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10 things you need to know today: April 18, 2023

Kansas City man charged with shooting Black teen Ralph Yarl who mistakenly rang his doorbell, Russia imposes harsh sentence on dissident, and more


White homeowner charged with shooting Black teen who rang his doorbell 

Clay County, Missouri, Prosecutor Zachary Thompson on Monday charged 84-year-old Andrew Lester with shooting a Black teen, Ralph Yarl, who mistakenly rang his doorbell after being sent to the neighborhood to pick up his younger twin brothers. Lester, who is white, faces a minimum of 10 years in prison if convicted on felony charges of first-degree assault and armed criminal action for shooting Yarl, 16. Lester allegedly shot Yarl in the head, then shot him again in the arm after he fell to the ground. Lester told police his doorbell rang as he was going to bed and he thought someone was breaking into his house. Thompson said there was a "racial component" to the case, which prompted a protest.


Russia imposes harsh sentence on dissident who criticized Ukraine invasion

A Moscow court on Monday sentenced Kremlin critic Vladimir Kara-Murza to 25 years in a penal colony on treason charges stemming from his condemnation of President Vladimir Putin's war in Ukraine. Kara-Murza's mother, Yelena Gordon, told Sota, a Russian news outlet, that the hearing left her feeling like she "woke up in a Kafka novel." Kara-Murza, a contributor to The Washington Post's opinion section, gave speeches in the United States and Europe criticizing the Ukraine invasion. Several years ago, he survived what he said were two attempts by Russian agents to poison him. On Tuesday, Putin made a rare visit to the war zone to rally his troops ahead of an expected Ukrainian counteroffensive.


2 charged with helping run a secret Chinese police post in NYC

Federal officials on Monday announced the arrests of two men, Lu Jianwang, 61, and Chen Jinping, 59, on charges of conspiring to help China run a secret police outpost in Manhattan's Chinatown. The men are accused of acting as Chinese agents and intimidating Chinese dissidents living in the United States. In two related cases, federal authorities accused 34 Chinese police officers with harassing Chinese nationals in the New York City area. Officials also charged eight officials from the People's Republic of China (P.R.C.) for allegedly telling a tech-company employee to "remove dissidents from the platform," according to The New York Times. "Today's charges are a crystal clear response to the P.R.C. that we are onto you," said Breon Peace, the U.S. attorney in Brooklyn.


No charges for 8 Akron officers over shooting of Jayland Walker 

A special grand jury in Ohio on Monday declined to file criminal charges against the eight Akron police officers who shot and killed Jayland Walker last June. The jurors heard five days of evidence and testimony before deliberating on Monday and finding that charges weren't justified because the officers had reason to fear for their safety. Officers stopped Walker for traffic violations. Police said he fired a shot from his car. Body-camera footage showed him running away wearing a ski mask. The officers shot him more than 40 times. He was unarmed, but officers found a pistol in the car. The killing of Walker, a 25-year-old Black man, sparked several weeks of protests last summer.


Sudan fighting continues for fourth day

Military factions led by rival generals continued to battle for control over Sudan on Tuesday, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken called for the two sides to stop fighting after a U.S. diplomatic convoy came under fire. Millions of people were trapped in the capital, Khartoum, without water or electricity after days of airstrikes and shelling. More than 185 civilians have been killed since Saturday, when army troops led by Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan began fighting against paramilitaries led by his rival, Lt. Gen. Mohamed Hamdan. Western governments had been pushing the two military leaders to hand over power to a civilian government this month. The United States, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates have called for peace talks.


McConnell returns to work after recovering from fall

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) returned to Capitol Hill on Monday after recovering from injuries in a fall at a private dinner in a Washington hotel last month. McConnell suffered a broken rib and a concussion in the accident six weeks ago. He said he was "very happy to be back." "This wasn't the first time that being hardheaded has served me very well," McConnell said. For two weeks after the injury McConnell didn't speak with members of his GOP leadership team, fueling speculation about the extent of his injuries. But GOP leaders later said he was "eager" to return to work. On Monday, McConnell took questions about his health before shifting to criticizing the Biden administration over debt ceiling talks.


Santos announces run for re-election despite investigations

Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.), who faces multiple investigations over lies about his resume and finances, announced Monday that he is running for re-election in 2024. "We need a fighter who knows the district and can serve the people fearlessly, and independent of local or national party influence," Santos said in a statement. Santos has faced criticism, including calls to resign from fellow Republicans, since before he took office this year. The New York Times published a report in December raising questions about claims he made about his background during his 2022 campaign. Santos will have at least one GOP challenger, Kellen Curry, an Afghanistan war veteran and former vice president at J.P. Morgan.


SpaceX delays Starship launch 

SpaceX on Monday delayed a key test launch of its next-generation Starship rocket for at least two days. Engineers were unable to fix a "pressurization issue" in the final launch preparations, leading to the call to postpone the launch just 10 minutes before it was supposed to lift off. The massive Starship rocket is the one that Elon Musk's space company plans to use to send astronauts to the moon and, at some point, to Mars. SpaceX had hoped to start this uncrewed mission from a SpaceX facility in Boca Chica, Texas. Musk sought to temper expectations the day before the scheduled launch, saying his primary goal on this test was "just don't blow up the launchpad."


Paris court clears Air France, Airbus in deadly 2009 crash

A Paris court on Monday cleared Air France and Airbus of involuntary manslaughter charges related to a 2009 plane crash that killed 228 people. The judge found there was negligence on the part of both companies but ruled that "a probable causal link isn't sufficient to characterize an offense." Air France Flight 447, an Airbus A330, disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean on June 1, 2009, en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris. The remains of the plane and its black box recorders were found on the ocean floor two years later. Investigators determined the plane crashed in a mid-ocean thunderstorm after its airspeed sensors froze and gave false readings. The pilots didn't follow correct procedure and lost control, and the plane plunged into the ocean.


Kenyan runners Chebet and Obiri sweep Boston marathon

Evans Chebet won his second straight Boston Marathon in the men's division, and Hellen Obiri won the women's division in her first appearance in the third straight sweep for Kenyan runners in the storied 26.2-mile race. Chebet finished in 2 hours, 5 minutes, 54 seconds, 10 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Gabriel Geay of Tanzania, who edged out Kenyan Benson Kipruto by two seconds. World-record holder Eliud Kipchoge, considered the greatest marathoner in history, finished sixth. Obiri, a two-time Olympic silver medalist in the 5000 meters, finished in 2:21:38, 12 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Amane Beriso of Ethiopia. "Today was my time," said Obiri, who finished sixth in her marathon debut in New York last fall.


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