AP Top News at 11:59 p.m. EST
EL PASO, Texas (AP) — President Joe Biden walked a muddy stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border and inspected a busy port of entry Sunday on his first trip to the region after two years in office, a visit shadowed by the fraught politics of immigration as Republicans blame him for record numbers of migrants crossing into the country. At his first stop, the president observed as border officers in El Paso demonstrated how they search vehicles for drugs, money and other contraband. Next, he traveled to a dusty street with abandoned buildings and walked along a metal border fence that separated the U.S.
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Supporters of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro who refuse to accept his election defeat stormed Congress, the Supreme Court and presidential palace Sunday, a week after the inauguration of his leftist rival, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Thousands of demonstrators bypassed security barricades, climbed on roofs, smashed windows and invaded all three buildings, which were believed to be largely vacant on the weekend. Some of the demonstrators called for a military intervention to either restore the far-right Bolsonaro to power or oust Lula from the presidency. Hours went by before control of the buildings on Brasilia’s vast Three Powers Square was reestablished, with hundreds of the participants arrested.
WASHINGTON (AP) — After an epic 15-ballot election to become House speaker, Republican Kevin McCarthy faces his next big test in governing a fractious, slim majority: passing a rules package to govern the House. The drafting and approval of a set of rules is normally a fairly routine legislative affair, but in these times, it’s the next showdown for the embattled McCarthy. To become speaker and win over skeptics, McCarthy had to make concessions to a small group of hard-liners who refused to support his ascension until he yielded to their demands. Now those promises — or at least some of them — are being put into writing to be voted on when lawmakers return this week for their first votes as the majority party.
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — The Russian military claimed Sunday to have carried out deadly missile strikes on barracks used by Ukrainian troops in retaliation for the deaths of dozens of Russian soldiers in a rocket attack a week ago. Ukrainian officials denied there were any casualties. The Russian Defense Ministry said its missiles hit two temporary bases housing 1,300 Ukrainian troops in Kramatorsk, in the eastern Donetsk region, killing 600 of them. Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said the strikes were retaliation for Ukraine’s attack in Makiivka, in which at least 89 Russian soldiers died. Serhii Cherevatyi, a spokesperson for Ukraine’s forces in the east, told The Associated Press that Russian strikes on Kramatorsk damaged only civilian infrastructure, adding: “The armed forces of Ukraine weren’t affected.” The Donetsk regional administration said seven Russian missiles hit Kramatorsk and two more hit Kostyantynivka, without causing any casualties.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California was hit with more turbulent weather Sunday as thunderstorms, snow and damaging winds swept into the northern part the state, preceding another series of incoming storms and raising the potential for road flooding, rising rivers and mudslides on soils already saturated after days of rain. The National Weather Service warned of a “relentless parade of atmospheric rivers” — storms that are long plumes of moisture stretching out into the Pacific capable of dropping staggering amounts of rain and snow. In the state capital, more than 60,000 customers were still without electricity Sunday evening — down from more than 350,000 — after gusts of 60 mph (97 kph) knocked trees into power lines, according to the Sacramento Municipal Utility District.
MISSION, Kan. (AP) — When Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick asked Texas colleges to disavow critical race theory, the University of Texas faculty approved a resolution defending their freedom to decide for themselves how to teach about race. Patrick said he took it as a message to “go to hell.” In turn, Patrick, a Republican, said it was time to consider holding the faculty accountable, by targeting one of the top perks of their jobs. “Maybe we need to look at tenure,” Patrick said at a news conference in November. It’s a sentiment being echoed by conservative officials in red states across the country.
NASSAU, Bahamas (AP) — Dressed in a canary blue suit on a warm December night, sweat dripping from his brow, Bishop Lawrence Rolle belts out the lyrics to his latest hit song for the hundreds of children and adults gathered to celebrate Christmas. “FTX!,” he sings, bent over and shaking his head for emphasis. “The money is gone!” “FTX!,” his backup singer and audience scream back. “The money have done gone!” The cryptocurrency exchange FTX was supposed to be the crown jewel of the Bahamian government’s push to be the global destination for all things crypto, after years of having an economy overly reliant on tourism and banking.
RIFLE, Colo. (AP) — Debbie Hartman voted for Lauren Boebert for Congress in 2020 and again in 2022, delighted by Boebert’s unequivocal defense of cultural issues that animate the Republican Party’s far right flank. But as Hartman shopped recently at a supermarket in this Rocky Mountain ranching outpost, she had one piece of advice for the Colorado lawmaker. “Tone down the nasty rhetoric on occasion and just stick with the point at hand,” said Hartman, 65, a veterinary tech assistant. That sentiment reflects Boebert’s challenge as she begins her second term in the House. In her relatively short time in Washington, she has built a national profile with a combative style embracing everything from gun ownership to apocalyptic religious rhetoric.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Adam Rich, the child actor with a pageboy mop-top who charmed TV audiences as “America’s little brother” on “Eight is Enough,” has died. He was 54. Rich died Saturday at his home in the Brentwood section of Los Angeles, said Lt. Aimee Earl of the Los Angeles County Medical-Examiner Coroner’s office. The cause of death was under investigation but was not considered to be suspicious. Rich had a limited acting career after starring at age 8 as Nicholas Bradford, the youngest of eight children, on the ABC hit dramedy that ran from from 1977 to 1981. Betty Buckley, who played his stepmother on the show, said on Instagram that she was shocked to learn of his death Sunday and referred to Rich as a “light,” her “young pal” on set and friend ever since.
The NFL’s Week 18 saved its best drama for the final game of the weekend. The Detroit Lions — eliminated from playoff contention earlier Sunday when the Seahawks beat the Rams — pushed past their disappointment and played the role of a spoiler, rallying to beat Green Bay 20-16 on Sunday night. The win denied quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Packers a spot in the postseason. Instead of Green Bay, it’s the Seahawks who will be the No. 7 seed in the NFC. They’ll travel to face division rival San Francisco in next weekend’s wild-card round. The rest of next weekend’s schedule is also set: In the AFC, it’ll be the Miami Dolphins at the Buffalo Bills, Baltimore Ravens at the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Chargers at Jacksonville Jaguars.