Massive snowfall buries cars, keeps falling in western NY
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Piles of snow, in some places taller than most people, buried parts of western and northern New York as a lake-effect storm pounded areas east of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario for a third straight day Saturday, with possibly even more to come.
Snowfall totals as high as 77 inches (196 centimeters) were reported in the Buffalo suburb of Orchard Park, home to the NFL’s Buffalo Bills. Partway across the state, the town of Natural Bridge, near the Fort Drum Army base, reported just under 6 feet (1.8 meters).
The snowfall in some spots ranked among the highest ever recorded in the area, rivaling the eye-popping amounts that fell during similar storms in 2014 and 1945.
The snowfall totals, which began accumulating Thursday night in some spots, “would be on the order of historic not only for any time of year but for any part of the country,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Frank Pereira, at NWS headquarters in College Park, Maryland.
The lake-effect storm, caused by cold air picking up moisture from warmer lakes, created narrow bands of windblown snow that dumped feet of snow in some communities, while leaving towns a short drive away relatively unscathed.
Biden at 80: A 'respecter of fate' mulls 2nd White House bid
WASHINGTON (AP) — People in their 80s lead countries, create majestic art and perform feats of endurance. One entered the record books for scaling Mount Everest. It's soon time for Joe Biden, 80 on Sunday, to decide whether he has one more mountain to climb — the one to a second term as president.
Questions swirl now, in his own party as well as broadly in the country, about whether he's got what it takes to go for the summit again.
The oldest president in U.S. history, Biden hits his milestone birthday at a personal crossroads as he and his family face a decision in the coming months on whether he should announce for reelection. He’d be 86 at the end of a potential second term.
Biden aides and allies all say he intends to run — and his team has begun quiet preparations for a campaign — but it has often been the president himself who has sounded the most equivocal. “My intention is that I run again,” he said at a news conference this month. ”But I’m a great respecter of fate."
“We're going to have discussions about it,” he said. Aides expect those conversations to pick up in earnest over Thanksgiving and Christmas, with a decision not until well after New Year's.
House GOP pushes Hunter Biden probe despite thin majority
WASHINGTON (AP) — Even with their threadbare House majority, Republicans doubled down this week on using their new power next year to investigate the Biden administration and, in particular, the president’s son.
But the midterm results have emboldened a White House that has long prepared for this moment. Republicans secured much smaller margins than anticipated, and aides to President Joe Biden and other Democrats believe voters punished the GOP for its reliance on conspiracy theories and Donald Trump-fueled lies over the 2020 election.
They see it as validation for the administration's playbook for the midterms and going forward to focus on legislative achievements and continue them, in contrast to Trump-aligned candidates whose complaints about the president's son played to their most loyal supporters and were too far in the weeds for the average American. The Democrats retained control of the Senate, and the GOP's margin in the House is expected to be the slimmest majority in two decades.
“If you look back, we picked up seats in New York, New Jersey, California,” said Mike DuHaime, a Republican strategist and public affairs executive. “These were not voters coming to the polls because they wanted Hunter Biden investigated — far from it. They were coming to the polls because they were upset about inflation. They’re upset about gas prices. They’re upset about what’s going on with the war in Ukraine.”
But House Republicans used their first news conference after clinching the majority to discuss presidential son Hunter Biden and the Justice Department, renewing long-held grievances about what they claim is a politicized law enforcement agency and a bombshell corruption case overlooked by Democrats and the media.
Last minute objections threaten historic UN climate deal
SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt (AP) — A last minute fight over emissions cutting and the overall climate change goal is delaying a potentially historic deal that would create a fund for compensating poor nations that are victims of extreme weather worsened by rich countries’ carbon pollution.
“We are extremely on overtime. There were some good spirits earlier today. I think more people are more frustrated about the lack of progress," Norwegian climate change minister Espen Barth Eide told The Associated Press. He said it came down to getting tougher on fossil fuel emissions and retaining the goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) since pre-industrial times as was agreed in last year's climate summit in Glasgow.
“Some of us are trying to say that we actually have to keep global warming under 1.5 degrees and that requires some action. We have to reduce our use of fossil fuels, for instance,” Eide said. “But there’s a very strong fossil fuel lobby ... trying to block any language that we produce. So that’s quite clear.”
Several cabinet ministers from across the globe told the AP earlier Saturday that agreement was reached on a fund for what negotiators call loss and damage. It would be a big win for poorer nations which have long called for cash — sometimes viewed as reparations — because they are often the victims of climate disasters despite having contributed little to the pollution that heats up the globe.
However, the other issues are seemingly delaying any action. A meeting to approve an overall agreement has been pushed back more than two-and-a-half hours with little sign of diplomats getting together for a formal plenary to approve something. Eide said he had no idea when that would be.
'We survived': Kherson comes alive after Russian withdrawal
KHERSON, Ukraine (AP) — A week since the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson was liberated, residents can't escape reminders of the terrifying eight months they spent under Russian occupation.
People are missing. There are mines everywhere, closed shops and restaurants, a scarcity of electricity and water, and explosions day and night as Russian and Ukrainian forces battle just across the Dnieper River.
Despite the hardships, residents are expressing a mix of relief, optimism, and even joy — not least because of their regained freedom to express themselves at all.
“Even breathing became easier. Everything is different now,” said Olena Smoliana, a pharmacist whose eyes shone with happiness as she recalled the day Ukrainian soldiers entered the city.
Kherson's population has dwindled to around 80,000 from its prewar level near 300,000, but the city is slowly coming alive. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy triumphantly walked the streets on Monday, hailing Russia’s withdrawal — a humiliating defeat for Russian President Vladimir Putin — as the “beginning of the end of the war.”
New special counsel has long career confronting corruption
WASHINGTON (AP) — The year was 2010 and the Justice Department's prestigious public integrity section was still recovering from a costly debacle over the withholding of exculpatory evidence in a case against Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens.
The crisis had caused then-Attorney General Eric Holder, in a remarkable move, to ask a judge to throw out all convictions against the Republican lawmaker.
In search of a new leader for the unit, the Justice Department turned to a war crimes prosecutor in The Hague who'd cut his teeth in New York prosecuting state and federal crimes, including the brutal beating of a Haitian immigrant by police. Jack Smith told The Associated Press in an interview that year that he'd read about the Stevens case and couldn't resist the chance to step in and run the section.
“I had a dream job and I had no desire to leave it, but opportunities like this don’t come up very often,” Smith said. “I left the dream job for a better one.”
Now, Smith has a new position that, if not necessarily a dream job, nonetheless places him at the center of two of the most significant Justice Department investigations in years. As a newly named special counsel, Smith will be tasked with overseeing probes into the retention of classified documents at former President Donald Trump's Florida estate, Mar-a-Lago, as well as aspects of an investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election won by Democrat Joe Biden.
Truck in North Carolina holiday parade crashes, kills girl
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A truck pulling a float for a holiday parade in North Carolina crashed Saturday, striking and killing a girl participating in the event, news outlets reported.
The driver who lost control of the vehicle and struck the child was charged with reckless driving and other offenses, the Raleigh Police Department said in a news release.
Witnesses told WTVD-TV that people attending the Raleigh Christmas Parade heard the pickup truck's driver screaming that he had lost control of the vehicle and couldn’t stop it before the crash.
The girl struck by the truck was part of a dance troupe participating in the holiday parade, The News & Observer reported.
Olivia Bruce, a 14-year-old member of the dance troupe, told the newspaper that the truck almost hit her, too.
Star striker Karim Benzema out of World Cup with thigh tear
DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Defending champion France’s World Cup hopes took a huge blow with the news that star striker Karim Benzema is out of the tournament after tearing a muscle in his left thigh during training on Saturday.
“Karim Benzema is out of the World Cup,” the French soccer federation (FFF) said. "After hurting the quadriceps on his left thigh the Real Madrid striker is forced to give up on taking part in the World Cup.”
Benzema was participating in his first full training session with Les Bleus when he had to come off after feeling some pain in his left thigh, the FFF said.
“He went for an MRI scan in a hospital (clinic) in Doha, which unfortunately confirmed a tear,” the FFF said, adding that he will need three weeks to recover.
“I'm very sad for Karim who had made this World Cup a major objective,” France coach Didier Deschamps said.
Ohio's Intel project triggers housing fears in tight market
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Intel’s announcement earlier this year of a $20 billion manufacturing operation bringing thousands of jobs to rural Ohio was greeted as an economic boon.
But behind that enthusiasm lurked a pressing question.
“Where are we putting everybody?” asked Melissa Humbert-Washington, vice president of programs and services at Homes for Families, which helps low-wage workers find housing in a region already suffering a major shortage.
Intel says its initial two computer chip factories will employ 3,000 people when the operation is up and running in 2025. The project is also expected to employ 7,000 construction workers. And none of that includes the hundreds of additional jobs as Intel suppliers move in, along with the expected boom in the service sector.
Such housing challenges are playing out across the country as companies increasingly come under fire for failing to consider the shelter needs of their new employees or the impact big developments will have on already tight housing markets.
Biden's granddaughter Naomi, Peter Neal wed at White House
WASHINGTON (AP) — Trailed by a lengthy, flowing veil, President Joe Biden's granddaughter Naomi Biden walked across the South Lawn of the White House on Saturday toward an altar of shrubs and flowers to marry her longtime boyfriend Peter Neal in a rare wedding on the grounds.
Theirs was just the 19th wedding in 200-plus years of White House history.
Under a sunny, blue sky paired with unseasonably crisp 40-degree temperatures, the bride and groom, both dressed by American fashion designer Ralph Lauren, exchanged “I do's” as 250 family members and friends watched as they were united in a nearly hourlong ceremony.
Naomi Biden, 28, wore a long-sleeved, high-neck gown and veil covering hair that had been styled behind her head. Neal, 25, chose a navy blue, three-piece suit with a double-breasted vest.
President Biden and first lady Jill Biden hosted the wedding of their eldest grandchild.
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