New Zealand's Jacinda Ardern, an icon to many, to step down
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is leaving office after nearly six years in which she was praised globally for her empathetic handling of the nation’s worst mass-shooting and health-driven response to the coronavirus pandemic. Fighting tears, Ardern said she had “given my absolute all” to the job but didn't have the reserve needed to serve another term. Feb. 7 will be her last day as prime minister. She'll remain a lawmaker until the elections, which she said would be held Oct. 14. Ardern was facing a tough campaign. Her liberal Labour Party won reelection two years ago in a historic landslide, but recent polls have put her party behind its conservative rivals.
US divided over Roe's repeal as abortion foes gird for march
Anti-abortion activists will have multiple reasons to celebrate — and some reasons for unease — when they gather Friday in Washington for the annual March for Life. The march has been held since January 1974 — a year after the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision established a nationwide right to abortion. This year’s gathering will be the first since the high court struck down Roe in a momentous ruling last June. Since then, 12 Republican-governed states have implemented sweeping bans on abortion. But in the same period, abortion opponents were defeated in votes on ballot measures in Kansas, Michigan and Kentucky. And state courts have blocked several abortion bans from taking effect.
Ukraine helicopter crash kills interior minister, others
BROVARY, Ukraine (AP) — Authorities say a helicopter carrying Ukraine’s interior minister and other government officials crashed into a kindergarten in suburban Kyiv, killing him and about a dozen other people, including a child on the ground. Interior Minister Denys Monastyrskyi oversaw Ukraine’s police and emergency services and is the most senior official to die since Russia invaded nearly 11 months ago. There was no immediate word on whether the crash, which came on a foggy morning, was an accident or war-related. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, speaking to the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, said the crash had a broad connection to the conflict, adding: “The war has many dimensions, not just on the battlefields."
North Korea sustains high defense spending with new budget
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea’s rubber-stamp parliament has passed a budget that sustains a high level of defense spending despite the country’s economic troubles. Leader Kim Jong Un has been pushing for an aggressive expansion of his nuclear arsenal amid stalled diplomacy. Kim apparently did not attend the assembly’s two-day session that ended Wednesday. The session came weeks after Kim called for an “exponential increase” of nuclear warheads, mass production of battlefield tactical nuclear weapons targeting “enemy” South Korea and the development of more advanced intercontinental ballistic missiles designed to reach the U.S. mainland.
New program lets private citizens sponsor refugees in US
WASHINGTON (AP) — Everyday Americans will be able to help refugees adjust to life in the U.S. in a program being launched by the State Department. The goal is to give private citizens a role in resettling the thousands of refugees who come to America every year. The State Department is calling the new program the Welcome Corps. It aims to line up 10,000 Americans who can help 5,000 refugees during the first year of the program. Groups of at least five Americans would be able to apply to become sponsors and help refugees navigate life in the U.S.
Cohen meets Trump prosecutors amid renewed hush money probe
NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen says he met Tuesday for about 2½ hours with Manhattan prosecutors, who are again investigating hush money payments he made to a porn star who said she had an extramarital affair with the former president. Cohen’s meeting came just days after District Attorney Alvin Bragg said his office’s yearslong Trump investigation was moving to the “next chapter” following last week’s sentencing of Trump’s company, the Trump Organization, for tax fraud. A message seeking comment was left with the Manhattan district attorney’s office.
2 more people killed in southern Peru amid unrest
LIMA, Peru (AP) — Protesters have set fire to the police station and judicial office in the Peruvian town of Macusani after two people were killed and another seriously injured by gunfire amid antigovernment protests. The deaths were confirmed by Macusani health official Dr. Iván Fernández and brought to more than 53 the number of people killed during more than a month of unrest following the ouster of President Pedro Castillo. Macusani is about 160 kilometers from the city of Juliaca near Lake Titicaca, The deaths come a day before an antigovernment protest in Lima that activists hope will open a new chapter in the weeks-old movement demanding President Dina Boluarte’s resignation.
New ice core analysis shows sharp Greenland warming spike
New ice core data shows Greenland is the warmest it's been in more than 1,000 years. Until Wednesday's study, scientists didn't have recent ice core data. The last ice core was from 1995. This newer data from 2011 shows a spike in temperatures between 1995 and 2011. Scientists say warming in Greenland in the past may have been masked by local weather variability. But not any more. Climate change is blowing that away. The study's lead author says this a clear signal of climate change. It also matches increased ice melt run-off from Greenland.
Mother, 1-year-old son killed in Alaska polar bear attack
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska State Troopers say that a 24-year-old woman and her 1-year-old son have been identified as the victims of a fatal polar bear attack in an isolated Alaska Native village. The fatal mauling happened next to the front entrance of the school in Wales. School district officials rushed people into the school after the polar bear was spotted. District chief administrator Susan Nedza tells the Anchorage Daily News that the bear tried to enter with them, but the prinicipal slammed the door shut. The school was put on lockdown, and they got word to the community that someone needed to take care of the bear.
Shooter stood over California mom holding baby, killed both
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A shooter stood over a 16-year-old mother clutching her 10-month-old baby and killed them both in a brazen attack in a central California farming community that left six dead. That's according to the Tulare County sheriff during a news conference Tuesday. Law enforcement is seeking at least two suspects and there is a $10,000 reward for information leading to their arrests. Deputies responded around 3:30 a.m. Monday to reports of multiple shots fired at the residence in unincorporated Goshen, just east of Visalia. Goshen is a rural community in the agricultural San Joaquin Valley.