Skip to content

AP News in Brief at 6:04 a.m. EDT

Abe's body arrives in Tokyo as country mourns ex-PM's death TOKYO (AP) — The body of Japan’s former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was returned to Tokyo on Saturday after he was fatally shot during a campaign speech in western Japan a day earlier.

Abe's body arrives in Tokyo as country mourns ex-PM's death

TOKYO (AP) — The body of Japan’s former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was returned to Tokyo on Saturday after he was fatally shot during a campaign speech in western Japan a day earlier.

Abe was attacked in the city of Nara and airlifted to a local hospital but died of blood loss despite emergency treatment including massive blood transfusions. Police arrested the attacker, a former member of Japan's navy, at the scene on suspicion of murder. Police confiscated the homemade gun he used, and several others were later found at his apartment.

The attacker, Tetsuya Yamagami, told investigators he plotted the shooting because he believed rumors that Abe was connected to an organization that he resents, according to police. Japanese media reported that the man had developed hatred toward a religious group his mother was devoted to. The reports did not specify the group.

A black hearse carrying Abe's body and accompanied by his wife, Akie, arrived at his home in Tokyo's upscale residential area of Shibuya, where many mourners waited and lowered their heads as the vehicle passed.

Abe’s assassination ahead of Sunday’s parliamentary election shocked the nation and raised questions over whether security for the former prime minister was adequate.


How a crowded GOP field could help Trump in 2024 campaign

NEW YORK (AP) — As he considers another White House run, polls show former President Donald Trump is the most popular figure in the Republican Party. But it wasn't always that way.

Competing at one point against a dozen rivals for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016, Trump won only about a third of the vote in key early states. He even lost the Iowa caucuses, which kick off the nomination process.

But he was able to prevail nonetheless because those in the party who opposed his brand of divisive politics were never able to coalesce around a single rival to confront him. And with Trump mulling another White House bid as soon as this summer, the same dynamic could repeat.

With a growing list of candidates gearing up for their own presidential runs, even a Trump diminished by two impeachments and mounting legal vulnerabilities could hold a commanding position in a fractured, multi-candidate GOP primary.

"I fear it could end up the same way as 2016, which basically was everyone thought everyone else should get out," said Republican strategist Mike DuHaime, who advised former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's campaign that year. “I think every major candidate realized that he or she would have a better shot against Trump one-on-one. But of course each person thought he or she should be the one to get that shot and nobody got out of the way. ... And then it was too late.”


French women push to cement abortion rights after US ruling

PARIS (AP) — The right to abortion in France hardly seems under threat — it’s been inscribed in law for 47 years and enjoys broad support across the political spectrum. But more and more French women are asking: Could what happened in the U.S. happen here one day?

The decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to strip women of the right to abortion has reverberated across Europe's political landscape, forcing the issue back into public debate in France at a time of political upheaval.

With women increasingly taking leadership positions in French politics, lawmakers in both houses of parliament have proposed four bills to enshrine the right to abortion in the French Constitution in order to defend it from future threats.

The most notable initiative comes from President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist alliance. His detractors on the left say Macron's party is being opportunist, while far-right critics accuse it of using the issue to distract from more pressing matters.

Abortion in France was decriminalized under a 1975 law named for Simone Veil, a prominent legislator, former health minister and key feminist who championed it.


Choose your reality: Trust wanes, conspiracy theories rise

Daniel Charles Wilson believes the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, were an inside job. The war in Ukraine is “totally scripted” and COVID-19 is “completely fake.” The Boston Marathon bombing? Mass shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, and Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas? “Crisis actors,” he says.

Wilson, a 41-year-old from London, Ontario, has doubts about free elections, vaccines and the Jan. 6 insurrection, too. He accepts little of what has happened in the past 20 years and cheerfully predicts that someday, the internet will make everyone as distrustful as he is.

“It’s the age of information, and the hidden government, the people who control everything, they know they can’t win,” Wilson told The Associated Press. “They’re all lying to us. But we’re going to break through this. It will be a good change for everyone.”

Wilson, who is now working on a book about his views, is not an isolated case of perpetual disbelief. He speaks for a growing number of people in Western nations who have lost faith in democratic governance and a free press, and who have turned to conspiracy theories to fill the void.

Rejecting what they hear from scientists, journalists or public officials, these people instead embrace tales of dark plots and secret explanations. And their beliefs, say experts who study misinformation and extremism, reflect a widespread loss of faith in institutions like government and media.


Sri Lanka protesters storm president's residence, office

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lankan protesters demanding President Gotabaya Rajapaksa resign forced their way into his official residence and nearby office on Saturday, local television reports said, as thousands of people demonstrated in the capital against the island nation’s worst economic crisis in recent memory.

It was not clear if Rajapaksa was inside the residence in Colombo but footage shot on mobile phones showed a large number of people inside the well-fortified house and on the grounds outside.

A government spokesman, Mohana Samaranayake, said he had no information about whether Rajapaksa had left the residence.

Hundreds of protesters, some carrying national flags, also entered the president’s office in another nearby building, television footage showed. Protesters blame Rajapaksa for the economic woes and had occupied the entrance to his office building for the past three months calling on him to step down.

Video posted on social media showed hundreds of protesters running into the president’s residence, chanting “Gota go home,” calling the president by his nickname. Outside the building, barricades were overturned.


UN says Ukraine bears share of blame for nursing home attack

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two weeks after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine, Kremlin-backed rebels assaulted a nursing home in the eastern region of Luhansk. Dozens of elderly and disabled patients, many of them bedridden, were trapped inside without water or electricity.

The March 11 assault set off a fire that spread throughout the facility, suffocating people who couldn’t move. A small number of patients and staff escaped and fled into a nearby forest, finally getting assistance after walking for 5 kilometers (3 miles).

In a war awash in atrocities, the attack on the nursing home near the village of Stara Krasnyanka stood out for its cruelty. And Ukrainian authorities placed the fault squarely on Russian forces, accusing them of killing more than 50 vulnerable civilians in a brutal and unprovoked attack.

But a new United Nations report has found that Ukraine’s armed forces bear a large, and perhaps equal, share of the blame for what happened in Stara Krasnyanka, which is about 580 kilometers (360 miles) southeast of Kyiv. A few days before the attack, Ukrainian soldiers took up positions inside the nursing home, effectively making the building a target.

At least 22 of the 71 patients survived the assault, but the exact number of people killed remains unknown, according to the U.N.


US tells China its support for Russia complicates relations

NUSA DUA, Indonesia (AP) — China’s support for Russia’s war in Ukraine is complicating U.S.-Chinese relations at a time when they are already beset by rifts and enmity over numerous other issues, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told his Chinese counterpart on Saturday.

In five hours of talks in their first-to-face meeting since October, Blinken said he expressed deep concern to Foreign Minister Wang Yi about China’s stance on Russia’s actions in Ukraine and did not believe Beijing’s protestations that it is neutral in the conflict.

The talks had been arranged in a new effort to try to rein in or at least manage rampant hostility that has come to define recent relations between Washington and Beijing.

“We are concerned about the PRC’s alignment with Russia,” Blinken told reporters after the meeting in the Indonesian resort of Bali. He said it is difficult to be “neutral” in a conflict in which there is a clear aggressor but that even it were possible, “I don’t believe China is acting in a way that is neutral.”

The Biden administration had hoped that China, with its long history of opposing what it sees as interference in its own internal affairs, would take a similar position with Russia and Ukraine. But it has not, choosing instead what U.S. officials see as a hybrid position that is damaging the international rules-based order.


For EU, Johnson exit won't change much; damage already done

BRUSSELS (AP) — From his days stoking anti-European Union sentiment with exaggerated newspaper stories, to his populist campaign leading Britain out of the bloc and reneging on the post-Brexit trade deal he signed, outgoing U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been the bane of Brussels for all so many years.

Such was his impact on breaking the bonds between Britain and the EU that after Johnson was forced to announce Thursday that he would step down, the news brought little public jubilation in EU circles. Instead, there was just the numb acceptance of the inevitable and resignation that things will never be the same.

“I will not miss him,” French finance minister Bruno Le Maire said, highlighting an open disdain unseen since the Europeans welcomed the U.S. election loss of Donald Trump in 2020. And while trans-Atlantic relations picked up quickly since the arrival of President Joe Biden, don't expect anything similar with a new British leader, politicians and experts said.

“Even with a new prime minister, I believe there will likely be few changes in the British government’s position" on the main Brexit issues causing current divisions, said David McAllister, the leading EU legislator dealing with the United Kingdom.

Guy Verhofstadt, who was the top EU parliamentarian during the whole Brexit divorce proceedings, said Johnson's impact was such there is little to no chance another Conservative prime minister could steer a fundamentally different course.


Musk abandons deal to buy Twitter; company says it will sue

Elon Musk announced Friday that he will abandon his tumultuous $44 billion offer to buy Twitter after the company failed to provide enough information about the number of fake accounts. Twitter immediately fired back, saying it would sue the Tesla CEO to uphold the deal.

The likely unraveling of the acquisition was just the latest twist in a saga between the world’s richest man and one of the most influential social media platforms, and it may portend a titanic legal battle ahead.

Twitter could have pushed for a $1 billion breakup fee that Musk agreed to pay under these circumstances. Instead, it looks ready to fight to complete the purchase, which the company’s board has approved and CEO Parag Agrawal has insisted he wants to consummate.

In a letter to Twitter's board, Musk lawyer Mike Ringler complained that his client had for nearly two months sought data to judge the prevalence of “fake or spam” accounts on the social media platform.

“Twitter has failed or refused to provide this information. Sometimes Twitter has ignored Mr. Musk’s requests, sometimes it has rejected them for reasons that appear to be unjustified, and sometimes it has claimed to comply while giving Mr. Musk incomplete or unusable information,” the letter said.


Administration seeks Supreme Court OK on deportation policy

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration asked the Supreme Court on Friday to allow it to put in place guidance that prioritizes deportation of people in the country illegally who pose the greatest public safety risk.

The emergency request to the court follows conflicting decisions by federal appeals courts in recent days over a September directive from the Homeland Security Department that paused deportation unless individuals had committed acts of terrorism, espionage or “egregious threats to public safety.”

The federal appeals court in Cincinnati overturned a district judge's order that put the policy on hold in a lawsuit filed by Arizona, Ohio and Montana.

But in a separate suit filed by Texas and Louisiana, a federal judge in Texas ordered a nationwide halt to the guidance and a federal appellate panel in New Orleans declined to step in.

The administration turned to the Supreme Court in the latter case, asking that the policy be allowed to be put in place nationwide, or at the very least, everywhere outside Texas and Louisiana.

The Associated Press

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks