AP Top News at 9:47 a.m. EST

Trump’s GOP: Party further tightens ties with ex-president

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — In 2016, Donald Trump overtook the Republican National Committee with a campaign of shock and awe that stunned party leaders. In 2020, the party was forced to support him as Republican incumbent president. As 2024 approaches, however, the Republican Party has a choice. The RNC, which controls party rules and infrastructure, has no obligation to back Trump again. In fact, GOP bylaws specifically require neutrality if more than one candidate is seeking the party’s presidential nomination. But as Republican officials from across the country gathered in Utah this week for the RNC’s winter meeting, party leaders devoted considerable energy to disciplining Trump’s rivals and coming to terms with his grievances.

Olympic teams worried about quarantine hotels

BEIJING (AP) — Not enough food. Inedible meals. No training material. Some Olympic athletes unlucky enough to test positive for coronavirus at the Beijing Olympics believe their quarantine conditions are making a bad situation even worse. “I have a stomach ache, I’m very pale and I have huge dark circles around my eyes. I want this all to end. I cry every day. I am very tired,” Russian biathlon competitor Valeria Vasnetsova posted on Instagram from one of Beijing’s so-called quarantine hotels. His problem was not related to any symptoms of the virus. It was the food. Vasnetsova posted a photo on Thursday of what she said has been “breakfast, lunch and dinner for five days already” – a tray with food including plain pasta, orange sauce, charred meat on a bone, a few potatoes and no greens.

AP PHOTOS: Medals and more on Day 1 of Beijing Olympics

Therese Johaug raised her arms above her head and smiled, her defeated foes laying breathless on the ground behind her. The first of many gold medal moments captured by Associated Press photographers at the Beijing Olympics. The first medals were awarded on Saturday as the Winter Games got underway in earnest, and Norway’s Johaug clinched the first gold in the women’s 15-kilometre skiathlon programme. Five more were distributed during the first full day of competition. It didn’t take long for these Games to provide their first upheavals either. Sara Takanashi of Japan soared into the night sky but didn’t have enough to win a medal in women’s ski jumping – a feat considering her record 61 World Cup victories.

Olympic Updates: China Wins First Winter Olympics Gold Medal

Are you looking for evidence? Trust us, says the Biden administration

WASHINGTON (AP) — When President Biden’s administration was asked to provide evidence to back up dramatic claims about national security developments last week, it balked with a simple retort: ​​You’ll have to trust us to this subject. No, they did not reveal what led them to say they knew Russia was plotting a false flag operation as a pretext to invade Ukraine. No, they would not explain their confidence that the civilian casualties were caused by a suicide bomber rather than by US special forces in a raid in Syria. The administration’s response took a particularly caustic turn as spokespersons suggested that reporters were buying foreign propaganda by even asking such questions.

Amir Locke, killed by a Minneapolis cop, wanted a music career

Before being shot by a Minneapolis policeman, Amir Locke had made plans. The 22-year-old black man had filed paperwork to start a music business, his mother said, and had already designed a logo. Next week, he planned to move to Dallas, where he would be closer to his mother and – he hoped – build a career as a hip-hop artist, following in his father’s musical footsteps. His death in a Minneapolis apartment where police were serving a search warrant early Wednesday renewed calls for police accountability and justice for black people who are too often victimized.

Rescuers fear for the life of a 5-year-old Moroccan boy stuck in a well

IGHRAN, Morocco (AP) — Attempts to rescue a 5-year-old boy trapped in a Moroccan well stretched into a fourth day Saturday, with unstable ground threatening painstaking labor trying to dig him out safely. Fears have grown that it may be too late. Online messages of support and concern for the boy, Rayan, poured in from around the world as rescue efforts dragged on into the night. Rescuers used a rope to send oxygen and water to the boy and a camera to monitor him. On Saturday morning, the head of the rescue committee, Abdelhadi Temrani, said: “It is not at all possible to determine the condition of the child at the moment.

Millions of dollars donated to anti-abortion centers in the United States

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Anti-abortion clinics across the country are receiving tens of millions of dollars in taxes to dissuade women from terminating their pregnancies, a nearly five-fold increase from a decade ago, the result of an effort often overlooked by most Republican-run states. Non-profit organizations known as Crisis Pregnancy Centers are usually religiously affiliated and advise clients against having abortions as part of their free but limited services. This practice and the fact that they are generally not licensed as medical facilities has raised questions about whether it is appropriate to funnel so much taxpayer money. An Associated Press tally based on state budget figures reveals nearly $89 million was allocated to such clinics in a dozen states this fiscal year.

Arbery killers’ unsuccessful pleas could complicate hate crime trial

BRUNSWICK, Ga. (AP) — Convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison, the men who prosecuted and killed Ahmaud Arbery have already faced serious hurdles in finding impartial jurors for their upcoming federal hate crimes trial . Now, with jury selection due to begin on Monday, there’s a new complication: Two of the defendants – the man who shot Arbery and his father – last week offered to plead guilty before an agreement was reached. they had concluded with prosecutors collapsing. Travis and Greg McMichael ultimately decided against a plea bargain, but not before their willingness to strike a deal that would have included confessions of guilt was widely reported by news organizations.

History shows every moment counts for Democrats’ grip on the Senate

WASHINGTON (AP) — More than 600 sitting senators have died or resigned from office since the first Congress convened in 1789. That doesn’t mean another will happen soon, but it does underscore the precarious position in which the president Joe Biden and the Democrats A narrow majority in the Senate follows the attack on Democratic Senator Ben Ray Luján. Luján, 49, is expected to recover and return to the Capitol in four to six weeks barring any setbacks, according to Democrats. If that happens, Luján’s absence could have limited impact on his party’s priorities, including Biden’s pending nomination to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court. If the New Mexico senator’s recovery takes longer or he has setbacks, the Democrats’ agenda would face serious problems.

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