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BIDEN-CHILD TAX CREDIT

Goodbye ‘godsend’: Expiration of child tax credits hits home

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — For the first time in half a year, families on Friday are going without a monthly deposit from the child tax credit. The program was intended to be part of President Joe Biden’s legacy but has instead become a flash point over who is worthy of government support. The monthly tax credits started arriving thanks to Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, and the president had proposed extending them for another full year as part of a separate measure focused on economic and social programs. But that bill is stalled in the Senate. More than 36 million families received the payments in December. 

EDUCATION CYBER ATTACK

Cyber attack in Albuquerque latest to target public schools

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Around 75,000 New Mexico schoolchildren on Friday will miss school for the second day after a cyber attack hit the state’s largest school district on Wednesday. At least five other school districts have suffered costly cyber attacks in the past two years, according insurance officials who cover school losses. Schools in Las Cruces were digitally crippled for months after an attack in 2019. One target of the attack was the school’s student information database, the same target of the attack against Albuquerque Public Schools, which was discovered on Wednesday as teachers prepared for class. But Las Cruces didn’t cancel class, it moved duties like attendance to paper records.

AP-US-FEDERAL-RESERVE-NOMINATIONS

Biden chooses 3 for Fed board, including first Black woman

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden will nominate three people for the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors, including Sarah Bloom Raskin, a former Fed and Treasury official, for the top regulatory slot and Lisa Cook, who would be the first Black woman to serve on the Fed’s board. Biden will also nominate Phillip Jefferson, an economist, dean of faculty at Davidson College in North Carolina and a former Fed researcher, according to a person familiar with the decision Thursday who was not authorized to speak on the record. The three nominees, who will have to be confirmed by the Senate, would fill out the Fed’s seven-member board.

RUSSIA-US-NATO

Russia’s talk of troops in Latin America called ‘bluster’

MOSCOW (AP) — A senior Russian diplomat has refused to rule out a Russian military deployment to Cuba and Venezuela if tensions with the United States over Ukraine and NATO’s expansion in Eastern Europe mount. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said in televised remarks on Thursday that he couldn’t confirm or exclude the possibility of Russia sending military assets to Latin America if the U.S. and its allies don’t curtail their activities on Russia’s doorstep. U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan dismissed the statement as “bluster.” Russia held talks with the U.S. and NATO this week amid a Russian troop buildup near Ukraine that the West fears might be a prelude to an invasion. 

UNITED STATES-RUSSIA-PIPELINE

Democrats defeat GOP sanctions on Russian gas pipeline

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Democrats have defeated a bill by Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz that would have slammed sanctions on a Russian natural-gas pipeline to Germany. Democrats denounced it as a Republican political gesture that would have harmed relations with Europe at a time when the allies are trying to show a united front against Russia. The vote was 55-44, short of the 60 it needed to pass. Republicans argued the sanctions would show U.S. resolve in defense of Ukraine. Democrats back a rival bill that would impose penalties on Russia if it invades Ukraine.  

AP-US-BIDEN-HEALTH-INSURANCE

As omicron surges, HealthCare.gov sign-up deadline arrives

People looking for health insurance in the grip of the omicron surge have through Saturday to sign up for taxpayer-subsidized private coverage under the Obama-era Affordable Care Act. President Joe Biden’s administration is on track is to deliver robust enrollment numbers, but those gains could turn into a mirage if congressional Democrats remain stymied on Biden’s social agenda package. Biden’s coronavirus relief bill has been providing generous subsidy increases that benefit new and returning customers. That added assistance will go away at the end of this year without further congressional action. About 14 million people were signed up as of early January.

CONGRESS-VOTING BILLS

Biden all but concedes defeat on voting, election bills

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is all but conceding defeat for this year on the Democrats’ big elections and voting rights legislation. He says he’s not giving up, but he’s now talking more about future efforts. Biden spoke at the Capitol Thursday after a key fellow Democrat, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, dramatically announced her refusal to go along with changing Senate rules to muscle past a Republican filibuster. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is still hoping to use Senate procedural rules to bypass the blockade and force a floor debate. But the Democrats still lack the support within their own party to overhaul the rules and pass the bill with a simple majority.   

CHRISTMAS PARADE-SUV

Judge to decide if Wisconsin parade suspect will stand trial

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A Wisconsin judge is poised to decide whether a Milwaukee man accused of plowing his SUV through a suburban Christmas parade, killing six people and injuring dozens more, will stand trial. Darrell Brooks Jr. is scheduled to appear in Waukesha County court for a preliminary hearing Friday. Such hearings to decide if the defendant can be held for trial are essentially a formality. Prosecutors allege Brooks drove his SUV through a Christmas parade in the city of Waukesha on Nov. 21. He faces scores of charges, including six homicide counts. Brooks would face mandatory life in prison if he’s convicted on one of the homicide counts.

PHILANTHROPY-GOFUNDME-ACQUISITION

GoFundMe acquires nonprofit fundraising platform Classy

The crowdfunding platform GoFundMe announced Thursday that it has signed a deal to acquire the nonprofit fundraising company Classy. The move will help the largest crowdfunding site in the world further increase its influence in the philanthropic sector. A news release from GoFundMe says under the agreement, Classy will become a subsidiary of GoFundMe and the two will operate separately under the leadership of GoFundMe CEO Tim Cadogan. The company didn’t disclose details of the deal. But it said the “all-equity” deal was signed earlier this month and is expected to close in the first quarter.

FATAL SHOOTING-SHERIFF’S DEPUTY

Judge allows video release in Black man’s shooting death

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A judge has granted a North Carolina police chief’s request to release body camera video recorded moments after the fatal shooting of a Black man by an off-duty sheriff’s deputy. The Fayetteville Observer reports that Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Jim Ammons issued his ruling Thursday, two days after Fayetteville Police Chief Gina Hawkins filed the request. Hawkins says the footage will show exchanges between Fayetteville police officers and three witnesses at the scene of last Saturday’s fatal shooting of Jason Walker by off-duty Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Jeffrey Hash. 

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