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

Tornado devastates Iowa town, killing multiple people as powerful storms rip through Midwest

GREENFIELD, Iowa (AP) — Multiple people died Tuesday and at least a dozen were injured when a powerful tornado tore through a small Iowa town, carving a bleak landscape of destroyed homes and businesses, shredded trees, smashed cars, and widely strewn debris.

The tornado destroyed much of Greenfield, a town of about 2,000 around 55 miles (88.5 kilometers) southwest of Des Moines, during a day that saw multiple tornadoes, giant hail and heavy rain in several states.

“We do have confirmed fatalities,” Iowa State Patrol Sgt. Alex Dinkla said at a news conference Tuesday night. He said authorities were still determining the total number but thought they had accounted for all of the town's residents.

Dinkla said there were at least a dozen injuries amid widespread devastation in Greenfield, including at the community's small hospital. Patients there had to be transferred to other facilities in nearby cities.

Authorities said they would only allow residents to enter Greenfield until Wednesday morning and ordered media representatives to leave the city Tuesday night.


Trump's lawyers rested their case after calling just 2 witnesses. Experts say that's not unusual

NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump’s legal team rested its case Tuesday in his hush money trial after calling just two witnesses and opting not to have the former president take the stand in his own defense.

But despite what Hollywood courtroom dramas might suggest, that isn’t all that unusual, according to criminal defense lawyers and former prosecutors.

The reason is simple: Prosecutors need to prove their case, while the defense only has to show there’s reasonable doubt their client committed a crime. And defense lawyers don't necessarily need to call different witnesses to knock holes in a prosecutor's case.

“The burden is on the prosecution, and it’s a high burden,” said Sarah Krissoff, a white-collar defense lawyer and former federal prosecutor in New York.

Trump has been charged with falsifying records at his company in order to disguise the true nature of payments made in 2017 to one of his lawyers, Michael Cohen. Prosecutors say the money was for Cohen's work suppressing negative stories about his boss during the 2016 presidential campaign, including one about an alleged sexual encounter with a porn actor, Stormy Daniels. Trump, who denies Daniels' account, has said the company properly classified them as legal expenses.


UN halts all food distribution in Rafah after running out of supplies in the southern Gaza city

CAIRO (AP) — The United Nations suspended food distribution in the southern Gaza city of Rafah on Tuesday due to a lack of supplies and an untenable security situation caused by Israel’s expanding military operation. The U.N. warned that humanitarian operations across the territory were nearing collapse.

A senior United States official said Israel has addressed many of the Biden administration's concerns about a full-scale ground invasion of Rafah aimed at rooting out Hamas fighters there. U.S. President Joe Biden had previously opposed a total military assault on a city filled with displaced civilians if plans did not prioritize the safety of innocent Palestinians. The U.S. official spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment publicly.

The official said the administration stopped short of greenlighting the Israeli invasion plan, but said Israeli officials’ changes to the planning suggested they were taking the American administration’s concerns seriously.

Over the past two weeks, hundreds of thousands of people have fled Rafah in a chaotic exodus, seeking shelter in new tent camps or crowding into areas already devastated by previous Israeli offensives. Some 400,000 people are believed to still be in Rafah after around 900,000 rushed to escape, according to COGAT, the Israeli military office in charge of Palestinian civilian affairs.

Getting aid to displaced civilians has been hampered by closed and chaotic land crossings, as well as problems plaguing the U.S. military’s new floating pier meant to provide an alternative sea route for aid into Gaza. Over the weekend, hungry Palestinians took aid from a U.N. vehicle convoy coming from the pier, and the U.N. said since then it had been unable to receive trucks there.


Ex-NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani pleads not guilty to felony charges in Arizona election interference case

PHOENIX (AP) — Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani pleaded not guilty Tuesday to nine felony charges stemming from his role in an effort to overturn Donald Trump’s 2020 election loss in Arizona to Joe Biden.

Ten others, including former Arizona Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward, also pleaded not guilty to conspiracy, forgery and fraud charges related to the case. Giuliani appeared remotely for the arraignment that was held in a Phoenix courtroom. His and Ward's trials are scheduled for Oct. 17, about three weeks before the U.S. election.

The indictment alleged Giuliani spread false claims of election fraud in Arizona after the 2020 election and presided over a downtown Phoenix gathering where he claimed officials made no effort to determine the accuracy of presidential election results.

It also accused him of pressuring Maricopa County officials and state legislators to change the outcome of Arizona’s results and encouraging Republican electors in the state to vote for Trump in mid-December 2020.

During his remote appearance, Giuliani said he did not have an attorney, and that he felt capable of handling the arraignment himself.


What is in-flight turbulence, and when does it become dangerous for passengers and crews?

NEW YORK (AP) — The death of a British man and injuries impacting dozens of other people aboard a Singapore Airlines flight that hit severe turbulence Tuesday highlighted the potential dangers of flying through unstable air.

The exact cause of the 73-year-old man’s death is under investigation. Authorities said he may have suffered a heart attack, though that hasn’t been confirmed. Based on witness accounts, the number of injuries and the airliner's sharp descent, experts point to the significant safety hazards that in-flight turbulence poses to airline passengers and crews.

While turbulence-related fatalities are quite rare, injuries have piled up over the years. Some meteorologists and aviation analysts note that reports of turbulence encounters also have been increasing and point to the potential impacts that climate change may have on flying conditions.

Most incidents of planes hitting bumpy air are minor, however, and airlines have made steady improvements to reduce accident rates from turbulence over time. Experts advise air travelers to stay vigilant, stressing the importance of wearing a seat belt whenever possible as a first line of protection.

Turbulence is essentially unstable air that moves in a non-predictable fashion. Most people associate it with heavy storms. But the most dangerous type is clear-air turbulence, which often occurs with no visible warning in the sky ahead.


Israel's block of AP transmission shows how ambiguity in law could restrict war coverage

NEW YORK (AP) — Israel's shutdown and seizure of an Associated Press video camera that provided a live glimpse into Gaza alarmed many journalists, who worried Tuesday about wider implications for coverage of a war largely fought out of the world's sight to begin with.

After widespread condemnation, including a call by the Biden administration for Israel to back off, authorities returned the AP's equipment late Tuesday. Israel had justified its move by saying the agency violated a new media law that bans Al Jazeera, since the Qatari satellite channel is one of thousands of customers that receive live AP video.

By early Wednesday, the AP’s live video of Gaza was back up in Israel.

The camera confiscated earlier, located in the southern Israeli town of Sderot, was not the only one the AP operated in Israel or Gaza — the company would not say how many it uses regularly — nor is the AP the only news organization to do so. Agence France-Presse confirmed it has frequently used such cameras in Israel and also sells its images to Al Jazeera.

“Israel's move to restrict AP's work today is extremely concerning and a clear attack on press freedom,” said Phil Chetwynd, AFP's global news director.


Defrocked in 2004 for same-sex relationship, a faithful Methodist is reinstated as pastor

Twenty years ago, Beth Stroud was defrocked as a United Methodist Church pastor after telling her Philadelphia congregation that she was in a committed same-sex relationship. On Tuesday night, less than three weeks after the UMC repealed its anti-LGBTQ bans, she was reinstated.

In a closed meeting of clergy from the UMC's Eastern Pennsylvania region, Stroud exceeded the two-thirds vote requirement to be readmitted as a full member and pastor in the UMC.

Bishop John Schol of Eastern Pennsylvania welcomed the outcome, stating, “I’m grateful that the church has opened up to LGBTQ persons.”

Stroud was brought into the meeting room after the vote, overcome with emotion.

I was completely disoriented,” she told The Associated Press via email. “For what felt like several minutes I couldn’t tell where the front of the room was, where I was, where I needed to go. Everyone was clapping and then they started singing. The bishop asked me quietly if I wanted to say anything and I said I couldn’t.”


Resigned to a fate of constant displacement, India's river islanders return home in between floods

MORIGAON, India (AP) — Yaad Ali is dreading the rainy season’s arrival this year.

The 56-year-old farmer from northeastern India’s Assam state lives with his wife and son on Sandahkhaiti island on India’s Brahmaputra River. The island, like two thousand others on the river, floods with increasing ferocity and unpredictability as human-caused climate change makes rain heavier and more erratic in the region.

The family move away with every flood, and move back to their house every dry season. Ali said politicians in the region have made promises to provide relief for them, including during the current election, but little has changed for his family. For now, they contend with being displaced for large parts of the year.

“We need some sort of a permanent solution,” Ali said. “In the last few years, it’s only a short time after we recover from flood damages that we have to be ready to face another flood."

A permanent piece of land in a safer region of the state can be the only solution to their troubles, he said. And while local governments have talked about it, only a few river islanders have been offered land rights in the state.


DOJ adds Oklahoma to the list of states it's suing to block their immigration laws

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The U.S. Department of Justice sued Oklahoma on Tuesday seeking to block a law that seeks to impose criminal penalties on those living in the state illegally.

The lawsuit in federal court in Oklahoma City challenges a law that makes it a state crime — punishable by up to two years in prison — to live in Oklahoma without legal immigration status. Similar laws passed in Texas and Iowa already are facing challenges from the Justice Department.

Oklahoma is among several GOP states jockeying to push deeper into immigration enforcement as both Republicans and Democrats seize on the issue. Other bills targeting migrants have been passed this year in Florida, Georgia and Tennessee.

The Justice Department says the Oklahoma statute violates the U.S. Constitution and is asking the court to declare it invalid and bar the state from enforcing it.

“Oklahoma cannot disregard the U.S. Constitution and settled Supreme Court precedent,” U.S. Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division, said in a statement. “We have brought this action to ensure that Oklahoma adheres to the Constitution and the framework adopted by Congress for regulation of immigration.” Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt said the bill was necessary because the Biden administration is failing to secure the nation’s borders.


Proposed $2.8 billion settlement clears second step of NCAA approval with no change to finance plan

A potential multibillion-dollar settlement of an antitrust lawsuit cleared the second of a three-step NCAA approval process Tuesday, with no change to a payment structure that would have the 27 college conferences not named in the suit cover the majority of a $1.6 billion portion of the damages.

The Division I Board of Directors voted to move forward on a proposed $2.77 billion settlement of House vs. NCAA, according to two people who had been briefed on the vote. They said the vote was not unanimous, but it was unclear exactly how the 24 member-board voted.

The people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the NCAA was not revealing its internal discussions related to the settlement. The NCAA Board of Governors still must sign off on the deal for final approval. It is scheduled to meet later this week.

The D-I board's finance committee recommended on Monday to stick with the original finance plan for the settlement, which has drawn the ire of non-power conference leaders who believe their leagues will bear a disproportionate financial burden.

The NCAA, Big Ten, Big 12, Atlantic Coast Conference, Pac-12 and Southeastern Conference are defendants in the House case, a class-action lawsuit that seeks back pay for college athletes who were denied name, image and likeness compensation dating to 2016. The NCAA lifted its ban on athletes earning money for sponsorship and endorsement deals in 2021.

The Associated Press