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

Nations compromise on coal to strike UN climate agreement

GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — Almost 200 nations accepted a compromise deal Saturday aimed at keeping a key global warming target alive, but it contained a last-minute change that watered down crucial language about coal.

Several countries, including small island states, said they were deeply disappointed by the change promoted by India to “phase down,” rather than “phase out” coal power, the single biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions.

“Our fragile planet is hanging by a thread,” United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a statement. “We are still knocking on the door of climate catastrophe.”

Nation after nation had complained after two weeks of U.N. climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland, about how the deal did not go far or fast enough. But they said it was better than nothing and provided incremental progress, if not success.

In the end, the summit broke ground by singling out coal, however weakly, by setting the rules for international trading of carbon credits, and by telling big polluters to come back next year with improved pledges for cutting emissions.

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Good COP, bad COP? Takeaways from the new UN climate deal

GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — After two years of preparation and 13 days of tough talks, did negotiators at the U.N. climate meeting in Glasgow save the planet?

In short: no.

But they were hardly expected to do so. The annual Conference of the Parties, just held for the 26th time, is all about getting countries to gradually ratchet up their measures to defuse global warming.

The focus of the Glasgow talks was not to forge a new treaty but to finalize the one agreed to in Paris six years ago and to build on it by further curbing greenhouse gas emissions, bending the temperature curve closer to levels that don't threaten human civilization.

Here's a look at what was achieved in Glasgow:

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Inside DNC chair's 'challenging' bid to avert midterm defeat

He's not particularly close to the White House. He's never won statewide office or a seat in Congress. And just last year, he lost a high-profile Senate race by double digits.

But if you ask him, Jaime Harrison will tell you he is uniquely prepared to lead a Democratic Party confronting fierce Republican obstruction, intense infighting and the burden of history heading into next year's midterm elections.

He will tell you of his own childhood of poverty in rural South Carolina, where he ate cereal with water instead of milk before eventually becoming an attorney, a congressional aide, the first Black state party chair, a prodigious fundraiser and now, at 45 and the father of two young children, the chair of the Democratic National Committee.

He will also tell you about the intense pressure he feels to stave off political disaster in 2022.

“Let me tell you, man, it is a big weight. It is a tremendous weight," Harrison said in an interview from a makeshift television studio in the basement of his South Carolina home. “My experiences are the experiences that we need at this moment to help really thread a needle. This is going to be challenging."

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More turn to abortion pills by mail, with legality uncertain

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Before her daughter’s birth, she spent weeks in bed. Another difficult pregnancy would be worse as she tried to care for her toddler.

Faced with that possibility, the 28-year-old Texas woman did what a growing number of people have considered: She had a friend in another state mail her the pills she needed to end her pregnancy. She took the pills, went to bed early and describes the experience as “calm” and “peaceful.”

“If people can have births at birthing centers or in their own homes, why shouldn’t people be able to have abortions in their own homes?” said the woman, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because she worries about legal reprisals as Texas moves to join several other states in disallowing mail delivery of abortion medications. “It’s a comfort thing.”

The COVID-19 pandemic and Texas’ near-ban on abortion fueled increased interest in obtaining abortion medications by mail. But with the legality in doubt in several states, some people looking to get around restrictions may not see it as worth the risk. The matter is taking on new urgency with the Supreme Court set to hear arguments next month in Mississippi's bid to erode the Roe v. Wade decision guaranteeing the right to an abortion.

Some abortion-rights advocates worry that whatever state officials and anti-abortion groups promise, people ending their pregnancies at home will face criminal prosecutions.

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EXPLAINER: Did Rittenhouse lawyers do enough to prevail?

KENOSHA, Wisconsin (AP) — Kyle Rittenhouse testifying about the night he shot three men on the streets of Kenosha — sobbing and seemingly unable to continue as he spoke about the first shooting — was among the most compelling moments in his two-week murder trial.

It might also have been the most effective part of the three-day defense case, potentially swaying any jurors inclined toward sympathy for the 18-year-old who has claimed self-defense for killing two men and injuring one.

Prosecutors say the primary cause of the violence was Rittenhouse's decision to go to Kenosha with a rifle in a city wracked by protests after a white police officer shot a Black man, Jacob Blake.

Rittenhouse, who was 17 at the time, is charged with multiple counts including intentional and reckless homicide, as well as possession of a dangerous weapon by a minor. He and the men he shot are white.

Here is a look at how the presentation went for the defense, which rested its case Thursday:

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Battle among Ecuador prison gangs kills at least 68 inmates

QUITO, Ecuador (AP) — A prolonged gunbattle between rival gangs inside Ecuador’s largest prison killed at least 68 inmates and wounded 25 on Saturday, while authorities said it took most of the day to regain control at the Litoral Penitentiary, which recently saw the country’s worst prison bloodbath.

The killing erupted before dawn at the prison in the coastal city of Guayaquil in what officials said was the latest outbreak of fighting among prison gangs linked to international drug cartels. Videos circulating on social media showed bodies, some burned, lying on the ground inside the prison.

The shooting lasted around eight hours, officials said, and then new clashes were reported in part of the prison in the afternoon.

Presidential spokesman Carlos Jijón finally announced after nightfall that “the situation is controlled throughout the penitentiary.” He said about 900 police officers had taken control of the situation.

In the initial fighting, inmates “tried to dynamite a wall to get into Pavilion 2 to carry out a massacre. They also burned mattresses to try to to drown (their rivals) in smoke,” said the governor of Guayas province, Pablo Arosemena.

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EXPLAINER: Why quitting coal is so hard

GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — In the run-up to the U.N. climate talks in Glasgow, host Britain announced one of its goals of the conference was to consign coal to history.

That turned out to be easier said that done. Even saying it — in writing — became quite a challenge.

Government negotiators in Glasgow wrote and rewrote a paragraph that spells out that fighting climate change requires the world to end coal power, along with fossil fuel subsidies. The wording on coal was weakened one last time just before the gavel came down after coal-dependent India insisted on replacing the words “phase out” with “phase down."

Here’s a look at the role coal plays in climate change and the energy system, and why it’s been so hard to move away from:

WHY THE FOCUS ON COAL?

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Polish police find body of young Syrian near Belarus border

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Polish police said Saturday that the body of a young Syrian man was found in the woods near the border with Belarus, the latest victim in a political standoff at the European Union's eastern border.

The regime in Minsk has for months been encouraging illegal migration across its border into the EU nations of Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. All three countries are reinforcing their frontiers, seeking to block the newly opened migration route, and the situation is growing more dangerous as winter approaches.

Polish police said the body of a Syrian man about 20 years old was found a day earlier near the village of Wólka Terechowska. They said the exact cause of death could not be determined and that an autopsy would be performed.

It brings the death toll now to at least nine reported victims in the migration encouraged by Belarus’ longtime President Alexander Lukashenko.

Many of the migrants are from Syria, Iraq, or elsewhere in the Middle East, people seeking to flee conflict and hopelessness for the prospect of better lives in Europe.

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Sinema's shift: 'Prada socialist' to corporate donor magnet

WASHINGTON (AP) — Twenty years ago, a Green Party activist running for the Phoenix City Council named Kyrsten Sinema likened raising campaign cash to “bribery.”

Now a first-term senator from Arizona, she no longer has such qualms.

Once a self-styled “Prada socialist" labeled as “too extreme” by Arizona's Democratic Party, Sinema has found new power as a centrist in a 50-50 Senate where there are no votes to spare, forcing President Joe Biden to downsize his agenda and other Democratic ambitions.

Her outsize authority highlights one senator's ability to exploit her party's narrow hold on the chamber and bend the will of the majority. That prowess is also a reason that corporate interests eager to influence Democrats’ now-$1.85 trillion package of social and climate initiatives have rushed to provide her financial support.

Throughout months of exhaustive negotiations, Sinema has offered only limited explanation for opposing policies Democrats have campaigned on for years, angering many of her colleagues.

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Beloved 'Dolphin Tale' star Winter died of twisted intestine

CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) — Florida's most famous dolphin Winter, beloved by fans around the world and star of the movie “Dolphin Tale,” died of twisted intestines, according to necropsy results released by the aquarium Saturday.

The dolphin's intestines were in an area impossible to reach through surgery.

“There was nothing more the team could have done to save her life,” according to a statement from Clearwater Marine Aquarium, adding that the condition is found in stranded wild dolphins “as well as any living being with intestines.”

Winter, who died Thursday, inspired fans young and old after her tail was amputated when it became entangled in a crab trap rope, cutting off circulation. But the prosthetic tail and the dolphin's miraculous recovery offered hopes to many with illnesses and disabilities.

“Because of Winter’s injury and the distortion it caused in her body, she was more prone to facing health complications since her rescue 16 years ago,” the aquarium said in a statement.

News from © The Associated Press, 2021
The Associated Press

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