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    State investigators have substantiated more than 1,600 instances of corporal punishment in New York schools over the last five years. The Times Union in Albany reported Sunday that a substantial number of the complaints were in New York City public schools. Other incidents included a substitute teacher in Watertown who was fired and arrested for grabbing a student by the throat and forcing him against a wall and a teaching assistant in Syracuse who was transferred and retrained for spanking a non-verbal student.

      Pharoah Sanders, the revered tenor saxophonist known to the jazz world for the spirituality of his work, has died. He was 81. His record label says Sanders died early Saturday in Los Angeles. Sanders was known for his work performing alongside John Coltrane in the 1960s. The saxophonist’s best-known work was his two-part “The Creator Has a Master Plan,” from the “Karma” album released in 1969. The combined track is nearly 33 minutes long. After more than a decade of performing but not recording albums, Sanders released the much-admired “Promises” in 2021,  with producer Floating Points and the London Symphony Orchestra.

        New York City officials are appealing a judge’s ruling that they lacked the legal authority to fire members of the city’s largest police union for violating a COVID-19 vaccination mandate. State Supreme Court Judge Lyle Frank in Manhattan ruled Friday that the city health department’s vaccine mandate couldn’t be used to fire or put on leave members of the Police Benevolent Association. Frank ordered the reinstatement of union members who were “wrongfully” terminated or put on unpaid leave for refusing to get vaccinated. The city immediately filed a notice of appeal, freezing the judge’s decision until the appeal is heard.

        Iranian activist Masih Alinejad says the videos and messages she’s been receiving in recent days from women in Iran are showing how angry they are following a young woman’s death in police custody over a violation of the country’s strict religious dress code. The spur for this latest explosion of outrage was the death earlier this month of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini. The young woman was detained for allegedly wearing her hijab too loosely in violation of strictures demanding women wear the Islamic headscarves in public. She died in custody. Protests have been going on around the country for days. Alinejad would love to see more support from those in the West, as well.

        Two U.S. military veterans who disappeared three months ago while fighting Russia with Ukrainian forces have arrived at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. The Alabama residents were released by Russian-backed separatists as part of a prisoner exchange. Alex Drueke said he and Andy Huynh were looking forward to spending time with their families and would speak to the media soon. The pair arrived at about noon Friday. Drueke and Huynh went missing in northeastern Ukraine near the Russian border on June 9. They had traveled to Ukraine on their own and bonded over their shared home state.

        A new book shows the personal side of the late “To Kill a Mockingbird” author Harper Lee. Wayne Flynt's new book “Afternoons with Harper Lee” is based on stories that Lee told during multiple visits with Flynt, a longtime Southern historian. Lee died in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama in 2016. Flynt says the public perception of Lee as a hermit shut off from the world is wrong. She didn’t do media interviews and she guarded her privacy zealously. But Flynt says she was warm, kind and “deeply religious” in a way many people aren't.

        The Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, Dr. Mehmet Oz, has released his health records as he maneuvers to keep questions about Democratic rival John Fetterman’s recovery from a stroke front and center. Dr. Rebecca Kurth wrote in a letter obtained by The Associated Press that she found the heart surgeon-turned-TV celebrity to be in “excellent health” in an annual checkup Thursday. The release of the New York City doctor’s note and health records comes as Oz has increasingly made Fetterman’s fitness to serve a central theme in his campaign and as Oz is trying to close a gap in polls. Fetterman didn't immediately comment Friday.

        A man arrested for slapping former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani on the back has filed a notice of claim against the city for $2 million. Daniel Gill was seen on a video in June touching Giuliani on the back while Giuliani was at a Staten Island supermarket supporting his son Andrew’s campaign for the GOP governor nomination. Gill was jailed for more than 24 hours and says he lost his job at the market as a result of his arrest. On Wednesday he accepted a deal to have the charge dismissed if he stays out of trouble for the next six months. The notice of claim doesn't name Giuliani because he is no longer a municipal employee. The city’s law department declined comment.

        New York’s attorney general isn’t arresting former President Donald Trump even though she says her three-year investigation uncovered potential crimes in the way he ran his real estate empire. Instead, Democrat Letitia James announced a civil lawsuit seeking $250 million and a permanent ban on the Republican former president from doing business in the state. So why isn’t Trump being prosecuted? For one, James doesn’t have jurisdiction under state law to bring a criminal case. For another, mounting a criminal fraud case is far more challenging than a civil lawsuit. Trump says he didn't break any laws and the lawsuit is politically motivated.

        Tests have confirmed an animal killed during a coyote hunt in upstate New York last year was a wolf. Environmental officials say it’s only the third wolf identified in the wild in the state in 25 years. They say they aren’t sure where the animal was from but that it’s likely it was from the Great Lakes area, though that wolf population isn’t known to have spread beyond Michigan. They say it could have been a captive animal that escaped or was released. DNA results reviewed this week contradicted an initial analysis that concluded it was an Eastern coyote.

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        New York’s attorney general has sued former President Donald Trump and his company, alleging business fraud involving some of their most prized assets, including properties in Manhattan, Chicago and Washington, D.C. Attorney General Letitia James’ lawsuit was filed Wednesday in state court in New York. It is the culmination of the Democrat’s three-year civil investigation of Trump and the Trump Organization. Three of Trump’s adult children, Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric Trump, were also named as defendants, along with two longtime company executives, Allen Weisselberg and Jeffrey McConney. Alina Habba, an attorney for Trump, said the lawsuit is “neither focused on the facts nor the law.”

        Joan Didion, a master of rhythm and of the meaning of the unsaid, was remembered Wednesday as an inspiring and fearless writer and valued, exacting and sometimes eccentric friend. She was described as a woman who didn’t like to speak on the phone unless asked to or who might serve chocolate soufflés at a child’s birthday party because she didn’t know how to bake a cake. Carl Bernstein, Donna Tartt and Fran Liebowitz were among those attending, along with relatives, friends and editors and other colleagues from The New Yorker and her last publishing house, Penguin Random House.

        Former President Donald Trump’s latest legal woes focus on allegations that he and his company inflated the value of about two dozen properties and other assets, including his penthouse on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue and his posh Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. New York Attorney General Leticia James asserted in a lawsuit filed Wednesday that the Trump Organization, with the aid of the former president and his three oldest children, used deceptive schemes to overstate the value of 23 properties and other assets. The complaint says Trump advertised his triplex home in Trump Tower as being 30,000 square feet, when it was actually just a third of that size. Based on the alleged misrepresentation, the apartment was valued at $327 million in 2015.

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