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On the eve of her 100th birthday Saturday, Ruth Salton told her daughter she was going one way or another to Friday night Shabbat services at Congregation Beth Israel, just days after a gunman voicing antisemitic conspiracy theories held four worshippers hostage for 10 hours at the Fort Worth-area synagogue.

“I want to support my people,” said Salton, a Holocaust survivor. She said she told her daughter “if she doesn't take me, I'll go by myself, because I feel I belong there. I am Jewish, and this is my faith, and I am supporting it.”

She's far from alone.

Jewish leaders throughout the U.S. are calling for a strong turnout at this weekend's worship services as a statement of defiance against antisemitic acts such as last weekend's hostage siege at Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas.

“SHOW UP IN SHUL THIS SHABBAT ... IN DEFIANCE/JOY/TO SEE FELLOW JEWS,” Emory University history professor Deborah Lipstadt tweeted, using a traditional term for synagogue. She is President Biden's nominee as a special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism abroad.

Rabbi Jeffrey Myers of the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh, who survived the Oct. 27, 2018, mass shooting at his synagogue, echoed the call. After a gunman killed 11 worshipers from three congregations at the synagogue in the deadliest antisemitic hate crime in U.S. history, people packed synagogues around the country the following weekend.

“Do not let the antisemites terrorize us and win by keeping us out of our sacred spaces,” Myers wrote in his blog. “Show up in synagogue, and loudly state by your presence that you will not be driven into hiding. ... (Antisemites) will not chase us from our home. Not now. Not ever.”

Authorities say Malik Faisal Akram, a British national, took the four people who were at Congregation Beth Israel last Saturday hostage. He was demanding the release of Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist convicted of trying to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan and who is serving a lengthy sentence in a prison in Fort Worth, which is 15 miles (23 kilometers) southwest of Colleyville.

The hostages said Akram cited antisemitic stereotypes, believing that Jews could wield power over President Joe Biden to have Siddiqui released.

The siege ended after the last hostage ran out of the synagogue and an FBI SWAT team rushed in. Akram was killed by multiple gunshot wounds. The Tarrant County Medical Examiner ruled the case a homicide, which under Texas law indicates that one person was killed by another but does not necessarily mean the killing was a crime.

Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, who was among the hostages, said Thursday that the congregation was “doing its best to heal.”

“We’re going to have services on Shabbat evening. We’re going to have services on Shabbat morning. We’re going to have religious school on Sunday,” Cytron-Walker said during a webinar Thursday hosted by the Anti-Defamation League.

“I stand before you with great gratitude just to be alive,” he added during a Friday news conference.

Cytron-Walker encouraged those in the Jewish community “to have a Shabbat shalom, a Sabbath of peace.”

“God willing, we’re able to find a sense of wholeness with our families, with our communities. ... And I would extend that not only to the Jewish community, I would extend that to all communities,” he said.

Congregation Beth Israel's services this weekend were being held at another location because the investigation at the synagogue is ongoing. Attendance was limited to members.

“I expect it to be emotional, because we have not had the opportunity to come together and express or experience whatever emotions we have,” said Anna Eisen, Salton's daughter. “I'm ready to hug people.”

Rabbi Noah Farkas, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, said congregations in his region were preparing for greater attendance and were taking coronavirus-related precautions.

“In face of a new wave of antisemitism, where Jews are threatened online, forced to prove themselves on campus and fear eating in restaurants, we must not let the fear our enemies want to instill in us define us,” he said Friday. He called on Jews everywhere to “show the world that we are not afraid to live Jewishly.”

Many Jewish leaders have said the hostage standoff was an example of a larger rise in antisemitic acts. The Anti-Defamation League says such incidents have reached their highest levels since it began tracking them decades ago.

Eisen said that the supportive response of local police and the FBI has made her “feel safer in my community and my country,” but that it’s also important to confront antisemitism.

Eisen, co-author of books about her father’s Holocaust experience and her own as the daughter of Holocaust survivors, said synagogues in Nazi-controlled Europe “were attacked, and people were attacked and killed, because of the same kind of hatred” that was shown last Saturday by the hostage-taker.

“It's nothing new to me. I hate antisemitism. I don't understand why people feel that way about us,” Salton said.

At the same time, having survived the Holocaust and much else, she is ready to celebrate her centennial.

“I would very much like to be 18, but since I'm 100, I'm grateful that I came to a point to live to 100 years,” she said.

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The Associated Press' religion coverage receives support from the Lilly Endowment through The Conversation U.S., but the AP is solely responsible for the content of its stories.

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SANAA, Yemen (AP) — A Saudi-led coalition airstrike hit a prison run by Yemen's Houthi rebels on Friday, killing at least 70 detainees and wounding dozens, a rebel minister said. The strike was part of a pounding aerial offensive that hours earlier knocked the Arab world's poorest country off the internet.

The intense campaign comes after the Iran-backed Houthis claimed a drone and missile attack that struck inside the United Arab Emirates' capital earlier in the week — a major escalation in the conflict in Yemen where the Saudi-led coalition, with the UAE as a member, has battled the rebels since 2015.

Taha al-Motawakel, health minister in the Houthi government which controls northern Yemen, told The Associated Press that 70 detainees were killed at the prison and that he expects the number to rise as many others were seriously wounded.

“The world cannot be quiet when faced with these crimes,” al-Motawakel said and asked for international aid organizations to send medical staff and aid. He said medical workers in Yemen have been exhausted by the influx of injured from the strikes, after already operating with scarce resources during the pandemic.

Early Saturday, Saudi coalition spokesman Brig. Gen. Turki al-Malki alleged the Houthis hadn't reported the site as needing protection from airstrikes to the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross. He claimed the Houthis' failure to do that represented the militias’ “usual deceptive approach” in the conflict.

Al-Malki's claim could not be immediately checked with the international agencies.

Earlier Friday, a Saudi airstrike in the port city of Hodeida — later confirmed by satellite photos analyzed by the AP — hit a telecommunication center that's key to Yemen's connection to the internet. Airstrikes also hit near the capital, Sanaa, held by the Houthis since late 2014.

The escalation was the most intense since the 2018 fighting for Hodeida and comes after a year of U.S. and U.N. efforts failed to bring the two sides to the negotiating table.

Basheer Omar, an ICRC spokesperson in Yemen, said rescuers continued to search for survivors in the rebel-run prison in the northern city of Saada. The Red Cross had moved some of the wounded to facilities elsewhere, he said.

Doctors Without Borders put the number of wounded alone at “around 200.” Ahmed Mahat, MSF's head of mission in Yemen, said they had reports of “many bodies still at the scene of the airstrike, many missing people.”

The organization Save the Children said the Saada prison holds detained migrants. “Migrants seeking better lives for themselves and their families, Yemeni civilians injured by the dozens, is a picture we never hoped to wake up to in Yemen,” said Gillian Moyes, Save the Children’s director in Yemen.

As for the airstrike in Hodeida, NetBlocks said the nationwide internet disruption began around 1 a.m. local and affected TeleYemen, the state-owned monopoly that controls internet access in the country after a strike on a telecommunications building. TeleYemen is now run by the Houthis who have held Sanaa since late 2014.

Early Saturday, the internet remained down. The Houthi's Al-Masirah satellite news channel said the strike on the telecommunications building killed and wounded an unspecified number of people. It released chaotic footage of people digging through rubble for a body as aid workers assisted bloodied survivors.

Save the Children said the Hodeida strike killed at least three children playing on a soccer field. Satellite photos analyzed by the AP corresponded to photos shared on social media of the telecommunications building being flattened by the airstrike.

The Saudi-led coalition acknowledged carrying out “accurate airstrikes to destroy the capabilities of the militia” around Hodeida's port. It didn't immediately confirm striking a telecommunications target, but instead called Hodeida a hub for piracy and Iranian arms smuggling to back the Houthis.

Iran has denied arming the Houthis, though U.N. experts, independent analysts and Western nations point to evidence showing Tehran’s link to the weapons.

On Friday, Houthi supporters rallied, calling the airstrikes “an American escalation." Houthi media distributed video of thousands in the street. The Houthis commonly equate the Saudi-led coalition with the United States, condemning America in fiery terms.

The undersea FALCON cable carries internet into Yemen through the Hodeida port along the Red Sea for TeleYemen. The FALCON cable has another landing in Yemen's far eastern port of Ghaydah as well, but the majority of Yemen's population lives in its west along the Red Sea.

A cut to the FALCON cable in 2020 caused by a ship's anchor also caused widespread internet outages in Yemen. Land cables to Saudi Arabia have been cut since the start of the war, while connections to two other undersea cables have yet to be made amid the conflict, TeleYemen previously said.

The Saudi-led coalition entered Yemen's civil war in 2015 to try and restore the country's internationally recognized government, ousted by the Houthis the year before. The conflict has turned into the world's worst humanitarian crisis, with international criticism of Saudi airstrikes that have killed hundreds of civilians and targeted the country's infrastructure. The Houthis meanwhile have used child soldiers and indiscriminately laid landmines across the country.

Some 130,000 people, including over 13,000 civilians, have been killed, according to the Armed Conflict Location & Event Project.

The war reached into the United Arab Emirates, a Saudi ally, on Monday, when the Houthis claimed a drone and missile attack on Abu Dhabi, killing three people and wounding six. Although the UAE has largely withdrawn its forces from the conflict, it remains heavily involved in the war and supports local militias on the ground in Yemen.

In a veiled threat, Houthi military spokesman Yahia Sarie tweeted late Friday that foreign companies in the UAE should leave, saying it wasn't safe to be there “as long as the rulers of this state continue to attack our country."

U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres called Houthi attacks on the UAE a “serious mistake," saying they were “unacceptable.” As for Friday's airstrike, he told a news conference that “any bombardments that target civilians ... (are) of course also unacceptable.”

“What we need is to stop this vicious circle in which things get escalating one after the other,” Guterres said. “What we need is to have, as we have been proposing from long ago, a cease-fire together with the opening of harbor and airports, and then the beginning of a serious dialogue among the parties.”

The U.N. Security Council on Friday condemned the “heinous terrorist attacks” in the UAE as well as in other sites in Saudi Arabia claimed by the Houthis, and underlined the need to hold perpetrators “accountable and bring them to justice.”

According to a U.S. statement, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan and condemned Monday's Houthi attacks on the kingdom and the UAE.

Blinken reiterated U.S. commitment to help Gulf Arab partners improve defense capabilities against threats from Yemen and elsewhere in the region and “underscored the importance of mitigating civilian harm."

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Gambrell reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Associated Press writer Edith M. Lederer at the United Nations contributed to this report.

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Follow Jon Gambrell on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jongambrellAP.

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MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador underwent cardiac catheterization Friday afternoon at a military hospital, the government announced.

Interior Secretary Adán Augusto López Hernández said in a statement that based on a routine exam, doctors decided it was necessary to perform the procedure.

“In this procedure they found the president’s heart and arteries healthy and functioning adequately,” he said. “No other kind of intervention was necessary.” The statement said López Obrador would resume his normal activities Saturday.

Earlier Friday, presidential spokesman Jesús Ramírez said the president had gone in for a routine exam.

López Obrador had just returned this week after a week of isolation for his second COVID-19 infection in a year.

The 68-year-old president suffered a heart attack in 2013 and has high blood pressure.

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NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — Freezing rain, sleet and snow blew into coastal areas stretching from South Carolina to Virginia on Friday in a winter storm that forecasters say could snarl a region that's unaccustomed to winter precipitation.

Authorities along the North and South Carolina coast warned that ice accumulations could cause major power outages, while areas to the northeast, stretching into Virginia, could see several inches (centimeters) of snow.

In North Carolina, a Delta Air Lines plane with 19 passengers on board skidded off the runway and rolled into mud while taxiing at snowy Raleigh-Durham International Airport on Friday night, according to airport officials. No injuries were reported aboard the flight from Washington, D.C.

Most of the precipitation is expected to pass by sunrise Saturday. But forecasters said temperatures likely won't rise above the 30s in North Carolina and Virginia during the day and will drop into the 20s and even teens in some places on Saturday night.

The snow will “probably be sticking around for a little bit,” said Alec Butner, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wakefield, Virginia. “We finally get into the 40s on Sunday. We might have some melting by that point.”

Transportation officials in the southeast corner of Virginia said Friday morning that crews had been working overnight to treat the roads, but warned people to stay off of them.

“Road temps are below freezing on all roads in the area, which means high potential for slick spots, black ice and slushy conditions. Stay home where it’s safe and warm, unless travel is unavoidable,” the Virginia Department of Transportation's Hampton Roads District said in a tweet.

In the Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, area, a fire chief warned that even walking out the front door could be treacherous.

“One of our biggest concerns are slips, trips and falls. We’re not used to the ice around here as much. Be very careful just stepping out of your own home,” Horry County Fire Chief Joey Tanner said.

Near Raleigh, an ambulance transporting a patient slid off an icy road early Friday, injuring two workers aboard, according to the state Highway Patrol. The patient died after the crash, but the cause of death hasn't been confirmed. The governor's office said numerous crashes were reported Friday morning after the storm's first wave.

Forecasters predict 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 centimeters) of snow in the northeastern corner of North Carolina and Virginia’s Hampton Roads region, which includes Norfolk and Virginia Beach.

Chris Stokes, 41, a construction worker who lives in Norfolk, stocked up at a Harris Teeter grocery store Friday morning, rounding out his provisions with bottled water, eggs, chicken, wine and other items.

“I already had a couple of things, but now they’re making it seem like it’s gonna be a lot worse,” Stokes said.

School was canceled for his kids. His construction jobs were on hold. Stokes’ plan was to put some chicken in the slow cooker and assemble some toys that his kids got for Christmas.

“I bought some salt, so I’ll sprinkle that outside the walkway and just kind of brace for it,” Stokes said.

“Luckily, I got a 4-wheel drive (pickup truck)," he added. "So, if anything happens I’m not stuck for real. I can probably make it to where I need to go. But I’m sure nothing will be open.”

In North Carolina, the heaviest amounts of ice will likely develop near New Bern, where two U.S. highways cross, said Ryan Ellis of the National Weather Service office in Newport/Morehead City.

“We could see up to a half an inch of ice there, and with that amount you’re really starting to get into concerns about power outages,” Ellis said. Ice will be a concern along the coast from Jacksonville, North Carolina, to the northeastern corner of South Carolina.

In New Bern, Annabelle’s restaurant closed early on Friday afternoon.

“We’ve done about a fifth of what we would normally do on a lunch,” said manager Keith Strange, whose family owns the restaurant in the picturesque river town of about 30,000 people. “Plus, we’re working with a volunteer staff and don’t want to have people driving if conditions get worse later.”

The storm that’s been forecast is a rare event, which people are taking pretty seriously, Strange said.

“Essentials are hard to find,” he said. “I know several grocery stores were completely out of milk and bread yesterday at different times. People were buying hamburger buns.”

Duke Energy said in a news release that it has readied 2,500 workers around the Carolinas to help restore power after the storm, drawing crews from as far away as Florida and Indiana.

In South Carolina, areas that typically consider hurricanes their biggest weather threat were preparing for ice.

Crews treated the high, long bridges along the state’s coast before the freezing rain started, warning they could become especially dangerous due to freezing rain. Myrtle Beach planned to close at least one bridge for safety before any bad weather started. In Charleston, schools were closed and many offices and businesses shut down after lunch.

The U.S. Navy is requiring only mission-essential personnel to report to its installations along Virginia's coast, including the world's largest Navy base in Norfolk. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and Air Station New River in Jacksonville, North Carolina, also announced that nonessential employees weren't required to report to work Friday.

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Associated Press writers Jeffrey Collins in Columbia, South Carolina; Sarah Brumfield in Silver Spring, Maryland; and Jonathan Drew in Durham, North Carolina, contributed to this report.

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NEW YORK (AP) — A New York Police Department officer was killed and another gravely injured Friday night after responding to a domestic disturbance call, according to a law enforcement official.

A suspect was also killed in the shooting in Harlem, said the official, who was not authorized to speak publicly and did so on condition of anonymity.

The official said a call had come in shortly after 5 p.m. of a mother needing help with her son. Three officers responded to the ground floor apartment on 135th Street.

They spoke to the mother in a front room, and then two officers went to a back room where the son was, and shots rang out, the official said.

The officer who died was 22 and had been on the job since November 2020 and the injured officer, 27, has been on the job for four years, the official said.

Police dispatch audio captured some of the chaotic scene, including an officer screaming for assistance and another officer informing the dispatcher that two officers had been shot.

One officer asks for “three buses” or ambulances to the scene, a six-story apartment building, and police to block off traffic on the route to nearby Harlem Hospital. The building is on a block between two iconic Harlem avenues: Malcolm X Boulevard and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard.

Mayor Eric Adams, himself a former police officer, was at the hospital where the officers were taken after the shooting, the third time in four days that officers have faced gunfire on the job. Inside the hospital entrance, a line of officers stood shoulder to shoulder at the top of some stairs.

An officer was wounded in the leg Tuesday night in the Bronx during a struggle with a teenager who also shot himself. On Thursday, a narcotics detective was shot in the leg on Staten Island.

The last NYPD officer fatally shot in the line of duty, Brian Mulkeen, was hit by friendly fire while struggling with an armed man after chasing and shooting at him in the Bronx in September 2019.

Mulkeen’s death came about seven months after Det. Brian Simonsen was killed by friendly fire while he and other officers were confronting a robbery suspect at a cell phone store in Queens.

In 2017, Officer Miosotis Familia was ambushed by a gunman as she wrote in a notebook in a mobile command post. In 2016, Sgt. Paul Tuozzolo was killed in a gunfight with a man who’d broken into his estranged wife’s home.

In 2015, Officer Randolph Holder was shot and killed by a man riding a stolen bicycle in Manhattan and Officer Brian Moore died after he was shot by a man in Queens.

The year before, Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were fatally shot by a man who ambushed them as they sat in their patrol car in Brooklyn.

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Associated Press writers Jennifer Peltz in New York and Deepti Hajela in Essex County, New Jersey, contributed to this report.

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GENEVA (AP) — Top U.S. and Russian diplomats agreed Friday to keep talking in the standoff over Ukraine, even though their meeting produced no movement in the crisis that has seen Moscow mass tens of thousands of troops at the border and the West ramp up supplies of weapons to Kyiv.

With fears of an invasion of Ukraine running high and seemingly intractable demands, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met for about 90 minutes in Geneva at what the American said was a “critical moment.”

Expectations were low going in, and there was no breakthrough.

Blinken told Lavrov the U.S. would give Russia written responses to Moscow’s proposals next week and suggested the two would likely meet again shortly after that — offering some hope that any invasion would be delayed for at least a few more days.

Blinken said the U.S. and its allies remain resolute in rejecting Russia’s most important demands, which were reiterated Friday. Moscow wants NATO to promise that Ukraine will never be added as a member, that no alliance weapons will be deployed near Russian borders, and that it pull back its forces from Central and Eastern Europe.

Despite that, there was no indication the U.S. responses would be any different from the flat-out rejections already expressed by Washington and its allies, clouding future diplomatic efforts.

“We didn’t expect any major breakthroughs to happen today, but I believe we are now on a clearer path to understanding each other’s positions,” Blinken said after the meeting.

Blinken said he also wanted to use the opportunity to share directly with Lavrov some “concrete ideas to address some of the concerns that you have raised, as well as the deep concerns that many of us have about Russia’s actions.”

Blinken said Lavrov repeated Russia’s insistence that it has no plans to invade Ukraine, but the U.S. and its allies were not convinced.

“We’re looking at what is visible to all, and it is deeds and actions and not words that make all the difference,” he said, adding that Russia should remove its troops from the Ukrainian border if it wanted to prove its point.

Lavrov, meanwhile, called the talks “constructive and useful” but declined to characterize the U.S. pledge.

“I can’t say whether we are on the right track or not,” he told reporters. “We will understand that when we receive the U.S. written response to all of our proposals.”

Blinken suggested there was no leeway on Russia’s demands, saying firmly: “There is no trade space there: None.”

The U.S. and its allies say Russian President Vladimir Putin knows the demands are nonstarters, adding that they’re open to less-dramatic moves.

Blinken said the U.S. would be open to a meeting between Putin and U.S. President Joe Biden, if it would be “useful and productive.” The two have met once in person in Geneva and have had several virtual conversations on Ukraine that have proven largely inconclusive.

An estimated 100,000 Russian troops have been sent to areas near Ukraine, and more were moving into the neighborhood for training exercises with neighboring Belarus.

Late Friday, the U.S. embassy in Kyiv tweeted photos of a shipment it said had just arrived from the U.S., with “close to 200,000 pounds of lethal aid, including ammunition for the front line defenders of Ukraine.”

Western allies were also supplying weaponry and equipment to Ukraine. Britain sent anti-tank missiles earlier this week, while the defense ministers of the Baltic nations issued a statement saying they received U.S. approval to send Stinger air defense missiles and Javelin anti-tank missiles to strengthen Kyiv's defenses.

“Today Ukraine is at the forefront of separating Europe from the military conflict with Russia,” said Estonian Defense Minister Kalle Laanet. "Let´s face it — the war in Ukraine is ongoing and it is important to support Ukraine in every way we can so that they can resist the aggressor.”

The Pentagon said the USS Harry S Truman aircraft carrier and its strike group will participate in a NATO maritime exercise in the Mediterranean, which will continue through Feb. 4 — something that has been planned since 2020, said Pentagon press secretary John Kirby. He said officials considered whether to go ahead with the exercise, because of the ongoing tensions, and decided to move ahead.

Kirby said the exercise wasn’t planned anticipating a Russian move on Ukraine and is “not designed against any of the kinds of scenarios that might happen with respect to Ukraine.”

On Thursday, Russia had announced sweeping naval maneuvers through February, some apparently in the Black Sea.

The U.S. and its allies scrambled to present a united front. Washington and its allies have repeatedly promised consequences such as biting economic sanctions against Russia — though not military action — if it invades.

Blinken repeated that Friday, saying the U.S. and its allies were committed to diplomacy but also committed "if that proves impossible, and Russia decides to pursue aggression against Ukraine, to a united, swift and severe response."

After the meeting, Blinken spoke by phone with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba to brief him on his talks this week and reaffirm U.S. support for Kyiv’s sovereignty and stress that no decisions would be made without his country’s input, State Department spokesman Ned Price said. He also will brief the foreign ministers of Washington’s European allies.

Biden plans to spend the weekend huddling with his national security team at Camp David, press secretary Jen Psaki said.

In other diplomatic moves, President Sauli Niinistö of Finland said he spoke with Putin by phone on European security and Ukraine, saying it was “imperative to preserve peace in Europe,” according to his office.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of NATO member Turkey, which touted its strong ties with Russia and Ukraine, renewed an offer to mediate between the two countries. Erdogan said he plans to visit Kyiv next month, adding that he would also hold talks with Putin.

Ukraine is already beset by conflict. Russia seized control of Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula in 2014 and backed a separatist insurgency in eastern Ukraine, part of a simmering but largely stalemated conflict that has killed 14,000. Putin faced limited international consequences for those moves, but the West says a new invasion would be different.

Blinken met Ukraine’s president in Kyiv and top diplomats from Britain, France and Germany in Berlin this week.

Blinken's effort to stress U.S. unity with its allies took an apparent hit Wednesday when Biden drew widespread criticism for saying retaliation for Russian aggression in Ukraine would depend on the details and that a “minor incursion” could prompt discord among Western allies.

On Thursday, Biden sought to clarify his comments by cautioning that any Russian troop movements across Ukraine’s border would constitute an invasion and that Moscow would “pay a heavy price” for such an action.

“I’ve been absolutely clear with President Putin,” Biden said. “He has no misunderstanding: Any, any assembled Russian units move across the Ukrainian border, that is an invasion.”

Adding to its warnings, Washington stepped up sanctions Thursday by slapping new measures on four Ukrainian officials who Blinken said were at the center of a Kremlin effort begun in 2020 to damage Kyiv's ability to “independently function.”

The United States and allies say countries like Ukraine are entitled to their own alliances as part of sovereign security measures, but Lavrov countered that Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe have also agreed that no nation can ensure its security by undermining security of others.

In eastern Ukraine, a soldier stationed near the front line with Russia-backed separatists called Blinken’s visit to Kyiv “very important for our country.” The soldier, who identified himself only by his first name, Serhiy, in line with official rules, voiced hope that if Russia attacked, “we can count on our forces’ and our allies’ power."

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Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow, Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen, Denmark and Suzan Fraser in Ankara, Turkey, and Ellen Knickmeyer and Lolita C. Baldor in Washington contributed.

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DANVILLE, Pa. (AP) — A truck carrying about 100 monkeys was involved in a crash Friday in Pennsylvania, state police said as authorities searched for at least three of the monkeys that appeared to have escaped the vehicle.

The truck carrying the animals crashed with a dump truck in the afternoon in Montour County, Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Andrea Pelachick told the Daily Item.

The truck had been on its way to a lab, Pelachick said.

Authorities have asked residents who might see the monkeys to call state police at 570-524-2662.

It was unclear if any people or animals were injured in the crash.

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NEW YORK (AP) — Weber picked the wrong day to suggest grilling meatloaf.

The outdoor grill maker apologized on Friday for sending a recipe-of-the-week email earlier that day featuring instructions on how to prepare “BBQ Meat Loaf.”

The email coincided with news of the death of Marvin Lee Aday, best known as rock superstar Meat Loaf.

Not long after sending out its recipe, Weber Grills followed up, offering its “sincerest apologies” to recipients.

“At the time we shared this recipe with you, we were not aware of the unfortunate passing of American singer and actor Mr. Marvin Lee Aday, also known as Meat Loaf,” Weber said. “We want to express our deepest apologies for this oversight and for any offense this email may have caused.”

The company based in Palatine, Illinois, offered its condolences to Aday's family and fans, signing off as “The Weber Family.”

Meat Loaf, who shot to fame on the back of anthems such as “Paradise By the Dashboard Light” and “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad,” died Thursday, according to a family statement provided by his longtime agent Michael Greene. He was 74.

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — A mother who claims teachers secretly manipulated her 11-year-old daughter into changing her gender identity and name has filed a legal case against a tiny California school district.

Spreckels Union School District was responsible for “extreme and outrageous conduct” that led the student on a path toward transitioning as a boy and drove a wedge between mother and child, according to the claim filed Wednesday by a conservative legal group.

Jessica Konen said two middle school teachers who ran the school's Equality Club — later known as UBU (You Be You) — planted the seed that her daughter was bisexual in 6th grade and then introduced the idea she was transgender.

The legal claim — a precursor to a lawsuit — follows a dustup in the district last fall after the author of a book widely criticized as “anti-transgender” quoted the two teachers speaking at a conference about how to run an LGBTQ+ club in a conservative community.

Spreckels is a speck of a town in the agricultural Salinas Valley, about 90 miles (144 kilometers) south of San Francisco. It was once home to the world's largest sugar refinery and was the setting for some scenes in the 1955 film based on John Steinbeck's “East of Eden.”

While Konen said her daughter had revealed she was bisexual, the mother was unaware she was identifying as a boy until she was called to a meeting at the Buena Vista Middle School principal’s office in December 2019 when her daughter was in 7th grade.

She wasn’t told the purpose of the meeting until her daughter entered the room and sat across a table from her and teacher Lori Caldeira broke the news.

“I literally was caught off guard. I was blindsided,” Konen said. “I didn’t even know what to feel like because I didn’t even know where it came from.”

Konen said she began to cry.

She said her daughter was also caught by surprise. She had told teachers she wanted to notify her mom, but didn't know they set the meeting up that day.

Konen said she gave the school permission to use a boy’s name for attendance purposes and tried to be supportive, but it was difficult.

When schools went to remote learning during the pandemic in March 2020, Konen said her daughter began returning to her “old self” and now uses her given name.

But it wasn’t until this fall that Konen began to question how her daughter got on the path to a different identity after the article by Abigail Shrier circulated around town.

In a leaked recording from a California Teachers Association conference, Caldeira and Kelly Baraki were quoted discussing how they kept meetings private and “stalked” students online for recruits.

“When we were doing our virtual learning — we totally stalked what they were doing on Google, when they weren’t doing school work,” Baraki said. “One of them was googling ‘Trans Day of Visibility.’ And we’re like, ‘Check.’ We’re going to invite that kid when we get back on campus.”

Neither Caldeira nor Baraki could be reached by The Associated Press for comment. Caldeira told the San Francisco Chronicle the quotes were accurate but taken out of context or misrepresented. The stalking comment was a joke, she said.

Caldeira, who has been awarded as a role model for inclusion, defended their work, saying students set the agenda and the teachers were there to provide honest and fair answers to their questions.

The teachers were placed on administrative leave in November. They had attended the conference on their own time, but the district said, “many of the comments and themes stated in the article are alarming, concerning, disappointing” and didn't reflect their policies.

The district hired a law firm to investigate, which is ongoing, and the UBU club was suspended.

Konen was applauded when she blasted school board members at a meeting in December, saying the teachers took away her ability to parent.

Superintendent Eric Tarallo said the legal claim would be addressed in the judicial system and personnel policies prevented him from revealing if the teachers were back at school. He said the district was reviewing and updating policies on student clubs.

The California Teachers Association said the conference was one of dozens each year that, in part, help educators understand the need to protect students from discrimination, including sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.

It criticized the group bringing the lawsuit, which it noted is using the case to raise money for its cause.

“We are concerned about a political climate right now in which outside political forces fuel chaos and misinformation and seek to divide parents, educators and school communities for their own political gain, which is evident in this complaint," spokeswoman Lisa Gardiner said. “The Center for American Liberty is concerned with pushing its own political agenda through litigation and has filed multiple lawsuits against various school districts and communities.”

One of Konen’s chief complaints was that she was kept in the dark by the school about her daughter’s participation in the club, literature teachers provided, and a “gender support plan” created by administrators. She said her daughter was even told how to make a binder to keep her breasts from developing.

“Parents are supposed to have access to all the educational records of their children,” said attorney Harmeet Dhillon, who filed the case. “The concept that the schools have a right to be running secret, don’t-tell-your-parents clubs and don’t-tell-your-parents programs and actively coaching children how to mutilate themselves, which is you know, not growing your breasts, is certainly not consistent with California law."

Under state and federal law, however, students have privacy rights that extend to sexual orientation and gender identity, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. Only in limited circumstances can a school notify a parent of their child’s sexual identity against their wishes.

“Outside of school, these students may similarly face potential hostility at home because of who they are,” said attorney Peter Renn of Lambda Legal. “For example, involuntarily outing a student as LGBTQ to their parents can very well lead to them getting kicked out of the home in some circumstances.”

Konen said her daughter is now doing well in high school.

“She still deals with confusion,” Konen said. “She feels like she can breathe, you know, like she doesn't have pressure on her.”

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LONGVIEW, Texas (AP) — An East Texas county commissioner and his wife have pleaded guilty to misdemeanor election fraud after reaching a plea deal that allows him to remain in office.

Gregg County Commissioner Shannon Brown and his wife Marlene Jackson entered their pleas Thursday before a state district judge in Longview. Both were sentenced to one year’s probation and fined $2,000 each. District Attorney Tom Watson said he expected charges against two other co-defendants to be resolved similarly.

All four were charged in a September 2020 indictment containing 134 counts accusing them of vote harvesting during Brown’s 2018 Democratic primary campaign against former Longview City Council member Kasha Williams.

“Today, I have entered a plea to a misdemeanor for campaigning at a voter’s house and asking her to consider voting for me while she had possession of her mail-in ballot,” Brown said in a statement. “I did not realize at the time that doing so was a misdemeanor."

State Sen. Bryan Hughes, an East Texas Republican, used Brown's case as an example for the need for tighter election restrictions he pushed the Texas Legislature to pass last year. At Republican Gov. Greg Abbott's signing ceremony for the bill, Hughes referred to an unnamed county commissioner under a mail ballot fraud indictment.

“Anybody who tells you there’s no voter fraud in Texas is telling you a very big lie,” he said.

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MEXICO CITY (AP) — Two Canadians were killed Friday and one more wounded in a shooting at a hotel along Mexico's Caribbean coast, state authorities said.

Quintana Roo state security chief Lucio Hernández said via Twitter that authorities were searching for a Hotel Xcaret guest in the shooting. He shared a photo of a man walking with a handgun.

The Xcaret resort is south of Playa del Carmen.

Authorities said all three victims were taken to a hospital, but two died.

The Quintana Roo state prosecutor's office said via Twitter that the suspect in the shooting was also apparently a guest and Canadian police informed them he was a known felon with a long record related to robbery, drug and weapons offenses. The office said both of the dead also had criminal records.

It is just the latest brazen act of violence along Mexico's famed Mayan Riviera, the crown jewel of its tourism industry.

In November, a shootout on the beach of Puerto Morelos left two suspected drug dealers dead. Authorities said there were some 15 gunmen from a gang that apparently disputed control of drug sales there.

In late October, farther south in the laidback destination of Tulum, two tourists — one a California travel blogger born in India and the other German — were caught in the apparent crossfire of rival drug dealers and killed.

Following those events, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador sent nearly 1,500 members of the National Guard to reinforce security in the area.

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HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Thich Nhat Hanh, the revered Zen Buddhist monk who helped pioneer the concept of mindfulness in the West and socially engaged Buddhism in the East, has died. He was 95.

The death was confirmed by a monk at Tu Hieu Pagoda in Hue, Vietnam who said that Nhat Hanh, known as Thay to his followers, died at midnight on Saturday. The monk declined to be named because he is not authorized to speak to media.

A post on Nhat Hanh's verified Twitter page attributed to The International Plum Village Community of Engaged Buddhism also confirmed the news, saying, “We invite our beloved global spiritual family to take a few moments to be still, to come back to our mindful breathing, as we together hold Thay in our hearts."

Born as Nguyen Xuan Bao in 1926 and ordained at age 16, Nhat Hanh distilled Buddhist teachings on compassion and suffering into easily grasped guidance over a lifetime dedicated to working for peace. In 1961 he went to the United States to study, teaching comparative religion for a time at Princeton and Columbia universities.

For most of the remainder of his life, he lived in exile at Plum Village, a retreat center he founded in southern France.

There and in talks and retreats around the world, he introduced Zen Buddhism, at its essence, as peace through compassionate listening. Still and steadfast in his brown robes, he exuded an air of watchful, amused calm, sometimes sharing a stage with the somewhat livelier Tibetan Buddhist leader Dalai Lama.

“The peace we seek cannot be our personal possession. We need to find an inner peace which makes it possible for us to become one with those who suffer, and to do something to help our brothers and sisters, which is to say, ourselves,” Nhat Hanh wrote in one of his dozens of books, “The Sun My Heart.”

Surviving a stroke in 2014 that left him unable to speak, he returned to Vietnam in October 2018, spending his final years at the Tu Hieu Pagoda, the monastery where he was ordained nearly 80 years earlier.

Nhat Hanh plunged into anti-war activism after his return to his homeland in 1964 as the Vietnam War was escalating. There, he founded the Order of Inter-being, which espouses “engaged Buddhism” dedicated to nonviolence, mindfulness and social service.

In 1966, he met the U.S. civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. in what was a remarkable encounter for both. Nhat Hanh told King he was a “Bodhisattva,” or enlightened being, for his efforts to promote social justice.

The monk’s efforts to promote reconciliation between the U.S.-backed South and communist North Vietnam so impressed King that a year later he nominated Nhat Hanh for the Nobel Peace Prize.

In his exchanges with King, Nhat Hanh explained one of the rare controversies in his long life of advocating for peace — over the immolations of some Vietnamese monks and nuns to protest the war.

“I said this was not suicide, because in a difficult situation like Vietnam, to make your voice heard is difficult. So sometimes we have to burn ourselves alive in order for our voice to be heard so that is an act of compassion that you do that, the act of love and not of despair,” he said in an interview with U.S. talk show host Oprah Winfrey. “Jesus Christ died in the same spirit.”

Sulak Sivaraksa, a Thai academic who embraced Nhat Hanh’s idea of socially engaged Buddhism, said the Zen master had “suffered more than most monks and had been involved more for social justice.”

“In Vietnam in the 1950s and 1960s, he was very exposed to young people, and his society was in turmoil, in crisis. He was really in a difficult position, between the devil and the deep blue sea — the Communists on the one hand, the CIA on the other hand. In such a situation, he has been very honest — as an activist, as a contemplative monk, as a poet, and as a clear writer,” Sivaraksa was quoted as saying.

According to Nhat Hanh, “Buddhism means to be awake — mindful of what is happening in one’s body, feelings, mind and in the world. If you are awake, you cannot do otherwise than act compassionately to help relieve suffering you see around you. So Buddhism must be engaged in the world. If it is not engaged, it is not Buddhism.”

Both North and South Vietnam barred Nhat Hanh from returning home after he went abroad in 1966 to campaign against the war, leaving him, he said, “like a bee without a beehive.”

He was only allowed back into the country in 2005, when the communist-ruled government welcomed him back in the first of several visits. Nhat Hanh remained based in southern France.

The dramatic homecoming seemed to signal an easing of controls on religion. Nhat Hanh’s followers were invited by the abbot of Bat Nha to settle at his mountain monastery, where they remained for several years until relations with the authorities began to sour over Nhat Hanh’s calls for an end to government control over religion.

By late 2009 to early 2010, Nhat Hanh’s followers were evicted from the monastery and from another temple where they had taken refuge.

Over nearly eight decades, Nhat Hanh’s teachings were refined into concepts accessible to all.

To weather the storms of life and realize happiness, he counseled always a mindful “return to the breath,” even while doing routine chores like sweeping and washing dishes.

“I try to live every moment like that, relaxed, dwelling peacefully in the present moment and respond to events with compassion,” he told Winfrey.

Nhat Hanh moved to Thailand in late 2016 and then returned to Vietnam in late 2018, where he was receiving traditional medicine treatments for the after-effects of his stroke and enjoyed “strolls” around the temple grounds in his wheelchair, according to the Buddhist online newsletter LionsRoar.com.

It was a quiet, simple end to an extraordinary life, one entirely in keeping with his love for taking joy from the humblest aspects of life. “No mud, no lotus,” says one of his many brief sayings.

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Kurtenbach and Hranjski reported from Bangkok.

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) — General Motors is poised to announce next week major electric-vehicle investments in Michigan, with plans to spend $6.5 billion and create up to 4,000 new jobs at two plants.

The state's economic development board is expected to approve an incentives package Tuesday, according to a meeting agenda posted online.

The Associated Press previously reported the Detroit automaker's plan to partner in a joint venture to build a $2.5B electric-vehicle battery factory in the Lansing area, adding as many as 1,700 workers. GM also plans to spend $4 billion and create up to 2,300 new jobs by designating an existing plant in Orion Township as its third electric-vehicle factory, along with plants in Detroit-Hamtramck and Spring Hill, Tennessee.

The selections are a big win for Michigan, which missed out on three Ford Motor Co. battery factories and a Ford electric-vehicle assembly plant that will be built in Kentucky and Tennessee.

Michigan state lawmakers and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recently enacted a new $1 billion fund designed to land major business projects.

“The Ford announcement felt like a punch in the nose," Quentin Messer Jr., CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and president and chair of the Michigan Strategic Fund, said last month. “Michiganders have always responded to every punch with a more forceful counterpunch.”

The Orion Township plant, about 40 miles (64 kilometers) north of Detroit, now makes the Chevrolet Bolt electric hatchback and small SUV, employing just over 1,100 workers. The company has said that it would soon announce that an existing factory would build electric pickup trucks. Bolt production has been suspended due to a battery recall.

The battery plant will be constructed on the site of GM’s Lansing Delta Township Assembly factory, which makes the Buick Enclave and Chevrolet Traverse SUVs.

“GM appreciates the support it has received from the Governor, the State Legislature, Orion Township, the City of Lansing and Delta Township related to two prospective projects that GM is considering in Orion Township and Lansing," company spokesperson Dan Flores said in a written statement. "Until these projects receive final approval, we have no comment on potential announcement timing,”

GM says it is also spending $154 million to revamp an aging factory near Buffalo, New York, so it can make a key part for electric vehicle motors.

Electric vehicles amounted to less than 3% of U.S. new auto sales last year, but forecasters expect big increases in the next decade. Consumers bought about 400,000 fully electric vehicles.

The LMC Automotive consulting firm estimates EV sales will jump to 763,000 this year and more than 1.2 million by 2023. The firm expects EVs to make up nearly 44% of new vehicle sales by 2033, with nearly 7.4 million sold.

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Krisher reported from Detroit.

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell pushed back Friday against the uproar over a comment he made about African American voters, calling the criticism directed his way “outrageous.”

McConnell had been accused of racism for saying that “African American” voters cast ballots at similar rates to “Americans.” The comment implied that Black voters are somehow not American and underscored the concerns of voting rights advocates that Republicans in state legislatures across the country are explicitly seeking to disenfranchise Black voters.

Following a speech Friday at an annual conference in Louisville, the Republican leader said he misspoke Wednesday when he made the comment during a Washington news conference.

“I’ve never been accused of this sort of thing before, and it’s hurtful and offensive,” he said. “And I think some of the critics know it’s totally nonsense.”

McConnell on Wednesday had said that "African American voters are voting in just as high a percentage as Americans.” McConnell explained on Friday that he should have said the word “all” before “Americans.”

He also defended his record on race by noting that he attended the Rev. Martin Luther King’s March on Washington in 1963. He also said he helped organize a civil rights march at Kentucky’s state Capitol and was present when President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act in 1965.

When asked what he would say to those who had been offended by his words, McConnell said he would discuss his record relating to voting rights, and brought up his role as a mentor to Kentucky’s Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who is Black and one of many Republicans who came to the minority leader's defense this week.

“I think he would confirm with you that I recruited him to run. I’ve supported him, and I’m proud of him,” McConnell said. “I have had African American speechwriters, schedulers, office managers over the years.”

Charles Booker, a Kentucky Democrat running for the U.S. Senate, had been among many who had blasted the Republican earlier in the week. Booker, who is Black, did not back down from criticizing McConnell on Friday.

“Mitch McConnell wants you to know it’s fine for him to block Voting Rights because he has Black friends,” tweeted Booker, who unsuccessfully ran for McConnell’s seat in 2020 and is challenging GOP Sen. Rand Paul this year.

McConnell tried to rebuff concerns among Democrats that GOP state lawmakers across the country are trying to disenfranchise minority voters by pointing to record-high turnout for all voters in the 2020 election.

Federal legislation like the kind he and other GOP lawmakers blocked on Wednesday also wasn't necessary, he said, because the Voting Rights Act was still law and concerns over specific state voting laws could be worked out through the court system.

“They co-opted Congressman Lewis’ name, stuck it on a bill that really was not related to the Voting Rights Act … in order to try to achieve a partisan advantage by federalizing election laws,” McConnell said, referencing the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act.

The part of the bill named after Lewis, the late civil rights leader and Democratic congressman from Georgia, would have updated the Voting Rights Act and was a direct response to a Supreme Court ruling that weakened the law’s oversight of states with a history of discriminating against Black and other minority voters.

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Hudspeth Blackburn is a corps member for The Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

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SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (AP) — After a difficult first year in office, Vice President Kamala Harris enjoyed a homecoming of sorts Friday, taking a helicopter tour in Southern California mountains to highlight new funding for federal wildfire programs.

She was joined by Gov. Gavin Newsom and California Sen. Alex Padilla — both Harris' friends and fellow Democrats — on a day when they inspected wildfire damage from the sky, visited a federal fire station where they heard about the increasing risk of destructive blazes and outlined new spending aimed at reducing the risk of wildfires and dealing with their aftermath.

She also announced $600 million in disaster relief funding for the U.S. Forest Service in California.

In brief remarks, the vice president hailed the work of firefighters and credited collaboration between governments “unencumbered by politics,” an apparent reference to past friction between heavily Democratic California and the Trump administration.

She said the government is “putting the resources where they are needed” in the battle against fires and climate change.

The day was not entirely without political drama. A sprinkle of protesters joined onlooking along the motorcade's route to the fire station, where at the entrance a lone protester waved a U.S. flag and shouted a derogatory slogan about Biden.

Harris' first year in office was framed by the pandemic, a fruitless battle over voting rights legislation and an immigration crisis at the border. The trip to her home state gave Harris a chance to revel in hearty applause. She and the Biden administration were praised repeatedly for their direction on wildfires and the climate.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack called her leadership “unmatched.”

Harris’ visit comes at a time when President Joe Biden’s approval rating is sliding, Democrats are at risk of losing control of the House and Senate in the 2022 midterm elections and Harris continues to struggle to define her role in the administration.

Her office highlighted recent legislation that provided $1 billion to create plans to help defend communities from wildfires. There also is $650 million for rehabilitation efforts for burned areas, and nearly $2.4 billion for hazardous fuels management.

Earlier this week, the Biden administration said it will expand efforts to fight wildfires by thinning forests around “hot spots” where nature and neighborhoods collide.

As climate change dries out the U.S. West, administration officials said they have crafted a $50 billion plan to more than double the use of controlled fires and logging to reduce trees and other vegetation that serves as tinder in the most at-risk areas. Only some of the work has funding so far.

Meanwhile, a bipartisan group of a dozen California lawmakers said they will push to add more than 1,100 new professional wildland firefighters amid the recent epic wildfire seasons, with a dwindling pool of inmates to help fight the blazes.

The state has had historic wildfire seasons in recent years, including last year when for the first time two massive fires crossed the rocky bastion of the Sierra Nevada, with one of them threatening tourist destinations along Lake Tahoe.

Of the 10 largest wildfires in the state’s recorded history, eight were within the last five years.

The fire sieges have firefighters who work for the state’s firefighting agency working as much as 40 days in a row, increasing burnout and mental health issues, said the lawmakers and the union representing wildland firefighters.

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PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey sued the Biden administration on Friday over its demand that the state stop sending millions in federal COVID-19 relief money to schools that don't have mask requirements or that close due to COVID-19 outbreaks.

The lawsuit filed in federal court in Phoenix comes a week after the U.S. Treasury Department demanded that Ducey either restructure the $163 million program to eliminate restrictions it says undermine public health recommendations or face a repayment demand. The Treasury Department also wants changes to a $10 million program Ducey created that gives private school tuition money to parents if their children's schools have mask mandates.

Ducey's lawsuit said the Treasury Department created restrictions on spending the money Arizona receives under President Joe Biden's American Rescue Plan Act on its own and without legal authority. It asks a court to declare that the Treasury Department's rules are illegal and permanently block enforcement and any demands that it pay back the $173 million it is spending on the two programs.

“Nothing in that underlying statute authorizes Treasury to condition the use of (ARPA) monies on following measures that, in the view of Treasury, stop the spread of COVID-19,” the lawsuit says. “If Congress had truly intended to give Treasury the power to dictate public health edicts to the States, and recoup or withhold (monies) ... it would have spoken clearly on the matter. It did not.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends universal mask-wearing in school settings to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“By discouraging families and school districts from following this guidance, the conditions referenced above undermine efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19,” the Treasury Department wrote in last week’s letter.

The Treasury Department started demanding that Ducey change the programs in October. It was part of a concerted effort to force Arizona and some other Republican-led states that have opposed mask mandates or were using pandemic funding to advance their own agendas to end those practices.

Ducey rejected Treasury's request the following month, and last week the Biden administration followed up with a formal demand that it cease using the money for the disputed programs or face either repayment demands or withholding of additional money it is set to receive under Biden's COVID relief bill.

Friday's lawsuit said the Treasury Department initially recognized that states have "broad latitude to choose whether and how to use the (money) to respond to and address the negative economic impact” of COVID-19. But then it changed course, and created the new rules, the suit said.

The Treasury Department said it backs its decisions on the rules.

“Treasury believes the rule is correct and allowed by the statute and Constitution," spokesperson Dayanara Ramirez said.

At issue are two state programs the Republican governor created last summer meant to help schools and students.

Arizona’s Education Plus-Up Grant Program provides $163 million in funding to schools in higher-income areas that received less than $1,800 per student in federal virus aid. Districts that require face coverings or that have closed due to virus outbreaks are ineligible.

Another called the COVID-19 Educational Recovery Benefit Program provides for up to $7,000 for parents if their child’s school requires face coverings or quarantines after exposure. It lets parents use the money for private school tuition or other education costs and its design mirrors the state’s existing school voucher program.

In a letter sent last week, the Treasury Department warned that the state has 60 days to remove the anti-masking provisions before the federal government moves to recover the relief money, and it threatened to withhold the next tranche of aid as well.

Ducey created the programs in par t to up the pressure on school districts that had mask mandates or other COVID-19 restrictions, saying they were hurting children and parents who had endured more than a year of school shutdowns, remote learning and other restrictions. Provisions in the state budget that barred school mask mandates statewide were later thrown out by the Arizona Supreme Court because they were improperly adopted, but Ducey did not change the programs.

“Safety recommendations are welcomed and encouraged — mandates that place more stress on students and families aren’t,” Ducey said in August. “These grants acknowledge efforts by schools and educators that are following state laws and keeping their classroom doors open for Arizona’s students.”

Arizona has received about half of the $4.2 billion awarded to it under the 2021 coronavirus relief bill, and the Treasury Department said it may withhold payments if Ducey failed to comply with its demands.

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Associated Press reporter Fatima Hussein contributed from Washington.

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Louie Anderson, whose four-decade career as a comedian and actor included his unlikely, Emmy-winning performance as mom to twin adult sons in the TV series “Baskets,” died Friday. He was 68.

Anderson died at a hospital in Las Vegas of complications from cancer, said Glenn Schwartz, his longtime publicist. Anderson had a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Schwartz said previously.

“'Baskets' was such a phenomenal ‘second act’ for Louie Anderson. I wish he’d gotten a third,” Michael McKean said on Twitter. George Wallace wrote: “You’ll be missed, Louie. What an awesome friend. One in a million.” Gilbert Gottfried posted a photo of himself, Anderson and Bob Saget, who died Jan. 9, with the caption: "Both good friends that will be missed.”

The portly, round-faced Anderson used his girth and a checkered childhood in Saint Paul, Minnesota, as fodder for his early stand-up routines.

In a 1987 interview with The Associated Press, Anderson compared himself to another comedian who mined his childhood for humor.

“Bill Cosby and I had similar goals,” Anderson told AP. “I wanted parents to be able to bring their children and children to be able to bring their parents to my concerts. I feel a family that can laugh about family problems is better off. The difference between Cosby and myself is that he sees it from an adult perspective and I tell it from a child’s viewpoint.”

He had a life-long battle with weight, but said in 1987 that he'd put a stop to using his size as stage material.

“I’ve always been big,” he said. “But I don’t do fat jokes anymore.”

In later years, his life as one of 11 children in a family headed by a troubled father and devoted mother was a deeper source of reflection and inspiration for Anderson, both in his screen work and in his best-selling books.

His latest book, 2018's “Hey Mom,” was a tribute in letters to the lessons he learned from her and how-to tips on facing life’s challenges. He also gave the late Ora Zella Anderson a shout-out for the “Baskets” role.

“I just started writing with one letter, saying, ’Hey Mom, I’m playing you on TV. I hope you see it. I hope you’re a part of it...” Anderson told AP that year.

He won the best supporting actor Emmy in 2016 for his portrayal of Christine Baskets, mother to twins played by Zach Galifianakis, in FX's “Baskets.” Anderson, who received three consecutive Emmy nods for the role, played it with restraint and with specific touches he credits to his mom.

“Nuance is what I go for, tiny rather than bigger things. Mom did things with her eyes or her grimace or her disappointed lips — or her passive-aggressiveness,” he told the AP in 2015, laughing. “Rolling eyes were big in our family.”

Anderson, born March 24, 1953, was the 10th child for Ora and William Anderson. His father played trumpet with musical great Hoagy Carmichael and, Anderson has said, was an alcoholic.

After his father's death, Anderson learned of how difficult his childhood had been and forgave him, he told People magazine in 2018.

Louie Anderson's early jobs included counseling troubled children. He changed course after winning a 1981 Midwest comedy competition, where he was spotted by veteran comic Henny Youngman, who hosted the contest, according to Schwartz.

Anderson worked as a writer for Youngman and then gained onstage experience while crisscrossing the United States. His big break came in 1984 when Johnny Carson, known for showcasing promising comedians on “The Tonight Show,” brought him on to perform.

He was a familiar face elsewhere on TV, including as host of a revival of the game show “Family Feud” from 1999 to 2002, and on comedy specials and in frequent late-night talk show appearances. He continued his stand-up appearances, in Las Vegas where he lived and on the road.

Anderson voiced an animated version of himself as a kid in “Life With Louie.” He created the Humanitas Prize-winning cartoon series, which first aired in prime time in late 1994 before moving to Saturday morning for its 1995-98 run. Anderson won two Daytime Emmy Awards for the role.

He made guest appearances in several TV series, including “Scrubs” and “Touched by an Angel,” and was on the big screen in 1988′s “Coming to America” and in last year’s sequel to the Eddie Murphy comedy.

In a magazine interview, Anderson recounted getting the role after he spotted Murphy, who he knew from working in comedy clubs, at a Los Angeles restaurant. Anderson said hello, then made a costly decision that paid off.

″Take Eddie Murphy’s check and put it on my credit card, but don’t tell him until after I leave,″ Anderson recalled telling a waiter. He ended up with a $600 charge, but Murphy called to thank him and offered to write a part for him in “Coming to America,” Anderson said.

His books included “Dear Dad – Letters From An Adult Child, ” a collection of letters from Anderson to his late father; “Good-bye Jumbo… Hello Cruel World,” a self-help book, and “The F Word, How To Survive Your Family.”

Fellow performers recalled his gentleness. “You were as gracious and kind as you were funny. Rest well!! Keep ’em laughing in Heaven,” Viola Davis said on Twitter.

Rita Rudner, a longtime friend who worked on stage with Anderson, said in a statement: “He was a kind, generous, talented man who leaves behind a legacy of laughter, love and french fries.”

“Oh dear. Another great comedian. Another great Vegas star. Such a sweetheart. We will miss you #LouieAnderson,” Penn Jillette said on Twitter. “Rest now, Louie. You done good,” Jane Lynch tweeted.

Anderson's survivors include sisters Lisa and Shanna Anderson.

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Associated Press reporter Katie Vasquez contributed to this story.

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NEW YORK (AP) — Meat Loaf, the heavyweight rock superstar loved by millions for his “Bat Out of Hell” album and for such theatrical, dark-hearted anthems as “Paradise By the Dashboard Light,” “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad,” and “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That),” has died. He was 74.

The singer born Marvin Lee Aday died Thursday, according to a family statement provided by his longtime agent Michael Greene.

“Our hearts are broken to announce that the incomparable Meat Loaf passed away tonight,” the statement said. “We know how much he meant to so many of you and we truly appreciate all of the love and support as we move through this time of grief in losing such an inspiring artist and beautiful man... From his heart to your souls… don’t ever stop rocking!”

No cause or other details were given, but Aday had numerous health scares over the years.

“Bat Out of Hell,” his mega-selling collaboration with songwriter Jim Steinman and producer Todd Rundgren, came out in 1977 and made him one of the most recognizable performers in rock. Fans fell hard for the roaring vocals of the long-haired, 250-plus pound singer and for the comic non-romance of the title track, “You Took The Words Right Out of My Mouth,” “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad” and “Paradise By the Dashboard Light,” an operatic cautionary tale about going all the way.

“Paradise” was a duet with Ellen Foley about two kids “barely 17" and "barely dressed," featuring play-by-play from New York Yankees broadcaster Phil Rizzuto, who alleged — to much skepticism — that he was unaware of any alternate meanings to reaching third base and heading for home. Speaking to The Associated Press on Friday, Foley remembered him as “larger than life” and noted the role “Paradise” had in the lives of fans and how they told of losing their virginity to it or singing it at special occasions: “I did it at karaoke, at my wedding, at my high school reunion, at my Bar Mitzvah."

After a slow start and mixed reviews, “Bat Out of Hell” became one of the top-selling albums in history, with worldwide sales of more than 40 million copies. Meat Loaf wasn’t a consistent hit maker, especially after falling out for years with Steinman. But he maintained close ties with his fans through his manic live shows, social media and his many television, radio and film appearances, including “Fight Club” and cameos on “Glee” and “South Park.”

Friends and fans mourned his death on social media. Andrew Lloyd Webber tweeted: “The vaults of heaven will be ringing with rock.” And Adam Lambert called Meat Loaf: “A gentle hearted powerhouse rock star forever and ever. You were so kind. Your music will always be iconic.”

Meat Loaf's biggest musical success after “Bat Out of Hell” was “Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell,” a 1993 reunion with Steinman that sold more than 15 million copies and featured the Grammy-winning single “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That).”

Steinman died in April.

Aday's other albums included “Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster is Loose,” “Hell in a Handbasket” and “Braver Than We Are.” His more recent songs included “Dead Ringer for Love” with Cher, who tweeted that she “had so much fun” on the duet.

He is survived by Deborah Gillespie, his wife since 2007, and by daughters Pearl and Amanda Aday.

A native of Dallas, Aday was the son of a school teacher who raised him on her own after divorcing his alcoholic father, a police officer. Aday was singing and acting in high school (Mick Jagger was an early favorite, so was Ethel Merman) and attended Lubbock Christian College and what is now the University of North Texas. Among his more notable childhood memories: Seeing John F. Kennedy arrive at Love Field in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, then learning the president had been assassinated and driving to Parkland Hospital and watching a bloodied Jackie Kennedy step out of a car.

He was still a teenager when his mother died and when he acquired the nickname Meat Loaf, the alleged origins of which range from his weight to a favorite recipe of his mother’s. He left for Los Angeles after college and was soon fronting the band Meat Loaf Soul. For years, he alternated between music and the stage, recording briefly for Motown, opening for such acts as the Who and the Grateful Dead and appearing in the Broadway production of “Hair.”

By the mid-1970s, he was playing the lobotomized biker Eddie in the theater and film versions of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” had served as an understudy for his friend John Belushi for the stage production of National Lampoon and had begun working with Steinman on “Bat Out of Hell.” The dense, pounding production was openly influenced by Wagner, Phil Spector and Bruce Springsteen, whose bandmates Roy Bittan and Max Weinberg played on the record. Rundgren initially thought of the album as a parody of Springsteen’s grandiose style.

Steinman had known Meat Loaf since the singer appeared in his 1973 musical “More Than You Deserve” and some of the songs on “Bat Out of Hell,” including “All Revved Up With No Place to Go,” were initially written for a planned stage show based on the story of Peter Pan. “Bat Out of Hell” took more than two years to find a taker as numerous record executives turned it down, including RCA’s Clive Davis, who disparaged Steinman’s songs and acknowledged that he had misjudged the singer: “The songs were coming over as very theatrical, and Meat Loaf, despite a powerful voice, just didn’t look like a star,” Davis wrote in his memoir, “The Soundtrack of My Life.”

With the help of another Springsteen sideman, Steve Van Zandt, “Bat Out of Hell” was acquired by Cleveland International, a subsidiary of Epic Records. The album made little impact until months after its release, when a concert video of the title track was aired on the British program the Old Grey Whistle Test. In the U.S., his connection to “Rocky Horror” helped when he convinced producer Lou Adler to use a video for “Paradise By the Dashboard Light” as a trailer for the cult movie. But Meat Loaf was so little known at first that he began his “Bat Out of Hell” tour in Chicago as the opening act for Cheap Trick, then one of the world’s hottest groups.

“I remember pulling up at the theater and it says, ‘TONIGHT: CHEAP TRICK, WITH MEAT LOAF.’ And I said to myself, ‘These people think we’re serving dinner,’” Meat Loaf explained in 2013 on the syndicated radio show “In the Studio.”

“And we walk out on stage and these people were such Cheap Trick fans they booed us from the start. They were getting up and giving us the finger. The first six rows stood up and screamed... When we finished, most of the boos had stopped and we were almost getting applause.”

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AP Entertainment Writer Andrew Dalton contributed from Los Angeles. AP National Writer Jocelyn Noveck contributed from New York.

AP
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Two former University of Michigan football stars who stand to receive as much as $500,000 each through the school's sexual abuse settlement with more than 1,000 students say the per-victim payouts should be much higher, pointing to a similar case at rival Michigan State.

Dwight Hicks and Jon Vaughn, both former NFL players, told The Associated Press that the $490 million settlement the Ann Arbor school announced this week is another example of Black victims receiving less than white victims in big-money payouts. The majority of the claimants in the settlement are Black men, said John Manly, an attorney involved in the case.

Although the victims of the school's former sports doctor Robert Anderson are expected to receive between $400,000 and $500,000, the victims of Larry Nassar — who sexually assaulted gymnasts at Michigan State University — averaged $1.2 million in payouts.

"The differences: One, they were women. Two, they were white,” said Hicks, 65, who attended Michigan from 1974-78 and spent eight seasons in the NFL with Indianapolis and San Francisco.

He said the fact that there was a smaller pool of victims, about 300, in Michigan State's $500 million settlement in 2018, "I don't feel we should get less. This is the damage that was done to us and perpetrated on us as Black men.”

“At the end of the day, none of this is fair,” Vaughn told The Associated Press on Friday.

A 2018 report says insurance companies and courts rely on testimony of economic experts’ calculation of damages using wage tables, and that data often is based on the race, ethnicity and gender of the person filing the lawsuit, according to the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

Blacks, Latinos and Hispanics and women of all races typically earn less than white men, meaning damages awarded often are less than what white men would receive, the report said.

Law firms involved in the Anderson litigation have not shared the racial breakdown of their clients, said attorney Jamie White, who added that about 93% of the 78 or so Anderson clients his firm represents are Black.

Anderson, in his roles as director of the university’s Health Service and a physician for football and other athletic teams, has been accused by former students and student-athletes of molesting them during routine physicals or other visits. The abuse occurred throughout Anderson’s 37-year career at the university, a law firm hired by the school said in a report released last spring.

Anderson retired in 2003. He died in 2008.

Nassar, who also worked as a sports doctor for USA Gymnastics, pleaded guilty in 2018 to molesting women and girls under the guise of treatment. He also was caught with child pornography. He is serving three prison sentences that will likely keep him locked up for life.

None of the 332 initial individuals represented by his firm in the Nassar case were Black, White said, adding that all were white and only one was a man.

“It’s not unheard of that men are discounted, so to speak, when it comes to these sorts of cases,” he said. “We have to appreciate the University of Michigan coming forward and doing what they did. There were a lot of claimants. The numbers are difficult, but on its face it is what it is. We’ve got $1.2 million for young, Caucasian women and we have an average of $460,000 for the majority of these African American men.”

Vaughn, 51, lives in Texas, but has been spending time since October in a camper outside the home of the University of Michigan’s president as a way of protesting the school’s handling of the Anderson case. He said he was given 50 prostate exams by Anderson during his two years at the University of Michigan.

“There’s a myriad of reasons or facts in this case that are different than Nassar," he said. "I should have never had my first prostate exam at 18 and should not have had 49 more.”

What each will receive in the settlement is not the major reason why they spoke up about Anderson, White added.

“They’re older and many of them are accomplished,” he said. “This was not about money for the vast majority of them. They really just felt they needed to voice-up and have some accountability.”

But — as student athletes — they were younger and had much more at stake, White said.

“They were there to practice. They were there to go to school and they had a lot to lose,” White said. “They were there and their one job was to play football, and if they strayed from that path in any way, shape or form they (believed they) were disposable.”

White said the money from the University of Michigan settlement will not be distributed equally among Anderson’s victims and that there is an allocation process that will be overseen by a retired federal judge.

A spokesman for the University of Michigan told the AP Friday that the school and attorneys hired by the Anderson claimants agreed “this was a fair settlement" and that the university will have no role in how the money is divided.

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Williams reported from West Bloomfield, Michigan. Householder reported from Canton Township, Michigan.

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