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    The U.S.-backed Syrian militia fighting the Islamic State in its last toehold in Syria says there are over 1,000 civilians trapped in the tiny area and that the militant group is preventing them from leaving. Mustafa Bali, a spokesman for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, tells The Associated Press Sunday that IS has closed all the roads in and out. SDF officials have said the extremists are hiding among civilians in a tented village and using a network of caves and tunnels. IS, which once ruled a proto-state in large parts of Syria and Iraq, is clinging to an area less than a square kilometer (square mile) in the village of Baghouz, in eastern Syria. The extremists may include high-level commanders, and could be holding hostages.
  • A biennial arms fair has opened in the United Arab Emirates as the country faces increasing scrutiny over its involvement in the Saudi-led war in Yemen. While the war went unmentioned at the opening ceremony of the International Defense Exhibition and Conference in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, it was clearly present in the theatrical show offered to spectators. In it, a militia threatens an unknown country with both launchpad-based and mobile ballistic missiles. Saudi Arabia has faced over 100 such launches by Yemen's Houthi rebels into the kingdom. Saudi Arabia and the UAE are the leading members of a coalition that has been at war with the Iran-aligned Houthis since March 2015. The conflict that has killed tens of thousands of people and caused the world's worst humanitarian crisis.
  • It's said that history often repeats itself — the first time as tragedy, the second as farce. Many Britons feel they are living through both at the same time as their country navigates its way out of the European Union. The British government awarded a contract to ship in emergency supplies to a company with no ships. It pledged to replace citizens' burgundy European passports with proudly British blue ones — and gave the contract to a Franco-Dutch company. It promised to forge trade deals with 73 countries by the end of March, but two years later has only a handful in place (including one with the Faroe Islands). Pretty much everyone in the U.K. agrees that the Conservative government's handling of Brexit has been disastrous. Unfortunately, that's about the only thing this divided nation can agree on. With Britain due to leave the EU in six weeks and still no deal in sight on the terms of its departure, both supporters and opponents of Brexit are in a state of high anxiety. Pro-EU 'remainers' lament the looming end of Britons' right to live and work in 27 other European nations and fear the U.K. is about to crash out of the bloc without even a divorce deal to cushion the blow. Brexiteers worry that their dream of leaving the EU will be dashed by bureaucratic shenanigans that will delay its departure or keep Britain bound to EU regulations forever. 'I still think they'll find a way to curtail it or extend it into infinity,' said 'leave' supporter Lucy Harris. 'I have a horrible feeling that they're going to dress it up and label it as something we want, but it isn't.' It has been more than two and a half years since Britons voted 52 percent to 48 percent to leave the EU. Then came many months of tense negotiations to settle on Brexit departure terms and the outline of future relations. At last, the EU and Prime Minister Theresa May's government struck a deal — then saw it resoundingly rejected last month by Britain's Parliament, which like the rest of the country has split into pro-Brexit and pro-EU camps. May is now seeking changes to the Brexit deal in hope of getting it through Parliament before March 29. EU leaders say they won't renegotiate, and accuse Britain of failing to offer a way out of the impasse. May insists she won't ask the EU to delay Britain's departure, and has refused to rule out a cliff-edge no-deal Brexit. Meanwhile, Brexit has clogged the gears of Britain's economic and political life. The economy has stalled, growing by only 0.2 percent in the fourth quarter as business investment registered a fourth straight quarterly decline. Big political decisions have been postponed, as May's minority Conservative government struggles to get bills through a squabbling and divided Parliament. Major legislation needed to prepare for Brexit has yet to be approved. Britain still does not have a deal on future trade with the EU, and it's unclear what tariffs or other barriers British firms that do business with Europe will face after March 29. That has left businesses and citizens in an agonizing limbo. Rod McKenzie, director of policy at the Road Haulage Association, a truckers' lobby group, feels 'pure anger' at a government he says has failed to plan, leaving haulers uncertain whether they will be able to travel to EU countries after March 29. McKenzie says truckers were told they will need Europe-issued permits to drive through EU countries if Britain leaves the bloc without a deal. Of more than 11,000 who applied, only 984 — less than 10 percent — have been granted the papers. 'It will put people out of business,' McKenzie said. 'It's been an absolutely disastrous process for our industry, which keeps Britain supplied with, essentially, everything.' He's not alone in raising the specter of shortages; both the government and British businesses have been stockpiling key goods in case of a no-deal Brexit. Still, some Brexit-backers, such as former Daily Telegraph editor Charles Moore, relish the prospect of a clean break even if it brings short-term pain. 'Perhaps it is time for a Brexit recipe book, like those comforting wartime rationing ones full of bright ideas for dull things,' Moore wrote in The Spectator, a conservative magazine. He added that he and his neighbors were willing to 'set out in our little ships to Dunkirk or wherever and bring back luscious black-market lettuces and French beans, oranges and lemons.' Brexit supporters often turn to nostalgic evocations of World War II and Britain's 'finest hour,' to the annoyance of pro-Europeans. The imagery reached a peak of absurdity during a recent BBC news report on Brexit, when the anchor announced that 'Theresa May says she intends to go back to Brussels to renegotiate her Brexit deal,' as the screen cut to black-and-white footage of World War II British Spitfires going into battle. The BBC quickly said the startling juxtaposition was a mistake: The footage was intended for an item about a new Battle of Britain museum. Skeptics saw it as evidence of the broadcaster's bias, though they disagreed on whether the BBC was biased in favor of Brexit or against it. Some pro-Europeans have hit back against Brexit with despairing humor. Four friends have started plastering billboards in London with 20-foot-by-10-foot (6-meter-by-3-meter) images of pro-Brexit politicians' past tweets, to expose what the group sees as their hypocrisy. Highlights included former U.K. Independence Party leader Nigel Farage's vow that 'if Brexit is a disaster, I will go and live abroad,' and ex-Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson's pledge to 'make a titanic success' of Brexit. The friends dubbed the campaign 'Led by Donkeys,' after the description of British soldiers in World War I as 'lions led by donkeys.' The billboards are now going nationwide, after a crowdfunding campaign raised almost 150,000 pounds ($193,000). 'It was a cry of pain, genuine pain, at the chaos in this country and the lies that brought us here,' said a member of the group, a London charity worker who spoke on condition of anonymity because their initial guerrilla posters could be considered illegal. A similar feeling of alienation reigns across the Brexit divide in the 'leave' camp. After the referendum, Harris, a 28-year-old classically trained singer, founded a group called Leavers of London so Brexiteers could socialize without facing opprobrium from neighbors and colleagues who don't share their views. It has grown into Leavers of Britain, with branches across the country. Harris said members 'feel like in their workplaces or their personal lives, they're not accepted for their democratic vote. They're seen as bad people.' 'I'm really surprised I still have to do this,' she said. But she thinks Britain's EU divide is as wide as it ever was. 'There can't be reconciliation until Brexit is done,' she said. Whenever that is. ___ Follow Jill Lawless on Twitter at http://Twitter.com/JillLawless . Follow AP's full coverage of Brexit at: https://www.apnews.com/Brexit
  • Heather Nauert, picked by President Donald Trump to be the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations but never officially nominated, has withdrawn from consideration, the State Department said. Nauert, a State Department spokeswoman, said in a department statement that 'the past two months have been grueling for my family and therefore it is in the best interest of my family that I withdraw my name from consideration.' Nauert's impending nomination had been considered a tough sell in the Senate, where she would have faced tough questions about her relative lack of foreign policy experience, according to congressional aides. A potential issue involving a nanny that she and her husband had employed may also have been a factor in her decision to withdraw, according to one aide. That issue, which was first reported by Bloomberg on Saturday, centered on a foreign nanny who was legally in the U.S. but did not have legal status to work, according to the aide, who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. The aide said some involved in the vetting process saw Nauert's inexperience and questions about her ability to represent the U.S. at the U.N. as a larger issue. Trump's initial U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, served for nearly all of the administration's first two years. She announced her resignation in October with plans to step down by year's end. That December, Trump said he would nominate Nauert, called her 'very talented, very smart, very quick' and said he thought she would be 'respected by all.' In the wake of November elections that strengthened Republican control of the Senate, her confirmation appeared likely if not easy. Yet Trump never put Nauert's name forward with the Senate and no confirmation hearing was scheduled. The State Department in its statement that Trump would announce a nominee for the U.N position 'soon.' Nauert was a Fox News Channel reporter when she joined the State Department as spokeswoman almost two years ago during Rex Tillerson's tenure was secretary of state. She rose to the upper echelons of the department's hierarchy after Trump fired Tillerson in March 2018 and Mike Pompeo replaced him. In the department's statement, Pompeo said he respected Nauert's decision on the U.N. job and that she performed her duties as a senior member of his team 'with unequalled excellence.' 'Serving in the Administration for the past two years has been one of the highest honors of my life and I will always be grateful to the President, the Secretary, and my colleagues at the State Department for their support,' Nauert said in the statement provided by the department. Before coming to the State Department, Nauert was a breaking news anchor on Trump's favorite television show, 'Fox & Friends.' With a master's degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, she had moved to Fox from ABC News, where she was a general assignment reporter. Nauert, who did not have a good relationship with Tillerson and had considered leaving the department, was appointed acting undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs after his departure. The appointment ended in October.
  • As India considers its response to the suicide car bombing of a paramilitary convoy in the disputed region of Kashmir that killed dozens of soldiers, a retired military commander who oversaw a much-lauded military strike against neighboring Pakistan in 2016 has urged caution. A local Kashmiri militant rammed an explosive-laden van into a convoy bus on Thursday, killing 41 soldiers and injuring two dozen others in the worst attack against Indian government forces in Kashmir's history. India blamed the attack on Pakistan and promised a 'crushing response.' New Delhi accuses its archrival of supporting rebels in Kashmir, a charge that Islamabad denies. The retired commander, Lt. Gen. D.S. Hooda, told The Associated Press on Saturday that while 'some kind of limited (military) strike (against Pakistan) is more than likely,' he hopes for 'rethinking and reconciliation' from all sides in the conflict. The former general, who was in charge of the army's northern command at the frontier with Pakistan in Kashmir and counterinsurgency operations, oversaw India's 'surgical strikes' in September 2016 after militants attacked a military base in the frontier town of Uri near the highly militarized Line of Control. Nineteen Indian soldiers and three assailants were killed in that attack. India instantly blamed Pakistan for supporting the attackers, who New Delhi alleged were Pakistani nationals. At the peak of a 2016 civilian uprising triggered by the killing of a charismatic Kashmiri rebel leader, Hooda called for all sides to take a step back from the deadly confrontation, suggesting that political initiatives be taken instead. It was a rare move by a top Indian army general in Kashmir. Later that year when the attack on the base in Uri happened, Hooda commanded what New Delhi called 'surgical strikes' against militants in the Pakistan-controlled part of Kashmir — which India said involved the country's special forces killing an unknown number of insurgents. Pakistan denied that the strikes ever occurred, demanding that India produce evidence to back up the claim. Hooda has since said that the constant hype of 'surgical strikes' was unwarranted. Pakistani Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua rejected India's allegations about Pakistan's involvement in the attack, saying Saturday that it was part of New Delhi's 'known rhetoric and tactics' to divert global attention from human rights violations. According to foreign ministry spokesman Mohammad Faisal, Janjua called for implementation of U.N. resolutions to solve the issue of Kashmir. Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan and claimed by both in its entirety. Rebels have been fighting Indian rule since 1989, demanding Kashmir be made part of Pakistan or become an independent country. Nearly 70,000 people have been killed in the uprising and the ensuing Indian military crackdown. A pre-recorded video circulated widely on social media showed the purported attacker, Adil Ahmed Dar, in combat clothes surrounded by guns and grenades claiming responsibility for the attack and calling for more such measures to drive India out of Kashmir. Since 2016, soldiers from India and Pakistan have often traded fire along the frontier, blaming each other for initiating the skirmishes that have resulted in the deaths of dozens of soldiers and civilians on both sides in violation of a 2003 cease-fire accord. Hooda said that considering the state of affairs in Kashmir, he wasn't surprised by the bombing. 'I just hope this all leads to some introspection, some deep thinking and engagement to do everything afresh and rethink what we all should be doing to settle issues once for all,' he said. ___ Associated Press writer Munir Ahmed in Islamabad contributed to this report. ___ Follow Aijaz Hussain on Twitter at twitter.com/hussain_aijaz
  • Israeli director Nadav Lapid's 'Synonyms,' a movie about a young Israeli man who uproots himself to France and is determined to put his homeland behind him, won the Berlin International Film Festival's top Golden Bear award on Saturday. A jury headed by French actress Juliette Binoche chose the movie from a field of 16 competing at the first of the year's major European film festivals. Set in Paris, it stars Tom Mercier in the role of Yoav, who refuses to speak Hebrew and is accompanied by an ever-present French dictionary as he tries to put down roots and create a new identity for himself. Lapid said as he accepted the award that some in Israel might be 'scandalized' by the movie 'but for me, the film is also a big celebration — a celebration, I hope, also of cinema.' 'I hope that people will understand that fury and rage and hostility and hate ... are only the twin brothers and sisters of strong attachment and powerful emotions,' he said. The festival's best actor and best actress awards went to Wang Jingchun and Yong Mei, respectively, for their roles as a couple who lose their son in director Wang Xiaoshuai's 'So Long, My Son.' The three-hour Chinese family saga spans three decades of history from the 1980s to the present, portraying a society in constant change. The best director honors went to Germany's Angela Schanelec for her family drama 'I Was at Home, But.' The festival's jury grand prize award was won by French director Francois Ozon's 'By the Grace of God,' a movie about the long-term effects of sexual abuse in the Catholic church. Italian anti-Mafia journalist Roberto Saviano, along with Maurizio Braucci and Claudio Giovannesi, took the best script award for 'Piranhas,' a film following teenagers growing up in a dangerous world of crime in Naples. Saviano said writing the screenplay was meant to 'show resistance,' and added that 'speaking the truth in our country has become very complex.' This year's competition originally comprised 17 films, but famed Chinese director Zhang Yimou's 'One Second,' set amid the chaos and violence of the country's 1966-76 Cultural Revolution, was withdrawn after festival started. A festival statement on Monday said it wasn't possible to present it 'due to technical difficulties encountered during post-production.' It did not elaborate. Binoche said at Saturday's ceremony that jury members 'regret that we were not able to consider' the film. This year's 'Berlinale' was the last under Dieter Kosslick, its director of the last 18 years. German Culture Minister Monika Gruetters said he 'always positioned the Berlinale on the fronts of the big, controversial debates of our times.' Kosslick will be replaced by a team of Carlo Chatrian and Mariette Rissenbeek. Locarno film festival chief Chatrian will become the festival's artistic director and Rissenbeek, a German movie industry official, will be its managing director.
  • Bulgarian nationalists have marched through Sofia, the country's capital, to honor a World War II general known for his anti-Semitic and pro-Nazi activities. The annual Lukov March, staged by the far-right Bulgarian National Union, attracted hundreds of dark-clad supporters who walked through downtown Sofia holding torches and Bulgarian flags and chanting nationalist slogans. It came despite strong condemnation by human rights groups, political parties and foreign embassies. The city mayor had banned the rally but organizers won a court order overturning the ban. A heavy police presence blocked any clashes between nationalists and their opponents. Ahead of the march, the World Jewish Congress warned about the rise of far-right activities across Europe aimed at promoting anti-Semitism, hatred, xenophobia and Nazi glorification among young people. 'We urge governments across Europe to prioritize the introduction of administrative bans against such marches. This is not just a problem of the Jewish communities, but of European citizens and governments at large,' the organization's CEO Robert Singer said. In Sofia, the marchers praised Gen. Hristo Lukov, who had supported Germany during World War II and was killed by an anti-fascist resistance movement on Feb. 13, 1943. The general served as Bulgaria's war minister from 1935 to 1938, and led the pro-Nazi Germany Union of Bulgarian Legions from 1932 until 1943. Organizers deny that Lukov was an anti-Semitic fascist or that they are neo-fascists, but claim that the descendants of the murderers of Lukov are afraid of the event. Zvezdomir Andronov, leader of the Bulgarian National Union, says the group's main objective is 'the salvation of the Bulgarian people' from the social and economic crisis the country has been facing for many decades. Nationalists from other European countries voiced anti-globalist and anti-EU slogans at the march and called on their peers from across the continent to join forces. 'We want to get in contact with other nationalists in Europe, as we strongly believe that free, independent countries are very important. We want to regain the power from the globalists — the people who are running the EU, the people who are devastating Europe,' said Per Sjogren of Sweden's Nordic Resistance Movement.
  • The U.S. military airlifted tons of humanitarian aid to a Colombian town on the Venezuelan border Saturday as part of an effort meant to undermine socialist President Nicolas Maduro and back his rival for the leadership of the South American nation. Three scheduled Air Force C-17 cargo planes that took off from Homestead Air Reserve Base in Florida had landed in Cucuta. That border city, swollen by a flood of migrants from Venezuela, is a collection point for aid that's supposed to be distributed by supporters of Juan Guaido, the congressional leader who is recognized by the U.S. and many other nations as Venezuela's legitimate president. He has called for the aid. 'This wasn't the first, and it won't be the last,' said USAID Administrator Mark Green, standing on the tarmac in Cucuta at a ceremony to receive the aid. 'More is on the way.' Commercial planes had been used for earlier shipments of aid, which is aimed at dramatizing the economic crisis — including hyperinflation and shortages of food and medicine — gripping Venezuela. Critics say last year's re-election was fraudulent, making Maduro's second term illegal. 'We are saving lives with these airplanes,' said Lestor Toledo, an exiled politician who is coordinating the international aid effort for Guaido. Maduro has been using the military, which remains loyal, to help him block the aid from entering Venezuela, describing it as 'crumbs' from a U.S. government whose restrictions have stripped his administration of control over many of its most valuable assets. 'They hang us, steal our money and then say 'here, grab these crumbs' and make a global show out of it,' Maduro told The Associated Press on Thursday. 'With dignity we say 'No to the global show.' Whoever wants to help Venezuela is welcome, but we have enough capacity to pay for everything that we need.' His vice president has alleged, without evidence, that the aid packages are contaminated. Green on Saturday called the allegations 'absurd.' Saturday's 180-ton shipment includes high-energy food products or hygiene kids of soap, toothpaste and other goods for more than 25,000 people. Guaido spoke to a crowd of supporters gathered in eastern Caracas on Saturday and vowed to form caravans of activists to reach the border and bring in aid on Jan. 23. He also called for people to gather in cities across the country to receive the aid — and called for the armed forces to allow it into the country. In the crowd was Anibrez Peroza, a 40-year-old nurse, who said she was ready if necessary to go to Cucuta in a caravan to bring in the aid. 'We have to do something to save so many people who are suffering and dying for lack of medicine,' she said. Peroza wept as she described a dehydrated child dying in her arms for lack of a catheter to rehydrate him. The U.S. and widespread European recognition of Guaido complicates Maduro's efforts to find funds to keep his government, and its own food programs, running. The U.S. has placed Venezuela's U.S. assets, including oil company Citgo, under Guaido's control and bans financial transactions by Maduro-controlled entities. Scores of Venezuelan officials also face personal financial sanctions in the United States. ___ Gisela Salomon reported from Homestead Air Reserve Base in Florida, and Fabiola Sanchez reported from Caracas, Venezuela.
  • The secession crisis festering in Spain's northeastern corner of Catalonia has spread to the political heart of the European Union nation. Twice in less than a year, separatist lawmakers from Catalonia have played the role of king slayer, with their votes in the national Parliament in Madrid proving the decisive push to topple consecutive governments. Catalan separatists momentarily aligned with their political nemeses this week by joining Spain's right-wing parties to kill the Socialist government's spending bill, after talks between the government and the separatists collapsed over the possibility of a referendum on secession. The failure to pass a national spending bill led Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on Friday to call an early election for April 28. This latest blow to Spain's political stability came eight months after the same separatist Catalan lawmakers backed the Socialists in a no-confidence vote to oust the then conservative government of the Popular Party. 'We made Pedro Sanchez prime minister as a result of the no-confidence vote for the exact same reasons that we have had to maintain our position (against) his budget bill,' said Eduard Pujol, a leading member in Catalonia's regional legislature. 'You cannot govern Spain without listening to Catalonia.' Separatists forces showed their strength on Saturday when tens of thousands rallied in Barcelona to demand a non-guilty verdict for 12 of their leaders, who are on trial in Spain's Supreme Court for their roles in a failed secession attempt in 2017. Barcelona's police calculated that 200,000 people joined the march. The front line of marchers held a long banner saying in Catalan 'self-determination is not a crime.' While they claim that Catalonia has a right to self-determination, Spain's government says any vote on independence would require the national Parliament to amend the Constitution. Polls point to a fragmented political spectrum that will leave a future Spanish government in need of cobbling together partners for a coalition government. That means Catalonia's separatists could still hold leverage, especially if Sanchez's Socialists need their votes to stay in power. 'Spain will be ungovernable as long as it doesn't confront the Catalan problem,' said Catalonia's regional government spokeswoman, Elsa Artadi. But forcing a new election is risky. Spain's conservative and far-right parties — the Popular Party, the center-right Citizens party, and the far-right Vox party — will all focus their campaigns on taking a hard line against the separatists. The anti-Catalonia formula worked for the right-wing parties in a regional election in December when they managed to end the Socialists' 36 years in power in Spain's south. Currently a little less than 50 percent of the voters in Catalonia support parties whose goal is independence. But few doubt that a crackdown from Madrid would push more Catalans into the separatist camp. The decision to withdraw their backing from Sanchez, however, was divisive within the separatist bloc. Joan Tarda, a national parliament member and moderate separatist, lamented that Sanchez had called an election instead of trying to maintain talks with the separatists. '(Sanchez) has decided to take a gamble with a situation that can become even more difficult than it already is,' Tarda said. 'If things go our way, what will the scenario be? We will be right back where we were last week with the need to negotiate.
  • Part of the roof and several floors of university building in Russia's second-largest city collapsed Saturday, but officials say there were no casualties. The Emergencies Ministry said the collapse at the Saint Petersburg National Research University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics took place as construction work was underway. An investigation into criminal violation of construction safety has been opened. St. Petersburg acting governor Alexander Beglov told journalists at the scene in the central city that 81 people were evacuated from the building. 'No victims, no injured,' he said. He said about 20 of those evacuated were foreign students attending a weekend class. The school, known as ITMO University, is one of Russia's national research universities.

The Latest News Headlines

  • A Georgia father has been arrested after deputies say his 2-year-old ate meth.  Keith Edward Teubner Sr. of Spalding County was charged with cruelty to children in the second degree, possession of methamphetamine, possession of marijuana and other charges.  >> Read more news stories  Deputies were called to WellStar Spalding Regional Hospital on Thursday on reports that a child had eaten methamphetamine.  Deputies got a warrant for Teubner's home on Greer Road, where they found drugs in the bedroom, authorities said. Deputies also learned Teubner knew his child had ingested the drug but didn't seek medical care, authorities said. It's unclear who took the toddler to the hospital.  The child was turned over to the Division of Family and Children's Services. 
  • It’s an important election cycle in Duval County, with Mayor, Sheriff, 15 City Council seats, Property Appraiser, and Tax Collector all up for a vote.  FULL LIST: Candidates for office in Duval County WOKV is bringing you the information you need to get ready for Election Day. How the Unitary elections works There are two election days coming up, March 19th and May 14th. March is not considered a primary, rather it’s the “First Unitary Election”. It’s an important difference from what you generally consider a primary, because in Florida, partisan primary elections are closed to only voters registered in the party on the ballot. This First Unitary Election is open to all voters regardless of party registration, and you will be able to vote in all of the races that are relevant for you based on where you live- and therefore which City Council District you’re in- not your party affiliation. You can get a sample ballot, which lists all the races that you will vote on, through the Duval County Supervisor of Elections website. Some races will be settled in the March election. If, in a race, a candidate does not get 50%+1 of the votes, then the top two vote-getters advance to the General Unitary Election in May, where a winner will be decided. While you do not have to be registered with any specific party to participate in these elections, you do have to be registered to vote. The deadline for that is February 19th for the March election, and April 15th for the May election. The Duval Supervisor of Elections website has more information about how to register to vote. Vote-by-mail To vote absentee in March, you must request a ballot be mailed by March 13th at 5PM. That deadline for the May election is May 8th. Military and overseas voting has different deadlines, with full information also on the Supervisor of Elections website. If you are going to vote-by-mail, it is incredibly important to ensure how you sign your name matches the signature on file with the Supervisor of Elections, because that is how your identity is confirmed, and therefore how your vote is counted. You must fill out a signature affidavit if there is a signature problem, including a mismatch or missing signature. You can avoid the problem outright by contacting the Supervisor of Elections Office ahead of time to verify your signature. Vote-by-mail ballots must be received at the Supervisor of Elections by 7PM on Election Day. If you have a completed absentee ballot, you can either mail it or turn it in at the Supervisor of Elections. If you received an absentee ballot but decide you want to vote on Election Day instead, you can turn in your vote-by-mail ballot to any early voting site or polling location, and cast your ballot in person. Early voting and Election Day For the March election, early voting takes place over 14 days- Monday, March 4th through Sunday, March 17th. May election early voting begins Monday, April 29th and lasts through Sunday, May 12th. The locations are open 8AM through 5PM weekdays and 10AM through 6PM weekends.  There are 19 early voting sites, and you can vote at any of them, regardless of what precinct you would normally use on Election Day. Among the locations, early voting will be held at the University of North Florida and Edward Waters College for only the second and third time- in March and then May- after being first done in November. There are 199 precincts where voters cast ballots in Duval County on Election Day. To find the one you vote at, you can check on the Supervisor of Elections website.  Whether voting early or on Election Day, you must show a current, valid picture and signature ID, which can include a Florida driver license, US passport, Florida ID card, or similar forms.  Provisional ballots If there are any problems with your ballot, including if you do not have a photo and signature ID,  you will be issued a provisional ballot. If the provisional ballot relates to an ID issue, the ballot will be compared to your voter registration record by the Canvassing  Board. If your ballot deals with any other issue, like you were at the wrong precinct, you will be able to present evidence of your eligibility.  You can check the status of your ballot on the Supervisor of Elections website.
  • As the investigation of a quadruple shooting in Northwest Jacksonville continues, police now say the situation escalated from a planned fight. JSO responded to Elizabeth Powell Park on Redpoll Avenue Thursday night following reports of a shooting. Police initially said several people were gathered at the basketball courts when a fight broke out and several people on scene shot at each other. In all, a 14-year-old and a 24-year-old were killed, and two other people suffered non-life threatening injuries. Investigators now say the fight was actually planned in advance between two female acquaintances who were in an ongoing dispute. JSO says people learned about the fight and gathered to watch, and several ultimately got involved. Some of those spectators then pulled guns and started shooting. In light of this, JSO says they do not believe the shooting was random. Police are asking for any information you have, including asking people who were at the park or watching the fight to come forward. If anyone has video of the fight or has seen posts on social media, they’re asking those people to let them know. You can contact JSO at 904-630-0500 or JSOCrimeTips@jaxsheriff.org. You can also submit an anonymous tip and be eligible for a possible $3,000 reward by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.
  • A gunman opened fire at the Henry Pratt Company, a valve manufacturer in suburban Chicago on Friday, killing five people and wounding at least five police officers before he was fatally shot, police said. >> Read more trending news Officers arrived within four minutes of receiving reports of a shooting and were fired upon as soon as they entered the 29,000-square-foot manufacturing warehouse, Aurora, Police Chief Kristen Ziman said in a news conference. Update 6:45 p.m. EST Feb. 15: The chief of police says five people were killed and five officers were wounded in a shooting at a business in suburban Chicago. Aurora Police Chief, Kristen Ziman, identified the gunman as 45-year-old Gary Martin. Ziman says the gunman was also killed. The five police officers that were injured in the shooting are in stable condition according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Update 5:15 p.m. EST Feb. 15: A spokesman for the coroner’s office says at least one person is dead following a shooting at a business in suburban Chicago.  Kane County coroner’s office spokesman Chris Nelson says at least one person was killed in the attack Friday afternoon at the Henry Pratt Co. building in Aurora. Update 4:45 p.m. EST Feb. 15: A city spokesman told WGN that at least four police officers were injured.  Police have not said if anyone else has been injured. Update 4:15 p.m. EST Feb. 15: Initial reports indicate that the shooter has been apprehended, but the area is still on lockdown. Update 3:55 p.m. EST Feb. 15: A man who said he witnessed Friday’s shooting told WLS-TV that he recognized the person who opened fire at the Henry Pratt Company. The man told WLS-TV that the shooter was one of his co-workers. Update 3:50 p.m. EST Feb. 15: Police confirmed they are continue to respond Friday afternoon to an active shooting reported in Aurora. Update 3:45 p.m. EST Feb. 15: Citing preliminary reports from the scene, the Daily Herald reported several people were injured in the ongoing active shooter situation reported Friday afternoon in Aurora. Police did not immediately confirm the report. Update 3:40 p.m. EST Feb. 15: Authorities with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are responding to the reported shooting, officials said. Check back for updates to this developing story.
  • President Donald Trump declared a national emergency Friday to fund his promised wall on the U.S.-Mexico border after Congress passed a bipartisan border security bill that offered only a fraction of the $5.7 billion he had sought. >> Read more trending news  White House officials confirmed Friday afternoon that Trump also signed the spending compromise into law to avoid a partial government shutdown. Update 3:25 p.m. EST Feb. 15:A lawsuit filed Friday by an ethics watchdog group aims to make public documents that could determine whether the president has the legal authority to invoke emergency powers to fund his promised border wall. In a statement, officials with the nonpartisan Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington said the group requested documentation, including legal opinions from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, to determine whether the president wrongfully used his emergency powers. “President Trump’s threatened declaration of a national emergency for these purposes raised some serious questions among the public and Congress that the president was considering actions of doubtful legality based on misstated facts and outright falsehoods to make an end-run round Congress’ constitutional authority to make laws and appropriate funds,” attorneys for CREW said in the lawsuit. >> Read the lawsuit filled by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington  The group said it submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the Office of Legal Counsel last month and that it got a response on Feb. 12 that indicated authorities would not be able to expedite the request or respond to it within the 20-day statutory deadline. “Americans deserve to know the true basis for President Trump’s unprecedented decision to enact emergency powers to pay for a border wall,” CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said in a statement. Officials with the American Civil Liberties Union said the group also plans to file suit. Update 2:30 p.m. EST Feb. 15: Trump has signed a bill passed by Congress to fund several federal departments until September 30, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed Friday afternoon to The Associated Press. Update 12:35 p.m. EST Feb. 15: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, accused Democrats of playing partisan politics in refusing to fund Trump’s border wall. “President Trump’s decision to announce emergency action is the predictable and understandable consequence of Democrats’ decision to put partisan obstruction ahead of the national interest,” McConnell said. Democrats have repeatedly voice opposition to the border wall, which critics say would not effectively address issues like drug trafficking and illegal immigration, which Trump purports such a wall would solve. Update 11:25 a.m. EST Feb. 15: In a joint statement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, condemned what they called “the president’s unlawful declaration over a crisis that does not exist.” “This issue transcends partisan politics and goes to the core of the founders’ conception for America, which commands Congress to limit an overreaching executive. The president’s emergency declaration, if unchecked, would fundamentally alter the balance of powers, inconsistent with our founders’ vision,” the statement said. “We call upon our Republican colleagues to join us to defend the Constitution.” Update 11:10 a.m. EST Feb. 15: Trump said he’s expecting the administration to be sued after he signs a national emergency declaration to fund the building of wall on the southern border. “The order is signed and I'll sign the final papers as soon as I get into the Oval Office,” Trump said Friday while addressing reporters in the Rose Garden.  “I expect to be sued -- I shouldn’t be sued,” Trump said Friday while addressing reporters in the Rose Garden. “I think we’ll be very successful in court. I think it’s clear.” He said he expects the case will likely make it to the Supreme Court, the nation’s highest court. “It’ll go through a process and happily we’ll win, I think,” he said. Update 10:50 a.m. EST Feb. 15: “I’m going to sign a national emergency,” Trump said. “We’re talking about an invasion of our country with drugs, with human traffickers, with all types of criminals and gangs.”  >> National emergency likely to be blocked by courts, DOJ tells White House: reports Update 10:25 a.m. EST Feb. 15: Trump will declare a national emergency and use executive actions to funnel over $6 billion in funds from the Treasury Department and the Pentagon for his border wall, Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree reported. “With the declaration of a national emergency, the President will have access to roughly $8 billion worth of money that can be used to secure the southern border,” Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney told reporters in a call before the president’s announcement. >> From Cox Media Group's Jamie Dupree: White House: Trump using national emergency and executive actions for border wall Update 10 a.m. EST Feb. 15: Trump is expected on Friday morning to deliver remarks from the Rose Garden on the southern border after White House officials said he plans to declare a national emergency to fund his border wall. Update 10 p.m. EST Feb. 14: At 10 a.m. on Friday, President Donald Trump is expected to deliver remarks from the Rose Garden about the southern border. >> From Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree: Congress passes border deal as Trump readies emergency for border wall The White House announced earlier that Trump will declare a national emergency that would enable him to transfer funding from other accounts for additional miles of border fencing. Update 9 p.m. EST Feb. 14: The House easily approved border funding plan, as President Donald Trump prepared an emergency declaration to fund a border wall. The bill also closes a chapter by preventing a second government shutdown at midnight Friday and by providing $333 billion to finance several Cabinet agencies through September. Trump has indicated he’ll sign the measure though he is not happy with it, and for a few hours Thursday he was reportedly having second thoughts. Update 4:30 p.m. EST Feb. 14: The government funding bill that includes $1.375 billion for 55 miles of border wall, passed the Senate with a 83 - 16 vote. The bill will go to the House for a final vote Thursday evening. Update 4 p.m. EST Feb. 14: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says if President Donald Trump declares a national emergency at the border he’s making an “end run around Congress.” “The President is doing an end run around the Congress and the power of the purse,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who reserved the right to lead a legal challenge against any emergency declaration. Pelosi said that there is no crisis at the border with Mexico that requires a national emergency order. >> Trump's border wall: What is a national emergency? She did not say if House Democrats would legally challenge the president. But Pelosi said if Trump invokes an emergency declaration it should be met with “great unease and dismay” as an overreach of executive authority. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Thursday afternoon that the White House is “very prepared” for a legal challenge following the declaration of a National Emergency. Update 3:15 p.m. EST Feb. 14: Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that President Donald Trump is going to sign a border deal and at the same time issue a national emergency declaration. The compromise will keep departments running through the fiscal year but without the $5.7 billion Trump wanted for the border wall with Mexico.  The House is also expected to vote on the bill later Thursday. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders sent a statement confirming that Trump intends to sign the bill and will issue “other executive action - including a national emergency.” An emergency declaration to shift funding from other federal priorities to the border is expected to face swift legal challenge. Update 12:40 p.m. EST Feb. 14: Trump said in a tweet Thursday that he and his team were reviewing the funding bill proposed by legislators. Congress is expected to vote Thursday on the bipartisan accord to prevent another partial federal shutdown ahead of Friday's deadline. Trump has not definitively said whether he’ll sign the bill if it passes the legislature. The bill would fund several departments, including Agriculture, Justice and State, until Sept. 30 but it includes only $1.4 billion to build new barriers on the border. Trump had asked Congress to provide $5.7 billion in funding. Update 9:55 a.m. EST Feb. 14: The more than 1,600-page compromise, made up of seven different funding bills, was unveiled early Thursday. It includes $1.4 billion to build new barriers on the border and over $1 billion to fund other border security measures. If passed, the bill would prevent a partial government shutdown like the 35-day closure that started after lawmakers failed to reach a compromise in December.  >> From Cox Media Group's Jamie Dupree: Five tidbits from the border security funding deal in Congress President Donald Trump has given mixed signals in recent days over whether he plans to sign the bill or not. He’s told reporters in recent days that a second government shutdown as federal workers continue to dig out from the last closure “would be a terrible thing.” However, Adam Kennedy, the deputy director of White House communications, told NPR that the president “doesn’t want his hands tied on border security.” 'I think the president is going to fully review the bill,' Kennedy said. 'I think he wants to review it before he signs it.' Original report: President Donald Trump is expected to sign the deal lawmakers have hammered out to avoid a second shutdown, CNN is reporting. >> From Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree: Trump hints at ‘national emergency’ to funnel money to border wall On Tuesday, Trump said he was “not happy” with the spending plan negotiators came up with Monday night, CNN reported. That deal includes $1.375 billion in funding for border barriers, but not a concrete wall, according to Cox Media Group Washington correspondent Jamie Dupree. “It’s not doing the trick,” Trump said, adding that he is “considering everything” when asked whether a national emergency declaration was on the table. He said that if there is another shutdown, it would be “the Democrats’ fault.” Trump also took to Twitter later Tuesday, claiming that the wall is already being built. >> See the tweet here The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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