GOP’s McCarthy pressured to ‘figure out’ speaker race
WASHINGTON (AP) — Pressure is building on Republican Kevin McCarthy to determine whether or not he can win over enough fellow Republicans to become House speaker. Thursday is Day 3 of the standoff between McCarthy and 20 colleagues withholding the support he needs for the job. So far, six votes have failed to elect a speaker. The impasse has left the House unable to fully form and govern. McCarthy said after a round of late talks Wednesday that progress is being made. But Colorado Republican Ken Buck has told the GOP leader to “figure out” the path forward. His right-flank detractors appear intent on waiting him out, as long as it takes.
Thousands pour into St. Peter’s for funeral of Benedict XVI
VATICAN CITY (AP) — Mourners have poured into St. Peter’s Square for the funeral of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI to pay their final respects to the German theologian who made history by retiring. They will attend a rare requiem Mass for a dead pontiff presided over by a living one. Bells tolled and the crowd applauded Thursday as pallbearers carried Benedict’s cypress coffin out of the basilica and rested it before the altar in the piazza. Red-robed cardinals looked on. Heads of state and royalty, clergy from around the world and thousands of faithful flocked to the Vatican, despite Benedict’s requests for simplicity and official efforts to keep the first funeral for an pope emeritus in modern times low-key.
Beds run out at Beijing hospital as COVID brings more sick
BEIJING (AP) — Patients, most of them elderly, are lying on stretchers in hallways and taking oxygen while sitting in wheelchairs as COVID-19 surges in China’s capital Beijing. The Chuiyangliu hospital in the city’s east was packed with newly arrived patients on Thursday. China last month abandoned its most severe pandemic restrictions after nearly three years of lockdowns, travels bans and school closures that have taken a heavy toll on the economy and prompted street protests not seen since the late 1980s. It also comes as the the European Union “strongly encouraged” its member states to require COVID-19 testing of passengers from China. China has warned of “countermeasures” if such policies were to be imposed across the bloc.
Between battles, Ukraine’s soldiers have a place to recover
KHARKIV, Ukraine (AP) — Sitting on comfy armchairs in a low-lit room smelling of lavender and pine trees, the men take deep breaths as they close their eyes and listen to meditation music. But this is not a spa. Uniformed Ukrainian soldiers are taking a break at a rehabilitation center in the Kharkiv region to restore their bodies and minds before going back to the front line. The relentless 10-month war has prompted a local commander to transform a Soviet-era sanatorium into a recovery center for servicemen to treat both mental and physical ailments.
8 found fatally shot in Utah home, including 5 children
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Eight people including five children were found dead from gunshot wounds Wednesday in a southern Utah home. Authorities have not provided more details or a potential motive for the killings. Officials say the victims were found when police did a welfare check at the residence in Enoch, a city of about 8,000 people located 245 miles south of Salt Lake City. Police say they did not detect any threat to the public. Enoch City Manager Rob Dotson says the deceased were all members of one family.
Hearing, document release likely in Idaho slayings case
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The man accused in the November slayings of four University of Idaho students is back in Idaho, where he’s charged with four counts of first-degree murder. Authorities are expected to move quickly on a first court appearance, possibly as early as Thursday. His return to the state also means sealed case documents that could answer key questions will soon be released publicly. Bryan Kohberger was a 28-year-old criminology doctorate student at Washington State University, just 10 miles from the University of Idaho. He was arrested at his parents’ Pennsylvania home last week on an Idaho warrant. Kohberger did not fight extradition.
Evacuations ordered as California storm knocks out power
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Officials in California have ordered evacuations in a high-risk coastal area where mudslides killed 23 people in 2018 as a huge storm barrels through the state. The storm is bringing high winds and rain that threaten widespread flooding and have knocked out power to more than 100,000 people. Most of the San Francisco Bay Area will remain under flood warnings into late Thursday night. In Southern California, the storm is expected to peak in intensity overnight into early Thursday morning. Hundreds of people have been told to evacuate in part of Santa Barbara County where mudslides killed 23 people in 2018.
EXPLAINER: Why has Syria’s economic crisis hit a new low?
BEIRUT (AP) — Syria’s economy has hit its lowest point since its civil war started nearly 12 years ago, with spiraling inflation, a currency plunge and severe fuel shortages. Life in Damascus and other Syrian cities has come to a near-standstill. Streets are nearly empty of cars, households receive a few hours a day of electricity at best, and costs of food and other essentials are skyrocketing. The increasing economic pain has led to renewed protests in areas controlled by the government of President Bashar Assad, sometimes met by a violent response. Here’s a look at why the economic situation has gotten so dire, and at the potential implications.
NFL rallies to support Hamlin as his condition improves
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — NFL players and coaches are rallying to support Damar Hamlin, two days after the Buffalo Bills safety’s heart stopped and he needed to be resuscitated during a game at Cincinnati. Colts safety Rodney Thomas made the two-hour drive from Indianapolis to Cincinnati to provide his sedated friend words of encouragement. Vikings defensive tackle and former Bills teammate Harrison Phillips arranged to have dinner delivered to the hospital. Hamlin’s marketing representative Jordan Rooney told The Associated Press the player’s recovery is moving in “a positive direction.” The Bills say Hamlin is still in critical condition but has shown signs of improvement.
Best of CES 2023: Wireless TV, delivery robots and in-car VR
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Tech companies of all sizes are showing off their latest products at CES, formerly known as the Consumer Electronics show. The Las Vegas show is getting back to normal after going completely virtual in 2021 and seeing a significant drop in 2022 attendance because of the pandemic. LG unveiled a 97-inch OLED TV with what it calls a Zero Connect Box that streams content wirelessly. Ottonomy showed its latest delivery robot, which has a self-dispensing feature that means a package can be delivered even if someone’s not there to collect it. And holoride showed off a VR headset it says can prevent car sickness in passengers.
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