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AP News in Brief at 6:04 p.m. EDT

Car blast kills daughter of Russian known as ‘Putin’s brain’

MOSCOW (AP) — The daughter of an influential Russian political theorist often referred to as “Putin’s brain” was killed in a car bombing on the outskirts of Moscow, authorities said Sunday.

The Moscow branch of the Russian Investigative Committee said preliminary information indicated 29-year-old TV commentator Daria Dugina was killed by an explosive planted in the SUV she was driving Saturday night.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility. But the bloodshed gave rise to suspicions that the intended target was her father, Alexander Dugin, a nationalist philosopher and writer.

Dugin is a prominent proponent of the “Russian world” concept, a spiritual and political ideology that emphasizes traditional values, the restoration of Russia’s power and the unity of all ethnic Russians throughout the world. He is also a vehement supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s move sending troops into Ukraine.

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The explosion took place as his daughter was returning from a cultural festival she had attended with him. Russian media reports cited witnesses as saying the SUV belonged to Dugin and that he had decided at the last minute to travel in another vehicle.

Polio in US, UK and Israel reveals rare risk of oral vaccine

LONDON (AP) — For years, global health officials have used billions of drops of an oral vaccine in a remarkably effective campaign aimed at wiping out polio in its last remaining strongholds — typically, poor, politically unstable corners of the world.

Now, in a surprising twist in the decades-long effort to eradicate the virus, authorities in Jerusalem, New York and London have discovered evidence that polio is spreading there.

The original source of the virus? The oral vaccine itself.

Scientists have long known about this extremely rare phenomenon. That is why some countries have switched to other polio vaccines. But these incidental infections from the oral formula are becoming more glaring as the world inches closer to eradication of the disease and the number of polio cases caused by the wild, or naturally circulating, virus plummets.

Since 2017, there have been 396 cases of polio caused by the wild virus, versus more than 2,600 linked to the oral vaccine, according to figures from the World Health Organization and its partners.

Russia’s war at 6 months: A global economy in growing danger

MECKENHEIM, Germany (AP) — Martin Kopf needs natural gas to run his family’s company, Zinkpower GmbH, which rustproofs steel components in western Germany.

Zinkpower’s facility outside Bonn uses gas to keep 600 tons of zinc worth 2.5 million euros ($2.5 million) in a molten state every day. The metal will harden otherwise, wrecking the tank where steel parts are dipped before they end up in car suspensions, buildings, solar panels and wind turbines.

Six months after Russia invaded Ukraine, the consequences are posing a devastating threat to the global economy, including companies like Zinkpower, which employs 2,800 people. Gas is not only much more costly, it might not be available at all if Russia completely cuts off supplies to Europe to avenge Western sanctions, or if utilities can’t store enough for winter.

Germany may have to impose gas rationing that could cripple industries from steelmaking to pharmaceuticals to commercial laundries. “If they say, we’re cutting you off, all my equipment will be destroyed,” said Kopf, who’ also chairs Germany’s association of zinc galvanizing firms.

Governments, businesses and families worldwide are feeling the war’s economic effects just two years after the coronavirus pandemic ravaged global trade. Inflation is soaring, and rocketing energy costs have raised the prospect of a cold, dark winter. Europe stands at the brink of recession.

Court puts on hold Graham’s testimony in Ga. election probe

ATLANTA (AP) — A federal appeals court on Sunday agreed to temporarily put on hold a lower court’s order requiring that U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham testify before a special grand jury that’s investigating possible illegal efforts to overturn then-President Donald Trump’s 2020 election loss in Georgia.

A subpoena had instructed the South Carolina Republican to appear before the special grand jury on Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge Leigh Martin May last Monday denied Graham’s request to quash his subpoena and on Friday rejected his effort to put her decision on hold while he appealed. Graham’s lawyers then appealed to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

On Sunday, a three-judge panel of the appeals court issued the order temporarily pausing May’s order declining to quash the subpoena. The panel sent the case back to May to decide whether the subpoena should be partially quashed or modified because of protections granted to members of Congress by the U.S. Constitution.

Once May decides that issue, the case will return to the 11th Circuit for further consideration, according to the appeals court order.

Trump’s long shadow keeps 2024 hopefuls from Iowa State Fair

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Texas Sen. Ted Cruz raised the roasted turkey leg like a sword in his Iowa State Fair debut in 2014, the up-and-coming conservative joining a half-dozen other Republican presidential prospects in strolling the Grand Concourse.

Four years later, almost as many Democrats made the pilgrimage to the fair, including former U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, who snaked his way past tables under the Iowa Pork Producer’s tent at the annual Midwestern tribute to overindulgence.

But as the 2022 fair entered its final weekend, the 2024 traffic was noticeably light.

It speaks to the careful dance that potential presidential candidates are attempting as Democrats remain uncertain about President Joe Biden’s political future and many Republicans avoid taking on former President Donald Trump. Several would-be GOP candidates have quietly made political inroads in the first-in-the-nation nominating state, but they’ve done so by campaigning with Iowa candidates, not by being so obvious as to stand on straw bales at a perennial stop for White House hopefuls.

“There’s a bit of a Trump effect going on. They are still coming here. But they know there needs to be that emphasis that they are here for Iowa Republican candidates,” said Michael Bousselot, a former top aide to Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds and now a Des Moines-area GOP state representative. “The fair is more in-your-face campaigning. If you’re too overeager, people might say, ‘Whoa, President Trump is still the guy.’"

DC’s pioneering ‘Baby Bonds’ plan aims to narrow wealth gap

WASHINGTON (AP) — Aaliyah Manning’s dreams of becoming a psychologist ended abruptly during her freshman year at Potomac State in West Virginia when the cost of continuing her education became overwhelming.

“The money just wasn’t there,” she said. “I knew I wasn’t going to finish so I just had fun.”

After a year, Manning, 25, was back in the nation’s capital working fast food jobs. Now she lives largely on public assistance in a two-bedroom apartment with her boyfriend, his mother and his 9-year-old daughter from another relationship. She still has student debt and there’s a baby boy on the way.

She sees a brighter future for that baby, thanks to a landmark social program being pioneered in Washington. Called “Baby Bonds,” the program will provide children of the city’s poorest families with up to $25,000 when they reach adulthood. The money is to be used for a handful of purposes, including education.

“It would be such a different opportunity for him, a lot different than what I had,” Manning said of her soon-to-arrive baby.

Defense in school shooter’s trial set to present its case

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — The prosecution spent three weeks telling jurors how Nikolas Cruz murdered 14 students and three staff members at a Florida high school four years ago. Now his attorneys will get their chance to present why they believe he did it, hoping to get him sentenced to life without parole instead of death.

Melisa McNeill, Cruz’s lead public defender, is expected to give her opening statement Monday, having deferred its presentation from the start of the trial a month ago.

She and her team will then begin laying out their 23-year-old client’s life history: his birth mother’s abuse of alcohol and cocaine during her pregnancy, leading to possible fetal alcohol syndrome; his severe mental and emotional problems; his alleged sexual abuse by a “trusted peer;” the bullying he endured; and his adoptive father’s death when he was 5 and his adoptive mother’s four months before his Feb. 14, 2018, attack at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

McNeill’s decision to delay her opening statement appeared part of a broader strategy to not deny or lessen anything prosecutors told jurors about Cruz’s massacre — he pleaded guilty in October to 17 counts of first-degree murder. This trial is only to decide his sentence; the seven-man, five woman jury will consider whether the prosecution’s aggravating circumstances “outweigh” the defense’s mitigating factors.

The defense is “going to say, ‘Look, you saw what happened — we are not going to argue that. It was horrible, that was awful, that was horrific, whatever adjectives you want to use,” said David S. Weinstein, a Miami defense attorney and former prosecutor. But then the defense will add: “He never had a chance and, because of that, his poor victims never had a chance.’”

On Ukraine’s front line, a fight to save premature babies

POKROVSK, Ukraine (AP) — Echoing down the corridors of eastern Ukraine’s Pokrovsk Perinatal Hospital are the loud cries of tiny Veronika.

Born nearly two months prematurely weighing 1.5 kilograms (3 pounds, 4 ounces), the infant receives oxygen through a nasal tube to help her breathe while ultraviolet lamps inside an incubator treat her jaundice.

Dr. Tetiana Myroshnychenko carefully connects the tubes that allow Veronika to feed on her mother’s stored breast milk and ease her hunger.

Before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February, three hospitals in government-controlled areas of the country’s war-torn Donetsk region had facilities to care for premature babies. One was hit by a Russian airstrike and the other had to close as a result of the fighting ‒ leaving only the maternity hospital in the coal mining town of Pokrovsk still operating.

Myroshnychenko, the site’s only remaining neonatologist, now lives at the hospital. Her 3-year-old son divides the week between staying at the facility and with his father, a coal miner, at home.

After years of scrutiny of NY detective, a case gets retried

NEW YORK (AP) — In the bloody years when killings peaked in New York City, Detective Louis Scarcella built a reputation for closing cases.

A second-generation cop who smoked cigars, ran marathons, worked a side job at a Coney Island amusement park and jokingly put “adventurer” on his business card, the now-retired sleuth has been frank about lying to suspects, even praying with them, to elicit information. In the 1980s and ’90s, he got confession after confession. Prosecutors got conviction after conviction.

But in the past nine years, nearly 20 murder and other convictions have been tossed out after defendants accused Scarcella of coercing or inducing false confessions and bogus witness identifications, which he denies. The same prosecutor’s office that won those convictions ended up repudiating most of them.

Yet the Brooklyn district attorney has stood by many other cases the detective worked on. For the first time, prosecutors are now retrying one of those long-ago cases.

“This defendant is still guilty,” prosecutor Chow Yun Xie said at the retrial of Eliseo DeLeon, who says he is innocent. DeLeon’s murder conviction was overturned in 2019 after he spent 24 years behind bars.

Lopez and Affleck celebrate marriage with friends, family

Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck said “I do” again this weekend.

But instead of in a late night Las Vegas drive through chapel, this time it was in front of friends and family in Georgia, a person close to the couple who was not authorized to speak publicly said Sunday.

According to People Magazine, the wedding was held at Affleck’s home outside of Savannah, Georgia, with all of their kids present for the proceedings on Saturday.

The celebrity couple were officially married last month in Las Vegas, which Lopez shared with fans in her “On the J Lo” newsletter.

“Love is beautiful. Love is kind. And it turns out love is patient. Twenty years patient,” Lopez wrote last month, signing off as Jennifer Lynn Affleck.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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