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

Original Publication Date December 03, 2021 - 9:11 PM

Michigan parents found in building; bond set at $500K apiece

PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) — A judge imposed a combined $1 million bond Saturday for the parents of the Michigan teen charged with killing four students at Oxford High School, hours after police said they were caught hiding in a Detroit commercial building.

James and Jennifer Crumbley entered not guilty pleas to each of the four involuntary manslaughter counts against them during a hearing held on Zoom. Jennifer Crumbley sobbed and struggled to respond to the judge's questions at times and James Crumbley shook his head when a prosecutor said their son had full access to the gun used in the killings.

Judge Julie Nicholson assigned bond of $500,000 apiece to each of the parents and required GPS monitoring if they pay to be released, agreeing with prosecutors that they posed a flight risk.

Defense attorneys for the Crumbleys still argued Saturday that they never intended to flee and had made plans to meet their lawyers early that morning. Attorney Shannon Smith accused prosecutors of “cherry picking” facts to release publicly, including that accusation that their teenage son had unrestricted access to the handgun prosecutors say his father purchased for him days before the shooting.

“Our clients are just as devastated as everyone else,” Smith said, adding that the gun “was locked.” She didn't provide more detail during Saturday's hearing.

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Biden, Putin set video call Tuesday as Ukraine tensions grow

MOSCOW (AP) — Presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin will speak in a video call Tuesday, the White House and Kremlin said, as tensions between the United States and Russia escalate over a Russian troop buildup on the Ukrainian border that's seen as a sign of a potential invasion.

Biden will press U.S. concerns about Russian military activities on the border and “reaffirm the United States’ support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Saturday, confirming the planned call after first word came from Moscow.

Putin will come to the call with concerns of his own and intends to express Russia's opposition to any move to admit Ukraine into the NATO military alliance. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said "the presidents will decide themselves” how long their talk will last.

The last known call between the leaders was in July, when Biden pressed Putin to rein in Russia-based criminal hacking gangs launching ransomware attacks against the United States. Biden said the U.S. would take any necessary steps to protect critical infrastructure from such attacks.

Ransomware attacks have continued since then, though perhaps none has been as alarming as the one from May that targeted a major fuel pipeline and resulted in days of gas shortages in parts of the U.S.

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No shortage of sanction options if Russia invades Ukraine

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration has plenty of options to make good on its pledge to hit Russia financially if President Vladimir Putin invades Ukraine, from sanctions targeting Putin’s associates to cutting Russia off from the financial system that sends money flowing around the world.

The United States and European allies have made no public mention of any plans to respond militarily themselves if Putin sends troops massed along the border into Ukraine, a former Soviet republic with close historical and cultural ties to Russia but now eager to ally with NATO and the West.

Instead, payback could be all about the money.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken this week promised financial pain — “high impact economic measures that we’ve refrained from taking in the past.” President Joe Biden on Friday said the U.S. had developed the “most comprehensive and meaningful set of initiatives to make it very, very difficult for Mr. Putin.”

The United States over the past decade already has put a range of sanctions in place against Russian entities and individuals, many of them over Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea and its support for armed separatists in eastern Ukraine in 2014. U.S. sanctions also have sought to punish Russia for election interference, malicious cyber activities and human rights abuses.

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CNN fires Chris Cuomo for helping brother deal with scandal

NEW YORK (AP) — CNN fired anchor Chris Cuomo on Saturday less than a week after new information emerged about how he assisted his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, as the politician faced sexual harassment allegations earlier this year.

The network had suspended its prime-time host on Tuesday to investigate his conduct, after New York's attorney general released details showing he was more involved than previously known in helping to strategize and reach out to other journalists as his brother fought to keep his job.

CNN hired a law firm for that review, which it would not identify. The lawyers recommended Chris Cuomo's termination and CNN chief Jeff Zucker informed the anchor of the decision on Saturday.

“It goes without saying that these decisions are not easy, and there are a lot of complex factors involved,” Zucker said in an email to CNN staff on Saturday.

The network said that “while in the process of that review, additional information has come to light.” CNN would not discuss that information, or characterize whether it had anything to do with his brother.

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US drugstores squeezed by vaccine demand, staff shortages

A rush of vaccine-seeking customers and staff shortages are squeezing drugstores around the U.S., leading to frazzled workers and temporary pharmacy closures.

Drugstores are normally busy this time of year with flu shots and other vaccines, but now pharmacists are doling out a growing number of COVID-19 shots and giving coronavirus tests.

The push for shots is expected to grow more intense as President Joe Biden urges vaccinated Americans to get booster shots to combat the emerging omicron variant. The White House said Thursday that more than two in three COVID-19 vaccinations are happening at local pharmacies.

And pharmacists worry another job might soon be added to their to-do list: If regulators approve antiviral pills from drugmakers Merck and Pfizer to treat COVID-19, pharmacists may be able to diagnose infections and then prescribe pills to customers.

“There’s crazy increased demand on pharmacies right now,” said Theresa Tolle, an independent pharmacist who has seen COVID-19 vaccine demand quadruple since the summer at her Sebastian, Florida, store.

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EXPLAINER: Stuck jet stream, La Nina causing weird weather

America’s winter wonderland is starting out this season as anything but traditional.

The calendar says December but for much of the country temperatures beckon for sandals. Umbrellas, if not arks, are needed in the Pacific Northwest, while in the Rockies snow shovels are gathering cobwebs.

Meteorologists attribute the latest batch of record-shattering weather extremes to a stuck jet stream and the effects of a La Nina weather pattern from cooling waters in the equatorial Pacific.

It's still fall astronomically, but winter starts Dec. 1 for meteorologists. This year, no one told the weather that.

On Thursday, 65 weather stations across the nation set record high temperature marks for Dec. 2, including Springfield, Missouri, hitting 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 Celsius) and Roanoke, Virginia 72 degrees Fahrenheit (22 Celsius). Cheyenne, Wyoming, and Billings, Montana, broke long-time heat records by 6 degrees.

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Penobscots don't want ancestors' scalping to be whitewashed

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Most Americans know about atrocities endured by Native Americans after the arrival of European settlers: wars, disease, stolen land. But they aren’t always taught the extent of the indiscriminate killings.

Members of the Penobscot Nation in Maine have produced an educational film addressing how European settlers scalped — killed — Indigenous people during the British colonial era, spurred for decades by cash bounties and with the government’s blessing.

“It was genocide,” said Dawn Neptune Adams, one of the three Penobscot Nation members featured in the film, called “Bounty.”

She said the point of the effort isn’t to make any Americans feel defensive or blamed. The filmmakers say they simply want to ensure this history isn’t whitewashed by promoting a fuller understanding of the nation’s past.

At the heart of the project is a chilling declaration by Spencer Phips, lieutenant governor of the Province of Massachusetts Bay.

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Edward Shames, last 'Band of Brothers' officer, dies at 99

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — Edward Shames, a World War II veteran who was the last surviving officer of “Easy Company,” which inspired the HBO miniseries and book “Band of Brothers,” has died. He was 99.

An obituary posted by the Holomon-Brown Funeral Home & Crematory said Shames, of Norfolk, Virginia, died peacefully at his home on Friday.

Shames was involved in some of the most important battles of World War II. During the war, he was a member of the renowned Easy Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division.

“He made his first combat jump into Normandy on D-Day as part of Operation Overlord. He volunteered for Operation Pegasus and then fought with Easy Company in Operation Market Garden and the Battle of the Bulge in Bastogne,” according to the obituary.

Shames was the first member of the 101st to enter Dachau concentration camp, just days after its liberation.

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Trump media partner says it has lined up $1B in capital

PALM BEACH, Florida (AP) — Donald Trump’s new social media company and its special purpose acquisition company partner say the partner has agreements for $1 billion in capital from institutional investors.

The former president launched his new company, Trump Media & Technology Group, in October. He unveiled plans for a new messaging app called “Truth Social” to rival Twitter and the other social media platforms that banned him following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

TMTG’s plan is to become a publicly listed company through a merger with the publicly traded Digital World Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company whose sole purpose is to acquire a private company and take it public.

The institutional investors were not identified in a press release issued Saturday by Trump Media and Digital World. The money would come from “a diverse group" of investors after the two companies are combined, it said.

Digital World said in the release that the $1 billion is above the $293 million (minus expenses) that it may invest.

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Playoff bound: Bama rolls No. 1 Georgia 41-24 for SEC title

ATLANTA (AP) — Underdog is an unusual role for Alabama.

Turns out, it suits the Crimson Tide just fine.

Now, Nick Saban's team is in a much more familiar position: getting ready to play for another national title.

Bryce Young carved up the nation's top-rated defense, throwing for three touchdowns and running for another as the fourth-ranked Crimson Tide rolled over No. 1 Georgia 41-24 in the Southeastern Conference championship game Saturday.

The stunning result will likely send both powerhouse programs to the four-team College Football Playoff.

News from © The Associated Press, 2021
The Associated Press

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