Unbiased headline news for Wednesday February 28, 2024 – European military heavyweights Germany and Poland have firmly stated that they will refrain from deploying troops to Ukraine, dismissing reports suggesting Western countries’ potential involvement as the conflict with Russia extends into its third year.

The head of NATO echoed this sentiment, asserting that the U.S.-led alliance has no intentions of sending troops to Ukraine. Other central European leaders also affirmed their decision against providing soldiers. Simultaneously, the Kremlin issued a warning, stating that a direct conflict between NATO and Russia would become inevitable if the alliance deploys combat troops.

The U.S. Army is implementing a substantial reduction in its force, slashing approximately 24 thousand positions, or nearly 5%.

This restructuring aims to enhance readiness for the next major war, addressing challenges in recruitment that prevented filling all available positions. The cuts primarily target already-empty posts, particularly those related to counterinsurgency that saw increased demand during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars but are less essential today. Notably, about 3,000 of the reductions will affect Army special operations forces.

The U.S. National Guard has initiated an “aviation safety stand down” for all its Army National Guard helicopters, ordering a comprehensive safety review following two recent crashes resulting in the tragic deaths of two soldiers.

Jon Jensen, director of the Army National Guard, emphasized the paramount importance of safety in a statement. This safety stand down comes after the fatal crash during training that claimed the lives of Chief Warrant Officer 4 Bryan Andrew Zemek and Chief Warrant Officer 4 Derek Abbott, who were piloting an AH-64D Apache helicopter.

In the Mexican city of Maravatio, two mayoral candidates were fatally shot within hours of each other, raising concerns about potential interference in the upcoming June 2 election.

Experts warn that the growing influence of drug cartels in Mexico could contribute to heightened violence during the election period. The ominous development follows the pattern observed in the 2021 nationwide election, where approximately three dozen candidates were killed. It’s noteworthy that the formal commencement of election campaigns is set for this Friday.

Following a series of widely reported crimes allegedly committed by migrants, Mayor Eric Adams indicated support for modifying New York’s sanctuary city laws.

Adams expressed the view that migrants involved in serious crimes should face deportation, emphasizing the need for the city to collaborate with federal ICE agents. During a news conference, the mayor asserted that individuals repeatedly engaging in criminal activities should not be allowed to remain in the city, advocating for communication with ICE in the deportation process.

A convicted felon, Leon Ruffin, who escaped custody on Sunday by pepper spraying his transporting deputy and stealing her car, has been apprehended in New Orleans, according to authorities.

Ruffin, 51, facing a second-degree murder charge, was located at a hotel in New Orleans East with the assistance of New Orleans Police and the U.S. Marshals Service, as revealed by Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joseph Lopinto in a media briefing.

The family of Leonard Allan Cure, an exonerated Georgia man fatally shot by a sheriff’s deputy in October, has filed a $16 million federal lawsuit, alleging excessive force during the encounter.

Cure, who spent 16 years in a Florida prison after being wrongfully convicted in 2003, was shot by Sheriff’s Deputy Buck Aldridge during a traffic stop on October 16, 2023—three years after his exoneration in an armed robbery case.

Toyota is issuing a recall for approximately 381,000 Tacoma midsize pickup trucks in the U.S. due to a potential safety concern.

The recall, affecting certain trucks from the 2022 and 2023 model years, addresses a risk where a part can separate from the rear axle, increasing the likelihood of a crash. Toyota disclosed in a statement that welding debris left on axle ends could lead to loosening nuts over time, potentially causing them to fall off. The company did not confirm whether any crashes or injuries resulted from the identified problem.