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Florida could ban girls from talking about periods in elementary grades #usnews #usnewstoday



Legislation moving through the Florida House would ban discussion of menstrual cycles and other human sexuality topics in elementary grades

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Legislation pending in the Florida House of Representatives would prohibit discussion of menstrual cycles and other topics related to human sexuality in elementary grades.

The bill sponsored by Republican Rep. Stan McClain would restrict public school instruction on human sexuality, sexually transmitted diseases and related topics to grades 6 through 12. McClain confirmed at a recent committee meeting that discussions about cycles menstrual cycles would also be restricted to those degrees.

“So if girls experience their menstrual cycle in fifth or fourth grade, will that prohibit them from having conversations since they are below sixth grade?” asked state Rep. Ashley Gantt, a Democrat who taught in public schools, noting that girls as young as 10 can start having periods.

“It would be,” McClain responded.

The GOP-backed legislation passed the House Education Quality Subcommittee Wednesday with a vote of 13-5, mostly along party lines. It would also allow parents to object to the books and other materials their children are exposed to, require schools to teach that a person’s sexual identity is determined biologically at birth, and establish greater scrutiny of certain educational materials by the Department. of State Education.

McClain said the bill’s intent is to standardize sex education across Florida’s 67 school districts and provide more avenues for parents to object to books or other materials they deem inappropriate for younger children.

At the committee meeting, Gantt asked if teachers could face punishment if they discuss menstruation with younger students.

“My concern is that they won’t feel safe having those conversations with these little girls,” she said.

McClain said that “that would not be the intent” of the bill and that he is “open” to some changes to its language. The measure must be approved by another committee before it can go to the full House; a similar bill is pending in the Senate.

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US citizen held hostage for 6 years in West Africa has been released #usnews #usnewstoday




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(CNN) An American aid worker who was kidnapped in Niger more than six years ago and held hostage by terrorists has been released, President Joe Biden’s national security adviser has said. Jake Sullivan tweeted on Monday.

“I am pleased and relieved to see the release of American hostage Jeff Woodke after more than 6 years in captivity. The United States thanks Niger for helping to bring him home to all who miss and love him. I thank so many in our government I have worked tirelessly to secure your freedom,” Sullivan tweeted.

Jeffery Woodke is now being offered support and transportation. He was released outside of Niger in the Mali-Burkina Faso area, the official said.

“We are working closely with partners in the region and beyond to ensure safe transportation and immediate access to the best medical and psychiatric support we can offer,” a senior administration official told reporters on Monday. “Where exactly Jeff chooses to go will be a little bit up to him.”

The US government has been working on efforts to secure Woodke’s release for years, relying on both intelligence and military resources, the official said. But ultimately the Nigerien government was instrumental in securing his release, the official said.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Niger earlier this month.

“We’ve certainly been in contact with them about the priority it is for us to secure the release of Americans like my Jeff Woodke, and that’s something the secretary confirmed when he was there,” the official said, adding that Niger could share more details. about the release.

On his trip, Blinken announced $150 million in new humanitarian aid for the region.

“It will help provide vital support to refugees, asylum seekers and others affected by conflict and food insecurity in the region,” Blinken said in a statement about aid going to Niger, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali and Mauritania. . .

Terror groups linked to Al Qaeda and ISIS have been active in Niger for years.

Without saying which specific terrorist group was holding Woodke, the official pointed to a number of “overlapping terrorist networks that intersect in that part of West Africa.” The official added that these terrorist networks view “kidnapping and hostage-taking as a frank part of their business model, and as a source of income and support.”

The official thanked the Nigerien government for participating in efforts to secure their release, adding that the United States did not pay any ransom to the terrorists.

The United States did not pay any ransom to the terrorists to get Woodke released, the official said.

“Here there was no direct negotiation between the US government and terrorist organizations, which is worth clarifying. We certainly did not pay ransom for a concession to a terrorist organization here,” the official said.

“Emerging as our best line of effort among many we’ve tried over the years, it was working to see what a very good, capable and fortunately willing partner in Niger could offer in its own commitment,” the official added.

In addition to Woodke’s release, French journalist Olivier Dubois, kidnapped in 2021 in Mali, was released on Monday. according to a tweet by French President Emmanuel Macron.

Dubois was transferred to Niger after his release.

“We feel joy and immense relief. Our colleague was held hostage for 711 days in Mali. His captivity was the longest for a French journalist held hostage since the Lebanon war,” Reporters Without Borders said in a statement.

Dubois was kidnapped in the Gao region of northern Mali by an al Qaeda-linked group known as GSIM.

“We thank the French authorities for having implemented the necessary means to obtain their release. It is an honor for France not to let the hostages down and allow them to regain their freedom,” the RWB statement added.

CNN’s Dalal Mawad contributed to this report.

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Driver arrested after crash in East Charlotte kills well-known chef #usnews #usnewstoday





CHARLOTTE – The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department says a man is facing felony charges after one person was killed and several others injured in a crash in east Charlotte.

The accident occurred shortly after 7 p.m. Saturday on Central Avenue between Eastcrest Drive and Briar Creek Road.

On Monday, CMPD provided more details about the accident. Investigators say a Nissan Sentra was going “at high speed” when it crashed into the rear of a Hyundai Genesis. That crash caused the Genesis to go off the road and into a power pole, and the Nissan hit a curb before spinning to a stop.

According to the police department, the driver of the Genesis, Kendall Ross, 29, was killed in the accident. A woman in the car was taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries to her, police said.

CMPD identified the driver of the Nissan as 23-year-old Alejandro Gomez. Investigators say Gomez was examined and “found to be incapacitated.” Gomez was arrested and is being charged with assault with a deadly weapon causing serious injury, felony death while aboard a vehicle and reckless driving.

According to a fundraiser for Ross’s wife, Ross was a “well-known, loved, and respected chef in Charlotte and across the country.”

“He worked alongside other talented chefs including Chef Corey Siegel, Chef Hannah Cupples, Chef Sam Hart, Chef Adam Reed and many more,” fellow chef Hannah Riley wrote at the fundraiser. “Kendall was driven and passionate in the kitchen and with Electrolux, teaching other chefs the creative recipes that could be created with her products.”

This is a developing story, please check back for updates

VIDEO: One person is killed in collision in Caldwell County, troops say

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DeSantis blasts Manhattan DA in early comments on possible Trump impeachment #usnews #usnewstoday




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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) weighed in Monday on the possible criminal indictment of former President Trump in New York, breaking a two-day silence on Trump’s claim that he will be arrested this week.

When asked about the alleged indictment during an event, DeSantis criticized Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, whose office is investigating hush money paid to a porn star on Trump’s behalf during his 2016 campaign, calling him ” Soros-funded prosecutor” and accusing him of “arming” his office.

“I have seen rumors swirl. I haven’t seen any facts yet, so I don’t know what’s going to happen,” said DeSantis, a likely Republican hopeful for the 2024 president. “But I do know this: the Manhattan district attorney is a Soros-funded prosecutor and he, like other Soros-funded prosecutors, arms his office to impose a political agenda on society at the expense of the rule of law and public safety. .”

DeSantis did not mention Trump by name, choosing instead to question Bragg about his approach to crime in New York City, though he made the audience laugh when he joked that he doesn’t “know what it takes to pay hush money to a porn star to ensure silence about some kind of alleged affair”.

“But what I can talk about is if you have a prosecutor, who is ignorant of the crimes that occur every day in their jurisdiction, and chooses to go back many, many years to try to use something about secret porn star payments, that is an example. to pursue a political agenda and assemble the office,” he said.

Still, DeSantis also noted that his office would not be involved in the case “in any way,” indicating that he has no plans to help Trump fight extradition to New York if he faces charges.

The comments were the first by DeSantis about the possible indictment since Trump claimed in a Saturday post on his social media site that he would be arrested Tuesday and urged his supporters to protest any possible criminal charges against him.

DeSantis’s initial silence on the matter sparked a pressure campaign by Trump allies, who raised questions about why the Florida governor had not weighed in on the former president’s claims.

Other current and potential Republican presidential candidates, including former Vice President Mike Pence and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, came to Trump’s defense over the weekend, calling Bragg’s investigation politically motivated.

Ramaswamy specifically sought to pressure DeSantis and former US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, one of the few outspoken Republican presidential candidates, to condemn Bragg’s “political persecution through prosecution” of Trump.

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