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Police say a man at the center of an intense police search in Oregon after a violent kidnapping is underneath the house where the woman was tortured and that officers are trying to get him to surrender. KTVL-TV reports that Grants Pass Police Lt. Jeff Hattersley told them Tuesday evening that Benjamin Obadiah Foster was underneath the Grants Pass home. Law enforcement surrounded the home Tuesday afternoon after receiving a tip that the suspect had gone inside. Hattersley says authorities received “credible information” that Foster had entered the home where the woman was found unconscious, bound and near death on Jan. 24. The newspaper reports four agencies were concentrated in the area.

The Justice Department has been scrutinizing a controversial artificial intelligence tool used by a Pittsburgh-area child protective services agency following concerns that the tool could lead to discrimination against families with disabilities, The Associated Press has learned. The interest from federal civil rights attorneys comes after an AP investigation revealed potential bias and transparency issues surrounding the increasing use of algorithms within the troubled U.S. child welfare system. Several civil rights complaints were filed in the fall about the Allegheny Family Screening Tool, which social workers use to help decide which families to investigate. A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment.

Oregon's recently inaugurated Democratic Gov. Tina Kotek has unveiled her budget proposal for the upcoming biennium. She's requesting that $1 billion in spending go toward building and maintaining affordable housing in a bid to address the state's interconnected housing and homelessness crises. She's also asking for hundreds of millions of dollars to fund her other top priorities: mental health and addiction treatment, education and child care. Kotek said the biggest issue when drafting the budget was determining how to keep programs afloat with $3.5 billion in one-time federal funding set to expire. The country's national COVID-19 emergencies are set to end in May.

General Motors has conditionally agreed to invest $650 million in Lithium Americas in a deal that will give GM exclusive access to the first phase of a mine planned near the Nevada-Oregon line with the largest known source of lithium in the U.S. The equity investment the companies announced jointly Tuesday is contingent on the project clearing the final environmental and legal challenges it faces in federal court in Reno, where conservationists and tribes are suing to block it. GM said Tuesday’s announcement marks the largest-ever investment by an automaker to produce battery raw materials. The mine could support production of up to 1 million electric vehicles annually.


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