Skip to content

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

Biden administration is sending $1 billion more in weapons, ammo to Israel, congressional aides say WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration has told key lawmakers it would send more than $1 billion in additional arms and ammunition to Israel, thre

Biden administration is sending $1 billion more in weapons, ammo to Israel, congressional aides say

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration has told key lawmakers it would send more than $1 billion in additional arms and ammunition to Israel, three congressional aides said Tuesday. But it was not immediately known how soon the weapons would be delivered.

It's the first arms shipment to Israel to be revealed since the administration put another arms transfer, consisting of 3,500 bombs of up to 2,000 pounds each, on hold this month. The Biden administration, citing concern for civilian casualties in Gaza, has said it paused that bomb transfer to keep Israel from using those particular munitions in its offensive in the crowded southern Gaza city of Rafah.

The package disclosed Tuesday includes about $700 million for tank ammunition, $500 million in tactical vehicles and $60 million in mortar rounds, the congressional aides said. They spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an arms transfer that has not yet been made public.

There was no immediate indication when the arms would be sent. Two congressional aides said the shipment is not part of the long-delayed foreign aid package that Congress passed and Biden signed last month. It wasn’t known if the shipment was the latest tranche from an existing arms sale or something new.

The Biden administration has come under criticism from both sides of the political spectrum over its military support for Israel's now seven-month-old war against Hamas in Gaza — at a time when Biden is battling for reelection against former President Donald Trump.

___

Cohen gives insider details at trial as Trump's defense attorney accuses him of seeking vengeance

NEW YORK (AP) — It wasn't until after a decade in the fold, after his family pleaded with him, after the FBI raided his office, apartment and hotel room, Michael Cohen testified Tuesday, that he finally decided to turn on Donald Trump.

The complicated break led to a 2018 guilty plea to federal charges involving a payment to the porn actor Stormy Daniels to bury her story of an alleged sexual encounter with Trump and to other, unrelated crimes.

And it’s that insider knowledge of shady deals that pushed Manhattan prosecutors to make Cohen the star witness in their case against Trump about that same payment, which they say was an illegal effort to influence the 2016 presidential election.

“To keep the loyalty and to do the things that he had asked me to do, I violated my moral compass, and I suffered the penalty, as has my family,” Cohen testified Tuesday.

But defense attorneys sought to portray Cohen as motivated by vengeance on his former boss, confronting him on the witness stand with his own profane social media about Trump and wanting to see the former president in handcuffs.

___

Palestinians mark 76 years of dispossession as a potentially even larger catastrophe unfolds in Gaza

JERUSALEM (AP) — Palestinians on Wednesday will mark the 76th year of their mass expulsion from what is now Israel, an event that is at the core of their national struggle. But in many ways, that experience pales in comparison to the calamity now unfolding in Gaza.

Palestinians refer to it as the Nakba, Arabic for catastrophe. Some 700,000 Palestinians — a majority of the prewar population — fled or were driven from their homes before and during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war that followed Israel's establishment.

After the war, Israel refused to allow them to return because it would have resulted in a Palestinian majority within its borders. Instead, they became a seemingly permanent refugee community that now numbers some 6 million, with most living in slum-like urban refugee camps in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

In Gaza, the refugees and their descendants make up around three-quarters of the population.

Israel's rejection of what Palestinians say is their right of return has been a core grievance in the conflict and was one of the thorniest issues in peace talks that last collapsed 15 years ago. The refugee camps have always been the main bastions of Palestinian militancy.

___

Driver of pickup that collided with farmworker bus in Florida, killing 8, is arrested on DUI charges

OCALA, Fla. (AP) — The Florida Highway Patrol has arrested the driver of a pickup truck that crashed into a farmworker bus early Tuesday, killing eight, on charges of driving under the influence-manslaughter.

Bryan Maclean Howard, 41, faces eight counts of DUI-Manslaughter, the FHP said in a statement. No further details were released, including what substance allegedly left Howard impaired.

Troopers said he was driving the 2001 Ford Ranger when it crossed into the center line on State Road 40, a straight but somewhat hilly two-lane road that passes through horse farms. The truck sideswiped the bus, causing it to veer off the road at about 6:40 a.m. It crashed through a fence and into a tree before overturning. In addition to the eight killed, at least 40 were injured.

It was not immediately known if Howard has an attorney, and no phone numbers for family members could be found. According to state records, Howard has previous arrests for driving with a suspended license, leaving the scene of an accident and marijuana possession.

The accident happened in Marion County, about 80 miles (130 kilometers) north of Orlando. The workers had been headed to Cannon Farms in Dunnellon, which has been harvesting watermelons. The bus ended up on its side, with its windows smashed and its emergency rear door and top hatch open. The truck came to a stop at the side of the road, with its air bag blown and extensive damage to the driver's side.

___

Senate primaries set up a marquee race in Maryland and a likely Republican flip in West Virginia

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Republican voters advanced strong Senate contenders in Maryland and West Virginia on Tuesday, giving the GOP a big boost in its push to claim control of Congress' upper chamber.

Former Gov. Larry Hogan claimed the Republican nomination in what will be a marquee race in Maryland against Angela Alsobrooks, a top local official who could become the fourth Black woman in U.S. history to serve in the Senate.

Meanwhile, another popular Republican, Gov. Jim Justice, won the Senate nomination in deep-red West Virginia, becoming the overwhelming favorite in the race that represents the GOP's best pickup opportunity in the nation.

In both states, which share a border but feature antithetical politics, the Republican nominees represent a serious challenge for Democrats in the general election as they cling to a 51-49 Senate majority and defend seats in other states that former President Donald Trump won four years ago.

At the same time, Trump and Democratic President Joe Biden sought to project strength in low-stakes presidential primaries. And further down the ballot, two people who were on opposite sides of the Jan. 6 insurrection lost their U.S. House bids — a former Capitol Police officer running in Maryland and a former West Virginia state lawmaker who participated in the riot.

___

Cargo ship that caused Baltimore bridge collapse had power blackouts hours before leaving port

BALTIMORE (AP) — The cargo ship Dali experienced electrical blackouts about 10 hours before leaving the Port of Baltimore and yet again shortly before it slammed into the Francis Key Bridge and killed six construction workers, federal investigators said Tuesday, providing the most detailed account yet of the tragedy.

The first power outage occurred after a crew member mistakenly closed an exhaust damper while conducting maintenance, causing one of the ship’s diesel engines to stall, investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board said in their preliminary report. Shortly after leaving Baltimore early on March 26, the ship crashed into one of the bridge’s supporting columns because another power outage caused it to lose steering and propulsion at the exact worst moment.

The report provides new details about how the ship’s crew addressed the power issues it experienced while still docked in Baltimore. A full investigation could take a year or more, according to the safety board.

Testing of the ship’s fuel did not reveal any concerns related to its quality, according to the report.

The Dali was headed from Baltimore to Sri Lanka, laden with shipping containers and enough supplies for a monthlong voyage.

___

Justice Department says Boeing violated deal that avoided prosecution after 737 Max crashes

WASHINGTON (AP) — Boeing has violated a settlement that allowed the company to avoid criminal prosecution after two deadly crashes involving its 737 Max aircraft more than five years ago, the Justice Department told a federal judge on Tuesday.

It is now up to the Justice Department to decide whether to file charges against Boeing. Prosecutors will tell the court no later than July 7 how they plan to proceed, department said.

New 737 Max jets crashed in 2018 in Indonesia and 2019 in Ethiopia, killing 346 people. Boeing reached a $2.5 billion settlement with the Justice Department in January 2021 to avoid prosecution on a single charge of fraud — misleading federal regulators who approved the plane. Boeing blamed the deception on two relatively low-level employees.

In a letter filed Tuesday in federal court in Texas, Glenn Leon, head of the Justice Department criminal division's fraud section, said Boeing violated terms of the settlement by failing to make promised changes to detect and prevent violations of federal anti-fraud laws.

The determination means that Boeing could be prosecuted “for any federal criminal violation of which the United States has knowledge,” including the charge of fraud that the company hoped to avoid with the settlement, the Justice Department said.

___

Blinken in Kyiv tries to rally sagging Ukrainian spirits as Russia makes new military gains

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken sought Tuesday to rally the spirits of glum Ukrainians facing a fierce new Russian offensive, assuring them during a visit to Kyiv that they are not alone and that billions of dollars in American military aid on its way after months of political delays will make a “real difference” on the battlefield.

After a day of meetings with senior officials, civil society figures and university students when he exhorted them against being discouraged, Blinken took to the stage at a bar in Ukraine's capital to play rhythm guitar and sing with a local band on Neil Young's 1989 hit “Rockin' in the Free World."

The performance, and a series of sunny comments from Blinken about Ukraine’s battlefield prospects, was a startling juxtaposition to what analysts have called one of the most dangerous moments for Ukraine since Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022. Russian forces have taken swaths of territory along Ukraine’s northeast border, and thousands of civilians in the Kharkiv region have fled the increasingly intense attacks.

But Blinken told Ukrainian leaders during his unannounced visit to Kyiv that despite a lengthy delay in U.S. military aid that left them vulnerable to these renewed Russian military strikes, more weaponry is coming and some has already arrived.

He made the case even as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appealed to him personally for more air defense systems to protect civilians under intense Russian fire in the northeast. Blinken, on fourth trip to Kyiv since the war began, also lambasted Russian President Vladimir Putin for underestimating Ukraine's determination to fight back.

___

American sought after ‘So I raped you’ Facebook message detained in France on 2021 warrant

LYON, France (AP) — An American accused of sexually assaulting a Pennsylvania college student in 2013 and later sending her a Facebook message that said, “So I raped you,” has been detained in France after a three-year search.

A prosecutor in Metz, France, confirmed Tuesday that Ian Thomas Cleary, 31, of Saratoga, California, had been taken into custody last month and will be held pending extradition proceedings.

Cleary had been the subject of an international search since authorities in Pennsylvania issued a 2021 felony warrant in the case weeks after an Associated Press story detailed the reluctance of local prosecutors to pursue campus sex crimes.

The arrest warrant accuses Cleary of stalking an 18-year-old Gettysburg College student at a party, sneaking into her dorm and sexually assaulting her while she texted friends for help. He was a 20-year-old Gettysburg student at the time, but did not return to campus.

According to a French judicial official, Cleary was detained on the street in Metz on April 24 as part of a police check. He told a magistrate that he had “arrived in France two or three years ago” from Albania and had only recently come to Metz, but did not have housing there, the official said. A French lawyer appointed to represent him did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment Tuesday.

___

Caitlin Clark struggles early in WNBA debut before scoring 20 points in Fever's loss to Connecticut

UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) — The Caitlin Clark era in the WNBA has officially begun, although it got off to a slow start.

Clark went scoreless for nearly the first 15 minutes, before getting more comfortable and finishing with 20 points in the Indiana Fever's 92-71 loss to the Connecticut Sun on Tuesday night.

She missed her first four shots before finally getting on the board midway through the second period. The NCAA’s all-time Division I scoring leader stole the ball around the foul line and drove the length of the court before laying the ball in. Clark had said before the game that she thought her first basket would come on a layup since it was a “high-percentage” shot.

Clark later added two free throws and hit a 3-pointer with 29.9 seconds left in the first half to finish the opening 20 minutes with seven points, hitting two of her seven shot attempts.

She carried some of that momentum into the third quarter when she scored five of her points to try and rally the Fever, but it just wasn't enough.

The Associated Press