AP News in Brief at 11:04 p.m. EDT

US paused bomb shipment to Israel to signal concerns over Rafah invasion, official says

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. paused a shipment of bombs to Israel last week over concerns that Israel was approaching a decision on launching a full-scale assault on the southern Gaza city of Rafah against the wishes of the U.S., a senior administration official said Tuesday.

The shipment was supposed to consist of 1,800 2,000-pound (900-kilogram) bombs and 1,700 500-pound (225-kilogram) bombs, according to the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive matter, with the focus of U.S. concern being the larger explosives and how they could be used in a dense urban setting. More than 1 million civilians are sheltering in Rafah after evacuating other parts of Gaza amid Israel's war on Hamas, which came after the militant group's deadly attack on Israel on Oct. 7.

The U.S. has historically provided enormous amounts of military aid for Israel. That has only accelerated in the aftermath of Hamas' Oct. 7 attack that killed some 1,200 in Israel and led to about 250 being taken captive by militants. The pausing of the aid shipment is the most striking manifestation of the growing daylight between Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government and the administration of President Joe Biden, which has called on Israel to do far more to protect the lives of innocent civilians in Gaza.

Biden’s administration in April began reviewing future transfers of military assistance as Netanyahu’s government appeared to move closer toward an invasion of Rafah, despite months of opposition from the White House. The official said the decision to pause the shipment was made last week and no final decision had been made yet on whether to proceed with the shipment at a later date.

U.S. officials had declined for days to comment on the halted transfer, word of which came as Biden on Tuesday described U.S. support for Israel as “ironclad, even when we disagree.”


Inside the courtroom where Trump was forced to listen to Stormy Daniels

NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump squirmed and scowled, shook his head and muttered as Stormy Daniels described the unexpected sex she says they had nearly two decades ago, saying she remembered “trying to think of anything other than what was happening.”

It was a story Daniels has told before. This time, Trump had no choice but to sit and listen.

Years in the making, the in-person showdown between the former president and the porn actor who has become one of his nemeses happened Tuesday in a New York courtroom that has become the plainspoken stage for the historic spectacle of Trump’s hush money trial, where the gravitas of the first-ever criminal trial of a former U.S. commander-in-chief butts up against a crass and splashy tale of sex, tabloids and payoffs.

It’s often said that actual trials are not like the TV drama versions, and in that way, this one is no exception — a methodical and sometimes static proceeding of questions, answers and rules. But if Tuesday’s testimony wasn’t an electric scene of outbursts and tears, it was no less stunning for its sheer improbability.

Daniels’ testimony had been speculated about for as long as Trump has been under indictment. But when it would happen was still a mystery until Tuesday morning, when her lawyer Clark Brewster confirmed in an email to an Associated Press reporter that it was “likely today.”


Israel seizes Gaza's vital Rafah crossing, but the US says it isn't the full invasion many fear

CAIRO (AP) — Israeli troops seized control of Gaza’s vital Rafah border crossing on Tuesday in what the White House described as a limited operation, as fears mount of a full-scale invasion of the southern city and talks with Hamas over a cease-fire and hostage release remain on a knife’s edge.

The U.N. warned of a potential collapse of the flow of aid to Palestinians from the closure the Rafah crossing from Egypt and the other main crossing into Gaza, Kerem Shalom, from Israel, at a time when U.N. officials say northern Gaza is experiencing “full-blown famine.”

The Israeli foray came after hours of whiplash in the now 7-month-old Israel-Hamas war, with the militant group saying Monday it accepted a cease-fire proposal that Israel insisted fell short of its own core demands.

The high-stakes diplomatic moves and military brinkmanship left a glimmer of hope for a deal to bring at least a pause in the war, which has killed more than 34,700 Palestinians, according to local health officials, and has devastated the Gaza Strip.

The Rafah and Kerem Shalom crossings are critical entry points for food, medicine and other supplies for Gaza’s 2.3 million people. They have been closed for at least two days, though the smaller Erez crossing between Israel and northern Gaza remains open.


After deadly Oklahoma tornado, storms bring twisters to the Midwest

DETROIT (AP) — Severe storms battered the Midwest on Tuesday, unleashing a curtain of heavy rain, gusty winds and tornadoes throughout the region a day after a deadly twister ripped through a small Oklahoma town and killed at least one person.

Tornadoes were spotted after dark Tuesday in parts of Michigan, Indiana and Ohio, while portions of Illinois, Kentucky and Missouri were also under a tornado watch, according to the National Weather Service.

Forecasters warned that the storms could stretch late into the night with the possibility of more twisters and large hail.

In southwestern Michigan, two tornadoes blitzed the city of Portage near Kalamazoo. The sheriff’s office there said multiple trees and power lines were down in the area. A FedEx building was destroyed, debris left resting on delivery vehicles, but a company spokesperson said there were no serious injuries despite the severe damage.

An estimated 50 people were trapped inside the FedEx facility as of 9:30 p.m., said Taylor Koopman, a spokesperson for the county administrator.


Boy Scouts of America changing name to more inclusive Scouting America after years of woes

IRVING, Texas (AP) — The Boy Scouts of America announced after 114 years that it will change its name and will become Scouting America in an effort to emphasize inclusion as it works to move past the turmoil of bankruptcy and a flood of sexual abuse claims.

The rebrand is another seismic shift for an organization steeped in tradition that did not allow gay youths or girls to begin joining its ranks until relatively recently. Seeking to boost flagging membership numbers, the Irving, Texas-based organization announced the name change Tuesday at its annual meeting in Florida.

“In the next 100 years we want any youth in America to feel very, very welcome to come into our programs,” Roger Krone, who took over last fall as president and chief executive officer, told The Associated Press in an interview before the announcement.

The change will officially take effect on Feb. 8, 2025, timed to the organization's 115th birthday.

The organization began allowing gay youth in 2013 and ended a blanket ban on gay adult leaders in 2015. In 2017, it made the historic announcement that girls would be accepted as Cub Scouts as of 2018 and into the flagship Boy Scout program — renamed Scouts BSA — in 2019. Over 6,000 girls have now achieved the vaunted Eagle Scout rank.


Some colleges that had been permissive of pro-Palestinian protests begin taking a tougher stance

CHICAGO (AP) — Police cleared a pro-Palestinian tent encampment at the University of Chicago on Tuesday after administrators who had initially adopted a permissive approach said the protest had crossed a line and caused growing concerns about safety.

University President Paul Alivisatos acknowledged the school’s role as a protector of freedom of speech after officers in riot gear blocked access to the school's Quad but also took an enough-is-enough stance.

“The university remains a place where dissenting voices have many avenues to express themselves, but we cannot enable an environment where the expression of some dominates and disrupts the healthy functioning of the community for the rest,” Alivisatos wrote in a message to the university community.

Tensions have continued to ratchet up in standoffs with protesters on campuses across the U.S. — and increasingly, in Europe — nearly three weeks into a movement launched by a protest at Columbia University. Some colleges cracked down immediately on protests against the Israel-Hamas war. Among those that have tolerated the tent encampments, some have begun to lose patience and call in police over concerns about disruptions to campus life, safety and the involvement of nonstudents.

Since April 18, just over 2,600 people have been arrested on 50 campuses, figures based on AP reporting and statements from universities and law enforcement agencies.


Semi-automatic gun ban nixed in Colorado’s Democratic-controlled statehouse after historic progress

DENVER (AP) — A bill to ban the sale and transfer of semi-automatic firearms was nixed in Colorado’s Democratic-controlled Legislature on Tuesday as lawmakers pressed forward with a slew of other gun control bills on the 25th anniversary year of the Columbine High School massacre.

The western state has a deep history with firearms that is pockmarked by some of the most high-profile mass shootings nationwide. Both factors loom large over gun control debates in the Legislature, complicating attempts at such bans that nine other Democratic-controlled states have in place, including California and New York.

The Colorado House passed the ban in a historic first and what proponents see as a “tremendous achievement" after roughly the same proposal was swiftly nixed last year. But some Senate Democrats are wary of the efficacy and breadth of the ban, which prohibits the sale, transfer and manufacture of semi-automatic firearms.

Colorado’s blue shift is evident in part by a number of successful gun control measures passed last year, including raising the buying age for a gun from 18 to 21. Some half-dozen proposals are nearing passage this year, including a bill to put a measure on the November 2024 ballot to tax sales of guns and ammunition. Another would give the Colorado Bureau of Investigation more power to investigate gun sales that are already illegal.

The state’s purple roots have frustrated attempts at a broader ban.


Transgender activists flood Utah tip line with hoax reports to block bathroom law enforcement

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Transgender activists have flooded a Utah tip line created to alert state officials to possible violations of a new bathroom law with thousands of hoax reports in an effort to shield trans residents and their allies from any legitimate complaints that could lead to an investigation.

The onslaught has led the state official tasked by the law with managing the tip line, Utah Auditor John Dougall, to bemoan getting stuck with the cumbersome task of filtering through fake complaints while also facing backlash for enforcing a law he had no role in passing.

“No auditor goes into auditing so they can be the bathroom monitors," Dougall said Tuesday. "I think there were much better ways for the Legislature to go about addressing their concerns, rather than this ham-handed approach.”

In the week since it launched, the online tip line already has received more than 10,000 submissions, none of which seem legitimate, he said. The form asks people to report public school employees who knowingly allow someone to use a facility designated for the opposite sex.

Utah residents and visitors are required by law to use bathrooms and changing rooms in government-owned buildings that correspond with their birth sex. As of last Wednesday, schools and agencies found not enforcing the new restrictions can be fined up to $10,000 per day for each violation.


Mother of Australian surfers killed in Mexico gives moving tribute to sons at a beach in San Diego

MEXICO CITY (AP) — The mother of two Australian surfers killed in Mexico delivered a moving tribute to her sons Tuesday at a beach in San Diego.

“Our hearts are broken and the world has become a darker place for us,” Debra Robinson said, fighting back tears. “They were young men enjoying their passion of surfing together.”

Her sons, Callum and Jake, were allegedly killed by car thieves in Baja California, across the border from San Diego, somewhere around April 28 or 29.

Robinson also mourned the American who was killed with them, Jack Carter Rhoad.

The beachside location where she spoke, across the border from the Baja California city of Tijuana, was no coincidence. She noted that her son Callum “considered the United States his second home."


Spartz fends off Republican rivals to win contentious Indiana congressional primary

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Two-term U.S. Rep. Victoria Spartz won a contentious Republican primary to defend her seat just months after she decided to run for reelection in a campaign that focused attention on her opposition to sending aid to her native Ukraine.

She defeated eight rival Republicans to secure her place on the ballot this fall in a solidly Republican district.

The first and only Ukrainian-born House member, Spartz previously backed support for the country. But ahead of her primary contest, she reversed her position and voted against sending $61 billion in aid to Ukraine. She defended the switch, arguing her loyalty is to America first and saying she wanted to see policy on the U.S.-Mexico border included in the aid package, a position largely shared by her Republican challengers.

The election in the northern suburbs of Indianapolis was in part a test of whether Spartz’s maneuvers would pay off. Her stance was widely shared among her competitors, including state Rep. Chuck Goodrich, who loaned $4.6 million to his campaign. Goodrich attacked Spartz over her previous support for Ukraine, saying she puts “Ukraine first.” Spartz trailed Goodrich in spending and fundraising by millions of dollars.

“My victory in this election is a testament to the American people and my fellow Hoosiers that money and lies do not buy elections," Spartz said in a statement. “I am honored to represent Indiana and ready to get back to work to get our great Republic back on track.”

The Associated Press