Biden Highlights Progress For Black-Owned Businesses And Lead Pipe Replacement In Milwaukee Visit

MILWAUKEE (AP) — President Joe Biden toured a Black-owned plumbing company that’s replacing lead pipes, a nationwide initiative that’s been supported by his administration with billions of dollars, during his visit to the battleground state of Wisconsin on Wednesday.

“We appreciate your service to the country,” Rashawn Spivey, head of Hero Plumbing, told Biden. After showing Biden some of their work, Spivey joined him in the presidential vehicle for a ride to the Wisconsin Black Chamber of Commerce, where Biden is scheduled to speak.

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White supremacist sentenced for threatening jury and witnesses at synagogue shooter’s trial

A self-proclaimed white supremacist has been sentenced for making online threats toward the jury and witnesses at the trial of a man who killed 11 congregants at a Pittsburgh synagogue. Hardy Carroll Lloyd was sentenced to more than six years in federal prison Wednesday. Prosecutors say the Follansbee, West Virginia, resident sent threatening social media posts and emails along with comments on websites about the trial of Robert Bowers. Lloyd admitted that the actual or perceived Jewish faith of the government witnesses and victims in Bowers trial prompted him to target the jury and witnesses. Bowers was sentenced to death in the deadliest attack on Jews in U.S. history.

Toyota recalling 1 million vehicles for potential air bag problem

Toyota Motor Co. said Wednesday it is recalling 1 million vehicles over a defect that could cause airbags not to deploy, increasing the risk of injury. The recall covers a range of Toyota and Lexus vehicles with model years from 2020 to 2022. Included in the recall are Toyota Avalons, Camrys, Highlanders, RAV4s, Siennas and Corollas, plus some hybrids of those models. The Lexus models included in the recall are EX and RX models from the same years.

Trump’s lawyers ask Supreme Court to stay out of dispute on whether he is immune from prosecution

Lawyers for former President Donald Trump are urging the U.S. Supreme Court to stay out of a dispute over whether he can be prosecuted on charges he plotted to overturn the 2020 election results. Special counsel Jack Smith’s team last week urged the nation’s high court to take up and quickly consider Trump’s claims that he enjoys immunity from prosecution as a former president. The unusual request seemed designed to prevent any delays that could postpone the trial of the 2024 Republican presidential primary front-runner. But Trump’s lawyers told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that there was no reason for them to take up the matter now, especially because a lower appeals court in Washington is already considering the same question and has scheduled arguments for Jan. 9.

Stroud remains in concussion protocol, could miss second straight game for Texans on Sunday

C.J. Stroud remains in the concussion protocol and could miss a second straight game Sunday when Houston hosts Cleveland. Coach DeMeco Ryans said Wednesday that Stroud was doing better, but that he didn’t know when he’d be cleared to play. Stroud was injured Dec. 10 in a 30-6 loss to the Jets when his head bounced off the turf after taking a hit with about 6½ minutes left in the fourth quarter.

Arizona man arrested for allegedly making online threats against federal agents and employees

Authorities say an Arizona man has been arrested for allegedly making online threats against federal agents and employees. FBI officials in Phoenix say 37-year-old Michael Lee Tomasi, of Rio Verde, was taken into custody last Friday. Prosecutors say Tomasi allegedly threatened a federal judge, FBI agents and elected officials between May 2021 and last month. Authorities didn’t release the names of Tomasi’s alleged targets.  Tomasi faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted for threats against federal officials plus a maximum five-year prison term for each count of making threats across state lines. He has pleaded not guilty to all counts.

Homeless people who died on US streets are increasingly remembered at winter solstice gatherings

Thousands of homeless people who died this year are being memorialized this week around the U.S. Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day events have become increasingly popular in communities from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, to La Crosse, Wisconsin, to Riverside, California. The events are observed with prayers, candles, moments of silence and the reading of names. They are typically held on Dec. 21, the first day of winter and the longest night of the year. Advocates hope to draw attention not only to the tragedy of the lives lost, but also the need for cities and counties to track such deaths.

Nantz, Childress, Ralph and Steve Smith named to 2024 North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame class

CBS Sports broadcaster Jim Nantz, former All-Pro wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. and college basketball stars Randolph Childress and Shea Ralph are joining the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame. The list of 2024 inductees also includes retired Davidson men’s basketball coach Bob McKillop, former Wake Forest athletic director Ron Wellman and current high school athletic association commissioner Que Tucker. Nantz is a native of Charlotte, which is where the induction ceremony will happen in May. The other 2024 inductees are Sheila Ford Duncan, Caroline Lind, Pettis Norman and the late Don Skakle.

Bournemouth vs. Luton abandoned game to be replayed. Tom Lockyer suffered cardiac arrest on field

The Premier League game that was abandoned after Luton captain Tom Lockyer suffered a cardiac arrest on the field will be replayed in full. The match between Bournemouth and Luton on Saturday was abandoned in the 59th minute after Lockyer collapsed and received medical treatment. Luton said players from both teams “were in no state of mind to continue with the game.” The league said the game would be rescheduled for later in the season. Luton’s latest update said the 29-year-old defender remained in the hospital and was undergoing tests. He was responsive and in stable condition Saturday night. Lockyer previously collapsed during a game in May and underwent heart surgery.

Andrew Haigh on the collapsing times and unhealed wounds of his ghost story ‘All of Us Strangers’

The British filmmaker Andrew Haigh is accustomed to strong responses from his films. But his latest, “All of Us Strangers,” may be his most shattering. Andrew Scott stars as a lonely screenwriter transported back to his childhood home where he finds his long-dead parents. The result is something magical and mournful that draws profound connections between familial love and romantic love, between gay life and estrangement, and between a pair of strangers nursing shared wounds. “All of Us Strangers” opens in theaters Friday.

Right-wing social media platform Parler plans to relaunch early next year

The social media platform Parler is relaunching ahead of next year’s presidential elections. The right-wing friendly app, which was temporarily booted offline following the Jan. 6 insurrection, has been offline since April after it was purchased by the digital media conglomerate Starboard. Last week, the company was sold to a limited liability corporation known as PDS Partners. Elise Pierotti, who is returning as the platform’s chief marketing officer, says PDS consists of herself, Parler’s new CEO Ryan Rhodes and others who are choosing to remain anonymous. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. Pierotti says the platform will relaunch during the first quarter of next year.

Rams host Saints on Thursday night in a game with NFC playoff implications

The Los Angeles Rams will host the New Orleans Saints on Thursday in a game with playoff implications in the NFC. The Rams won their third straight home game by holding off the Washington Commanders 28-20 on Sunday. The Saints allowed six points for the second straight week in a comfortable 24-6 win over the New York Giants. After allowing 60 yards rushing, New Orleans will have to sustain their defensive improvement against Los Angeles RB Kyren Williams, who is closing in on his first 1,000-yard season.

Turkey says its warplanes have hit suspected Kurdish militant targets in northern Iraq

The Turkish defense ministry says its warplanes have carried out a new round of airstrikes against Kurdish militant targets in neighboring Iraq. The airstrikes were launched on Wednesday, a day after Turkish and Iraqi officials held high-level security talks in Turkey’s capital, Ankara. The  ministry says the fighter jets struck a total of 14 targets of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, in northern Iraq, destroying caves, shelters and warehouses. There was no immediate comment from the PKK. The group has led a decades-long insurgency in southeast Turkey and is considered a terror organization by the United States and the European Union. Tens of thousands of people have died since the start of the conflict in 1984.

Victim of Green River serial killer identified after 4 decades as teen girl who ran away from home

Authorities have identified a teenage girl slain by the Green River serial killer in Washington state four decades ago. Lori Anne Razpotnik was 15 when she ran away from home in 1982. Her family never saw her again. Her remains were found in 1985 over a road embankment south of Seattle, alongside the remains of two other victims. Investigators could not determine whose bones they were, and they were listed only as “Bones 17” until a forensic genetic genealogy firm, Parabon Nanolabs, was able to develop a new DNA profile and determine they belonged to Razpotnik. Gary Ridgway is serving life in prison after pleading guilty to 49 killings — including Razpotnik’s.

Suriname’s ex-dictator sentenced to 20 years in prison for the 1982 killings of political opponents

Suriname’s former dictator Desi Bouterse has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for the murders of 15 opponents of the then-military regime in December 1982, ending a historic, 16-year legal process. Bouterse, 78, was previously sentenced in the case in 2019 and in 2021 but had appealed both decisions. The court on Wednesday upheld his conviction and the latest sentencing was seen as final with no more appeals allowed. The judge handed down 20 years given the ex-president’s age and that it was the highest sentence allowed at the time of the killings. “We have received a gem of a verdict,” said prosecution lawyer Hugo Essed.

Texas police officer indicted in fatal shooting of man on his front porch

An Austin, Texas, police officer has been indicted for deadly conduct in the fatal shooting of a man standing on his own front porch. A grand jury indicted Officer Daniel Sanchez on Wednesday in Rajan Moonesinghe’s death. Video and audio show officers arriving at Moonesinghe’s home in November 2022 and telling him to drop the AR-15-style weapon he was holding before firing at him. Officers were responding to a 911 call requesting police and mental health support because a man had a long gun outside in the residential neighborhood. Sanchez’s lawyer says he is confident the officer will be exonerated. The prosecutor did not immediately return Associated Press calls and emails seeking comment Thursday. A spokesperson for Moonesinghe’s family did not immediately comment.

New York sues SiriusXM, accusing company of making it deliberately hard to cancel subscriptions

New York’s attorney general has filed suit against SiriusXM, accusing the satellite radio service of making it intentionally difficult for its customers to cancel their subscriptions.Attorney General Latitia James’ office said Wednesday that an investigation into complaints from customers found that SiriusXM forced subscribers into often lengthy interactions with agents who were trained in ways to avoid accepting cancellation requests. The company disputed the claims, arguing that many incidents cited in the lawsuit came in 2020 and were caused in part by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their operations. The company said many of its plans can be canceled easily online.

Chris Christie outlines his national drug crisis plan, focusing on treatment and stigma reduction

Republican presidential hopeful Chris Christie is outlining his plan for addressing the latest wave of the nation’s drug crisis. With 110,000 people dying of drug overdoses last year, Christie said, during a Wednesday trip to a New Hampshire recovery center, that reducing stigma and providing treatment is the only thing that’s going to get the problem under control. Christie, who led a White House commission on opioid misuse in 2017, said both former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden have treated the problem as a crisis in name only. And he says other Republican presidential candidates have focused too narrowly on preventing drugs from getting into the country.

Airman killed in Osprey crash remembered as a leader and friend to many

A U.S. Air Force staff sergeant from Massachusetts who was one of eight service members lost when a CV-22 Osprey crashed off the coast of Japan is being remembered as a leader and a friend to many. At his funeral on Wednesday in Dalton, Massachusetts, the pastor said the 24-year-old Jake Galliher was a husband and dad, a brother and son, with bright plans for the future. The pastor said the Air Force defined in Jake what most in the community already knew — that he was outstanding and spectacular, fun and loveable and truly honorable.

How Carey Mulligan became Felicia Montealegre in ‘Maestro’

Carey Mulligan recently realized that she’s spent much of her professional career holding back. But that changed in the past several years, in no small part because of Bradley Cooper and “Maestro,” an all-encompassing project that would push her out of that comfort zone. In it she plays Felicia Montealegre, the elegant actor and wife of Leonard Bernstein. As with “Promising Young Woman,” “Maestro,” now streaming on Netflix, would prove to be a transformative experience for her understanding of herself as an actor and what she’s capable of. Mulligan spoke to The Associated Press about the journey to becoming Montealegre, and the people who helped her get there.

EU countries agree on compromise for overhaul of bloc’s fiscal rules

European Union finance ministers have sealed a deal to reform the 27-nation bloc’s fiscal rules after France and Germany finally adhered to a compromise. EU countries had been negotiating for months a reform of the EU’s rules limiting debt and deficits for member states, known as the Stability and Growth Pact. The rulebook, which has often proved difficult to enforce and has served as a source of tension, was suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic but should be reactivated next year. Key targets from the old Stability and Growth Pact will remain. Under current rules, countries must aim to keep their government deficit below 3% of gross domestic product, and their public debt below 60% of GDP.

North Dakota judge to hear request to temporarily block part of abortion law that restricts doctors

Physicians and the former sole abortion provider in North Dakota are asking a state district court judge to temporarily block enforcement of part of a revised law that bans most abortions so doctors can perform the procedure to save patients’ lives or health. They argue a provision that allows the procedure in life-saving or “serious health risk” scenarios is vague. Earlier this year, the Republican-led Legislature passed a bill that essentially revised the state’s abortion laws after the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2022 decision striking down the constitutional right to an abortion. In April, Republican Gov. Doug Burgum signed the bill into law.

Hospital that initially treated Irvo Otieno failed to meet care standards, investigation finds

An investigation has found that the hospital that initially treated a man who later died while being admitted to a Virginia psychiatric facility failed to meet care standards while he was in a mental health crisis. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that the state Department of Health led the investigation of Parham Doctors’ Hospital, where Irvo Otieno was briefly held. The 28-year-old Black man died in March after being pressed to the floor of Central State Hospital for about 11 minutes by a group of Henrico County sheriff’s deputies and hospital employees. Inspectors said that Parham staff were “not in compliance” with health guidelines for hospitals that treat mental health crisis patients.

Judge threatens to dismiss lawsuit from Arkansas attorney general in prisons dispute

A judge has threatened to dismiss a lawsuit the Arkansas attorney general filed against a panel he’d normally represent as a dispute widens over who runs state prisons. The judge on Tuesday criticized Attorney General Tim Griffin for suing the Board of Corrections without arranging for special counsel for the panel. The judge says he’ll dismiss the lawsuit if Griffin doesn’t reach an agreement with the panel on a special counsel in 30 days. Griffin has accused the panel of violating the state’s open-meetings law when it hired an outside attorney as part of a larger legal dispute with Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders over who runs the state prison system.

McCombs family rejoining Spurs ownership group 30 years after patriarch sells franchise

The McCombs family has purchased a share of the San Antonio Spurs, returning after 30 years to the organization their patriarch helped establish and once owned. Billy Joe “Red” McCombs owned at least a share of the Spurs for 11 years and was the team’s primary owner for five years. McCombs died on Feb. 19 at age 95 after a lengthy illness. He was a driving force in bringing the franchise to San Antonio in 1973. McCombs sold the Spurs in 1993 to an investment group led by Peter Holt, whose son now runs the team.

Eric Haase agrees to deal with Brewers as they attempt to add catching depth

Catcher Eric Haase and the Milwaukee Brewers have agreed to a one-year contract. The 31-year-old hit .201 with a .247 on-base percentage, four homers, 26 RBIs and four steals in 89 games with the Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Guardians last season. He played 86 games for Detroit and three for Cleveland. Haase batted .254 with 14 homers and 44 RBIs in 110 games for Detroit in 2022 and .231 with 22 homers and 26 RBIs in 98 games with the Tigers in 2021. The Brewers were seeking a backup catcher as they attempt to replace Victor Caratini.

Challengers attack Georgia’s redrawn congressional and legislative districts in court hearing

Challengers are telling a federal judge that Georgia Republican state lawmakers’ new voting districts don’t cure illegal vote dilution and should be rejected. But the state of Georgia told the judge Wednesday that new congressional and state legislative maps comply with a court order to draw new Black-majority districts, even if the plaintiffs don’t like Republicans’ partisan choices. The maps were redrawn in a recent special legislative session after the judge in October ruled they illegally harmed Black voters. U.S. District Judge Steve Jones said at Wednesday’s hearing that he would rule before Jan. 16. If he refuses to adopt the state’s maps, Jones could appoint a special master to draw maps for the court.

Biden highlights progress for Black-owned businesses and lead pipe replacement in Milwaukee visit

President Joe Biden visited a Black-owned plumbing company in Milwaukee as he touted federal support for Black and Latino-owned businesses and his administration’s efforts to replace lead water pipes across the country. Hero Plumbing has been replacing lead pipes as part of a nationwide infrastructure initiative. Under Biden, the Small Business Administration says it has more than doubled the number of loans to Black-owned small businesses. Biden picked a key 2024 battleground state for Wednesday’s event. Wisconsin was closely contested in his 2020 win and could be key to his reelection hopes.

A pro-peace Russian presidential hopeful submits documents to register as a candidate

A Russian politician calling for peace in Ukraine has presented her documents to Russia’s Central Election Commission to register as a candidate for the country’s 2024 presidential election. Regional legislator Yekaterina Duntsova hopes to challenge Russian President Vladimir Putin, promoting her vision of a “humane” Russia “that’s peaceful, friendly and ready to cooperate with everyone on the principle of respect.” Speaking to journalists in Moscow on Wednesday, Duntsova said she hoped the event would inspire her supporters. If she’s accepted as an independent candidate, the former journalist would next need to gather 300,000 signatures of support from at least 40 Russian regions.

Rome court convicts far-right activists for storming union offices to oppose COVID vaccine passes

A court in Rome has convicted the leader of a far-right party and six other far-right activists for rampaging through the headquarters of Italy’s most powerful labor confederation during a protest against COVID-19 certification requirements for workplaces. All received prison sentences of eight years and two months to eight years and seven months on Wednesday. Several hundred participants from an October 2021 demonstration against a Italian government decree requiring vaccine certificates to return to work tore through the headquarters of the left-leaning CGIL labor union. Police say they foiled repeated attempts to reach the offices of Italy’s premier and the seat of Parliament.

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