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

Nikki Haley wins the District of Columbia’s Republican primary and gets her first 2024 victory

WASHINGTON (AP) — Nikki Haley has won the Republican primary in the District of Columbia, notching her first victory of the 2024 campaign.

Her victory Sunday at least temporarily halts Donald Trump’s sweep of the GOP voting contests, although the former president is likely to pick up several hundred more delegates in this week’s Super Tuesday races.

Despite her early losses, Haley has said she would remain in the race at least through those contests, although she has declined to name any primary she felt confident she would win. Following her loss in her home state of South Carolina, Haley remained adamant that voters in the places that followed deserved an alternative to Trump despite his dominance thus far in the campaign.

The Associated Press declared Haley the winner Sunday night after D.C. Republican Party officials released the results. She won all 19 delegates at stake.

“It’s not surprising that Republicans closest to Washington dysfunction are rejecting Donald Trump and all his chaos,” Haley spokesperson Olivia Perez-Cubas said in a statement, noting that Haley became the first woman to win a Republican primary in history.


Congressional leaders come out with 6 spending bills in a drive to avoid a partial shutdown

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congressional leaders on Sunday came out with a package of six bills setting full-year spending levels for some federal agencies, a step forward in a long overdue funding process beset by sharp political divisions between the two parties as well as infighting among House Republicans.

The release of the text of legislation over the weekend was designed to meet the House's rule to give lawmakers at least 72 hours to study a bill before voting. And it's a promising sign that lawmakers will avoid a partial shutdown that would kick in at 12:01 a.m. Saturday for those agencies covered under the bill, such as Veterans Affairs, Agriculture, Transportation, Justice and others.

Congressional leaders hope to complete votes on the package this week and continue negotiations on the remaining six annual spending bills to pass them before a March 22 deadline. The price tag for the package out Sunday comes to about $460 billion, representing less than 30% of the discretionary spending Congress looks to approve for this year. The package still being negotiated includes defense spending.

House Speaker Mike Johnson highlighted some key policy and spending wins for conservatives, even as many of his GOP colleagues consider the changes inadequate. Some House Republicans had hoped the prospect of a shutdown could leverage more concessions from Democrats.

Overall, this year's spending bills would keep non-defense spending relatively flat with last year's bill, despite the rise in inflation, and some $70 billion less than what President Joe Biden originally sought.


A Supreme Court decision could come Monday in a case about barring Trump from the 2024 ballot

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Supreme Court decision could come as soon as Monday in the case about whether former President Donald Trump can be kicked off the ballot over his efforts to undo his defeat in the 2020 election.

Trump is challenging a groundbreaking decision by the Colorado Supreme Court that said he is disqualified from being president again and ineligible for the state's primary, which is Tuesday.

The resolution of the case on Monday, a day before Super Tuesday contests in 16 states, would remove uncertainty about whether votes for Trump, the leading Republican candidate for president, will ultimately count. Both sides had requested fast work by the court, which heard arguments less than a month ago, on Feb. 8,

The Colorado court was the first to invoke a post-Civil War constitutional provision aimed at preventing those who “engaged in insurrection” from holding office. Trump also has since been barred from primary ballot in Illinois and Maine, though both decisions, along with Colorado's, are on hold pending the outcome of the Supreme Court case.

The Supreme Court has until now never ruled on the provision, Section 3 of the 14th amendment.


Immigration 'parole' is a well-worn tool for US presidents. It faces a big test in 2024 elections

Joe Biden has made more use of immigration “parole” than any American president to bypass an uncooperative Congress, but he's hardly the first.

The presidential power has been a centerpiece of Biden's strategy to channel immigrants through new and expanded legal pathways and discourage illegal crossings, a radical difference from his rival Donald Trump.

Biden granted at least 1 million temporary visits, which generally include eligibility to work. Trump has said during his campaign to return to the White House that he would end the “outrageous abuse of parole.”

Parole, which was created under a 1952 law, allows the president to admit people “only on a case-by-case basis for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit.” It has been ordered 126 times by every president since then except for Trump, according to David Bier of the pro-immigration Cato Institute.

The Associated Press spoke with immigrants who arrived during four major parole waves over the past 72 years.


Rival of Netanyahu visits US, signaling wider cracks in Israel’s wartime leadership

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rebuked a top Cabinet minister arriving in Washington on Sunday for talks with U.S. officials, according to an Israeli official, signaling widening cracks within the country’s leadership nearly five months into its war with Hamas.

The trip by Benny Gantz, a centrist political rival who joined Netanyahu’s wartime Cabinet following Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, comes as friction between the U.S. and Netanyahu is rising over how to alleviate the suffering of Palestinians in Gaza and what the postwar plan for the enclave should look like.

An official from Netanyahu’s far-right Likud party said Gantz’s trip was planned without authorization from the Israeli leader. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Netanyahu had a “tough talk” with Gantz and told him the country has “just one prime minister.”

Gantz is scheduled to meet on Monday with U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris and national security adviser Jake Sullivan and on Tuesday with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, according to his National Unity Party. A second Israeli official speaking on condition of anonymity said Gantz's visit is intended to strengthen ties with the U.S., bolster support for Israel’s war and push for the release of Israeli hostages.

In Egypt, talks were underway to broker a cease-fire before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins next week.


The US and South Korea begin large military drills to boost readiness against North's threats

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea and the United States began large annual military exercises Monday to bolster their readiness against North Korean nuclear threats after the North raised animosities with an extension of missile tests and belligerent rhetoric earlier this year.

The South Korean and U.S. forces began a computer-simulated command post training called the Freedom Shield exercise and a variety of field exercises for an 11-day run, the South Korean Defense Ministry said.

North Korea had no immediate response to the major annual drills it regards as a rehearsal for invasion. The North has staged provocative weapons tests in the past in reaction to its adversaries' joint drills.

South Korea’s military said last week that it would conduct 48 field exercises with the U.S. forces this spring, twice the number conducted last year, and that they would involve live-firing, bombing, air assault and missile interception drills.

Since early 2022, North Korea has conducted more than 100 rounds of missile tests to modernize its arsenal as talks with the United States and South Korea have been stalled for an extended period. In response, the United States and South Korea have expanded their training exercises and increased the deployment of powerful U.S military assets such as aircraft carriers and long-range nuclear-capable bombers.


Kamala Harris leads Bloody Sunday memorial as marchers' voices ring out for voting rights

SELMA, Ala. (AP) — Vice President Kamala Harris told thousands gathered for the 59th anniversary of the Bloody Sunday attacks on civil rights marchers in Selma, Alabama, that fundamental freedoms, including the right to vote, are under attack in America even today.

Harris joined those gathered at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where voting rights activists were beaten back by law enforcement officers in 1965. The vice president praised the marchers' bravery for engaging in a defining moment of the civil rights struggle.

“Today, we know our fight for freedom is not over, because in this moment we are witnessing a full on attack on hard-fought, hard-won freedoms, starting with the freedom that unlocks all others, the freedom to vote,” Harris said.

She criticized attempts to restrict voting, including limits on absentee voting and early voting, and said the nation is again at a crossroad.

“What kind of country do we want to live in? Do we want to live in a country of freedom, liberty and justice? Or a country of injustice, hate and fear?” Harris asked, encouraging people to answer with their vote.


4 new astronauts head to the International Space Station for a 6-month stay

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Four astronauts headed to the International Space Station on Sunday where they will oversee the arrivals of two new rocketships during their half-year stint.

SpaceX’s Falcon rocket blasted off from Kennedy Space Center, carrying NASA’s Matthew Dominick, Michael Barratt and Jeanette Epps and Russia’s Alexander Grebenkin.

The astronauts should reach the orbiting lab on Tuesday. They will replace a crew from the U.S., Denmark, Japan and Russia, who have been there since August.

“When are you getting here already?” space station commander Andreas Mogensen asked via X, formerly Twitter, after three days of delay due to high wind.

There was almost another postponement Sunday night. A small crack in the seal of the SpaceX capsule's hatch prompted a last-minute flurry of reviews, but it was deemed safe for the whole mission.


Haiti declares a curfew as it tries to restore order after weekend jailbreak, explosion of violence

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti's government declared a state of emergency and nighttime curfew late Sunday in a bid to regain control of the streets after an explosion of violence over the weekend saw armed gang members storm the country's two biggest prisons.

The 72-hour state of emergency went into immediate effect as the government said it would set out to find the killers, kidnappers and other violent criminals that it reportedescaped from the prison.

“The police were ordered to use all legal means at their disposal to enforce the curfew and apprehend all offenders,” said a statement from Finance Minister Patrick Boivert, who is serving as acting prime minister.

Prime Minister Ariel Henry traveled abroad last week to try to salvage support for a bringing in a United Nations-backed security force to stabilize the country in its conflict with increasingly powerful crime groups.

The decree capped a deadly weekend that marked a new low in Haiti's downward spiral of violence. At least nine people had been killed since Thursday — four of them police officers — as gangs stepped up coordinated attacks on state institutions in Port-au-Prince. Targets included police stations, the country's international airport, even the national soccer stadium.


Iowa's Caitlin Clark breaks Pete Maravich's NCAA Division I scoring record

Caitlin Clark stood alone at the free-throw line on Sunday and made the foul shots that put her atop the all-time NCAA Division I scoring chart.

The flash and pizzazz of her game have made her the biggest name in all of college basketball. Yet it was two free throws after a technical foul that pushed Clark past the late Pete Maravich’s 54-year-old record in No. 6 Iowa's 93-83 win over No. 2 Ohio State.

Clark entered the game in Iowa City needing 18 points to pass Maravich’s total of 3,667, amassed in just 83 games over three seasons at LSU (1967-70). She finished with 35 to run her total to 3,685 in 130 games.

Maravich’s mark fell four days after Clark broke Lynette Woodard’s major college women’s record when she scored 33 points against Minnesota on Wednesday.

“Just to be in the same realm of all these players who have been so successful, whether it's Pete or Kelsey Plum or Lynette Woodard — all these people have just given so much to the game,” Clark said. “Hopefully somebody comes after me and breaks my records and I can be there supporting them.”

The Associated Press