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AP News Summary at 10:53 p.m. EDT

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Dems' climate, energy, tax bill clears initial Senate hurdle

WASHINGTON (AP) — A divided Senate has voted to start debating Democrats’ election-year economic bill. The sprawling measure contains many of President Joe Biden’s climate, energy, health and tax goals. United Democrats pushed the 755-page measure through the Senate on a party-line vote. That was a preview of votes on what is expected to be a mountain of amendments, mostly from Republicans trying to derail the legislation. The package is a dwindled version of earlier multitrillion-dollar bills from Biden that Democrats failed to advance. The measure has become a partisan battleground over inflation, gasoline prices and other issues that polls show are driving voters.

Alex Jones’ $49.3M verdict and the future of misinformation

Infowars conspiracy theorist Alex Jones is facing a hefty price tag for his lies about the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre — $49.3 million in damages and counting — for claiming the nation’s deadliest school shooting was a hoax. The verdict is the first of three Sandy Hook-related cases against Jones to be decided and a punishing salvo in a fledgling war on harmful misinformation. But what does it mean for the larger misinformation ecosystem of election denial, COVID-19 skepticism and other dubious claims that Jones helped build? Courts have held that defamatory statements against a person or a business aren’t protected as free speech, but lies about things like science, history and the government are.

Israel, militants trade fire as Gaza death toll climbs to 24

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israeli airstrikes have flattened homes in Gaza and Palestinian rocket barrages into southern Israel are persisting for a second day, raising fears of another major escalation in the Mideast conflict. Gaza’s health ministry said on Saturday that 24 people had been killed so far in the coastal strip, including six children and two women. The fighting began with Israel’s targeted killing of a senior commander of the militant Islamic Jihad group on Friday. Gaza’s Hamas rulers so far appear to be staying on the sidelines, keeping the conflict's intensity somewhat contained, for now. The Israeli military says an errant rocket fired Saturday by Palestinian militants killed civilians, including children, in northern Gaza.

Musk says Twitter deal could move ahead with 'bot' info

Elon Musk said Saturday his planned $44 billion takeover of Twitter should move forward if the company can confirm some details about how it measures whether user accounts are ‘spam bots’ or real people. The billionaire and Tesla CEO has been trying to back out of his April agreement to buy the social media company, leading Twitter to sue him last month to complete the acquisition. Musk countersued, accusing Twitter of misleading his team about the true size of its user base and other problems he said amounted to fraud and breach of contract. Both sides are headed toward an October trial in a Delaware court.

Biden team, Eli Lilly condemn new Indiana abortion ban

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Eli Lilly and Co. and the administration of President Joe Biden have condemned Indiana’s new ban on abortions. White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre in a statement Saturday said Indiana's Republican legislators have “put personal health care decisions in the hands of politicians rather than women and their doctors.” Lilly says it's concerned the law will hinder the company's and Indiana’s “ability to attract diverse scientific, engineering and business talent from around the world.” The law lifts the ban in cases of rape or incest and to protect the life and physical health of the mother. It takes effect Sept. 15.

17 missing, 121 hurt, 1 dead in fire at Cuban oil facility

HAVANA (AP) — Cuban authorities say a fire set off by a lightning strike at an oil storage facility is raging uncontrolled in the city of Matanzas, where four explosions and flames injured 121 people and left 17 firefighters missing. An unidentified body was found late Saturday. Officials say firefighters and other specialists are still trying to quell the blaze at the Matanzas Supertanker Base, where the fire began during a thunderstorm Friday night. Officials say lightning set one tank on fire and the blaze spread to a second tank. The accident comes as Cuba struggles with fuel shortages. A nearby neighborhood was evacuated.

In wake of floods, typical barbs at Kentucky political event

FANCY FARM, Ky. (AP) — While Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear was consoling families displaced by historic flooding in the mountains of eastern Kentucky, Republicans at the state’s premier political event on the other side of the state were campaigning to oust him from office in 2023. They bashed Beshear’s pandemic restrictions but offered support for recovery efforts that the Democratic governor is leading in the wake of historic flooding and tornadoes. While his challengers aimed zingers at him, Beshear spent Saturday consoling families displaced by the flash flooding that swamped the Appalachian region more than a week ago. He visited two state parks where some of the suddenly homeless took refuge.

Taiwan says China military drills appear to simulate attack

BEIJING (AP) — Taiwan says China’s military drills appear to simulate an attack on the self-ruled island after Chinese warships and aircraft crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait following U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei. Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense said Saturday that its armed forces issued an alert, dispatched air and naval patrols around the island and activated land-based missile systems in response to the situation. Taiwan’s army also detected four unmanned aerial vehicles flying in the vicinity of the offshore county of Kinmen close to mainland China and responded with warning flares. Pelosi’s trip to Taipei infuriated Beijing, which cut defense and climate talks with the U.S. Taiwan also reported massive cyberattacks on its official websites.

Russian forces begin assault on two eastern Ukraine cities

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian forces have began an assault on two key cities in Ukraine's eastern Donetsk region. They also kept up rocket and shelling attacks Saturday on other Ukrainian cities, including one close to Europe’s largest nuclear power plant. That's according to Ukraine’s military and local officials. Both cities of Bakhmut and Avdiivka had been considered key targets of Russia’s offensive across Ukraine’s east. Russian shelling also killed five civilians and injured 14 others in the Donetsk region. Local officials said three civilians were also injured after Russian rockets fell on homes in Nikopol, a city across the river from the Europe's largest nuclear power station. The head of the International Atomic Agency has warned that the fighting seriously endangers safety at the plant.

Tony Boselli becomes 1st Jaguars player in Hall of Fame

CANTON, Ohio (AP) — Tony Boselli looked out at all the teal-colored jerseys in the crowd and screamed: “Duuuuval!” Finally, the Jacksonville Jaguars have a player in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The first pick in Jaguars history, Boselli was among eight members of the Class of 2022 enshrined Saturday at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium. The Jaguars played the Las Vegas Raiders in the NFL preseason opener Thursday night, so No. 71 Boselli jerseys filled the seats. A five-time Pro Bowl selection and three-time All-Pro left tackle, Boselli saw his career cut short by injuries. But his dominant performance earned him a gold jacket. He shouted the Jacksonville fans’ rallying cry, the name of their county, during his speech.

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