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AP Top News at 11:57 p.m. EST

December 31, 2022 GMT

Trump’s returns shed light on tax offsets, foreign accounts

Democrats in Congress released thousands of pages of former President Donald Trump’s tax returns Friday, providing the most detailed picture to date of his finances over a six-year period, including his time in the White House, when he fought to keep the information private in a break with decades of precedent. The documents include individual returns from Trump and his wife, Melania, along with Trump’s business entities from 2015-2020. They show how Trump used the tax code to lower his tax obligation and reveal details about foreign accounts, charitable contributions and the performance of some of his highest-profile business ventures, which had largely remained shielded from public scrutiny.

Barbara Walters, news pioneer and ‘The View’ creator, dies

NEW YORK (AP) — Barbara Walters, the intrepid interviewer, anchor and program host who blazed the way as the first woman to become a TV news superstar during a career remarkable for its duration and variety, has died. She was 93. ABC broke into its broadcast to announce Walters’ death on air Friday night. “She lived her life with no regrets. She was a trailblazer not only for female journalists, but for all women,” her publicist Cindi Berger also said in a statement, adding Walters died peacefully at her New York home. An ABC spokesperson did not have an immediate comment Friday night beyond sharing a statement from Bob Iger, the CEO of ABC parent The Walt Disney Company.

Idaho college killings suspect is criminology PhD student

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A 28-year-old criminal justice graduate student was arrested in eastern Pennsylvania on Friday as a suspect in the mysterious stabbing deaths of four University of Idaho students last month, authorities said. DNA evidence played a key role in identifying Bryan Christopher Kohberger as a suspect in the killings, and officials were able to match his DNA to genetic material recovered during the investigation, a law enforcement official said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss details of the ongoing investigation. The students — Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin — were stabbed to death at a rental home near campus in Moscow, Idaho, sometime in the early morning hours of Nov.

Ginni Thomas says she regrets post-election texts to Meadows

WASHINGTON (AP) — Virginia Thomas, the wife of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, says she regrets sending texts to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows after the 2020 election, telling the House Jan. 6 committee that “I would take them all back if I could today.” Thomas — known as Ginni — is a longtime conservative activist. In a transcript of the interview released by the panel on Friday, she told investigators she was “emotional” after the election when she sent several texts to Meadows urging him to stand firm with then-President Donald Trump as he falsely claimed that there was widespread fraud in the election.

Officials say Bolsonaro may have left Brazil for Florida

SAO PAULO (AP) — The office of Brazil’s vice president says he has become acting president, an indication that President Jair Bolsonaro has left the country and will break tradition by skipping the inauguration Sunday of his political nemesis, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. The press office of Bolsonaro’s vice president, Gen. Hamilton Mourão, confirmed to journalists he was acting as president. The handoff of power to the vice president occurs whenever Brazil’s president travels abroad. The Friday edition of the official gazette said that Bolsonaro is headed to Florida, and that several officials were given permission to accompany “the future ex-president” to Miami between Jan.

Evidence of Russian crimes mounts as war in Ukraine drags on

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ten months into Russia’s latest invasion of Ukraine, overwhelming evidence shows the Kremlin’s troops have waged total war, with disregard for international laws governing the treatment of civilians and conduct on the battlefield. Ukraine is investigating more than 58,000 potential Russian war crimes — killings, kidnappings, indiscriminate bombings and sexual assaults. Reporting by The Associated Press and “Frontline,” recorded in a public database, has independently verified more than 600 incidents that appear to violate the laws of war. Some of those attacks were massacres that killed dozens or hundreds of civilians and as a totality it could account for thousands of individual war crimes.

N Korea fires 3 missiles amid tensions over drone flights

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea fired three short-range ballistic missiles toward its eastern waters in its latest weapons display on Saturday, a day after rival South Korea launched a solid-fueled rocket as part of its efforts to build a space-based surveillance capability to better monitor the North. Tensions between the rival Koreas rose earlier this week when South Korea accused North Korea of flying five drones across the rivals’ tense border for the first time in five years and responded by sending its own drones toward the North. South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement it detected the three launches from an inland area south of Pyongyang, the North’s capital, on Saturday morning.

UN seeks court opinion on ‘violation’ of Palestinian rights

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. General Assembly has asked the U.N.’s highest judicial body to give its opinion on the legality of Israeli policies in the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem. The Assembly voted by a wide margin, but with over 50 countries abstaining, on Friday evening to send one of the world’s longest-running and thorniest disputes to the International Court of Justice, a request promoted by the Palestinians and opposed vehemently by Israel. While the court’s rulings are not binding, they influence international opinion. It last addressed the conflict in 2004, when the Assembly asked it to consider the legality of an Israeli-built separation barrier.

Storm brings flooding, landslides across California

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Landslides of rock and mud closed roadways Friday across California as heavy rains kicked off what will be a series of storms poised to usher in the new year with downpours and potential flooding across much of the state and multiple feet of snow in the Sierra Nevada. The atmospheric river storm, a long and wide plume of moisture pulled in from the Pacific Ocean, began sweeping across the northern part of the state Friday and was expected to bring more rain through Saturday, according to the National Weather Service in Sacramento. A winter storm warning was in effect into Sunday for the upper elevations of the Sierra from south of Yosemite National Park to north of Lake Tahoe, where as much as 5 feet (1.5 meters) of snow is possible atop the mountains, the National Weather Service said in Reno, Nevada.

Court: Abortion doctors can’t be charged under Arizona law

PHOENIX (AP) — An Arizona court has ruled that abortion doctors cannot be prosecuted under a pre-statehood law that criminalizes nearly all abortions yet was barred from being enforced for decades. But the Arizona Court of Appeals on Friday declined to repeal the 1864 law, which carries a sentence of two to five years in prison for anyone who assists in an abortion and provides no exceptions for rape or incest. Still, the court said doctors can’t be prosecuted for performing abortions in the first 15 weeks of pregnancy because other Arizona laws passed over the years allow them to perform the procedure, though non-doctors are still subject to be charged under the old law.