Royal fans give London tourism a bump amid UK economic woes
LONDON (AP) — Hotels, restaurants and shops are packed as royal fans pour into the heart of London to experience the flag-lined roads, pomp-filled processions and brave a mileslong line for the once-in-a-lifetime chance to bid adieu to Queen Elizabeth II. Visitors crowding into central London from as far away as the U.S. and India for the historic moment are giving a boost to businesses at a time when the British economy is facing a cost-of-living crisis fueled by the highest inflation in four decades and predictions of a looming recession. The overall economic boost might be limited because Monday has been declared a public holiday for the queen’s funeral. But experts said renewed interest in the royal family could sustain tourism demand.
King stands vigil; Wait to see queen’s coffin hits 24 hours
LONDON (AP) — A surging tide of people — ranging from London retirees to former England soccer captain David Beckham — have lined up to file past Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin as it lies in state at Parliament. So many have shown up that authorities called a temporary halt Friday to others joining the miles-long queue. The waiting line reopened late Friday afternoon. Still the British government warned the waiting time to see the queen’s coffin had climbed to more than 24 hours. King Charles III on Friday visited Llandaff Cathedral in Wales for a prayer service in honor of his late mother. Later in the evening, Charles and his three siblings stood vigil around queen’s flag-draped coffin in London.
Ukrainian president: Burial site contains torture victims
IZIUM, Ukraine (AP) — Investigators searching through a mass burial site in Ukraine have found evidence that some of the dead were tortured, including bodies with broken limbs and ropes around their necks. That’s according to Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskyy, who spoke Friday. The site near Izium was recently recaptured from Russian forces. It appears to be one of the largest of its kind discovered in Ukraine. Zelenskyy rushed out a video statement just hours after the exhumations began, apparently to underscore the gravity of the discovery.
Military intel chief says Putin can’t achieve Ukraine goal
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon’s intelligence chief says Russian forces have shown themselves incapable of achieving President Vladimir Putin’s initial objectives in Ukraine, as things stand now. Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier spoke on Friday to an intelligence and national security forum outside Washington. He said Putin is at a point where he will have to revise his initial aims in invading Ukraine. Berrier said what Putin decides next will determine how long the conflict continues. His comments followed Russian forces latest major setback, a Ukrainian offensive that drove Russians out of a large swath of northeast Ukraine. Putin on Friday vowed to keep pressing his offensive.
Voter challenges, records requests swamp election offices
Election conspiracy theorists are flooding local election offices with voter challenges and public records requests. The wave of inquiries is adding to the already heavy workload those offices face as they scramble to prepare for November’s elections. Election officials say many of the challenges they’re receiving contest the presence on voter rolls of people who already are being removed or have the right to be registered. At a minimum, it takes time for election offices to record all the challenges. And if some of the targeted voters cast ballots in November, there could be a fight over whether to count their votes.
Abrams’ strategy to boost turnout: Early voting commitments
DECATUR, Ga. (AP) — Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams is launching an intensive effort to get out the vote by urging potential supporters to cast in-person ballots the first week of early voting as she tries to navigate the state’s new election laws. The strategy, outlined to The Associated Press by Abrams’ top aides, is a shift from 2018, when she spent generously in her first gubernatorial bid to encourage voters to use mail ballots. It also moves away from Democrats’ pandemic-era emphasis on mail voting, a push that delivered Georgia’s electoral votes to President Joe Biden and helped Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff win concurrent U.S. Senate runoffs.
US asks appeals court to lift judge’s Mar-a-Lago probe hold
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department has asked a federal appeals court to lift a judge’s order that temporarily barred it from reviewing a batch of classified documents seized during an FBI search of former President Donald Trump’s Florida home last month. The department made the request Friday with the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Atlanta. It says the judge’s hold is impeding the “government’s efforts to protect the nation’s security” and interfering with its investigation into the presence of top-secret information at Mar-a-Lago. It says the hold needs to be lifted immediately so work can resume.
Trump openly embraces, amplifies QAnon conspiracy theories
Donald Trump is increasingly embracing and endorsing the QAnon conspiracy theory, even as the number of frightening real-world events linked to the movement rises. Using his Truth Social platform, Trump this week reposted an image of himself overlaid with the words “the Storm is Coming.” In QAnon lore, the storm refers to Trump’s final victory, when his opponents supposedly will be tried and possibly executed. It’s among dozens of recent Q-related posts from the Republican former president, who also ended a rally with a QAnon song. Experts who study QAnon say Trump may be trying to rally his most stalwart supporters as investigations into his conduct escalate.
Biden meets with families of Whelan, Griner at White House
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden met with family members of WNBA star Brittney Griner and another American detained in Russia, Paul Whelan. The meetings Friday at the White House are the first face-to-face encounter between the president and the relatives of Griner and Whelan. Administration officials say the sessions are meant to underscore Biden’s commitment to bringing home Americans held overseas and to establish a personal connection, but are not an indication that negotiations with Russia for their release have reached a breakthrough. A national security spokesman told reporters Friday that the U.S. had made a serious offer to get the Americans home but the Russians had not responded to that offer.
Surprise is key part of migrant travel from Florida, Texas
EDGARTOWN, Mass. (AP) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis took the playbook of a fellow Republican, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, to a new level by catching officials flat-footed in Martha’s Vineyard with two planeloads of Venezuelan migrants. An immigration attorney says the migrants had “no idea of where they were going or where they were.” Providing little or no information is part of the plan. On Friday, the migrants were being moved voluntarily to a military base on nearby Cape Cod. Before going to the wealthy Massachusetts island, a woman in San Antonio showered them with gifts and promised jobs and housing.
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