AP Top News at 11:52 p.m. EDT

Alex Jones ordered to pay $45.2M more over Sandy Hook lies







AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A Texas jury on Friday ordered conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to pay $45.2 million in punitive damages to the parents of a child who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, adding to the $4.1 million he must pay for the suffering he put them through by claiming for years that the nation’s deadliest school shooting was a hoax. The total — $49.3 million — is less than the $150 million sought by Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, whose 6-year-old son Jesse Lewis was among the 20 children and six educators killed in the 2012 attack in Newtown, Connecticut.

‘What recession?’: US employers add 528,000 jobs in July







WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers added an astonishing 528,000 jobs last month despite flashing warning signs of an economic downturn, easing fears of a recession and handing President Joe Biden some good news heading into the midterm elections. Unemployment dropped another notch, from 3.6% to 3.5%, matching the more than 50-year low reached just before the pandemic took hold. The economy has now recovered all 22 million jobs lost in March and April 2020 when COVID-19 slammed the U.S. The red-hot numbers reported Friday by the Labor Department are certain to intensify the debate over whether the U.S. is in a recession.

China cuts off vital US contacts over Pelosi Taiwan visit







WASHINGTON (AP) — China cut off contacts with the United States on vital issues Friday — including military matters and crucial climate cooperation — as concerns rose that the Communist government’s hostile reaction to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Taiwan visit could signal a lasting, more aggressive approach toward its U.S. rival and the self-ruled island. China’s move to freeze key lines of communication compounded the worsening of relations from Pelosi’s visit and from the Chinese response with military exercises off Taiwan, including firing missiles that splashed down in surrounding waters. After the White House summoned China’s ambassador, Qin Gang, late Thursday to protest the military exercises, White House spokesman John Kirby on Friday condemned the decision to end important dialogue with the United States as “irresponsible.” The White House spokesman blasted China’s “provocative” actions since Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan, which China claims as part of its territory.

Israeli strikes on Gaza kill 10, including senior militant







GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israel unleashed a wave of airstrikes Friday on Gaza, killing at least 10 people, including a senior militant, according to Palestinian officials. Israel said it targeted the Islamic Jihad militant group in response to an “imminent threat” following the recent arrest of another senior militant. Hours later, Palestinian militants launched a barrage of rockets as air-raid sirens wailed in Israel and the two sides drew closer to another all-out war. Islamic Jihad claimed to have fired 100 rockets. Israel and Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers have fought four wars and several smaller battles over the last 15 years at a staggering cost to the territory’s 2 million Palestinian residents.

Blaze kills firefighter’s 10 relatives, 3 of them children







NESCOPECK, Pa. (AP) — Fire tore quickly through a house in northeastern Pennsylvania early Friday morning, killing seven adults and three children and horrifying a volunteer firefighter who arrived to battle the blaze only to discover the victims were his own family, authorities said. The children who died were ages 5, 6 and 7, Pennsylvania State Police said in a news release, while the seven adults ranged from their late teens to a 79-year-old man. Autopsies were planned for this weekend. Harold Baker, a volunteer firefighter in the town of Nescopeck, said the 10 victims included his son, daughter, father-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, three grandchildren and two other relatives.

GOP Rep who voted to impeach advances in Washington primary







OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Republican Rep. Dan Newhouse, who voted to impeach Donald Trump, advanced Friday to the general election following days of vote counts in Washington state’s primary, but fellow Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler saw her advantage against an opponent endorsed by Trump rapidly shrink to within recount territory with thousands of votes left to count. Both drew interparty challenges due to their vote to impeach Trump following the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Newhouse, the four-term incumbent in the 4th Congressional District in central Washington and Democrat Doug White were essentially tied, with each capturing about 25% of the vote on a crowded ballot.

Sinema gives her nod, and influence, to Democrats’ big bill







WASHINGTON (AP) — Sen. Joe Manchin sealed the deal reviving President Joe Biden’s big economic, health care and climate bill. But it was another Democratic senator, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, who intently, quietly and deliberately shaped the final product. Democrats pushed ahead Friday on an estimated $730 billion package that in many ways reflects Sinema’s priorities and handiwork more than the other political figures who have played a key role in delivering on Biden’s signature domestic policy agenda. It was Sinema early on who rejected Biden’s plan to raise the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%, as she broke with party’s primary goal of reversing the Trump-era tax break Republicans gave to corporate America.

Breonna Taylor supporters relieved by charges against police







LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Louisville activists put in long hours on phones and in the streets, working tirelessly to call for arrests in the fatal police shooting of Breonna Taylor — but it was mostly two years filled with frustration. This week they saw their fortunes suddenly change, when U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced federal charges against four officers involved in the March 13, 2020, raid that ended in Taylor’s death. After a series of disappointing setbacks, the charges brought a welcome sense of relief. “It is such a weight lifted,” said Sadiqa Reynolds, president of Louisville’s Urban League, who has advocated for Taylor’s family and led protest marches.

Record floods strand 1K people in Death Valley National Park







DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK, Calif. (AP) — Record rainfall Friday trigged flash floods at Death Valley National Park that swept away cars, closed all roads and stranded hundreds of visitors and workers. There were no immediate reports of injuries but roughly 60 vehicles were buried in mud and debris and about 500 visitors and 500 park workers were stuck inside the park, officials said. The park near the California-Nevada state line received 1.46 inches (3.71 centimeters) of rain at the Furnace Creek area. That’s about 75% of what the area typically gets in a year and more than has ever been recorded for the entire month of August.

NCAA hoops leagues grapple with unequal pay for women’s refs







The NCAA earned praise last year when it agreed to pay referees at its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments equally. The gesture only cost about $100,000, a tiny fraction of the roughly $900 million networks pay annually to broadcast March Madness. Now, as the NCAA examines various disparities across men’s and women’s sports, pressure is rising to also pay referees equally during the regular season. Two Division I conferences told The Associated Press they plan to equalize pay, and another is considering it. Others are resisting change, even though the impact on their budgets would be negligible. “The ones that are (equalizing pay) are reading the writing on the wall,” said Michael Lewis, a marketing professor at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School.

Categories: National News