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

Original Publication Date June 17, 2024 - 9:11 PM

Willie Mays, Giants’ electrifying ‘Say Hey Kid,’ has died at 93

Willie Mays, the electrifying “Say Hey Kid” whose singular combination of talent, drive and exuberance made him one of baseball’s greatest and most beloved players, has died. He was 93.

Mays' family and the San Francisco Giants jointly announced Tuesday night he had died earlier in the afternoon in the Bay Area.

“My father has passed away peacefully and among loved ones,” son Michael Mays said in a statement released by the club. “I want to thank you all from the bottom of my broken heart for the unwavering love you have shown him over the years. You have been his life’s blood.”

The center fielder, who began his professional career in the Negro Leagues in 1948, was baseball’s oldest living Hall of Famer. He was voted into the Hall in 1979, his first year of eligibility, and in 1999 followed only Babe Ruth on The Sporting News’ list of the game’s top stars. The Giants retired his uniform number, 24, and set their AT&T Park in San Francisco on Willie Mays Plaza.

Mays died two days before a game between the Giants and St. Louis Cardinals to honor the Negro Leagues at Rickwood Field in Birmingham, Alabama.

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At least 1 dead in New Mexico wildfire that forced thousands to flee, governor's office says

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Thousands of southern New Mexico residents fled a mountainous village as a wind-whipped wildfire tore through homes and other buildings, and killed at least one person. Officials warned the danger isn't over.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham declared a state of emergency that covers Ruidoso and neighboring tribal lands and deployed National Guard troops to the area. A top-level fire management team is expected to take over Wednesday, and winds will continue to challenge crews, officials said.

The governor's office confirmed the fatality but said it had no other details.

Christy Hood, a real estate agent in Ruidoso, said the evacuation order Monday came so quickly that she and her husband Richard, only had time to grab their two children and two dogs.

“As we were leaving, there were flames in front of me and to the side of me,” she said. “And all the animals were just running — charging — trying to get out.”

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Half a million immigrants could eventually get US citizenship under a sweeping new plan from Biden

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden ordered expansive election-year action Tuesday to offer potential citizenship to hundreds of thousands of immigrants without legal status in the U.S., aiming to balance his recent aggressive crackdown on the southern border that enraged advocates and many Democratic lawmakers.

The president announced that his administration will, in the coming months, allow certain U.S. citizens' spouses without legal status to apply for permanent residency and eventually citizenship without having to first depart the country. The action by Biden, a Democrat, could affect upwards of half a million immigrants, according to senior administration officials.

“The Statue of Liberty is not some relic of American history. It still stands for who we are," Biden said from a crowded East Room at the White House, filled with advocates, congressional Democrats and immigrants who would be eligible for the program. “But I also refuse to believe that for us to continue to be America that embraces immigration, we have to give up securing our border. They’re false choices.”

Biden’s action, which amounts to the most expansive federal protection for immigrants in over a decade, sets up a significant political contrast with presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, whose hardline stance on immigration includes a push for mass deportations and rhetoric casting migrants as dangerous criminals “poisoning the blood” of America.

On Tuesday, Biden accused “my predecessor” of preying on fears about immigrants as he chastised Trump administration moves, such as a zero-tolerance policy at the southern border that led to the separation of families. But Trump has leaned into his own policies as Biden has faced disapproval of his handling of immigration throughout his presidency. At a rally in Racine, Wisconsin, on Tuesday, Trump proclaimed, “When I’m reelected, Joe Biden’s illegal amnesty plan will be ripped up and thrown out on the very first day that we’re back in office.”

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Ship attacked by Yemen's Houthi rebels in fatal assault sinks in Red Sea in second-such sinking

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A bulk carrier sank days after an attack by Yemen's Houthi rebels believed to have killed one mariner on board, authorities said early Wednesday, the second-such ship to be sunk in the rebel campaign.

The sinking of the Tutor in the Red Sea marks what appears to be a new escalation by the Iranian-backed Houthis in their campaign targeting shipping through the vital maritime corridor over the Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip.

The attack comes despite a monthslong U.S.-led campaign in the region that has seen the Navy face its most-intense maritime fighting since World War II, with near-daily attacks targeting commercial vessels and warship.

The Liberian-flagged, Greek-owned-and-operated Tutor sank in the Red Sea, the British military's United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations center said in a warning to sailors in the region.

“Military authorities report maritime debris and oil sighted in the last reported location,” the UKMTO said. “The vessel is believed to have sunk.”

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New York's top court declines to hear Trump's appeal of the gag order in his hush money case

NEW YORK (AP) — New York’s top court on Tuesday declined to hear Donald Trump’s gag order appeal in his hush money case, leaving the restrictions in place following his felony conviction last month. The Court of Appeals found that the order does not raise “substantial” constitutional issues that would warrant an immediate intervention.

The decision is the latest legal setback for the Republican former president, who has repeatedly railed against a gag order that prevents him from commenting on witnesses, jurors and others who were involved in the case. But it could be short lived. The trial judge, Juan M. Merchan, is expected to rule soon on a defense request to lift the gag order.

A Trump campaign spokesperson, Steven Cheung, said Tuesday the ex-president's legal team would “continue to fight against the unconstitutional Gag Order imposed by Justice Merchan.”

Trump’s attorneys filed a notice of appeal with the state’s high court on May 15, during the former president’s landmark criminal trial. They argued that the gag order restricted Trump’s “core political speech on matters of central importance at the height of his Presidential campaign.”

But the Court of Appeals disagreed. In a decision list posted on Tuesday, the court said it would not automatically hear the case, writing that “no substantial constitutional question is directly involved.”

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California governor wants to restrict smartphone usage in schools

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday that he wants to restrict students' usage of smartphones during the school day, citing the mental health risks of social media.

The announcement, which was first reported by Politico, comes a day after U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy called on Congress to require warning labels on social media platforms and their effects on young people. Newsom said he plans to build on a law he signed in 2019 that authorized school districts to limit or ban the use of smartphones by students while at school or under the supervision of a school employee.

“As the Surgeon General affirmed, social media is harming the mental health of our youth," the Democratic governor said in a statement. "I look forward to working with the Legislature to restrict the use of smartphones during the school day. When children and teens are in school, they should be focused on their studies — not their screens.”

Newsom’s office did not provide further details on the proposal. But the California School Boards Association said any regulations over student smartphone use should be left up to school districts, not the state.

“We support legislation which empowers school leaders to make policy decisions at a local level that reflect their community's concerns and what's necessary to support their students,” spokesperson Troy Flint said.

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Republicans block bill to outlaw bump stocks for rifles after Supreme Court lifts Trump-era ban

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Republicans blocked bipartisan legislation Tuesday that would have outlawed bump stocks after the Supreme Court struck down a ban on the rapid-fire gun accessory used in the deadliest shooting in modern U.S. history.

Democrats tried to force a voice vote on the bill to ban bump stocks, a tactic often used by both parties when they know that they don’t have the votes to pass legislation but want to bring an issue to the Senate floor. The bill, sponsored by Sens. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, would ban the sale of the devices, similar to the rule issued by President Donald Trump’s administration after a gunman in Las Vegas attacked a country music festival in 2017 with semiautomatic rifles equipped with the accessories.

The gunman killed 58 people and wounded more than 850 among the crowd of 22,000, firing more than 1,000 rounds into the crowd in 11 minutes.

“I refuse to stand idly by and wait for the next mass shooting,” Heinrich said as he called for a vote on the Senate floor. “Bump stocks serve no legitimate purpose.”

Nebraska Sen. Pete Ricketts objected for Republicans, blocking an immediate vote on the bill. He called the legislation a “gun grabbing overreach” that could be interpreted to include other gun accessories beyond bump stocks.

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US acknowledges Northwest dams have devastated the region's Native tribes

SEATTLE (AP) — The U.S. government on Tuesday acknowledged, for the first time, the harmful role it has played over the past century in building and operating dams in the Pacific Northwest — dams that devastated Native American tribes by inundating their villages and decimating salmon runs while bringing electricity, irrigation and jobs to nearby communities.

In a new report, the Biden administration said those cultural, spiritual and economic detriments continue to pain the tribes, which consider salmon part of their cultural and spiritual identity, as well as a crucial food source.

The government downplayed or accepted the well-known risk to the fish in its drive for industrial development, converting the wealth of the tribes into the wealth of non-Native people, according to the report.

"The government afforded little, if any, consideration to the devastation the dams would bring to Tribal communities, including to their cultures, sacred sites, economies, and homes,” the report said.

It added: “Despite decades of efforts and an enormous amount of funding attempting to mitigate these impacts, salmon stocks remain threatened or endangered and continued operation of the dams perpetuates the myriad adverse effects.”

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Russia President Vladimir Putin makes a rare visit to North Korea, an old ally

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in North Korea early on Wednesday, after saying the two countries want to cooperate closely to overcome U.S.-led sanctions in the face of intensifying confrontations with Washington.

Putin was met at Pyongyang’s airport by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. They shook hands and embraced, and Kim later joined Putin in his car to personally guide him to Pyongyang’s Kumsusan State Guest House, North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency said. The agency described their meeting as a historic event that demonstrates the “invincibility and durability” of the two nations' friendship and unity.

Putin, making his first trip to North Korea in 24 years, said in comments that appeared in its state media hours before he landed that he appreciates the country’s firm support of his military actions in Ukraine. The Kremlin launched a full-scale invasion of the neighboring country in 2022.

He said the countries would continue to “resolutely oppose” what he described as Western ambitions “to hinder the establishment of a multipolar world order based on justice, mutual respect for sovereignty, considering each other’s interests.”

Putin’s visit comes amid growing concerns about an arms arrangement in which Pyongyang provides Moscow with badly needed munitions to fuel Russia’s war in Ukraine in exchange for economic assistance and technology transfers that would enhance the threat posed by Kim’s nuclear weapons and missile program.

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Oilers fend off elimination again, top Panthers 5-3 in Game 5 of Stanley Cup Final

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — Connor McDavid had two goals and two assists to added to his historic postseason, Evan Bouchard added three assists and the Edmonton Oilers fended off elimination yet again by beating the Florida Panthers 5-3 in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final on Tuesday night.

Connor Brown, Zach Hyman and Corey Perry also had goals for the Oilers, who scored the game’s first three goals to take control — then held on late to cut Florida’s lead in the title series to 3-2. Stuart Skinner stopped 30 shots for the Oilers, and McDavid sealed it with an empty-netter in the final seconds.

Evan Rodrigues and Matthew Tkachuk each had a goal and an assist for Florida, and Oliver Ekman-Larsson also scored for the Panthers. Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 19 shots for Florida, which will see its 30-years-and-counting wait for the franchise’s first Stanley Cup title last at least three more days.

Game 6 is in Edmonton on Friday night.

The four points gave McDavid 42 in these playoffs, the fourth-most in a single postseason in NHL history. The only players ahead of him are the ones everyone would expect: Wayne Gretzky had 47 points in 1985, Mario Lemieux had 44 in 1991 and Gretzky had 43 in 1988.

News from © The Associated Press, 2024
The Associated Press

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