping? If so, you’re not alone. A mere 32% of American adults said they had slept excellent or very good the previous night, according to a new Gallup poll. That compares with 33% who reported “fair” or “poor” sleep. (The rest said “good.”) More Americans under age 50 (38%) said they had slept fairly or poorly than those 65 and older (24%).
Masks at work: Just 39% of American workers said their workplaces had mask mandates last week, per an Axios/Ipsos poll. At no other time since the question was first asked in August 2021 had that percentage fallen below a majority. This comes as Covid-19 rates are rising in Europe and signs emerge of the potential for similar spikes in parts of the US.
French presidential election: Last week, I noted that Biden seemed to be benefiting from a bit of a “rally around the flag” effect following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. One politician who is definitely receiving a bounce in his ratings is French President Emmanuel Macron. He faces reelection in about three weeks, and polls now show him over 30% in the first round, well ahead of the competition. As long as he finishes in the top two ahead of a likely runoff, Macron will be a heavy favorite for a second term.

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These baby elephants are thriving, and they have goats to thank

Baby elephant Long’uro is fed at the Reteti Elephant Sanctuary in northern Kenya.

For years, baby elephants lived off powdered formula — the same used for infant humans — at the Reteti Elephant Sanctuary in northern Kenya.

But when global supply chains were severely disrupted by the coronavirus, the sanctuary had to find a more dependable source of food for its calves, who had been either orphaned or abandoned.

Fortunately, the answer was right in their backyard.

Lmeitekini, an elephant keeper at the Reteti sanctuary, accompanies some of the animals out on a walk.

Mike Learka cools goat’s milk after pasteurizing it for the elephants at Reteti.

The Reteti sanctuary — the first elephant orphanage in Africa to be owned and run by members of the local community — had already been thinking about using milk from local goats.

The pandemic provided the push it needed to try its experiment.

“It was really just kind of being brave enough to change, to move away from a formula that you’ve always used,” said Katie Rowe, who co-founded the sanctuary in 2016. “The pandemic did this to people across the world, where you suddenly re-evaluated everything that you do in your home, how you cook, how you buy your groceries and how you should be doing things much more locally. And for us, it was something that we’d always felt was really important: that we shouldn’t be importing milk from the other side of the world.”

Young members of the Samburu community tend to goats and help collect fresh milk near the Reteti sanctuary.

Bawa puts his trunk in Sosian’s mouth. It’s a gesture that’s reassuring and comforting, like a hug for humans. Between 10 and 25 elephant calves are rescued in northern Kenya every year, according to the Reteti sanctuary.

The results have been impressive. Since starting with the goat’s milk, the sanctuary has seen survival rates rise for its youngest and most vulnerable elephants.

“The goat’s milk was the perfect solution,” Rowe said. “We’d already done a lot of research into how goat’s milk is much better for elephants and much easier to digest. I think it’s better for all of us. There’s much smaller fat particles so you can digest it much easier — and several other kind of nutritional components that make it superior formula.”

And it’s not just the elephants who are prospering.

“All that money that was going out of the country is now staying within the community and going to the ‘milk mamas,’ ” said photographer Ami Vitale, who has visited the sanctuary several times a year since it opened in 2016. “The women own the goat milk, and for the first time in their lives they are now opening bank accounts and able to save money, giving them an opportunity to send their children to school, to get health care if there’s a need for that.”

Women gather goat’s milk that will be sold to the elephant sanctuary to help feed the calves.

Goats are corralled in a manyatta, or traditional Samburu family compound, near Reteti. These manyattas are often temporary as people migrate with their livestock to find the best pastures.

The milk is supplied by hundreds of goats in local villages. The sanctuary buys around 300 liters a day and brings it back to its kitchen, where they pasteurize it and prepare specialized formulas for each elephant’s individual needs.

It is then fed to the elephants on the same day the goats are milked.

“I just love this story so much because it reminds us that we are creative and if we just try to reinvent and reimagine, there’s a lot of solutions that are right in front of us,” Vitale said.

A blanket covers an intravenous catheter delivering fluids to a young elephant. This elephant, estimated to be about a month old, became separated from her herd after she fell into a well and couldn’t get out.

There are nearly 40 elephants right now at the Reteti sanctuary, which rehabilitates the rescued animals before eventually releasing them back into the wild.

All of the elephant keepers are from the indigenous Samburu community, and through Vitale’s photos you can see how very deep bonds have developed between them and their four-legged friends.

“They look after one another. They’re family,” Vitale said. “It’s funny, when the keepers go home to their own families, you see them calling and checking in. It’s really a remarkable thing.”

Rowe said the Samburu people have always had “an incredibly strong relationship with elephants, and there’s this belief that they were once related.”

Meibae the elephant greets keeper Naomi Leshongoro.

Andrew Leshakwet looks after Suyian at the sanctuary. “In their (Samburu) culture, there has always been that very, very strong bond with elephants,” sanctuary co-founder Katie Rowe said.

There are various reasons that a baby elephant in northern Kenya could be orphaned or abandoned. And it’s rarely poaching, Vitale said, as Kenya has had remarkable success with their anti-poaching laws.

Many times, a calf will fall into one of the deep wells that the Samburu have dug into the dry river beds to collect water for themselves and their livestock. These wells are also used by local wildlife, including herds of elephants.

“Very often what happens is a brand-new baby elephant — tiny, like a week old — they will get nudged in by a bigger elephant and fall into the well and then they can’t get out,” Vitale said.

Climate change is only making things worse.

“The droughts become longer and more intense,” Vitale said. “These wells get deeper and deeper.”

A rescued elephant named Sosian is transported by Reteti workers inside a specially adapted vehicle.

The sanctuary’s goal is to rehabilitate the elephants so they can be released back into the wild.

Elephant keepers say goodbye to three elephants they were returning back into the wild.

When a baby elephant is found in a well or abandoned, the Reteti keepers are notified by a community member and they’ll rush out to help.

Once they get to the elephant, they will usually wait about 24 hours with it, to see if its herd will return and the calf can be reunited with its mother. If not, they’ll bring it back to the sanctuary.

“It will be monitored very closely, given lots of hydration, a lot of love and a lot of attention to sort of get them through that sort of traumatic experience of being separated from their herd,” Rowe said.

Slowly, the calf will be introduced to the sanctuary’s other elephants, who are very curious and will often introduce themselves.

Baby elephants introduce themselves to Mary Lengees’ child. Lengees was one of the first Samburu women to become an elephant keeper.

At the sanctuary right now, there are three distinct herds. There’s a nursery herd of younger calves, a middle herd that’s a bit older, and then a bigger, older herd of elephants. Depending on what age the new elephant is, it will join one of those groups.

Once they’re in a new herd, they build friendships quickly.

“They’re so good at kind of looking after each other, and they’re so affectionate and curious of each other,” Rowe said.

The elephants are fed every three hours, and during the days they will go out and spend their time with their new herds. Natural matriarchs have emerged and will often lead the way, keeping the calves in line and teaching them sort of how to be elephants. There’s no human interaction outside of their keepers, who will walk out with them just to make sure they are safe and that they all stay together.

Lemarash, an elephant keeper, prepares 2-liter bottles of special formula at feeding time. The elephants are fed every three hours around the clock.

About 95% of the Reteti herd was orphaned or abandoned due to issues related to climate change.

So far, Reteti has released 10 elephants back into the wild since it opened in 2016. It takes years for the elephants to become mature enough to go out on their own, and the timing varies depending on each animal.

“They all have personalities and are very different creatures,” Vitale said. “You can’t really see the difference sometimes — I mean I can’t, the keepers can — but once they get big enough, the way you can tell the difference is their very distinct personalities. Some are shy. Some are really confident and bold. Some are really naughty.”

Seeing these beautiful animals develop has been very rewarding for the sanctuary and its keepers, and now — thanks to the goats — more elephants will have a chance to flourish. As will local villagers.

“It’s really reminded us of how interconnected we all are and sort of the healthier the landscape is, the healthier your livestock is, the higher yield you’ll have,” Rowe said. “And that has direct impact on the health of the community and the wealth of the community.”

Nomadic pastoralists have occupied the land in northern Kenya for over two centuries, according to the Reteti sanctuary.

A security team helps protect wildlife in northern Kenya’s conservancies.

A week-old orphaned elephant is rescued after it fell into a well.

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Russian cosmonauts arrive in Ukraine’s colors at the International Space Station, sparking speculation

While it is possible that the suits are a sign of solidarity with Ukraine, there are also other possible explanations.

Some have speculated the three may have instead been paying homage to Bauman Moscow State Technical University, which they all attended and which has blue and yellow among its school colors.

The head of Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, posted pictures on Telegram of media coverage speculating the cosmonauts were supporting Ukraine, and said, “Here some bandit cowards and their Anglo-Saxon sponsors don’t know what else to come up with in their information war against Russia.” He added that the crew were not representing Ukraine but wearing colors from their alma mater: Bauman Moscow State Technical University.

“Sometimes the color yellow is just the color yellow. The flight suits of the new crew were designed to match the colors of the emblem of Bauman Moscow State Technical University, from where all three cosmonauts graduated. The design of the uniforms was coordinated long before the current events. Seeing the Ukrainian flag everywhere and in everything is just a clinic [in propaganda],” another Roscosmos official wrote in his Telegram channel “Closed Space.”

Cosmonauts typically pick their flight suits months in advance, which would predate Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But it’s unclear when the cosmonauts selected this yellow and blue color scheme.

“For Soyuz flights, typically the crew meets with the company that makes the suits months before flight and they are allowed two custom suits,” a NASA astronaut who has flown on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft to the ISS told CNN. “Typically, one suit is the same across the crew, and the second suit is something personal.”

“I think it would be a real challenge to make and launch these (flight suits) last minute. Not impossible though,” a former NASA astronaut who has also flown on a Soyuz spacecraft to the ISS said.

When the three cosmonauts arrived at the space station Friday, they spoke to callers on the phone, one of whom asked about the yellow color. Commander Oleg Artemyev responded jokingly, “We actually had a lot of yellow material, so we had to use it. So that’s why we had to wear yellow.”

Veteran former NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, who has been a staunch critic of Russia’s invasion, noted the uniforms in a tweet, written in Russian and English: “Three Russian cosmonauts who have just docked at the International Space Station have arrived in Ukrainian yellow!”

Cosmonauts Artemyev, Denis Matveev and Sergey Korsakov will spend the next six and a half months aboard the space station.

When the hatch opened at 5:48 p.m. ET Friday, the three were welcomed aboard the ISS by two other Russian cosmonauts, four NASA astronauts, and one European Space Agency astronaut. The crew were all smiles and embraced one another after the new arrivals floated through the hatch in their bright yellow suits.

CNN’s Ashley Strickland contributed to this report.

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Iowa woman’s request for help on TikTok goes viral

Allison Marois’ father, Bill Collins, recently retired from the Des Moines Fire Department after serving for more than 38 years. When she started planning for his August birthday, she knew the perfect gift to represent his lifelong passion: a quilt made from the T-shirts of fire departments from all 50 states.

“He really is passionate being a firefighter. That’s the one thing that he’s loved. If someone was born to do something, my dad was born to be a firefighter,” Marois said, according to CNN affiliate KCCI. “My dad is one of my number one supporters and he … he is really one of the best men in my life and I wouldn’t trade him for anything.”

Marois told CNN throughout her childhood, whenever her family traveled, her father would get a T-shirt from the local fire department. Since he hasn’t had the chance to visit all 50 states, she realized the quilt would be a “great gift.”

So Marois turned to TikTok for help to make her dream gift a reality. The video, posted in late February, features photos of Collins and describes his career path and has been viewed more than 230,000 times.

“I want to do something really special for him,” Marois said in the video.

In an interview with CNN, Marois said she actually started the project in 2018 the old-fashioned way. She sent letters to the fire department of every single state capital asking for a shirt for her quilt. But she only received 8 T-shirts.

By contrast, the response to her TikTok has been “overwhelming,” said Marois. “It’s crazy how many people were willing to just send me a shirt out of the kindness of their hearts.”

“Being a firefighter, you’re part of a family,” she said. Some of the shirts have even come with handwritten notes from firefighters across the country introducing themselves, telling stories about their departments, and wishing her father a happy birthday. One particularly heartfelt note came from the widow of a firefighter who had died in 9/11.

Marois is only seven states away from meeting her goal. She told CNN she is still hoping to gather T-shirts from Delaware, Hawaii, Mississippi, Oregon, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

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Some parents call for Jones College Prep principal to resign over alleged misconduct reports, Title IX violations

CHICAGO (WLS) — Members of the Jones Local School Council are calling on Jones College Prep principal Joseph Powers to resign, alleging he ignored reports of alleged misconduct at the school for years and violated Title IX protections for students.

Jones College Prep is one of the top selective enrollment schools in Chicago Public Schools, and has received national awards. But now some parents want Powers gone.

“Not caring about reports from marginalized students and teachers is a dereliction of our duties,” said Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth, parent representative in Jones Local School Council.

Members of the council say Powers has ignored reports of alleged misconduct at the school for years.

“Including verbal abuse, a threat of physical violence, sexual harassment, grooming and sexual abuse against both students and staff victims,” said Cassie Creswell, chair of Jones Local School Council.

“Administration has said, ‘I don’t know what’s wrong unless someone tells me.’ They have been telling you for years,” said Sarah Ma, parent representative.

The local school council detailed the allegations in a partially-redacted letter in February to CPS CEO Pedro Martinez. The LSC also accused the administration of “violating Title IX” anti-discrimination laws, alleging, “…long-standing disparities [in resources] between girls and boys sports teams…” and said it’s “…committed to the safety and well-being of [its] students and takes all allegations of employee misconduct seriously.”

“Every person who walks through those doors deserves respect and care,” said Manaa-Hoppenworth.

Powers did not respond to ABC7’s request for comment. Earlier in March he sent a letter to parents, accusing the LSC of “interfering in personnel matters” and “initiating direct contact with students and staff members for purposes of attacking school leadership.”

Last week, the LSC voted to request that CPS begin the formal process of firing Powers. CEO Martinez has 45 days to respond.

Copyright © 2022 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.

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Russian cosmonauts arrived at the International Space Station in yellow and blue, sparking speculation

A Ukrainian digital broadcaster said one of its reporters in the southeast of the country has gone missing and is believed to be held by Russian forces.

The broadcaster, Hromadske, said reporter Victoria Roshchina was last heard from on March 12, a day after filing a story from the Russian-occupied town of Enerhodar.

Ukraine’s Human Rights Commissioner Liudmyla Denisova said Saturday the government believed she had been kidnapped by Russian forces in the town of Berdiansk, which is on the Black Sea coast and also under Russian occupation.

Hromadske is a small broadcasting station that started in 2013 and is associated with the Maidan protests in Kyiv that began that year.

Roshchina’s disappearance comes amid reports of other activists and officials being held against their will in other parts of Russian-occupied Ukraine.

In Kherson region, a senior council official in the town of Nova Kakhovka was abducted three days ago, according to the town’s mayor. The wife of Dmytro Vasyliev said on her Facebook page that her husband had been detained because of his negative attitude toward Russia.

Ukrainian officials have said Russia wants to create a Kherson People’s Republic in the style of the pro-Russian statelets set up around Donetsk and Luhansk in 2014 and are demanding local councillors promote the move.

More: Elsewhere in Ukraine, Melitopol Mayor Ivan Fedorov was freed from detention by Russian forces as part of a prisoner swap, Ukraine’s Center for Strategic Communications and Information Security said in a statement Thursday. Fedorov was taken to Luhansk after his detention and held for five days.

Also, Viktor Tereshchenko, mayor of the Velykoburlutska community in Ukraine’s northeastern region of Kharkiv, has been released, according to a video message from Kharkiv Regional State Administration’s head Oleh Syniehubov on Friday. On Thursday, Syniehubov said Tereshchenko was “captured” by Russian forces.

And on Sunday, Yevhen Matveyev, the leader of Dniprorudne, a small city north of Melitopol, was abducted by Russian troops, according to Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba. CNN could not independently confirm the claim.

According to human rights organization ZMINA, about 17 people have been detained by Russian forces in Ukraine since the start of the war.

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Credit reporting agencies will wipe most medical debt

Equifax (EFX), Experian (EXPGF) and TransUnion (TRU) will eliminate billions of dollars from the accounts of consumers who faced unexpected medical bills that they were unable to pay. The three firms said they made the move after months of research.

“Medical collections debt often arises from unforeseen medical circumstances. These changes are another step we’re taking together to help people across the United States focus on their financial and personal well-being,” the companies said in a joint statement.

The announcement follows research from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau showing that Americans had racked up $88 billion in medical debt on consumer credit records as of June 2021. It’s the most common debt collection credit account on credit records, the CFPB said.

Medical debt can be volatile and unpredictable, and can negatively affect many financially secure consumers. Black, Hispanic, young and low-income consumers are most likely to be impacted by medical debt, the bureau said.

Medical debt concerns have heightened since the Covid-19 pandemic hospitalized millions of people, and CFBP Director Rohit Chopra has been publicly critical of medical debt collections by credit reporting agencies. On March 1, Chopra said the CFPD will be “closely scrutinizing” the Big Three credit reporting agencies.

“We expect them to take seriously their role as major actors in the credit reporting system — a system whose integrity and accuracy can determine the financial futures of hundreds of millions of people,” Chopra said.

Starting July 1, paid medical collection debt will no longer be included on consumer credit reports. Millions of Americans had credit scores previously lowered because debts paid after being sent to collections could appear on credit reports for up to seven years.

More changes are expected. It will now take one month before unpaid medical collection debt appears on a consumer’s report, instead of six months, the previous standard.

The three companies also said that starting in the first half of 2023, medical collection debt less than $500 will no longer be included on credit reports.

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Canada mosque: Worshipers subdue attacker in Mississauga

Mohammad Moiz Omar, a 24-year-old Mississauga resident, was arrested at the Dar Al-Tawheed Islamic Centre about 7 a.m. local time during the dawn prayer of Fajr, Peel Regional Police said in a statement.
“Before he could inflict harm on any (worshipers), several congregants bravely were able to stop him,” the Dar Al-Tawheed Islamic Centre said in Facebook statement.

The mosque statement said the man was also armed with “numerous other sharp edged weapons.”

Worshipers sustained minor injuries from the bear spray, police said.

“The members of the Mosque quickly subdued the man until police arrived,” police said in a statement.

Investigators were considering “all possible motivations, including hate-motivation” for the assault, which appeared to be an “isolated incident,” police said. Charges were pending.

Police will remain “in the area to offer reassurance to the community and the Mosque and provide additional support,” the statement said.

Mississauga is about 15 miles southwest of Toronto in the province of Ontario.

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