After weeks in besieged Gaza, some foreign nationals and wounded Palestinians are allowed to leave
RAFAH, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israeli ground troops have advanced to “the gates of Gaza City” in heavy fighting with militants, the military said Wednesday, as hundreds of foreign nationals and dozens of seriously injured Palestinians were allowed to leave Gaza after more than three weeks under siege.
The news came as U.S. President Joe Biden called for a humanitarian “pause” in the fighting. Biden was speaking at a Minneapolis campaign fundraiser when a protester interrupted him, calling for a cease-fire.
“I think we need a pause,” Biden responded. White House officials later said a break in fighting would allow more aid to get into Gaza and create a possibility for more hostages held by Hamas to be freed.
The first people to leave Gaza — other than four hostages released by Hamas and another rescued by Israeli forces — crossed into Egypt, escaping the territory’s growing misery as bombings drive hundreds of thousands from their homes, and food, water and fuel run low.
The U.S. State Department said some American citizens were among those who left, without giving specifics. It said it expected more Americans and other foreign nationals to get out of Gaza in coming days. Talks were reportedly ongoing among Egypt, Israel and Qatar, which has been mediating with Hamas.
Opposition mounts in Arab countries that normalized relations with Israel
RABAT, Morocco (AP) — Arab nations that have normalized or are considering improving relations with Israel are coming under growing public pressure to cut those ties because of Israel's war with Hamas.
Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets of Rabat and other Moroccan cities in support of the Palestinians. In Bahrain — a country that almost never allows protest — police stood by as hundreds of people marched last month, waving flags and gathering in front of the Israeli Embassy in Manama.
The demonstrations, which mirror protests across the Middle East, present an uncomfortable dilemma for governments that have enjoyed the benefits of closer military and economic ties with Israel in recent years.
In Egypt, which has had ties with Israel for decades, protesters rallied in cities and at universities, at times chanting “Death to Israel." A parliamentary committee in Tunisia last week advanced a draft law that would criminalize normalization with Israel.
In Morocco and Bahrain, the public anger has an additional dimension; activists are demanding the reversal of agreements that formalize ties with Israel, underscoring discord between the governments and public opinion.
Donald Trump Jr. testifies he never worked on the key documents in his father's civil fraud trial
NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump Jr. testified Wednesday that he never worked on his father's financial statements, the documents now at the heart of the civil fraud trial that threatens former President Donald Trump’s real estate empire.
The ex-president's eldest son is an executive vice president of the family's Trump Organization and has been a trustee of a trust set up to hold its assets when his father was in the White House.
At least one of the annual financial statements bore language saying the trustees “are responsible” for the document. But Donald Trump Jr. said he didn't recall ever working on any of the financial statements and had “no specific knowledge” of them.
The lawsuit centers on whether the former president and his business misled banks and insurers by inflating his net worth on the financial statements. He and other defendants, including sons Donald Jr. and Eric, deny wrongdoing.
Trump Jr. said he signed off on statements as a trustee, but had left the work to outside accountants and the company's then-finance chief, Allen Weisselberg.
Hearing to determine if Trump can be barred from office reaches far back in history for answers
DENVER (AP) — The effort to ban former President Donald Trump from the ballot under the Constitution's “insurrection clause” turned to distant history on Wednesday, when a law professor testified about how the post-Civil War provision was indeed intended to apply to presidential candidates.
Gerard Magliocca, of Indiana University, said there was scant scholarship on Section Three of the 14th Amendment when he began researching it in late 2020. He testified that he uncovered evidence in 150-year-old court rulings, congressional testimony and presidential executive orders that it applied to presidents and to those who simply encouraged an insurrection rather than physically participated in one.
Magliocca didn't mention Trump by name, but the plaintiffs in the case have argued that Colorado must ban him from the ballot because his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol, which was intended to halt Congress' certification of Joe Biden's win and keep Trump in power, falls under the provision. The section originally was designed to prevent former Confederates from returning to their old federal and state jobs and taking over the government.
“It was not intended as punishment,” Magliocca said of the ban. “A number of senators discussed the fact that this was simply adding another qualification to office.”
Trump’s attorneys on Wednesday moved for an immediate ruling dismissing the case because they said the plaintiffs had not proved that Trump “incited” the Jan. 6 riot, saying all his actions were legal speech. District Court Judge Sarah B. Wallace denied the motion, noting that many of the legal questions raised during the hearing have never been addressed by a court before and that she'll rule on them later.
Bob Knight, Indiana’s combustible coaching giant, dies at age 83
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Bob Knight, the brilliant and combustible coach who won three NCAA titles at Indiana and for years was the scowling face of college basketball, has died. He was 83.
Knight's family made the announcement on social media on Wednesday night. He was hospitalized with an illness in April and had been in poor health for several years.
“It is with heavy hearts that we share that Coach Bob Knight passed away at his home in Bloomington surrounded by his family,” the statement said. “We are grateful for all the thoughts and prayers, and appreciate the continued respect for our privacy as Coach requested a private family gathering, which is being honored."
Knight was among the winningest and most controversial coaches in the sport, finishing his career with 902 victories in 42 seasons at Army, Indiana and Texas Tech while mentoring some of America's best coaches.. He also coached the U.S. Olympic team to a gold medal in 1984.
The Hall of Famer cared little what others thought of him, choosing Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” to celebrate his 880th win in 2007, then the record for a Division I men’s coach.
Rep. George Santos survives effort to expel him from the House. But he still faces an ethics report
WASHINGTON (AP) — Rep. George Santos easily survived a vote Wednesday to expel him from the House as most Republicans and 31 Democrats opted to withhold punishment while both his criminal trial and a House Ethics Committee investigation proceed.
The effort to kick Santos out of the House was led by his fellow New York Republicans, who are anxious to distance themselves from a colleague infamous for fabricating his life story and accused of stealing from donors, lying to Congress and receiving unemployment benefits he did not deserve.
But the resolution failed to gain the required two-thirds vote. Supporters could not even gain a simple majority, with the final vote being 179 for expulsion and 213 against.
To succeed, numerous Republican lawmakers would have had to break ranks with newly elected Speaker Mike Johnson, who has said Santos should get his day in court. Johnson, R-La., also recently told Fox News that if Congress is going to expel members because they are charged with a crime or accused of wrongdoing, “that's a problem.”
Some Democrats also voiced concerns about getting ahead of the Ethics Committee, which issued a rare memo the day before, citing the depth of its investigation with some 40 witnesses contacted and the issuance of 37 subpoenas. It also said the next steps of the committee's investigation would be announced by Nov. 17.
Republicans confront Tuberville over military holds in extraordinary showdown on Senate floor
WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican senators angrily challenged Sen. Tommy Tuberville on his blockade of almost 400 military officers Wednesday evening, taking over the Senate floor for hours to call for individual confirmation votes after a monthslong stalemate.
Tuberville, R-Ala., stood and objected over and over again, extending his holds on the military confirmations and promotions with no immediate resolution in sight. But the extraordinary confrontation between Republicans, boiling over nine months after Tuberville first announced the holds over a Pentagon abortion policy, escalated the standoff as Defense Department officials have repeatedly said the backlog of officials needing confirmation could endanger national security.
“Why are we putting holds on war heroes?" asked Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan of Alaska, himself a colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. “I don't understand.”
Sullivan said if the standoff continues and officers leave the military, Tuberville's blockade will be remembered as a "national security suicide mission.”
South Carolina Sen. Lindsay Graham told Tuberville, who mostly sat quiet and alone as they talked, that he should sue the military if he thinks the policy is illegal. “That’s how you handle these things,” Graham said.
The mayors of five big cities seek a meeting with Biden about how to better manage arriving migrants
WASHINGTON (AP) — The mayors of Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles and New York are pressing to meet with President Joe Biden about getting federal help in managing the surge of migrants they say are arriving in their cities with little to no coordination, support or resources from his administration.
The Democratic leaders say in a letter obtained by The Associated Press on Wednesday that while they appreciate Biden's efforts so far, much more needs to be done to ease the burden on their cities.
Migrants are sleeping in police station foyers in Chicago. In New York, a cruise ship terminal was turned into a shelter. In Denver, the number of migrants arriving has increased tenfold and available space to shelter them has withered. With fewer available work authorizations, these migrants cannot find work that would allow them to get into proper housing.
Denver Mayor Mike Johnston, who is leading the coalition, said nearly every conversation he has had with arriving migrants is the same: Can he help them find a job, they ask.
“The crisis is we have folks here who desperately want to work. And we have employers here who desperately want to hire them. And we have a federal government that’s standing in the way of employers who want to hire employees who want to work,” Johnston said.
Why was Maine shooter allowed to have guns? Questions swirl in wake of massacre
LEWISTON, Maine (AP) — A history of mental illness. An array of weapons. Law enforcement knew about his potential for violence. But he was still able to own guns and commit the deadliest mass shooting in Maine’s history.
One week later, many in Lewiston and nationwide are asking: Why did he have guns at all?
Robert Card was identified by authorities as a person of interest four hours after he shot and killed 18 people and wounded 13 others at a bowling alley and a bar in Maine’s second-largest city. But Card, who was found dead two days after his rampage, had been well known to law enforcement for months.
“This is the clearest-cut case I’ve seen where an extreme risk protection order could have saved all these lives,” said Mark Collins, federal policy director at the gun-violence prevention group Brady, referring to measures often called “ red flag” laws, which Maine does not have.
“This guy did everything short of taking out a front-page ad in the newspaper saying he was going to commit an atrocity,” Collins said.
Federal Reserve leaves its key rate unchanged but keeps open possibility of a future hike
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve kept its key short-term interest rate unchanged Wednesday for a second straight time but left the door open to further rate hikes if inflation pressures should accelerate in the months ahead.
The Fed said in a statement after its latest meeting that it would keep its benchmark rate at about 5.4%, its highest level in 22 years. Since launching the most aggressive series of rate hikes in four decades in March 2022 to fight inflation, the Fed has pulled back and has now raised rates only once since May.
The central bank's latest statement noted that the economy “expanded at a strong pace” in the July-September quarter and that job gains “remain strong.” And it reiterated that future rate hikes, if the Fed finds them necessary, remain under consideration.
But it also acknowledged that recent tumult in the financial markets has sent interest rates on 10-year Treasury notes to near 16-year highs and contributed to higher loan rates across the economy — a trend that helps serve the Fed's goal of cooling the economy and inflation pressures.
At a news conference, Chair Jerome Powell suggested that the Fed was edging closer to the end of its rate-hiking campaign. He noted that the sharply higher longer-term rates could help lower inflation without necessarily requiring further rate hikes from the Fed. And he highlighted a steady decline in pay increases, which tends to ease inflation because companies may find it less necessary to offset their labor costs by raising prices.
The Associated Press