With House Republicans in turmoil, colleagues implore GOP holdouts not to shut down government
WASHINGTON (AP) — Working furiously to take control of a House in disarray, allies of Speaker Kevin McCarthy implored their Republican colleagues Saturday to drop their hardline tactics and work together to approve a conservative spending plan to prevent a federal shutdown.
In public overtures and private calls, Republican lieutenants of the embattled speaker pleaded with a handful of right-flank holdouts to resist further disruptions that have ground the House to a halt and back McCarthy's latest plan to keep government open before next weekend's Sept. 30 deadline for a shutdown.
Republican Rep. Garrett Graves of Louisiana said the holdouts are “absolutely hallucinating” if they think they can wrap up work without the need for a temporary measure that many of them have shunned before time runs out.
“An important part of this strategy is going to be ensuring that we do everything we can to avoid a government shutdown,” Graves said after a Saturday afternoon conference call with lawmakers.
But in a sign of the deep divisions still ahead, one of the conservative holdouts, Rep. Matt Rosendale, R-Mont., walked past the McCarthy allies' news conference at the Capitol, telling reporters he remained firm in his position.
A Ukrainian train is a lifeline connecting the nation's capital with the front line
KRAMATORSK, Ukraine (AP) — Among the hundreds of trains criss-crossing Ukraine’s elaborate railway network every day, the Kyiv-Kramatorsk train stands apart, shrouded in solemn silence as passengers anticipate their destination.
Every day, around seven in the morning, passengers of this route leave the relative safety of the capital and head east to frontline areas where battles between Ukrainian forces and Russian troops rage and Russian strikes are frequent with imprecise missiles that slam into residential areas.
The passengers are a mix of men and women that offer up a slice of Ukrainian society these days. They include soldiers returning to the front after a brief leave, women making the trip to reunite for a few days with husbands and boyfriends serving on the battlefields, and residents returning to check on homes in the Donetsk region.
They are all lost in thought and rarely converse with each other.
Nineteen-year-old Marta Banakh anxiously awaits the train’s next brief stop at one of its nine intermediate stations on the way to Kramatorsk. She disembarks at the station for a quick cigarette break, shifting her weight back and forth from one foot to the other.
Biden to open embassies in Cook Islands, Niue as he welcomes Pacific leaders for Washington summit
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is set to announce the opening of new U.S. embassies on Cook Islands and Niue on Monday as the Democratic administration aims to demonstrate to Pacific Island leaders that it remains committed to increasing American presence in the region.
The announcement about the new diplomatic missions in the South Pacific comes as Biden prepares to welcome leaders to Washington for the two-day U.S.-Pacific Island Forum Summit. Talks are expected to heavily focus on the impact of climate change in the region.
Biden has put a premium on improving relations in the Pacific amid rising U.S. concern about China’s growing military and economic influence. Plans about the embassies were confirmed by two senior administration officials who briefed reporters on the condition of anonymity before the formal announcement.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden would use the summit to strengthen “ties with the Pacific Islands and discuss how we address complex global challenges, like tackling the existential threat of climate change, advancing economic growth, and promoting sustainable development.”
The leaders were scheduled to be feted on Sunday at a Baltimore Ravens football game and to visit a Coast Guard cutter in Baltimore Harbor for a briefing by the commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard on combatting illegal fishing and other maritime issues.
US diplomat says intelligence from 'Five Eyes' nations helped Canada to link India to Sikh's killing
TORONTO (AP) — Information shared by members of an intelligence-sharing alliance was part of what Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau used to make public allegations of the Indian government's possible involvement in the assassination of a Sikh Canadian, the U.S. ambassador to Canada said.
“There was shared intelligence among ‘Five Eyes’ partners that helped lead Canada to (make) the statements that the prime minister made,” U.S. Ambassador David Cohen told Canadian CTV News network.
CTV News released some of Cohen's comments late Friday, and the network said that it would air the full interview with the U.S. envoy on Sunday. No further details were released about the shared intelligence.
On Thursday, a Canadian official told The Associated Press that the allegation of India’s involvement in the killing is based on surveillance of Indian diplomats in Canada, including intelligence provided by a major ally — without saying which one.
The “Five Eyes” intelligence-sharing alliance is made up of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The threat of wildfires is rising. So is new artificial intelligence solutions to fight them
LONDON (AP) — Wildfires fueled by climate change have ravaged communities from Maui to the Mediterranean this summer, killing many people, exhausting firefighters and fueling demand for new solutions. Enter artificial intelligence.
Firefighters and startups are using AI-enabled cameras to scan the horizon for signs of smoke. A German company is building a constellation of satellites to detect fires from space. And Microsoft is using AI models to predict where the next blaze could be sparked.
With wildfires becoming larger and more intense as the world warms, firefighters, utilities and governments are scrambling to get ahead of the flames by tapping into the latest AI technology — which has stirred both fear and excitement for its potential to transform life. While increasingly stretched first responders hope AI offers them a leg up, humans are still needed to check that the tech is accurate.
California's main firefighting agency this summer started testing an AI system that looks for smoke from more than 1,000 mountaintop camera feeds and is now expanding it statewide.
The system is designed to find “abnormalities” and alert emergency command centers, where staffers will confirm whether it’s indeed smoke or something else in the air.
Mid-Atlantic coast under flood warnings as Ophelia weakens to post-tropical low and moves north
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Tropical Storm Ophelia was downgraded to a post-tropical low on Saturday night but continued to pose a threat of coastal flooding and flash floods in the mid-Atlantic region, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.
Residents in parts of coastal North Carolina and Virginia experienced flooding Saturday after the storm made landfall near a North Carolina barrier island, bringing rain, damaging winds and dangerous surges.
At 11 p.m. Saturday, the center said Ophelia, reduced to a weak form of a tropical storm, was located about 30 miles (50 kilometers) south-southwest of Richmond, Virginia, and about 85 miles (135 kilometers) southeast of Charlottesville, Virginia. The storm had maximum sustained winds of 35 mph (55 kph) with higher gusts.
Coastal flood warnings and flood watches remained in effect for portions of the region, the center said.
“The center of Ophelia is expected to turn toward the north-northeast and northeast, moving across eastern Virginia and the Delmarva Peninsula through Sunday,” the center said.
Six young activists devote years to climate fight with 32 governments. Now comes their day in court
COSTA DA CAPARICA, Portugal (AP) — Sofia Oliveira was 12 years old when catastrophic wildfires in central Portugal killed more than 100 people in 2017. She “felt it was now or never to raise our voices” as her country appeared to be in the grip of deadly human-caused climate change.
Now a university student, Sofia and five other Portuguese young adults and children between 11 and 24 years of age are due on Wednesday at the European Court of Human Rights, where they are accusing 32 European governments of violating their human rights for what they say is a failure to adequately address climate change. It’s the first climate change case filed with the court and could compel action to significantly slash emissions and build cleaner infrastructure.
Victory for them in Strasbourg would be a powerful instance of young people taking a legal route to force their governments to adopt a radical recalibration of their climate measures.
The court’s rulings are legally binding on member countries, and failure to comply makes authorities liable for hefty fines decided by the court.
The courts are increasingly seen by activists as a way of sidestepping politics and holding governments to account. Last month, in a case brought by young environmental activists, a judge in the U.S. state of Montana ruled that state agencies were violating their constitutional right to a clean and healthful environment by allowing fossil fuel development.
Israeli military raid kills 2 Palestinians in West Bank. Israel says its troops came under fire
NOUR SHAMS REFUGEE CAMP, West Bank (AP) — Two Palestinians were killed during an Israeli military raid Sunday in the northern West Bank, Palestinian health officials said, the latest bloodshed in a surge of violence during a sensitive Jewish holiday period.
The Israeli military said it moved into the Nour Shams refugee camp, near the town of Tulkarem, to destroy what it described as a militant command center and bomb-storage facility in a building.
It said that engineering units detonated a number of bombs planted under roads and that militants opened fire and hurled explosives, as troops responded with live fire.
The Palestinian Health Ministry said two men — Asid Abu Ali, 21, and Abdulrahman Abu Daghash, 32 — were killed by Israeli fire. The raid caused heavy damage to the camp's main road, severing water pipes and flooding parts of the street. The ground floor of the targeted building was heavily damaged, while part of the exterior wall of the second floor collapsed.
Elsewhere in the West Bank, Birzeit University, a major Palestinian institution, said the Israeli army carried out a rare raid on its campus near the city of Ramallah and arrested nine students, including the head of the student council. It said the students were all supporters of the Hamas militant group. The university denounced the raid, which it said caused damage to university property.
Migrants hoping to reach US continue north through Mexico by train amid historic migration levels
IRAPUATO, Mexico (AP) — As a train roared in the distance, some 5,000 mostly Venezuelan migrants hoping to make it to the U.S. snapped into action.
Families with young children sleeping on top of cardboard boxes and young men and women tucked away in tents under a nearby bridge scrambled to pack their things. After the train arrived on the outskirts of the central Mexican city of Irapuato, some swung their bodies over its metal trailers with ease, while others tossed up bags and handed up their small children swaddled in winter coats.
“Come up, come up,” migrants atop the train urged those below. Others yelled, “God bless Mexico!”
After three days of waiting for the train that many in the group worried would never come, this was their ticket north to Mexico's border with the United States.
Thousands of other migrants were stranded in other parts of the country last week after Mexico’s biggest railroad said it halted 60 freight trains. The company, Ferromex, said so many migrants were hitching rides on the trains that it became unsafe to move the trains. The company said it had seen a “half dozen regrettable cases of injuries or deaths” in a span of just days.
Auto workers still have room to expand their strike against car makers. But they also face risks
Even after escalating its strike against Detroit automakers on Friday, the United Auto Workers union still has plenty of leverage in its effort to force the companies to agree to significant increases in pay and benefits.
Only about 12% of the union’s membership is so far taking part in the walkout. The UAW could, if it chose to, vastly expand the number of workers who could strike assembly plants and parts facilities of General Motors, Ford and Stellantis, the owner of the Jeep and Ram brands.
Yet the UAW's emerging strategy also carries potentially significant risks for the union. By expanding its strike from three large auto assembly plants to all 38 parts distribution centers of GM and Ford, the UAW risks angering people who might be unable to have their vehicles repaired at service centers that lack parts.
The union's thinking appears to be that by striking both vehicle production and parts facilities, it will force the automakers to negotiate a relatively quick end to the strike, now in its second week. To do so, though, some analysts say the union might have to act even more aggressively.
“We believe the next step for UAW is the more nuclear option — going for a much more widespread strike on the core plants in and around Detroit,” said Daniel Ives, an analyst with Wedbush Securities. “That would be a torpedo.”
The Associated Press