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December 19, 2023
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December 19, 2023

AP-Summary Brief News


December 19, 2023

Israel delivers deadly airstrikes in south Gaza and raids a hospital in the north

RAFAH, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israeli forces raided one of the last functioning hospitals in Gaza’s north and bombarded the south with airstrikes that killed at least 28 Palestinians. They are pressing ahead with their offensive Tuesday with renewed backing from the United States, despite rising international alarm. The air and ground war was launched in response to Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack into Israel. It has killed nearly 20,000 Palestinians, displaced some 1.9 million, demolished much of northern Gaza and sparked attacks on U.S. and Israeli targets across the region. After meeting with Israeli officials Monday, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said he was not there to dictate a timeline for the war.

An earthquake in northwestern China kills at least 127 people and is the deadliest in 9 years

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese media say at least 127 people have been killed in a magnitude 6.2 earthquake in the country’s northwest. The official People’s Daily says 113 died in the province of Gansu and another 14 in neighboring Qinghai province. The quake struck just before midnight on Monday. More than 700 people have been injured. Emergency workers are searching for the missing in collapsed buildings and at least one landslide. People who lost their homes are preparing to spend a cold winter night in tents at hastily erected evacuation sites. Emergency authorities in Gansu issued an appeal for 300 additional workers for search and rescue operations, and Qinghai officials reported 20 people missing in a landslide.

Illegal crossings surge in remote areas as Congress, White House weigh major asylum limits

LUKEVILLE, Ariz. (AP) — Hundreds of dates are written on concrete-filled steel columns erected along the U.S. border with Mexico to memorialize when the Border Patrol has repaired illicit openings in the would-be barriers. Yet no sooner are fixes made than another column is sawed, torched and chiseled for large groups of migrants to enter, usually with no agents in sight. A Border Patrol tour in Arizona for news organizations, including The Associated Press, showed improvements in custody conditions and processing times, but flows are “unprecedented” across the border. The numbers have nudged negotiators for the White House and congressional Democrats to consider major limits to asylum as part of a deal for Ukraine aid.

Sandra Day O’Connor memorialized by President Joe Biden as a ‘pioneer’ first female justice

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden has memorialized Justice Sandra Day O’Connor as a pioneer in the legal world who inspired generations of women. O’Connor was the first woman to serve on the Supreme Court. Chief Justice John Roberts also spoke at Tuesday’s services at Washington’s National Cathedral. O’Connor was an Arizona native who served as an unwavering voice of moderate conservatism on the high court for more than two decades. The rancher’s daughter was nominated in 1981 by President Ronald Reagan and came to wield considerable influence on the nine-member court. O’Connor retired at age 75 and died Dec. 1 in Phoenix.

These kids want to go to school. The main obstacle? Paperwork

ATLANTA (AP) — Thousands of kids went missing from schools during the pandemic. For some who have tried to return, school paperwork has proved a daunting obstacle. In Atlanta, one family’s four kids have been home since March 2020, ultimately unenrolled for poor attendance. To sign them back up, their mom must present several identification, health and residency documents — including one that must be notarized. Without a driver’s license or a working phone, mom Tameka has found the task overwhelming. Records show Atlanta school staff have called Tameka 19 times since the pandemic about her children’s school attendance. Most of those calls went to voicemail or didn’t go through because the phone was disconnected. Tameka says she’s unaware of any outreach from Atlanta schools.

Pope’s approval of gay blessings could have impact where rights are restricted, LGBTQ+ advocates say

ROME (AP) — Pope Francis’ authorization for Catholic priests to offer blessings to same-sex couples is in many ways a recognition of what has been going on in some European parishes for years. But LGBTQ+ advocates say Francis’ decision to officially spell out his approval could send a message of tolerance to places where gay rights are more restricted. From Uganda to the United States, laws that discriminate against LGBTQ+ people or even criminalize homosexuality have increased in recent years. That has left entire communities feeling under attack.

Major cleanup underway after storm batters Northeastern US, knocks out power and floods roads

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Utility crews are working to restore power to hundreds of thousands of customers in Maine and some rivers continued to rise following a powerful storm that hit the northeastern U.S.. At least five people were killed. Many communities were saturated by rainfall and a New Hampshire town rescued 17 people from flooding, four by helicopter. Some towns in Vermont, which had suffered major flooding from a storm in July, were seeing more flood damage. Wind gusts reached over 60 mph in some areas. Maine Gov. Janet Mills closed state offices Tuesday to allow time for power restoration and cleanup efforts.

Will the eruption of the volcano in Iceland affect flights and how serious is it?

LONDON (AP) — Scientists have been anticipating the eruption of a volcano in southwestern Iceland for several weeks and in November, authorities evacuated the fishing town of Grindavik as a precaution. Then, when the eruption happened on Monday night, it wasn’t a surprise. Though the area, known broadly as Fagradalsfjall volcano, had been dormant for some 6,000 years, it flared to life in March 2021. The latest eruption appears to be larger and more powerful than those in recent years, but experts say it’s unlikely to impact air travel. They say the location and features of this eruption mean it isn’t expected to produce much ash.

The color purple: It’s a new movie and an old hue that’s rich in meaning and history

NEW YORK (AP) — Power, ambition, luxury. Purple, the color, symbolizes them all. It also expresses creativity, dignity, independence, pride, peace, mystery and magic. Now, with the Christmas Day opening of the new film “The Color Purple,” the range of hues between red and blue takes a seat at the box office. It follows the historic popularity of “Barbie” and all things pink. Consider purple worthy of consideration as a cultural counterpart to its frothier cousin. Cleopatra was a fan, and so was Julius Caesar. Prince’s estate had the Pantone Color Institute mix up a shade in his honor after his death. Monet, too, embraced purple.

Washington’s Kalen DeBoer is the AP coach of the year after leading undefeated Huskies to the CFP

SEATTLE (AP) — Washington’s Kalen DeBoer has been named The Associated Press coach of the year in college football. The Huskies are 13-0, won the Pac-12 championship and have a spot in the College Football Playoff in just DeBoer’s second year in charge. The Huskies will face Texas in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1 with a spot in the CFP championship game on the line. In DeBoer’s two seasons, the Huskies are 23-2 overall. Mike Norvell of Florida State was second in voting and Missouri’s Eli Drinkwitz was third.