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Former “Dances With Wolves” actor Nathan Chasing Horse has been formally charged in Nevada with eight felonies and two misdemeanors. The charges include sex trafficking, sexual assault and child abuse. Las Vegas police say the 46-year-old sexually abused Indigenous girls and women, and ran a cult for two decades. A judge at his arraignment Monday ordered Chasing Horse to return to court Wednesday for a bail hearing. The judge could hear from investigators, victims and Chasing Horse's relatives before deciding whether to grant him bail. Chasing Horse played a young Sioux tribe member Smiles a Lot in Kevin Costner’s 1990 Oscar-winning film. He was arrested Jan. 31 near the North Las Vegas home he shares with five wives after a monthslong investigation by Las Vegas police.

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Hong Kong’s top court has ruled that full sex reassignment surgery should not be a prerequisite for transgender people to have their gender changed on their official identity cards. The decision is likely to have a far-reaching impact on the transgender community. Two transgender men appealed to the court last month over the government’s refusal to change the genders on their ID cards because of their decision not to have full sex reassignment surgeries. The court ruled that the government's policy was “disproportionate” in its encroachment on the rights of the two and was unconstitutional.

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A court in Georgia has rejected an appeal to release former president Mikheil Saakashvili from prison on health grounds. Saakashvili, who served as president in 2004-13 and led the so-called Rose Revolution protests that drove the previous president out of office, left Georgia for Ukraine after the end of his second term. He was later convicted in absentia of abuse of power and sentenced to six years in prison. He was arrested in October 2021 after returning to Georgia to try to bolster opposition forces before nationwide municipal elections. He went on hunger strikes after his arrest and is currently in a private clinic. His supporters say he should be released for medical examination outside Georgia.

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A judge in Kenya has ruled that Facebook’s parent company, Meta, can be sued in the East African country. Meta tried to have the case dropped, arguing that Kenyan courts do not have jurisdiction over their operations, but the labor court judge dismissed that in a ruling on Monday. A former Facebook moderator in Kenya, Daniel Motaung, is suing the company claiming poor working conditions. Motaung said that while working as a moderator he was exposed to gruesome content such as rape, torture, and beheadings that risked his and his colleagues’ mental health. He said Meta did not offer mental health support to employees, required unreasonably long working hours, and offered minimal pay.

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A jury has decided Elon Musk didn’t defraud investors with tweets in 2018. The verdict by the nine jurors was reached after less that two hours of deliberation following a three-week trial. The trial pitted Tesla investors represented in a class-action lawsuit against Musk, who is CEO of both the electric automaker and the Twitter service he bought for for $44 billion a few months ago. In 2018, Musk tweeted that he had the financing to take Tesla private even though it turned out he hadn’t gotten an iron-clad commitment for an aborted deal that would have cost $20 billion to $70 billion to pull off. The verdict is a major vindication for Musk.

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A standoff over abortion in politically conservative regions of New Mexico escalated as Democratic state legislators advanced a bill that would prohibit local governments from interfering with women’s access to reproductive health care. The initiative from state House Democrats comes in response to abortion restrictions recently adopted in two counties and three cities in eastern New Mexico. A legislative panel endorsed the bill Friday on a party-line vote with Republicans in opposition. The measure would also ban interference with gender-affirming care. The anti-abortion ordinances reference an obscure U.S. anti-obscenity law that prohibits shipping of medication or other items intended for abortions.

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A Spanish court says Amazon broke labor laws by forcing more than 2,000 delivery drivers to use an app that the company controlled for scheduling work and payments as well as requiring them to use their own cars and cellphones on the job. In a decision released Friday, the court declared that Amazon couldn't treat workers using its Flex app as self-employed. It follows a lawsuit from Spain's social security body, which is seeking to recoup payments that it says Amazon should have made on behalf of the drivers. Amazon says it disagrees with the ruling and will appeal. It's the latest legal measure in Spain designed to stop delivery apps and e-commerce companies from incorrectly designating workers as self-employed.

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A federal appeals court has ruled that the government can't stop people who have domestic violence restraining orders filed against them from owning guns. The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled a federal law that does that is unconstitutional. It's the latest domino to fall after the U.S. Supreme Court's conservative majority last year set new standards for how to review the nation's gun laws. California Gov. Gavin Newsom said the ruling would leave governments powerless to protect their people. The appeals court had originally ruled the law was constitutional. But the court reconsidered in light of a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling on guns.

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit by environmental groups that challenged how the nation’s largest public utility signs local power providers up for long-term contracts. On Wednesday, a federal judge in Memphis agreed with the Tennessee Valley Authority that the environmental groups lacked legal standing in the lawsuit against the federal utility. He also found TVA “acted reasonably” under a law requiring federal agencies to assess environmental effects of federal proposals before making decisions. The Southern Environmental Law Center sued on behalf of Protect Our Aquifer, Energy Alabama and Appalachian Voices. The Law Center has argued the contracts "deprive distributors and ratepayers the opportunity to renegotiate with TVA to obtain cheaper, cleaner electricity.”

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A former “Dances With Wolves” actor accused of sexually abusing Indigenous girls has faced a judge for the first time since his arrest. After a brief hearing Thursday, the judge ordered Nathan Chasing Horse held without bail until his next court hearing Monday. The 46-year-old faces sex trafficking, sexual assault and child abuse charges. Clark County prosecutors have not said when he will be formally charged. At his next hearing, another judge is expected to address his custody status and could set bail after hearing from prosecutors, FBI agents, victims and Chasing Horse's relatives. He is known for his role as a young Sioux tribe member in the Oscar-winning Kevin Costner film.

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Growing numbers of people are flocking to U.S. churches that center their practice around a psychedelic tea known as ayahuasca. Organizers and their legal advisers argue a 2006 Supreme Court ruling protects them from prosecution and participants say they are taking part in a religious service. Some experts raise concerns that the benefits of ayahuasca haven’t been well studied. Many who attend the ceremonies, which can last for days, argue their experience on the illegal substance brings them closer to God than they ever felt at traditional religious services. Surveys have also found many come away feeling better afterwards, with some saying it helped with depression and problems with risky substance use.

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Federal authorities say a well-known former investigative journalist for ABC News has been arrested on a charge of “transporting” images depicting the sexual abuse of children. James Gordon Meek was arrested on Tuesday. According to court papers, investigators found images of children engaged in sexually explicit conduct on electronic devices taken from his home during a search in April. Authorities also discovered multiple conversations in which “participants expressed enthusiasm for the sexual abuse of children." An email seeking comment was sent to an attorney for Meek. Meek joined ABC’s Washington bureau as an investigative producer in 2013. He resigned last year.

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A health provider has filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn West Virginia’s near-total abortion ban. The lawsuit filed on behalf of the Women's Health Center of West Virginia asks to block the four-month-old abortion ban while the case is heard in federal court. The Women's Health Center was the state's only abortion clinic. Republican Gov. Jim Justice signed the law in September banning abortions at all stages of pregnancy with exceptions. The law requires abortions to be performed by a physician at a hospital. The lawsuit says the ban violates the 14th Amendment's rights to due process and equal protection.

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Attorneys general in 20 conservative-led states are warning CVS and Walgreens that they could face legal consequences if they sell abortion pills by mail in those states. A letter Wednesday from Republican Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey to the nation’s largest pharmacy-dispensing companies was co-signed by 19 other attorneys general, warning that sale of abortion pills would violate federal law and abortion laws in many states. Missouri is among states that implemented strict abortion prohibitions last summer after the Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade. Nineteen states have imposed restrictions on abortion pills, but there’s a court battle over whether they have the power to do so in defiance of U.S. Food and Drug Administration policy.

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A Santa Fe district attorney has filed involuntary manslaughter charges against actor Alec Baldwin in the fatal shooting of a cinematographer on the set of the Western movie “Rust.” Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies announced that her office filed the charges Tuesday. Investigators outlined evidence that Baldwin had his finger on the trigger before the gun went off and that he skipped required safety training. Halyna Hutchins died shortly after being wounded during rehearsals at a ranch on the outskirts of Santa Fe in October 2021. Baldwin was pointing a pistol at her when the gun went off. Film-set weapons supervisor Hannah Gutierrez-Reed also is charged with involuntary manslaughter.

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General Motors has conditionally agreed to invest $650 million in Lithium Americas in a deal that will give GM exclusive access to the first phase of a mine planned near the Nevada-Oregon line with the largest known source of lithium in the U.S. The equity investment the companies announced jointly Tuesday is contingent on the project clearing the final environmental and legal challenges it faces in federal court in Reno, where conservationists and tribes are suing to block it. GM said Tuesday’s announcement marks the largest-ever investment by an automaker to produce battery raw materials. The mine could support production of up to 1 million electric vehicles annually.

General Motors has conditionally agreed to invest $650 million in Lithium Americas in a deal that will give GM exclusive access to the first phase of a mine planned near the Nevada-Oregon line with the largest known source of lithium in the U.S. The equity investment the companies announced jointly Tuesday is contingent on the project clearing the final environmental and legal challenges it faces in federal court in Reno, where conservationists and tribes are suing to block it. GM said Tuesday’s announcement marks the largest-ever investment by an automaker to produce battery raw materials. The mine could support production of up to 1 million electric vehicles annually.

General Motors has conditionally agreed to invest $650 million in Lithium Americas in a deal that will give GM exclusive access to the first phase of a mine planned near the Nevada-Oregon line with the largest known source of lithium in the U.S. The equity investment the companies announced jointly Tuesday is contingent on the project clearing the final environmental and legal challenges it faces in federal court in Reno, where conservationists and tribes are suing to block it. GM said Tuesday’s announcement marks the largest-ever investment by an automaker to produce battery raw materials. The mine could support production of up to 1 million electric vehicles annually.

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Gov. Tim Walz has enshrined the right to abortion and other reproductive health care into Minnesota statutes. He signed a bill Tuesday that Democratic leaders rushed, with their new control of both houses of the Legislature, in the first month of the 2023 legislative session. The White House has welcomed Walz’s signature on the bill, noting that Minnesota is the first state Legislature to codify protections into law this year. Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre says that voters have also turned out for ballot initiatives to defend access to abortion in California, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana and Vermont.

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Indiana’s high court says it will not immediately consider a challenge to the state’s abortion ban that is based on the argument that the law violates some people’s religious freedoms, leaving that decision to an appeals court, at least for now. The state Supreme Court issued an order Monday saying the state Court of Appeals will first consider the case, after a lower court judge in December sided with residents who claim the state’s abortion ban infringes on their religious beliefs. The state attorney general’s office appealed that decision, asking the high court to take up the case. Enforcement of the ban remains blocked, so abortion remains legal in Indiana up to the 20th week post-fertilization.

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A Chicago prosecutor is dropping sex-abuse charges against singer R. Kelly. The decision follows federal convictions in two different courts that ensure the disgraced R&B star will be locked up for decades. Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx made the announcement Monday, a day ahead of a court hearing. Kelly was indicted in 2019 on multiple crimes and accused of sexually abusing four women in Illinois, including three who were minors. Since then, federal juries in Chicago and New York have convicted him of a raft of crimes, including child pornography, enticement, racketeering and sex trafficking. Kelly is already serving a 30-year prison sentence.

An advocacy group says North Carolina Republican legislators' effort to get the state Supreme Court to revisit some 2022 redistricting rulings is “frivolous.” Common Cause filed a response Monday to GOP lawmakers who asked earlier this month that the state’s highest court rehear redistricting lawsuits. The difference is Republicans now hold a majority on the court. Common Cause was among many plaintiffs who sued over either legislative or congressional maps. The previous Democratic majority on the court declared those maps violated the state constitution as partisan gerrymanders.

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