Israel presses on with its Gaza offensive after US veto derails Security Council efforts to halt war
DEIR AL-BALAH, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israel's military pushed ahead with its punishing air and ground offensive in Gaza on Saturday, bolstered by a U.S. veto derailing U.N. Security Council efforts to end the war and word that an emergency sale of $106 million worth of tank ammunition had been approved by Washington.
Unable to leave Gaza, a territory 25 miles (40 kilometers) long by about 7 miles (11 kilometers) wide, more than 2 million Palestinians faced more bombardment Saturday, even in areas that Israel had described as safe zones.
The sale of nearly 14,000 rounds of tank ammunition was announced a day after the U.S. vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire in Gaza, a measure that had wide international support. The U.S. said Secretary of State Antony Blinken determined that “an emergency exists” in the national interest requiring the immediate sale, meaning it bypasses congressional review. Such a determination is rare.
A day after Israel confirmed it was rounding up Palestinian men for interrogation, some men released Saturday told The Associated Press they had been treated badly, providing the first accounts of the conditions from the detentions.
Osama Oula said Israeli troops had pulled men out of a building in the Shujaiyah area of Gaza City, ordering them to the street in their underwear. Oula said Israeli forces bound him and others with zip ties, beat them for several days and gave them little water to drink.
‘Shadows of children:’ For the youngest hostages, life moves forward in whispers
HERZLIYA, Israel (AP) — After seven weeks held hostage in the tunnels of Gaza, they are finally free to laugh and chat and play. But some of the children who have come back from captivity are still reluctant to raise their voices above a whisper.
In theory, they can eat what they want, sleep as much as they choose and set aside their fears. In practice, some have had to be convinced there’s no longer a need to save a cherished bit of food in case there is none later.
At last, the 86 Israelis released during a short-lived truce between their government and Hamas are home. But the Oct. 7 attack by Palestinian militants on roughly 20 towns and villages left many of the children among them without permanent homes to go back to. Some of their parents are dead and others are still held hostage, foreshadowing the difficulty of days ahead.
And so, step by step, these children, the mothers and grandmothers who were held alongside them, and their families are testing the ground for a path to recovery. No one, including the physicians and psychologists who have been treating them, is sure how to get there or how long it might take.
“It’s not easy in any way. I mean, they’re back. They’re free. But you can definitely see what they went through,” said Yuval Haran, whose family is celebrating the reunion with his two nieces, their mother and grandmother, while yearning for the return of the girls’ father, who remains a captive.
Liz Magill, U. Penn's president, and board chair resign as antisemitism testimony draws backlash
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The University of Pennsylvania’s president has resigned amid pressure from donors and criticism over testimony at a congressional hearing where she was unable to say under repeated questioning that calls on campus for the genocide of Jews would violate the school’s conduct policy.
The chairman of the Ivy League school's board of trustees, Scott Bok, also resigned immediately during a trustees meeting Saturday evening, just hours after Bok announced Liz Magill's departure as president in just her second year.
Bok, a supporter of Magill's, defended her through several months of criticism over the university’s handling of various perceived acts of antisemitism.
He called her a good person and talented leader who is not “the slightest bit antisemitic,” but gave a legalistic and wooden response after being worn down by months of criticism and hours of questioning in the congressional hearing.
“Following that, it became clear that her position was no longer tenable, and she and I concurrently decided that it was time for her to exit,” Bok said in a statement also announcing his resignation.
It's taking longer to schedule abortions in the US. Doctors fear riskier, more complex procedures
A woman whose fetus was unlikely to survive called more than a dozen abortion clinics before finding one that would take her, only to be put on weekslong waiting lists. A teen waited seven weeks for an abortion because it took her mother that long to get her an appointment. Others seeking the procedure faced waits because they struggled to travel hundreds of miles for care.
Such obstacles have grown more common since Roe v. Wade was overturned in June 2022, doctors and researchers say, causing delays that can lead to abortions that are more complex, costly and in some cases riskier — especially as pregnancies get further along.
About half of U.S. states now have laws that ban or restrict access to abortion. Because of that, many clinics don't offer the procedure, which has increased demand for appointments at the remaining providers.
At various points since Roe, waits in several states stretched for two or three weeks, and some clinics had no available appointments, according to results of a periodic survey spearheaded by Middlebury College economics professor Caitlin Myers and recently provided to The Associated Press. Doctors and researchers say even as wait times have lessened, people still encounter other challenges, like planning and paying for travel, taking time off work and finding child care.
“All of those things can contribute to delays, and then it kind of becomes like this vicious circle,” said Dr. Daniel Grossman, an OB-GYN at the University of California, San Francisco, who co-authored a research report earlier this year that compiled anecdotes from health care providers after Roe was overturned.
LSU QB Jayden Daniels overcomes being out of playoff hunt to win Heisman Trophy with prolific season
NEW YORK (AP) — LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels overcame being outside the playoff race with a prolific season that Heisman Trophy voters could not ignore.
Daniels won the Heisman Trophy on Saturday night, becoming the first player since 2016 to win college football's most prestigious player of the year award as part of a team that did not play for a conference championship.
The fifth-year player, who transferred from Arizona State to LSU in 2022, received 503 first-place votes and 2,029 points.
“This is a dream come true,” Daniels started his acceptance speech.
Washington's Michael Penix Jr. was the the runner-up with 292 first-place votes and 1,701 points and Oregon's Bo Nix was third (51, 885), putting transfer quarterbacks in each of the top three spots. Ohio State receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. finished fourth (20, 352).
New US aid for Ukraine by year-end seems increasingly of out reach as GOP ties it to border security
WASHINGTON (AP) — A deal to provide further U.S. assistance to Ukraine by year-end appears to be increasingly out of reach for President Joe Biden. The impasse is deepening in Congress despite dire warnings from the White House about the consequences of inaction as Republicans insist on pairing the aid with changes to America's immigration and border policies.
After the Democratic president said this past week he was willing to “make significant compromises on the border,” Republicans quickly revived demands that they had earlier set aside, hardening their positions and attempting to shift the negotiations to the right, according to a person familiar with the talks who was not authorized to publicly discuss them and spoke on condition of anonymity.
The latest proposal, from the lead GOP negotiator, Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., came during a meeting with a core group of senators before they left Washington on Thursday afternoon. It could force the White House to consider ideas that many Democrats will seriously oppose, throwing new obstacles in the difficult negotiations.
Biden is facing the prospect of a cornerstone of his foreign policy — repelling Russian President Vladimir Putin from overtaking Ukraine — crumbling as U.S. support for funding the war wanes, especially among Republicans. The White House says a failure to approve more aid by year's end could have catastrophic consequences for Ukraine and its ability to fight.
To preserve U.S. backing, the Biden administration has quietly engaged in Senate talks on border policy in recent weeks, providing assistance to the small group of senators trying to reach a deal and communicating what policy changes it would find acceptable.
With Putin's reelection all but assured, Russia's opposition still vows to undermine his image
TALLINN, Estonia (AP) — Behind bars in penal colonies or in self-exile abroad, Russian opposition figures vow they will still put up a fight against President Vladimir Putin as he seeks yet another term in office in an election in March.
Although they believe Putin will be declared the winner no matter how voters cast their ballots, they say they hope to undermine the widespread public support he enjoys, turn popular opinion against the devastating war he unleashed on Ukraine, and show those who oppose it already that they are not alone.
“No one but us will step into this battle for the hearts and the minds of our fellow citizens. So we need to do it and win,” imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny said in an online statement relayed from behind bars.
Putin, 71, announced Friday that he will run for president again, to pile another six years onto his two dozen in power. He could even run again in 2030.
The vote is scheduled for March 15-17, with his victory all but assured. The vast majority of opposition figures are either imprisoned or have fled the country, almost all independent news outlets have been blocked, and any criticism has been muted by a slew of repressive laws adopted over the last decade.
GOP presidential candidates share stories of family and faith. Offstage, their sharp edges reemerged
SIOUX CENTER, Iowa (AP) — A trio of Republican presidential candidates shared stories of family and faith before hundreds of voters in northwest Iowa on Saturday, having congenial individual conversations with their hosts not long after dueling at the campaign's latest fractious debate. But off the stage at a small Christian college in Sioux Center, the rivals' sharp edges reemerged.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy leaned on their families to drive home their origin stories, without other candidates interrupting, at the event held in a rural, conservative corner of a state that holds the leadoff contest on the election calendar in about a month.
Later, DeSantis and Ramaswamy both went after Haley, a further sign that her opponents see her as a growing threat in the 2024 race where former President Donald Trump, who skipped the event, is the front-runner in polls of Republicans nationwide and Iowa, where the caucuses are set for Jan. 15.
After DeSantis' time with the moderators, U.S. Rep. Randy Feenstra and his wife, Lynette, he returned to a recurring campaign theme: Haley's campaign is funded by liberal Democrats and Wall Street donors and she is “taking positions that are more palatable to those folks.”
Ramaswamy told reporters that his criticisms of Haley at Wednesday night's debate were intended to illustrate the “deep ideological divide” in the Republican Party. He said he was unfairly being criticized himself for targeting Haley, the only woman in the race.
Protests at UN climate talks, from cease-fire calls to detainees, see 'shocking level of censorship'
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Activists designated Saturday a day of protest at the COP28 summit in Dubai. But the rules of the game in the tightly controlled United Arab Emirates at the site supervised by the United Nations meant sharp restrictions on what demonstrators could say, where they could walk and what their signs could portray.
At times, the controls bordered on the absurd.
A small group of demonstrators protesting the detention of activists — one from Egypt and two from the UAE — was not allowed to hold up signs bearing their names. A late afternoon demonstration of around 500 people, the largest seen at the climate conference, couldn't go beyond the U.N.-governed Blue Zone in this autocratic nation. And their calls for a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip couldn't name the parties involved.
“It is a shocking level of censorship in a space that had been guaranteed to have basic freedoms protected like freedom of expression, assembly and association,” Joey Shea, a researcher at Human Rights Watch focused on the Emirates, told The Associated Press after their restricted demonstration.
Pro-Palestinian protesters who were calling for a cease-fire and climate justice were told they could not say “from the river to the sea,” a slogan prohibited by the U.N. over the days of COP28.
6 dead, nearly 2 dozen injured after severe storms tear through central Tennessee
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Severe storms that tore through central Tennessee killed six people Saturday and sent about two dozen to the hospital as homes and businesses were damaged in multiple cities.
Three people, including a child, were killed after an apparent tornado struck Montgomery County north of Nashville near the Kentucky state line, county officials said in a news release. And the Nashville Emergency Operation Center said in a post on a social media account that three people were killed by severe storms in a neighborhood just north of downtown. Meanwhile, another 23 people were treated for injuries at hospitals in Montgomery County.
Photos posted by the Clarksville fire department on social media showed damaged houses with debris strewn in the lawns, a tractor trailer flipped on its side on a highway and insulation ripped out of building walls.
“This is devastating news and our hearts are broken for the families of those who lost loved ones,” said Clarksville Mayor Joe Pitts in a statement. “The city stands ready to help them in their time of grief.”
No other information about the victims was immediately available Saturday.
The Associated Press