July 12, 2024

NEW YORK (AP) — A winter weather pattern making its way across the United States is anticipated to impact the East Coast over the upcoming weekend, bringing a combination of snow and freezing rain. However, meteorologists caution that it is premature to determine which regions will experience snowfall versus rainfall and to what extent. The weather system, originating in the Pacific, is currently traversing Western and Southern states before advancing towards the East Coast. Unlike the previous year when major U.S. cities, accustomed to snowy winters, experienced minimal snowfall due to a lack of cold air, this winter system is expected to bring a more wintry mix. The National Weather Service in New York City reported this week that 2023 will be recorded as the city’s “least snowy” year, with only 2.3 inches measured in Central Park.

Trump allies create a new super PAC called MAGA Inc. | AP News

DENVER (AP) — Former President Donald Trump is seeking the intervention of the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse a Colorado decision preventing him from appearing on the state’s ballot due to his involvement in the January 6, 2021, Capitol attack. The Republican presidential candidate has lodged an appeal against the Colorado Supreme Court’s conclusion that his ineligibility is rooted in an insurrection clause found in the 14th Amendment of the Constitution. Notably, the December ruling by the Colorado court marked the first instance in history where a court disqualified a candidate from White House candidacy based on their participation in an insurrection. Trump’s appeal follows his legal team’s recent move to challenge a decision by Democratic Secretary of State Shenna Bellows in Maine, where they are seeking a review by the Maine Superior Court regarding Trump’s eligibility for the state’s ballot.

BAGHDAD (AP) —Authorities report that an airstrike targeted the logistical support headquarters of an Iran-backed militia in central Baghdad, resulting in the death of a high-ranking militia commander. The strike occurred on Thursday and adds to escalating tensions in the region, fueled by the Israel-Hamas conflict, with concerns that the unrest may spread to neighboring countries. The Popular Mobilization Force, a coalition of militias nominally under the Iraqi military’s control, confirmed the killing of Mushtaq Taleb al-Saidi, also known as “Abu Taqwa,” who served as the deputy head of operations in Baghdad. The militia attributed his death to what they described as “brutal American aggression.”

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) —A former Delta Air Lines pilot, Jonathan J. Dunn, is slated to make his initial appearance in federal court after being accused of threatening to shoot a commercial airline captain. The incident occurred when the captain suggested diverting the flight to seek medical attention for a passenger. Dunn, who was indicted on October 18, faces charges of interfering with a flight crew and the possibility of a 20-year prison sentence. The confrontation unfolded when the captain proposed diverting to Colorado in case the passenger’s condition deteriorated, but Dunn objected and allegedly made multiple threats to shoot the captain. Delta Air Lines has confirmed that Dunn is no longer employed by the airline.

DETROIT (AP) —In the past year, American consumers purchased 15.6 million new vehicles, demonstrating resilience in the face of challenges such as high prices, increasing interest rates, autoworker strikes, and a computer-chip shortage affecting assembly lines. This figure represents a 12% surge compared to 2022, marking the most substantial increase in over a decade. Despite this growth, sales have not yet rebounded to pre-pandemic levels of 17 million units. Signs of a cooling market are emerging as dealer inventories swell, leading to a decline in prices. The peak average auto sales price was recorded in December 2022, slightly exceeding $47,300. However, recent data from J.D. Power indicates a 2.7% decrease from that peak, with average prices hovering around $46,000 in mid-December. Analysts anticipate further discounts throughout the upcoming year.

WASHINGTON (AP) —The United States, in collaboration with Israel, Egypt, and other entities, successfully extricated a U.S. serviceman’s mother and her American brother-in-law, who were trapped during intense combat in Gaza City. The news of this unique rescue operation was disclosed by a U.S. official on Wednesday, speaking anonymously to confirm the operation that was kept discreet for security considerations. Zahra Sckak, along with her brother-in-law, managed to escape Gaza on New Year’s Eve after her husband was shot while the family was fleeing a building struck by an airstrike. Unfortunately, he succumbed to his injuries a few days later. Notably, one of her three American sons serves as an Army infantryman.

WASHINGTON (AP) —Last month, the policymakers at the Federal Reserve assessed that inflationary pressures were showing signs of easing, and there were indications of a slowdown in the job market. In response to these observations, they decided to maintain their key interest rate for the third consecutive time and conveyed their expectation of implementing three rate cuts in 2024. According to the minutes from their meeting on December 12-13, Federal Reserve officials, in their individual interest-rate projections, suggested that a lower benchmark rate “would be appropriate by the end of 2024,” reflecting the consistent progress in addressing inflation. However, they emphasized the importance of remaining vigilant and holding rates at elevated levels “until inflation was clearly moving down sustainably” toward their target of 2%.

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) —The Justice Department has initiated legal action against Texas concerning a new law that empowers state police to apprehend migrants entering the U.S. unlawfully. Filed on Wednesday, the lawsuit contends that Texas is infringing upon the federal government’s authority regarding immigration enforcement. According to the Texas law, migrants have the option to comply with a Texas judge’s directive to leave the U.S. or face misdemeanor charges for illegal entry. Those who refuse to depart may encounter subsequent arrests on more severe felony charges. The lawsuit seeks a declaration from an Austin court asserting the unconstitutionality of the Texas law, arguing that it hampers immigration operations and encroaches upon the federal government’s right to regulate foreign commerce. The law is scheduled to become effective in March.

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is commencing the campaign year by invoking the Revolutionary War to commemorate the third anniversary of the deadly U.S. Capitol insurrection and visiting the South Carolina church where a white gunman carried out a massacre of Black parishioners. The Democratic president aims to emphasize the significance of the upcoming election, framing it as a pivotal moment for American democracy. Instead of offering an optimistic affirmation of his accomplishments, Biden is starting 2024 in Pennsylvania by delving into some of the nation’s darkest episodes. Former President Donald Trump is widely seen as the leading contender for the Republican nomination, with his team asserting that Biden poses a threat to democracy due to the indictments against the former president.

EAGLE PASS, Texas (AP) —U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson recently led approximately 60 fellow Republicans in Congress on a visit to the Mexican border, expressing significant reservations about supporting a bipartisan compromise. Johnson is indicating that he might leverage the impending government funding deadline to reinforce his position. The visit to Eagle Pass, Texas, on Wednesday aligns with their call for stringent immigration policies in exchange for endorsing President Joe Biden’s emergency wartime funding request for Ukraine. Meanwhile, negotiators in the Senate are diligently working towards achieving a bipartisan agreement in Washington. Johnson emphasizes his commitment to the policies outlined in a bill passed by House Republicans in May, which did not receive any Democratic votes. President Biden has issued a veto threat in response to these policy stances.

WASHINGTON (AP) — In November, American employers advertised 8.8 million job openings, a slight decrease from October and the lowest since March 2021. Despite the decline, demand for workers remains historically strong. Job vacancies dropped from 8.9 million in October, and the number of people resigning from their jobs, an indicator of confidence in the labor market, reached its lowest level since February 2021. The level of quits is now comparable to pre-pandemic levels. Job openings in transportation, warehousing, and utilities decreased by 128,000, while hotels and restaurants saw a decline of 78,000. The federal government reduced job openings by 58,000. In contrast, construction openings increased by 43,000, and retail openings rose by 42,000.

In a separate incident, a New Jersey imam, Hassan Sharif, was fatally shot multiple times outside his mosque in Newark. The shooting took place while Sharif was in his car near the Masjid-Muhammad Mosque. Authorities are actively searching for the shooter, and there is no evidence suggesting the shooting is linked to anti-Muslim bias, according to Attorney General Matt Platkin. Amid tensions related to the Israel-Hamas conflict, law enforcement has increased outreach to places of worship. Sharif had served as the resident imam at the mosque for five years.

SAN ANTONIO (AP) —In Texas, a father and son have been charged in connection with the killings of an 18-year-old pregnant woman and her boyfriend, who went missing before Christmas. San Antonio police announced the arrests on Wednesday night, more than a week after the bodies of Savanah Nicole Soto, 18, and Matthew Guerra, 22, were discovered in the parking lot of an apartment complex. According to authorities, the couple was fatally shot in what appears to be related to a drug deal, and their bodies were later relocated and left in a car. A 19-year-old has been charged with capital murder, while his 53-year-old father faces charges of abuse of a corpse for allegedly assisting in moving the bodies of the couple.

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Kennedy relative Michael Skakel is taking legal action against a police investigator and the town of Greenwich, Connecticut, over five years after his murder conviction was nullified. Skakel, previously found guilty in 2002 for the 1975 killing of Martha Moxley, when they were both 15, spent over 11 years in prison before the state Supreme Court overturned the conviction. In his lawsuit, Skakel alleges malicious prosecution, civil rights violations, and other misconduct. He contends that police investigator Frank Garr withheld crucial evidence in his favor. The state attorney general’s office, representing Garr, has chosen not to provide a comment, and there has been no response from a lawyer representing Greenwich.

The NBA sees a surge in scoring, as Auston Matthews achieves the milestone of becoming the NHL’s initial 30-goal scorer. Nine members of the San Francisco 49ers secure spots on the Pro Bowl rosters, while two ranked college basketball teams play but suffer defeats. In NFL news, Chiefs’ quarterback Patrick Mahomes opts to sit out the regular-season finale. Firefighters successfully extinguish a substantial fire at the residence of Miami Dolphins receiver Tyreek Hill. Meanwhile, Scottie Scheffler clinches the PGA Tour player of the year title, surpassing Jon Rahm in the player vote.

WASHINGTON (AP) —  The United States has expressed confidence that Palestinian militant groups utilized Gaza’s largest hospital to detain hostages following their violent attack on October 7, 2023, and to establish command infrastructure. This information comes from a recently declassified American intelligence assessment, shared by a U.S. official on Tuesday. The assessment strongly supports Israeli claims regarding the Shifa hospital complex, which was later raided by Israeli forces in November. This operation faced criticism from global humanitarian organizations and some members of President Joe Biden’s party. However, the released information does not fully substantiate some of Israel’s major allegations that the hospital functioned as the central hub for activities conducted by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

JERUSALEM (AP) — The head of Israel’s Mossad has declared that the intelligence agency will pursue every Hamas member involved in the October 7 attack on Israel, regardless of their location. David Barnea made this statement a day after the deputy leader of the Palestinian militant group was killed in a suspected Israeli airstrike in Beirut. While Israel has not officially confirmed its involvement in the killing, Barnea’s remarks strongly suggest its responsibility. In the aftermath of the strike that claimed the life of Saleh Arouri, the highest-ranking Hamas member killed since the Gaza conflict began nearly three months ago, Israel is on high alert for potential escalation with Lebanon’s powerful Hezbollah militia.

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Queen Margrethe completed her final New Year celebrations in Denmark’s capital, riding through the city in a lavish, horse-drawn carriage. The event marked her last public appearance as monarch before her abdication on January 14, concluding her remarkable 52-year reign. Despite the frigid weather, thousands gathered to enthusiastically support the beloved queen. At 83 years old, Queen Margrethe, Europe’s longest-reigning monarch, will pass the throne to her eldest son, Crown Prince Frederik, marking the first such abdication in Europe’s oldest ruling monarchy in almost 900 years.

In a significant development, Russia and Ukraine participated in the largest exchange of prisoners of war since Russia’s extensive invasion in February 2022. Ukrainian authorities reported that 230 Ukrainian prisoners returned home in this first exchange in nearly five months. The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed the release of 248 Russian servicemen as part of the agreement facilitated by the United Arab Emirates. The UAE’s Foreign Ministry credited the success of the swap to the country’s amicable relations with both Russia and Ukraine. Despite Western sanctions and pressure on Russia following its 2022 invasion, the UAE has maintained strong economic ties with Moscow.


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