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Long lines are back at US food banks as inflation hits high

PHOENIX (AP) — Long lines are back at food banks around the US as working Americans overwhelmed by inflation turn to handouts to help feed their families.

With gas prices soaring along with grocery costs, many people are seeking charitable food for the first time, and more are arriving on foot.

Inflation in the US is at a 40-year high and gas prices have been surging since April 2020, with the average cost nationwide briefly hitting $5 a gallon in June. Rapidly rising rents and an end to federal COVID-19 relief have also taken a financial toll.

The food banks, which had started to see some relief as people returned to work after pandemic shutdowns, are struggling to meet the latest need even as federal programs provide less food to distribute, grocery store donations wane and cash gifts don’t go nearly as far.

Tomasina John was among hundreds of families lined up in several lanes of cars that went around the block one recent day outside St. Mary’s Food Bank in Phoenix. John said her family of her had never visited a food bank before because her husband of her had easily supported her and their four children of her with his construction work of him.

Biden, Lapid agree to stop Iran nuke program, differ on how

JERUSALEM (AP) — US President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid stood side-by-side Thursday and declared they would not allow Iran to become a nuclear power. They parted ways, though, on how to get there.

Biden, in a joint news conference after a one-on-one meeting with the Israeli leader, said he still wants to give diplomacy a chance. Moments earlier, Lapid insisted that words alone won’t thwart Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.

While Biden suggested his patience with Iran was running low, he held out hope that Iran can be persuaded to rejoin a dormant deal intended to prevent it from building a nuclear weapon.

“I continue to believe that diplomacy is the best way to achieve this outcome,” Biden said on the second day of a four-day visit to Israel and Saudi Arabia. It’s his first trip from him to the Middle East as president.

Biden’s emphasis on a diplomatic solution contrasted with Lapid, who said Iran must face a real threat of force before it will agree to give up on its nuclear ambitions.

Ivana Trump, first wife of former president, dies at 73

NEW YORK (AP) — Ivana Trump, a skier-turned-businesswoman who formed half of a publicity power couple in the 1980s as the first wife of former President Donald Trump and mother of his oldest children, has died in New York City, her family announced Thursday. She was 73.

The former president posted on his social media app that she had died at her New York City home.

“She was a wonderful, beautiful, and amazing woman, who led a great and inspirational life,” he wrote on Truth Social. The couple shared three children, Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric.

“She was so proud of them, as we were all so proud of her,” he wrote. “Rest In Peace, Ivana!”

Two people familiar with the matter told The Associated Press that police are investigating whether Ivana Trump fell down the stairs and believe her death was accidental.

Alex Murdaugh charged with murder in deaths of wife, son

COLUMBIA, SC (AP) — More than 13 months after disgraced South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh called 911 after finding his wife and son shot outside their home, a grand jury indicted him Thursday on murder charges in their killings.

But the legal documents shed little light on the ongoing mystery over the deaths that captivated the public, who have clicked on hundreds of stories and podcasts detailing the dozens of other criminal charges that have piled up in the months since Murdaugh’s wife Maggie, 52, and their 22-year-old son, Paul, were killed on June 7, 2021.

Murdaugh, 54, has repeatedly denied any role in the deaths, saying he was visiting his mother and ailing father and discovered his son and wife slain when he returned to their estate.

“Alex wants his family, friends and everyone to know that he did not have anything to do with the murders of Maggie and Paul. I have loved them more than anything in the world,” Murdaugh defense attorneys Jim Griffin and Dick Harpootlian said in a statement.

Each murder indictment was one paragraph with exactly one new detail, accusing Murdaugh of killing his wife with a rifle and his son with a shotgun. They include no details on how police linked Murdaugh to the deaths after 13 months of investigation or why a man who had no criminal history and was part of a wealthy, well-connected family that dominated the legal community in tiny Hampton County might have wanted to kill his own family members.

Russian missiles kill at least 23 in Ukraine, wound over 100

VINNYTSIA, Ukraine (AP) — Russian missiles struck a city in central Ukraine on Thursday, killing at least 23 people and wounding more than 100 others, Ukrainian authorities said. Ukraine’s president accused Russia of deliberately targeting civilians in locations without military value.

Officials said Kalibr cruise missiles fired from a Russian submarine in the Black Sea struck a medical center, stores and residential buildings in Vinnytsia, a city 268 kilometers (167 miles) southwest of the capital, Kyiv. Vinnytsia region Gov. Serhiy Borzov said Ukrainian air defenses downed two of the four incoming Russian missiles.

National Police Chief Ihor Klymenko said only six bodies had been identified so far, while 39 people were still missing. Three children younger than 10 where among the dead. Of the 66 people hospitalized, five remained in critical condition while 34 sustained severe injuries, Ukraine’s State Emergency Service said.

“It was a building of a medical organization. When the first rocket hit it, glass fell from my windows,” said Vinnytsia resident Svitlana Kubas, 74. “And when the second wave came, it was so deafening that my head is still buzzing. It tore out the very outermost door, tore it right through the holes.”

Along with hitting buildings, the missiles ignited a fire that spread to 50 cars in a parking lot, officials said.

GOP governors mulling 2024 run aren’t rushing abortion laws

SIOUX FALLS, SD (AP) — Gov. Kristi Noem had pledged to “immediately” call a special legislative session to “guarantee that every unborn child has a right to life in South Dakota” if the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. But nearly three weeks after that ruling, the first-term Republican remains unusually quiet about exactly what she wants lawmakers to pass.

Noem, widely considered a potential 2024 presidential candidate, isn’t the only GOP governor with national ambitions who followed up calls for swift action with hesitance when justices ended the constitutional right to abortion that had been in place for nearly 50 years.

In Arkansas, which like South Dakota had an abortion ban immediately triggered by the court’s ruling, Gov. Asa Hutchinson has said he does not plan to put abortion on the agenda of next month’s special session focused on tax cuts. And in Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis, a top potential White House contender also running for reelection, has shied away from detailing whether he will push to completely ban abortions despite a pledge to “expand pro-life protections.”

Noem has given no indication of the date, proposals or whether a special session will even happen to anyone beyond a small group of Statehouse leaders. When asked whether the governor still plans to call lawmakers back to the Capitol, her office de ella this week referred to a June statement that indicated it was being planned for “later this year.”

It’s a change of tack from when the Supreme Court’s decision first leaked in May and the governor fired off a tweet saying she would “immediately call for a special session to save lives” if Roe was overturned. The enthusiasm placed Noem, the first woman to hold the governor’s office in South Dakota, in a prominent spot in the anti-abortion movement.

Italian Premier’s resignation is rebuffed — for now

ROME (AP) — Italian Premier Mario Draghi offered to step down Thursday after a populist coalition partner refused to vote for a key bill in Parliament, but the nation’s president quickly rebuffed him, leaving one of Western Europe’s main leaders at the helm for now.

The rejection of the tendered resignation left in limbo the future of Draghi’s 17-month-old government, officially known as a national unity coalition, but with its survival sorely tested by increasingly sharp divergences within the coalition.

Draghi’s broad coalition government — which includes parties from the right, the left, the center and the populist 5-Star Movement — was designed to help Italy recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

Hours earlier Thursday, Draghi and his government won a confidence vote, 172-39, in the Senate despite the refusal by the 5-Star Movement to back the bill, which earmarked 26 billion euros (dollars) to help consumers and industries struggling with soaring energy prices. But the dramatic snub, orchestrated by 5-Star leader Giuseppe Conte, Draghi’s predecessor, did its damage.

Shortly before heading to the Quirinal presidential palace to tender his resignation, Draghi declared: “The majority of national unity that has sustained this government from its creation doesn’t exist any more.”

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