Stephen Hawking dies; Democrat claims victory in Pennsylvania election

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  • Deadline passes on toxin explanation – The deadline Britain gave Russia to respond to allegations that the Kremlin was behind the killing of a former Russian double agent has passed. British Prime Minister Theresa May had told Russia to respond to her comments that it was “highly likely” that Russia was behind the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter with novichok, a nerve agent developed by the Soviet military. Russia denied any involvement and said it would not respond to May’s deadline until it received samples of the nerve agent. May is due to address Parliament on Wednesday (March 14) with her response. (See other WikiTribune coverage of this story.)
  • Pennsylvania race too close to call – The Pennsylvania election between Democrat Conor Lamb and Republican Rick Saccone is too close to call. However, Lamb has declared victory with a lead of just 579 votes. President Donald J. Trump won the state by 20 percentage points in the 2016 election. The special election is viewed as a test for Republicans ahead of November’s mid-term elections.
  • Stephen Hawking dies – Famed theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking has died at the age of 76. His work ranged from the origins of the universe to the mysteries of black holes. The Briton wrote several popular science books including A Brief History of Time. Hawking was confined to a wheelchair for most of his life after being diagnosed with motor neuron disease at the age of 21. At the time doctors only gave him two years to live. (See WikiTribune‘s story for more.)
  • Philippines to withdraw from International Criminal Court – After the ICC began examining President Rodrigo Duterte in February for police killings of 4,000 drug suspects, Duterte said he planned to leave the organization. Rights groups say the actual figure could be much higher. Duterte said: “The acts allegedly committed by me are neither genocide nor war crimes. The deaths occurring in the process of legitimate police operations lacked the intent to kill.” However, Duterte who was elected in June 2016 on an anti-drugs platform, has publicly encouraged (The Guardian) civilians to kill drug addicts and said he would not prosecute police for killings which weren’t legally authorized.

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