AP News Summary at 10:21 a.m. EDT

China’s loans pushing world’s poorest countries to brink of collapse

A dozen poor countries are facing economic instability and even collapse under the weight of hundreds of billions of dollars in foreign loans, much of them from the world’s biggest and most unforgiving government lender, China. An Associated Press analysis of a dozen countries most indebted to China — including Pakistan, Kenya, Zambia and Mongolia — found payments on the debt are consuming an ever-greater amount of the tax revenue needed to provide basic services. And it’s draining foreign currency reserves these countries use to pay interest on those loans, leaving some with just months before that money is gone.

Documents leak suspect had been warned about handling of classified information, prosecutors say

BOSTON (AP) — Prosecutors say that superiors of the Massachusetts Air National guardsman charged with leaking highly classified military documents had raised concerns internally on multiple occasions about his handling or viewing of classified information. Justice Department lawyers made the disclosure Wednesday in a court papers urging a magistrate judge to keep Jack Teixeira behind bars while he awaits trial in the case stemming from the most consequential intelligence leak in years. Prosecutors say Teixeira continued leaking documents even after he was admonished by superiors on two separate occasions last year over “concerning actions” he took related to classified information.

8-year-old girl dies in Border Patrol custody in Harlingen, Texas, as agency seeks to ease crowding

HARLINGEN, Texas (AP) — U.S. authorities say an 8-year-old girl died Wednesday in Border Patrol custody, a rare occurrence that comes as the agency struggles with overcrowding. Customs and Border Protection says the child and her family were being held at a station in Harlingen, Texas, in Rio Grande Valley, one of the busiest corridors for illegal crossings. The agency says the girl experienced “a medical emergency” and was taken to a nearby hospital, where she died. It did not disclose her nationality or provide additional information about the incident.

Harry and Meghan’s run-in with paparazzi is another episode in their battle with the media

LONDON (AP) — The latest chapter in the drama surrounding Prince Harry and Meghan’s treatment by the tabloid media was much ado about something. But exactly what happened in New York when the royals were followed by a group of photographers was not completely clear. What was evident is that the pursuit would likely only fuel Harry’s fury with the media as well as his greatest fear that his wife could meet the same fate as his mother, Princess Diana. Diana died in a car crash while being chased by paparazzi. The couple’s representatives claimed they had been pursued by paparazzi in a “near catastrophic car chase” through the streets of Manhattan. Police said the pursuit was relatively short, led to no injuries, collisions or arrests and warranted no further investigation.

Montana governor bans TikTok. But can the state enforce the law?

NEW YORK (AP) — Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte on Wednesday signed into law a first-of-its kind bill that makes it illegal for TikTok to operate in the state. The law would have much more far-reaching effects than bans already in place in nearly half the states and the U.S. federal government that prohibit use of the app on government devices. The new rules are expected to face legal challenges. And experts say it will be extremely difficult to enforce, if not impossible. A TikTok spokesperson says the company has 200,000 users in Montana as well as 6,000 businesses who use the platform.

South Carolina moves closer to abortion ban, a Southern trend that puts pressure on Virginia

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — As more Southern states pass new restrictions on abortion, Virginia is poised to become an outlier in the region for its relatively permissive laws. That could set up Virginia as a destination for women seeking abortions and raise questions about providers’ capacity to meet demand. South Carolina is among the last bastions in the region for those seeking legal abortions, but that status could end soon. Access would be almost entirely banned after about six weeks of pregnancy under a bill expected that passed the House Wednesday but still needs Senate approval. And most abortions after 12 weeks will be banned in North Carolina after the state legislature successfully overrode the Democratic governor’s veto Tuesday.

DeSantis signs bills targeting drag shows, transgender kids and the use of bathrooms and pronouns

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida is banning gender-affirming care for minors, effective immediately. Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a series of anti-LGBTQ+ bills on Wednesday. Others address drag shows and how schools handle the use of personal pronouns and bathrooms. Planned Parenthood immediately started canceling appointments for gender-affirming health care. DeSantis has promoted anti-LGBTQ+ legislation as he prepares to seek the GOP presidential nomination. His bill-signing ceremony at an evangelical Christian school had a campaign-like feel, with DeSantis throwing Sharpies to a cheering crowd. State Sen. Shevrin Jones, who is gay, said the governor chose a setting where he was likely to get praise for bigotry.

Saving the farm: Heartland clergy train to prevent agriculture workers’ suicides

LAKE BENTON, Minn. (AP) — Factors largely outside of farmers’ control – from the increasingly unpredictable weather to growing costs of everything from fuel to loans – make the threat of losing the beloved family farm a constant worry. That’s been affecting mental health and driving an uptick in suicides among agricultural workers. So heartland states like Minnesota and South Dakota are training rural clergy in suicide prevention, teaching pastors how to start conversations about mental health and how to respond to them. Dozens of faith leaders are learning to destigmatize seeking help for mental health among particularly self-reliant and proud congregations, so that they can stay healthy and continue to grow the crops and raise the livestock that feed people across the United States and beyond.

‘Indiana Jones’ debut is one of the most anticipated moments at Cannes Film Festival

CANNES, France (AP) — Indiana Jones and Harrison Ford will swing into Cannes on Thursday for the world premiere of “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” in one of the most anticipated events of the French Riviera festival. Ford, who has said “Dial of Destiny” will be his last performance as the character, is also set to receive an honorary Palme d’Or from the Cannes Film Festival. Last year, Cannes feted “Top Gun Maverick” and Tom Cruise in a similar manner. It’s not the first “Indiana Jones” film to bow in Cannes. The fourth installment, “Indiana and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” launched at the 2008 edition of the festival.

Surf’s up! Florida’s St. George Island beach named nation’s best in annual ranking

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — A 9-mile stretch of Florida sugar-white sand in an unspoiled natural setting alongside the Gulf of Mexico is the nation’s best beach for 2023. That’s according to an annual ranking released by a university professor known as “Dr. Beach.” The state park on St. George Island just off the Florida Panhandle drew the top honor Thursday from Stephen Leatherman, professor in the Department of Earth & Environment at Florida International University. This year’s top 10 list marks the 33rd year Leatherman has rated America’s beaches. St. George Island is frequently on the list. Leatherman said what set it apart this year is its natural beauty, lack of development and abundant activities including fishing, swimming, kayaking, cycling, camping and an unparalleled view for stargazers.

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