World leaders at G7 meetings ready to pile fresh sanctions on Russia over Ukraine war

HIROSHIMA, Japan (AP) — Leaders of the world’s most powerful democracies are planning to devote much of the first day of the Group of Seven summit to finding new ways to punish Russia for its 15-month invasion of Ukraine. Russia’s nuclear threats against Ukraine, North Korea’s missile tests and China’s expanding nuclear arsenal have resonated with Japan’s push to make nuclear disarmament a major part of the summit. World leaders Friday visited a peace park dedicated to the tens of thousands who died in the world’s first wartime atomic bomb detonation. A U.S. official said leaders later were set to unveil new sanctions and focus on enforcement. But there are questions about the effectiveness of the financial penalties.

More than 30 million US drivers don't know if they're at risk from a rare but dangerous airbag blast

DETROIT (AP) — More than 33 million people in the United States are driving vehicles that contain a potentially deadly threat: Airbag inflators that in rare cases can explode in a collision and spew shrapnel. Few of them know it. And because of a dispute between federal safety regulators and an airbag parts manufacturer, they aren’t likely to find out anytime soon. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is demanding that the manufacturer, ARC Automotive of Knoxville, Tennessee, recall 67 million inflators that could explode with such force as to blow apart a metal canister and expel shrapnel. But ARC is refusing to do so, setting up a possible court fight with the agency.

Disney scraps plans for new Florida campus as fight with Gov. Ron DeSantis continues

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — The Walt Disney Co. says it's scrapping plans to build a new campus in central Florida and relocate 2,000 employees from Southern California to work in digital technology, finance and product development. Thursday's announcement follows a year of attacks from Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Legislature, with Disney filing a First Amendment lawsuit against him and other officials last month. Disney had planned to build the campus about 20 miles from the giant Walt Disney World theme park resort. But a company official says in a memo employees that “new leadership and changing business conditions” prompted Disney to abandon those plans.

China's loans pushing world’s poorest countries to brink of collapse

A dozen poor countries are facing economic instability and even collapse under the weight of hundreds of billions of dollars in foreign loans, much of them from the world’s biggest and most unforgiving government lender, China. An Associated Press analysis of a dozen countries most indebted to China — including Pakistan, Kenya, Zambia and Mongolia — found payments on the debt are consuming an ever-greater amount of the tax revenue needed to provide basic services. And it’s draining foreign currency reserves these countries use to pay interest on those loans, leaving some with just months before that money is gone.

Videos show gunman saying 'kill me' to onrushing officers in New Mexico rampage that killed 3

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Videos released by authorities in New Mexico recorded a voice said to be an 18-year-old gunman urging police to “kill me” during this week’s rampage that left three older women dead before officers fatally shot him outside a church. They also show Farmington police officers rushing toward the gunman. Police made the videos public at a news conference Thursday. Authorities in Farmington have been probing for motivations behind Monday’s deadly attack by the high school senior, amid indications from relatives of prior mental health issues. Police say he sprayed bullets indiscriminately outside his home and while walking down a residential street.

88-year-old Australian doctor freed 7 years after kidnapping by Islamic extremists in West Africa

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — An 88-year-old Australian doctor held captive by Islamic extremists in West Africa for more than seven years has been freed. Foreign Minister Penny Wong said Friday that Ken Elliott has reunited with his wife and their children in Australia. His family thanked the Australian government and others who worked to free him. Wong said no ransom was paid, but other circumstances of his release were not disclosed. Elliott and his wife were kidnapped in 2016 in Burkina Faso, where they had run a medical clinic for four decades. Jocelyn Elliott was released three weeks later. The militant group behind the kidnapping, Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, rose to prominence in large part through ransom kidnappings of foreigners.

Salman Rushdie attends PEN America gala, first in-person appearance since stabbing

NEW YORK (AP) — Salman Rushdie has made his first in-person public appearance since being stabbed repeatedly and hospitalized nine months ago. The author attended Thursday night's annual gala of PEN America, the literary and free expression organization for which he once served as president. Rushdie said he feels great before the gala started. The 75-year-old attended the event, where hundreds of writers and other PEN members were gathering. “Saturday Night Live” founder Lorne Michaels was among those scheduled to be honored. Last August, Rushdie was stabbed multiple times during an appearance at the Chautaqua Institute in western New York, leaving him blind in his right eye and struggling to write.

Car rushes Vatican gate, is fired on by gendarmes; driver apprehended after reaching courtyard

ROME (AP) — A car driven by someone with apparent psychiatric problems rushed one of the entrance gates of the Vatican. It managed to get past Swiss Guards and reach the Apostolic Palace courtyard before coming to a stop. The suspect was apprehended. Vatican gendarmes fired a shot at the speeding car’s front tires after it rushed the gate, but the vehicle managed to continue on its way. That's according to the Vatican press office in a statement late Thursday. It wasn’t clear if Pope Francis was anywhere near the incident, which occurred after 8 p.m. at the Santa Anna gate. Francis lives on the other side of Vatican City.

Murray's big fourth quarter propels Nuggets past Lakers 108-103 for 2-0 lead in West finals

DENVER (AP) — Jamal Murray scored 23 of his 37 points in the fourth quarter, propelling the Denver Nuggets to a 108-103 come-from-behind win over the Los Angeles Lakers for a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference finals. Nikola Jokic had another triple-double for the Nuggets, who have never been this close to reaching the NBA Finals before. Game 3 is Saturday night at Arena, where LeBron James and the Lakers are 8-0 in the playoffs. The Nuggets have lost to the Lakers all three times they've advanced to the Western Conference Finals in 1985, 2009 and 2020 in the NBA bubble.

TikTok content creators file lawsuit against Montana over first-in-nation law banning app

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Five TikTok content creators have filed a lawsuit to overturn a planned ban on the video sharing app in Montana. They argued in a legal complaint filed in federal court in Missoula on Wednesday that the law is an unconstitutional violation of free speech rights. They also say the state doesn’t have authority over matters of national security. Republican Governor Greg Gianforte signed the bill into law Wednesday and said it would protect Montana residents’ private data and personal information from being harvested by the Chinese government. The ban is scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1, 2024.

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