AP Top News at 11:23 p.m. EST
VATICAN CITY (AP) — He was the reluctant pope, a shy bookworm who preferred solitary walks in the Alps and Mozart piano concertos to the public glare and majesty of Vatican pageantry. When Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI and was thrust into the footsteps of his beloved and charismatic predecessor, he said he felt a guillotine had come down on him. So it should have come as little surprise that with a few words uttered in Latin on a Vatican holiday in 2013, Benedict ended it all, announcing that he would become the first pope in 600 years to resign.
NEW YORK (AP) — New Year’s celebrations swept across the globe, ushering in 2023 with countdowns and fireworks — and marking an end to a year that brought war in Europe, a new chapter in the British monarchy and global worries over inflation. The new year began in the tiny atoll nation of Kiribati in the central Pacific, then moved across Russia and New Zealand before heading deeper, time zone by time zone, through Asia and Europe and into the Americas. At least for a day, thoughts focused on possibilities, even elusive ones like world peace, and mustering — finally — a resolve to keep the next array of resolutions.
MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin’s New Year’s address to the nation usually is rather anodyne and backed with a soothing view of a snowy Kremlin. This year, with soldiers in the background, he lashed out at the West and Ukraine. The conflict in Ukraine cast a long shadow as Russia entered 2023. Cities curtailed festivities and fireworks. Moscow announced special performances for soldiers’ children featuring the Russian equivalent of Santa Claus. An exiled Russian news outlet unearthed a video of Volodymyr Zelenskyy, now the Ukrainian president despised by the Kremlin, telling jokes on a Russian state television station’s New Year’s show just a decade ago.
WASHINGTON (AP) — With security threats to Supreme Court justices still fresh memories, Chief Justice John Roberts on Saturday praised programs that protect judges, saying that “we must support judges by ensuring their safety.” Roberts and other conservative Supreme Court justices were the subject of protests, some at their homes, after the May leak of the court’s decision that ultimately stripped away constitutional protections for abortion. Justice Samuel Alito has said that the leak made conservative justices “targets for assassination.” And in June, a man carrying a gun, knife and zip ties was arrested near Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s house after threatening to kill the justice, whose vote was key to overturning the court’s Roe v.
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A suspect arrested in connection with the slayings of four University of Idaho students plans to waive an extradition hearing so he can be quickly brought to Idaho to face murder charges, his defense attorney said Saturday. Bryan Kohberger, a 28-year-old Ph.D. student and teaching assistant in the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology at Washington State University, was taken into custody early Friday morning by the Pennsylvania State Police at his parents’ home in Chestnuthill Township, authorities said. “We believe we’ve got our man,” Moscow Police Department Captain Anthony Dahlinger told The Associated Press on Saturday.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ordered the “exponential” expansion of his country’s nuclear arsenal, the development of a more powerful intercontinental ballistic missile and the launch of its first spy satellite, state media reported Sunday, after he entered 2023 with another weapons firing following a record number of testing activities last year. Kim’s moves are in line with the broad direction of his nuclear weapons development program as he has repeatedly vowed to boost both the quality and quantity of his arsenal to cope with what he calls U.S. hostility. Some experts say Kim’s push to produce more nukes and new weapons systems reflects his hopes to solidify his future negotiating power as he heads into prolonged tensions with the U.S.
Taxes will fall and minimum wages rise for residents in numerous states as a variety of new laws take effect Sunday that could impact people’s finances and, in some cases, their personal liberties. Some new laws could affect access to abortion. Others will ease restrictions on marijuana and concealed guns, or eliminate the need to pay to get out of jail. Jaywalkers will get a reprieve in California, thanks to a new law prohibiting police from stopping pedestrians for traffic violations unless they are in immediate danger of being hit by a vehicle. Here’s a look at some of the laws taking effect in the new year.
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — TCU’s wild ride has one more stop. The Horned Frogs are headed to Sofi Stadium in Inglewood, California, about 10 miles from Hollywood, just about the perfect place to end a storybook season for the most improbable College Football Playoff team. Max Duggan accounted for four touchdowns, TCU returned two interceptions for scores and the third-ranked Horned Frogs withstood a frenetic second-half surge by No. 2 Michigan to win the Fiesta Bowl semifinal 51-45 on Saturday night. TCU (13-1) will face either No. 1 Georgia or No. 4 Ohio State on Jan. 9 for the national championship.
PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey beamed as an excavator’s heavy claw smashed through the windows of an old state office building and began tearing off the façade. In one of his last public appearances in mid-December, the outgoing Republican governor watched the physical manifestation of a project that has defined his eight-year tenure: tearing down state government. Ducey also cut taxes, vastly expanded school choice, restricted abortion and built a makeshift wall on the U.S.-Mexico border in defiance of a Democratic president, checking just about every conservative box. At a time when the conservative movement is almost singularly oriented around “owning the libs,” Ducey spent his two terms outmaneuvering Democrats to advance Republican priorities, reshaping his state in a decisively conservative direction.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A powerful storm brought drenching rain or heavy snowfall to much of California on Saturday, snarling traffic and closing highways as the state prepared to usher in a new year. In the high Sierra Nevada, as much as 2 feet (0.6 meters) of snow could accumulate into early Sunday. The National Weather Service in Sacramento warned about hazardous driving conditions and posted photos on Twitter showing traffic on snow-covered mountain passes, where vehicles were required to have chains or four-wheel drive. The so-called atmospheric river storm was pulling in a long and wide plume of moisture from the Pacific Ocean.