AP News Summary at 7:46 p.m. EDT | National News | #schoolshooting

Seven years of sex abuse: How Mormon officials let it happen

BISBEE, Ariz. (AP) — The Associated Press has obtained nearly 12,000 pages of sealed records from a child sex abuse lawsuit against the Mormon church. The documents offer the most detailed and comprehensive look yet at the church’s so-called “help line” for dealing with child sex abuse accusations against officials and members. Families of survivors who filed the lawsuit said they show it’s part of a system that can easily be misused by church leaders to divert abuse accusations away from law enforcement and instead to church attorneys who may bury the problem, leaving victims in harm’s way. One victim was 5 when her father told his bishop that he was sexually abusing her. The abuse went on for seven more years, while the bishop failed to report it to authorities.

Alex Jones ordered to pay Sandy Hook parents more than $4M

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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A Texas jury has ordered conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to pay more than $4 million in compensatory damages to the parents of a 6-year-old boy who was killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre over Jones’ repeated public claims that the attack was a hoax. The jury’s decision Thursday marks the first time the Infowars host has been held financially liable for falsely claiming that the attack that killed 20 children and six educators in Newtown, Connecticut, was staged. It might not be the last such judgment against him, as a judge in Connecticut has already ruled against him in a similar lawsuit. The Texas jury must still decide how much to award in punitive damages.

WNBA’s Griner convicted at drug trial, sentenced to 9 years

KHIMKI, Russia (AP) — A judge in Russia convicted American basketball star Brittney Griner of drug possession and smuggling. She was sentenced to nine years in prison in a politically charged case that could lead to a high-stakes prisoner exchange between Washington and Moscow. Griner showed little emotion to the sentence but her lawyers said later she was “very upset, very stressed.” U.S. President Joe Biden denounced as “unacceptable” the verdict and sentence, which came amid soaring tensions between the U.S. and Russia over Ukraine. Griner had told the court she had no intention to break the law by bringing vape cartridges with cannabis oil when she flew to Moscow to play basketball in the city of Yekaterinburg.

EXPLAINER: What will it take to get Brittney Griner home?

WASHINGTON (AP) — Now that WNBA star Brittney Griner has been convicted of drug possession and sentenced to nine years in prison, attention turns to the prospect of a prisoner swap between the United States and Russia that could get her home. Secretary of State Antony Blinken went public with that possibility last week, revealing in an unusual announcement that the U.S. had made a “substantial proposal” aimed at securing the release of Griner and another jailed American, Paul Whelan. With her court case concluded and her sentence pronounced, such a deal is Griner’s best chance of being freed early. A look at what’s at stake.

US declares public health emergency over monkeypox outbreak

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. has declared a public health emergency to bolster the federal response to the outbreak of monkeypox that already has infected more than 6,600 Americans. The announcement Thursday by the Department of Health and Human Services frees up federal funding and resources to fight the virus, which may cause fever, body aches, chills, fatigue and pimple-like bumps on many parts of the body. Xavier Becerra is the head of HHS. He says the agency is ready to take the U.S. response “to the next level.”

Feds charge 4 police officers in fatal Breonna Taylor raid

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The federal government has filed civil rights charges against four Louisville police officers over the drug raid that led to the death of Breonna Taylor. She was a Black woman whose fatal shooting in Kentucky helped fuel the racial justice protests that rocked the nation in 2020. Most of the charges stem from the faulty drug warrant used to search her home. The charges include unlawful conspiracy, use of force and obstruction of justice. Only one officer charged Thursday was on the scene the night of the killing. Taylor’s mother said she has waited years for police to be held accountable.

Dried blood and roses: Jury gets rare look at Parkland scene

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Jurors in the trial of Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz have toured the still-bloodstained building where he murdered 17 people four years ago. The 12 jurors and their 10 alternates were bused to Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Thursday along with the judge, prosecutors and Cruz’s attorneys. Cruz wasn’t present. The area was closed off to keep protesters away and protect jurors’ safety. The three-story classroom building was sealed after the Valentine’s Day 2018 shooting. The floors remain bloodstained and the walls bullet-pocked. Rotted holiday flowers and deflated balloons are in the rooms. The jury will decide if Cruz is sentenced to death or life without parole.

China conducts ‘precision missile strikes’ in Taiwan Strait

KEELUNG, Taiwan (AP) — China says it has conducted “precision missile strikes” in the Taiwan Strait as part of military exercises by its navy, air force and other departments in six zones surrounding the island. Japan says it protested to China after five of the missiles landed inside its Exclusive Economic Zone. The drills were prompted by a visit to the island by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this week. They are intended to advertise China’s threat to attack the self-governing island republic in response to moves to solidify its de facto independence from Chinese rule. Taiwan has put its military on alert and staged civil defense drills, while the U.S. has numerous naval assets in the area.

Twitter responds to Musk’s claims, calls them ‘excuses’

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Twitter denied in a court filing that it had deprived its would-be acquirer, billionaire and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, of necessary information or misrepresented details about its business. Musk originally made those charges to justify his attempt to back out of a $44 billion deal to buy the social platform. In a counterclaim filed Thursday, Twitter calls Musk’s reasoning “a story, imagined in an effort to escape a merger agreement that Musk no longer found attractive.” Musk’s counterclaim, which Twitter is responding to, has not been made public. A judge ruled on Wednesday that it will be made public by Friday.

South Korean spacecraft launched to the moon, country’s 1st

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — South Korea is on its way to the moon. SpaceX launched the Asian nation’s first lunar explorer Thursday evening from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The satellite is taking a long, roundabout path and will arrive in December. It’s designed to orbit the moon for at least a year, collecting scientific data. It will also scout out potential landing spots for a spacecraft that South Korea plans to launch by 2030 or so. NASA is up next with the debut of its new moon rocket in late August. The space agency wants to send an empty crew capsule around the moon in a test flight before astronauts climb aboard.

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