Local News

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An accident on Interstate 78 eastbound closed all lanes late Thursday night. Read more

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Northampton County Council delayed a vote Thursday on appointing an employee of U.S. Rep. Susan Wild's office to the county election commission. Read more

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The Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania have kicked off their 2022 cookie season. Read more

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Citing public opposition and potential legal complications, Alexandria Township's committee and land use board said "no" to a proposed medical-marijuana facility. Read more

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The county commissioners approved a resolution to get legal counsel to oppose the plans. Read more

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Officers from the Allentown Police Department were dispatched to the area of Jordan and Gordon Streets for a report of shots fired in the area Thursday. Read more

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Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order Wednesday requiring all workers in health care settings and high-risk congregate living facilities, including correctional facilities, to be up to date on vaccinations. Read more

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Marisa Burke has written a tell-all book about what happened, what she went through, and how her and her daughters are moving forward from those dark days.  Read more

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(The Center Square) – The Pennsylvania Senate approved a bill to require state agencies to notify victims of a data breach within a week. Read more

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Citing the CDC, Wolf said Pennsylvania saw more than 1700 fatal shootings in 2020, a 13% increase from 2019. Read more

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Reports say Schuylkill and Berks County representative Jerry Knowles won't be running for reelection next year. Read more

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The colorless, odorless, naturally occurring radioactive gas stems from uranium in the soil and is the leading cause of lung cancer among nonsmokers. Read more

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The Tourism and Convention Board gave its annual State of Tourism Presentation to the commissioners. Read more

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Community members, students, families, teachers and administrators in the Reading School District will band together to help the Reading Public Museum amid a lengthy legal battle. Read more

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(The Center Square) – The Pennsylvania Senate has passed legislation to prohibit state and local governments from using taxpayer money to pay ransoms to hackers. Read more

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Officials say the picture "does not represent the universal values" of the district. Read more

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Wild said Stanko helped bridge the divide between police officers and the community. Read more

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Tori Yorgey is a Penn State graduate from the Philadelphia area. Read more

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The funding comes from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Read more

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The Berk's County DA's Office said Thursday 23 suspects were identified in a drug operation ring following a lengthy investigation. Read more

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Commissioner Christian Y. Leinbach stressed that the commissioners have not made any decisions about the proposed facility. Read more

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Montgomery County officials Thursday issued a Code Blue Emergency due to forecasted cold temperatures. Read more

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The agreement between the Hellertown Area Library and Lower Saucon Township is almost expired.  Read more

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$11.9 million in Provider Relief Funds will be given to 139 health care providers that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Read more

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The 1,525 boxes of pasta collected will be dropped off at Hispanic Center Lehigh Valley. Read more

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Betty the dog was rescued outside of the Reading IMAX during a showing of "Betty White: A Celebration" on what would have been the animal-loving star's 100th birthday. Read more

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Many city employees have tested positive or need to quarantine and will not be in the workplace.  Read more

US and World News

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Abortion opponents are gathering Friday in Washington for the largest anti-abortion rally in the U.S., and they're hoping it's the last one under Roe v. Wade. The March for Life arrives as the Supreme Court appears likely in the coming months to let states impose tighter restrictions on abortion. The court is considering a Mississippi case and could overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that affirmed the constitutional right to an abortion. Members of the resurgent anti-abortion movement say they are not finished fighting for restrictions even if the court’s conservative majority rules in their favor later this year. Read more

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California would allow children age 12 and up to be vaccinated without their parents’ consent, the youngest age of any state, under a state senator's proposal. Alabama allows such decisions at age 14, Oregon at 15, Rhode Island and South Carolina at 16. Only Washington, D.C., has a lower limit, at age 11. Sen. Scott Wiener, a Democrat from San Francisco who proposed the change late Thursday, argued that California already allows those 12 and up to consent to certain vaccines and treatments. Wiener’s legislation is permissive, not a mandate, but any vaccination legislation has been hugely controversial in California and elsewhere. Read more

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“Whom have I helped today?” That’s the question Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor tells kids she asks herself every night before she goes to sleep. Her new children’s book “Just Help!: How to Build a Better World” challenges kids to ask how they will help, too. The book comes out Tuesday and is Sotomayor’s third book for young readers. In the book, children help by sending care packages to American soldiers overseas, recycling plastic bags, cleaning up a park and donating toys to a children’s hospital. Sotomayor says she wants kids not only to help family and friends but also to “think about how to help neighbors and how to help our community.” Read more

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A federal appeals court will have to decide whether protecting historical tribal lands and a rare toad warrant blocking a major geothermal plant in Nevada as the nation tries to move away from fossil fuels amid a looming climate crisis. Ormat Technologies says it may abandon the project if a 90-day court order remains in place into March. The legal battle is headed to a U.S. appellate court in San Francisco after a judge in Nevada denied Ormat's request to lift the injunction by Feb. 28. The site 100 miles east of Reno is home to a toad being considered for a U.S. endangered species listing.  Read more

Short of an all-out invasion, Russian President Vladimir Putin could take less dramatic action in Ukraine that would vastly complicate a U.S. and allied response. He might carry out what President Joe Biden called a “minor incursion” — perhaps a cyber attack — leaving the U.S. and Europe divided on the severity of economic sanctions to impose on Moscow. Biden drew widespread criticism for saying that retaliating for Russian aggression in Ukraine would depend on the details. While the U.S. and allies agree on a strong response to a Russian invasion, it’s not clear how they would respond to Russian aggression that falls short of that, like a cyberattack or boosted support for pro-Russian separatists fighting in eastern Ukraine. Read more

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President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will hold their first formal talks on Friday as the two leaders face fresh concerns about North Korea’s nuclear program and China’s growing military assertiveness. The talks come as North Korea earlier this week suggested it might resume nuclear and long-range missile testing that has been paused for more than three years. Both the U.S. and Japan are also concerned about China’s increasing aggression towards Taiwan. White House officials say ongoing efforts in the COVID-19 pandemic and the brewing crisis in eastern Europe as Russia has massed some 100,000 troops near its border with Ukraine will also be on the agenda. Read more

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Former Masters champion Bob Goalby has died at age 92. Goalby is best remembered for winning the 1968 Masters over Roberto De Vicenzo when the Argentine signed for the wrong score in the final round. Instead of an 18-hole playoff, the Rules of Golf dictated that De Vicenzo had to accept the higher score and Goalby was the winner. He won 11 times on the PGA Tour. He doesn't get enough credit for his final round that day at the Masters, a 66. Goalby also played roles in the PGA Tour's split from the PGA of America and the creation of the senior tour. Read more

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Restaurants and bars will close early in Tokyo and a dozen other areas across Japan beginning Friday as the country widens COVID-19 restrictions due to the omicron variant causing cases to surge to new highs in metropolitan areas. The three-week restraint, which is something of a pre-state of emergency, is the first in Tokyo since September. While many Japanese adults are vaccinated against COVID-19, few have gotten a booster, which has been a vital protection from the highly contagious omicron. Experts at a government meeting sounded the alarm at the upsurge. They say while Tokyo has adequate available hospital beds now, they worry about the virus infecting the elderly, who could get seriously ill.  Read more

A jury of 18 people who appeared mostly white was picked Thursday for the federal trial of three Minneapolis police officers charged in George Floyd’s killing. The judge told potential jurors the case has “absolutely nothing” to do with race. The jurors chosen to hear the case against former Officers Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J. Kueng appeared to include one person of Asian descent among the 12 jurors who would deliberate if no alternates are needed. A second person of Asian descent was among the six alternates, with all others appearing white. The court declined to provide demographic information. Read more

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The Latest on Friday at the Australian Open (all times local): Read more

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Asian shares have declined after a late-afternoon sell-off wiped out gains for stocks on Wall Street. Tokyo fell 1.4% after Toyota Motor Corp. announced production cuts due to parts shortages. Other major regional markets also fell. Oil prices slipped, with the U.S. benchmark crude down 2.3%. On Thursday, the S&P 500 lost 1.1% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.9%. The Nasdaq slumped 1.3% as technology stocks dropped. Investors are bracing for higher interest rates and shares in pricey tech companies and other expensive growth stocks look relatively less attractive. Stocks are headed for weekly losses in what has so far been a losing month. Oil prices also fell, with the U.S. benchmark crude down 2.3%.  Read more

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Rob Phinisee scored a season-high 17 points in the first half and then made the decisive 3-pointer with 16.5 seconds left to send Indiana past No. 4 Purdue 68-65. Phinisee finished with a career-best 20 points. The Hoosiers snapped a nine-game losing streak in the series against their top rival and improved to 12-0 at home this season — sending fans streaming onto the court. Jaden Ivey led Purdue with 21 points, 19 in the second half. But he missed two potential go-ahead shots in the final seven seconds, including a 3 at the buzzer.  Read more

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The Philadelphia Flyers lost 10 straight games for the second time this season. They are the first team to reach that ignominious feat in more than a decade. Oliver Bjorkstrand and Patrik Laine both scored goals and Elvis Merzlikins stopped 33 shots to lead the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 2-1 win on Thursday night. The Flyers also lost 10 straight games from Nov. 18 to Dec. 18. The last team to lose 10 straight twice in one season was Colorado in 2010-11. Read more

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A jury of 18 people who appeared mostly white was picked Thursday for the federal trial of three Minneapolis police officers charged in George Floyd’s killing. The judge told potential jurors the case has “absolutely nothing” to do with race. The jurors chosen to hear the case against former Officers Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J. Kueng appeared to include one person of Asian descent among the 12 jurors who would deliberate if no alternates are needed. A second person of Asian descent was among the six alternates, with all others appearing white. The court declined to provide demographic information. Read more

Michael Avenatti, the once high-profile California attorney who regularly taunted then-President Donald Trump, was introduced to prospective jurors who will decide whether he cheated porn star Stormy Daniels out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Jury selection hit full stride Thursday as U.S. District Judge Jesse M. Furman questioned individuals whether they could be fair if they are on the jury. It will finish Friday. Over 60 prospective jurors made it to the Manhattan courthouse. Once chosen, the jury will hear opening statements on Monday. Avenatti became well known in 2018 when he represented Daniels in lawsuits against Trump.  Read more

Eighteen people were picked to hear the federal case against three former Minneapolis officers who are charged with violating George Floyd’s civil rights during the May 2020 arrest that led to the Black man’s death. Twelve jurors will deliberate and six are alternates. Most of the jurors appear to be white; two appear to be of Asian descent. The jury includes people from the Minneapolis metro area, as well as suburbs and far southern Minnesota.  Read more

A Florida man has been charged with human smuggling after the bodies of four people, including a baby and a teen, were found near the Canada United States border. The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota said Steve Shand, 47, has been charged with human smuggling after seven Indian nationals were found in the U.S. and the discovery of the bodies. A U.S. Border Patrol in North Dakota stopped a 15-passenger van just south of the Canadian border on Wednesday. Court documents said five other people were spotted by law enforcement in the snow nearby. The group told officers they’d been walking for more than 11 hours in frigid conditions. Read more

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The University of Pennsylvania says it will work with the NCAA under its newly adopted standards for transgender athletes. Swimmer Lia Thomas competed on the men's team at Penn before transitioning. Now competing on the women's team, she has qualified in three events for the women's swimming and diving championships. The NCAA has adopted a sport-by-sport approach for transgender athletes, bringing the organization in line with the U.S. and International Olympic Committees. Under the new guidelines, approved by the NCAA Board of Governors, transgender participation for each sport will be determined by the policy for the sport’s national governing body. Read more

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The shortage of parts caused by the coronavirus pandemic is further denting production at Toyota, Japan’s top automaker. It will halt production at 11 plants in Japan for three days, on top of reductions planned in February. Supplies are running short because of a lack of computer chips. Toyota says this will reduce production in January by 47,000 vehicles. That means the automaker will fall short of the 9 million vehicles planned for the fiscal year through March, despite healthy demand. The pandemic has disrupted other areas including shipping, the oil supply and meat packing. An analyst said supply problems aren’t expected to end soon and are costing manufacturers as much as $50 million a week.    Read more

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Locked out baseball players plan to make a counteroffer to management on Monday, 11 days after clubs gave the union a proposal when snail-paced negotiations resumed following a 42-day break. The players’ association asked Major League Baseball to schedule a negotiating session. There is dwindling time to reach an agreement in time for spring training to start as scheduled on Feb. 16. Opening day on March 31 is increasingly threatened, given the need for players to report, go through COVID-19 protocols and have at least three weeks of workouts that include a minimal number of exhibition games. Read more

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President Joe Biden is launching into his second year in office with a new focus on making fatigued Americans believe they’re better off under his leadership as he embraces a pared-back agenda before the midterm elections. The persistence of the coronavirus, rising inflation and congressional gridlock have exacted a bitter toll on Biden’s approval rating and threaten a midterm routing for his party. Yet the president sees no need for a major shift in direction. Instead, White House aides previewed subtler changes to how Biden devotes his time. He'll put greater emphasis on speaking directly to Americans and less time in the weeds with lawmakers crafting legislation.   Read more

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French energy conglomerate TotalEnergies has asked the American and French governments to support targeted sanctions against Myanmar’s oil and gas funds. The funds are the largest single source of income for the country’s military leaders. In a letter to Human Rights Watch released Thursday, the CEO of Total, Patrick Pouyanné, said the company had informed French and American authorities that it backed sanctions on the sector but otherwise had legal payment obligations for its work there. The sanctions would target the state-owned Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise, which is a joint venture partner in all offshore gas projects in Myanmar, including a major gas field that Total runs. Read more

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Netflix delivered its latest quarter of disappointing subscriber growth during the final three months of last year, a trend that management foresees continuing into the new year as tougher competition is undercutting the video streaming leader. The company added 8.3 million worldwide subscribers during the October-December period, about 200,000 fewer than management had forecast. Netflix predicted subscriber growth well below analyst estimates for the first three months of this year, too. The disappointing news announced Thursday caused Netflix's stock price to plunge by 20%, deepening a steep decline during the past two months. Read more

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A new study finds that young children might be able to overcome their peanut allergies if treated early enough. Toddlers with peanut allergies were given increasing amounts of peanut powder daily to build their tolerance. After 2 1/2 years, close to three-quarters were able to tolerate the equivalent of about 16 peanuts. Six months after the treatment stopped, one-fifth still could, suggesting early intervention could have a lasting effect. Peanut allergies affect about 2% of children in the U.S. and most do not outgrow the allergy. The research was published Thursday in the journal Lancet. Read more

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A federal appeals court has found that two California counties violated the Constitution’s right to bear arms when they shut down gun and ammunition stores in 2020 as nonessential businesses during the coronavirus pandemic. Officials in Los Angeles and Ventura counties had separately won lower court decisions saying gun stores were not exempt from broader shutdown orders aimed at limiting the spread of the coronavirus early in the pandemic. A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday rejected both lower court rulings as violations of the Second Amendment. The court said the closures “wholly prevented law-abiding citizens ... from realizing their right to keep and bear arms."  Read more

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NCAA member schools have ratified a new, pared-down constitution. It clears the way for a decentralized approach to governing college sports that will hand more power to schools and conferences.The NCAA’s three divisions will now be empowered to govern themselves. College sports leaders hope that will reduce legal exposure for the NCAA after a resounding rebuke from the Supreme Court last year. For Division II and III, there will be little change. But there could be a massive overhaul in Division I, which has hundreds of big schools and millions of dollars tied closely to football and basketball.  Read more

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U.S. prosecutors have charged four Belarusian government officials with aircraft piracy for diverting a Ryanair flight last year to arrest an opposition journalist. The charges in Manhattan federal court were announced Thursday by federal prosecutors. U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a release that the defendants corrupted standards followed by countries around the world to keep passenger airplanes safe by using a false bomb threat as an excuse to divert the flight. He says the indictment provides a prompt and public explanation of what actually happened to Flight  4978. Partially in response to the diversion last May, President Joe Biden levied sanctions against Belarus.  Read more

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says Democrats "made progress” toward changing the Senate’s filibuster rules to advance voting legislation, despite the dramatic collapse of the package that his party says is central to protecting democracy. In an interview Thursday with The Associated Press, the top Democrat in the Senate took stock of what was widely seen as a striking setback. Schumer defended his decision to press ahead, even though two Democratic senators refused to change Senate rules to allow it to pass by a simple majority. He said he doesn't expect the filibuster to go away any time soon for most legislation. But on the voting package support has grown for adjusting the Senate filibuster rules. Read more

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U.S. President Joe Biden says any Russian troop movements across Ukraine’s border would constitute an invasion, saying Moscow would “pay a heavy price” for such an action. It was the latest White House effort to clear up comments Biden made a day earlier when he suggested that a “minor incursion” by Russia into Ukrainian territory could result in a more measured response by the United States and allies. His comments come as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken prepares to meet Friday in Geneva with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in a high-stakes bid to ease tensions that appears likely to fail. Read more

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Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Willie Gay has been charged with misdemeanor criminal damage to property after authorities say he broke some items during an argument. Gay was arrested Wednesday night in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park, Kansas. He pleaded not guilty during a court appearance Thursday. The Kansas City Star reports that an Overland Park police report says Gay broke a vacuum and other items with a total value of $225. The report says no alcohol, drugs or weapons were involved and no one was injured. The Chiefs said they were aware of the incident but had no further comment. Read more