National News

Belarus scraps short-lived mask mandates amid virus surge

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Belarusian authorities on Friday horrified doctors by abolishing mask mandates, less than two weeks after their introduction for the first time during the pandemic and a day after the country registered a record number of new coronavirus infections.

NOT REAL NEWS: A look at what didn't happen this week

A roundup of some of the most popular but completely untrue stories and visuals of the week. None of these are legit, even though they were shared widely on social media. The Associated Press checked them out. Here are the facts:

US budget deficit hits $2.77 trillion in 2021, 2nd highest

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. budget deficit totaled $2.77 trillion for 2021, the second highest on record but an improvement from the all-time high of $3.13 trillion reached in 2020. The deficits in both years reflect trillions of dollars in government spending to counteract the devastating effects of a global pandemic.

Rod Stewart's plea deal on battery charge falls through

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — A plea deal between British rock icon Rod Stewart and Florida prosecutors fell through Friday, meaning he and his adult son are again scheduled to stand trial on charges they battered a security guard during a New Year's Eve bash nearly two years ago.

Robert Durst charged with 1982 murder of wife Kathie Durst

NEW YORK (AP) — Millionaire real estate scion Robert Durst has been charged with murder in the death of his first wife, Kathie Durst, nearly four decades after she disappeared and just days after he was sentenced to life in prison in California for killing a confidante who helped him cover up the slaying.