AP Top News at 5:57 a.m. EST

AP Top News at 5:57 a.m. EST

Updated: 21 days, 1 hour, 49 minutes, 27 seconds ago

Biden 'surprised' government records found at old office

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden said he was surprised when informed that government records were found by his attorneys at his former office space in Washington. He was asked about the issue after the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee requested that the U.S. intelligence community conduct a “damage assessment” of potentially classified documents. Speaking to reporters in Mexico City on Tuesday, Biden said his attorneys “did what they should have done” when they immediately called the National Archives about the discovery at the offices of the Penn Biden Center. He kept an office there after he left the vice presidency in 2017 until shortly before he launched his Democratic presidential campaign in 2019.

Cardinal George Pell, who had sex convictions reversed, dies

ROME (AP) — Cardinal George Pell, a onetime financial adviser to Pope Francis who spent 404 days in solitary confinement in his native Australia before his child sex abuse convictions were overturned, has died at age 81. He was a divisive figure. He lived to see Vatican rivals charged with financial crimes after he worked to reform the Holy See's finances. In Australia, he was a lightning rod for disagreements over whether the Catholic Church had been properly held to account for historic child sex abuse. Pell died Tuesday in Rome, where he had attended the funeral last week of Pope Benedict XVI.

The AP Interview: Korean leader cites North's serious threat

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea's spike in missile tests, growing nuclear ambitions and other provocative acts pose a “serious threat” that could lead to a dangerous miscalculation and spark a wider conflict, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol said Tuesday. Speaking with The Associated Press at the presidential office in Seoul, the conservative leader reiterated his call for closer security cooperation with the United States and Japan to counter the “dangerous situation” being created by North Korea as he played down the prospect for direct negotiations like those pursued by his liberal predecessor. “We’ve seen a miscalculation leading to serious wars many times in history,” Yoon said, adding that the North’s advancing nuclear arsenal poses a direct threat to the U.S.

Ukraine says mining town holding out against Russian assault

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — The fate of a devastated salt-mining town in eastern Ukraine hung in the balance Wednesday as Ukraine said its forces were holding out against a furious Russian onslaught in what has become one of the fiercest and most costly battles in the almost 11-month war. Though unlikely to provide a turning point in the war, Soledar’s fall to Russian forces after months of Ukrainian defense would be a prize for the Kremlin, which has been starved of good news from the battlefield amid Ukraine's counteroffensive in recent months. It would also offer Russian troops a strategic springboard for their efforts to encircle the nearby city of Bakhmut.

Storm struck California scrambles to clean up ahead of rain

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Storm-ravaged California scrambled to clean up and repair widespread damage on Wednesday as the lashing rain eased in many areas, although the north could see thundershowers Wednesday and another powerful weather front was expected to hit the state Friday. At least 17 people have died in the storms battering the state. The figure is likely to rise, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday during a visit to the scenic town of Capitola on the Santa Cruz coast that was hard hit by high surf and flooding creek waters last week. A pickup truck driver and a motorcyclist were killed early Tuesday in the San Joaquin Valley when a tree that had been struck by lightning fell on them, authorities said.

A flowery pianist, Eddie's brevity and other Globes moments

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Standout moments from the Golden Globe Awards, which returned to television Tuesday night after a year's absence. DON'T SHOOT THE PIANO PLAYER Pianist Chloe Flower had a sweet gig at the Golden Globes, playing TV and movie theme songs on camera as the show went to commercial breaks, but it turned temporarily sour when some in the viewing audience wrongly assumed she was the one deciding when annoyed winners had to wrap up their speeches. “Shut up, I can beat you up,” said Michelle Yeoh, the star of many a kung fu movie, when piano music began playing her off about two minutes into her acceptance of the Globe for best actress in a musical or comedy film for “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” “You can forget that piano,” Colin Farrell said over the music as he accepted the male version of the same award for “The Banshees of Inisherin.” When Austin Butler won best actor in a drama film for “Elvis” and the piano began, he pleaded for a song by the man he portrayed.

AP: WHO knew of past sex misconduct claim against doctor

LONDON (AP) — When a doctor tweeted that she was “sexually assaulted” by a World Health Organization staffer at a Berlin conference in October, the U.N. agency’s director-general assured her that WHO had “zero tolerance” for such misconduct. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus replied to her, saying he was “horrified” by the accusations of groping and unwelcome sexual advances. He offered his personal assistance, WHO suspended the staffer and the agency opened an investigation that is nearing its conclusion. But internal documents obtained by The Associated Press show the same WHO staffer, Fijian physician Temo Waqanivalu, was previously accused by another woman of sexually harassing her several years ago.

Unity is new tone for often-divided Democrats in Washington

WASHINGTON (AP) — The infighting was so intense a year ago that Democrats who controlled both the White House and Congress couldn't win support for a sweeping social spending package that was the party's top legislative priority. President Joe Biden, meanwhile, was viewed skeptically enough that some of his fellow Democrats questioned the wisdom of him seeking reelection. What a difference a year makes. Speculation about Biden's political future has quieted after Democrats outperformed expectations during the November midterm elections. His toughest critics on the left are signaling they'll work to help him secure a second term. And perhaps most notably, last year's dissent on Capitol Hill melted away over the past week as every Democrat voted — repeatedly — in support of Hakeem Jeffries for the House speakership.

Afghan women athletes barred from play, fear Taliban threats

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Noura’s determination to play sports was so great that she defied her family’s opposition for years. Beatings from her mother and jeers from her neighbors never stopped her from the sports she loved. But the 20-year-old Afghan woman could not defy her country’s Taliban rulers. They have not just banned all sports for women and girls, they have actively intimidated and harassed those who once played, often scaring them from even practicing in private, Noura and other women say. Noura has been left shattered. “I’m not the same person anymore,” she said. “Since the Taliban came, I feel like I’m dead.” A number of girls and women who once played a variety of sports told The Associated Press they have been intimidated by the Taliban with visits and phone calls warning them not to engage in their sports.

New Mega Millions jackpot of $1.35B is game's 2nd highest

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Mega Millions prize has grown again to an estimated $1.35 billion after there was no winner of the lottery’s latest giant jackpot. The numbers drawn late Tuesday night were: 7, 13, 14, 15, 18 and gold Mega Ball 9. The new jackpot drawing on Friday night will be another milestone in the game, Mega Millions said in a statement early Wednesday. “Now at $1.35 billion, the Mega Millions jackpot is moving up and making history as the second highest Mega Millions jackpot ever," Pat McDonald, Ohio lottery director and lead director of the Mega Millions Consortium, said in the statement.

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