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    AP Top News at 11:54 p.m. EST

    January 5, 2023 GMT

    GOP’s McCarthy rejected for House speaker — again and again

    WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans flailed through a long second day of fruitless balloting Wednesday, unable to either elect their leader Kevin McCarthy as House speaker or come up with a new strategy to end the political chaos that has tarnished the start of their new majority. Yet McCarthy wasn’t giving up, even after the fourth, fifth and sixth votes produced no better outcome and he was left trying to call off a nighttime session. Even that was controversial, as the House voted 216-214 — amid shouting and crowding — to adjourn for the night. “No deal yet,” McCarthy said shortly before that as he left a lengthy closed-door dinnertime meeting with key holdouts and his own allies.

    Sitting ducks? Russian military flaws seen in troop deaths

    KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — The Russian military’s top brass came under increasing scrutiny Wednesday as more details emerged of how at least 89 Russian soldiers, and possibly many more, were killed in a Ukrainian artillery attack on a single building. The scene last weekend in the Russian-held eastern Ukrainian town of Makiivka, where the soldiers were temporarily stationed, appears to have been a recipe for disaster. Hundreds of Russian troops were reportedly clustered in a building close to the front line, well within range of Ukraine’s Western-supplied precision artillery, possibly sitting close to an ammunition store and perhaps unwittingly helping Kyiv’s forces to zero in on them.


    Evacuations ordered as California storm knocks out power

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Officials in California ordered evacuations in a high-risk coastal area where mudslides killed 23 people in 2018 as a huge storm barreled into the state on Wednesday, bringing high winds and rain that knocked out power and threatened to flood roadways. California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency to allow for a quick response and to aid in cleanup from another powerful storm that hit just days earlier. The new storm already left more than 76,000 customers in the San Francisco Bay Area and nearly 19,000 more along the Central Coast without power. Dozens of flights out of San Francisco were canceled, and schools in one of the city’s suburbs preemptively canceled Thursday classes.


    Man charged in university student killings arrives in Idaho

    BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The suspect in the November slayings of four University of Idaho students has arrived in Idaho, where he is charged with four counts of first-degree murder and felony burglary. Bryan Kohberger, a 28-year-old doctoral student at Washington State University, was flown by Pennsylvania State Police to a small regional airport near the Idaho border and handed over to local authorities Wednesday evening. Uniformed law enforcement officers were waiting on the tarmac for the the Pennsylvania State Police plane to land, and then they escorted the handcuffed Kohberger to a caravan of five vehicles for the short drive from Washington across the Idaho border.


    US House has no members, no rules as speaker race drags on

    WASHINGTON (AP) — As Republicans continue to squabble over who will be the next speaker, there are essentially no members in the U.S. House of Representatives — only members-elect. Without a speaker, none of the them can be sworn in, and the 118th Congress can’t convene or vote on any rules. Parliamentary procedure has been jettisoned in favor of controlled chaos. Members of both parties are unsure whether they can call votes or make motions on the floor because there is no speaker to rule on their requests. Committees can’t be formed and legislation can’t be passed. “I don’t know what my status is,” said Democrat Ted Lieu of California.

    Amazon, Salesforce jettison jobs in latest tech worker purge

    E-commerce giant Amazon and business software maker Salesforce are the latest U.S. technology companies to announce major job cuts as they prune payrolls that rapidly expanded during the pandemic lockdown. Amazon said Wednesday that it will be cutting about 18,000 positions. It’s the largest set of layoffs in the Seattle-based company’s history, although just a fraction of its 1.5 million global workforce. “Amazon has weathered uncertain and difficult economies in the past, and we will continue to do so,” CEO Andy Jassy said in a note to employees that the company made public. “These changes will help us pursue our long-term opportunities with a stronger cost structure.” He said the layoffs will mostly impact the company’s brick-and-mortar stores, which include Amazon Fresh and Amazon Go, and its PXT organizations, which handle human resources and other functions.


    College scam mastermind Rick Singer gets 3.5 years in prison

    BOSTON (AP) — The mastermind of the nationwide college admissions bribery scheme that ensnared celebrities, prominent businesspeople and other parents who used their wealth and privilege to buy their kids’ way into top-tier schools was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison Wednesday. The punishment for Rick Singer, 62, is the longest sentence handed down in the sprawling scandal that embarrassed some of the nation’s most prestigious universities and put a spotlight on the secretive admissions system already seen as rigged in favor of the rich. Prosecutors had sought six years behind bars, noting Singer’s extensive cooperation that helped authorities unravel the entire scheme.


    Cuban migrants flow into Florida Keys, overwhelm officials

    MARATHON, Fla. (AP) — More than 500 Cuban immigrants have come ashore in the Florida Keys since the weekend, the latest in a large and increasing number who are fleeing the communist island and stretching thin U.S. border agencies both on land and at sea. It is a dangerous 100-mile (160-kilometer) trip in often rickety boats — unknown thousands having perished over the years — but more Cubans are taking the risk amid deepening and compounding political and economic crises at home. A smaller number of Haitians are also fleeing their country’s economic and political woes and arriving by boat in Florida.

    Supply chain woes caused US auto sales to fall 8% last year

    DETROIT (AP) — Shortages of computer chips and other parts continued to hobble the U.S. auto industry last year, contributing to vehicle sales dropping 8% from 2021 to their lowest level in more than a decade. But there’s good news for consumers in the gloomy numbers: Vehicle supplies on dealer lots are growing, albeit slowly, and automakers expect at least a small easing in prices this year as inventories grow. Automakers reported Wednesday that they sold 13.9 million cars, trucks, SUVs and vans last year as the parts shortage limited factory output amid high demand for new vehicles. It was the lowest sales number since 2011 when the economy was recovering from the Great Recession.

    NFL rallies to support Hamlin as his condition improves

    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — As a sedated Damar Hamlin lay before him in a Cincinnati hospital bed surrounded by machinery feeding him oxygen and fluids, Indianapolis Colts safety Rodney Thomas provided a few words of encouragement to his friend. “I just told him, I got him. That’s all,” Thomas said Wednesday. “Just saying the same thing: I got his back and you’re going to get through it.” It didn’t matter to Thomas whether the Buffalo Bills safety could hear him. More important to Thomas, who made the two-hour drive from Indianapolis to Cincinnati, was being by the side of Hamlin — his former high school teammate in Pittsburgh — and the player’s family.