Moroccans sleep in the streets for 3rd night following an earthquake that took more than 2,100 lives
AMIZMIZ, Morocco (AP) — People in Morocco slept in the streets of Marrakech for a third straight night as soldiers and international aid teams in trucks and helicopters began to fan into remote mountain towns hit hardest by a historic earthquake.
The disaster killed more than 2,100 people — a number that is expected to rise — and the United Nations estimated that 300,000 people were affected by Friday night’s magnitude 6.8 quake.
Amid offers from several countries, including the United States and France, Moroccan officials said Sunday that they are accepting international aid from just four countries: Spain, Qatar, Britain and the United Arab Emirates.
“The Moroccan authorities have carefully assessed the needs on the ground, bearing in mind that a lack of coordination in such cases would be counterproductive,” the Interior Ministry said in a statement.
While some foreign search-and-rescue teams arrived on Sunday as an aftershock rattled Moroccans already in mourning and shock, other aid teams poised to deploy grew frustrated waiting for the government to officially request assistance.
A US Navy veteran got unexpected help while jailed in Iran. Once released, he repaid the favor
WASHINGTON (AP) — Michael White had only recently arrived in a grim Iranian jail when a curious fellow prisoner, an English-speaking Iranian, approached him in the courtyard for a conversation.
The American did not reveal much at first, but it was the beginning of an unlikely friendship between White, a Navy veteran imprisoned on spying charges he says were unfounded, and Mahdi Vatankhah, a young Iranian political activist whose positions on social issues had drawn his government's ire.
As the men connected behind bars over a shared interest in politics and human rights, they developed a bond that proved vital for both.
Vatankhah, while in custody and after his release, helped White by providing White's mother with crucial, firsthand accounts about her son's status in prison and by passing along letters White had written while he was locked up. Once freed, White did not forget. He pushed successfully for Vatankhah’s admission to the United States, allowing the men to be reunited last spring inside a Los Angeles airport, something neither could have envisioned when they first met in prison years earlier.
“He risked his life to get the information out for me when I was in the prison in Iran. He really, really did,” White said in an interview alongside Vatankhah. “I told him I would do everything I could in my power to get him here because I felt, one, that would be for his safety in his own life. And also I felt he could be a great contributing member of society here.”
Biden says US outreach to Vietnam is about providing global stability, not containing China
HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — President Joe Biden said Sunday his visit to Vietnam to showcase stronger ties with Hanoi was not about trying to start a “cold war” with China, but rather was part of a broader effort to provide global stability by building U.S. relationships throughout Asia at a time of tensions with Beijing.
“It's not about containing China,” Biden said at a news conference in Vietnam's capital after attending the Group of 20 summit in India. “It's about having a stable base.”
The American president came to Hanoi as Vietnam was elevating the United States to its highest diplomatic status, comprehensive strategic partner. That is evidence of how far the relationship has evolved from what Biden referred to as the “bitter past” of the Vietnam War.
The expanded partnership reflects a broader effort across Asia to counter China's influence. Biden has said Vietnam wants to flex a degree of independence, and U.S. companies are seeking an alternative to imports from Chinese factories. He is pursuing possible allies while also trying to soothe tensions with China.
“I think we think too much in ... cold war terms,” Biden said at his news conference. “It's not about that. It's about generating economic growth and stability in all parts of the world. And that's what we're trying to do.”
A drone attack on an open market has killed at least 43 people in Sudan as rival troops battle
CAIRO (AP) — A drone attack Sunday on an open market south of Sudan's capital, Khartoum, killed at least 43 people, activists and a medical group said, as the military and a powerful rival paramilitary group battle for control of the country.
More than 55 others were wounded in the attack in Khartoum’s May neighborhood, where paramilitary forces battling the military were heavily deployed, the Sudan Doctors' Union said in a statement. The casualties were taken to Bashair University Hospital.
The Resistance Committees, an activist group that helps organize humanitarian assistance, posted footage on social media showing bodies wrapped in white sheets in an open yard at the hospital.
Sudan has been rocked by violence since mid-April, when tensions between the country’s military, led by Gen. Abdel Fattah Burhan, and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, commanded by Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, burst into open fighting.
The RSF blamed the military's air force for Sunday's attack, though it was not immediately possible to independently verify the claim. The military, meanwhile, said Sunday afternoon that it didn't target civilians, describing the RSF accusations as “false and misleading claims.”
Rubiales resigns as Spain's soccer president 3 weeks after kissing player at Women's World Cup final
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Luis Rubiales, the suspended head of the Spanish soccer federation, finally folded under immense pressure Sunday and resigned three weeks after his kiss of a player on the lips overshadowed Spain’s first-ever Women’s World Cup title.
Rubiales had been at the center of a controversy that had gone far beyond Spain’s borders and the world of sport after he kissed Jenni Hermoso during the globally televised awards ceremony after Spain beat England to win the title on Aug. 20 in Sydney, Australia. The player said the kiss was without her consent.
“After my swift suspension by FIFA, and the rest of the cases building against me, it is clear that I cannot return to the post,” Rubiales said on Sunday in a message posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.
He had already been temporarily suspended from his job by FIFA for his conduct at the final and, after soccer’s world body opened a disciplinary case, remained defiant and hostile toward those who criticized him.
Then came the most serious threat yet to Rubiales, when Spanish state prosecutors accused him on Friday of sexual assault and coercion after the kiss, two days after Hermoso formally accused him of sexual assault.
Russian strikes on Ukraine kill 2 foreign aid workers and target Kyiv
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Two foreign aid workers were reportedly killed in eastern Ukraine on Sunday as Russian shelling hit a van carrying a team of four working with a Ukrainian nongovernmental organization, while dozens of Russian drones targeted Kyiv and wounded at least one civilian.
The four volunteers from the Road to Relief group, which helps evacuate wounded people from front-line areas, were trapped inside the van as it flipped over and caught fire after being struck by shells near the town of Chasiv Yar, the organization said on its Instagram page.
Road to Relief said that Anthony Ihnat of Canada died in the attack, while German medical volunteer Ruben Mawick and Swedish volunteer Johan Mathias Thyr were seriously wounded, it said.
Road to Relief added that it couldn't trace the whereabouts of the van's fourth passenger, Emma Igual, a Spanish national who was the organization's director. Hours later, Spain’s acting Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares told Spanish media that authorities in Madrid had received “verbal confirmation” of the 32-year-old Igual's death.
The volunteers were on their way to assess the needs of civilians on the outskirts of Bakhmut, Road to Relief said, in reference to the eastern town that saw the war's longest and bloodiest battle before falling to Moscow in May. Ukrainian forces have held on to Bakhmut's western suburbs and are pushing a counteroffensive in the area.
Thailand's LGBTQ+ community draws tourists from China looking to be themselves
BANGKOK (AP) — Xinyu Wen traveled to Thailand in June, planning a two-week vacation around Bangkok's Pride parade.
Instead, the 28-year-old stayed a month and a half, as her experience at the parade gave rise to discussions and discoveries in the Thai capital's thriving LBGTQ+ community.
LGBTQ+ people from China, frequently scorned and ostracized at home, are coming to Thailand in droves, drawn by the freedom to be themselves. When Wen walked along the parade on the streets in Bangkok, “I felt like I was in a big party or a huge amusement park. We could forget all upsetting things and feel fun-filled,” she said.
Bangkok is only a 5-hour flight from Beijing, and Thailand’s tourism authorities actively promote its status as among the most open to LGBTQ+ people in the region.
Wen got interested in Thailand when her friend sent her a photo of rainbow-colored, Pride-themed ice cream being sold on the streets.
Why the United Auto Workers union is poised to strike major US car makers this week
DETROIT (AP) — About 146,000 U.S. auto workers are set to go on strike this week if General Motors, Ford and Stellantis fail to meet their demands for big pay raises and the restoration of concessions the workers made years ago when the companies were in financial trouble.
Shawn Fain, the combative president of the United Auto Workers union, has threatened to strike any of the three companies that hasn't reached an agreement by the time its contract with the union expires at 11:59 p.m. Eastern time Thursday.
Both sides began exchanging wage and benefit proposals last week. Though some incremental progress appears to have been made, a final agreement could come too late to avoid walkouts by UAW workers at factories in multiple states. Any strike would likely cause significant disruptions for auto production in the United States.
Here's a rundown of the issues that are standing in the way of new contract agreements and what consumers could face if a prolonged strike occurs:
The union has asked for 46% raises in general pay over four years — an increase that would elevate a top-scale assembly plant worker from $32 an hour now to about $47. In addition, the UAW has demanded an end to varying tiers of wages for factory jobs; a 32-hour week with 40 hours of pay; the restoration of traditional defined-benefit pensions for new hires who now receive only 401(k)-style retirement plans; and a return of cost-of-living pay raises, among other benefits.
Families in Gaza have waited years to move into new homes. Political infighting is keeping them out
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israeli fighter jets bombed the Zorob family’s two-story home in the Gaza Strip in 2019, leaving nothing but a pile of debris and despair.
Four years later, the 10-member family lives in a 20-square-meter (215-square-foot) hut covered with nylon sheets as they wait to move into a permanent home.
A sprawling housing project, part of a $500-million Egyptian-funded renewal effort in Gaza, has raised hopes for hundreds of needy families like the Zorobs who have lost their homes in the conflict with Israel.
But weeks before the spotless white buildings are set to be completed, there is no word on who qualifies for the 1,400 apartments — or even how to apply for one, as Gaza’s Hamas rulers and the rival, internationally recognized Palestinian Authority bicker over who will be in charge.
“No one cares,” said 31-year-old Mohammed Zorob, blaming both sides for the delays. “They are sitting under air conditioners with their children and they don’t care about us.”
Hawaii volcano Kilauea erupts after nearly two months of quiet
HONOLULU (AP) — Kilauea, one of the most active volcanoes in the world, began erupting Sunday after a two-month pause, displaying glowing lava that is a safe distance from people and structures in a national park on the Big Island.
The Hawaii Volcano Observatory said the eruption was observed in the afternoon at the summit of Kilauea.
The observatory said gases released by the eruption will cause volcanic smog downwind of Kilauea. People living near the park should try to avoid volcanic particles spewed into the air by the eruption, the observatory said.
The volcano’s alert level was raised to warning status and the aviation color code went to red as scientists evaluate the eruption and associated hazards.
In June, Kilauea erupted for several weeks, displaying fountains of red lava without threatening any communities or structures. Crowds of people flocked to the Big Island’s Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, which offered safe views of the lava.
The Associated Press