Fox News 2024-02-22 10:33:12


San Francisco State University police won’t bring charges in swimmer Riley Gaines attack

EXCLUSIVE: The San Fransisco State University Police Department has suspended its investigation into women’s sports activist and former NCAA swimmer Riley Gaines’ hostage incident and assault last year, saying the alleged charges are “unfounded.”

Gaines said she was assaulted and held hostage for ransom in April 2023 after speaking at San Francisco State University about her experience in her senior year of college competing against male swimmer Lia Thomas. The two had tied for fifth place in a national swimming championship.

RILEY GAINES TELLS CONGRESS SHE WAS HELD FOR RANSOM AT SAN FRANCISCO STATE, UNSURE IF SHE COULD LEAVE SAFELY

Following Gaines’ speech, she was met by a mob of violent protesters that she said stormed into the room, turned off the lights, rushed to the podium where she was standing and assaulted her before holding her hostage.

Gaines was then barricaded in a room after the assault, and has said she had been hit multiple times, even while under police protection.

Gaines, the director of the Riley Gaines Center at the Leadership Institute and host of Outkick’s “Gaines for Girls” podcast, told Fox News Digital on Wednesday that she followed up with the San Fransisco State University Police Department last month on its investigation into the incident “where I was held hostage.”

“Can you please let me know if you have completed your investigation?” She wrote in an email reviewed by Fox News Digital.  “I wondered if you can share with me any conclusions you have reached regarding your investigation and whether any charges will be filed against the individuals who sought to threaten, intimidate and harm me? Is there a timetable concerning this matter? Is there any additional information you need from me?”

In an email dated Feb. 2, an officer replied: “After a thorough investigation, the alleged charges in this case are unfounded and have been suspended pending further lead.”

RILEY GAINES SHREDS SAN FRANCISCO LAW ENFORCEMENT FOR ‘FAILING MISERABLY’ AT PROTECTING HER FROM ANGRY MOB

The officer said the department sent emails to Gaines in June and July of last year “for a case follow up,” which they claim “went unanswered.” 

The officer then requested “any photos and/or videos you may have in your possession as well as the contact information for anyone who was present that may have digital evidence.”

The officer added: “Please do so and the case may be further investigated.”

But Gaines told Fox News Digital in an exclusive interview Wednesday that after the incident in April 2023, she met with campus police for hours and provided them with an official statement.

“We talked for multiple hours. I told them over and over and over and over and over again what had happened, which, all the while, both of the officers that I was talking to were there, so it is not like they didn’t know what happened,” Gaines told Fox News Digital.

Gaines said one of the officers present for the incident sent the email notifying her that the investigation had been suspended.

Gaines told Fox News Digital that the emails the campus police sent to her in June and July were requests to meet again, and to share her story “again.”

“I just wasn’t willing to do that,” Gaines said, telling Fox News Digital that she was advised against it. Gaines said advisors told her she had already given a statement and didn’t need to do so again.

RILEY GAINES URGES FEMALE ATHLETES TO BOYCOTT COMPETING AGAINST TRANS GIRLS: ‘DON’T RUN…DON’T SWIM’

Gaines also said the campus police had promised to give her security footage for her review by the beginning of July, but said “they never provided the footage.” 

Meanwhile, Gaines reflected on the incident, describing the mob of protesters.

“They were everything under the sun,” she said. “Women, men, men dressed as women, women dressed as men — and everything in between, which is why it was so disorienting.”

“These people turned the lights off, flickered the lights for a bit, which I imagine was done entirely strategically,” she explained. “I was confused and trying to make sense of what was happening.” 

Gaines told Fox News Digital that as she was being assaulted, a female officer — whom she said is the same officer who notified her that the investigation had been suspended — approached her and tried to take her to a separate location.

“I didn’t meet any police before the event, and she was totally unmarked, wearing all black, her face was in a mask, so she comes up to me, and says ‘come with me, I’m the police’ and was grabbing me and pulling me,” Gaines said. “I didn’t believe that she was with the police because there really was no indication that she was, but I honestly didn’t really have a choice.” 

Gaines said the officer took her to a back room where she was ultimately barricaded and held hostage for ransom for more than four hours.

Gaines said that the protesters outside the room she was being held in were “negotiating a price I had to pay each of them to leave to be able to make it home safe to see my family.”

Gaines said the students came to an agreement that she had to pay them each $10, but eventually, the San Fransisco Police came to the scene.

“They were able to effectively remove me,” she said.

FROM OUTKICK: RILEY GAINES CALLS MIKE DEWINE ‘SPINELESS COWARD’ AFTER OHIO GOVERNOR VETOES TRANSGENDER-WOMEN’S SPORTS BILL

Gaines told Fox News Digital that she feels that the suspension of the investigation sets a precedent.

“This just encourages what happened to me to happen to other people because the precedent has now been set,” she said. “We don’t see this happening to liberal speakers or to anyone with a dissenting viewpoint to that of my own.”

Gaines told Fox News Digital that the protesters “had every intention of getting me to step down essentially, to shut up, to scare me into submission.”

“But this does not do that,” Gaines said. “Actually, it does the opposite.”

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“These people who want me to be quiet, it really only encourages me to speak louder,” Gaines added.

San Francisco State University Police Department did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment. 

Health officials sound the alarm over growing threat from ‘dangerous and addictive’ drug

A dangerous drug is causing a spike of illnesses in New Jersey, health officials warn — and in many cases, the drug is being sold on the shelves of corner convenience stores.

Neptune’s Elixir and ZaZa Red — also referred to as “gas station heroin” — are just two of the products that are being marketed as dietary supplements. They’re sold in gas stations and on the internet, according to a health alert from the New Jersey Department of Health.

Between June and Nov. 2023, there were 20 reported cases of tianeptine causing “severe clinical effects” in New Jersey, as noted in a Feb. 1 alert from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

OZEMPIC AND WEGOVY OVERDOSE CALLS HAVE SPIKED, EXPERTS SAY — HERE’S WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT DANGEROUS DOSES

This is a significant spike from the two or fewer calls the poison center typically receives each year.

What is tianeptine?

Tianeptine is a tricyclic antidepressant that has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Some companies market the drug as an aid for pain, anxiety and depression, or as a means of improving mental alertness. 

It is also sometimes billed as a “safer” alternative to opioids — but experts are warning that it has highly addictive and dangerous properties.

“Tianeptine interacts with opioid receptors in the brain, and in larger doses, can mimic the effects of traditional heroin such as euphoria, but also the consequences frequently associated with tolerance, withdrawal and toxicity,” Dr. David Campbell, clinical and program director of Recover Together Bend in Oregon, told Fox News Digital. 

“With such ease of access, even kids are getting caught in the crossfire.”

KETAMINE THERAPY SHOWN EFFECTIVE IN TREATING SEVERE DEPRESSION IN VETERANS, STUDY FINDS

Tianeptine can be sold as a pill, powder, salt or in liquid form as a supplement — or as an active ingredient in a supplement — and is widely available in many states, noted Dr. Adam Scioli, corporate medical director and head of psychiatry at Caron Treatment Centers in Philadelphia.

“We have seen patients come in having gotten tianeptine over the internet or at gas stations,” Scioli told Fox News Digital. “They often suffer from withdrawal symptoms similar to those of an opioid withdrawal and often need medication-assisted treatment such as buprenorphine.”

“Why it is being sold commercially as an active ingredient in a supplement in everyday settings is beyond me.”

The widespread availability and ease of accessibility at gas stations, minimarts and smoke shops is one of the main reasons people seek it out, Scioli said. 

“These are dangerous, addictive substances with potentially fatal outcomes.”

“There is also this ongoing misconception that if something is easily accessible, legal in some states and available, it is safe — which isn’t true of several substances, not just products that contain tianeptine,” Scioli warned. 

“These are dangerous, addictive substances with potentially fatal outcomes.”

Dangers of tianeptine

Scioli called tianeptine a “substance of abuse” that can be addictive and fatal. 

“Tricyclic antidepressants have what we call a narrow, therapeutic index, meaning that it is fairly easy to tip into the non-therapeutics/toxic range,” he said. 

“Tricyclic antidepressants in and of themselves can also cause seizures, electrolyte abnormality and death in overdose. Symptoms will be similar to an opioid withdrawal or overdose.”

Among tianeptine’s significant and severe withdrawal symptoms, according to Campbell, are nausea, vomiting, confusion, flu-like symptoms, depression, anxiety, coma and even respiratory failure and overdose.

Calls for regulation and awareness

In 2023, the FDA posted an alert warning of the dangers of Neptune’s Fix or any other product containing tianeptine.

“FDA has received severe adverse event reports after use of Neptune’s Fix products, including seizures and loss of consciousness leading to hospitalization,” the agency stated.

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“FDA considers tianeptine to be a substance that does not meet the statutory definition of a dietary ingredient and is an unsafe food additive. The FDA is aware of several serious adverse event reports associated with tianeptine.”

Scioli pointed out that several states — including Florida, Kentucky, Michigan and Ohio — have made tianeptine illegal to sell.

“Despite that, companies are marketing and selling products containing tianeptine to consumers,” he warned.

Campbell of Recover Together Bend in Oregon echoed the need for greater regulation of tianeptine.

“The FDA ought to be called upon to act now before the increasing use of this substance and other ‘gas station drugs’ leads to yet another drug epidemic in this country,” he said.

“Until the time comes when tianeptine is more strictly regulated or preferably banned, prevention and education must take center stage for parents, schools and other institutions to curtail the scope of underage use,” he added.

WHAT IS KETAMINE, THE DRUG THAT KILLED MATTHEW PERRY ON OCTOBER 28?

Mark Stovall, regional executive director for American Addiction Centers in Mississippi, noted that the FDA has urged convenience stores, gas stations and other organizations to stop selling tianeptine products, but said there needs to be increased awareness of non-approved FDA drugs and supplements to prevent severe health risks and addictions

“With such ease of access, even kids are getting caught in the crossfire.”

“If you have an inkling of gas station drugs being sold in the future, be empowered to apply community pressure,” Stovall advised in an interview with Fox News Digital. 

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“Take initiative by visiting your local gas station and ask them why they’re selling these addictive drugs. Explain the dangers and ask them to stop selling before more individuals are negatively impacted. Talk with your local law enforcement. Some local officials have already started to control these dangerous substances even without federal involvement.”

The experts also urged parents and caregivers to be aware of the risk to kids and teens.

“With so many supplements and substances easily available to children through the internet and stores, it is imperative that parents, guardians and schools become educated — not just about the substances and their effects, but also about how to talk to children and teens about them,” said Scioli. 

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“An open dialogue is imperative, especially with the proliferation of adulterated drugs sold online. With the overdose risk, there is no safe experimentation.”

On Jan. 28, 2024, Neptune Resources, LLC, the maker of Neptune’s Fix, issued a voluntary recall of its products due to the presence of tianeptine — but experts are warning that other products may also contain the drug.

Fox News Digital reached out to Neptune Resources, LLC — based in Kansas City, Missouri, according to the FDA’s announcement of the recall — as well as to MRSS Inc. (maker of ZaZa Red) and Super Chill Products, a New York-based distributor of Neptune’s products that has since issued a recall.

Comments were also requested from the FDA and the New Jersey Department of Health.

Anyone who is using tianeptine or a product containing tianeptine and is experiencing withdrawal symptoms can call the National Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 or seek emergency medical assistance, experts advised.

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Trump confirms VP shortlist includes 6 names – including DeSantis, 2020 Dem candidate

GREENVILLE, S.C. — Former President Trump indicated that at least a half a dozen contenders — including three former rivals for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination — are on his shortlist for running mate.

The commanding frontrunner for the GOP nomination had plenty of praise for one of those potential candidates who joined Trump at Fox News town hall on Tuesday in this upstate South Carolina city.

During the program, which ran on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle,” Trump was asked about half a dozen potential running mate choices: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, multimillionaire biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, Rep. Byron Donalds of Florida, and former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, a Democrat turned independent.

“Are they all on your shortlist?” host Laura Ingraham asked the former president.

“They are,” Trump answered. “Honestly, all of those people are good. They’re all good, they’re all solid.”

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Trump has a history of making comments off the cuff, and many in the political world see DeSantis as Trump’s running mate as a stretch, since the two and their camps blasted each other for over a year before the Florida governor suspended his 2024 campaign last month just ahead of the New Hampshire primary.

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DeSantis endorsed Trump at the time but has not joined him on the campaign trail in the ensuing weeks. In fact, DeSantis was also in South Carolina on Tuesday for an official event and did not team up with Trump.

Ramaswamy, who has long been a strong supporter of Trump’s America First agenda, dropped his White House bid last month after the Iowa caucuses and endorsed the former president. He has teamed up with Trump multiple times since then and campaigned on behalf of Trump in South Carolina on Tuesday.

Scott, the only Black Republican in the Senate, suspended his presidential bid in November and enthusiastically endorsed Trump in New Hampshire last month. He has also joined the former president on the campaign trail in South Carolina the past two weeks.

Scott — as he arrived at the Greenville Convention Center — received a warm welcome from the large crowd of mostly Trump supporters in the audience.

TRUMP REVEALS CRITERIA FOR CHOOSING RUNNING MATE

“A lot of people are talking about that gentleman right over there,” Trump said, as he pointed to Scott, who was sitting in the front row of the audience. 

“He’s been such a great advocate. I have to say this in a very positive way, Tim Scott, he has been much better for me than he was for himself. I watched his campaign, and he doesn’t like talking about himself. But, boy, does he talk about Trump,” the former president said of Scott. “I called him and I said, ‘Tim, you’re better for me than you were for yourself.’”

Of the other three on the list that Trump acknowledged, the conservative Noem is a longtime strong Trump supporter and surrogate, as is Donalds, a Black congressman on the right who is a top Trump ally in the House.

Gabbard, who served in the Iraq War and ran unsuccessfully for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, became increasingly critical of her party after she left Congress. Two years ago, Gabbard became an independent and has become a favorite among conservatives.

The Trump town hall was held four days before Saturday’s Republican presidential primary in South Carolina, where polls indicate Trump maintains a very large double-digit lead over his last remaining major rival — former U.N. ambassador and former Palmetto State Gov. Nikki Haley.

Haley, in a speech in Greenville a couple of hours before Trump landed in the city, said that “some of you — perhaps a few of you in the media — came here today to see if I’m dropping out of the race. Well, I’m not. Far from it.”

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“I refuse to quit. South Carolina will vote on Saturday. But on Sunday, I’ll still be running for president. I’m not going anywhere,” Haley emphasized.

She added that “I have no fear of Trump’s retribution.”

When asked about Haley’s comments, Trump said during the Fox News town hall that “you’re not supposed to lose your home state. It shouldn’t happen anyway, and she’s losing it bigly.”

“I don’t think she knows how to get out,” Trump surmised. “She just can’t get herself to get out.”

Trump reiterated that he has ruled out Haley as his running mate.

Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub.

Teen tried to break into SUV parked outside Biden family house: Secret Service

An arrest has been made in connection with the break-in of a Secret Service vehicle parked outside of Naomi Biden’s home in Washington, D.C., in November 2023.

Robert Kemp, 19, was taken into custody on Feb. 7 following an investigation into the Nov. 12 incident outside the home occupied by President Biden’s granddaughter in the Georgetown area, according to court documents initially obtained by FOX 5 DC on Wednesday. He was released on Feb. 8, the New York Post reported.

The arrest affidavit, dated Feb. 6, shows Kemp is charged with unauthorized use of a vehicle and first-degree theft.

Kemp is accused of stealing the following items, worth over $1,000, from the unmarked black Ford Expedition: a velocity system police vest, night vision goggles, a Mifi portable router, a red trauma cube filled with first aid equipment, a battery headlamp and multiple chemical sticks.

SECRET SERVICE AGENT FIRES GUN AMID CAR BREAK-IN WHILE PROTECTING BIDEN GRANDDAUGHTER

The unauthorized use of a vehicle charge stems from Kemp’s alleged use of a stolen red Toyota Corolla as the getaway car during the break-in to the Secret Service vehicle, according to the affidavit.

The Corolla, which had Virginia tags, was reported stolen out of Washington, D.C., and its rightful owner gave the Secret Service permission to process it when contacted.

During the processing of the Corolla, several of the items reported stolen from the Expedition during the break-in were located and Kemp’s fingerprints were found on a McDonald’s bag and receipt inside the car. 

Fingerprints belonging to an unidentified juvenile were also picked up on the stolen items inside the Corolla. The second person was confirmed to be on court-ordered GPS monitoring during that time and was located in Naomi Biden’s neighborhood the night of the break-in, according to the affidavit.

NAOMI BIDEN SECRET SERVICE SHOOTING: CRIME PLAGUE SPREADS TO PRESIDENTIAL GRANDDAUGHTER’S NEIGHBORHOOD

It’s unclear if the second suspect has been charged in the Nov. 12 incident.

According to the Washington Post, the second suspect is a 14-year-old boy who was arrested and charged with three counts of armed carjacking on Feb. 15 in connection with carjackings in January and February.

A media release from the Metropolitan Police Department in D.C. confirms the aforementioned arrest, but does not mention if the boy is the unidentified second suspect in the break-in outside Naomi Biden’s home.

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Secret Service agents were out with Naomi Biden, the eldest daughter of Hunter Biden and his ex-wife Kathleen Buhle, late into the night on Nov. 12 when they saw people trying to break into the parked and unmarked Secret Service SUV outside her home, sources confirmed to Fox News at the time.

A Secret Service agent assigned to the president’s granddaughter approached the person, who was allegedly hanging out of a broken rear window on the driver’s side of the Expedition, and identified himself as police, according to the affidavit.

The suspect then entered the passenger side of the getaway car to flee. While backing away from the scene, the car almost struck the Secret Service agent, who discharged his firearm, the affidavit stated. The Secret Service said at the time it was believed that no one was hit by gunfire.

Biden brother ‘contradicted himself’ on Joe’s business involvement: GOP lawmakers

GOP lawmakers on Wednesday accused James Biden of contradicting himself during testimony about his brother’s supposed business dealings with the family. 

The president’s brother initially said he was not part of a deal with his nephew Hunter Biden and business associates Rob Walker, Tony Bobulinski, and James Gilliar, according to a source familiar with the interview. 

But when presented with an agreement with his signature on it, Biden changed his story, saying he did not recall signing the agreement, the source said. 

Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., speaking to reporters after the interview said it was “interesting” and that Biden had “contradicted himself.” 

That conclusion was shared by Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., who told reporters: “Let me say this. So there are a lot of things that Mr. Biden is saying that are directly contradicted by documents.” 

The lawmakers’ comments come after James Biden’s voluntary private interview on Capitol Hill as part of House Republicans’ impeachment inquiry into his brother, President Joe Biden. 

JAMES BIDEN ARRIVES ON CAPITAL HILL TO TESTIFY IN BROTHER’S IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY BEHIND CLOSED DOORS

“I have had a 50-year career in a variety of business ventures. Joe Biden has never had any involvement or any direct or indirect financial interest in those activities,” the president’s younger brother said. “None.”

The interview with both Republican and Democratic staff as well as lawmakers lasted more than eight hours. During several breaks, Republicans came out and told reporters, without citing details, that James Biden’s responses contradicted his opening statement and that he had made efforts to avoid directly answering investigators’ questions.

The interview with James Biden was the latest in a series that GOP lawmakers have conducted recently as they seek to rebuild momentum for an impeachment process surrounding the Biden family’s overseas finances that has stalled in recent months.

Wednesday’s testimony comes after a central claim of the GOP investigation was undermined by federal prosecutors, who last week indicted an FBI informant who claimed there was a multimillion-dollar bribery scheme involving the president, his son Hunter and a Ukrainian energy company.

But Republicans argue that the informant was just one part of their broader investigation and say they intend to push ahead. “It doesn’t change the fundamental facts,” Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said.

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The impeachment inquiry, which began in September under the House Judiciary and Oversight committees, has included the recent depositions of several former Biden family associates. 

Kansas angler learns why his fish record was rescinded — and it’s not good

The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) has removed a local fisherman’s state record after investigating a citizen’s claim that the fish’s weight may not be accurate.

On April 4, 2023, the KDWP awarded Bobby Parkhurst with a new state record after he reeled in a white crappie weighing 4.07 pounds, the KDWP told Fox News Digital.

Five days after certifying the record, the KDWP received a tip from an eyewitness who made claims against the fisherman and whether his catch was valid.

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The tip stated that the fish had been weighed at separate locations and at one point “weighed only 3.73 pounds,” according to the KDWP.

In an effort to “preserve the integrity” of the department’s state record program, game wardens reached out to Parkhurst for a re-examination.

The angler voluntarily presented the department with his fish, according to the KDWP.

“When staff used a handheld metal detector to scan the fish, the device detected the presence of metal,” Nadia Marji, chief public affairs and engagement officer with the KDWP, shared in a statement with Fox News Digital.

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“Wardens then took the fish to the Topeka Zoo for X-ray examination where it was revealed that two steel ball bearings were inside the crappie,” Marji said.

The findings within the stomach of the fish resulted in the removal of Parkhurst’s record. The KDWP has since made the fish available to return to Parkhurst, Marji added.

The KDWP then reinstated the previous state record set by Frank Miller in 1964 after Miller caught a 4.02 pound, 17.5 inch white crappie.

Fox News Digital reached out to Parkhurst for comment.

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The case has not been tried in a court of law, so the department cannot comment on how the steel balls got inside the fish.

This is not the first time officials have had to investigate a weighted fishing scandal.

Two Ohio fishermen were sentenced to ten days in jail last year and had to forfeit their boat, valued at $100,000, after admitting to stuffing fish with lead weights in an attempt to win prize money during a state fishing tournament, the AP reported.

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The duo pleaded guilty to the finding of lead weight and fillets inside five walleyes, and as a part of their plea, they agreed to a three-year suspension on their fishing licenses, the AP continued.

For more Lifestyle articles, visit www.foxnews.com/lifestyle.

Coors Light semi-truck crashes through Popeyes restaurant in New York City

A Coors Light semi-truck slammed into a Popeye’s Louisiana fast-food restaurant in Brooklyn, New York City on Wednesday evening, police said.

The New York Police Department (NYPD) confirmed with Fox News Digital that the crash happened at 7:20 p.m. on Wednesday evening in the New York City borough.

Police said that a preliminary report revealed that the Coors Light driver, a 60-year-old male, crashed into a 21-year-old male who was driving a white Subaru.

After the initial crash, the 18-wheel tractor trailer collided with the side of the fried-chicken hot spot.

SEVERED HUMAN LEG FOUND ON NYC SUBWAY TRACK IN BRONX: POLICE

Video footage from the scene showed a large NYPD and New York Fire Department presence at the fast food restaurant.

The NYPD said that the truck driver complained of a head injury and was taken to a nearby hospital in stable condition.

The 21-year-old Subaru driver complained of a hand injury, but refused treatment.

Police said that a 22-year-old female was also injured in the incident, but also refused treatment.

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Authorities said that no arrests were made and an investigation into the crash is ongoing. 

Police did not release the identities of the involved parties. 

Zelenskyy says US is helping Russia by delaying aid during Bret Baier’s frontlines interview

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy — in an exclusive interview on the front lines — touted major victories since the war with Russia started and refused to discuss any “Plan B” for his forces. 

“During these two years, they occupied the Kharkiv region [and] now we are in this region,” Zelenskyy told FOX News chief political anchor and executive editor of “Special Report” Bret Baier in an exclusive interview

We unblocked the Black Sea, now we have their grain routes, etc. and destroyed a lot of their ships [in the] Russian fleet,” he added. “That we did during two years. Yeah, the last year was mostly complicated for us but… what been done, I think it was good job.” 

Baier traveled 700 miles across Ukraine, taking a 12-hour overnight train to Kyiv and spending seven hours in an armored truck to Kharkiv, followed by another four-hour drive, before reaching Zelenskyy on the front lines. 

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Zelenskyy, sitting just half a mile from Russian forces and speaking while artillery fire could be heard in the distance, praised the work of his forces and their incredible gains in contrast to Russia’s single achievement: taking the town of Avdiivka, the biggest gain in nine months for Moscow.

The second year of Russia’s war proved tumultuous as Russian President Vladimir Putin staved off rebellion from his most trusted ally, and Moscow had to offer incredible incentives to convince Russians to enlist and replenish their diminishing forces. 

IRAN DELIVERS HUNDREDS OF BALLISTIC MISSILES TO RUSSIA AS UKRAINIAN DEFENSE FALTERS

Zelenskyy refused to consider the lack of Russian progress any indication of a “new page” in the war. Baier reported that Ukraine has “likely” lost around 100,000 troops during the two years and described the Ukrainian forces as “war-weary but still determined.” 

“It’s important to understand what is with the people because people on the front line, you see the spirit,” Zelenskyy said.  

PRESSURE GROWS ON JOHNSON TO MAKE MOVE ON UKRAINE AID AS RUSSIAN INVASION NEARS 2-YEAR MARK

The interview captures some of the Ukrainian leader’s most vulnerable moments since the war began — a break from the usual gruff and impassioned persona he has conveyed over the past two years. Zelenskyy visited a hospital where he met with men who had lost limbs in the fighting, calling his troops “heroic.”

Zelenskyy expressed his frustration at “bureaucracy” as a roadblock to obtaining necessary support, as well as a lack of technology and weapons. At one point, he stressed that “time is money.” 

SOME GOP LAWMAKERS MAKING ‘AMERICA FIRST’ ARGUMENT FOR ADDITIONAL UKRAINE AID

Zelenskyy continued to press the need for supplies from allies such as the U.S., understanding that support for Ukraine’s fight has waned in Congress as some worry about the sense of continuing to support a war that lacks a clear endgame or exit. With that support, he believes he could end up pushing Putin’s forces back and arrive at the negotiating table with a “strong hand to play,” according to Baier. 

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“We have to survive,” Zelenskyy said. “We have to find some parallel steps or rules, but… you understand that this help is crucial. Without it… we will have more and more such heroic guys who will be in the hospitals, because if you don’t have real defending shield and some powerful artillery… of course, you will lose people.” 

Baier said that in part one of his exclusive interview, Zelenskyy covers more difficult topics, responding to criticism of his leadership, making an appeal to President Biden and Donald Trump and pushing back against Putin’s latest comments. 

Programming note: You can watch the first part of Bret Baier’s exclusive interview with President Zelenskyy on “Special Report with Bret Baier” on Thursday. 

Manufacturers warn Biden regulation could wipe out 1 million jobs

President Joe Biden’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently finalized an air quality rule that the manufacturing industry is warning could wipe out one million jobs and undermine efforts to build new manufacturing facilities in America.

Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), is set to sound the alarm about the regulation in his annual state of manufacturing address on Thursday in Roseville, Michigan, according to an advance copy of his remarks provided to FOX Business.

“In his State of the Union Address next month, President Biden will probably take credit for what manufacturers have achieved. That’s fair. I know he cares deeply about manufacturing,” Timmons explained. “As he often says on the road, ‘This nation used to lead the world in manufacturing, and we’re going to do it again.'”

“But what he won’t tell you is that his federal agencies are, at this very moment, working to undermine his manufacturing legacy – those agencies are undermining your success. In fact, just two weeks ago, they announced one big regulation that could wipe out up to 1 million jobs,” Timmons warned. “It’s referred to as National Ambient Air Quality Standards or PM2.5.”

FORD, GM CEOS OPEN TO PARTNERSHIPS TO COMPETE WITH CHINA

“It’s not the name that matters. It’s the consequences. It’s stricter than rules they have even in Europe. And in vast portions of the country, we will barely be able to build new manufacturing facilities as a result,” Timmons added.

The EPA initially proposed the regulation in January 2023 and issued a final version of the rule this year on Feb. 7. The rule tightens the NAAQS for fine particle pollution or PM2.5, which refers to particulate matter two and a half micrometers or less in diameter, by lowering the air quality standard from 12 micrograms per cubic meter to 9 micrograms per cubic meter.

EPA Administrator Michael Regan said in announcing the rule that the “final air quality standard will save lives and make all people healthier, especially within America’s most vulnerable and overburdened communities.” The EPA says the revision will prevent “up to 4,500 premature deaths and 290,000 lost workdays, yielding up to $46 billion in net health benefits in 2032.”

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Timmons warned that Michigan – a key swing state with a large manufacturing base – could feel the brunt of the new regulation and that the impact on manufacturers will be felt throughout the Great Lakes State.

“Michigan would be one of the states hit hardest. And if new manufacturing investments dry up, that spills over to the rest of the state economy. It affects the family trying to sell their home, the teacher hoping for new investments in schools, the students looking for job opportunities here in the state,” Timmons warned.

“And to what end? You cannot solve the world’s environmental challenges by driving manufacturing investment away from the United States to countries with lower standards,” he added.

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Timmons also touted the growth of the manufacturing industry in recent years and said that artificial intelligence (AI) could drive a new era of innovation, investment and productivity that bolsters America’s economy through the rest of this decade and beyond.

“The state of the manufacturing industry depends on the people in it. And we are now 13 million strong – the largest in more than 15 years. If we can continue on this trajectory, this resurgence, imagine what the state of manufacturing might look like in 2030 at the end of the decade,” Timmons explained. 

“Artificial intelligence may unlock new superpowers for American workers. We might reach a point where no other country can keep up with our productivity or the pace of innovation. Manufacturing investment could flock to our shores even faster,” he added.

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However, Timmons warned that burdensome regulations like PM2.5, failing to make legal immigration easier, trade barriers, looming tax hikes and rising geopolitical risks to U.S. national security could dim those prospects.

“That is why I can report that the state of manufacturing in America today remains strong and resilient but under threat,” Timmons explained.