AP Top News at 1:21 p.m. EDT
Police: Buffalo gunman aimed to keep killing if he got away
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — The white gunman accused of massacring 10 Black people in a racist rampage at a Buffalo supermarket planned to keep killing if he had escaped the scene, the police commissioner said Monday, as the possibility of federal hate crime or domestic terror charges loomed. The gunman, who had crossed the state to target people at the Tops Friendly Market, had talked about shooting up another store as well, Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia told CNN. “He was going to get in his car and continue to drive down Jefferson Avenue and continue doing the same thing,” the commissioner said.
Buffalo shooting latest example of targeted racial violence
Black people going about their daily lives — then dying in a hail of bullets fired by a white man who targeted them because of their skin color. Substitute a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, with a church in South Carolina, and Malcolm Graham knows the pain and grief the families of those killed Saturday are feeling. He knows their dismay that racial bigotry has torn apart the fabric of their families. “America’s Achilles’ heel continues to be … racism,” said Graham, whose sister, Cynthia Graham-Hurd, was among nine parishioners fatally shot by avowed white supremacist Dylann Roof in 2015 during Bible study in Charleston.
US deaths from COVID hit 1 million, less than 2 1/2 years in
The U.S. death toll from COVID-19 hit 1 million on Monday, a once-unimaginable figure that only hints at the multitudes of loved ones and friends staggered by grief and frustration. The confirmed number of dead is equivalent to a 9/11 attack every day for 336 days. It is roughly equal to how many Americans died in the Civil War and World War II combined. It’s as if Boston and Pittsburgh were wiped out. “It is hard to imagine a million people plucked from this earth,” said Jennifer Nuzzo, who leads a new pandemic center at the Brown University School of Public Health in Providence, Rhode Island.
Russia runs into more obstacles in Ukraine, on global front
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Europe pushed to toughen its response Monday to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, with Sweden joining Finland in deciding to seek NATO membership and European Union officials working to rescue proposed sanctions on Russian oil. Ukrainian troops repulsed Russia’s attempted advances and even rolled back the front lines in places. In recent days, Moscow’s forces pulled back from around the northeastern city of Kharkiv after weeks of bombardment. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Monday thanked his troops who pushed all the way to the Russian border in the Kharkiv region. “I’m very grateful to you, on behalf of all Ukrainians, on my behalf and on behalf of my family,” he said in a video message.
Once neutral Sweden seeks NATO membership in historic shift
STOCKHOLM (AP) — Sweden on Monday decided to join neighboring Finland in seeking NATO membership, ending more than two centuries of military nonalignment in a historic shift prompted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson warned that the Nordic country would be in a “vulnerable position” during the application period and urged her fellow citizens to brace themselves for the Russian response. “Russia has said that that it will take countermeasures if we join NATO,” she said. “We cannot rule out that Sweden will be exposed to, for instance, disinformation and attempts to intimidate and divide us.” Sweden’s move came a day after the governing Social Democratic party endorsed a plan for the country to join the trans-Atlantic alliance and Finland’s government announced that it would seek to join NATO.
White House says deal near to reopen formula plant
WASHINGTON (AP) — Under fire from parents and politicians, President Joe Biden’s administration on Monday is expected to announce an agreement to reopen the largest domestic manufacturing plant of infant formula and to ease import rules to allow supplies in from overseas, amid a nationwide shortage spurred by the Michigan plant’s shutdown earlier this year over safety issues. A consent decree between the producer, Abbott, and the Food and Drug Administration that would pave the way for reopening the plant is “forthcoming,” said Brian Deese, the director of the White House’s National Economic Council. He added the agency would also take steps Monday to allow more foreign imports into the U.S.
Elisabeth Borne appointed France’s new prime minister
PARIS (AP) — Centrist politician Elisabeth Borne was appointed France’s new prime minister on Monday to become the second woman to hold the post in the country. Borne, 61, who was labor minister in the previous government, succeeds Jean Castex, whose resignation was expected after President Emmanuel Macron’s reelection last month. Macron and Borne are expected to appoint the full government in the coming days. As labor minister since 2020, Borne implemented changes that made it harder for jobless people to get benefits and reduced monthly payments for some unemployed people, prompting criticism from workers unions and from the left. In 2018, as transport minister, Borne faced a major strike from the SNCF railway company against plans to open the train network to competition and end newly-hired employees’ right to retain jobs and benefits for life.
Judge: California’s women on boards law is unconstitutional
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Los Angeles judge has ruled that California’s landmark law requiring women on corporate boards is unconstitutional. Superior Court Judge Maureen Duffy-Lewis said the law that would have required boards have up to three female directors by this year violated the right to equal treatment. The ruling was dated Friday. The conservative legal group Judicial Watch had challenged the law, claiming it was illegal to use taxpayer funds to enforce a law that violates the equal protection clause of the California Constitution by mandating a gender-based quota. The law was on shaky ground from the get-go with a legislative analysis saying it could be difficult to defend and then-Gov.
Reversing Trump, Biden acts to deploy US troops to Somalia
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden signed an order Monday to redeploy hundreds of U.S. troops to Somalia to counter the Islamic extremist rebel group al-Shabab, an effort that American military leaders said had been hampered by President Donald Trump’s late-term decision to withdraw forces from the country. U.S. troops will be repositioned from elsewhere in Africa to train and provide other support to Somali forces in their fight against al-Shabab, which is considered the largest and wealthiest affiliate of the al-Qaida extremist organization. It’s a reminder that the U.S. remains engaged in the long fight against Islamic extremists around the world even if the effort has been eclipsed by the war in Ukraine and other matters.
Supreme Court rules for Sen. Cruz in campaign finance case
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court’s conservative majority on Monday sided with Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas in his challenge to a provision of federal campaign finance law, in a ruling that a dissenting justice said runs the risk of causing “further disrepute” to American politics. The justices, in a 6-3 decision that divided the court along ideological lines, agreed that the somewhat obscure section of the law violates the Constitution. The decision comes just as campaigning for the 2022 midterm elections is intensifying. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority that the provision “burdens core political speech without proper justification.” The Biden administration had defended the provision as an anti-corruption measure, and in a dissent Justice Elena Kagan wrote that the majority, in striking it down, “greenlights all the sordid bargains Congress thought right to stop.” She said the decision “can only bring this country’s political system into further disrepute.” The case may be important for some candidates for federal office who want to make large loans to their campaigns.