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In Russia, an Election Seen as Settled Will Be Gauged for Signs of Dissent
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In Russia, an Election Seen as Settled Will Be Gauged for Signs of Dissent

Russian authorities on Thursday banned from the presidential race the only candidate who had openly contested President Vladimir V. Putin’s hold on power in Russia, and who called the decision to invade Ukraine a “fatal mistake.”The move by Russia’s Central Electoral Commission, the body that administers elections in Russia, was the latest predictable twist in a campaign that few doubt will result in Mr. Putin’s re-election in March.Mr. Putin’s expected victory in the March 15-17 presidential election would secure him a fifth term in the Kremlin, cementing his rule as one of the longest and most consequential in Russian history.The commission’s dismissal of the antiwar candidate, Boris B. Nadezhdin, demonstrated how the Kremlin has decided to remove all contenders who deviate from the part...
A Fossilized Tree That Dr. Seuss Might Have Dreamed Up
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A Fossilized Tree That Dr. Seuss Might Have Dreamed Up

In the ancient prehistory of Earth, there is a chapter that waits to be told known as Romer’s gap. Researchers have identified a hiatus in the tetrapod fossil record between 360 million and 345 million years ago, after fish had begun to adapt to land and more than 80 million years before the first dinosaurs.While mysteries remain about evolution’s experiments with living things during that 15-million-year gap, a fossilized tree described in a new paper offers greater insights to some of what was happening during this period in nature’s laboratory.Named Sanfordiacaulis densifolia, the tree had a six-inch diameter with a nearly 10-foot-tall trunk composed not of wood, but of vascular plant material, like ferns. Its crown had more than 200 finely striated, compound leaves emanating from spira...
U.S. Plans Further Retaliation in Mideast as Blinken Heads to the Region
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U.S. Plans Further Retaliation in Mideast as Blinken Heads to the Region

Senate Republicans and Democrats on Sunday cemented a compromise plan to crack down on unlawful migration across the U.S. border with Mexico and cleared a critical hurdle to an aid package for Ukraine, but the deal faces long odds in a Congress deeply divided over both issues.The release of the agreement, struck after more than three months of near-daily talks among senators and Biden administration officials, counted as an improbable breakthrough on a policy matter that has bedeviled presidents of both parties and defied efforts at compromise for decades on Capitol Hill. President Biden implored Congress late last month to pass it, promising to shut down the border immediately once it became law.But Speaker Mike Johnson has pronounced it “dead on arrival” in the Republican-controlled Hous...
Mysterious Shipwreck Washes Ashore in Newfoundland
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Mysterious Shipwreck Washes Ashore in Newfoundland

Ever since a shipwreck washed ashore in the remote Canadian coastal area of Cape Ray on the island of Newfoundland in late January, it’s been causing a stir in the small community of about 250 people.Residents have posed for pictures with parts of the wooden ship, which a local hunter spotted and which is believed to be from the 19th century. They’ve encouraged the authorities to secure the structure. And they’ve speculated on social media about its mysterious origins.The posts, on a community page on Facebook, caught the attention of a local photographer, Corey Purchase, who lives 15 minutes from the area. He used a drone to take aerial photos showing the scale of the vessel, which he estimated to be about 90 feet long.“The drone put it into perspective for sure,” he said. “It was a prett...
Israel-Hamas War and Middle East News: Hamas Considers Cease-Fire Framework
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Israel-Hamas War and Middle East News: Hamas Considers Cease-Fire Framework

As Israel awaited a signal from Egyptian and Qatari mediators about whether Hamas’s military leaders were prepared to advance talks on a possible cease-fire and hostage release, differences among the families of the more than 100 captives remaining in Gaza were emerging.Some are pushing for a deal at all costs, while others are urging the government to fight on against Hamas until victory. For months, the families of the hostages have been a key — and largely united — voice in putting pressure on the Israeli government to prioritize efforts to secure their release. Now some are backing calls for a tougher stance toward Hamas, including blocking all aid to Gaza, even as the government is under international pressure to increase humanitarian assistance.Those differences have added to politic...
How the Border Crisis Shattered Biden’s Immigration Hopes
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How the Border Crisis Shattered Biden’s Immigration Hopes

On President Biden’s first day in office, he paused nearly all deportations. He vowed to end the harsh practices of the Trump administration, show compassion toward those wishing to come to the United States and secure the southern border.For Mr. Biden, it was a matter of principle. He wanted to show the world that the United States was a humane nation, while also demonstrating to his fellow citizens that government could work again.But those early promises have largely been set aside as chaos engulfs the border and imperils Mr. Biden’s re-election hopes. The number of people crossing into the United States has reached record levels, more than double than in the Trump years. The asylum system is still all but broken.On Friday, in a dramatic turnaround from those early days, the president i...
Widening Mideast Crisis: Drone Strike Kills 3 U.S. Soldiers in Jordan, White House Says
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Widening Mideast Crisis: Drone Strike Kills 3 U.S. Soldiers in Jordan, White House Says

Three U.S. service members were killed in Jordan on Sunday and at least 34 others were injured in what the Biden administration said was a drone attack from an Iran-backed militia, the first American military fatalities from hostile fire in the turmoil spilling over from Israel’s war with Hamas.The attack happened at a remote logistics outpost in northeast Jordan called Tower 22 where the borders of Syria, Iraq and Jordan converge. The one-way attack drone hit near the outpost’s living quarters, causing injuries that ranged from minor cuts to brain trauma, a U.S. military official said.But the deaths of U.S. service members, most of whom were military reservists, will almost certainly increase pressure on President Biden to retaliate more forcefully as strife grows in the Middle East after...
Venezuela Court Bars Opposition Leader From Running for President
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Venezuela Court Bars Opposition Leader From Running for President

Venezuela’s highest court ruled on Friday that a top opposition leader cannot run for president, dealing a crippling blow to prospects for credible elections that the government had agreed to hold this year in exchange for the lifting of crippling U.S. economic sanctions.The court’s decision bars the opposition figure, María Corina Machado, from taking part in an election for 15 years, upholding the Venezuelan government’s decision to exclude Ms. Machado over what it claimed were financial irregularities that occurred when she was a national legislator.The move comes after Ms. Machado overwhelmingly won an opposition primary election for president that was held in October without official government support and in which more than 2.4 million Venezuelans voted. Analysts say Ms. Machado pose...
Widening Mideast Crisis: Families of Israeli Hostages Protest at Border Crossing to Block Aid to Gaza
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Widening Mideast Crisis: Families of Israeli Hostages Protest at Border Crossing to Block Aid to Gaza

The director of the C.I.A. is set to make a renewed push for negotiations over the release of hostages held in Gaza and an extended cease-fire, according to U.S. officials, who said he would meet with senior Israeli, Egyptian and Qatari officials in Europe.The officials hope to close a wide gap between Israel and Hamas, especially on two issues: the length of any pause in fighting and the fate of Hamas leaders in Gaza, according to officials briefed on the talks.Here is a look at where the talks stand.How are the negotiations going?A weeklong truce in November allowed the release of more than 100 of the hostages abducted in Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack on Israel; 240 Palestinian prisoners were released as part of that deal. Since then, both sides have staked out seemingly intractable positions fo...
Court Finds Trudeau Overreached by Using Emergency Law to End Blockade
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Court Finds Trudeau Overreached by Using Emergency Law to End Blockade

A Canadian court found that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s use of the country’s Emergencies Act to end a truck convoy protest that had paralyzed the capital, Ottawa, two years ago was an unjustified infringement of civil rights, including the protection against unreasonable search and seizure, and, in some instances, the freedom of expression as well.The Federal Court of Canada decision also found that the freezing of bank accounts of people linked to the protest was similarly unjustified, but it dismissed arguments that the government had violated a variety of other rights, including those linked to peaceful assembly.The decision, which will be appealed, was the first instance of a court delivering a rebuke to Mr. Trudeau over his handling of the protest, which began on Jan. 28, 2022, an...