Abortion ban legislation adds to political challenge for GOP
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Republican candidates have given wildly differing responses to South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham’s plan to ban abortion nationwide at 15 weeks. A Republican Senate challenger in Colorado describes the proposed ban as “reckless.” GOP Senate contenders in Georgia and Arizona have quickly pledged their support. And in Pennsylvania and Nevada, Republican Senate nominees are avoiding taking firm positions. The explosive issue threatens to upend the GOP’s overwhelming political advantages just eight weeks before Election Day. Democrats have been quick to point to the measure to warn that handing control of Congress to Republicans could lead to a broader erosion of rights.
From carmakers to refiners, industries brace for rail strike
Carmakers say buyers might not get the vehicle they want on time, commuter rail lines could see service disrupted, and shipments from everything from oil to livestock feed could be disrupted. Those are just a few of the wide-ranging impacts a walkout by U.S. rail workers would have on the country's industries and economy. A strike could happen if the railroads and unions can't settle their differences before an early Friday walkout deadline.
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Ukrainian flag raised in retaken city after Russian retreat
IZIUM, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has made a rare foray outside Ukraine's capital and highlighted Moscow’s embarrassing retreat from a Ukrainian counteroffensive. Hand on heart, Zelenskyy watched his country’s flag rise above the recaptured city of Izium on Wednesday. Russian forces left the city last week as Kyiv’s soldiers advanced in the northeastern Kharkiv region. Prosecutors found six bodies with traces of torture in recently retaken villages there. Moscow’s rout was its largest military defeat since Russian troops withdrew from the Kyiv area early in the war. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said after a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin he sees no signs from the Kremlin of any regrets.
Queen Elizabeth II lies in state as throngs pay respects
LONDON (AP) — Queen Elizabeth II has left Buckingham Palace for the last time, her casket borne to Westminster Hall by a horse-drawn gun carriage in a somber procession. Her son, King Charles III, and his siblings and sons marched behind the coffin, which was topped by a wreath of white roses and her crown resting on a purple velvet pillow. At Westminster Hall, crowds shuffled in two lines past her coffin well into the night. Many bowed or curtseyed and some were in tears. Hundreds of thousands expected to pay their respects. The queen will lie in state until her funeral on Monday.
R. Kelly convicted of child porn, enticing girls for sex
CHICAGO (AP) — A federal jury in Chicago convicted R. Kelly on Wednesday of producing child pornography and enticing girls for sex after a monthlong trial in his hometown. It's another legal blow to a singer who was once one of the world’s biggest R&B stars. Prosecutors won convictions on six of the 13 counts against him, with many of the convictions carrying long mandatory sentences. But the government lost the marquee count — that Kelly and his then-business manager successfully rigged his state child pornography trial in 2008. Both of Kelly's co-defendants, including longtime business manager Derrel McDavid, were acquitted of all charges.
Defense suddenly rests case in Florida school shooter trial
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Attorneys for Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz have suddenly and surprisingly rested their case, leading to a shouting match after the judge accused them of a lack of professionalism. Cruz’s attorneys had told the judge and prosecutors they would be calling 80 witnesses but rested at the beginning of Wednesday’s court session after calling only about 25. After the announcement, Judge Elizabeth Scherer accused lead defense attorney Melisa McNeill of being “unprofessional.” McNeill accused Scherer of insulting her in front of her client. Cruz has pleaded guilty of murdering 17 at Parkland's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018. The trial is to decide whether he is sentenced to death or life without parole.
Texts: Mississippi ex-governor knew of Favre welfare money
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Newly revealed text messages show how deeply a Mississippi governor was involved in the state paying more than $1 million in welfare money to Brett Favre to help pay for one of the retired NFL quarterback’s pet projects. Instead of the money going to help low-income families in one of the nation’s poorest states, as intended, it was funneled through a nonprofit group to Favre and was spent on a new volleyball facility at a university both men attended. The 2017 texts show Republican Gov. Phil Bryant was “on board” with the plan. Bryant's left office in 2020. The state is suing Favre and others, alleging that they misspent welfare money.
Armenia, Azerbaijan agree on cease-fire to end fighting
YEREVAN, Armenia (AP) — A senior Armenian official says Armenia and Azerbaijan negotiated a cease-fire to end a flare-up of fighting that has killed 155 soldiers on both sides. The secretary of Armenia’s Security Council announced the truce in televised remarks early Thursday, saying it took effect hours earlier — at 8 p.m. (1600 GMT) Wednesday. A previous cease-fire brokered by Russia on Tuesday quickly failed. The announcement follows two days of heavy fighting that marked the largest outbreak of hostilities between the two longtime adversaries in nearly two years. Shortly before Grigoryan’s announcement, thousands of protesters took to the streets of Armenia’s capital accusing Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan of betraying his country by trying to appease Azerbaijan and demanding his resignation.
Q&A: Next steps for Iowa teen sentenced for killing rapist
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Donations are pouring in to help a 17-year-old sex trafficking victim who was ordered by a court to pay $150,000 to the family of a man she stabbed to death after he raped her. A GoFundMe campaign set up for Pieper Lewis has already raised more than $200,000 just one day after the restitution order was handed down by an Iowa judge. Prosecutors described the sentence as merciful for a teen who had been horribly abused, but it struck some observers as unnecessarily harsh. Lewis pleaded guilty last year to involuntary manslaughter and willful injury in the June 2020 killing of 37-year-old Zachary Brooks, a married father of two.
'Abbott Elementary' creator wants focus on show, not Kimmel
LOS ANGELES (AP) — “Abbott Elementary” creator-star Quinta Brunson says she would rather focus on the show than Jimmy Kimmel’s Emmy night comedy bit. But Brunson's co-star, Sheryl Lee Ralph, didn’t duck the matter during a Q&A panel discussion Wednesday. Ralph says she recalled thinking, ‘"Oh, the disrespect, Jimmy," during Monday night's awards show. Kimmel had been dragged onstage by co-presenter Will Arnett, who claimed Kimmel had too much to drink. When Brunson won the best comedy writing Emmy, Kimmel didn't stand up. He was blasted online as being rude at the minimum for overshadowing Brunson's Emmy moment. “Abbott Elementary” returns for its second season Sept. 21 on ABC.