Israel and Hamas complete 2nd day of swaps after tense delay, as Gaza cease-fire holds
AL BIREH, West Bank (AP) — Hamas militants on Saturday released 17 hostages, including 13 Israelis, from captivity in the Gaza Strip, while Israel freed 39 Palestinian prisoners in the latest stage of a four-day cease-fire.
The late-night exchange was held up for several hours after Hamas accused Israel of violating the agreement. The delay underscored the fragility of the cease-fire, which has halted a war that has shocked and shaken Israel, caused widespread destruction across the Gaza Strip, and threatened to unleash wider fighting across the region.
The war erupted on Oct. 7, when Hamas militants in Gaza burst across the border into southern Israel, killing at least 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and abducting some 240 others, including, women, children and older people. Israel immediately declared war, carrying out weeks of airstrikes and a ground offensive that have left over 13,300 Palestinians dead, according to health authorities in the Hamas-controlled territory. Roughly two-thirds of those killed in Gaza have been women and minors.
The cease-fire, brokered by Qatar and the United States, is the first extended break in fighting since the war began. Overall, Hamas is to release at least 50 Israeli hostages, and Israel 150 Palestinian prisoners. All are women and minors.
Israel has said the truce can be extended by an extra day for every additional 10 hostages freed, but has vowed to quickly resume its offensive and complete its goals of returning all hostages and destroying Hamas’ military and governing capabilities.
An Israeli-owned ship was targeted in suspected Iranian attack in Indian Ocean, US official tells AP
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A container ship owned by an Israeli billionaire came under attack by a suspected Iranian drone in the Indian Ocean as Israel wages war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip, an American defense official said Saturday.
The attack Friday on the CMA CGM Symi comes as global shipping increasingly finds itself targeted in the weekslong war that threatens to become a wider regional conflict — even as a truce has halted fighting and Hamas exchanges hostages for Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.
The defense official, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters, said the Malta-flagged vessel was suspected to have been targeted by a triangle-shaped, bomb-carrying Shahed-136 drone while in international waters. The drone exploded, causing damage to the ship but not injuring any of its crew.
“We continue to monitor the situation closely,” the official said. The official declined to elaborate on what intelligence the U.S. military gathered to assess that Iran was behind the attack, though authorities suspect Tehran's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard carried out the assault.
The same drones have been used by Russia in its war on Ukraine, as recently as in a barrage launched Saturday that Kyiv described as Moscow's biggest drone attack since the war began.
Pentagon's AI initiatives accelerate hard decisions on lethal autonomous weapons.
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. (AP) — Artificial intelligence employed by the U.S. military has piloted pint-sized surveillance drones in special operations forces’ missions and helped Ukraine in its war against Russia. It tracks soldiers’ fitness, predicts when Air Force planes need maintenance and helps keep tabs on rivals in space.
Now, the Pentagon is intent on fielding multiple thousands of relatively inexpensive, expendable AI-enabled autonomous vehicles by 2026 to keep pace with China. The ambitious initiative — dubbed Replicator — seeks to “galvanize progress in the too-slow shift of U.S. military innovation to leverage platforms that are small, smart, cheap, and many,” Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks said in August.
While its funding is uncertain and details vague, Replicator is expected to accelerate hard decisions on what AI tech is mature and trustworthy enough to deploy - including on weaponized systems.
There is little dispute among scientists, industry experts and Pentagon officials that the U.S. will within the next few years have fully autonomous lethal weapons. And though officials insist humans will always be in control, experts say advances in data-processing speed and machine-to-machine communications will inevitably relegate people to supervisory roles.
That’s especially true if, as expected, lethal weapons are deployed en masse in drone swarms. Many countries are working on them — and neither China, Russia, Iran, India or Pakistan have signed a U.S.-initiated pledge to use military AI responsibly.
Derek Chauvin's family has received no updates after prison stabbing, attorney says
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — An attorney for Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer convicted of murdering George Floyd, said Saturday that Chauvin's family has been kept in the dark by federal prison officials after he was stabbed in prison.
The lawyer, Gregory M. Erickson, slammed the lack of transparency by the Federal Bureau of Prisons a day after his client was stabbed on Friday by another inmate at the Federal Correctional Institution in Tucson, Arizona, a prison that has been plagued by security lapses and staffing shortages.
A person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press on Friday that Chauvin was seriously injured in the stabbing. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the attack. On Saturday, Brian Evans, a spokesperson for the Minnesota attorney general’s office, said: “We have heard that he is expected to survive.”
Erickson said Chauvin's family and his attorneys have hit a wall trying to obtain information about the attack from Bureau of Prisons officials. He said Chauvin's family has been forced to assume he is in stable condition, based only on news accounts, and has been contacting the prison repeatedly seeking updates but have been provided with no information.
“As an outsider, I view this lack of communication with his attorneys and family members as completely outrageous,” Erickson said in a statement to the AP. “It appears to be indicative of a poorly run facility and indicates how Derek’s assault was allowed to happen.”
One of world's largest icebergs drifting beyond Antarctic waters after it was grounded for 3 decades
LONDON (AP) — One of the world’s largest icebergs is drifting beyond Antarctic waters, after being grounded for more than three decades, according to the British Antarctic Survey.
The iceberg, known as A23a, split from the Antarctic's Filchner Ice Shelf in 1986. But it became stuck to the ocean floor and had remained for many years in the Weddell Sea.
The iceberg is about three times the size of New York City and more than twice the size of Greater London, measuring around 4,000 square kilometers (1,500 square miles).
Andrew Fleming, a remote sensing expert from the British Antarctic Survey, told the BBC on Friday that the iceberg has been drifting for the past year and now appears to be picking up speed and moving past the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, helped by wind and ocean currents.
“I asked a couple of colleagues about this, wondering if there was any possible change in shelf water temperatures that might have provoked it, but the consensus is the time had just come,” Fleming told the BBC.
Donald Trump draws cheers in Nikki Haley's backyard at Clemson-South Carolina football game
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Donald Trump used college football rivalry weekend to bask among his supporters in a state and region that are key to his presidential fortunes, while trying to upstage his Republican opponent Nikki Haley on her home turf at the Clemson-South Carolina football game.
The former president and current front-runner for the 2024 Republican nomination arrived at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia on Saturday night to chants of “We want Trump! We want Trump!” from fans gathered for the annual Palmetto Bowl, the state's biggest sporting event of the year.
Haley, a Clemson alumna and trustee who was twice elected South Carolina governor, did not attend.
Trump was a guest of Gov. Henry McMaster, Haley's successor. The entourage, which entered through a veritable tunnel of Trump supporters on its way to a private suite, also included South Carolina's senior U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, giving the former president a show of local political force at a game featuring Haley's alma mater, Clemson, where she is also a member of the board of trustees.
McMaster ascended to the governor's office in 2017 when Trump elevated Haley to United Nations ambassador. Graham and Haley have mostly been allies over the years. But both men now back Trump, and the former president enjoys a wide polling lead among Republican primary voters. That includes nationally and in early nominating states like South Carolina.
Ukraine's military says Russia launched its largest drone attack since the start of the invasion
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russia on Saturday morning launched its most intense drone attack on Ukraine since the beginning of its full-scale invasion in 2022, targeting the Ukrainian capital, military officials said.
In total, Russia launched 75 Iranian-made Shahed drones against Ukraine, of which 74 were destroyed by air defenses, Ukraine’s air force said.
“Kyiv was the main target,” Ukrainian Air Force Commander Mykola Oleshchuk wrote on his Telegram channel.
The attack was “the most massive air attack by drones on Kyiv,” said Serhii Popko, head of the Kyiv city administration. Ukrainian air force spokesman Yurii Ihnat confirmed later that the air defenses shot down 66 air targets over the capital and surrounding region throughout the morning.
At least five civilians were wounded in the hourslong assault, which saw several buildings damaged by falling debris from downed drones, including a kindergarten. The wounded included an 11-year-old child, according to Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko.
Why Finland is blaming Russia for a sudden influx of migrants on its eastern border
HELSINKI (AP) — When Finland joined NATO earlier this year, Russia threatened retaliation.
Now, hundreds of migrants from the Middle East and Africa have appeared at Finland's border from Russia, seeking entry into the Nordic country.
Finnish officials say the sudden surge in asylum-seekers is no coincidence. They accuse Russia of driving the migrants to the border to sow discord as payback for Finland's membership in NATO.
Here is a look at the migration challenge playing out along parts of Finland’s 830-mile (1,340-kilometer) border with Russia.
Rep. George Santos says he expects to be kicked out of Congress as expulsion vote looms
NEW YORK (AP) — Rep. George Santos said he expects to be expelled from Congress following a scathing report by the House Ethics Committee that found substantial evidence of lawbreaking by the New York Republican.
In a defiant speech Friday sprinkled with taunts and obscenities aimed at his congressional colleagues, Santos insisted he was “not going anywhere.” But he acknowledged that his time as a member of Congress, at least, may soon be coming to an end.
“I know I’m going to get expelled when this expulsion resolution goes to the floor,” he said Friday night during a conversation on X Spaces. “I’ve done the math over and over, and it doesn’t look really good.”
The comments came one week after the Republican chairman of the House Ethics Committee, Michael Guest, introduced a resolution to expel Santos once the body returns from Thanksgiving break.
While Santos has survived two expulsion votes, many of his colleagues who formerly opposed the effort now say they support it, citing the findings of the committee’s monthslong investigation into a wide range of alleged misconduct by Santos.
No. 3 Michigan beats No. 2 Ohio State 30-24 for 3rd straight win in rivalry
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — With more than two years of excellence being questioned and their coach banned from the Big House, J.J. McCarthy, Blake Corum and No. 3 Michigan stared down No. 2 Ohio State again and earned a victory that will go down as one of the biggest in the history of college football’s winningest program.
Rod Moore's interception in Michigan territory with 25 seconds left sealed a 30-24 win for the Wolverines on Saturday, running their win streak over the Buckeyes to three games while staying unbeaten with Jim Harbaugh serving out a suspension.
McCarthy, a third-year quarterback who could leave Michigan having never lost to Ohio State, said Harbaugh's message to the Wolverines on Friday night echoed that of his old coach, the late Bo Schembechler.
“The whole mantra: the team, the team, the team," McCarthy said. He said Harbaugh told them: “We are that team.”
Moore's pick set off a celebration on the home team's sideline. McCarthy took a knee, Michigan fans poured over the brick walls onto the field and the Wolverines (12-0, 9-0) were off to their third straight Big Ten title game.
The Associated Press