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    Women's college basketball has displayed an odd mix this season and now there's the rare combination of South Carolina's undefeated dominance alongside parity in the Sweet 16. Just two of the four No. 1 women's seeds advanced through the first two rounds, which hadn't happened since 1998. The Gamecocks are one of them looking to continue their perfect season against No. 4 seed UCLA on Saturday. Virginia Tech is the other No. 1 seed advancing. South Carolina coach Dawn Staley says her team's success comes from a singular focus on the game and its next task.

      Oregon lawmakers have approved $200 million to tackle the state's homelessness and housing crises. The Senate voted on the package Tuesday night after it passed the House with bipartisan support last week. Much of the money will boost homelessness and eviction prevention services. It will go toward expanding increasing shelter capacity, rental assistance and ramping up housing production, among other things. Nearly $27 million will go specifically to rural areas struggling to curb homelessness. Analysts estimate Oregon is short 140,000 homes, and federal data shows its homeless population has increased by 22% since 2020.

        Officials have released the name of a King County Sheriff’s deputy who was shot in Seattle Monday while serving an eviction notice, as well as the person found dead inside the residence. The King County Independent Force Investigation Team said Detective David Easterly was shot. He remained in critical condition Tuesday. The person found dead was identified by the King County Medical Examiner's Office as 29-year-old Eucytus. Investigators say Easterly was shot while he and two other deputies served a final eviction notice and that all three deputies “probably returned fire.” Eucytus was found dead inside and the Medical Examiner's Office says the death was suicide by gunshot.

          An Oregon bill that would greatly expand access to abortion and gender-affirming care has sparked debate at a packed public hearing inside the state Capitol in Salem. The legislation was considered during a public hearing Monday. The bill would shield abortion providers and patients from criminal and civil liability from states where the procedure is banned. It would also require private insurance to cover gender-affirming care. The most contentious aspects of the legislation include allowing doctors to provide reproductive health care information and services to anyone regardless of age, as well as barring them in certain cases from disclosing that to parents.

            Google has announced it’s allowing more people to interact with “Bard." That's the artificially intelligent chatbot the company is building to counter Microsoft’s early lead in a pivotal battleground of technology. In Bard’s next stage, Google is opening a waitlist to use an AI tool that’s similar to the ChatGPT technology that Microsoft began deploying in its Bing search engine to much fanfare last month. Until now, Bard had only been available to a small group of “trusted testers” hand-picked by Google. The company isn’t saying how many people will be given access to Bard in the next step of the technology’s development.

            Law enforcement officials say a King County Sheriff’s deputy was shot in Seattle while trying to serve an eviction notice and a person inside the residence was later found dead. The Seattle Police Department said on Twitter shortly around 10:30 a.m. Monday that a person was barricaded in the Ballard neighborhood and that a county detective had been shot and taken to Harborview Medical Center. Hospital spokesperson Susan Gregg said around noon Monday that he was “critical and will be an intensive care patient.” Police said before noon that the scene was secure and that a county Independent Force Investigation Team will investigate.

            New research suggests that inbreeding may be a key reason that the Pacific Northwest’s endangered population of killer whales has failed to recover despite decades of conservation efforts. The so-called “southern resident” population of orcas stands at 73 whales. That’s just two more than in 1971, after scores of the whales were captured for display in marine theme parks around the world. For research published Monday in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution, researchers sequenced the genomes of 100 living and dead killer whales in the southern resident population. Those whales had lower levels of genetic diversity and higher levels of inbreeding than other populations of killer whales in the North Pacific.

            Federal prosecutors have rested their seditious conspiracy case against former Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio and four lieutenants charged with plotting to stop the transfer of presidential power from Donald Trump to Joe Biden after the 2020 election. Jurors will still hear testimony by defense witnesses before they begin deliberating. Before prosecutors rested Monday, the jury heard over 30 days of testimony by more than 20 prosecution witnesses. A defense attorney told jurors Monday the Proud Boys did not travel to Washington to “cause a riot.” The case against the far-right extremist group’s leaders is among the most serious generated by the Justice Department’s investigation of the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.

            In another push to reduce costs and trim workforce, Amazon announced Monday its plans to lay off another 9,000 employees, bringing its total job cuts to 27,000 since November.


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            Amazon CEO Andy Jassy is telling employees in a memo that the company plans to eliminate 9,000 more jobs in the next few weeks. The job cuts would mark the second largest round of layoffs in the company’s history. Amazon had already cut 18,000 in the past few months. In the memo on Monday, Jassy said the second phase of the company’s annual planning process completed this month and led to the additional job cuts. This time around, the job cuts will hit profitable areas for the company including its cloud computing unit AWS and its burgeoning advertising business. Twitch, the gaming platform Amazon owns, will also see some layoffs.

            Starbucks officially has a new CEO. Seattle coffee giant said Monday that Laxman Narasimhan has assumed the role of CEO and joined the company’s board of directors. Narasimhan succeeds longtime Starbucks leader Howard Schultz, who came out of retirement last spring to serve as interim CEO while the company searched for a new chief executive. Schultz will remain on the company’s board. Starbucks announced last September that Narasimhan would become its new CEO. N55, most The 55-year-old most recently served as CEO of Reckitt, a U.K.-based consumer health, hygiene and nutrition company. He was also a longtime executive at PepsiCo.

            With U.S. overdose fatalities at an all-time high, state legislatures are considering tougher penalties for possession of fentanyl, the powerful opioid linked to most of the deaths. Proponents say prosecutors and police need more tools to help with the fight because fentanyl and other synthetic opioids are so deadly. They represent a shift in places where lawmakers had been reducing drug penalties as part of criminal justice reform efforts. But other advocates worry harsher penalties will result in even more dangerous drug supplies and punish people who really need help.

            Much of the debate about combating online misinformation and extremism revolves around government regulations and changes made by social media platforms. Teaching people how to be better internet users gets less attention. That may be changing as educators around the country push for greater digital media literacy education. The U.S. trails many Western democracies when it comes to teaching critical thinking skills that can help users avoid misinformation. Advocates call it an issue of economic competitiveness. They say that a failure to expand digital literacy programs could lead to greater misinformation and polarization.

            Authorities say a suspect in an Idaho armed robbery has been killed by law enforcement after shooting a hostage near a travel center in western Montana. The Mineral County Sheriff's Office said two suspects involved in a Saturday morning robbery in Osburn, Idaho were seen later that day in St. Regis, Montana. One suspect was taken into custody without incident. The second suspect took a hostage and then shot the hostage before being shot and killed.

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