Corruption News

AP News in Brief at 6:04 a.m. EDT | National News

0

Setting gridlock aside, Congress set to OK gun violence bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — A bipartisan gun violence bill that seemed unimaginable a month ago is on the verge of winning final congressional approval, a vote that will produce lawmakers’ most sweeping answer in decades to brutal mass shootings that have come to shock yet not surprise Americans.

The House was set to vote on the $13 billion package Friday, a month after a gunman massacred 19 students and two teachers at a Uvalde, Texas, elementary school. Just days before that, a white man motivated by racism allegedly killed 10 Black grocery shoppers in Buffalo, New York.

The two slaughters — days apart and victimizing helpless people for whom the public felt immediate empathy — prompted both parties to conclude that Congress had to act, especially in an election year. After weeks of closed-door talks, Senate bargainers from both parties produced a compromise taking mild but impactful steps toward making such mayhem less likely.

People are also reading…

“Families in Uvalde and Buffalo, and too many tragic shootings before, have demanded action. And tonight, we acted,” President Joe Biden said after passage. He said the House should send it to him quickly, adding, “Kids in schools and communities will be safer because of it.”

The legislation would toughen background checks for the youngest gun buyers, keep firearms from more domestic violence offenders and help states put in place red flag laws that make it easier for authorities to take weapons from people adjudged dangerous. It would also fund local programs for school safety, mental health and violence prevention.

States brace for fight over gun laws after high court ruling

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The Supreme Court’s decision overturning a gun-permitting law in New York has states with robust firearms restrictions scrambling to respond on two fronts — to figure out what concealed-carry measures they might be allowed to impose while also preparing to defend a wide range of other gun control policies.

The language in the court’s majority opinion heightened concern that other state laws, from setting an age limit on gun purchases to banning high-capacity ammunition magazines, may now be in jeopardy.

“The court has basically invited open season on our gun laws, and so I expect litigation across the board,” said New Jersey acting Attorney General Matt Platkin, a Democrat. “We’re going to defend our gun laws tooth-and-nail because these gun laws save lives.”

The court ruling issued Thursday specifically overturned a New York law that had been in place since 1913 and required that people applying for a concealed carry permit demonstrate a specific need to have a gun in public, such as showing an imminent threat to their safety. The court’s conservative majority said that violated the Second Amendment, which they interpreted as protecting people’s right to carry a gun for self-defense outside the home.

While the ruling does not address any other laws, the majority opinion opens the door for gun rights advocates to challenge them in the future, said Alex McCourt, the director of legal research for the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions.

Hearing: Trump told Justice Dept. to call election ‘corrupt’

WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump hounded the Justice Department to pursue his false election fraud claims, striving in vain to enlist top law enforcement officials in his desperate bid to stay in power and relenting only when warned in the Oval Office of mass resignations, according to testimony Thursday to the House panel investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot.

Three Trump-era Justice Department officials recounted persistent badgering from the president, including day after day of directives to chase baseless allegations that the election won by Democrat Joe Biden had been stolen. They said they swept aside each demand from Trump because there was no evidence of widespread fraud, then banded together when the president weighed whether to replace the department’s top lawyer with a lower-level official eager to help undo the results.

All the while, Republican loyalists in Congress trumpeted the president’s claims — and several later sought pardons from the White House after the effort failed and the Capitol was breached in a day of violence, the committee revealed Thursday.

The hearing, the fifth by the panel probing the assault on the Capitol, made clear that Trump’s sweeping pressure campaign targeted not only statewide election officials but also his own executive branch agencies. The witnesses solemnly described the constant contact from the president as an extraordinary breach of protocol, especially since the Justice Department has long cherished its independence from the White House and looked to steer clear of partisan considerations in investigative decisions.

“When you damage our fundamental institutions, it’s not easy to repair them,” said Jeffrey Rosen, the acting attorney general in the final days of the Trump administration. “So I thought this was a really important issue, to try to make sure that the Justice Department was able to stay on the right course.”

Death toll from Afghanistan’s quake rises to 1,150 people

GAYAN, Afghanistan (AP) — The death toll from a devastating earthquake in Afghanistan continued to climb days after it turned brick and stone homes into rubble, killing 1,150 people and injuring scores more, according to the latest figures carried in state media on Friday.

The country of 38 million people was already in the midst of a spiraling economic crisis that had plunged millions deep into poverty with over a million children at risk of severe malnutrition.

The magnitude 6 quake on Wednesday that struck in the night as people were sleeping left thousands without shelter and brought into sharp focus the compounding needs of the country. Afghanistan remains cut off from the international monetary system, and aid groups lament having to pay local staff with bags of cash delivered by hand as nations refuse to deal directly with the Taliban.

Aid organizations like the local Red Crescent and World Food Program have stepped in to assist the most vulnerable families with food and other emergency needs like tents and sleeping mats in Paktika province, the epicenter of the earthquake, and neighboring Khost province.

Still, residents appeared to be largely on their own to deal with the aftermath as their new Taliban-led government and the international aid community struggle to bring in help. The shoddy mountain roads leading to the affected areas were made worse by damage and rain. Villagers have been burying their dead and digging through the rubble by hand in search of survivors.

Ukrainian army to leave battered city to avoid encirclement

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — After weeks of ferocious fighting, Ukrainian forces will retreat from a besieged city in the country’s east to avoid encirclement, a regional governor said Friday.

The city of Sievierodonetsk, the administrative center of the Luhansk region, has faced relentless Russian bombardment. Ukrainian troops fought the Russians in house-to-house battles before retreating to a huge chemical factory on the city’s edge, where they holed up in its sprawling underground structures.

In recent days, Russian forces have made gains around Sievierodonetsk and the neighboring city of Lysychansk, on a steep bank across the river, in a bid to encircle Ukrainian forces.

Luhansk Gov. Serhiy Haidai said that the Ukrainian troops have been given the order to leave Sievierodonetsk to prevent that.

“We will have to pull back our guys,” he said. “It makes no sense to stay at the destroyed positions, because the number of casualties in poorly fortified areas will grow every day.”

UK Conservatives lose 2 elections in blow to Boris Johnson

LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson suffered a double blow as voters rejected his Conservative Party in two special elections dominated by questions about his leadership and ethics.

He was further wounded when the party’s chairman quit after the results came out early Friday, saying Conservatives “cannot carry on with business as usual.”

The centrist Liberal Democrats overturned a big Conservative majority to win the rural southwest England seat of Tiverton and Honiton, while the main opposition Labour Party reclaimed Wakefield in northern England from Johnson’s Tories.

The contests, triggered by the resignations of Conservative lawmakers hit by sex scandals, offered voters the chance to give their verdict on the prime minister just weeks after 41% of his own MPs voted to oust him.

“The people of Tiverton and Honiton have spoken for Britain,” said the area’s newly elected Liberal Democrat lawmaker, Richard Foord. “They sent a loud and clear message: It’s time for Boris Johnson to go, and go now.”

A world apart, Lebanon and Sri Lanka share economic collapse

BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon and Sri Lanka may be a world apart, but they share a history of political turmoil and violence that led to the collapse of once-prosperous economies bedeviled by corruption, patronage, nepotism and incompetence.

The toxic combinations led to disaster for both: Currency collapse, shortages, triple-digit inflation and growing hunger. Snaking queues for gas. A decimated middle class. An exodus of professionals who might have helped rebuild.

There usually isn’t one moment that marks the catastrophic breaking point of an economic collapse, although telltale signs can be there for months — if not years.

When it happens, the hardship unleashed is all-consuming, transforming everyday life so profoundly that the country may never return to what it was.

Experts say a dozen countries — including Egypt, Tunisia, Sudan, Afghanistan and Pakistan — could suffer the same fate as Lebanon and Sri Lanka, as the post-pandemic recovery and war in Ukraine spark global food shortages and a surge in prices.

A new leader in the Philippines, and a family’s old wounds

BOSTON (AP) — He was the uncle I never met. But in my family’s origin story, Emmanuel “Manny” Yap always loomed large.

The life of great potential cut short. The cautionary tale. But also the reminder of doing what was right, no matter the cost.

A rising leader in the youth-led opposition to President Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines, Manny Yap joined his parents and siblings for lunch at his mother’s favorite Chinese restaurant in their hometown of Quezon City.

It was Valentine’s Day in 1976, a few years into martial law, the moment in the country’s history when Marcos Sr. suspended civil government and effectively ruled as a dictator. After the meal, the 23-year-old grad student went off to meet a friend.

Days later, an anonymous caller delivered the news his family had dreaded: Manny had been picked up by the military and detained.

A year on, Surfside remembers 98 victims of condo collapse

SURFSIDE, Fla. (AP) — A year ago in the middle of the night, a 12-story oceanfront condo building in Surfside, Florida, came down with a thunderous roar, leaving a giant pile of rubble and claiming 98 lives — one of the deadliest collapses in U.S. history.

The disaster at Champlain Towers South also turned into the largest emergency response that didn’t involve a hurricane in Florida history.

Its victims were being honored Friday at events on the ground where, for two weeks last June and July, rescue crews descended from elsewhere in Florida and from as far away as Mexico and Israel to help local teams dig through the pile and search for victims.

Friday’s agenda includes a private overnight gathering for families to light a torch. First Lady Jill Biden is expected to speak at a public event organized by the town of Surfside.

Only two teenagers and a woman survived the fall and were pulled from the rubble, while others escaped from the portion of the building that initially remained standing.

At Pride, celebrations amid a darker national environment

NEW YORK (AP) — LGBTQ Pride commemorations that sometimes felt like victory parties for civil rights advances are grappling this year with a darker atmosphere, a national environment of ramped-up legislative and rhetorical battles over sexual orientation and gender identity.

Big crowds are expected Sunday at Pride events in New York City and a range of other places including San Francisco, Chicago, Denver and Toronto, in a return to large, in-person events after two years of pandemic-induced restrictions.

Like every year, the celebrations are expected to be exuberant and festive. But for many, they will also will carry a renewed sense of urgency.

In March, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a law barring teaching on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade, which critics decried as an effort to marginalize LGBTQ people and lambasted as the “Don’t Say Gay” law.

In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott, like DeSantis a Republican, sent a letter to state health agencies in February saying that it would be child abuse under state law for transgender youth to get gender-affirming medical care. A judge has halted full implementation of any parental prosecutions.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Source link

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.