The 10 most important things in the world right now

Hello! Here’s what’s happening on Thursday. 1. Gun control gained increasing coverage in the US. A town-hall debate attended by students, parents, lawmakers and the NRA occurred hours after the White House hosted survivors of the Florida school shooting. 2. UK Prime Minister Theresa May called for the Brexit transition to be extended indefinitely. The EU previously insisted Britain must leave the EU by December 31, 2020, meaning a transition period would not be able to go beyond 20 months. 3. The US Embassy in Montenegro was reportedly targeted with an explosive device. A man reportedly threw a grenade at the building. 4. An aide of Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin… Read More

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NRA spokeswoman calls the Parkland gunman an ‘insane monster’ who shouldn’t have had a firearm

Dana Loesch, a spokeswoman for the National Rifle Association took some pointed questions during a raucous CNN town-hall event on gun violence Wednesday night. The gathering featured students, educators, politicians, law-enforcement officials and others who spoke on the deadly mass shooting that rocked Parkland, Florida, last week, and possible solutions going forward. The discussion went off the rails at several points, especially during the segment that featured Loesch and the Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, who confronted the NRA spokeswoman on stage. The National Rifle Association spokeswoman, Dana Loesch, took some heat at a town-hall event on gun violence Wednesday night, which featured impassioned dialogue between students, parents, educators, and… Read More

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McDonald’s is bringing Szechuan sauce back to every location across the US after ‘Rick and Morty’ fans rioted (MCD)

McDonald’s will begin serving Szechuan McNuggets dipping sauce at all US locations on Monday, February 26. “Rick and Morty” fans rioted in October after the fast-food chain gave away Szechuan sauce across the US — and demand far exceeded supply. Fans had demanded McDonald’s bring back the limited-edition sauce after it appeared on an episode of “Rick and Morty” last year. McDonald’s is finally bringing its Szechuan sauce to the masses after months of petitions, bidding wars, and riots in fast-food parking lots. On Thursday, the fast-food chain announced that every McDonald’s location across the US will start serving Szechuan nugget sauce on Monday, February 26. McDonald’s is distributing 20… Read More

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Work to widen Pony Express Parkway could start as early as Feb. 28

EAGLE MOUNTAIN — City officials have announced work on widening the Pony Express Parkway from two lanes to five between Porter’s Crossing and Redwood Road could begin as early as Wednesday, Feb. 28. Construction will be done in two phases. During the first phase, crews will extend two culverts where the Welby-Jacobs Canal and the Utah Lake Distributing Canals cross under the roadway. Several irrigation pipe crossings between Thunder Boulevard (200 West in Saratoga Springs) and Redwood Road will also be extended. The work is scheduled to be completed by early April. The second phase to widen Pony Express Parkway is scheduled to begin by late spring. Work will continue… Read More

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Utah Senate committee endorses grant program for after-school programs

SALT LAKE CITY — The Senate Education Committee endorsed a bill Wednesday that creates a state competitive grant program for high-quality after-school programs. Such programs have primarily relied on federal or private funds, said Sen. Luz Escamilla, D-Salt Lake, sponsor of SB202. Escamilla said the grants would be administered by the Utah State Board of Education and the Department of Workforce Services and require matching funds. The bill seeks $250,000 to be appropriated equally to the two agencies. Escamilla said she seeks to develop private-public partnerships to deliver programs that meet quality standards and outcome measures. Grants would not be appropriated “until applicants certify they have funds available,” she said.… Read More

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Senate panel backs reports on law enforcement actions regarding students

SALT LAKE CITY —The Utah State Board of Education would be required to produce an annual report of law enforcement actions related to student discipline under a bill that received unanimous support from the Senate Education Committee Wednesday. Sen. Jake Anderegg, R-Lehi, sponsor of SB198, said policymakers need data to determine whether the sweeping juvenile justice reforms passed by lawmakers in 2017 are working as intended or if “tweaks are needed.” HB132, passed last year, clarified that school resource officers have the power to investigate alleged offenses on school grounds, conduct reasonable searches and take temporary custody of a minor who poses a danger. Officers may also transport a minor… Read More

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Charges: Man duped friends, others to invest in fake companies

SALT LAKE CITY — Federal prosecutors say a Stansbury Park man hornswoggled neighbors, relatives and fellow churchgoers into investing thousands of dollars in his fake companies from 2013 to 2017. Ronald Wayne Leavitt, 61, was charged in federal court in Salt Lake City Wednesday with felonies wire fraud and money laundering. He persuaded people close to him to pour money into ventures that included a California real-estate project, a high-end development in Moab called “Hidden Mesa” and a sugar-substitute startup, promising a triple return on investment, charges state. He “did not use the funds to further any of the ventures and instead spent them on personal and extravagant expenditures,” prosecutors… Read More

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Democrat Jenny Wilson takes aim at Republican Mitt Romney’s response on gun violence

SALT LAKE CITY — Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jenny Wilson took aim Wednesday at Republican Mitt Romney’s “tepid” response on gun violence in the wake of the Florida school shooting. Wilson, a Salt Lake County Council member, made it clear that she supports the Second Amendment but favors an assault weapon ban as well as an overhaul of background checks, including for expanding checks for gun shows and the online market. Student survivors at the Parkland, Florida, high school have called for action, clarity and integrity in protecting their lives, she said. “A generation has been raised in shooter drills and fear. All victims of gun violence — and sadly… Read More

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Resolution to rally cities against gangs gets nod from Senate committee

SALT LAKE CITY — Senate Minority Whip Karen Mayne’s resolution SCR12, which encourages local governments and community groups to work together to reduce gang violence, received a favorable nod from the Senate Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee Wednesday. The resolution calls for a comprehensive approach including, “research-based interventions” to counteract increasing gang activity and recruitment in Utah. “This is a real problem,” Mayne, D-West Valley City, said, observing that in her personal judgment, it has “ticked up in the last year or so.” Nichole Cottle, assistant city manager for West Valley, said “this is everywhere in every community.” Cottle recommended to anyone who doubts it to ride along with… Read More

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