AP News Summary at 11:19 a.m. EST | National

US, Ukraine top military chiefs meet in person for 1st time

A MILITARY BASE IN SOUTHEASTERN POLAND (AP) — The top U.S. military officer has traveled to a site near the Ukraine-Poland border and talked with his Ukrainian counterpart face to face for the first time. The meeting underscores the growing ties between the two militaries and comes at a critical time as Russia’s war with Ukraine nears the one-year mark. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Gen. Mark Milley, met for a couple of hours Tuesday with Ukraine’s chief military officer, Gen. Valerii Zaluzhnyi, at an undisclosed location in southeastern Poland. The leaders have talked frequently about the war and Ukraine’s military needs over the past year but had never met.

China records 1st population fall in decades as births drop

BEIJING (AP) — Official figures show that China’s population shrank for the first time in decades last year as its birthrate plunged. That adds to pressure on leaders to keep the economy growing despite an aging workforce and at a time of rising tension with the U.S. Despite the official numbers, some experts believe China’s population has been in decline for a few years. That’s a dramatic turn in a country that once sought to control such growth through a one-child policy. The National Bureau of Statistics reported Tuesday that the country had 850,000 fewer people at the end of 2022 than the previous year. The tally includes only the population of mainland China, excluding Hong Kong and Macao as well as foreign residents.

Ex-GOP candidate arrested in shootings at lawmakers’ homes

A failed Republican candidate who authorities say was angry over his defeat and made baseless claims the election last November was rigged against him has been arrested in connection with a series of drive-by shootings targeting the homes of Democratic lawmakers in New Mexico’s largest city. Police say Solomon Pena was arrested Monday evening, just hours after SWAT officers took him into custody and served search warrants at his home. Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina describes Pena as the “mastermind” of what he says appears to be a politically motivated conspiracy with four other men leading to shootings at the homes of two county commissioners and two state legislators between early December and early January.

At Davos, Ukraine’s first lady urges support for her nation

DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) — Ukraine’s first lady is pressing world leaders and corporate executives at the World Economic Forum’s annual gathering to do more to help her country at a time when Russia’s invasion is leaving children dying and the world struggling with food insecurity. As the anniversary of the war nears, Olena Zelenska said Tuesday that parents are in tears watching doctors trying to save their children and farmers are afraid to go back to their fields filled with mines. She spoke amid panels on everything from global recession to climate change. It’s never clear how much the weeklong gathering actually translates into concrete action.

Passenger’s video captures last moments before Nepal crash

NEW DELHI (AP) — The twin-engine aircraft that crashed in Nepal and killed all 72 on board was co-piloted by Anju Khatiwada. Her husband had flown for the same airline and died in a 2006 plane crash. Inside the aircraft, passenger Sonu Jaiswal was shooting smartphone footage of the plane’s descent seconds before it veered to the left and crashed into a gorge. The camera went on to record the screeching sound of an engine along with fire and smoke. The deaths of Khatiwada and Jaiswal are part of a deadly pattern in Nepal, a country that has seen a series of air crashes over the years, with Sunday’s being the deadliest in 30 years.

US drug trial opens for Mexico ex-security head

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Genaro García Luna goes on trial on charges of helping the Sinaloa Cartel traffic drugs and protect them from capture while he was serving as Mexico’s top security official. Garcia Luna was best known as the mumbling, tough-looking former security secretary under ex-president Felipe Calderon who spearheaded the bloody war on cartels between 2006 and 2012.  Prosecutors claim he accepted briefcases stuffed with tens of millions of dollars in bribes. In a Brooklyn courtroom Garcia Luna is expected to face a parade of government witnesses, including high-level cartel members, of a kind not seen since Sinaloa boss Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was convicted there in 2019.

Elon Musk drama shifts from Twitter to tweets about Tesla

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Long before beleaguered billionaire Elon Musk purchased Twitter in October, he had set his sights on Tesla, the electric automaker where he serves as CEO and from which he derives most of his wealth and fame. Musk claimed in a August 7, 2018 tweet that he had lined up the financing to pay for a $72 billion buyout of Tesla, which he then amplified with a follow-up statement that made a deal seem imminent. But the buyout never materialized and now Musk will have to explain his actions under oath in a federal court in San Francisco. The trial, which begins on Tuesday with jury selection, was triggered by a class-action lawsuit on behalf of investors who owned Tesla stock for a 10-day period in August 2018.

Analysis: Thrilling NFL weekend defined by curious decisions

Wild-card weekend was defined by curious calls, some more costly than others. The biggest was Baltimore backup quarterback Tyler Huntley deciding to go over the top and reach the ball across the goal line when the QB sneak was designed for him to burrow through the wall of defenders. The costly decision backfired when the ball was knocked loose and Bengals defensive end Sam Hubbard grabbed the ball out of the air and rumbled 98 yards for the decisive touchdown in Cincinnati’s 24-17 victory. Huntley was hardly alone as all six games featured big-time decisions.

Fastest Corvette ever is all-wheel-drive gas-electric hybrid

DETROIT (AP) — The fastest Corvette ever made comes out later this year, and it’s not powered soley by a howling V8. The E-Ray is a gas-electric hybrid, the first all-wheel-drive version of the storied sports car with the front wheels running on an electric motor the traditional 6.2-liter V8 powering the back. Aimed at affluent buyers who want new technology in the top-line Chevrolet sports car, the $104,000 E-Ray jerks your head back as it goes from zero to 60 mph (97 kilometers per hour) in 2.5 seconds. General Motors says it can cover a quarter mile in 10.5 seconds. Yet engineers say the 655-horsepower system is civil enough for the daily commute.

Norway archaeologists find ‘world’s oldest runestone’

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Archaeologists in Norway have found a runestone which they claim is the world’s oldest. They say the inscriptions are up to 2,000 years old and date back to the earliest days of the enigmatic history of runic writing. The Museum of Cultural History in Oslo said Tuesday that the flat and square block of brownish sandstone may be the earliest example of words recorded in writing in Scandinavia. The runestone was discovered in the fall of 2021 during an excavation west of Oslo. Items in the grave where the runestone was found indicate that the runes likely were inscribed between A.D. 1 and 250.

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