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Russia and Ukraine crisis, Amir Locke funeral, Valieva skates for gold: 5 things to know Thursday

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Ukraine-Russia crisis likely to dominate UN Security Council meeting

The United Nations Security Council is scheduled to hold its annual meeting on the Minsk agreement Thursday. The agreement helped end the worst of the fighting in eastern Ukraine between Russian-backed separatists and Ukrainian troops. But implementation has stalled. Russia, which holds the rotating council presidency this month, will chair the meeting. Last year, Russia clashed with the U.S. and its Western allies over the conflict in eastern Ukraine and a similar, though likely broader, confrontation is expected this year. The meeting will be held in the background of a tense borderline situation as U.S. intelligence officials have concluded that Russia’s claims it is withdrawing troops along its border with Ukraine are false and that Moscow has actually increased its military presence along the border by as many as 7,000 troops this week. Russian President Vladimir Putin has signaled that he wants a peaceful path out of the crisis, but western allies have maintained the threat of an attack was strong.

Funeral set for Amir Locke, killed during no-knock raid

Loved ones will gather Thursday to remember Amir Locke, the 22-year-old Black man who was killed by Minneapolis police during a predawn, no-knock raid on Feb. 2. Civil rights icon Rev. Al Sharpton is expected to officiate at the funeral. Locke was described by family as a “good kid” who “wanted to change lives.” Protests have continued for nearly two weeks in the Twin Cities over Locke’s killing and over the use of no-knock raids. The service will be held at Shiloh Temple International Ministries, the same church that hosted the funeral for Daunte Wright, another young Black man shot by a Minneapolis police officer last year. That officer, Kim Potter, was convicted of manslaughter and could be sentenced to more than seven years in prison Friday.

As doping scandal lingers, Russia’s Valieva goes for skating gold

Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva will return to the ice Thursday for the second half of the women’s individual competition – and possibly clinch a gold medal – amid a doping scandal that continues to roil the Olympics. Valieva, 15, recently tested positive for trimetazidine, a banned performance-enhancing substance, but was later cleared to compete. Her lawyer has suggested she ingested the drug unknowingly through her grandfather, who takes the medication for heart trouble. Valieva finished in first place Tuesday during the short program, but a retired Olympic and world figure skating judge said she should not be leading the competition. In other action Thursday, the U.S. women’s hockey team fell to Canada in the gold medal game, settling for silver and Mikaela Shiffrin skied out in the slalom run of the combined and will not medal in Beijing. 

Tracking a huge storm: When and where to expect snow, rain and more

A massive storm system is forecast to bring severe weather to much of the central, eastern and southern U.S. into Thursday. Winter storm warnings have been issued across portions of the upper Midwest. After progressing northeastward, snow is expected to impact Chicago early Thursday, according to AccuWeather. Forecasters say snow will expand into Detroit later Thursday and deliver anywhere from 3 to 6 inches to the Motor City. In the South, large parts of Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee will be at risk of powerful thunderstorms and possibly tornadoes as storms sweep into the South on Thursday, forecasters said. More than 20 million people are in a zone that’s at risk of severe weather Thursday, the national Storm Prediction Center said. The areas most in danger included Jackson, Mississippi; Memphis and Nashville in Tennessee; and Huntsville, Alabama, forecasters said.

California to unveil shift to ‘endemic’ approach to virus

California officials will unveil Thursday a new state plan that aims to coexist with the pandemic as the coronavirus is in retreat, but not expected to disappear anytime soon. It presumes the most populous state is entering an endemic stage, where the virus still exists in a community but becomes manageable as immunity builds. Gov. Gavin Newsom last week said the state’s plan will include mass testing to spot new surges and virus variants along with quarantines and other precautions where needed, along with a continued emphasis on vaccinations and booster shots. The state will also mount a new effort to counter misinformation and disinformation that can discourage vaccinations. The move comes a day after the state removed its mask mandate for indoor public places. California still allows local health officials to impose stricter measures and, statewide, masks are still required in certain settings, such as indoors at K-12 schools, at transportation hubs and in public transit.  

Contributing: The Associated Press

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What are the conditions to play at Kubet?

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Ruud van Nistelrooy makes next job decision as Man Utd plan coaching appointment

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That decision failed to pay off, however, with the Red Devils sacking Moyes after just 10 months in charge.

After the current West Ham boss came Van Gaal, who arrived with big things expected due to his past success at the likes of Barcelona and Ajax.

Giggs was hoping to get the Red Devils job himself, which was why he stayed, but both ended up leaving nearly six years ago.

When Jose Mourinho took over, he opted to maintain his close relationship with Rui Faria – who had previously worked under him at clubs such as Real Madrid and Chelsea.

Fair departed in the summer of 2018, though, with Michael Carrick then given a place on Mourinho’s bench.

Carrick stayed to work under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, with the Norwegian also regularly picking up the thoughts of Phelan and Kieran McKenna throughout his spell in the dugout.

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