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AP News in Brief at 6:04 p.m. EDT

Netanyahu dissolved his war Cabinet.

Netanyahu dissolved his war Cabinet. How will that affect cease-fire efforts?

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu disbanded his war Cabinet Monday, a move that consolidates his influence over the Israel-Hamas war and likely diminishes the odds of a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip anytime soon.

Netanyahu announced the step days after his chief political rival, Benny Gantz, withdrew from the three-member war Cabinet. Gantz, a retired general and member of parliament, was widely seen as a more moderate voice.

Major war policies will now be solely approved by Netanyahu's security Cabinet — a larger body that is dominated by hard-liners who oppose the U.S.-backed cease-fire proposal and want to press ahead with the war.

Netanyahu is expected to consult on some decisions with close allies in ad-hoc meetings, said an Israeli official who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.

These closed-door meetings could blunt some of the influence of the hard-liners. But Netanyahu himself has shown little enthusiasm for the cease-fire plan and his reliance on the full security Cabinet could give him cover to prolong a decision.


The war in Gaza has wiped out entire Palestinian families. AP documents 60 who lost dozens or more

BEIRUT (AP) — He is among the very last survivors of his Gaza family, a clan so close they knew without thinking how blood and marriage bound them across generations and city blocks.

Then, branch by branch, 173 of Youssef Salem’s relatives were killed in Israeli airstrikes in a matter of days in December. By spring that toll had risen to 270.

Bones and flesh strewn over the ruins of family homes. Blond curls of a young cousin peeking through bricks. Unrecognizable bodies piled on a donkey cart. Lines of burial shrouds.

These images are what survivors are left with from hundreds of families in Gaza like the al-Aghas, Salems and Abu Najas.

To a degree never seen before, Israel is killing entire Palestinian families, a loss even more devastating than the physical destruction and the massive displacement. An Associated Press investigation identified at least 60 Palestinian families where at least 25 people were killed — sometimes four generations from the same bloodline — in bombings between October and December, the deadliest and most destructive period of the war.


Biden's campaign announces a $50 million advertising blitz highlighting Trump's conviction

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign is spending $50 million through the end of June, a blitz that includes its first television ad trumpeting Donald Trump’s felony conviction and signals that the Democratic incumbent is seeking to make his Republican opponent’s legal woes a bigger issue heading into November.

The advertising push comes with Election Day still months away. But Biden's campaign says it wants to more clearly define the choice between the candidates ahead of the first debate between them in Atlanta on June 27.

The ad campaign includes more than $1 million geared toward media reaching Black, Hispanic and Asian American voters and a spot highlighting Trump's conviction on 34 felony counts in a New York hush money case. It will air on general market television and connected TV on streaming devices and cellphones in battleground states as well as on national cable.

Besides Trump's criminal conviction, the ad, titled “Character Matters,” notes the former president also was found liable for sexual assault and financial fraud in separate proceedings. Trump also faces felony charges in three other criminal cases, none of which may go to trial before the November election.

“In the courtroom, we see Donald Trump for who he is,” intones the ad’s narrator. It adds over images of a Trump mug shot and Biden high-fiving supporters, “This election is between a convicted criminal who's only out for himself and a president who's fighting for your family.”


Nearly 73 million people in the US are under heat alerts. Go indoors and hydrate

PHOENIX (AP) — Nearly 73 million people in the United States were under extreme heat alerts Monday as a heat wave moved eastward, and the mid-Atlantic and New England were likely to see highs in the 90s as the week progresses. Excessive humidity will make it feel even more oppressive.

The U.S. last year saw the most heat waves, consisting of abnormally hot weather lasting more than two days, since 1936. Officials again warned residents to take precautions.

Much of the Midwest and Northeast were under heat warnings or watches.

The heat has been especially dangerous in recent years in Phoenix, where 645 people died from heat-related causes in 2023, which was a record. Temperatures there hit 112 degrees Fahrenheit (44 Celsius) on Saturday. Weather service forecasters say the first two weeks of June in Phoenix have been an average of 5.6 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than normal — the hottest start to June on record there.

A meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Phoenix, Ted Whittock, advised reducing time outdoors between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., staying hydrated and wearing light, looser fitting clothing. More than 100 cooling centers were open in the city and surrounding county, including two new overnight ones.


Biden will announce deportation protection and work permits for spouses of US citizens

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is planning to announce a sweeping new policy Tuesday that would lift the threat of deportation for tens of thousands of people married to U.S. citizens, an aggressive election-year action on immigration that had been sought by many Democrats.

Biden will announce the new program at a White House event to celebrate the Obama-era “dreamers” directive that offered deportation protections for young undocumented immigrants, according to three people briefed on the White House plans.

The policy will allow roughly 490,000 spouses of U.S. citizens an opportunity to apply for a “parole in place” program, which would shield them from deportations and offer them work permits if they have lived in the country for at least 10 years, according to two of the people briefed. They all spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the announcement publicly.

The White House on Monday declined to comment on the announcement.

Families who would potentially benefit from Biden’s actions were expected to attend the White House event Tuesday afternoon.


Tobacco-like warning label for social media sought by US surgeon general who asks Congress to act

The U.S. surgeon general has called on Congress to require warning labels on social media platforms and their effects on young people's lives, similar to those now mandatory on cigarette boxes.

In a Monday opinion piece in the The New York Times, Dr. Vivek Murthy said that social media is a contributing factor in the mental health crisis among young people.

“It is time to require a surgeon general’s warning label on social media platforms, stating that social media is associated with significant mental health harms for adolescents. A surgeon general’s warning label, which requires congressional action, would regularly remind parents and adolescents that social media has not been proved safe,” Murthy said. “Evidence from tobacco studies show that warning labels can increase awareness and change behavior.”

Murthy said that the use of just a warning label wouldn't make social media safe for young people, but would be a part of the steps needed.

Social media use is prevalent among young people, with up to 95% of youth ages 13 to 17 saying that they use a social media platform, and more than a third saying that they use social media “almost constantly,” according to 2022 data from the Pew Research Center.


The Washington Post's leaders are taking heat for journalism in Britain that wouldn't fly in the US

NEW YORK (AP) — New leaders of The Washington Post are being haunted by their pasts, with ethical questions raised about their actions as journalists in London that illustrate very different press traditions in the United States and England.

An extraordinary trio of stories over the weekend by The New York Times, NPR and the Post itself outline alleged involvement by Post publisher Will Lewis and Robert Winnett, his choice as a new editor, in wrongdoing involving London publications as much as two decades ago.

The Post said on Monday that it had brought back its former senior managing editor to oversee the newspaper's coverage of the matter.

Lewis took over as publisher earlier this year, with a mandate to turn around the financially-troubled newspaper. He announced a reorganization earlier this month where the Post's executive editor, Sally Buzbee, stepped down rather than accept a demotion.

The coverage revealed Lewis' sensitivity about questions involving his role in a phone hacking scandal that rocked the British press while he was working there. Lewis has maintained that he was brought in by Rupert Murdoch-owned newspapers to cooperate with authorities to clean up after the scandal. Plaintiffs in a civil case have charged him with destroying evidence, which he has denied.


AI experimentation is high risk, high reward for low-profile political campaigns

Adrian Perkins was running for reelection as the mayor of Shreveport, Louisiana, when he was surprised by a harsh campaign hit piece.

The satirical TV commercial, paid for by a rival political action committee, used artificial intelligence to depict Perkins as a high school student who had been called into the principal’s office. Instead of giving a tongue-lashing for cheating on a test or getting in a fight, the principal blasted Perkins for failing to keep communities safe and create jobs.

The video superimposed Perkins’ face onto the body of an actor playing him. Although the ad was labeled as being created with "deep learning computer technology," Perkins said it was powerful and resonated with voters. He didn’t have enough money or campaign staff to counteract it, and thinks it was one of many reasons he lost the 2022 race. A representative for the group behind the ad did not respond to a request for comment.

“One hundred percent the deepfake ad affected our campaign because we were a down-ballot, less resourced place,” said Perkins, a Democrat. “You had to pick and choose where you put your efforts.”

While such attacks are staples of the rough-and-tumble of political campaigning, the ad targeting Perkins was notable: It's believed to be one of the first examples of an AI deepfake deployed in a political race in the U.S. It also foreshadowed a dilemma facing candidates in scores of state and local races this year as generative AI has become more widespread and easier to use.


Judge orders railway to pay Washington tribe nearly $400 million for trespassing with oil trains

SEATTLE (AP) — BNSF Railway must pay nearly $400 million to a Native American tribe in Washington state, a federal judge ordered Monday after finding that the company intentionally trespassed when it repeatedly ran 100-car trains carrying crude oil across the tribe's reservation.

U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik initially ruled last year that the railway deliberately violated the terms of a 1991 easement with the Swinomish Tribe north of Seattle that allows trains to carry no more than 25 cars per day. The judge held a trial earlier this month to determine how much in profits BNSF made through trespassing from 2012 to 2021 and how much it should be required to disgorge.

The company based in Fort Worth, Texas, said in an email it had no comment on the judgment. The tribe, which has about 1,400 members, did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

The tribe sued in 2015 after BNSF dramatically increased, without the tribe’s consent, the number of cars it was running across the reservation so that it could ship crude oil from the Bakken Formation in and around North Dakota to a nearby refinery. The route crosses sensitive marine ecosystems along the coast, over water that connects with the Salish Sea, where the tribe has treaty-protected rights to fish.

Bakken oil is easier to refine into the fuels sold at the gas pump and ignites more easily. After train cars carrying Bakken crude oil exploded in Alabama, North Dakota and Quebec, a federal agency warned in 2014 that the oil has a higher degree of volatility than other crudes in the U.S.


Tens of thousands of Marylanders receive pardons for marijuana convictions

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland Gov. Wes Moore ordered more than 175,000 pardons for marijuana convictions on Monday, saying the “most sweeping state-level pardon in any state” will help reverse harms from the past caused by the war on drugs.

During a news conference, Moore said the executive order will affect “tens of thousands of Marylanders" convicted of misdemeanors. Some may have had more than one conviction pardoned through the process.

“We are taking actions that are intentional, that are sweeping and unapologetic, and this is the largest such action in our nation's history,” Moore, a Democrat, said.

Though the pardons will not result in anyone being released from incarceration — and nor will they result in having past convictions automatically expunged from a person's background check — advocates praised the move as a way of removing barriers to housing, employment, or educational opportunities based on convictions for conduct that is no longer illegal.

Heather Warnken, executive director of the University of Baltimore School of Law Center for Criminal Justice Reform. described the pardons as “a win for thousands of Marylanders getting a fresh start to pursue education, employment, and other forms of economic opportunity without the stain of a criminal conviction.”

The Associated Press