First Thing: Moscow told to respect international airspace after US drone crash | US news

Good morning.

A Russian fighter jet has collided with a US Reaper drone, forcing it into the Black Sea, in what US forces called an “unsafe and unprofessional” intercept. Responding to the incident, the British defence secretary, Ben Wallace, urged Moscow to respect international airspace.

A US European Command statement said the collision happened just after 7am on Tuesday, when two Russian Su-27 fighter jets flew up to the MQ-9 Reaper drone over international waters west of Crimea. The statement said the Russian pilots sought to disrupt the US aircraft before the collision.

“Several times before the collision, the Su-27s dumped fuel on and flew in front of the MQ-9 in a reckless, environmentally unsound and unprofessional manner,” the US statement said. “This incident demonstrates a lack of competence in addition to being unsafe and unprofessional.”

Wallace told Reuters at the DSEI Japan defence show in Chiba prefecture, near Tokyo: “The key here is that all parties respect international airspace and we urge the Russians to do so. The Americans have said they think it is unprofessional.”

  • What has Russia said? Russia has called on the US to halt what it calls its “hostile” flights, after the collision of a Russian fighter jet with a US MQ-9 Reaper drone that the Pentagon said was conducting a routine flight. Moscow’s ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov, said: “We presume the United States will refrain from further speculation in the media space and will stop flying near Russian borders.”

Chris Murphy: Republicans ‘don’t give a crap’ about children or gun violence

Chris MurphyPin
Murphy: ‘Republicans who claim to care about the health of our kids don’t seem to give a crap about … cataclysmic rates of gun violence.’ Photograph: Michael Brochstein/Sopa/Rex/Shutterstock

A Democratic US senator at the forefront of a push to enact new gun control measures has said Republicans “don’t give a crap” about children or gun violence.

Connecticut’s Chris Murphy – who has been a leading force for Democrat gun control efforts since the 2012 Sandy Hook elementary school shooting killed 26 people in his state, 20 of them children – made the comment in a wide-ranging interview with Salon that was published on Tuesday.

In the interview, Murphy said it was inexplicable for Republicans to claim they care about the wellbeing of children while thwarting efforts to shield them from gun violence, including by blocking legislation that would restrict sales of assault-style weapons.

“It is beyond me why Republicans who claim to care about the health of our kids don’t seem to give a crap about our children who are being exposed to these epidemic, cataclysmic rates of gun violence,” Murphy said.

Illustration of Donald Trump next to a Truth Social logo on a mobile phonePin
Trump Media, which owns Trump’s Truth Social platform, initially came under investigation over its preparations for a potential merger with blank check company Digital World. Photograph: Dado Ruvić/Reuters

Federal prosecutors in New York involved in the criminal investigation into Donald Trump’s social media company last year started examining whether it violated money-laundering statutes in connection with the acceptance of $8m with suspected Russian ties, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Trump Media, which owns Trump’s Truth Social platform, initially came under criminal investigation over its preparations for a potential merger with a blank check company called Digital World, which was also the subject of an earlier investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Towards the end of last year, federal prosecutors started examining two loans totaling $8m wired to Trump Media, through the Caribbean, from two obscure entities that appeared to be controlled in part by the relation of an ally of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, the sources said.

The expanded nature of the criminal investigation, which has not been previously reported, threatens to delay the completion of the merger between Trump Media and Digital World, which would provide the company and Truth Social with up to $1.3bn in capital, in addition to a stock market listing.

  • Could this affect Trump’s presidential run? Even if Trump Media and its officers face no criminal exposure for the transactions, the optics of borrowing money from potentially unsavory sources through opaque conduits could cloud Trump’s image as he seeks to recapture the White House in 2024.

In other news …

An icy Emerald BayPin
The treasured landmark on the lake’s south-west shore is getting icy but has not over frozen over in years. Photograph: Courtesy of California State Parks
  • Amid an onslaught of intense winter storms that have hit California in recent weeks and sent record snow across the Sierra Nevada, Lake Tahoe’s Emerald Bay has frozen over for the first time in decades. The rare freeze comes as Lake Tahoe experiences its snowiest season in 70 years.

  • Pakistan riot police have used water cannon and teargas to push back supporters of the former prime minister Imran Khan who gathered outside his house to prevent officers from arresting him. Khan, who was ousted from office by a no-confidence vote last year, has been embroiled in a series of legal cases.

  • The North Carolina supreme court heard oral arguments on Tuesday in a gerrymandering case that could have significant implications for US voting rights. In a highly unusual move, the court appears poised to overrule itself and get rid of congressional and state legislative districts it approved last year.

  • Los Angeles prosecutors told a judge they would not retry Harvey Weinstein, who was convicted of the rape and sexual assault of one woman, on counts that left jurors deadlocked. “It is a difficult decision,” the deputy district attorney, Paul Thompson, said. “We certainly did want to see justice for all the victims.”

Stat of the day: San Francisco backs reparations plans, including $5m to eligible Black adults

Shamann Walton, the San Francisco board of supervisors president, during a press conference last year.Pin
Shamann Walton, the San Francisco board of supervisors president, during a press conference last year. Photograph: Yalonda M James/AP

San Francisco lawmakers heard a range of options on Tuesday to provide reparations to Black people for decades of racist treatment by the city government. The more than 100 recommendations included payments of $5m to every eligible Black adult, the elimination of personal debt and tax burdens, guaranteed annual incomes of at least $97,000 for 250 years and homes in San Francisco for just $1 a family. The San Francisco board of supervisors hearing the report for the first time yesterday expressed enthusiastic support for the ideas, with some saying money should not stop the city from doing the right thing. Black residents make up 38% of the city’s homeless population.

Don’t miss this: ‘The story is really complicated’: inside the controversial world of Pornhub

A scene from Money Shot: The Pornhub StoryPin
‘This issue of nonconsensual material on the internet – it’s not a Pornhub problem. It’s an internet problem’ … Money Shot: The Pornhub Story. Photograph: Netflix

Money Shot: The Pornhub Story, a new Netflix documentary on the biggest pornography website in the world, opens with a simple question: “Do you remember the first porn you ever saw?” The film’s older subjects (read: late millennial and above), including several adult film performers, recall bespoke, analog porn, illicit and enticing – movies of Mother Goose fairy tales given a raunchy twist, a neighbor’s videotape of women using a giant ice dildo, Playgirl and Playboy spreads. Noelle Perdue, an internet pornography historian and multimedia artist, harkens a shift. She was 11 the first time she watched pornography. Such is the conundrum of Pornhub, the gateway to adult content for many young people, a website so popular it is synonymous with online pornography in general. And, as such, a place that encapsulates both the potential and the peril of the internet.

… or this: Texas woman becomes longest-serving female radio presenter in the world

Mary McCoy, more recently on the left and earlier in her career on the right, has been officially recognized as the world’s longest-serving female radio DJ.Pin
Mary McCoy, more recently on the left and earlier in her career on the right, has been officially recognized as the world’s longest-serving female radio DJ. Photograph: Courtesy of Mary McCoy

She spent part of her childhood growing up in a tent without electricity or running water, became a voice on the radio at the age of 12 and once shared a stage with the king of rock’n’roll. Now Mary McCoy’s remarkable life and career have taken another turn. Guinness World Records announced yesterday that it had verified McCoy as the world’s longest-serving female radio presenter after nearly 72 years on the airwaves. One of the more remarkable episodes during her run on the air was when she performed several numbers for an audience in 1955, and Elvis Presley’s band backed her up. The 85-year-old Texan told Guinness: “Radio has been my life for as long as I can remember.”

Last thing: Parents in Indonesia outraged by 5.30am school start trial

High school students walking to school early in the morning in Kupang, Indonesia.Pin
High school students walking to school early in the morning in Kupang, Indonesia. Photograph: Eliazar Ballo/AFP/Getty Images

Early in the morning in a city in Indonesia’s far east, sleepy teenagers can be seen trudging through the streets on their way to school. The students are taking part in a controversial experiment. The pilot project in Kupang, the capital of East Nusa Tenggara province, has 12th-graders at 10 high schools starting classes at 5:30am. Authorities say the scheme aims to strengthen children’s discipline. According to parents, however, children are exhausted by the time they get home. Schools in Indonesia generally start between 7am and 8am. “It has no correlation with the effort to improve the quality of education,” said Marsel Robot, an education expert from Nusa Cendana University. In the long run, sleep deprivation could endanger the students’ health and cause a shift in behaviour, he said.

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