Polygamous leader had 20 wives, many of them minors
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Authorities say the leader of a small polygamous group near the Arizona-Utah border had taken at least 20 wives and punished followers who didn't treat him as a prophet. An FBI affidavit released last Friday alleges that Samuel Bateman orchestrated sexual acts with followers and traded wives. It was filed in a case that charges three of his female followers with kidnapping children from state custody in Arizona and impeding a foreseeable prosecution. Two of the women appeared in federal court in Flagstaff on Wednesday and were ordered held. Bateman is facing state and federal charges of child abuse and tampering with evidence.
Christmas ornament honors gingerbread White House tradition
WASHINGTON (AP) — This year's White House Christmas ornament gives a nod to former first lady Patricia Nixon. It's in the shape of a gingerbread White House, and Nixon was the first first lady to include a gingerbread house as part of the White House holiday decorations. That tradition now includes construction each year of a hulking gingerbread White House that usually weighs several hundred pounds. The private White House Historical Association sells the annual Christmas ornaments, using the proceeds to help pay for the building's upkeep. First lady Jacqueline Kennedy created the association in 1961 to help preserve the executive mansion. The association’s popular annual Christmas ornament followed in 1981.
Juul reaches settlements covering thousands of lawsuits
Electronic cigarette maker Juul Labs has reached settlements covering more than 8,000 cases brought by about 10,000 plaintiffs related to its vaping products. Financial terms of the settlement were not disclosed, but Juul said that it has secured an equity investment to fund it. The company has been buffeted by lawsuits and chances that it would seek bankruptcy protection, or a buyer, were elevated last month as Juul announced hundreds of layoffs and secured new financing to continue operations.
Border Patrol agent dies in ATV accident during Texas patrol
MISSION, Texas (AP) — U.S. Customs and Border Patrol says an agent has died after being involved in an all-terrain vehicle accident while patrolling along the border in south Texas. The agency said in a statement that the accident happened around 1 a.m. Wednesday while the agent was tracking a group of people who had crossed the border illegally. The accident happened near Mission, Texas, along the border with Mexico. The statement says fellow agents found the man unresponsive. The agents began life-saving efforts and called an ambulance. The statement says the agent died at a hospital. The agency did not release the identity of the agent.
New Zealand court rules against anti-vax parents of ill baby
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — A New Zealand court has temporarily taken away medical custody of a baby from his parents after they refused blood transfusions for him unless the blood comes from donors who are unvaccinated against COVID-19. The court’s ruling in favor of health authorities places the 4-month-old boy into the guardianship of authorities until after he undergoes an urgently needed heart operation and recovers. The parents remain in charge of decisions about their boy that don’t relate to the operation. The parents’ legal battle has been embraced by anti-vaccine groups, who gathered outside the courtroom this week as evidence was presented.
Albania's last captive bear rescued to Austrian sanctuary
TIRANA, Albania (AP) — Albania’s last brown bear in captivity has been rescued by an international animal welfare organization and taken to a sanctuary in Austria. Four Paws on Wednesday began the long journey with the 24-year-old bear, named Mark, who had lived for 20 years in a cage in a restaurant in Tirana. He will be taken to the Arbesbach sanctuary in Austria, 150 kilometers (90 miles) west of Vienna . More than captive 30 bears kept next to restaurants and other public places in Albania have been rescued since 2015 and sent to sanctuaries or zoos in other countries.
Sharpton says film debuts at 'critical point' in US politics
NEW YORK (AP) — The Rev. Al Sharpton has been called a lot of names in his public life. He embraces at least one of the intended insults, a name often hurled by his critics on the right and the left: “Loudmouth.” That’s also the title of a two-hour documentary about the national civil rights leader debuting at theaters in 50 cities Friday. Sharpton’s brashness and combative style, deployed in his advocacy for victims and families seeking accountability over police brutality and racial injustices, are on full display as filmmakers trace his evolution from Brooklyn rabble-rouser to sought-after figure in the U.S. political arena. Sharpton said he hopes the film inspires up-and-coming generations of loudmouths.
Train collision in Spain hurts 155, no serious injuries
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Spanish officials say two trains have collided near Barcelona and 155 people were hurt. Emergency services for the Catalonia region said no one was seriously injured, although 39 people were taken to medical centers. The collision on Wednesday occurred on a train line in Montcada i Reixac, a town just north of Barcelona. Officials said that one passenger train was stopped when another ran into it from behind. Transport Minister Raquel Sánchez said that the causes of the incident were being investigated.
Zelenskyy and 'spirit of Ukraine' named Time person of year
LONDON (AP) — Time Magazine has named Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy its person of the year. It awarded him the accolade “for proving that courage can be as contagious as fear.” He was named alongside “the spirit of Ukraine.” Editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal said Wednesday that the choice was “the most clear-cut in memory.” The magazine also highlighted people said to embody the spirit of Ukraine. They include engineer Oleg Kutkov, who helped keep Ukraine connected; Olga Rudenko, editor of the Kyiv Independent; and British combat surgeon David Nott. Time’s annual selection has sparked debate and sometimes controversy since it began in 1927. The 2021 person of the year was Elon Musk.
Microsoft strikes 10-year deal with Nintendo on Call of Duty
LONDON (AP) — Microsoft has agreed to make the hit video game Call of Duty available on Nintendo for 10 years should its $69 billion purchase of game maker Activision Blizzard go through. The announcement Wednesday is an apparent attempt to fend off objections from rival Sony. The blockbuster merger is facing close scrutiny from global regulators. Microsoft, maker of the Xbox game console, faces resistance from Sony, which makes the competing PlayStation console. Sony has raised concerns with antitrust watchdogs about losing access to what it describes as a “must-have” game title. Microsoft President Brad Smith tweeted his thanks to Nintendo, which makes the Switch game console. He said the same deal was also available for Sony.
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