Israel pushes deeper into Gaza and frees Hamas captive; Netanyahu rejects calls for cease-fire
KHAN YOUNIS, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israeli ground forces pushed deeper into Gaza on Monday, advancing in tanks and other armored vehicles on the territory’s main city and freeing a soldier held captive by Hamas militants. The Israeli prime minister rejected calls for a cease-fire as airstrikes landed near hospitals where thousands of Palestinians are sheltering beside the wounded.
The military said a soldier captured during Hamas' brutal Oct. 7 incursion was rescued in Gaza — the first rescue since the weekslong war began. Military officials provided few details but said in a statement that Pvt. Ori Megidish, 19, was “doing well” and had met with her family.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed her home, saying the “achievement” by Israel’s security forces “illustrates our commitment to free all the hostages.”
He also rejected calls for a cease-fire to facilitate the release of captives or end the war, which he has said will be long and difficult. “Calls for a cease-fire are calls for Israel to surrender to Hamas,” he told a news conference. "That will not happen.”
Netanyahu, who faces mounting anger over Israel's failure to prevent the worst surprise attack on the country in a half century, also said he had no plans to resign.
Israel's economy recovered from previous wars with Hamas, but this one might go longer, hit harder
JERUSALEM (AP) — Just last month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu predicted a new era of peace and prosperity in the Middle East, based on growing acceptance of Israel within the region.
Today, with the Israel-Hamas war in its fourth week, that vision is in tatters.
The mobilization of 360,000 reservists and the evacuation of 250,000 Israelis from their homes, according to numbers provided by the Israeli military, has upended many businesses. Restaurants and stores have emptied. Airlines have canceled most flights to Israel, and tourists have called off trips. A main natural gas field has been shut down, farms have been destroyed for lack of workers and businesses have furloughed tens of thousands of workers.
Israel has vowed to crush the Gaza Strip's ruling Hamas group, which killed 1,400 people and took more than 240 others hostage in an Oct. 7 rampage in southern Israel. Israeli airstrikes have flattened entire neighborhoods in Gaza and killed more than 8,000 people, according to the Health Ministry in Gaza.
Israel's economy bounced back after previous wars with Hamas, but this round could last longer, possibly months, because the military's self-declared mission is to end Hamas rule, not just contain the militants.
Maine mass shooter's family reached out to sheriff 5 months before rampage, sheriff's office says
LEWISTON, Maine (AP) — Five months before the deadliest mass shooting in Maine’s history, the gunman’s family alerted the local sheriff that they were becoming concerned about his deteriorating mental health while he had access to firearms, authorities said Monday.
After the alert, the Sagadohoc County Sheriff's Office reached out to officials of Robert Card’s Army Reserve unit, which assured deputies that they would speak to Card and make sure he got medical attention, Sheriff Joel Merry said.
The family’s concern about Card's mental health dated back to early this year before the sheriff's office was contacted in May, marking the earliest in a string of interactions that police had with the 40-year-old firearms instructor before he marched a Lewiston bowling alley and a bar last Wednesday, killing 18 people and wounding 13 others.
After an intensive two-day search that put residents on edge, he was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot.
Card underwent a mental health evaluation last summer after accusing soldiers of calling him a pedophile, shoving one and locking himself in his room during training in New York, officials said. A bulletin sent to police shortly after last week’s attack said Card had been committed to a mental health facility for two weeks after “hearing voices and threats to shoot up” a military base.
Biden administration is moving toward a narrower student loan relief targeting groups of borrowers
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration is moving toward a narrower student loan relief plan that would target specific groups of borrowers — those with soaring interest, for example — rather than a sweeping plan like the one the Supreme Court rejected in June.
The Education Department on Monday released a draft of new federal rules paving the way for a second attempt at student loan relief. The proposal targets groups that are seen as especially vulnerable, focusing on those who owe so much, or make so little income, that they otherwise may never repay their loans.
Though full details are likely months away, the department says it wants to cancel some or all student debt for: borrowers whose balances exceed what they originally owed; those who have loans that entered repayment 25 or more years ago; those who used loans to attend career-training programs that led to “unreasonable” debt loads or insufficient earnings; those who are eligible for other loan forgiveness programs but did not apply.
A fifth group is also being discussed — “those who are experiencing financial hardship that the current student loan system does not currently adequately address.”
“President Biden and I are committed to helping borrowers who’ve been failed by our country’s broken and unaffordable student loan system,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said in a statement. "We are fighting to ensure that student debt does not stand in the way of opportunity or prevent borrowers from realizing the benefits of their higher education.”
Two hours of terror and now years of devastation for Acapulco's poor in Hurricane Otis aftermath
ACAPULCO, Mexico (AP) — Estela Sandoval Díaz was huddled in her tiny concrete bathroom, sure these were the final moments of her life, when Hurricane Otis ripped off her tin roof.
With it went clothing, savings, furniture, photos and 33 years of the life Sandoval built piece-by-piece on the forgotten fringes of Acapulco, Mexico.
Sandoval was among hundreds of thousands of people whose lives were torn apart when the fastest intensifying hurricane on record in the Eastern Pacific shredded the coastal city of 1 million, leaving at least 45 dead. The Category 5 hurricane damaged nearly all of Acapulco's homes, left bodies bobbing along the coastline and much of the city foraging for food.
While authorities were hard at work restoring order in Acapulco's tourist center — cutting through trees in front of high-rise hotels and restoring power — the city's poorest, like Sandoval, said they felt abandoned. She and hundreds of thousands others lived two hours of terror last week, and now face years of work to repair their already precarious lives.
“The government doesn’t even know we exist,” Sandoval said. “They’ve only ever taken care of the resort areas, the pretty places of Acapulco. They’ve always forgotten us.”
Ivanka Trump testimony delayed to Nov. 8, will follow dad Donald Trump on stand at civil fraud trial
NEW YORK (AP) — Ivanka Trump’s testimony at her father’s New York civil fraud trial is being delayed until next week so there is sufficient time for her to be questioned, a judge said Monday.
Former President Donald Trump’s eldest daughter had been set to take the witness stand on Friday, when the Manhattan trial typically meets for a half-day session, but lawyers in the case said her testimony is likely to take a full day, if not longer.
Judge Arthur Engoron, who last week rejected Ivanka Trump’s bid to avoid testifying, said she will now appear on Nov. 8. The judge had floated the idea of making Friday a full-day court session, but Donald Trump’s lawyers said they couldn't do that because of other commitments.
“I think we’re all OK with Ivanka on Wednesday the 8th,” Engoron said in court after discussing the matter with state lawyers and Donald Trump’s defense team.
The scheduling change now puts Ivanka Trump on the witness stand at the end of a blockbuster stretch in a case that threatens to disrupt her family’s real estate empire.
Lawyers argue whether the Constitution’s ‘insurrection’ clause blocks Trump from the 2024 ballot
DENVER (AP) — Colorado lawyers seeking to disqualify former President Donald Trump from running for the White House again argued on Monday that his role in the January 2021 assault on the U.S. Capitol runs afoul of the Constitution's insurrection clause, opening a hearing that could break new ground in constitutional law.
Attorney Eric Olson recounted Trump’s violent rhetoric preceding the Jan. 6 attack and his encouraging a crowd that came within “40 feet” of the vice president when it stormed the Capitol. He said Trump “summoned and organized the mob.”
“We are here because Trump claims, after all that, that he has the right to be president again,” Olson said. “But our Constitution, the shared charter of our nation, says he cannot do so.”
Trump’s legal team and presidential campaign assailed the lawsuit as little more than an attempt by Democrats to derail his attempt to reclaim his old job. Trump is so far dominating the Republican presidential primary.
Before the hearing on the lawsuit began, Trump's lawyers filed a motion to have the judge recuse herself because she had donated in the past to a liberal group in the state. She said no. The campaign also noted the current lawsuit was filed by a liberal nonprofit in a state that voted for Democrat Joe Biden in 2020.
Ex-cop who fired into Breonna Taylor’s apartment in flawed, fatal raid goes on trial again
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A former Louisville police officer who fired into Breonna Taylor’s apartment the night she was killed is going on trial in federal court this week for violating Taylor’s civil rights during the botched 2020 raid.
The trial will mark a second attempt by prosecutors to convict Brett Hankison for his actions on the night Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman, was shot to death by police after they knocked down the door of her apartment. Hankison was acquitted in a state trial last year.
Jury selection lasted all day Monday and will continue Tuesday morning. Lawyers are working to select 16 from a pool of about 50 potential jurors.
Taylor was shot to death by officers who were executing a drug search warrant, which was later found to be flawed. Taylor’s boyfriend fired a single shot that hit one of the officers as they came through the door, and officers returned fire, striking Taylor in her hallway multiple times. The other 32 bullets fired in the raid came from police, investigators determined.
When gunfire erupted, Hankison ran to the side of the apartment and sprayed bullets through Taylor's windows, later saying he thought he saw a figure with a rifle. None of the rounds he fired hit anyone, despite straying into another apartment where a couple with a child lived. Officers found no drugs or long guns in Taylor’s apartment.
UAW reaches deal with General Motors that ends strikes against Detroit automakers pending votes
DETROIT (AP) — The United Auto Workers announced Monday that it reached a tentative deal with General Motors, capping a whirlwind few days in which GM, Ford and Stellantis agreed to generous terms that would end the union's six weeks of targeted strikes, pending approval of the rank and file.
The deal UAW President Shawn Fain closed on his 55th birthday is modeled on the ones agreed to with crosstown rivals Ford and Jeep-maker Stellantis, and would give workers higher raises than they've received in years. If approved, it would also claw back some concessions the UAW agreed to almost two decades ago, when the automakers were in desperate financial shape.
Analysts say Fain’s combative stance with the companies paid off for the workers, winning them pay and cost-of-living raises that would top 30% by the time the contracts expire in April 2028. Workers would get an immediate 11% pay bump upon ratification.
But analysts say the deals run the risk of forcing the automakers to raise prices beyond those charged by competitors with nonunion factories. And they come at a time when the auto industry is trying to fund a costly and historic shift away from the internal combustion engine to electric vehicles.
“The three tentative agreements show the UAW’s power and the car companies’ weakness,” said Erik Gordon, a business and law professor at the University of Michigan. “The companies are trying to figure out how to transition to EVs without losing too many billions of dollars, and now face a huge bump in labor costs for the products that will finance the EV transition.”
Messi wins record-extending 8th Ballon d'Or, Bonmati takes women's award
PARIS (AP) — The list reads 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019, 2021, and now 2023.
Lionel Messi won the men’s Ballon d’Or for a record-extending eighth time on Monday after fulfilling his life’s ambition by leading Argentina to the World Cup title in Qatar last year.
Adding to his silverware the one major trophy that eluded him in his storied career was the decisive factor in an otherwise quite mundane season — for his standards — at Paris Saint-Germain.
The 36-year-old Messi won ahead of Manchester City forward Erling Haaland and his former PSG teammate Kylian Mbappe.
Messi thanked his Argentina coach, teammates and staff for making his victory possible.
The Associated Press