At least 16 dead in Maine shooting and dozens injured, law enforcement officials tell AP
LEWISTON, Maine (AP) — A man opened fire at a bowling alley and a bar in Lewiston, Maine, on Wednesday night, killing at least 16 people and engulfing the state's second-largest city in chaos. The suspect remained at large as authorities ordered residents and business owners to stay inside and off the streets.
Two law enforcement officials told The Associated Press dozens of people also had been wounded. The officials were not authorized to publicly discuss details of the ongoing investigation and spoke to AP on condition of anonymity.
Lewiston Police said in an earlier Facebook post that they were dealing with an active shooter incident at Schemengees Bar and Grille and Sparetime Recreation, a bowling alley about 4 miles (6.4 kilometers) away. The Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office released two photos of the suspect on its Facebook page that showed a shooter walking into an establishment with a weapon raised to their shoulder.
“Please stay off the roads to allow emergency responders access to the hospitals,” police said.
On its website, Central Maine Medical Center said staff were “reacting to a mass casualty, mass shooter event” and were coordinating with area hospitals to take in patients. A woman who answered the phone in the emergency department said no further information could be released and that the hospital itself was on lockdown.
Autoworkers reach a deal with Ford, a breakthrough toward ending strikes against Detroit automakers
DETROIT (AP) — The United Auto Workers union said Wednesday it has reached a tentative contract agreement with Ford that could be a breakthrough toward ending the nearly 6-week-old strikes against Detroit automakers.
The four-year deal, which still has to be approved by 57,000 union members at the company, could bring a close to the union’s series of strikes at targeted factories run by Ford, General Motors and Jeep maker Stellantis.
The Ford deal could set the pattern for agreements with the other two automakers, where workers will remain on strike. The UAW called on all workers at Ford to return to their jobs and said that will put pressure on GM and Stellantis to bargain. Announcements on how to do that will come later.
“We told Ford to pony up, and they did,” President Shawn Fain said in a video address to members. “We won things no one thought possible.” He added that Ford put 50% more money on the table than it did before the strike started on Sept. 15.
UAW Vice President Chuck Browning, the chief negotiator with Ford, said workers will get a 25% general wage increase, plus cost of living raises that will put the pay increase over 30%, to above $40 per hour for top-scale assembly plant workers by the end of the contract.
Mike Johnson, a staunch Louisiana conservative, is elected House speaker as GOP moves past chaos
WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans unanimously elected Rep. Mike Johnson as House speaker on Wednesday, eagerly elevating a deeply conservative but lesser-known leader to the major seat of U.S. power and ending for now the weeks of political chaos in their majority.
Johnson, 51, of Louisiana, swept through on the first ballot with support from all Republicans anxious to put the past weeks of tumult behind and get on with the business of governing. He was quickly sworn into office, second in line to the presidency.
“The people’s House is back in business,” Johnson declared after taking the gavel.
A lower-ranked member of the House GOP leadership team, Johnson emerged as the fourth Republican nominee in what had become an almost absurd cycle of political infighting since Kevin McCarthy's ouster as GOP factions jockeyed for power. While not the party's top choice for the gavel, the deeply religious and even-keeled Johnson has few foes and an important GOP backer: Donald Trump.
“I think he’s gonna be a fantastic speaker,” Trump said Wednesday at the New York courthouse where the former president, who is now the Republican front-runner for president in 2024, is on trial over a lawsuit alleging business fraud.
UN warns Gaza blockade could force it to sharply cut relief missions as Israeli bombings rise
RAFAH, Gaza Strip (AP) — The U.N. warned Wednesday that it is on the verge of running out of fuel in the Gaza Strip, forcing it to sharply curtail relief efforts in the territory blockaded and devastated by Israeli airstrikes since Hamas militants launched an attack on Israel more than two weeks ago.
The warning came as hospitals in Gaza struggled to treat masses of wounded with dwindling resources. Meanwhile, the U.N.’s top official faced backlash from Israel after saying the Hamas massacre that sparked the fighting did not “take place in a vacuum.”
Health officials said the death toll was soaring as Israeli jets pounded Gaza. Workers pulled dead and wounded civilians, including many children, out of landscapes of rubble in cities across the territory.
Gaza’s Health Ministry, which is controlled by Hamas, said more than 750 people were killed over the past 24 hours. The Associated Press could not independently verify the death toll, and it was not known if the count included any militants.
The Israeli military, which accuses Hamas of operating among civilians, said its strikes killed militants and destroyed military targets. Gaza militants have fired unrelenting rocket barrages into Israel since the conflict started.
Trump is fined $10,000 over a comment he made outside court in his New York civil fraud trial
NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump was abruptly called to the witness stand and then fined $10,000 on Wednesday after the judge in his civil fraud trial said the former president had violated a gag order. It was the second time in less than a week that Trump was penalized for his out-of-court comments.
Before imposing the latest fine, Judge Arthur Engoron summoned Trump from the defense table to testify about his comment to reporters hours earlier about “a person who’s very partisan sitting alongside” the judge.
Engoron had already ordered all participants in the trial not to comment publicly about his staff. That restriction from Oct. 3 followed a Trump social media post that maligned the judge's principal law clerk, who sits next to him.
Trump and his lawyers insisted that his comment Wednesday was not about the clerk. They said he was referring to Michael Cohen, a former Trump attorney who had been testifying.
Engoron said Trump's claim was “not credible," noting that he sat closer to the clerk than to Cohen.
White House throws lavish state dinner for Australia but turns down pizazz a notch in time of war
WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House turned down the pizazz for Wednesday's state dinner, but more than 300 guests from politics, business, government and beyond turned out to celebrate close U.S. ties to ally Australia while striking a measured tone in a time of death and suffering in the Middle East.
The celebrity quotient was lower than usual for the fourth state dinner of President Joe Biden's term, but actor John Leguizamo happily represented Hollywood and guessed that he was invited because of his work helping to elect the president.
As for what legislator he'd most like to be cast as, Leguizamo thought for a minute and declared “Schumer” — as in Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer — and joked that he might get a chance to talk it over with the New York Democrat during dinner.
Most women wore gowns in more muted tones for this fall soiree than the eye-popping colors prominent at the state dinner for India earlier this year. Caroline Kennedy, the U.S. ambassador to Australia, stood out in her black lace gown with colorful parrots embroidered on the lower half.
Most guests rushed past a group of reporters watching the arrivals, but some lawmakers approached to offer comments about the Israel-Hamas war or the three-week fight among House Republicans to elect a new speaker so Congress could get back to work.
Hurricane Otis unleashes massive flooding in Acapulco, triggers landslides before dissipating
ACAPULCO, Mexico (AP) — Hurricane Otis tore across Mexico's southern Pacific coast as a powerful and dangerous Category 5 hurricane Wednesday, unleashing massive flooding in the resort city of Acapulco, sending sheets of earth down steep mountainsides, and cutting power and cell service in large swaths of the state of Guerrero.
While little is known about possible deaths or the full extent of the damage — Acapulco was still mostly inaccessible by road as of late Wednesday — experts are calling Otis the strongest storm in history to make landfall along the Eastern Pacific Coast.
The hurricane had dissipated over the mountains by Wednesday afternoon, but appeared to have left a fair amount of devastation in its wake.
Acapulco's Diamond Zone, an oceanfront area replete with hotels, restaurants and other tourist attractions, looked to be mostly underwater in drone footage that Foro TV posted online Wednesday afternoon, with boulevards and bridges completely hidden by an enormous lake of brown water.
Large buildings had their walls and roofs partially or completely ripped off. Dislodged solar panels, cars and debris littered the lobby of one severely damaged hotel. People wandered up to their waists in water in some areas, while on other less-flooded streets soldiers shoveled rubble and fallen palm fronds from the pavement.
Driver in Malibu crash that killed 4 college students pleads not guilty to murder, held on $4M bail
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The 22-year-old driver of a BMW that struck and killed four Pepperdine University students in Malibu, California, last week pleaded not guilty Wednesday to four counts of murder, and prosecutors said he was speeding at more than 100 mph moments before the crash.
Fraser Michael Bohm was also charged with four counts of gross vehicular manslaughter, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced at a news conference. Bohm entered not-guilty pleas to the eight felony charges at a court hearing Wednesday, a day after his arrest.
Investigators believe Bohm's car reached 104 mph (167 kph) on a winding stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway where the posted speed limit is 45 mph (72 kph), Gascón said.
“The investigation revealed the defendant knew his actions were dangerous to human life and deliberately acted with a conscious disregard for human life,” he said.
The defendant’s attorney, Michael Kraut, told The Associated Press the crash occurred as Bohm was being chased following a road rage incident. Bohm had been texting at a stop light when a man in another car began shouting and then pursued him, Kraut said.
International terror defendants face longer prison terms than domestic counterparts, new study finds
People convicted of crimes related to domestic extremism face far shorter prison terms than those convicted in international terrorism cases, even when the crimes are similar, a new report on the outcomes of hundreds of federal criminal cases has found.
The first-of-its-kind analysis, completed by terrorism researchers at the University of Maryland, was provided exclusively to The Associated Press. It comes after federal officials and researchers have repeatedly identified domestic violent extremists such as white supremacists and anti-government groups as the most significant terror threat to the U.S. And it follows scrutiny of the outcomes of Jan. 6 cases, including for some Oath Keepers and Proud Boys who received sentences years lower than what was called for by prosecutors and sentencing guidelines.
President Joe Biden has echoed the concerns about domestic terrorism, calling it a “stain on the soul of America” and the “ most urgent terrorism threat ” faced by the country, yet the new analysis shows that on average, domestic extremists receive more lenient penalties.
“This research is significant in confirming empirically what many have long argued: international terrorism cases are sentenced more harshly than domestic cases, even when the conduct is the same, and that these disparities are due to a combination of differences in the law and biases in implementing them,” said Shirin Sinnar, a professor at Stanford Law School, who was not involved in the research but reviewed it at the request of the AP.
Researchers at the University of Maryland's National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, or START, and its Center for Health and Homeland Security examined federal criminal cases between 2014 and 2019 that were brought against people radicalized in the U.S. who were pursuing political, social, economic or religious goals.
No. 1 pick Victor Wembanyama debuts with the Spurs and the world is watching
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — The Victor Wembanyama era is underway in San Antonio.
Wembanyama made his NBA debut with the Spurs against the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night and made an immediate splash.
The No. 1 pick in the NBA draft blocked a shot in the opening minute of the game and misfired on a 3-point attempt from the top of the key. But the 19-year-old who stands nearly 7-foot-4 found his spot and scored his first NBA points with a 3-pointer — again from near the top of the key — at the 8:25 mark of the first quarter.
Wembanyama played pro basketball in France before being drafted. His first game in the NBA had the world watching.
“How can I deny that,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said prior to Wednesday's game. “It’s pretty obvious. Victor’s had a lot of attention pointed toward him for a very long time and that’s not going to change. Fortunately for us, he’s a really mature, prioritized young man that knows what he wants. He’s already a pro.”
The Associated Press