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Authorities say the search for a New Hampshire girl who disappeared at age 5 in 2019 but was not reported missing until late last year is now considered a homicide investigation. New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella said Thursday that authorities have concluded that Harmony was murdered in December 2019. Police first became aware that she might be missing when they received a call from the girl’s mother last November. Harmony’s father and stepmother have since pleaded not guilty to charges related to her well-being.

AP
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A hostage standoff in which a gunman demanded a Beirut bank let him withdraw his trapped savings has ended with the man's surrender, and the bank handing over a reported $35,000 to his brother. Authorities say 42-year-old Bassam al-Sheikh Hussein entered a bank branch in Beirut on Thursday with a shotgun and a canister of gasoline and threatened to set himself on fire unless he was allowed to take out his money. None of the hostages were injured.

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The Kremlin has refused to announce a full-blown mobilization as Russia suffers military losses in its invasion of Ukraine which is nearing its sixth month. Such a move could be very unpopular for President Vladimir Putin. Russia is engaged instead in a covert recruitment effort that includes using prisoners to make up for the manpower shortage. This also is happening amid reports that hundreds of soldiers are refusing to fight and are trying to quit the military. Authorities seem to be pulling out all the stops to bolster enlistment although the Defense Ministry denies any “mobilization activities” are happening. Billboards urge men to join up and authorities have set up mobile recruiting centers.

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With abortion now or soon to be illegal in over a dozen states and severely restricted in many more, Big Tech companies that collect personal details of their users are facing new calls to limit that tracking and surveillance. One fear is that law enforcement or vigilantes could use data troves from Facebook, Google and other social platforms against people seeking ways to end unwanted pregnancies. History has repeatedly demonstrated that whenever people’s personal data is tracked and stored, there’s always a risk that it could be misused or abused.

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A Sesame Street-themed park has announced the implementation of diversity and inclusion training for its employees. The announcement Tuesday follows a $25 million class-action lawsuit alleging multiple incidents of discrimination after outcry sparked from a viral video of a costumed character snubbing two 6-year-old Black girls during a parade at Sesame Place in Pennsylvania. The park, which is operated by SeaWorld Parks, says in the statement that all employees will be mandated to participate in training created to address bias, promote inclusion and prevent discrimination by the end of September. An attorney says the family of one of the 6-year-olds is expected to meet with the SeaWorld CEO on Thursday.

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A veteran U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent has quietly returned to work in Mississippi more than a year after he was charged with murder in the shooting death of his mentally ill neighbor. But records obtained by The Associated Press raise new questions about how Agent Harold Duane Poole avoided trial and whether DEA brass overreached to protect one of their own amid a flurry of misconduct cases. Poole says he fired after his neighbor threatened to kill him with a rock. But the agent said in an earlier call for help that the man was already leaving and no rock was ever found.

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The nearly $50 million defamation verdict against Alex Jones for his years of lies about the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre is not a final reckoning. Jones’ attorneys plan to appeal to lower the price tag a Texas jury last week put on his false claim that the shooting that killed 20 students and six teachers in Newtown, Connecticut, was a hoax. The conspiracy theorist faces bankruptcy and other defamation lawsuits. And Jones' courtroom conduct in the trial to resolve a suit filed by the parents of one of the child victims has exposed the Infowars host to new legal perils.

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Former President Donald Trump has shown up for questioning under oath in New York’s civil investigation into his business practices. But he quickly made clear he wouldn’t be answering. Trump said in a statement Wednesday that he had done nothing wrong but was invoking his Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination. It’s a constitutional right that gets high-profile exposure in settings from Congress to TV crime shows, but there are nuances. The constitution explicitly mentioned the protection in relation to criminal cases, but it's now understood to cover civil matters as well.

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The New Hampshire Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is denouncing comments by Gov. Chris Sununu and his attorney general after a jury acquitted a truck driver in the death of seven motorcyclists, but both men are standing by their statements. Jurors on Tuesday found 26-year-old Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, innocent of manslaughter, negligent homicide and reckless conduct. The charges stemmed from a 2019 crash that killed seven members of the Jarheads Motorcycle Club. Both Sununu and Attorney General John Formella criticized the verdict, with Sununu calling it a tragedy. Defense lawyers called the comments irresponsible and said they could deter future jury service.