National Politics

Merkel defends lobbying for Wirecard on 2019 China visit

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel has defended her lobbying for Wirecard during a 2019 visit to China, testifying before a parliamentary committee Friday that the payments company received no special treatment and that it was in Germany's interest to promote its businesses.

German diplomat says time is right for Serbia-Kosovo talks

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Germany’s foreign minister called Friday for the resumption of negotiations between Serbia and Kosovo on normalizing the relations between the former war foes whose unresolved territorial dispute has stalled efforts to achieve stability in the Balkans.

Jobs are make-or-break argument for Biden in climate plan

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House is bringing out the billionaires, the CEOs and the union executives Friday to help sell President Joe Biden's climate-friendly transformation of the U.S. economy at his virtual summit of world leaders.

US drop in vaccine demand has some places turning down doses

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Louisiana has stopped asking the federal government for its full allotment of COVID-19 vaccine. About three-quarters of Kansas counties have turned down new shipments of the vaccine at least once over the past month. And in Mississippi, officials asked the federal government to ship vials in smaller packages so they don’t go to waste.

Albania heads to polls after a bitter political fight

TIRANA, Albania (AP) — Albania holds parliamentary elections on Sunday amid the virus pandemic and a bitter political rivalry between the country’s two largest political parties.

Vocabulary, lightning round added to National Spelling Bee

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Scripps National Spelling Bee is undergoing a major overhaul to ensure it can identify a single champion, adding vocabulary questions and a lightning-round tiebreaker to this year's pandemic-altered competition.

Jill Biden hears from Navajo women on needs, priorities

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — Jill Biden spent the first day of a trip to the Navajo Nation listening to female tribal leaders whom she referred to as her “sister warriors," on the needs and priorities of the country's largest Native American reservation.

Democrats move 2 bills showing strength and limits of power

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats were on a roll. The House voted along party lines to make the nation’s capital the 51st state, and two hours later, the Senate overwhelmingly approved bipartisan legislation to address violence against Asian Americans.

EXPLAINER: How come nations' climate targets don't compare?

WASHINGTON (AP) — This week's climate change summit features lots of talk from different nations about their goals for reducing carbon emissions. But in the weird world of national climate pledges, numbers often aren’t quite what they seem.

SUPREME COURT NOTEBOOK: David faces Goliaths over pipeline

WASHINGTON (AP) — On one side of an upcoming Supreme Court case over a proposed natural gas pipeline in New Jersey are two lawyers with more than 250 arguments between them. On the other is Jeremy Feigenbaum, a lawyer for New Jersey who will be making his first Supreme Court appearance.

Panel: End commanders' power to block military sex cases

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Pentagon panel is recommending that decisions to prosecute service members for sexual assault be made by independent authorities, not commanders, in what would be a major reversal of military practice and a change long sought by Congress members, The Associated Press has learned.

Biden taps Montana environmentalist for US public lands boss

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — President Joe Biden has nominated a longtime environmental advocate and Democratic aide to oversee the vast expanses of federally owned land in Western states — the latest political appointment raising concerns among Republicans as Biden moves to curtail energy production from public reserves.

Video: California deputy shoots Black man within a minute

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A white sheriff’s deputy in the San Francisco Bay Area shot and killed a Black man in the middle of a busy intersection about a minute after trying to stop him on suspicion of throwing rocks at cars last month, newly released video showed.

Topless clubs among businesses that can reopen in Vegas

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Topless dancers can shed coronavirus restrictions next weekend in Las Vegas and get face-to-face with patrons again, under rules accepted Thursday by a state COVID-19 task force.

Panel: End commanders' power to block military sex cases

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Pentagon panel is recommending that decisions to prosecute service members for sexual assault be made by independent authorities, not commanders, in what would be a major reversal of military practice and a change long sought by Congress members, The Associated Press has learned.

California goes from worst to first in virus infections

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Just a few months ago, California was the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. Hospitals in Los Angeles were drowning in patients, and ambulances were idling outside with people struggling to breathe, waiting for beds to open.

Democrats sue to block "audit" of 2020 Arizona election

PHOENIX (AP) — The Arizona Democratic Party and the sole Democrat on the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors filed a lawsuit Thursday seeking to block the Arizona Senate's ballot recount and audit of the county's 2020 election.

Senate OKs bill to fight hate crimes against Asian Americans

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate on Thursday overwhelmingly passed a bill that would help combat the rise of hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, a bipartisan denunciation of such violence during the coronavirus pandemic and a modest step toward legislating in a chamber where most of President Joe Biden's agenda has stalled.

Georgia university regents pause search for new chancellor

ATLANTA (AP) — The regents who oversee Georgia's 26 universities and colleges said Thursday that they are pausing a search for a new leader, making it likely that the system will choose an interim leader if outgoing Chancellor Steve Wrigley retires on time at the end of June.

House seat numbers can't be released before next week

The numbers used for deciding how many congressional seats each state gets can’t be released before next Monday, according to an agreement that settles litigation between the U.S. Census Bureau and a coalition of local governments and civil rights groups.

Judge sets deadline for rare Nevada plant-listing decision

RENO, Nev. (AP) — A federal judge has given the Fish and Wildlife Service just 30 more days to make an overdue decision on whether to formally propose endangered species protection for a rare desert wildflower at the center of a fight over a proposed lithium mine in Nevada.

Biden to restore California's power to set pollution rules

DETROIT (AP) — The U.S. Transportation Department is moving to reverse former President Donald Trump's bid to end California's ability to set its own automobile tailpipe pollution standards.