Santos steps down from House panels amid ethics issues5 minute read Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023
WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican Rep. George Santos of New York announced Tuesday he is temporarily stepping down from his two congressional committees, a move that comes amid a host of ethics issues and a day after he met with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
Santos has faced numerous calls for his resignation and is facing multiple investigations by prosecutors over his personal and campaign finances and lies about his resume and family background.
Santos was assigned to two fairly low-profile panels, the House Committee on Small Business and to the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee. Still, his arrival has left GOP leadership frequently answering questions about the congressman rather than about their priorities for the coming months.
In a prepared statement, Santos said he wanted to focus on serving his constituents “without distraction."
AP source: FBI searched Biden’s former office in November3 minute read Preview Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023
WASHINGTON (AP) — The FBI searched President Joe Biden's former office at the Penn Biden Center in Washington in November, according to a person familiar with the matter, at least a week after his personal lawyers first found classified records there from his time as vice president.
The discovery of the documents at the office blocks away from the U.S. Capitol led to a search of Biden's homes, including his residence in Wilmington, Delaware, where lawyers and federal agents found additional classified documents in December and January. It was not immediately clear whether the FBI search of Biden's office — which was conducted voluntarily, without a search warrant — uncovered additional classified documents beyond those found on Nov. 2 by Biden's attorneys. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a law enforcement action.
News of the FBI search is the latest uncomfortable development for Biden, who pledged to turn the page on the norm- and rule-breaking tenure of his predecessor, Donald Trump.
Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed a special counsel to lead an investigation into how the documents ended up at Biden's home and former office and whether any laws were broken. Trump is facing a far more perilous investigation by a separate special counsel after repeatedly refusing federal efforts to recover classified and official records at his Florida estate.
Fans to test welcome French team in Paris after World Cup loss2 minute read Preview Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023
Italy court weighs handover in EU Parliament corruption case3 minute read Preview Monday, Dec. 19, 2022
BRESCIA, Italy (AP) — An Italian court on Monday was deciding whether to hand over to Belgium a suspect in a big corruption scandal at the European Parliament, in which Belgian prosecutors suspect the wife and daughter of a former lawmaker of being part of a criminal gang trying to influence EU legislators on behalf of Qatar and Morocco.
According to arrest warrants seen Monday by The Associated Press, former EU lawmaker Pier Antonio Panzeri and three other suspects were charged on Dec. 9 with corruption, participation in a criminal group and money laundering. Belgian prosecutors suspect that they “were paid large sums of money or offered substantial gifts to influence parliament’s decisions.”
The investigation of allegations of cash and gifts for political influence corruption is one of the biggest to hit the European Parliament. Lawmakers last week suspended work on Qatar-related files and vowed to toughen lobbying laws. Qatar vehemently denies that it is involved.
According to the two European arrest warrants issued by Belgian judge Michel Claise, Panzeri is “suspected of intervening politically with members working at the European Parliament for the benefit of Qatar and Morocco, against payment.”
At 50, ‘Immaculate Reception’ still lifts a region’s spirits6 minute read Preview Monday, Dec. 19, 2022
Faith leaders prep for border changes amid tension, hope6 minute read Preview Monday, Dec. 19, 2022
REYNOSA, Mexico (AP) — Two long lines of migrants waited for blessings from visiting Catholic priests celebrating Mass at the Casa del Migrante shelter in this border city, just across the bank of the Rio Grande River from Texas.
After services ended last week, several crammed around the three Jesuits again, asking about upcoming U.S. policy changes that would end pandemic-era asylum restrictions. That's expected to result in even more people trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border, adding to the already unusually high apprehension numbers.
“All of you will be able to cross at some point,” the Rev. Brian Strassburger told the nearly 100 Mass goers in Spanish while a Haitian migrant translated in Creole. “Our hope is that with this change, it will mean less time. My advice is, be patient.”
It is getting harder to deliver that message of hope and patience not only for Strassburger, but also for the Catholic nuns running this shelter and leaders from numerous faith organizations who have long shouldered most of the care for tens of thousands of migrants on both sides of the border.
Russia may expedite launch of next space capsule after leak3 minute read Preview Monday, Dec. 19, 2022
MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's space corporation Roscosmos said Monday that a coolant leak from a Russian space capsule attached to the International Space Station doesn't require evacuation of its crew, but the agency kept open the possibility of launching a replacement capsule, if needed.
Roscosmos said a panel of experts would determine later this month whether the Soyuz MS-22 capsule could be safely used by the crew for its planned return to Earth or if it should be discarded and replaced.
It said the next scheduled launch of a Soyuz was in March but could be expedited, if necessary.
The leak from the Soyuz MS-22 was spotted last week as a pair of Russian cosmonauts were about to venture outside the station on a planned spacewalk. Russian Mission Control aborted the spacewalk when ground specialists saw a stream of fluid and particles emanating from the Soyuz on a live video feed from space.
Bringing a dog along for a holiday stay? Make sure to plan6 minute read Preview Monday, Dec. 19, 2022
British PM wants to degrade Russian ‘capacity to regroup’2 minute read Preview Monday, Dec. 19, 2022
RIGA, Latvia (AP) — British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said Monday that the West should work to degrade "Russia’s capability to regroup" as it continues its war of aggression in Ukraine, citing the drones that Iran has been providing to Moscow.
Sunak spoke at a summit of the Joint Expeditionary Force in the Latvian capital Riga. The U.K.-led force is a group of 10 northern European nations designed to react more quickly in the event of threats like those now posed by Russia.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy also spoke by video link of the Iranian Shahed drones that Russia has been using to attack Ukraine, saying 34 were used in the latest nighttime attacks.
“These are Shaheds from the new batch that Russia received from Iran; 250 units, that’s how many drones the terrorist state has now received. Russian missiles and Iranian drones are constantly used to strike,” Zelenskyy said.
Austria investigates Greek man as suspected spy for Russia2 minute read Preview Monday, Dec. 19, 2022
BERLIN (AP) — A Greek national is under investigation in Austria for allegedly spying for Russia for years, the Austrian government said Monday.
The Interior Ministry said that the 39-year-old, who is not currently in detention, has Russian roots and is the son of a former Russian intelligence employee who was once stationed as a diplomat in Austria and neighboring Germany. It said that he is believed to have received “military special training” in Russia and was in Moscow shortly before and during the invasion of Ukraine.
The suspect barely worked and received only limited benefits in Austria, but was able to make 65 journeys within Europe and to Russia and Belarus between 2018 and early 2022, and also to acquire several properties in Vienna, Russia and Greece, the ministry said.
He is believed to have handed over information at locations in Vienna. Austrian authorities suspect that he was tapped as a source for information on discussions inside Austria to gauge possible foreign reactions ahead of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Myanmar military accuses opponents of bombing ferry boat3 minute read Preview Monday, Dec. 19, 2022
BANGKOK (AP) — Myanmar’s army on Monday accused opponents of the military-imposed government of responsibility for an explosion that injured 17 people on a ferry boat in the country’s largest city, Yangon.
A statement by the army’s information office blamed the People’s Defense Force, the armed wing of Myanmar’s banned main pro-democracy movement, for the blast Sunday, but presented no evidence. No one has claimed responsibility for the explosion.
Myanmar has been engulfed in what some U.N. experts have characterized as a civil war since the military seized power from the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi in February 2021. The army is engaged in brutal large-scale counter-insurgency operations in the countryside, while authorities also contend with urban guerrillas in the cities who target people and institutions associated with the ruling military with assassinations and bombings.
An urban guerrilla group named the Yangon District People’s Brigade expressed sadness about Sunday's explosion on its Facebook page and said that fighters for democracy would never harm civilians. Such groups have at least a loose affiliation with the People’s Defense Force.
German military swaps APCs for NATO force after breakdowns1 minute read Preview Monday, Dec. 19, 2022
Boy who got new heart inspires tribe to boost organ donation6 minute read Preview Monday, Dec. 19, 2022
Japan ex-soldier says misconduct routine in her army unit4 minute read Preview Monday, Dec. 19, 2022
TOKYO (AP) — A former Japanese soldier who came forward with her sexual misconduct case said Monday that harassment was as rampant in her army unit as if “part of daily communication."
Rina Gonoi filed the case last year with the Defense Ministry, but it was dropped. She demanded it to be reinvestigated earlier this year, saying she had suffered multiple assaults by a number of male colleagues, causing her to give up her military career.
In response, Japan's army in September acknowledged part of the misconduct and apologized, and last week fired five servicemen and punished four others. The Defense Ministry also announced interim results of a rare organization-wide investigation that found over 100 similar complaints and other forms of misconduct totalling more than 1,400.
In announcing the punishments last Thursday, army chief Yoshihide Yoshida repeated his apology to Gonoi and said he felt a strong sense of responsibility over her sorrow and pain. He also said he took the problem seriously and was determined to eradicate such misconduct.
Dutch leader apologizes for Netherlands’ role in slave trade4 minute read Preview Monday, Dec. 19, 2022
Death toll in Afghan fuel tanker explosion rises to 311 minute read Preview Monday, Dec. 19, 2022
ISLAMABAD (AP) — The death toll from a fuel tanker explosion in a tunnel north of the Afghan capital, Kabul, rose to 31 on Monday, a Taliban government spokesman said as more bodies were pulled out from the site and rescuers continued to search for survivors.
The cause of the blast on Saturday evening in Salang Tunnel, around 130 kilometers (80 miles) from Kabul, remained unclear. The tunnel, originally built in the 1960s to assist the Soviet invasion, is a key link between north and south Afghanistan.
Initially, at least 19 people were reported killed. A Health Ministry spokesman, Sharafat Zaman Amarkhail, said the number of fatalities climbed to 31 and that 37 people were injured.
Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai expressed his condolences over the blast, saying he received news about the dead and injured in the explosion in Parwan province with “great sadness.”
EU accuses Meta of antitrust breaches with classified ads2 minute read Preview Monday, Dec. 19, 2022
LONDON - The European Union on Monday accused Facebook parent Meta of breaching antitrust rules by distorting competition in the online classified ads business, the bloc’s latest maneuver to curb the power of Big Tech companies.
In its complaint following an investigation launched last year, the EU’s executive commission took issue with the tech company tying its online classified ad business, Facebook Marketplace, to Facebook. It’s also concerned that Meta imposes unfair trading conditions on rivals “for its own benefit.”
Meta disputed the allegations.
“The claims made by the European Commission are without foundation,” Tim Lamb, Meta’s head of EMEA competition, said in a prepared statement. “We will continue to work with regulatory authorities to demonstrate that our product innovation is pro-consumer and pro-competitive.”
Greece: Bail set for police officer who shot Roma teenager3 minute read Preview Monday, Dec. 19, 2022
THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) — A court in Greece ordered the release on bail of a police officer accused of fatally injuring a Roma teenager during a car chase over an allegedly unpaid gas station bill. The teen's father plans to appeal Monday's decision to free the officer pending trial, a Roma community leader said.
The Dec. 5 shooting of Kostas Frangoulis, a 16-year-old father of one, triggered days of protests which often turned violent, despite calls for restraint by the teenager’s family and Roma community leaders. Frangloulis died last week after spending more than a week hospitalized in critical condition with a gunshot wound to the head.
The panel of judges that ordered the 34-year-old police officer's release set one bail condition, prohibiting him from leaving the country.
Police have said the teenager tried to ram the police motorbikes chasing him after he allegedly drove off from a gas station in the northern city of Thessaloniki without paying a 20 euro ($21) bill. The officer accused of shooting him has said he fired because he feared his colleagues’ lives were in danger, but said he was aiming at the pick-up truck's tires and not at the driver.
Not just for kids: Toymakers aim more products at grown-ups6 minute read Preview Monday, Dec. 19, 2022
Germany’s Merkel offers her thoughts on Wagner’s Ring cycle2 minute read Preview Monday, Dec. 19, 2022
Swedish court: Man wanted by Turkey cannot be extradited3 minute read Preview Monday, Dec. 19, 2022
COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Sweden's top court on Monday rejected an extradition request for a man wanted by Turkey, saying the Scandinavian country does not criminalize the act he is accused of committing.
In a statement, the Swedish Supreme Court said there were “obstacles to extradition because it is a matter of so-called political crimes, i.e. crimes that are directed against the state and that are political in nature.”
The court in Stockholm said there was “a risk of persecution based on the person’s political views” if he were returned to Turkey.
The court did not name the man who was the subject of Turkey's request. Swedish news agency TT identified him as Bulent Kenes and said the Turkish government wants him in connection with a 2016 coup attempt.
Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar sails through confidence vote3 minute read Preview Monday, Dec. 19, 2022