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AP Top News at 11:35 p.m. EST

December 30, 2022 GMT

As ‘The King,’ Pelé enchanted fans and dazzled opponents

SAO PAULO (AP) — Pelé was simply “The King.” He embraced “the beautiful game” of soccer in his 1958 World Cup debut for Brazil and never really let go. He won a record three World Cups and was widely regarded as one of his sport’s greatest players. His majestic and galvanizing presence set him among the most recognizable figures in the world. Pelé died Thursday at 82. He had undergone treatment for colon cancer since 2021. Pelé was among the game’s most prolific scorers and spent nearly two decades enchanting fans and dazzling opponents. His grace, athleticism and moves on soccer’s highest stage transfixed all.

Time of triumph for GOP turns into ‘distraction’ with Santos

WASHINGTON (AP) — It should be a time of triumph for Republicans ready to take back control of the House in the new Congress next week, but their leaders are struggling with an embarrassing distraction about one of their own: What to do about George Santos? Weeks after winning a district that helped Republicans secure their razor-thin House majority, the congressman-elect is under investigation in New York after acknowledging he lied about his heritage, education and professional pedigree as he campaigned for office. The top House Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, and his leadership team have kept silent about Santos, who is set to take the oath of office Tuesday, even after he publicly admitted to fabricating swaths of his biography.

Sarajevo’s agony echoes as Ukraine braces for a dark winter

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — Vildana Mutevelić huddled in her apartment with her two young children and elderly cousins. They had no heat, electricity or running water as artillery shells tore the roof off their building and almost took their lives. To survive, she improvised. Mutevelić made a lamp out of used engine oil, water and a shoelace for a wick. She cooked on a fire fueled by books, furniture, shoes or clothes. A plastic spoon, she discovered, when lit, worked well as a temporary flashlight if she ventured outside. Plastic sheets covered the blown-out windows, a flimsy buffer against the bitter cold.

Death toll climbs as blizzard-battered Buffalo area digs out

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Roads reopened Thursday in storm-besieged Buffalo as authorities continued searching for people who may have died or are stuck and suffering after last week’s blizzard. The driving ban in New York’s second-most-populous city was lifted just after midnight Thursday, Mayor Byron Brown announced. At least 40 deaths in western New York, most of them in Buffalo, have been reported from the blizzard that raged across much of the country, with Buffalo in its crosshairs on Friday and Saturday. “Significant progress has been made” on snow removal, Brown said at a news conference late Wednesday. Suburban roads, major highways and Buffalo Niagara International Airport had already reopened.

Biden signs $1.7 trillion bill funding government operations

KINGSHILL, U.S. Virgin Islands (AP) — President Joe Biden on Thursday signed a $1.7 trillion spending bill that will keep the federal government operating through the end of the federal budget year in September 2023, and provide tens of billions of dollars in new aid to Ukraine for its fight against the Russian military. Biden had until late Friday to sign the bill to avoid a partial government shutdown. The Democratic-controlled House passed the bill 225-201, mostly along party lines, just before Christmas. The House vote came a day after the Senate, also led by Democrats, voted 68-29 to pass the bill with significantly more Republican support.

Official: California deputy killed during traffic stop

JURUPA VALLEY, Calif. (AP) — A Southern California sheriff’s deputy was shot and killed Thursday while trying to stop a car and the suspect was later killed, authorities said. The Riverside County sheriff’s deputy pulled over a vehicle just before 2 p.m. in the city east of Los Angeles, the Sheriff’s Department said in a Facebook post. The motorcycle deputy, later identified by the department as Isaiah Cordero, was shot at some point during the traffic stop and later died at the hospital. Jurupa Valley Mayor Chris Barajas said without elaborating on the details that “the suspect has been apprehended and is deceased.” “Our community is devastated by the loss of one of our sheriff’s deputies,” Barajas wrote in a Facebook post.

Vivienne Westwood, influential fashion maverick, dies at 81

LONDON (AP) — Vivienne Westwood, an influential fashion maverick who played a key role in the punk movement, died Thursday at 81. Westwood’s eponymous fashion house announced her death on social media platforms, saying she died peacefully. A cause was not disclosed. “Vivienne continued to do the things she loved, up until the last moment, designing, working on her art, writing her book, and changing the world for the better,” the statement said. Westwood’s fashion career began in the 1970s when her radical approach to urban street style took the world by storm. But she went on to enjoy a long career highlighted by a string of triumphant runway shows and museum exhibitions.

Southwest: Normal flight operations to resume Friday

DALLAS (AP) — Southwest Airlines said it expects to return to normal operations Friday after more than a week of widespread flight cancellations that started with a winter storm and spiraled out of control because of a breakdown with staffing technology. If Thursday turns out to be the last day of the Southwest crisis, it will be marked by about 2,350 canceled flights, nearly 60% of the airline’s schedule. Southwest declined to say how many people have been affected, but it is likely that far more than 1 million have had a flight canceled. The airline has scrapped more than 13,000 flights since Dec.

Probe: Alzheimer’s drug approval ‘rife with irregularities’

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Food and Drug Administration’s contentious approval of a questionable Alzheimer’s drug took another hit Thursday as congressional investigators called the process “rife with irregularities.” The 18-month investigation by two House committees detailed “atypical collaboration” between FDA regulators and a company it’s supposed to oversee -- Aduhelm manufacturer Biogen. The probe also cited Biogen documents saying the company intended to “make history” when it set what investigators called an “unjustifiably high” initial price of $56,000 a year for the drug. The criticism comes as the FDA is expected to decide whether to approve another new Alzheimer’s drug in January.

Final goodbye: Recalling influential people who died in 2022

One would have to go back hundreds of years to find a monarch who reigned longer than Queen Elizabeth II. In her 70 years on the throne, she helped modernize the monarchy across decades of enormous social change, royal marriages and births, and family scandals. For most Britons, she was the only monarch they had ever known. Her death in September was arguably the most high-profile death this year, prompting a collective outpouring of grief and respect for her steady leadership as well as some criticism of the monarchy’s role in colonialism. She likely met more people than anyone in history, and her image — on stamps, coins and bank notes — was among the most reproduced in the world.