AP Top News at 11:54 p.m. EST
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden said Tuesday he was surprised when informed that government records were found by his attorneys at his former office space in Washington. He was asked about the issue after the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee requested that the U.S. intelligence conduct a “damage assessment” of potentially classified documents. Speaking to reporters in Mexico City, Biden said his attorneys “did what they should have done” when they immediately called the National Archives about the discovery at the offices of the Penn Biden Center. He kept an office there after he left the vice presidency in 2017 until shortly before he launched his presidential campaign in 2019.
ROME (AP) — Cardinal George Pell, a onetime financial adviser to Pope Francis who spent 404 days in solitary confinement in his native Australia on child sex abuse charges before his convictions were overturned, died Tuesday in Rome. He was 81. Pell suffered fatal heart complications following hip surgery, said Archbishop Peter Comensoli, Pell’s successor as archbishop of Melbourne. Pell had been in Rome to attend the funeral last week of Pope Benedict XVI. “For many people, particularly of the Catholic faith, this will be a difficult day and I express my condolences to all those who are mourning today,” said Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Sinkholes swallowed cars and floodwaters swamped towns and swept away a small boy as California was wracked by more wild winter while the next in a powerful string of storms loomed on the horizon Tuesday. Millions of residents faced flood warnings, nearly 50,000 people were under evacuation orders, and more than 110,000 homes and businesses were without power because of heavy rains, lightning, hail and landslides. At least 17 people have died from storms that began late last month, Gov. Gavin Newsom said during a visit to the scenic town of Capitola on the Santa Cruz coast that was hard hit by high surf and flooding creek waters last week.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea’s spike in missile tests, growing nuclear ambitions and other provocative acts pose a “serious threat” that could lead to a dangerous miscalculation and spark a wider conflict, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol said Tuesday. Speaking with The Associated Press at the presidential office in Seoul, the conservative leader reiterated his call for closer security cooperation with the United States and Japan to counter the “dangerous situation” being created by North Korea as he played down the prospect for direct negotiations like those pursued by his liberal predecessor. “We’ve seen a miscalculation leading to serious wars many times in history,” Yoon said, adding that the North’s advancing nuclear arsenal poses a direct threat to the U.S.
The Golden Globes returned to the air Tuesday with a red carpet flush with celebrities, comedian Jerrod Carmichael as a hesitant emcee and top awards for Steven Spielberg’s “The Fabelmans” and Martin McDonagh’s “The Banshees of Inisherin,” as the beleaguered award show sought to rekindle its pre-pandemic and pre-scandal glamour. Spielberg’s autobiographical coming-of-age film “The Fabelmans” won best drama film and the dark friendship tale “The Banshees of Inisherin,” captured best film, comedy or musical. “Abbott Elementary,” “White Lotus” and “House of the Dragon” led the TV awards. The Globes’ would-be comeback ended like many Globes ceremonies before it: with a triumphant Spielberg.
NEW YORK (AP) — Allen Weisselberg, a longtime executive for Donald Trump ’s business empire, was taken into custody Tuesday to begin serving a five-month jail term for dodging taxes on $1.7 million in job perks — a punishment the judge who sentenced him said was probably too lenient for a case “driven entirely by greed.” Weisselberg, 75, was promised the short sentence in August when he agreed to plead guilty to 15 tax crimes and to be a witness against the Trump Organization, where he worked since the mid-1980s. His testimony helped convict the former president’s company, where he had served as chief financial officer, of tax fraud.
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian forces are escalating their onslaught against Ukrainian positions around the wrecked city of Bakhmut, Ukrainian officials said, bringing new levels of death and devastation in the grinding, monthslong battle for control of eastern Ukraine that is part of Moscow’s wider war. “Everything is completely destroyed. There is almost no life left,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said late Monday of the scene around Bakhmut and the nearby Donetsk province city of Soledar, known for salt mining and processing. “The whole land near Soledar is covered with the corpses of the occupiers and scars from the strikes,” Zelenskyy said.
MIAMI (AP) — The Biden administration is under growing pressure from leftists in Latin America as well as U.S. lawmakers to expel Jair Bolsonaro from a post-presidential retreat in Florida following his supporters’ brazen attack on Brazil’s capital over the weekend. But the far-right ex-president may pre-empt any plans for such a stinging rebuke. On Tuesday, he told a Brazilian media outlet that he would push up his return home, originally scheduled for late January, after being hospitalized with abdominal pains stemming from a 2018 stabbing. “I came to spend some time away with my family but these weren’t calm days,” Bolsonaro told CNN’s Portuguese-language affiliate in Brazil.
HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) — A former suburban Houston police officer was executed Tuesday for hiring two people to kill his estranged wife nearly 30 years ago amid a contentious divorce and custody battle. Robert Fratta, 65, received a lethal injection at the state penitentiary in Huntsville for the November 1994 fatal shooting of his wife, Farah. He was pronounced dead at 7:49 p.m., 24 minutes after the lethal dose of the powerful sedative pentobarbital began flowing into his arms. For about three minutes before the execution began, Fratta’s spiritual adviser, Barry Brown, prayed over Fratta, who was strapped to the death chamber gurney with intravenous needles in each arm.
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Chickens may not be able to fly very far, but the price of eggs is soaring. A lingering bird flu outbreak, combined with soaring feed, fuel and labor costs, has led to U.S. egg prices more than doubling over the past year, and hatched a lot of sticker shock on grocery aisles. The national average price for a dozen eggs hit $3.59 in November, up from $1.72 a year earlier, according to the latest government data. That’s putting stress on consumer budgets and the bottom lines of restaurants, bakeries and other food producers that rely heavily on eggs.