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7 things to know now: Trump and Russia; murderer convicted 40 years later; dog show winner
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7 things to know now: Trump and Russia; murderer convicted 40 years later; dog show winner

7 things to know now: Trump and Russia; murderer convicted 40 years later; dog show winner
Rumor, a German shepherd, poses for photos after winning Best in Show at the 141st Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, early Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

7 things to know now: Trump and Russia; murderer convicted 40 years later; dog show winner

Here's a roundup of news trending across the nation and world today.

What to know now:

1. Russian contact: The New York Times is reporting that current and former U.S. officials, aides and associates of President Donald Trump made calls to senior Russian officials during the 2016 presidential campaign. According to the story from the Times, there has been no evidence uncovered to suggest that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia on the hacking of the Democratic National Committee.  Russian officials made contact with Paul Manafort, who briefly served as Trump's campaign chairman, the story says. Current and former U.S. officials interviewed by the Times declined to identify other Trump associates contacted by the Russians, The Associated press reported. Russian officials have denied the allegations.

2. Driving badly: A study by the AAA Foundation finds that during the past 30 days, more than half of the drivers they surveyed in America have engaged in reckless behavior while behind the wheel.  Eighty-eight percent of young drivers – ages 19 to 24 – have admitted to either speeding or texting. Older drivers admitted to their own bad driving behavior, with 37 percent of drivers older than 75 saying they have blown through a red light. 

3. Murder conviction: Nearly 40 years after the crime, the man who murdered Etan Patz was found guilty Tuesday. Pedro Hernandez was convicted of luring Etan, who was 6 at the time, into a basement where he strangled the boy. Etan had been walking to the school bus when Hernandez grabbed him.

4. Adler files suit: Doug Adler, a former tennis commentator  for ESPN, is suing the network after he was fired for a remark he made about Venus Williams during the Australian Open. Adler says in the suit that he was dropped from the network because he used the word “guerilla” to refer to the aggressive style with which Williams plays tennis. He said his comment was not meant to compare Williams to a gorilla. He apologized for the comment on the air during the tournament. The network fired him soon after.

5. Increasing the Army: The U.S. Army is looking to increase its ranks by 6,000 soldiers come the end of  September, and they plan to spend a lot of money to do it. Legislation approved by Congress last year calls for using $300 million to pay bonuses and for advertising during the next eight months in an effort to recruit the additional soldiers. If they can do it, it will be the largest in-year increase in the 44-year history of the all-volunteer service force.

And one more

A female German shepherd took home the trophy in the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show Tuesday. Rumor won Best in Show at the competition held annually at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Nearly 3,000 dogs participated in the event.

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News

  • Pickens County deputies are searching for an armed fugitive.  Authorities are looking for Nicholas Bishop in the area of Priest Circle in Talking Rock.  Bishop is believed to be armed with a handgun and on foot after he abandoned a stolen vehicle around 2 p.m.  If you see him, call 911 immediately. Officials say do not attempt to approach him. - Please return for updates.
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  • A drunken driver destroyed a row of headstones at a historic Carrollton cemetery, causing tens of thousands of dollars' worth of damage, police said. According to police, the driver was coming down Martin Luther King Street on March 19, ran a stop sign, jumped a curb and crashed into the city-owned cemetery. The broken headstones range in date from the late 1800s to 1950. 'And what we discussed is, if one is damaged beyond repair, we'll put something back that's respectful. It's hard to replace it with the exact same item. The families aren't around anymore, so the city will take on the responsibility,' city manager Tim Grizzard said. TRENDING STORIES: Thousands of Georgians could lose food stamps next week 16-year-old in custody after hoax call about school gunman Food prices at SunTrust Park vs. Mercedes-Benz Stadium: What's the difference? The 35-year-old driver, Ray Antonio Baker, was arrested and charged with DUI. City officials said they will ask his insurance carrier to pay for the damage. 'Our plan is to go after the individual's insurance to pay for repairs. If that doesn't pay for everything, the city will certainly pick up the tab,' Grizzard said. Officials said this isn't the first time a driver has damaged headstones, but it's not a big enough problem to put up a wall. 'It's not something that has happened often enough that we need to put up a barrier. If it was a recurrent spot, we would do something,' Grizzard said. City officials said it could take weeks to repair the damage.
  • President Donald Trump faces one last hurdle to ending nearly seven years of lawsuits over his now-defunct Trump University when a judge decides Thursday whether to approve a $25 million settlement with former customers. When attorneys reached a deal 10 days after Trump's election, U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel said he hoped it would be part of 'a healing process that this country very sorely needs.' A month later, he granted preliminary approval of the deal. Last week, attorneys for former customers said their clients will get at least 80 percent of their money back, based on the roughly 3,730 claims submitted. Trump has paid $25 million into escrow to settle two federal class-action lawsuits before Curiel and a civil lawsuit by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. He admitted no wrongdoing. The lawsuits allege that Trump University gave nationwide seminars that were like infomercials, constantly pressuring people to spend more and, in the end, failing to deliver on its promises. Two customers have objected to the settlement. Sherri Simpson, a Fort Lauderdale, Florida, attorney, says she wasn't given enough opportunity to opt out of the lawsuit and should have the right to sue the president. Simpson and a partner paid $35,000 in 2010 to enroll in Trump University's 'Gold Elite' program to be paired with a mentor who would teach them Trump's secret real estate investment strategies. Simpson, who appeared in two anti-Trump campaign ads, said they got little for their money — the videos were 5 years old, the materials covered information that could be found free on the internet and her mentor didn't return calls or emails. 'I would like an admission that he was wrong, an admission that, 'Oops, maybe I didn't handle it as well as I should have, I didn't set it up as well as I should have, that I didn't maintain it or oversee it as well as I should have,'' Simpson told The Associated Press on Wednesday. Attorneys for Trump and those suing him say the deadline to opt out was in November 2015 and Simpson missed her chance. Thirteen people opted out before that date, none of whom have shown any desire to sue the president. Another customer, Harold Doe, objected to the settlement because he wants more money, according to court filings by attorneys for Trump and the plaintiffs. Trump University dogged the Republican businessman throughout the campaign as rivals used Trump's depositions and extensive documents filed in the lawsuits to portray him as dishonest and deceitful. Trump brought more attention by repeatedly assailing Curiel, insinuating that the Indiana-born judge's Mexican heritage exposed a bias. The settlement was reached 10 days before a trial was set to begin, sparing Trump what would have been a major distraction. The trial would have been pinned on whether a jury believed Trump misled customers by calling the business a university when it wasn't an accredited school and by falsely advertising that he hand-picked instructors. Trump vowed never to settle but said after the election that he didn't have time for a trial, even though he believed he would have prevailed. ___ Associated Press writer Terry Spencer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, contributed to this report.