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    AP Top News at 7:51 p.m. EST

    December 18, 2022 GMT

    McCarthy’s race for speaker risks upending House on Day One

    WASHINGTON (AP) — In his quest to rise to House speaker, Kevin McCarthy is charging straight into history — potentially becoming the first nominee in 100 years unable to win the job on a first-round floor vote. The increasingly real prospect of a messy fight over the speaker’s gavel on Day One of the new Congress on Jan. 3 is worrying House Republicans, who are bracing for the spectacle. They have been meeting endlessly in private at the Capitol trying to resolve the standoff. Taking hold of a perilously slim 222-seat Republican majority in the 435-member House and facing a handful of defectors, McCarthy is working furiously to reach the 218-vote threshold typically needed to become speaker.

    Libya militia held Lockerbie suspect before handover to US

    CAIRO (AP) — Around midnight in mid-November, Libyan militiamen in two Toyota pickup trucks arrived at a residential building in a neighborhood of the capital of Tripoli. They stormed the house, bringing out a blindfolded man in his 70s. Their target was former Libyan intelligence agent Abu Agila Mohammad Mas’ud Kheir Al-Marimi, wanted by the United States for allegedly making the bomb that brought down New York-bound Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, just days before Christmas in 1988. The attack killed 259 people in the air and 11 on the ground. Weeks after that night raid in Tripoli, the U.S.


    What Trump promised, Biden seeks to deliver in his own way

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump pledged to fix U.S. infrastructure as president. He vowed to take on China and bulk up American manufacturing. He said he would reduce the budget deficit and make the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes. Yet after two years as president, it’s Joe Biden who is acting on those promises. He jokes that he’s created an “infrastructure decade” after Trump merely managed a near parody of “infrastructure weeks.” His legislative victories are not winning him votes from Trump loyalists or boosting his overall approval ratings. But they reflect a major pivot in how the government interacts with the economy at a time when many Americans fear a recession and broader national decline.


    Iran authorities arrest actress of Oscar-winning movie

    CAIRO (AP) — Iranian authorities arrested one of the country’s most renowned actresses Saturday on charges of spreading falsehoods about nationwide protests that grip the country, state media said. The report by IRNA said Taraneh Alidoosti, star of the Oscar-winning movie “The Salesman,” was detained a week after she made a post on Instagram expressing solidarity with the first man recently executed for crimes allegedly committed during the protests. The announcement is the latest in a series of celebrity arrests, that have included footballers, actors and influencers, in response to their open display of support for anti-government demonstrations now in their third month According to the report published on the state media’s official Telegram channel, Alidoosti was arrested because she did not provide ”any documents in line with her claims.″ It said that several other Iranian celebrities had also ″been summoned by the judiciary body over publishing provocative content,″ and that some had been arrested.


    Oppenheimer wrongly stripped of security clearance, US says

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration has reversed a decades-old decision to revoke the security clearance of Robert Oppenheimer, the physicist called the father of the atomic bomb for his leading role in World War II’s Manhattan Project. U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said the 1954 decision by the Atomic Energy Commission was made using a “flawed process” that violated the commission’s own regulations. “As time has passed, more evidence has come to light of the bias and unfairness of the process that Dr. Oppenheimer was subjected to while the evidence of his loyalty and love of country have only been further affirmed,” Granholm said in a statement on Friday.


    Dead boy pulled from rubble of latest Russian hit on Ukraine

    KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Emergency crews pulled the body of a toddler from the rubble in a pre-dawn search Saturday for survivors of a Russian missile strike that tore through an apartment building in the central Ukrainian city of Kryvyi Rih. The missile was one of what Ukrainian authorities said were 16 that eluded air defenses among the 76 missiles fired Friday in the latest Russian attack targeting Ukrainian energy infrastructure, part of Moscow’s strategy to leave Ukrainian civilians and soldiers in the dark and cold this winter. Gov. Valentyn Reznichenko of the Dnipropetrovsk region, where Kryvyi Rih is located, wrote on the Telegram social media app that “rescuers retrieved the body of a 1-1/2-year-old boy from under the rubble of a house destroyed by a Russian rocket.” In all, four people were killed in the strike, and 13 injured — four of them children — authorities said.

    More questions than answers as EU corruption scandal unfolds


    BRUSSELS (AP) — No one answers the door or the phone at the offices of the two campaign groups linked to a cash-for-favors corruption scandal at the European Union’s parliament, allegedly involving Qatar. No light is visible inside. No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ), a pro-human rights and democracy organization, and Fight Impunity, which seeks to bring rights abusers to book, share the same address, on prime real estate in the governmental quarter of the Belgian capital. The heads of the two organizations are among four people charged since Dec. 9 with corruption, participation in a criminal group and money laundering. Prosecutors suspect certain European lawmakers and aides “were paid large sums of money or offered substantial gifts to influence parliament’s decisions.” The groups themselves do not seem to be under suspicion.

    Comeback king Vikings set NFL rally record in win vs. Colts

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — With the Minnesota Vikings gathered in their humbled locker room at halftime in a huge hole, cornerback Patrick Peterson set the tone for an historic escape by promising his offensive teammates the defense would do its part to hold the Indianapolis Colts. “You just need five touchdowns,” Peterson told them. “That’s nothing.” This rally sure was something, though. The Vikings completed the biggest comeback in NFL history, erasing a 33-point deficit by beating the Colts 39-36 on Greg Joseph’s 40-yard field goal with three seconds left in overtime Saturday to win the NFC North division in their typical dramatic fashion.

    Snow pummels parts of Northeast; thousands without power

    BOSTON (AP) — Utility crews raced Saturday to restore power to tens of thousands of customers across New England and New York after a powerful storm dumped 2 feet of snow in some places. More than 160,000 customers in New England were in the dark as of the afternoon and another 20,000 were without power in New York as heavy snow brought tree limbs onto power lines, according to, which tracks outages across the country. Restoration efforts were complicated by snow still falling in some places, making travel dangerous. Doug Foley, Eversource president of electric operations in New Hampshire, said snow-covered roads were making it tough for workers to reach communities in order to assess damage and make repairs.

    Famed LA cougar P-22 euthanized following health problems

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — P-22, the celebrated mountain lion that took up residence in the middle of Los Angeles and became a symbol of urban pressures on wildlife, was euthanized Saturday after dangerous changes in his behavior led to examinations that revealed worsening health and injuries likely caused by a car. Officials with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife said the decision to euthanize the beloved big cat was made after veterinarians determined it had a skull fracture and chronic illnesses including a skin infection and diseases of the kidneys and liver. “His prognosis was deemed poor,” said the agency’s director, Chuck Bonham, who fought back tears during a news conference announcing the cougar’s death.