Western NY death toll rises to 27 from cold, storm chaos
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — The death toll from a pre-Christmas blizzard that paralyzed the Buffalo area and much of the country has risen to 27 in western New York, authorities said Monday as the region dug out from one of the worst weather-related disasters in its history. The dead have been found in their cars, homes and in snowbanks. Some died while shoveling snow. The storm that walloped much of the country is now blamed for at least 49 deaths, with rescue and recovery efforts continuing Monday. The blizzard roared through the region Friday and Saturday, stranding motorists, knocking out power and preventing emergency crews from reaching residents in frigid homes and stuck cars.
The AP Interview: Ukraine FM aims for February peace summit
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine’s foreign minister has said that his nation wants a summit to end the war but he doesn’t anticipate Russia taking part, a statement making it hard to foresee the devastating invasion ending soon. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told The Associated Press that his government wants a peace summit within two months at the United Nations with Secretary-General António Guterres as mediator. Kuleba told The Associated Press that Russia must face a war-crimes tribunal before his country talks with Moscow but that other nations should talk feel free to negotiate, as happened with a grain agreement between Turkey and Russia.
Long COVID: Could mono virus or fat cells be playing roles?
A British historian, an Italian archaeologist and an American preschool teacher share a prominent pandemic bond: They’re each credited with describing, naming and helping bring long COVID into the public’s consciousness in early 2020. They all still have symptoms. Nearly three years into the pandemic, it’s still unclear what makes people vulnerable to long COVID. Could being female, exposure to the mono virus, or excess fat increase the chances? And why do only a small portion battle symptoms for over a year? These are among the questions scientists are seeking to answer.
GOP stumbles with independents contributed to midterm woes
EAGAN, Minn. (AP) — A sweeping national survey of the electorate, AP VoteCast, finds that Republican House candidates nationwide won the support of 38% of independent voters during last month’s midterm elections. That lackluster showing among independents helps explain why the GOP flipped just nine House seats. The party secured a threadbare majority in the House that has already raised questions about its ability to govern. Some Republican strategists say it’s a sign that messages that resonate during party primaries, including searing critiques of President Joe Biden, were less effective in the general election campaign. The reason, they say, is because independent voters were searching for more than just the opposition.
Russia says it shot down Ukrainian drone near air base
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — The Russian military says it shot down a Ukrainian drone approaching an air base deep inside Russia. It was the second time the facility was targeted this month. The incident raises questions about the effectiveness of Russia’s air defenses. Russia’s Defense Ministry said Monday that three servicemen were killed by debris at the Engels air base. The base houses nuclear-capable strategic bombers that have been involved in launching strikes on Ukraine. It is located more than 370 miles east of the border with Ukraine. Russia’s Defense Ministry said aircraft weren’t damaged. In another cross-border incident, Russia’s Tass news agency reported that the country’s security forces had killed four Ukrainian saboteurs attempting to enter from Ukraine.
4th Washington state electrical substation vandalized
TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — A fourth electrical substation was vandalized late on Christmas Day in Washington state, leaving homes in Kapowsin and Graham temporarily without power. By 7 a.m. Monday, more than 10,500 Puget Sound Energy customers were without electricity across the region. The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office says the suspects broke into a fenced area and vandalized equipment, causing a fire. The fire was extinguished and power was later restored, but no suspects are in custody. The attacks come as federal officials are warning that the U.S. power grid needs better security to prevent domestic terrorism and after a large outage in North Carolina earlier this month that took days to repair.
US to let MLB stars play for Cuba in World Baseball Classic
HAVANA (AP) — The United States will permit Major League Baseball players from Cuba to represent their home country in the World Baseball Classic next year. The license could be a big step in once again turning Cuba’s national team into heavy hitters on an international stage. It clears the way for MLB stars such as Yordan Alvarez, José Abreu and Randy Arozarena to play for Cuba in the World Baseball Classic in March if they choose to accept a potential invitation. It’s up to each country’s national governing body to pick the players on its team. Final 30-man rosters are due Feb. 7 for the WBC, which begins March 8 with Cuba facing the Netherlands in Taiwan.
Zach Bryan drops ‘All My Homies Hate Ticketmaster’ album
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The chorus against Ticketmaster’s contentious concert pricing practices is growing, including Zach Bryan and friends. The country music artist dropped a live album titled “All My Homies Hate Ticketmaster” on Sunday. Bryan also issued a statement on social media in which he decried “a massive issue with fair ticket prices to live shows lately.” The statement doesn’t mention Ticketmaster by name except in the new album title, though he tagged the company in a separate Instagram post displaying the track listing. A message seeking comment from Ticketmaster was not immediately returned.
New this week: ‘White Noise,’ 21 Savage and Kennedy Honors
This week’s new entertainment releases include a streaming concert from 21 Savage, a Netflix film starring Adam Driver made from Don DeLillo’s 1985 novel “White Noise” and a movie marathon on Turner Classic Movies featuring the martini-swilling detectives Nick and Nora Charles from “The Thin Man.” CBS will air the 45th annual Kennedy Center Honors, which this year recognized actor George Clooney, the band U2, singers Gladys Knight and Amy Grant and composer Tania León. And the long-running, feel-good British series “Call the Midwife” will premiere its annual Christmas-themed episode on Sunday on PBS.
Final goodbye: Recalling influential people who died in 2022
One would have to go back hundreds of years to find a monarch who reigned longer than Queen Elizabeth II. In her 70 years on the throne, she helped modernize the monarchy across decades of enormous social change, royal marriages and births, and family scandals. Her death in September was arguably the most high-profile death this year. Other world leaders who died in 2022 include former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who died in August. Among the entertainers who died this year was groundbreaking actor Sidney Poitier, who played roles with such dignity that it helped change the way Black people are portrayed on screen.
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