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Denver weather: Could a major change to mild days be coming?

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Denver weather: Could a major change to mild days be coming?

Denver missed a record high on Thursday but still reached 73 degrees downtown. The extremely warm weather could be turning to something more seasonal in the coming days.

According to the National Weather Service in Boulder, Denver will be cooler on Friday but still mild. The Mile High City will top out at 61 degrees under sunny skies. The low will dip to 33 degrees tonight.

Saturday will be much of the same, with a high of 65 degrees and sunny skies.

The weather will begin to change Sunday, but temperatures will still run above average. Denver should be mostly sunny, with a high of 57 degrees on Sunday. Winds could pick up to nearly 30 mph.

Cooler air will rush in behind Sunday’s wind, making for a stark change to the weather on Monday. Forecasters say the high will dip to 42 degrees to begin the week. As a system moves in, there’s a chance of snow Monday night,

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Russia says it will take nothing less but NATO expansion ban

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Russia says it will take nothing less but NATO expansion ban

MOSCOW — Russia maintained a tough posture amid the tensions over its troop buildup near Ukraine, with a top diplomat warning Wednesday that Moscow will accept nothing less but “watertight” U.S. guarantees precluding NATO’s expansion to Ukraine.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, who led the Russian delegation at the security talks with the U.S. in Geneva last week, reaffirmed that Moscow has no intentions of invading Ukraine as the West fears, but said that receiving Western security guarantees is the categoric imperative for Moscow.

The talks in Geneva and a related NATO-Russia meeting in Brussels last week were held as Russia has amassed an estimated 100,000 troops near Ukraine in what the West fears might herald an invasion.

In a move that further beefs up forces near Ukraine, Russia has sent an unspecified number of troops from the country’s far east to its ally Belarus, which shares a border with Ukraine, for major war games next month. Ukrainian officials have said that Moscow could use Belarusian territory to launch a potential multi-pronged invasion.

The Russian Defense Ministry said Wednesday that some of its troops already have arrived in Belarus for the Allied Resolve 2022 drills. It said the exercise will be held at five firing ranges and other areas in Belarus and also involve four Belarusian air bases.

Amid the soaring tensions, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Ukraine on Wednesday to reassure it of Western support in the face of what he called “relentless” Russian aggression.

Russia has denied that it intends to attack its neighbor but demanded guarantees from the West that NATO will not expand to Ukraine or other former Soviet nations or place its troops and weapons there. It also has urged NATO to roll back the deployments of its troops and weapons to Central and Eastern European nations that have joined the alliance after the end of the Cold War.

Washington and its allies firmly rejected Moscow’s demands but kept the door open to possible further talks on arms control and confidence-building measures intended to reduce the potential for hostilities.

Ryabkov insisted, however, that there can’t be any meaningful talks on those issues if the West doesn’t heed the main Russian requests for the non-expansion of NATO.

He warned that the Russian demands contained in draft agreements with the U.S. and NATO “constitute a package, and we’re not prepared to divide it into different parts, to start processing some of those at expense of standing idle on others.”

The Russian diplomat underlined that Ukraine’s increasingly close ties with NATO allies pose a major security challenge to Russia.

“We see the threat of Ukraine becoming ever more integrated in NATO without even acquiring a formal status of a NATO member state,” Ryabkov said, pointing at Western powers supplying Ukraine with weapons, training its troops and conducting joint drills. “This is something that goes right to the center of Russia’s national security interests, and we will do our utmost to reverse this situation, to rebalance this situation through diplomatic means.”

Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine in 2014 after mass protests prompted Ukraine’s Moscow-friendly leader to flee to Russia. At the same time, Russia also cast its support behind a separatist insurgency that swept over large areas in eastern Ukraine. More than 14,000 people have been killed in nearly eight years of fighting there.

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Jewish leaders renew antisemitism fight after hostage case

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Jewish leaders renew antisemitism fight after hostage case

By PETER SMITH

Although the FBI initially said the man who held four people hostage at a Texas synagogue was focused on an issue “not specifically related to the Jewish community,” the captor voiced beliefs that Jews controlled the world and had the power to arrange the release of a prisoner, survivors said after their escape.

The gunman’s words were all too familiar to Jewish leaders and terror experts, who saw the attack on Congregation Beth Israel as yet another in the rising number of antisemitic hate crimes, a sign of the continued need of vigilance and interfaith solidarity.

The hostage-taker — identified by authorities as Malik Faisal Akram — “thought he could come into a synagogue, and we could get on the phone with the ‘Chief Rabbi of America’ and he would get what he needed,” Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker told the Forward, a Jewish news site.

The hourslong standoff ended after the last hostage ran out of the Colleyville synagogue and an FBI SWAT team rushed in. Akram was killed, though authorities have declined to say who shot him.

The attack recalled recent deadly assaults on synagogues, including Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life in 2018 and California’s Chabad of Poway in 2019. Unlike those attacks, when assailants linked to white nationalist motives went on shooting rampages soon after entering, Akram took hostages to have them to use their influence to obtain the release of Aafia Siddiqui.

Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist who is suspected of having ties to al-Qaida and was convicted of trying to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan, is serving a lengthy sentence in a prison in nearby Fort Worth.

Jeffrey Cohen, another of the synagogue hostages, said Akram “did not come there to kill Jews” but tried to use them in the belief they could get Siddiqui released.

Akram “had bought into the extremely dangerous, antisemitic trope that Jews control everything, that we could call President (Joe) Biden and have him release her,” Cohen told the Times of Israel.

Lorenzo Vidino, director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University, said that while only Akram himself knew his motives, his words reflect “a misguided and conspiratorial mindset.”

“The idea that Jews are overwhelmingly, disproportionately powerful and control America is completely mainstream” in some politically Islamist factions, similar to tropes among white nationalists, he said.

And he said Siddiqui’s case is a “cause celebre” in those factions. Siddiqui herself voiced “chilling” words at her court proceedings, blaming her conviction on Israel and asking for genetic tests on jurors for possible Jewish connections, he said.

On Saturday, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Dallas field office said the hostage-taker was focused on an issue “not specifically related to the Jewish community.” But on Sunday, the FBI called the ordeal “a terrorism-related matter, in which the Jewish community was targeted.”

Akram “was looking for a Jewish target,” said Nachman Shai, Israel’s Cabinet minister for diaspora affairs. “If it’s not about Jews, why didn’t he walk into a church, a mosque or a supermarket there?”

The attack resonated in Jewish communities across the country, including those that had been attacked before.

“It’s upsetting to me whenever Jews are under attack, whenever human beings are under attack,” said Beth Kissileff, a Pittsburgh author and member of New Light Congregation. The congregation was one of three meeting in the Tree of Life building that lost members in the Oct. 27, 2018, attack that claimed 11 lives.

She hopes survivors of the Pittsburgh attack — who were consoled in 2018 by Muslim survivors of a deadly mosque attack in Quebec — can offer similar support to those in Colleyville. “People reached out to us, and we want to reach out,” she said.

Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, the denomination Beth Israel is affiliated with, noted that Muslim, Christian and other faith leaders quickly gathered to support the congregants.

“While the uptick of antisemitism is clear, we’ve never lived in a community where there’s more solidarity,” he said.

Anna Eisen, the founding president of Beth Israel, experienced that first-hand, citing support “from neighbors, strangers, churches, the governor” and others.

“I feel safer,” she said. “I know now I’m a part of this community and this country.”

Some advocacy groups and lawmakers have cited the Texas hostage situation in calling on the Senate to take up Biden’s nomination of Deborah Lipstadt to serve as a special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism.

The Emory University professor’s nomination languished last year, forcing Biden to resubmit her name two weeks ago. The Anti-Defamation League called on the Senate to “act now” to show the urgency of confronting antisemitism.

“We need to treat antisemitism not as an aberration but an everyday reality,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, chief executive officer of the ADL.

Rabbi Noah Farkas, the president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, said he has been speaking with rabbinic colleagues in the wake of the Texas incident and many have trepidations about leading services.

“To be a Jew in America today, to wear Jewish ritual garb like the yarmulke or a Star of David, is an act of courage, and I would say defiance as well,” Farkas said.

The attack underscores how “the Jewish community is an affected and targeted group,” said Bradley Orsini, senior national security advisory for Secure Community Network, which consults with major Jewish organizations on security.

He took part in a weekend webinar that drew about 1,600 Jewish community leaders to update them on the Colleyville situation. “We really need to keep preparedness in front of us,” he said.

___

Associated Press writers Josef Federman in Jerusalem; Kevin Freking, Mike Balsamo and Colleen Long in Washington; Holly Meyer in Nashville, Tennessee; Mariam Fam in Cairo; and Luis Andres Henao in Princeton, New Jersey, contributed to this report.

___

Associated Press religion coverage receives support from the Lilly Endowment through The Conversation U.S. The AP is solely responsible for this content.

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Fatal overnight shooting in Aurora believed to be connected to crash

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Colorado Springs police involved in fatal shooting, crash overnight

A man was shot at 16th Avenue and Lansing Street in Aurora late Tuesday night, dying hours later at the hospital.

Police do not have suspect descriptions and have limited info on the incident.They are investigating area surveillance footage and witnesses. But authorities do believe a two-vehicle crash at the nearby intersection of Montview Boulevard and Peoria Street was caused by the people involved in the shooting. Those people fled the scene of the shooting and collision.

The Aurora Police Department is asking for those with any information to call 303-627-3100.

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