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Minister: Germany won’t block Poland giving Ukraine tanks
Minister: Germany won’t block Poland giving Ukraine tanks
Germany’s top diplomat says her country won’t object if Poland decides to send Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine. French TV channel LCI posted clips from an interview with Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock on Sunday in which she said her government has not received a formal request for approval from Warsaw but added “if we were asked, we would not stand in the way.” The Ukrainian government has insisted it needs advanced tanks to continue its defense against Russia. Berlin has hesitated in signing off on supplying the German-made Leopards. Earlier Sunday, The speaker of the lower house of Russia’s parliament warned Sunday that countries supplying Ukraine with more powerful weapons risked their own destruction.

AP sources: Biden to pick Zients as his next chief of staff
President Joe Biden is expected to name Jeff Zients, who ran the administration’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic at the start of Biden’s term, as his next chief of staff. That word comes from two people familiar with the matter who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. Biden’s current top aide, Ron Klain, is preparing to leave the job in the coming weeks. Since his role as the administration’s COVID-19 response coordinator, Zients has returned to the White House in a low-profile position to work on staffing matters for the remainder of Biden’s first term.
Dems: Biden should be ‘embarrassed’ by classified docs case
Senior Democrats are expressing criticism of how President Joe Biden handled classified material after leaving office as vice president. And they’re disappointed that the White House hasn’t been more forthcoming with the public. The latest development came Saturday, when the president’s lawyer said that during a search Friday of Biden’s home in Wilmington, Delaware, the FBI found additional documents with classified markings and took possession of some of his handwritten notes. Second-ranking Democratic Dick Durbin says Biden should be “embarrassed by the situation.”
Police: Woman fatally shoots dying husband at hospital
Police say a woman fatally shot her terminally ill husband inside a Florida hospital and then barricaded herself in his room. Daytona Beach police said Ellen Gilland shot her 77-year-old husband Jerry Gilland on Saturday morning at AdventHealth Hospital. Authorities say the 76-year-old woman remained in the man’s room about four hours before surrendering. No one else was injured. Police said Ellen Gilland told them her husband had been ill for some time and they had planned the shooting together. Part of the hospital was evacuated with people taking cover in closets and rooms. A police spokeswoman said no charges were immediately announced.
Swift firing of police is rare, but could become more common
Those studying police and criminal justice issues said the speed with which five Memphis police officers were fired following the traffic stop of a man who later died is unusual but could become more common. The five Memphis Police Department officers were fired Friday, less than two weeks after the Jan. 7 arrest of Tyre Nichols, 29, Officials said the five were dismissed for excessive use of force, failure to intervene and failure to render aid. David Thomas, a forensic studies professor at Florida Gulf Coast University, said it’s rare for a police department to act so quickly.
China rings in Year of Rabbit with most COVID rules lifted
People across China are ringing in the Lunar New Year with large family gatherings and crowds visiting temples after the government lifted its strict “zero-COVID” policy. It’s the biggest celebration since the pandemic began three years ago. With the easing of most COVID-19 restrictions that had confined millions to their homes, people could finally make their first trip back to their hometowns to reunite with families. Larger public events also returned. The chief epidemiologist at China’s Center for Disease Control says the mass movement of people is unlikely to cause another surge because about 80% of the population has already been infected. The center reported 12,660 COVID-related deaths between Jan. 13 and 19, on top of 60,000 fatalities since early December.
Brazil’s new president works to reverse Amazon deforestation
Environmentalists, Indigenous people and voters sympathetic to their causes were important to Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s election to a third term as Brazil’s president. Now Lula is seeking to fulfill campaign pledges to expand protected territories in the Amazon and halt a surge in illegal deforestation by appointing well-known environmentalists and Indigenous people to key positions. Lula is certain to face obstacles from officials at the regional level loyal to his predecessor that still control swaths of the Amazon. But experts say he is taking the right first steps to reverse polices of former President Jair Bolsonaro that heavily favored exploiting the Amazon’s resources over protecting them.
By wire sources

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