Five Americans detained in Iran walk free, released in deal for frozen Iranian assets
DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Five Americans detained for years in Iran walked off a plane and into freedom Monday, most arm-in-arm, as part of a politically risky deal that saw President Joe Biden agree to the release of nearly $6 billion in frozen Iranian assets owed by a third country, South Korea.
The successful negotiations for the Americans' freedom brought Biden profuse thanks from their families but heat from Republican presidential rivals and other opponents for the monetary arrangement with one of America's top adversaries.
“Today, five innocent Americans who were imprisoned in Iran are finally coming home,” Biden said in a statement released as the plane carrying the group from Tehran landed in Doha, Qatar. A plane carrying the Americans home to the United States was due to land Monday night.
Iran’s hard-line President Ebrahim Raisi, on hand for the United Nations General Assembly in New York, suggested Monday's exchange could be “a step in the direction of a humanitarian action between us and America.”
“It can definitely help in building trust,” Raisi told journalists.
India rejects allegations of Canada's prime minister in the slaying of a Sikh activist as absurd
TORONTO (AP) — India’s foreign ministry on Tuesday rejected Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s allegations in the slaying of a Sikh activist as “absurd and motivated.”
The ministry’s statement added that Trudeau made similar allegations to Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the recent G20 summit, which it also rejected.
“Such unsubstantiated allegations seek to shift the focus from Khalistani terrorists and extremists, who have been provided shelter in Canada and continue to threaten India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the statement noted, adding that India was concerned over the inaction of the Canadian government.
The statement was released after Canada expelled a top Indian diplomat Monday as it investigated what Trudeau called credible allegations that India’s government may have had links to the assassination in Canada of a Sikh activist.
Trudeau said in Parliament that Canadian intelligence agencies have been looking into the allegations after Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a strong supporter of an independent Sikh homeland known as Khalistan, was gunned down on June 18 outside a Sikh cultural center in Surrey, British Columbia.
Officials find debris from F-35 fighter jet that crashed in South Carolina after pilot ejected
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — The crash site for a stealth fighter jet that went missing during the weekend after its pilot ejected was located Monday in rural South Carolina after the military asked the public for help finding an aircraft built to elude detection.
The debris field was discovered in Williamsburg County, about two hours northeast of Joint Base Charleston. Residents were being asked to avoid the area while a recovery team worked to secure it.
“We are transferring incident command to the USMC this evening, as they begin the recovery process,” the base posted Monday on the X social media platform.
Authorities had been searching for the jet since the pilot, whose name hasn’t been released, parachuted to safety into a North Charleston neighborhood about 2 p.m. Sunday. He was taken to a hospital, where he was in stable condition, Marines Maj. Melanie Salinas said.
“The mishap is currently under investigation, and we are unable to provide additional details to preserve the integrity of the investigative process,” the Marine Corps said in a news release on Monday evening.
Heading for UN, Ukraine's president questions why Russia still has a place there
NEW YORK (AP) — Days before potentially crossing paths with Russia’s top diplomat at the United Nations, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy suggested Monday that the world body needs to answer for allowing his country's invader a seat at the tables of power.
"For us, it’s very important that all our words, all our messages, will be heard by our partners. And if in the United Nations still — it’s a pity, but still — there is a place for Russian terrorists, the question is not to me. I think it’s a question to all the members of the United Nations,” Zelenskyy said after visiting wounded Ukrainian military members at a New York hospital.
He had just arrived in the U.S. to make his country’s case to the world and to Washington for continued help in trying to repel Russia’s invasion, nearly 19 months into what has become a grinding war.
Ukraine’s Western allies have supplied weapons and other assistance, and the U.S. Congress is currently weighing President Joe Biden’s request to provide as much as $24 billion more in military and humanitarian aid.
U.S. lawmakers are increasingly divided over providing additional money to Ukraine. Zelenskyy is scheduled to spend some time Thursday on Capitol Hill and meet with Biden at the White House.
Carmakers and the United Auto Workers are talking. No signs of a breakthrough to end the strike
The United Auto Workers and Detroit's Big Three carmakers resumed talks aimed at ending a strike now in its fourth day, and under the threat that the walkout could soon spread.
Stellantis said it resumed negotiations with the union Monday and described the talks as “constructive.” A spokesman for General Motors said representatives of the company and the United Auto Workers also were continuing to negotiate.
However, UAW President Shawn Fain said on NPR, “We have a long way to go,” and if the companies don't respond to the union's demands, "then we will escalate action.”
In a video statement late Monday, Fain said more factories could be targeted if “serious progress” toward an agreement isn’t reached by Friday at noon.
“We're not messing around,” he said.
Hunter Biden sues the IRS over tax disclosures after agent testimony before Congress
WASHINGTON (AP) — Hunter Biden sued the Internal Revenue Service on Monday, claiming that two agents publicly alleging tax-probe interference wrongly shared his personal information, a case that comes amid escalating legal and political struggles as the 2024 election looms.
The agents “targeted and sought to embarrass Mr. Biden" with the sharing of confidential tax information in press interviews and testimony before Congress, the suit said. His lawyers argue that whistleblower protections don't apply, but a lawyer for one agent said any confidential information released came under whistleblower authorization and called the suit a “frivolous smear."
The lawsuit marks the latest legal pushback from Biden as a long-running federal investigation into him unfolds against a sharply political backdrop. That includes an impeachment inquiry aimed at his father, President Joe Biden, seeking to tie him to his son's business dealings.
“Mr. Biden is the son of the President of the United States. He has all the same responsibilities as any other American citizen, and the IRS can and should make certain that he abides by those responsibilities,” the suit states. “Similarly, Mr. Biden has no fewer or lesser rights than any other American citizen, and no government agency or government agent" has free rein to violate his rights simply because of who he is.
The suit says the IRS hasn't done enough to halt the airing of his personal information. It seeks to “force compliance with federal tax and privacy laws” and damages of $1,000 for every unauthorized disclosure.
Trump calls DeSantis abortion ban 'a terrible mistake,' sparking anger from some key Republicans
Donald Trump is facing new blowback from anti-abortion activists for refusing to commit to national abortion restrictions and for calling Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' signing of a six-week ban on the procedure a “terrible mistake.”
Speaking Sunday on NBC's “Meet the Press,” Trump repeatedly declined to say whether he would support a federal ban on abortion. He said he could “live with” the procedure being banned by individual states or nationwide through federal action, though he said "from a legal standpoint, I think it’s probably better” to be handled at the state level.
Regarding the bill signed by DeSantis, which bans abortions before many women know they are pregnant, Trump said, “I think what he did is a terrible thing and a terrible mistake.”
So far, the former president has dominated the 2024 field while at times spurning the anti-abortion groups that traditionally have huge influence in Republican primaries. But Trump’s direct attack on DeSantis, whom he’s long treated as his chief rival, could give the Florida governor new fodder as he tries to regain momentum in his campaign and solidify his second-place standing.
Speaking to an Iowa radio station on Monday, DeSantis said he was proud to have signed the Florida legislation, which he called “noble and just.”
As leaders convene, the UN pushes toward its crucial global goals. But progress is lagging
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The commitments were far-reaching and ambitious. Among them: End extreme poverty and hunger. Ensure every child on Earth gets a quality secondary education. Achieve gender equality. Make significant inroads in tackling climate change. Create “universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.” And achieve all of this by 2030.
Halfway to that goal, progress is lagging badly — and in some cases going backward.
At a two-day summit that began Monday, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres tried to kick-start action to achieve the 17 goals adopted by world leaders in 2015, which developing countries in particular consider crucial to closing the widening inequality gap between the world’s rich and poor countries.
He told leaders in the crowded General Assembly hall they made “a promise to build a world of health, progress and opportunity for all — a promise to leave no one behind, and a promise to pay for it.”
General Assembly President Dennis Francis told the assembled leaders that the fact that “we are lagging in our promise cannot be the death knell for our blueprint” to “banish poverty from our societies, protect and preserve our planet, and to ensure prosperity for all.” Instead, he said, “bold and transformative action must be prioritized.”
‘El Chapo’ son Ovidio Guzmán López pleads not guilty to US drug and money laundering charges
CHICAGO (AP) — Ovidio Guzmán López, a son of former Sinaloa cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán, pleaded not guilty in Chicago on Monday to U.S. drug trafficking, money laundering and other charges during his first court appearance since being extradited to the U.S. from Mexico.
Guzmán López was extradited on Friday, five months after U.S. prosecutors unsealed sprawling indictments against him and his brothers, known collectively as the “Chapitos.” The indictments allege that following their father’s extradition and eventual life sentence in the U.S. in 2019, the brothers steered the cartel increasingly into synthetic drugs such as methamphetamine and the powerful opioid fentanyl.
During Monday's 15-minute arraignment with a larger-than-usual contingent of security inside the courtroom, Guzmán López pleaded not guilty through a translator. He stood before U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman in an orange jumpsuit and matching orange slippers, with his legs shacked at the ankles.
The short, slight 33-year-old, whose nickname is “the Mouse,” hunched forward, answering questions from the judge softly and politely, presenting a picture that sharply contrasted with the reputation for extreme violence of the cartel he allegedly helps lead.
His arrest by Mexican security forces in January in Culiacan — the capital of Sinaloa state, the cartel’s namesake — set off violence that left 30 people dead, including 10 military personnel. Mexico's army used Black Hawk helicopter gunships against the cartel’s truck-mounted .50-caliber machine guns. Cartel gunmen hit two military aircraft, forcing them to land, and sent gunmen to the city’s airport, where military and civilian aircraft were hit by gunfire.
Michigan State tells football coach Mel Tucker it will fire him for misconduct with rape survivor
Michigan State informed suspended football coach Mel Tucker on Monday that he will be fired without compensation for misconduct involving activist and rape survivor Brenda Tracy in a sordid case that dates back more than a year.
“The notice provides Tucker with seven calendar days to respond and present reasons to me and the interim president as to why he should not be terminated for cause,” athletic director Alan Haller said in a statement released by the school.
If Tucker does not present “sufficient reasons to dispute” multiple contract violations, the school will fire him Sept. 26, three days after the program's Big Ten opener in what was hoped to be a bounce-back year for the Spartans.
Tucker is in the third year of a $95 million, 10-year contract and if he is fired for cause, the school would not have to pay him what’s remaining on his deal. Tucker, his agent and his attorney did not immediately return messages seeking comment.
Haller said the decision does not affect the ongoing investigation into Tracy's allegations of sexual harassment, which is being handled by the school's office for civil rights.
The Associated Press