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

Original Publication Date June 14, 2024 - 9:06 PM

8 Israeli soldiers killed in southern Gaza in deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months

JERUSALEM (AP) — An explosion in southern Gaza killed eight Israeli soldiers, the military said Saturday, making it the deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months.

The attack, coming more than eight months into a grinding war that shows few signs of ending soon, was likely to fuel new calls for a cease-fire by Israeli protesters. It also came as the government confronts widespread anger over exemptions from military service for young ultra-Orthodox men.

Israel launched an air and ground invasion of Gaza in response to an Oct. 7 cross-border attack by Hamas and other militants that killed some 1,200 people and took 250 others hostage. The Israeli offensive has killed over 37,000 Palestinians, according to local health officials, who do not differentiate between civilians and combatants. It also has unleashed a humanitarian disaster in Gaza, where over 80% of the population has been displaced and Israeli restrictions and ongoing fighting have hindered efforts to bring in humanitarian aid, fueling widespread hunger.

Saturday’s explosion took place in Rafah, a southern city that Israel has identified as Hamas’ last major stronghold. It sent in ground troops to the city in early May and has given no indication when the operation will end.

“They knew they might have to sacrifice their lives, but they did it so we could live in this country. I salute them and hug their families,” said Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz in a post on X, formerly Twitter.


Shooting at splash pad in Detroit suburb injures 8 people, including 2 children, authorities say

ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Eight people were injured after a shooter opened fire at a splash pad in a Detroit suburb where families gathered to escape the summer heat Saturday, authorities said. Law enforcement tracked a suspect to a home, where the person died by suicide.

At least two of the victims were children, officials said. Authorities initially said they believed as many as 10 people had gunshot wounds from the shooting in Rochester Hills, but that number was lowered later on after they checked with area hospitals.

Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard said a suspect was contained in a home nearby, and law enforcement had it surrounded. Rochester police announced Saturday night that the person took their own life.

The shooting happened just after 5 p.m. at a city park featuring a recreation area with a non-slip surface where people can turn on sprays and fountains of water to play in. Bouchard said it the shooting appeared to be random, with the shooter driving up to the park, walking to the splash pad and firing as many as 28 times, stopping multiple times to reload.

A handgun and three empty magazines were recovered, the sheriff said.


Trump blasts immigrants for taking jobs as he courts voters at a Black church, MAGA event in Detroit

DETROIT (AP) — Donald Trump blamed immigrants for stealing jobs and government resources as he courted separate groups of Black voters and hardcore conservatives in battleground Michigan on Saturday.

The Republican former president also made several new baseless claims attacking the nation's voting system.

But Trump's fiery comments on illegal immigration, long a staple in his unapologetic message, marked a connecting theme in downtown Detroit as he sought to stitch together a delicate political coalition at both a Black church and a group known to attract white supremacists.

"The people coming across the border — all those millions of people — they're inflicting tremendous harm to our Black population and to our Hispanic population," Trump told a cheering crowd of thousands of conservative activists packed into a vast convention hall.

“They're not human beings. They're animals,” he said later in referencing members of violent immigrant gangs.


Trump challenges Biden to a cognitive test but confuses the name of the doctor who tested him

WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump on Saturday night suggested President Joe Biden “should have to take a cognitive test," only to confuse who administered the test to him in the next sentence.

The former president and presumptive Republican nominee referred to Texas Republican Rep. Ronny Jackson, who was the White House physician for part of his presidency, as "Ronny Johnson.” The moment came as Trump was questioning Biden's mental acuity, something he often does on the campaign trail and social media.

“He doesn’t even know what the word ‘inflation’ means. I think he should take a cognitive test like I did," the former president said of Biden during a speech at a convention of Turning Point Action in Detroit.

Seconds later, he continued, “Doc Ronny Johnson. Does everyone know Ronny Johnson, congressman from Texas? He was the White House doctor, and he said I was the healthiest president, he feels, in history, so I liked him very much indeed immediately."

Jackson was elected to Congress in 2021 and is one of Trump's most vociferous defenders on Capitol Hill.


Biden goes straight from G7 to Hollywood fundraiser, balancing geopolitics with his reelection bid

LOS ANGELES (AP) — After flying through the night across nine time zones, from southern Italy to Southern California, President Joe Biden shifted his focus from Russia's challenge of Western unity to raking in big money for his reelection campaign at a Hollywood fundraiser featuring George Clooney and Julia Roberts.

Biden went straight from the Group of Seven summit of wealthy democracies, where Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine took center stage, to Los Angeles and the glitzy gathering unfolding Saturday night at the 7,100-seat Peacock Theater. The journey was only broken up by a layover to refuel outside Washington.

Former President Barack Obama is joining headliners Clooney and Roberts, and late-night host Jimmy Kimmel will interview all of them onstage. In a text message to donors, Roberts called it “a crucial time in the election.” Kimmel wrote in his own text that presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump “will hate this, so let’s do it.”

Luminaries from the entertainment world have increasingly lined up to help Biden's campaign, hoping to provide a fundraising jolt and to energize would-be supporters to turn out ahead of Election Day against Trump. This event also drew top Democrats, with more than a dozen House Democrats, most from California, and the state's Democratic governor, Gavin Newsom, participating in a pre-show photo line with Biden and Obama.

“We are going to see an unprecedented and record-setting turnout from the media and entertainment world,” Jeffrey Katzenberg, the Hollywood mogul, major Democratic donor and co-chair of Biden’s campaign, said in a statement.


UK royals unite on palace balcony, with Kate back at her first public event since cancer diagnosis

LONDON (AP) — Britain put on a display of birthday pageantry Saturday for King Charles III, a military parade that marked the Princess of Wales ’ first appearance at a public event since her cancer diagnosis early this year.

The annual event was also a show of stability by the monarchy after a testing few months in which both the king and Kate, wife of heir to the throne Prince William, have been sidelined by cancer treatment.

In a symbolic display of unity, Charles, Queen Camilla, William, Kate and their children were joined by other members of the royal family on a Buckingham Palace balcony at the end of the King’s Birthday Parade. The family waved to the gathered crowd as they watched a flyby of military aircraft to cap ceremonies marking the monarch’s official birthday.

It was Kate's first appearance at a public event since December. She disclosed in March that she was undergoing chemotherapy for an unspecified form of cancer.

“I am making good progress, but as anyone going through chemotherapy will know, there are good days and bad days,” Kate said in a statement released Friday, adding that she faces “a few more months” of treatment.


Indiana Republicans upset Mike Braun’s choice for lieutenant governor, backing far-right pick

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana Republicans rejected Sen. Mike Braun’s choice for lieutenant governor on Saturday, instead nominating a podcasting pastor with far-right views to be his running mate.

Braun, who is leaving the Senate, endorsed state Rep. Julie McGuire for his running mate when he became the GOP nominee for governor. Indiana delegates usually back the nominee’s chosen running mate without a challenge.

But during Saturday's state Republican Party convention, party delegates instead chose pastor Micah Beckwith, who promotes uncompromising positions on abortion, gender and sexuality and cohosts his “Jesus, Sex and Politics” podcast. The ultra-conservative Christian pastor lobbied delegates for a year to win the nomination at the convention.

Beckwith received the votes of 891 delegates, while McGuire got 828 votes, Indiana Republican Party spokesperson Griffin Reid said.

Braun had been endorsed by former President Donald Trump and campaigned largely on national issues such as immigration. Trump made a surprise endorsement Thursday night for McGuire ahead of the convention, indicating Beckwith’s campaign had some teeth.


World leaders meet in Switzerland to discuss a Ukraine peace roadmap. Russia is notably absent

OBBÜRGEN, Switzerland (AP) — Dozens of world leaders converged on a Swiss resort Saturday to discuss how to bring peace to war-ravaged Ukraine, though any hopes of a real breakthrough were muted by the absence of Russia.

More than two years into the war, the combatants remain as far apart as they’ve ever been, with Kyiv sticking to its demands that Russia leave all Ukrainian territory it has seized and Moscow pressing on with its grinding offensive that has already taken large swaths of eastern and southern Ukraine.

Despite Russia’s absence from the conference at the Bürgenstock resort overlooking Lake Lucerne, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy suggested that one measure of the two-day event's success was "bringing back to the world the idea that joint efforts can stop war and establish a just peace.”

Attendees faced a tricky balancing act, with many chastising Russia for breaking international law while hedging their positions to leave the door open for Moscow to join future peace talks that might bring about an end to the conflict one day.

“Here, there are representatives from Latin America, Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Asia, the Pacific, North America and religious leaders," Zelenskyy said. “Now, there is no Russia here. Why? Because if Russia was interested in peace, there would be no war."


Missouri woman's murder conviction tossed after 43 years. Her lawyers say a police officer did it

A judge has overturned the conviction of a Missouri woman who was a psychiatric patient when she incriminated herself in a 1980 killing that her attorneys argue was actually committed by a now-discredited police officer.

Judge Ryan Horsman ruled late Friday that Sandra Hemme, who has spent 43 years behind bars, had established evidence of actual innocence and must be freed within 30 days unless prosecutors retry her. He said her trial counsel was ineffective and prosecutors failed to disclose evidence that would have helped her.

Her attorneys say this is the longest time a women has been been incarcerated for a wrongful conviction. They filed a motion seeking her immediate release.

“We are grateful to the Court for acknowledging the grave injustice Ms. Hemme has endured for more than four decades,” her attorneys said in a statement, promising to keep up their efforts to dismiss the charges and reunite Hemme with her family.

A spokesperson for Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey didn't immediately respond to a text or email message seeking comment Saturday.


Outraged Brazilian women stage protests against bill to equate late abortions with homicide

SAO PAULO (AP) — Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Sao Paulo on Saturday as protests sweep across Brazil in opposition to a bill that would further criminalize abortions. If passed, the law would equate the termination of a pregnancy after 22 weeks with homicide.

The bill, proposed by conservative lawmakers and heading for a vote in the lower house, would also apply in cases of rape. Critics say those who seek an abortion so late are mostly child rape victims, as their pregnancies tend to be detected later.

To rally opposition, rights’ groups created the ‘A child is not a mother’ campaign that has flooded social media. Placards, stickers and banners emblazoned with the slogan have abounded during demonstrations. And viral visuals depicting women in red cloaks compare Brazil to Gilead, the theocratic patriarchy Margaret Atwood created in her dystopian novel, “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

About 10,000 people, mostly women, filled several blocks of Sao Paulo’s main boulevard on Saturday afternoon, organizers estimated. It was the biggest demonstration yet, following events in Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia, Florianopolis, Recife, Manaus, and other cities. Many wore green clothes and scarves, a common sight in women’s rights mobilizations across Latin America.

Marli Gavioli, 65, has mostly refrained from protesting since demonstrations in the 1980s that called for the end of the military dictatorship, but she told The Associated Press she's too outraged to remain home.

News from © The Associated Press, 2024
The Associated Press

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