News from The Associated Press

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  • Owner of boat that sank, killing 17, settles final lawsuit

    The owner of a tourist duck boat that sank in a Missouri lake, killing 17 people, has settled its final pending lawsuit for an undisclosed amount. Thirty-one lawsuits have been filed against Ripley Entertainment since the former World War II amphibious vehicle sank in July 2018 at Table Rock Lake near Branson. A joint motion for approval of a confidential settlement was filed Thursday in the final pending suit, which was filed by Joseph and William Strecker. Their 68-year-old mother, Rosemarie Hamann, was killed when the boat sank. A Ripley spokeswoman declined to discuss details of the settlement.

  • Toyota moving pickup production to Mexico, no US jobs lost

    Toyota will stop making its Tacoma small pickup in San Antonio next year as it shifts production to Mexico. But the company says no U.S. jobs will be lost. To make up for the lost work, the San Antonio plant will build the Sequoia large SUV. Its 3,200 jobs will be preserved. Currently, the Tacoma and full-size Tundra pickups are built in San Antonio, and the Tacoma also is produced at a factory in Baja California, Mexico. Late last year a Toyota plant in Mexico also began building Tacomas. Tacoma production in San Antonio will wind down in late 2021, and Sequoia production will start in 2022.

  • Court to look anew at health care law birth control rules

    The Supreme Court will decide ahead of the 2020 election whether presidential electors are bound to support the popular vote winner in their states or can opt for someone else. Advocates for the court's intervention say the issue needs urgent resolution in an era of intense political polarization and the prospect of a razor-thin margin in a presidential election, although so-called faithless electors have been a footnote so far in American history. The justices probably will hear arguments in April and should issue a decision by late June.

  • Demi Lovato tapped to sing national anthem at the Super Bowl

    NEW YORK (AP) — Grammy-nominated pop singer Demi Lovato will perform the national anthem at the Super Bowl. NFL and Fox on Thursday announced the performance, which will take place ahead of the big game on Feb. 2 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami. Jennifer Lopez and Shakira will headline the halftime show. Lovato has mostly taken a break from the public since focusing on her recovery after reportedly overdosing in July 2018. The singer, who has spoken about her […]

  • Eminem releases surprise album, unveils music video calling for changes to gun laws

    Rapper Eminem once again dropped a surprise album, releasing “Music to Be Murdered By” on Friday — along with a video that calls for changes to gun laws. The follow-up to 2018’s “Kamikaze” — also released without warning — was announced on Twitter just after midnight. The Detroit rapper’s new music video for “Darkness,” one of the album’s 20 tracks, depicts a shooting at a concert. The lyrics and storyline of the video specifically allude to the 2017 mass shooting at a music festival in […]

  • Firefighters save world’s only rare dinosaur trees in Australia

    Firefighters have saved the world’s last remaining wild stand of a prehistoric tree from Australia's wildfires. The national parks director says firefighters winched from helicopters to reach the cluster of fewer than 200 Wollemi Pines in a remote mountain gorge a week before a massive wildlife bore down. A state environmental official says the stand was saved, though some plants were singed. The Wollemi Pine had only been seen in its fossilized form and was thought long extinct before the stand in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney was found in 1994.

  • Putin fast-tracking work to extend his rule in Russia

    President Vladimir Putin is fast-tracking work on constitutional changes that could keep him in power well past the end of his term in 2024, and lawmakers have quickly sealed his choice for new prime minister. Speaking to a working group created to draft constitutional changes, Putin cast his proposals as a way to strengthen parliament and to bolster democracy. Kremlin critics describe the proposed changes as an attempt by the 67-year-old president to secure his rule for life. Putin proposed a set of sweeping amendments to the constitution Wednesday. Hours later, he sacked Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who held the job for eight years, and named tax chief Mikhail Mishustin to succeed him.

  • Senators vow ‘impartial justice’ as Trump’s trial begins

    The impeachment trial of President Donald Trump has opened in the Senate. All the senators stood on Thursday and swore an oath of “impartial justice” as jurors for the historic proceeding. Chief Justice John Roberts presided in his black Supreme Court robe. Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said new evidence reinforces the need for senators to call additional. Trump derided the proceedings anew as a “hoax.” Pelosi warned senators not to become “all the president's henchmen.” The full trial will begin next week.

  • 2017 sign-stealing scandal brings back memories of ’51 scheme

    The sign-stealing scheme that the Houston Astros used in 2017 has brought back memories for former Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Carl Erskine. Now 93 years old, Erskine vividly recalls a spyglass-and-buzzer system the New York Giants rigged up in 1951. The Giants made a remarkable rally to catch the Dodgers that season, then beat their arch rivals in the deciding Game 3 of a playoff for the National League pennant. Erskine was warming up in the bullpen when Bobby Thomson hit the famed “Shot Heard ‘Round the World" to beat Brooklyn. That was baseball's most famous sign-stealing scandal until this week.

  • Buttigieg’s decision to demote police chief shadows presidential run

    Lingering criticism over Pete Buttigieg’s demotion of a popular black police chief when Buttigieg was mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has raised questions about whether the presidential candidate can attract the support of African Americans. Buttigieg has said he was saving the chief from possible federal criminal charges. But interviews and documents paint a more complicated picture that's not as flattering to Buttigieg. While some say they believe the then-30-year-old Buttigieg was trying to do the right thing, others tell The Associated Press his lack of experience led him to take actions that weren't well thought out and that damaged his standing in the black community.

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