Long lines are back at US food banks as inflation hits high
PHOENIX (AP) — Long lines are back at food banks around the U.S. as working Americans overwhelmed by inflation turn to handouts to help feed their families.
With gas prices soaring along with grocery costs, many people are seeking charitable food for the first time, and more are arriving on foot.
Inflation in the U.S. is at a 40-year high and gas prices have been surging since April 2020, with the average cost nationwide briefly hitting $5 a gallon in June. Rapidly rising rents and an end to federal COVID-19 relief have also taken a financial toll.
The food banks, which had started to see some relief as people returned to work after pandemic shutdowns, are struggling to meet the latest need even as federal programs provide less food to distribute, grocery store donations wane and cash gifts don’t go nearly as far.
Tomasina John was among hundreds of families lined up in several lanes of cars that went around the block one recent day outside St. Mary’s Food Bank in Phoenix. John said her family had never visited a food bank before because her husband had easily supported her and their four children with his construction work.
Biden heads to West Bank, with little to offer Palestinians
JERUSALEM (AP) — When President Joe Biden heads to the occupied West Bank on Friday for talks with Palestinian leaders, he will have little to offer beyond U.S. money aimed at buying calm.
He's expected to announce $316 million in financial assistance — about a third of which will require congressional approval — and a commitment from Israel to modernize wireless access for Palestinians.
But although Biden will reiterate his support for an independent Palestinian state, there's no clear path to one. The last round of serious peace talks broke down more than a decade ago, leaving millions of Palestinians living under Israeli military rule.
Israel's outgoing government has taken steps to improve economic conditions in the occupied West Bank and Gaza. But Yair Lapid, the caretaker prime minister, does not have a mandate to hold peace negotiations, and Nov. 1 elections could bring to power a right-wing government that is opposed to Palestinian statehood.
Meanwhile, the 86-year-old President Mahmoud Abbas, whose Palestinian Authority administers parts of the occupied West Bank and cooperates with Israel on security, is more representative of the status quo than Palestinian aspirations.
Ivana Trump, first wife of former president, dies at 73
NEW YORK (AP) — Ivana Trump, a skier-turned-businesswoman who formed half of a publicity power couple in the 1980s as the first wife of former President Donald Trump and mother of his oldest children, has died in New York City, her family announced Thursday. She was 73.
The former president posted on his social media app that she died at her Manhattan home.
“She was a wonderful, beautiful, and amazing woman, who led a great and inspirational life,” he wrote on Truth Social. The couple shared three children, Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric.
“She was so proud of them, as we were all so proud of her,” he wrote. “Rest In Peace, Ivana!”
Two people familiar with the matter told The Associated Press that police are investigating whether Ivana Trump fell down the stairs and believe her death was accidental.
Russian missiles kill at least 23 in Ukraine, wound over 100
VINNYTSIA, Ukraine (AP) — Russian missiles struck a city in central Ukraine on Thursday, killing at least 23 people and wounding more than 100 others far from the front lines, Ukrainian authorities said. Ukraine's president accused Russia of deliberately targeting civilians in locations without military value.
Officials said Kalibr cruise missiles fired from a Russian ship in the Black Sea damaged a medical clinic, offices, stores and residential buildings in Vinnytsia, a city 268 kilometers (167 miles) southwest of the capital, Kyiv. Vinnytsia region Gov. Serhiy Borzov said Ukrainian air defenses downed two of the four incoming Russian missiles.
National Police Chief Ihor Klymenko said only six bodies had been identified so far, while 39 people were still missing. Three children younger than 10 where among the dead. Of the 66 people hospitalized, five remained in critical condition while 34 sustained severe injuries, Ukraine’s State Emergency Service said.
“It was a building of a medical organization. When the first rocket hit it, glass fell from my windows," said Vinnytsia resident Svitlana Kubas, 74. “And when the second wave came, it was so deafening that my head is still buzzing. It tore out the very outermost door, tore it right through the holes.”
Borzov said 36 apartment buildings were damaged and residents have been evacuated. Along with hitting buildings, the missiles ignited a fire that spread to 50 cars in a parking lot, officials said.
Doctor's lawyer defends steps in 10-year-old girl's abortion
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The lawyer for an Indiana doctor at the center of a political firestorm after speaking out about a 10-year-old child abuse victim who traveled from Ohio for an abortion said Thursday that her client provided proper treatment and did not violate any patient privacy laws in discussing the unidentified girl's case.
Attorney Kathleen DeLaney issued the statement on behalf of Indianapolis obstetrician-gynecologist Caitlin Bernard the same day Republican Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita said his office was investigating Bernard's actions. He offered no specific allegations of wrongdoing.
A 27-year-old man was charged in Columbus, Ohio, on Wednesday with raping the girl, confirming the existence of a case initially met with skepticism by some media outlets and Republican politicians. The pushback grew after Democratic President Joe Biden expressed empathy for the girl during the signing of an executive order last week aimed at protecting some abortion access in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling overturning the constitutional protection for abortion.
Bernard's attorney said the physician “took every appropriate and proper action in accordance with the law and both her medical and ethical training as a physician.”
“She followed all relevant policies, procedures, and regulations in this case, just as she does every day to provide the best possible care for her patients,” DeLaney said in a statement. “She has not violated any law, including patient privacy laws, and she has not been disciplined by her employer.”
Emmett Till accuser, in memoir, denies wanting teen killed
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — The white woman who accused Black teenager Emmett Till of making improper advances before he was lynched in Mississippi in 1955 says she neither identified him to the killers nor wanted him murdered.
In an unpublished memoir obtained by The Associated Press, Carolyn Bryant Donham says she was unaware of what would happen to the 14-year-old Till, who lived in Chicago and was visiting relatives in Mississippi when he was abducted, killed and tossed in a river. Now 87, Donham was only 21 at the time. Her then-husband Roy Bryant and his half-brother J.W. Milam were acquitted of murder charges but later confessed in a magazine interview.
The contents of the 99-page manuscript, titled “I am More Than A Wolf Whistle,” were first reported by the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting. Historian and author Timothy Tyson of Durham, who said he obtained a copy from Donham while interviewing her in 2008, provided a copy to the AP on Thursday.
Tyson had placed the manuscript in an archive at the University of North Carolina with the agreement that it not be made public for decades, though he said he gave it to the FBI during an investigation the agency concluded last year. He said he decided to make it public now following the recent discovery of an arrest warrant on kidnapping charges that was issued for Donham in 1955 but never served.
“The potential for an investigation was more important than the archival agreements, though those are important things,” Tyson said. “But this is probably the last chance for an indictment in this case.”
Alex Murdaugh charged with murder in deaths of wife, son
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — More than 13 months after disgraced South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh called 911 and said he found his wife and son shot outside their home, a grand jury indicted him Thursday on murder charges in their killings.
But the legal documents shed little light on the ongoing mystery over the deaths that captivated the public, who have clicked on hundreds of stories and podcasts detailing the dozens of other criminal charges that have piled up in the months since Murdaugh's wife Maggie, 52, and their 22-year-old son, Paul, were killed on June 7, 2021.
Murdaugh, 54, has repeatedly denied any role in the deaths, saying he was visiting his mother and ailing father and discovered his son and wife slain when he returned to their estate.
“Alex wants his family, friends and everyone to know that he did not have anything to do with the murders of Maggie and Paul. He loved them more than anything in the world,” Murdaugh defense attorneys Jim Griffin and Dick Harpootlian said in a statement.
Each murder indictment was one paragraph with exactly one new detail, accusing Murdaugh of killing his wife with a rifle and his son with a shotgun. They include no details on how police linked Murdaugh to the deaths after 13 months of investigation or why a man who had no criminal history and was part of a wealthy, well-connected family that dominated the legal community in tiny Hampton County might have wanted to kill his own family members.
EXPLAINER: The Unification Church's ties to Japan's politics
TOKYO (AP) — The assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has unearthed long-suspected, little-talked-of links between him and a religious group that started in South Korea but has spread its influence around the world.
Police and Japanese media have suggested that the alleged attacker, Tetsuya Yamagami, who was arrested on the spot, was furious about Abe's reported ties to the Unification Church, which has pursued relationships with politically conservative groups and leaders in the United States, Japan and Europe. The suspect reportedly was upset because his mother’s massive donations to the church bankrupted the family.
Many Japanese have been surprised as revelations emerged this week of the ties between the church and Japan's top leaders, which have their roots in shared anti-communism efforts during the Cold War. Analysts say it could lead people to examine more closely how powerfully the ruling party's conservative worldviews have steered the policies of modern Japan.
A look at the church and its deep ties to Japan’s governing party and Abe’s own family:
WHAT'S THE UNIFICATION CHURCH?
GOP governors mulling 2024 run aren't rushing abortion laws
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Gov. Kristi Noem had pledged to “immediately” call a special legislative session to “guarantee that every unborn child has a right to life in South Dakota” if the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. But nearly three weeks after that ruling, the first-term Republican remains unusually quiet about exactly what she wants lawmakers to pass.
Noem, widely considered a potential 2024 presidential candidate, isn't the only GOP governor with national ambitions who followed up calls for swift action with hesitance when justices ended the constitutional right to abortion that had been in place for nearly 50 years.
In Arkansas, which like South Dakota had an abortion ban immediately triggered by the court's ruling, Gov. Asa Hutchinson has said he does not plan to put abortion on the agenda of next month’s special session focused on tax cuts. And in Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis, a top potential White House contender also running for reelection, has shied away from detailing whether he will push to completely ban abortions despite a pledge to “expand pro-life protections.”
Noem has given no indication of the date, proposals or whether a special session will even happen to anyone beyond a small group of Statehouse leaders. When asked whether the governor still plans to call lawmakers back to the Capitol, her office this week referred to a June statement that indicated it was being planned for “later this year.”
It's a change of tack from when the Supreme Court's decision first leaked in May and the governor fired off a tweet saying she would “immediately call for a special session to save lives" if Roe was overturned. The enthusiasm placed Noem, the first woman to hold the governor's office in South Dakota, in a prominent spot in the anti-abortion movement.
25 million kids missed routine vaccinations because of COVID
GENEVA (AP) — About 25 million children worldwide have missed out on routine immunizations against common diseases like diptheria, largely because the coronavirus pandemic disrupted regular health services or triggered misinformation about vaccines, according to the U.N.
In a new report published Friday, the World Health Organization and UNICEF said their figures show 25 million children last year failed to get vaccinated against diptheria, tetanus and pertussis, a marker for childhood immunization coverage, continuing a downward trend that began in 2019.
“This is a red alert for child health," said Catherine Russell, UNICEF's Executive Director.
“We are witnessing the largest sustained drop in childhood immunization in a generation,” she said, adding that the consequences would be measured in lives lost.
Data showed the vast majority of the children who failed to get immunized were living in developing countries, namely Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Nigeria and the Philippines. While vaccine coverage fell in every world region, the worst effects were seen in East Asia and the Pacific.
The Associated Press