AP News Summary at 9:41 a.m. EST

FBI tested by attacks, politically explosive investigations

WASHINGTON (AP) — The FBI finds itself in a challenging moment as it conducts simultaneous investigations involving classified documents held by former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden. The dual inquiries are both overseen by Justice Department special counsels and are unfolding in a hyper-partisan environment as election season nears and as Republicans use their new House majority to investigate the FBI and attack its credibility. In an interview with The Associated Press this week, FBI Director Christopher Wray acknowledged that it was a tough time for the FBI. But he downplayed the impact that the “noise” had on the FBI’s day-to-day work, on morale or on its relationship to other law enforcement agencies.

Survivors of deadly Mexico abduction returned to US

CIUDAD VICTORIA, Mexico (AP) — Officials say two survivors of a deadly abduction in Mexico are back on U.S. soil. They were brought to a hospital in Brownsville, Texas, on Tuesday. Two other Americans were killed after the group got caught in a drug cartel shootout last week. Officials say the group was on a road trip to Mexico for one of them to get cosmetic surgery. The Americans were hauled away in a truck. The region’s governor said Mexican authorities frantically searched as the cartel moved them around. They were eventually found Tuesday in a remote area near the Gulf coast in a wood shack.

Germany cautious over Nord Stream pipeline attack reports

BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s defense minister has voiced caution over media reports that a pro-Ukraine group was involved in blowing up the Nord Stream gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea last year. German daily newspaper Die Zeit and public broadcasters ARD and SWR reported Tuesday that investigators were able to largely reconstruct how the pipelines from Russia to Germany were sabotaged in September. The news outlets reported that five men and a woman used a yacht hired by a Ukrainian-owned company in Poland to carry out the attack. The Ukrainian government has denied involvement. German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said Wednesday that he read the news reports “with great interest” but warned against drawing hasty conclusions.

Elon Musk apologizes after mocking laid-off Twitter employee

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — If you’re not told you are fired, are you really fired? At Twitter, probably. Haraldur Thorleifsson, who until recently was employed at Twitter, logged in to his computer last Sunday to do some work, only to find himself locked out. He might have figured, as others before him have in the chaotic months of layoffs and firings since Elon Musk took over the company, that he was out of a job. Instead, after nine days of no answer from Twitter as to whether or not he was still employed, Thorleifsson decided to tweet at Musk to see if he could get an answer.

Int’l Women’s Day events highlight gaps in gender equality

MADRID (AP) — People around the world are demonstrating, attending conferences and enjoying artistic events to mark International Women’s Day. While activists in some nations noted advances, repression in countries such as Afghanistan and Iran, and the large numbers of women and girls who experience sexual assaults and domestic violence worldwide highlighted the struggle to secure equality for half of the planet’s population. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres noted this week that progress won over decades is vanishing because “the patriarchy is fighting back.” Women marched in Pakistan, the Philippines, Kyrgyzstan, Germany, Italy and many other countries on Wednesday. Activists in Japan demanded the government to allow married couples to keep using different surnames.

Fox chair Murdoch says 2020 election was fair: court filings

NEW YORK (AP) — Fox Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch said under oath that he believes the 2020 presidential election was free, fair and not stolen. That’s according to court filings released Tuesday in a voting machine company’s defamation lawsuit over Fox News’ coverage of former President Donald Trump’s unfounded election fraud claims. In sworn questioning in January by lawyers for Dominion Voting Systems, Murdoch was asked, “Do you believe that the 2020 presidential election was free and fair?” He replied, “Yes,” and he later said, “The election was not stolen.” Fox says Dominion, which is suing for $1.6 billion, is misrepresenting remarks by Fox hosts and leaders to paint a picture of a company that threw truth aside to keep its audience.

US judge strikes down Missouri gun law as unconstitutional

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri law banning local police from enforcing federal gun laws has been struck down as unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge Brian Wimes on Tuesday tossed the law. The law forbid local police from enforcing federal gun laws that don’t have an equivalent state law. The U.S. Justice Department says the law wreaked havoc with crime-fighting partnerships with Missouri law enforcement. The state’s Republican-led legislature passed the law in 2021. GOP lawmakers who pushed the law said they were motivated by potential new gun restrictions under Democratic President Joe Biden, who signed a sweeping gun violence bill last year.

Oklahoma voters reject legalizing recreational marijuana

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma voters have rejected a state question to allow recreational use of marijuana. The state question was the only issue on the ballot Tuesday. It would have legalized pot for those over the age of 21. Oklahoma would have been the 22nd state to legalize adult use of cannabis. It would have been among the most conservative to do so. Similar proposals were rejected last year in Arkansas, North Dakota and South Dakota. The state already has one of the most robust medical marijuana programs in the country. The question was opposed by various religious leaders, law enforcement and prosecutors. They argued more legal marijuana would harm children and lead to more crime.

Adidas earnings take beating on breakup with Ye, China slump

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Adidas’ breakup with the rapper formerly known as Kanye West and the inability to sell his popular Yeezy line of shoes helped batter earnings at the end of last year. The German shoe and sportswear maker said Wednesday that higher supply costs and slumping revenue in China also helped lead to a net loss of 513 million euros or $540 million in the fourth quarter. That contrasts with a profit of 213 million euros in the same period a year ago. More losses could be ahead as the company forecast a 500 million-euro hit to earnings going forward this year if it decides not to repurpose the remaining Yeezy products it has in stock.

‘Stranger at the Gate,’ an Oscar nominee on love after hate

Angry and filled with hate for Muslims, Richard McKinney once wanted to plant an explosive device outside the Islamic Center of Muncie in Indiana. The interactions with congregation members and the kindness that the tattooed veteran has encountered helped change not just his plans, but his life’s course. That story of transformation and improbable bonds is chronicled in “Stranger at the Gate,” which is nominated for best documentary short film for the 95th Academy Awards. Director Joshua Seftel calls it a story of love conquering hate. Seftel says his inspiration for telling tales about Muslim Americans that defy negative stereotypes is rooted in his memories of the antisemitism he’s encountered, especially while growing up.

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.