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It is a long and sometimes dangerous journey for truckers transporting the avocados destined for guacamole on tables and tailgates in the United States during the Super Bowl. It starts in villages like Santa Ana Zirosto, high in the misty, pine-clad mountains of the western Mexico state of Michoacan. The roads are plagued by drug cartels, common criminals, and extortion and kidnap gangs so state police provide escorts for the trucks brave enough to face the 40-mile (60-kilometer) trip to packing and shipping plants in the city of Uruapan. Drivers are often robbed of their avocados and their trucks.

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In a terrible way, the death of Tyre Nichols brings vindication to members of the Black community in Memphis who live in constant fear of the police. The fatal beating of the 29-year-old Nichols by five police officers tells the story many residents know by heart: that any encounter, including traffic stops, can be deadly if you're Black. Police conduct sweeps where units in unmarked cars roll into neighborhoods and armed plainclothes officers jump out, rushing traffic violators and issuing commands. It's resulted in community in fear, where people text, call and use social media to caution each other to stay inside or avoid the area when police operations are underway.

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The suspected Chinese surveillance balloon that violated American airspace this week has fueled a diplomatic crisis with the postponement of Secretary of State Anthony Blinken's planned trip to Beijing.

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While Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh and his staff and players are preparing for the start of spring practice later this month, there remains the substantial issue of NCAA allegations against Harbaugh and his football program. There are four alleged Level II violations, including impermissible contact during a COVID recruiting dead period, but the most significant is an alleged Level I infraction ...

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Officials say a sixth Memphis officer was fired Friday after an internal police investigation showed he violated multiple department policies in the violent arrest of Tyre Nichols, including rules surrounding the deployment of a stun gun. Preston Hemphill had previously been suspended as he was investigated for his role in the Jan. 7 of Nichols, who died three days later. Five Memphis officers have already been fired and charged with second-degree murder in Nichols’ death. Hemphill was the third officer at a traffic stop that preceded the violent arrest but was not where Nichols was beaten. Body camera footage from the initial stop has Hemphill saying that he stunned Nichols and “I hope they stomp his ass.”

CINCINNATI — Bengals running back Joe Mixon no longer faces a misdemeanor charge of aggravated menacing over allegations that he threatened and pointed a gun at a woman in Cincinnati.

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A Massachusetts woman is scheduled to be arraigned from a hospital next week in the deaths of her three children. Lindsay Clancy is facing murder and assault charges after her 5-year-old daughter, Cora, and her 3-year-old son Dawson, were strangled Jan. 24 inside the family home in Duxbury, a coastal town about 30 miles) south of Boston. They were pronounced dead at a hospital.  Her younger son, 7-month-old Callan, died several days later. A private funeral service was held for the children Friday. The Boston Globe reported Friday that her attorney received permission from a judge to be examined by a forensic psychologist for evidence of postpartum mood disorder.

A North Carolina-based national leader of a motorcycle gang has been sentenced to 75 years in prison for drug trafficking, money laundering and other crimes. Court documents show Christopher Lamar Baker was sentenced in Wilmington federal court Thursday, more than four months after a jury convicted him of 17 counts. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Raleigh says Baker was a leader of the Pagans Motorcycle Club, which law enforcement deems an outlaw gang for using its club for criminal enterprises. The government says the conviction was part of an ongoing organized crime and drug enforcement operation that has led to indictments against 20 people.

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The man charged with raping and killing a Tennessee kindergarten teacher during a pre-dawn run in Memphis last year has pleaded not guilty. The Daily Memphian reports Cleotha Henderson was indicted last week on charges that include first-degree murder and especially aggravated kidnapping. The first-degree murder charge carries a sentence of life in prison or 60 calendar years. However, the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office has indicated it may seek an enhanced sentence of life without parole or the death penalty. At his arraignment Friday, Henderson pleaded not guilty to all charges.

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The car owned by a missing 74-year-old Florida Lyft driver has been found in North Carolina and the man who was driving it is wanted in connection with a homicide last week in southwest Florida. Authorities said Friday that Gary Levin has been missing since Monday, when his family believes he picked up a customer in Palm Beach County, Florida. His red 2022 Kia Stinger was spotted in Miami that day and later in north Florida. The vehicle was then seen Thursday evening in North Carolina and driver Matthew Flores was arrested following a police chase. Flores is a suspect in a slaying that occurred nearly a week before Levin went missing.

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The car owned by a missing 74-year-old Florida Lyft driver has been found in North Carolina and the man who was driving it is wanted in connection with a homicide last week in southwest Florida. Authorities said Friday that Gary Levin has been missing since Monday, when his family believes he picked up a customer in Palm Beach County, Florida. His red 2022 Kia Stinger was spotted in Miami that day and later in north Florida. The vehicle was then seen Thursday evening in North Carolina and driver Matthew Flores was arrested following a police chase. Flores is a suspect in a slaying that occurred nearly a week before Levin went missing.

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Tyre Nichols was brutally attacked by police in Memphis after they pulled him over Jan. 7. Video of the deadly beating was released to the public on Friday. Family and friends remember Nichols as a generous, lovable man who worked hard to be a good father to his 4-year-old son. He was passionate about photography. He was an avid skateboarder and hailed from Sacramento, California. He got stuck in Memphis during the coronavirus pandemic, but didn't mind because he was with his mother. They were close, and she says she's still in shock he won't walk through her door anymore.

Police say a Tennessee officer who was shot at a public library in Memphis while responding to a trespassing complaint remains in “extremely critical condition." Police updated the officer's condition Friday. He was hospitalized Thursday after a shooting at the Poplar-White Station Public Library. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said officers were called to the library and encountered a man who had been the subject of a trespassing complaint. The bureau said when officers attempted talking to the man, he pulled out a weapon and shot one of them. Authorities say the other officer drew his weapon, shooting and killing 28-year-old Torence Jackson Jr. of Indianapolis, who was Black. The two officers are also Black.

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The funeral of Tyre Nichols had all the hallmarks of what’s known as a homegoing service in Black American communities. But in addition to offering an outlet for the private mourning of Nichols’ family and friends, this ritual was also public and political.

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