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AP Top News at 4:32 PM EST

“Don’t be numb to it”: Fighting despair over gun deaths

BUFFALO, NY (AP) — It seems increasingly as though America is at war with itself. In New Orleans, just days into the new year, a 14-year-old girl was shot and killed, along with her father and her uncle. A few days later, in a Virginia classroom, a 6-year-old boy pulled a gun and shot his first grade teacher. That news was eclipsed by a mass shooting at a California dance studio last weekend that left 11 people dead. The next day, a few hundred miles away, a farmer opened fire in a beach town, killing seven of his colleagues. Three others were killed and four injured in a shooting at a short-term rental home in an upscale Los Angeles neighborhood early Saturday.

Report: Drones attack convoy in eastern Syria from Iraq

BEIRUT (AP) — Drones attacked a convoy of trucks in eastern Syria Sunday night, shortly after it entered the country from Iraq, Syrian opposition activists and a pro-government radio station said. There was no immediate news of the casualties. The attack comes amid heightened tensions between Iran and its rivals in the region. It was not immediately clear who was behind the attack on the convoy in the Syrian border region of Boukamal, which is a stronghold of Iranian-backed militias. The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor, said the drones appeared to come from the US-led coalition, adding they targeted six refrigerated trucks.

Erdogan could approve Finland’s NATO offer, ‘shock’ Sweden

ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkey’s president has suggested that his country could approve Finland’s application for NATO membership before taking any action on Sweden’s, while the Turkish government has issued a travel warning for European countries to cause of anti-Turkish demonstrations and what he described as Islamophobia. The travel advisory released on Saturday followed last weekend’s demonstrations outside the Turkish embassy in Sweden, where an anti-Islam activist burned the Koran and pro-Kurdish groups protested against Turkey. Events have reinforced Turkey’s refusal so far to ratify Sweden’s NATO bid. Sweden and Finland have jointly applied to become members of the military alliance, abandoning their long-standing military non-alignment following Russia’s war against Ukraine.

Prayer breakfast concerns lead Congress to take control of it

WASHINGTON (AP) — The National Prayer Breakfast, one of the most visible and longstanding events bringing together religion and politics in Washington, is parting ways with the private religious group that had overseen it for decades, over concerns the gathering had become too divisive. The organizer and host of this year’s breakfast, scheduled for Thursday, will be the National Prayer Breakfast Foundation, led by former Senator Mark Pryor, D-Ark. Senator Chris Coons, a regular attendee and chairman of the Senate ethics committee, said the move was in part motivated by concerns in recent years that members of Congress were unaware of important details about the larger multi-day rally. .

Friends mourn killed volunteer helping civilians in Ukraine

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Friends and volunteers gathered Sunday at Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kiev to say goodbye to Andrew Bagshaw, a New Zealand scientist killed in Ukraine with another volunteer as they tried to evacuate people from a frontline city. Bagshaw, 48, a dual New Zealand and British citizen, and British volunteer Christopher Parry, 28, went missing this month as they headed to the town of Soledar in eastern Donetsk region where heavy fighting was taking place. Volunteers shared their memories of Bagshaw and read tributes from his family. Nikolletta Stoyanova, a friend in Ukraine, shared memories of his courage.

Trustees chosen by DeSantis can switch progressive colleges

SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) — “Your education. Your way. Be original. Be you.” That’s how New College of Florida describes its approach to higher education in an admissions brochure. The state school of fewer than 1,000 students nestled along Sarasota Bay has long been known for its progressive thinking and the creative course offerings that don’t use traditional grades. The school, founded in 1960, is also a haven for marginalized students, particularly from the LGBTQ community, sophomore Sam Sharf said in a recent campus interview.” There are a lot of students out there who aren’t allowed to be themselves in their cities,” said Sharf, who is a transgender woman.

Elon Musk’s mysterious ways on display in Tesla’s tweet trial

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Elon Musk’s enigmatic personality and unconventional tactics are emerging as key exhibits in a process that revolves around one of his most polarizing activities: tweeting. The trial, centered around a pair of tweets announcing that Musk got the money to take Tesla privately in 2018, dragged the 51-year-old billionaire into a federal courtroom in San Francisco for three days of peephole-opening testimony in his often inscrutable mind. Musk, who now owns the Twitter service that he uses as his megaphone, was often a study in contrasts during his roughly eight hours on the witness stand.

Tunisian voters are avoiding elections seen as a test for democracy

TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — Voters in Tunisia have massively avoided parliamentary elections seen as a major test for their president and their country’s troubled democracy, according to preliminary turnout data Sunday. Independent observers have reported scattered violations. Voter turnout was just 11.3 percent of Tunisia’s 8 million voters, according to preliminary estimates by the national electoral commission. This is roughly the same level of participation as in the first round of voting last month. Many disgruntled Tunisians stayed away, and the influential Islamist Ennahdha party and other opposition movements boycotted. Runoff elections were being observed throughout the Arab world. They are seen as a decisive step in President Kais Saied’s push to consolidate power, tame Islamist rivals and win back the creditors and investors needed to rescue the floundering economy.

Protesters: Killing of ‘Cop City’ activist makes no sense

ATLANTA (AP) — Tortuguita’s cautious voice rang out from a platform among the tall pines the first time Vienna met them: “Who goes there?” remember what they called them. The tree dweller, who chose the nickname Tortuguita — Spanish for “Little Turtle” — over his own name, was perched above the forest floor in the woods just outside Atlanta last summer. Vienna quickly identified and Tortuguita’s attention melted into the bubbly, inquisitive and funny character so many in the forest knew. They welcomed the newcomer and helped settle her along with the other self-proclaimed “forest defenders” on an 85-acre (34-hectare) site that officials plan to turn into a massive training center for firefighters and police. .

Kansas City Police find the body in the man’s car after towing it

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – Family members and a forensic expert wonder why Kansas City police didn’t find a man’s body in the trunk of his SUV until they towed it to a Missouri police station in Los Angeles. beginning of this month. The death of Adam “AJ” Blackstock Jr. is being investigated as a homicide, according to The Kansas City Star. The newspaper reported that police defended their initially handling of the situation because they did not have a search warrant when they had the vehicle towed on Jan. 17 and Blackstock had yet to be reported officially missing. A forensic expert told the paper that police should have looked inside the vehicle before moving it.

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