Biden, Xi emerge from hours of talks, agree to curb illicit fentanyl, restart military dialogue
WOODSIDE, Calif. (AP) — U.S. President Joe Biden and China’s Xi Jinping emerged Wednesday from their first face-to-face meeting in a year vowing to stabilize their fraught relationship and showcasing modest agreements to combat illegal fentanyl and re-establish military communications. But there were still deep differences on economic competition and global security threats.
The two leaders spent four hours together – in meetings, a working lunch and a garden stroll – intent on showing the world that while they are global economic competitors they’re not locked in a winner-take-all faceoff.
“Planet Earth is big enough for the two countries to succeed,” Xi told Biden.
The U.S. president told Xi: “I think it’s paramount that you and I understand each other clearly, leader-to-leader, with no misconceptions or miscommunications. We have to ensure competition does not veer into conflict.”
Their meeting, on the sidelines of the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference, has far-reaching implications for a world grappling with economic cross currents, conflicts in the Middle East and Europe, tensions in Taiwan and more.
Takeaways from Biden's long-awaited meeting with Xi
WASHINGTON (AP) — It was a meeting a year in the making.
President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping sat down together on Wednesday just outside of San Francisco, where Asian leaders gathered for an annual summit. It was almost exactly one year since their last encounter in Bali, Indonesia, on the sidelines of another global gathering.
In addition to a formal bilateral meeting, Biden and Xi shared a lunch with top advisers and strolled the verdant grounds of the luxury estate where their meeting took place.
There's no word on whether Chinese pandas will return to Washington's zoo. But Biden said the meeting included “some of the most constructive and productive discussions we’ve had." Here's a look at how the day panned out.
Israel searches for traces of Hamas in raid of key Gaza hospital packed with patients
KHAN YOUNIS, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israeli troops on Wednesday stormed into Gaza’s largest hospital, searching for traces of Hamas inside and beneath the facility, where newborns and hundreds of other patients have suffered for days without electricity and other basic necessities as fighting raged outside.
Details from the daylong raid remained sketchy, but officials from Israel and Gaza presented different accounts of what was happening at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City: The Israeli army released video showing soldiers carrying boxes labeled as “baby food” and “medical supplies,” while health officials talked of terrified staff and patients as troops moved through the buildings.
After encircling Shifa for days, Israel faced pressure to prove its claim that Hamas had turned the hospital into a command center and used patients, staff and civilians sheltering there to provide cover for its militants. The allegation is part of Israel's broader accusation that Hamas uses Palestinians as human shields. Israel released video late Wednesday of weapons it said it found in one building, but so far its search showed no signs of tunnels or a sophisticated command center.
Hamas and Gaza health officials deny militants operate in Shifa — a hospital that employs some 1,500 people and has more than 500 beds, according to the Palestinian news agency. Palestinians and rights groups say Israel has recklessly endangered civilians as it seeks to eradicate Hamas.
As Israel tightens its hold on northern Gaza, leaders have talked of expanding the ground operation into the south to root out Hamas. Most of Gaza’s 2.3 million people have already crowded into the territory’s south, where a worsening fuel shortage threatens to paralyze the delivery of humanitarian services and shut down mobile phone and internet service.
Supplies alone won’t save Gaza hospital patients and evacuation remains perilous, experts say
LONDON (AP) — As concerns grow for patients stranded inside Gaza’s biggest hospital, experts warned that transporting vulnerable people, including babies, is a perilous proposition under even the best circumstances.
On Tuesday, Palestinian authorities proposed a supervised evacuation of Shifa Hospital, a sprawling complex that runs several city blocks in the heart of Gaza City. Hours later, Israeli forces raided the facility — further complicating the picture.
Dr. Irwin Redlener of Columbia University in New York said that moving newborns and premature babies with health problems is fraught but possible with trained personnel, proper equipment and a transportation plan.
“Babies in incubators have complex health needs and there needs to be temperature control, hydration, medication for infections and breathing support,” said Redlener, a pediatrician and disaster response expert, who spoke before the raid.
Redlener said that when hospitals in New York were evacuated due to Superstorm Sandy in 2012, medical workers walked down numerous flights of stairs carrying babies to waiting ambulances and there were no known tragedies — at least among the infants.
The Israeli military has set its sights on southern Gaza. Problems loom in next phase of war
JERUSALEM (AP) — After raiding the Gaza Strip’s largest hospital, Israel appears close to completing its takeover of the besieged territory’s northern sector, which it has described as the headquarters of the ruling Hamas militant group.
But as the military sets its sights on southern Gaza in its campaign to stamp out Hamas, key challenges loom: International patience for a protracted invasion has begun to wear thin, and with nearly 2 million displaced Gaza civilians staying in overcrowded shelters in the south, a broad military offensive there could unleash a new humanitarian disaster during the cold, wet winter.
Here’s a closer look at what could lie ahead in the coming weeks:
Israel declared war in response to Hamas’ unprecedented cross-border incursion on Oct. 7, when the Islamic militant group killed at least 1,200 people and took some 240 others hostage. Israel has set two goals: a return of all hostages and the destruction of Hamas’ military and governing capabilities.
In the first phase, Israel carried out weeks of blistering airstrikes across Gaza on what it said were Hamas military installations, many of them in residential neighborhoods. Nearly three weeks ago, it launched a second phase – a ground operation aimed at destroying Hamas’ military capabilities in northern Gaza, including an underground tunnel network used to move its supplies and fighters.
Video shows North Carolina officer repeatedly striking a pinned woman during her arrest
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A video circulating on social media shows a North Carolina police officer repeatedly striking a Black woman during an arrest while several other officers hold her down, and although the department contends that the officer was “intentional” about where he hit the woman to get her to comply, the police chief acknowledged Wednesday that he understands "the outrage."
At a news conference Wednesday, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Chief Johnny Jennings said that when officers approached a man and woman who were smoking marijuana at a bus stop Monday and began arresting the man, the woman interfered, an officer tried to stop him and a struggle ensued.
The woman hit an officer multiple times, according to Lt. Kevin Pietrus. During the struggle, an officer who responded as backup struck the woman several times to get her to allow police to take her into custody, which is consistent with his training, Pietrus told reporters.
“After several repeated verbal commands, an officer struck the female subject seven times with knee strikes and 10 closed fist strikes to the peroneal nerve in the thigh to try to gain compliance,” police said in a statement Tuesday. “The officer was intentional about where the strikes were made.”
One bystander video posted online shows four officers kneeling and holding the woman down as a fifth repeatedly strikes her with a closed fist. As it is happening, bystanders shout at the officers to stop. After a few seconds, the officers stand up and lead the woman to a squad SUV with her arms behind her back.
Heavily armed Haitian gang surrounds hospital in capital and traps people inside
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — A heavily armed gang surrounded a hospital in Haiti on Wednesday, trapping women, children and newborns inside until police rescued them, according to the director of the medical center, who pleaded for help via social media.
The Fontaine Hospital Center in the capital of Port-au-Prince is considered an oasis and a lifeline in a community overrun by gangs that have unleashed increasingly violent attacks against each other and residents. People who live in the capital's sprawling Cite Soleil slum are routinely raped, beaten and killed.
The hospital founder and director, Jose Ulysse, told The Associated Press that gangs were torching homes around the hospital and preventing people inside from leaving. He initially said that it appeared some gang members had entered the hospital but later said they did not go inside.
Ulysse said members of Haiti's National Police force responded to his call for help and arrived with three armored trucks to evacuate 40 children and 70 patients to a private home in a safer part of the city. Among those delicately evacuated were children on oxygen, he said.
“Gangs are in total control of the area,” he said.
Vote on tentative contract with General Motors too close to call as more tallies are reported
DETROIT (AP) — Voting on a tentative contract agreement between General Motors and the United Auto Workers union that ended a six-week strike against the company appears too close to call after the latest tallies at several GM factories were announced Wednesday.
The union hasn't posted final vote totals yet, but workers at several large factories who finished voting in the past few days have turned down the four- year-and-eight-month deal by fairly large margins. However, a factory in Arlington, Texas, with about 5,000 workers voted more than 60% to approve the deal in tallies announced Wednesday.
The vote tracker on the UAW's website Wednesday shows the deal ahead by 958 votes. But those totals do not include votes from GM assembly plants in Fort Wayne, Indiana; Lansing Delta Township, Michigan; and a powertrain plant in Toledo, Ohio, which all voted against the agreement, according to local union officials.
In most cases the vote tallies ranged from 55% to around 60% against the contract.
But in Arlington the vote was 63% in favor with 60.4% of production workers approving the deal and nearly 65% of skilled trades workers voting in favor, making the tally tight with GM voting to wrap up on Thursday.
UK top court says a plan to send migrants to Rwanda is illegal. The government still wants to do it
LONDON (AP) — The British government said Wednesday it will still try to send some migrants on a one-way trip to Rwanda, despite the U.K. Supreme Court ruling that the contentious plan is unlawful because asylum-seekers would not be safe in the African country.
In a major blow to one of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak 's key policies, the country’s top court ruled that asylum-seekers sent to Rwanda would be “at real risk of ill-treatment” because they could be returned to the conflict-wracked home countries they'd fled.
Sunak, who has pledged to stop migrants reaching Britain in small boats across the English Channel, said the ruling “was not the outcome we wanted" but vowed to press on with the plan and send the first deportation flights to Rwanda by next spring.
He said the court had “confirmed that the principle of removing asylum-seekers to a safe third country is lawful,” even as it ruled Rwanda unsafe.
Sunak said the government would seal a legally binding treaty with Rwanda that would address the court's concerns, and would then pass a law declaring Rwanda a safe country.
Gerrit Cole a unanimous winner of his 1st AL Cy Young Award. Blake Snell takes NL prize
NEW YORK (AP) — Gerrit Cole was a unanimous winner of his first American League Cy Young Award on Wednesday, and Blake Snell took the National League honor in becoming the seventh hurler to earn baseball’s top pitching prize in both leagues.
After coming close several times before, Cole finally finished on top following an outstanding season for the New York Yankees. The ace right-hander received all 30 first-place votes in balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
Minnesota Twins right-hander Sonny Gray was the runner-up with 20 second-place votes, and Kevin Gausman of the Toronto Blue Jays finished third.
Cole went 15-4 with an AL-low 2.63 ERA and 222 strikeouts in 209 innings, leading the league in innings, as well. He became the sixth Yankees pitcher to win a Cy Young and first since Roger Clemens in 2001.
The six-time All-Star twice came in second in Cy Young voting and finished in the top five three other times.
The Associated Press