National News

Cheney presses primary foe on Trump's false election claim

U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming has used a debate to press her Donald Trump-backed primary opponent on whether she agreed with the former president’s baseless assertion that widespread fraud cost him reelection. The opponent, Cheyenne attorney Harriet Hageman, said there were “serious concerns” about the 2020 election. But Hageman stopped short of repeating Trump’s false claim that drove thousands of his supporters to storm the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Cheney has faced a fierce backlash among Republicans for her role as vice chair of the House committee investigating the insurrection. Even so, during Thursday's debate Cheney remained unapologetic, saying she won't violate her oath of office.

Navy report: Multiple errors poisoned Pearl Harbor water

A Navy investigation is revealing how shoddy management and human error caused fuel to leak into Pearl Harbor’s tap water last year. The leak poisoned thousands of people and forced military families to evacuate their homes for hotels. The investigation is the first detailed account of how jet fuel from the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility, a massive World War II-era military-run tank farm in the hills above Pearl Harbor, leaked into a well that supplied water to housing and offices in and around the sprawling base. The report listed a cascading series of mistakes from May through November 2021 when fuel got into a drinking water well.

New York officials rule against bitcoin-mining power plant

New York has denied required air permit renewals to a bitcoin-mining power plant on the grounds that it was a threat to the state’s climate goals. The permitting decision was another example of New York putting the brakes on a cryptocurrency bonanza that has alarmed environmentalists. The state’s permitting decision involved Greenidge Generation, a power plant that had once been shut down, but was converted from to natural gas several years ago and began bitcoin mining in earnest in 2020. A majority of the electricity produced by the plant is now used to run more than 15,000 computer servers.

Asian shares mostly lower after pessimistic 'tankan' survey

Asian benchmarks are mostly lower, echoing a decline on Wall Street, after a quarterly report by Japan’s central bank rekindled worries about the world’s third largest economy. Recent data suggest global growth is slowing as countries grapple with renewed waves of coronavirus outbreaks, soaring prices and the war in Ukraine. In the Bank of Japan “tankan” survey, the headline index for large manufacturers was 9, down from 14 the previous quarter, the second straight quarter of declines. However, a survey by a Chinese business magazine, Caixin, showed China’s factory activity expanded in June at its strongest rate in 13 months as the country eased pandemic restrictions, allowing manufacturing and other business activity to resume.

Last-minute deal averts casino strike in Atlantic City

The main union for Atlantic City casino workers has reached agreements on new contracts with four casinos, avoiding a threatened strike. Thursday's deal provides what the union president calls “the best contract we've ever had.” It also provides labor peace that will avoid a strike on Fourth of July weekend, one of the casinos’ busiest weekends of the year. Local 54 of the Unite Here union reached tentative agreements with the Borgata, which is owned by MGM Resorts International, and three Caesars Entertainment casinos: Caesars, Harrah’s and the Tropicana. The new pacts appear to greatly increase the likelihood of a deal getting done with Hard Rock as well.

Wisconsin's conservative high court hands GOP another weapon

Wisconsin’s conservative-controlled Supreme Court handed Republicans their newest weapon to weaken any Democratic governors in the battleground state. The court ruled this week that political appointees don’t have to leave their posts until the Senate confirms their successor. The court’s decision came in the case of a conservative who refused to step down from an environmental policy board for more than a year after his term expired. It marks another loss for Democratic Gov. Tony Evers as he faces reelection in November. It effectively hands Republicans the ability to strategically block appointees simply by declining to hold a nomination vote. They've been working to reduce Evers' power since even before he took office.

EXPLAINER: How will R. Kelly sentence impact other trials?

R. Kelly could be in his 80s before the singer is free again, based on a 30-year prison term imposed this week by a New York federal judge for sexually abusing young fans. And if the 55-year-old loses at three related trials in coming months, he could be staring at yet more time. The next trial he faces is set for Aug. 15 in federal court in Chicago, Kelly's hometown. Steve Greenberg is a longtime Kelly lawyer and represents Kelly in a separate state case in Illinois. Greenberg says he suspects there have been discussions about a plea deal between Kelly’s federal trial-team lawyers and federal prosecutors in Chicago.

Lawyer: Hussle lifted up neighborhood he was gunned down in

A prosecutor says Nipsey Hussle was a hip-hop star who sought to raise up his neighborhood with him until a friend from the same streets gunned him down. Deputy District Attorney John McKinney sought to humanize Hussle for jurors in his closing arguments at the trial of Eric Holder on Thursday. Holder's attorney Aaron Jansen told jurors that Holder was acting in the heat of passion after being publicly called a snitch by Hussle, a famous person whose words carried great weight in the world the two lived in. He said jurors should instead find Holder guilty of voluntary manslaughter.

Improving weather aids fight against Sierra Nevada wildfire

Improving weather has helped firefighters stop the spread of a Sierra Nevada wildfire that forced evacuation of several hundred people from their homes and injured seven firefighters. Authorities say the size of the Rices Fire remains at 904 acres Thursday while containment has increased to 20%. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection says firefighters were helped by cooler weather and an increase in humidity. Seven firefighters suffered heat-related injuries, such as dehydration. The wildfire began with a building fire Tuesday in Nevada County near the Yuba River. Evacuation orders had been in place for about 250 homes but some orders were lifted Thursday as firefighters made progress.

Migrants in Texas trailer tragedy died seeking better lives

Families of the more than 60 people packed into a tractor-trailer and abandoned in Texas have began to confirm their worst fears. And a common narrative is taking shape from Honduras to Mexico: people seeking a better life. Children hoping to earn enough to support their parents. Young adults who had hoped college would lead to success left their country disillusioned. A man already working in the U.S. decided to take a cousin on his return from a trip to his homeland. More than 50 of those migrants left in the sweltering heat on the outskirts of San Antonio have died, while others remain hospitalized.

To avoid blackouts, California may tap fossil fuel plants

California may turn to fossil fuels to avoid blackouts during hot weather that strains the electric grid. Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday signed legislation that gives the state broad power to buy energy in extreme situations. The Department of Water Resources would be allowed to purchase diesel-fueled generators and possibly buy from gas-fired power plants that are slated for closure in 2023. It could also build new energy storage and zero-emission fuel projects without getting approval from the state's major environmental review law. The proposal also aims to speed up building of solar and wind farms and storage systems by bypassing local approval.

California sets nation's toughest plastics reduction rules

Companies that want to sell shampoo bottles, food products and other items wrapped in plastic in California will have to cut down their use of the material. That's under a bill signed Thursday by Gov. Gavin Newsom that sets the nation's most stringent plastics reduction rules. It would require producers to use 25% less plastic for single-use products 2032. That could be met through using less material, switching to another type of packaging or making the products refillable or reusable. It was negotiated by lawmakers, environmental and business groups. Backers of a similar ballot measure have removed their initiative from the November ballot.

Cruise ship that hit iceberg arrives in Seattle for repairs

A cruise ship that struck an iceberg in Alaska has docked in Seattle for repairs. The Norwegian Sun hit part of an iceberg on Saturday near Hubbard Glacier in Alaska. The ship was turned around to Juneau, where it under went inspection. It was cleared to travel at lower speeds to Seattle by authorities. It arrived early morning Thursday.

Californians won't weigh 'involuntary servitude' amendment

California will not consider amending its state constitution to eliminate an exemption that allows indentured servitude to punish crime. The proposal stalled because of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration's prediction that it could cost the state billions of dollars if prison inmates had to be paid minimum wage. Democratic Sen. Sydney Kamlager said Thursday that she ran out of time. The measure barring involuntary work without pay last week fell seven votes short of the two-thirds margin it needed in the Senate. She elected not to bring it back for another try after it still lacked support before lawmakers adjourned Thursday for a monthlong summer recess.

California first to cover health care for all immigrants

California is the first state to guarantee free health care for all low-income immigrants who are living in the country illegally. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a $307.9 billion operating budget on Thursday. It makes all low-income adults eligible for the state's Medicaid program regardless of their immigration status. The move will provide coverage for an additional 714,000 people. It will cost taxpayers about $2.6 billion per year once fully implemented. The Newsom administration has indicated it will take until 2024 to implement the expansion.

Agency clears way for Oakland Athletics $12B ballpark plan

A California agency has cleared the way for the Oakland Athletics to move forward with a $12 billion waterfront ballpark project. The San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission voted Thursday to reclassify a terminal at the Port of Oakland as a mixed-use area where a new ballpark could be built. The vote is the first in a series of hurdles before the team could get permission to break ground for the project. The Athletics have also been working on plans to relocate to Nevada and find a spot for a new stadium in Las Vegas.

US official: Migrants who died cleared inland checkpoint

A U.S. official says the tractor-trailer at the center of a disastrous human-smuggling attempt that left 53 people dead had passed through an inland U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint with migrants inside earlier in its journey. The truck went through the checkpoint on Interstate 35 northeast of the border city of Laredo, Texas. The official spoke to The Associated Press Thursday on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation. Also Thursday, Hector Zamorano Jr., a U.S. citizen, made his initial court appearance as the alleged driver. And the Texas Department of Public Safety announced new inland vehicle checkpoints.

Alabama bond sale for mega prisons falls $200 million short

Alabama officials said they are moving forward with plans to build two supersize prisons despite a bond sale falling more than $200 million short of expectations.  The Alabama Corrections Institution Finance Authority hoped to sell $725 million in bonds for the project. Instead, the authority was only able to sell $509 million. State Finance Director Bill Poole told reporters Thursday that the bond sale's outcome would not impact the construction timeline. The state plans to build two prisons housing up to 4,000 inmates each with a total $1.2 billion construction price tag. Activists had urged buyers to reject the bond offering.

Texas orders districts to audit, fix school security issues

State officials are ordering local school districts across Texas to audit and correct security deficiencies at their schools before the start of the next school year. The Texas Education Agency issued directives Thursday “to support the safety and security of public schools.” The order especially targets how secure exterior doors are. The directives come more than a month after an 18-year-old gunman entered a Uvalde elementary school's unlocked door and shot and killed 19 children and two teachers. State lawmakers have targeted school security and mental health issues without further regulating firearms access.

Vermont US Sen. Leahy undergoes surgery on broken hip

U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont underwent surgery Thursday after he broke his hip in a fall at his home. A spokesman for the 82-year-old Democrat says Leahy is “comfortably recovering” at a Washington area hospital after successful surgery. Leahy fell Wednesday night at his home in McLean, Virginia. Doctors said the best course of action was to have surgery as soon as possible. He is expected to make a full recovery and begin physical therapy. Leahy is the longest-serving sitting senator. He announced in November that he will not seek reelection this fall.

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