Britain’s Boris Johnson battles to stay as PM amid revolt
LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson battled to remain in office Wednesday, brushing off calls for his resignation after two top ministers and a slew of junior officials said they could no longer serve under his scandal-plagued leadership.
Johnson rejected demands that he step down during a stormy session of the House of Commons amid a furor over his handling of sexual misconduct allegations against a senior official. Later in the day, a delegation of some of his most trusted allies in the Cabinet paid a visit to the prime minister at 10 Downing Street to urge him to go, but he remained unmoved, Britain’s Press Association reported.
The prime minister turned down suggestions he seek a “dignified exit” and opted instead to fight for his political career, citing “hugely important issues facing the country,” according to the news agency. It quoted a source close to Johnson as saying he told colleagues there would be “chaos” if he quit.
The 58-year-old leader who pulled Britain out of the European Union and steered it through the COVID-19 outbreak is known for his ability to wiggle out of tight spots, managing to remain in power despite allegations that he was too close to party donors, that he protected supporters from bullying and corruption allegations, and that he misled Parliament about government office parties that broke pandemic lockdown rules.
He hung on even when 41% of Conservative lawmakers voted to oust him in a no-confidence vote last month.
In the midst of chaotic shooting, strangers save a young boy
CHICAGO (AP) — A woman — stunned and speechless in the chaos of a July 4 parade massacre — walked up to Greg Ring and handed him a 2-year-old boy, covered in blood.
Ring had fled the scene in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park with his wife and three children to an area behind a popular pancake house.
“We kind of met eyes and didn’t say anything…. I put my arms out, and she gave him to me,” Ring said Wednesday, when describing the exchange with the unidentified woman, who then laid down in front of their car in shock.
The boy pointed in the direction of the parade route, saying “Mommy, Daddy, Mommy, Daddy.”
Ring’s wish to help the boy carried him back to the scene. He tucked the boy’s face in his chest, so he couldn’t see the carnage. But Ring quickly realized it was too dangerous.
States move to protect abortion from prosecutions elsewhere
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Democratic governors in states where abortion will remain legal are looking for ways to protect any patients who travel there for the procedure — along with the providers who help them — from being prosecuted by their home states.
In North Carolina, Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper signed an executive order Wednesday to protect abortion providers and patients from extradition to states that have banned the practice. Abortions are legal in North Carolina until fetal viability or in certain medical emergencies, making the state an outlier in the Southeast.
“This order will help protect North Carolina doctors and nurses and their patients from cruel right-wing criminal laws passed by other states,” Cooper said in announcing the order.
The governors of Rhode Island and Maine signed executive orders late Tuesday, stating that they will not cooperate with other states’ investigations into people who seek abortions or health care providers that perform them.
Rhode Island Democratic Gov. Dan McKee said women should be trusted with their own health care decisions, and Democratic Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos said Rhode Island must do all it can to protect access to reproductive health care as “other states attack the fundamental right to choose.”
Some Russians won’t halt war protests, despite arrest fears
Ever since Russia invaded Ukraine, Anastasia has started her day by composing an anti-war message and posting it on the wall at the entrance of her apartment block in the industrial city of Perm in the Ural Mountains.
“Do not believe the propaganda you see on the TV, read independent media!” reads one. “Violence and death have been constantly with us for three months now — take care of yourselves” reads another.
The 31-year-old teacher, who asked to be identified only by her first name because she fears for her security, said she wanted “a safe and simple method of getting a message across.”
“I couldn’t do something huge and public,” she told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. “I want to get people to think. And I think we should influence whatever space, in whatever way we can.”
Despite a massive government crackdown on such acts of protest, some Russians have persisted in speaking out against the invasion — even in the simplest of ways.
Iranian TV: Revolutionary Guard accuses diplomats of spying
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iranian state TV said Wednesday that the country’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard has accused the deputy ambassador of the United Kingdom and other foreigners in the country of “espionage” and taking soil samples from prohibited military zones.
The country’s state-run IRNA news agency reported that the foreigners had been arrested, but did not elaborate on when. The U.K. Foreign Office swiftly denied that its diplomat was arrested, calling the report “completely false.”
Iran’s state TV ran footage purporting to show the foreigners collecting samples from the ground while under drone surveillance.
The storm of accusations follow escalating tensions over a pickup in Tehran’s arrests of foreigners and a rapid advancement of its nuclear work, while talks to revive the landmark 2015 atomic accord remain at a standstill. Iran has detained a number of Europeans in recent months, including two French citizens and a Swedish tourist, as it seeks to gain leverage in negotiations.
The report also comes after Iran, in a rare move, replaced the Revolutionary Guard’s longstanding intelligence chief.
Jury finds man guilty of murdering rapper Nipsey Hussle
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A 32-year-old man who grew up on the same streets in the same gang as Nipsey Hussle was found guilty Wednesday of first-degree murder in the 2019 shooting of the Grammy-winning rapper, who rose above his circumstances to become an inspiration to the neighborhood where he was eventually gunned down.
The Los Angeles County jury also found Eric R. Holder Jr. guilty of two counts of attempted voluntary manslaughter for gunfire that hit other men at the scene. Prosecutors had sought two counts of attempted murder. Holder also was found guilty of two counts of assault with a firearm on the same men.
Holder, wearing a blue suit and face mask, stood up in the small court room next to his lawyer as the verdict was read. He had no visible reaction. His lawyer conceded during the trial that Holder shot Hussle, 33, whose legal name is Ermias Asghedom, but had sought a lesser verdict of voluntary manslaughter.
“I am deeply disappointment in the First Degree Murder verdict,” Holder’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender Aaron Jansen, said in an email. “It was always going to be tough given the high profile circumstances surrounding the case.”
Jansen added that he and Holder were grateful that the jury agreed that the attempted murder counts were overcharged. They plan to appeal the murder conviction, he said.
Trump White House counsel Cipollone to testify to 1/6 panel
WASHINGTON (AP) — Pat Cipollone, Donald Trump’s former White House counsel, is scheduled to testify Friday before the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, according to a person briefed on the matter.
Cipollone, whose reported resistance to Trump’s schemes to overturn his 2020 election defeat has made him a long-sought and potentially revelatory witness, was subpoenaed by the select committee last week after weeks of public pressure to provide testimony to the panel.
The person briefed on the matter, who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity to discuss private negotiations, said Cipollone agreed to appear before the committee for a private, transcribed interview.
As Trump’s top White House lawyer, Cipollone was in the West Wing on Jan. 6, 2021, as well as for key meetings in the turbulent weeks after the election when Trump and associates — including Republican lawmakers and lawyer Rudy Giuliani — debated and plotted ways to challenge the election.
The agreement for Cipollone to speak to the panel follows last week’s dramatic testimony from former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson. The young aide to former chief of staff Mark Meadows provided the committee with a striking account of what she saw and heard in those weeks and presented lawmakers with arguably their clearest case for how Trump or some of his allies could face criminal liability.