Update on the latest news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 a.m. EST

BC- FINANCIAL MARKETS

Asian stocks mixed as earnings fuel Wall Street gains

BANGKOK (AP) — Stocks are mixed in Asia, with Chinese markets still closed for the Lunar New Year holiday. Tokyo and Sydney fell, while Seoul rose as markets reopened. Stocks rose on Wall Street on Wednesday as the latest batch of corporate earnings reports kept investors in a buying mood. The S&P 500 rose 0.9% and the Nasdaq added 0.5%. Dow Industrialists 0.6%. Alphabet, Google’s parent company, rose 7.5% after saying its digital advertising business sent profits jumping 36% last quarter. Major indexes are on track for solid gains this week, a welcome turnaround from January’s losses. But investors were shaken after Facebook’s parent company Meta Platforms’ latest quarterly earnings fell below Wall Street estimates.

BIDEN-CRIME

Biden grapples with ‘perfect storm’ of rising gun violence

WASHINGTON (AP) — Gun violence was already on the rise during the pandemic, and now it’s rising again, and cities are struggling to deal with it. President Joe Biden visits one of those cities on Thursday as he tries to dispel criticism from the right that he hasn’t been tough enough on crime. In New York, Biden will showcase federal, state and local efforts to get guns and repeat shooters off the streets. But Congress has no desire to pass gun laws. Recent polls show Republicans have an advantage over Democrats as a party that would do a better job of dealing with it.

FILMING IN CALIFORNIA

1 dead and others injured in Northern California bus attack

OROVILLE, Calif. (AP) — Authorities say one person is dead and others injured after a shooting at a Greyhound bus in Northern California. It happened around 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in Oroville. The Butte County Sheriff’s Office said the suspect fled after the shooting, but was later found at a nearby Walmart and arrested. There is no immediate word on the number of people injured or their condition, although the mayor of Oroville said earlier that five people were shot. There’s also no immediate word on the motive for the attack.

USA-SYRIA-MILITARY RAID

US forces launch raid in Syria, civilians also killed

ATMEH, Syria (AP) — U.S. special forces carried out what the Pentagon called a successful large-scale counterterrorism raid in northwest Syria. First responders at the scene reported that 13 people had been killed, including six children and four women. Thursday morning’s operation, which locals say lasted around two hours, rocked the sleepy village of Atmeh, near the Turkish border, an area dotted with camps for internally displaced people from the civil war in Syria. The target of the raid was not immediately clear. Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in a brief statement that the mission was a success.

AP-US-WINTER-WEATHER

Winter storm packs snow and freezing rain across US

CHICAGO (AP) — A winter storm brings a mix of rain, freezing rain and snow to the central United States. Airlines have canceled thousands of flights, officials are urging people to stay off the roads and schools are closed. Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan are experiencing freezing rain, sleet and snow. The heaviest snow is expected in Indiana and Illinois. The town of Lewiston in central Illinois has already received more than a foot of snow and the town of Hannibal in northeast Missouri has nearly a foot. Significant ice accumulation is expected in an area from Louisville, Kentucky to Memphis, Tennessee.

GUEST FANS

150,000 fans will be invited to Beijing Olympics events

BEIJING (AP) — About 150,000 spectators are expected to be invited to attend Beijing Olympics events. Organizers say they will be able to visit sites in Beijing and Zhangjiakou but not Yanqing. Plans to sell tickets to international visitors were scrapped last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. The block was extended in January to Chinese residents. Details of the invitation plan were given at a meeting of IOC members. Guests will include staff from diplomatic missions in Beijing and local schoolchildren.

AP-US-VIRUS-OUTBREAK-ARMY-DISCHARGES

The military will immediately begin returning vaccine refusals

WASHINGTON (AP) — The military said it would immediately begin dismissing soldiers who refused mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations, putting more than 3,300 service members at risk of soon being deported. The Army’s announcement makes it the latest military service to outline its exit policy for vaccine denials. The Marine Corps, Air Force and Navy have already fired active duty troops or junior personnel at boot camps for refusing fire. So far, the army has not discharged any. About 97% of all soldiers in the army have received at least one shot. More than 3,000 have applied for medical or religious exemptions.

CORRUPTION SCANDAL IN THE NAVY

Ex-marine captain pleads guilty in massive bribery case

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A former U.S. Navy captain has pleaded guilty to bribery for accepting nearly $68,000 worth of dinners, hotels, parties and prostitute services from a Malaysian defense contractor. Prosecutors said Indiana’s Donald Hornbeck entered a plea in federal court in San Diego on Wednesday. Authorities say Hornbeck admitted that in 2007 and 2008 he took bribes from Leonard Francis to provide classified Navy information and direct ships to ports in the Western Pacific where the company entrepreneur was providing services. Hornbeck is one of 34 Navy officials and defense contractors charged in a massive fraud and corruption case involving the Navy’s 7th Fleet. Authorities say the program cost the Navy some $35 million.

ARGENTINA – ADULTERATED COCAINE

Adulterated cocaine kills 20 people and sickens 74 in Argentina

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Apparently adulterated cocaine killed 20 people and seriously sickened 74 others in Buenos Aires, sending Argentine authorities on a frantic search for the rest of the deadly batch before it was consumed. Experts are still analyzing the drug to determine what it contained that caused the deaths. Judicial authorities said on Wednesday that one hypothesis is that the cocaine was intentionally tampered with as part of a settling of accounts between traffickers. An Argentinian prosecutor said the event was “absolutely exceptional; we have no precedent. Police say the cocaine was sold in the poor “Puerta 8” neighborhood in the northern suburbs of Buenos Aires and around 10 people were arrested.

SUPREME COURT-VACANCY

Democratic Senate leader meets with Biden to talk Supreme Court

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden invited Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to the White House on Wednesday to discuss how to fill an upcoming Supreme Court vacancy. That’s according to a person familiar with the negotiations who spoke on condition of anonymity. Biden has promised to appoint the first black woman to the High Court as he fills the post vacated by Justice Stephen Breyer, who is retiring at the end of that term. The president has already put together a list of potential candidates that includes women with a range of professional expertise, from federal advocates to longtime judges and academics.

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