AP News in Brief at 11:04 p.m. EDT

Powerful quake in Morocco kills more than 2,000 people and damages historic buildings in Marrakech

MARRAKECH, Morocco (AP) — A rare, powerful earthquake struck Morocco, sending people racing from their beds into the streets and toppling buildings in mountainous villages and ancient cities not built to withstand such force. More than 2,000 people were killed, and the toll was expected to rise as rescuers struggled Saturday to reach hard-hit remote areas.

The magnitude 6.8 quake, the biggest to hit the North African country in 120 years, sent people fleeing their homes in terror and disbelief late Friday. One man said dishes and wall hangings began raining down, and people were knocked off their feet. The quake brought down walls made from stone and masonry, covering whole communities with rubble.

The devastation gripped each town along the High Atlas’ steep and winding switchbacks in similar ways: homes folding in on themselves and mothers and fathers crying as boys and helmet-clad police carried the dead through the streets.

Remote villages like those in the drought-stricken Ouargane Valley were largely cut off from the world when they lost electricity and cellphone service. By midday, people were outside mourning neighbors, surveying the damage on their camera phones and telling one another “May God save us.”

Hamid Idsalah, a 72-year-old mountain guide, said he and many others remained alive but had little future to look forward to. That was true in the short-term — with remnants of his kitchen reduced to dust — and in the long-term — where he and many others lack the financial means to rebound.


Biden, Modi and G20 allies unveil rail and shipping project linking India to Middle East and Europe

NEW DELHI (AP) — President Joe Biden and his allies on Saturday announced plans to build a rail and shipping corridor linking India with the Middle East and Europe, an ambitious project aimed at fostering economic growth and political cooperation.

“This is a big deal,” said Biden. “This is a really big deal.”

The corridor, outlined at the annual Group of 20 summit of the world's top economies, would help boost trade, deliver energy resources and improve digital connectivity. It would include India, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Israel and the European Union, said Jake Sullivan, Biden's national security adviser.

Sullivan said the network reflected Biden’s vision for “far reaching investments” that come from “effective American leadership” and a willingness to embrace other nations as partners. He said the enhanced infrastructure would boost economic growth, help bring countries in the Middle East together and establish that region as a hub for economic activity instead of as a “source of challenge, conflict or crisis” as it has been in recent history.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and other leaders from around the world participated in the announcement.


Group sues after New Mexico governor suspends right to carry guns in Albuquerque in public

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's emergency order suspending the right to carry firearms in public in and around Albuquerque drew an immediate court challenge from a gun-rights group Saturday, as legal scholars and advocates said they expected.

The National Association for Gun Rights and Foster Haines, a member who lives in Albuquerque, filed documents in U.S. District Court in New Mexico suing Lujan Grisham and seeking an immediate block to the implementation of her order.

The challenge was expected, but even so, the governor's action Friday was an attempt to “move the debate,” said Jessica Levinson, a law professor at Loyola Marymount’s Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, after Lujan Grisham announced that she was temporarily suspending the right to carry firearms in her state’s largest city and surrounding Bernalillo County.

The governor, a Democrat, said the 30-day suspension, enacted as an emergency public health measure, would apply in most public places, from city sidewalks to parks.

She said state police would be responsible for enforcing what amount to civil violations and carry a fine of up to $5,000.


Artificial intelligence technology behind ChatGPT was built in Iowa — with a lot of water

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The cost of building an artificial intelligence product like ChatGPT can be hard to measure.

But one thing Microsoft-backed OpenAI needed for its technology was plenty of water, pulled from the watershed of the Raccoon and Des Moines rivers in central Iowa to cool a powerful supercomputer as it helped teach its AI systems how to mimic human writing.

As they race to capitalize on a craze for generative AI, leading tech developers including Microsoft, OpenAI and Google have acknowledged that growing demand for their AI tools carries hefty costs, from expensive semiconductors to an increase in water consumption.

But they’re often secretive about the specifics. Few people in Iowa knew about its status as a birthplace of OpenAI's most advanced large language model, GPT-4, before a top Microsoft executive said in a speech it “was literally made next to cornfields west of Des Moines.”

Building a large language model requires analyzing patterns across a huge trove of human-written text. All of that computing takes a lot of electricity and generates a lot of heat. To keep it cool on hot days, data centers need to pump in water — often to a cooling tower outside its warehouse-sized buildings.


Trump stops at a fraternity house on his way to Iowa-Iowa State football game, outdrawing his rivals

AMES, Iowa (AP) — Donald Trump stepped out of a fraternity house to the cheers of hundreds of Iowa State University students and tossed autographed footballs into the crowd.

“I guess the youth likes Trump,” he said over the cheers of the students, speaking to the Right Side Broadcasting Network, which supports his candidacy.

Then, the former president entered a motorcade to head to a private stadium suite where he watched the school's annual football grudge match Saturday with the University of Iowa.

The pregame campus stop was a reminder of Trump's dominant position atop a crowded Republican field both in Iowa and nationally. Several of his rivals also attended the game, mingling with fans at pregame tailgates outside the stadium. But Trump got by far the most attention and hasn't paid a price yet for skipping the closer interactions with voters that are a cherished Iowa political tradition.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has struggled to position himself as a potent foe to Trump, came to Ames to attend the game with Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, who has not endorsed a candidate but often has appeared with DeSantis and his wife, Casey.


Rescue begins of ailing US researcher stuck 3,000 feet inside a Turkish cave, Turkish officials say

TASELI PLATEAU, Turkey (AP) — Rescue teams began the arduous process Saturday of extricating an American researcher who became seriously ill while he was 1,000 meters (3,000 feet) below the entrance of a cave in Turkey, officials said.

It could take days to bring Mark Dickey to the surface since rescuers anticipate he will have to stop and rest frequently at camps set up along the way as they pull his stretcher through the narrow passages.

“This afternoon, the operation to move him from his camp at 1040 meters to the camp at 700 meters began,” Turkey's Disaster and Emergency Management Directorate, AFAD, told The Associated Press.

The 40-year-old experienced caver began vomiting on Sept. 2 because of stomach bleeding while on an expedition with a handful of others in the Morca cave in southern Turkey’s Taurus Mountains.

Rescuers from across Europe rushed to the cave to help Dickey and to extract him, including one Hungarian doctor who treated him inside the cave on Sept. 3. Doctors gave Dickey IV fluids and 4 liters (1 gallon) of blood inside the cave, officials said. Teams comprised of a doctor and three or four others take turns staying with the American at all times.


As Jacksonville shooting victims are eulogized, advocates call attention to anti-Black hate crimes

The racist motivations of the white shooter who targeted and fatally shot Black people in Jacksonville, Florida, two weeks ago have revived concerns about the threat of hate violence and domestic terrorism against African Americans.

Most hate crime victims in the U.S. are Black, and that has been the case since the federal government began tracking such crimes decades ago. But national attention on the rate of Black victimization is heightened in the wake of mass casualty racist attacks, like those in recent years at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, and a historic Black church in Charleston, South Carolina.

Now, as families in Jacksonville eulogize loved ones lost in a hail of bullets at a neighborhood discount store, activists across the nation are calling for better measures to counter the longstanding epidemic of hate violence against Black Americans.

“How many people have to die, before you get up, whether you’re Republican or Democrat, and say we got to stop this,” the Rev. Al Sharpton asked Friday as he eulogized Angela Carr, one of the victims of the gunman who shot down three Black people at a Dollar General store in Jacksonville on Aug. 26.

Funerals were held in Florida for two of the three victims on Friday, with the third planned for Saturday.


Republican opposition to abortion threatens global HIV/AIDS program that has saved 25 million lives

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — The graves at the edge of the orphanage tell a story of despair. The rough planks in the cracked earth are painted with the names of children, most of them dead in the 1990s. That was before the HIV drugs arrived.

Today, the orphanage in Kenya’s capital is a happier, more hopeful place for children with HIV. But a political fight taking place in the United States is threatening the program that helps to keep them and millions of others around the world alive.

The reason for the threat? Abortion.

The AIDS epidemic has killed more than 40 million people since the first recorded cases in 1981, tripling child mortality and carving decades off life expectancy in the hardest-hit areas of Africa, where the cost of treatment put it out of reach. Horrified, then-President George W. Bush and the U.S. Congress two decades ago created what is described as the largest commitment by any nation to combat a single disease.

The program, known as the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR, partners with nonprofit groups to provide HIV/AIDS medication to millions around the world. It strengthens local and national health care systems, cares for children orphaned by AIDS and provides job training for people at risk.


Updated COVID shots are coming. They're part of a trio of vaccines to block fall viruses

WASHINGTON (AP) — Updated COVID-19 vaccines are coming soon, just in time to pair them with flu shots. And this fall, the first vaccines for another scary virus called RSV are rolling out to older adults and pregnant women.

Doctors hope enough people get vaccinated to help avert another “tripledemic” like last year when hospitals were overwhelmed with an early flu season, an onslaught of RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus, and yet another winter coronavirus surge.

COVID-19 hospitalizations have been steadily increasing since late summer, although not nearly as much as this time last year, and RSV already is on the rise in parts of the Southeast.

Approval of updated COVID-19 shots is expected within days. They are among the tools the new director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says will help put the U.S. in “our strongest position yet” to avoid another chaotic respiratory season.

“There will be a lot of virus this winter. That’s why we want to get ahead of it,” CDC chief Dr. Mandy Cohen said.


UN atomic watchdog warns of threat to nuclear safety as fighting spikes near a plant in Ukraine

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — The United Nations atomic watchdog warned of a potential threat to nuclear safety from a spike in fighting near Europe’s largest nuclear power plant in Ukraine, whose forces continued pressing their counteroffensive on Saturday.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said its experts deployed at the Russia-occupied Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant reported hearing numerous explosions over the past week, in a possible indication of increased military activity in the region. There was no damage to the plant.

“I remain deeply concerned about the possible dangers facing the plant at this time of heightened military tension in the region,” IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi warned in a statement issued late Friday.

He noted that the IAEA team was informed that staff at the nuclear power plant had been reduced temporarily to minimum levels due to concerns of more military activity in the area.

“Whatever happens in a conflict zone, wherever it may be, everybody would stand to lose from a nuclear accident, and I urge that all necessary precautions must be taken to avoid it happening," Grossi said.

The Associated Press