High court temporarily blocks restrictions on abortion pill
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is temporarily keeping in place federal rules for use of an abortion drug, while it takes time to more fully consider the issues raised in a court challenge. In an order signed Friday by Justice Samuel Alito, the court put a five-day pause on the fast-moving case so the justices can decide whether lower court rulings restricting the Food and Drug Administration's approval of the drug, mifepristone, should be allowed to take effect in the short term. President Joe Biden's administration and New York-based Danco Laboratories, the maker of the pill, asked the justices to intervene.
Putin signs bill allowing electronic conscription notices
MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Putin has signed a bill allowing authorities to issue electronic notices to draftees and reservists amid the fighting in Ukraine, sparking fears of a new wave of mobilization. Russia's military service rules previously required the in-person delivery of notices to conscripts and reservists who are called up for duty. Under the bill that Putin signed into law Friday, the notices would be considered valid from the moment they are put on a state portal for electronic services. In the past, many Russians avoided the draft by staying away from their address of record. The new law closes that loophole ahead of a widely anticipated Ukrainian counteroffensive in the coming weeks.
Leak suspect appears in court as US spells out its case
BOSTON (AP) — A Massachusetts Air National Guardsman has appeared in court, accused in the leak of highly classified military documents. The guardsman, Jack Teixeira, did not enter a plea at Friday's hearing in Boston and was returned to detention pending his next appearance — next week. Meanwhile, prosecutors unsealed charges and revealed how billing records and interviews with Teixeira's social media comrades helped pinpoint the suspect. He is charged with unauthorized removal and retention of classified and national defense information. Investigators believe Teixeira was the leader of an online private chat group where the documents were shared. Accounts by others in the group depict him as motivated more by bravado than ideology.
Colorado offers safe haven for abortion, transgender care
DENVER (AP) — Colorado's Democratic governor has signed a set of health care bills that enshrine protections for abortion and gender-affirming care procedures and medications. Gov. Jared Polis, who signed the measures Friday, and fellow Democrats in the Legislature want to make Colorado a safe haven for people in states where Republican lawmakers have restricted abortion, as well as gender dysphoria treatments. The goal is to allow people to come to Colorado to have an abortion, begin puberty blockers, or receive gender-affirming surgery. The bordering states of Wyoming and Oklahoma have passed abortion bans and Utah has restricted transgender care for minors.
Macron's new pension age overcomes last hurdle amid protests
PARIS (AP) — France's Constitutional Council has approved an unpopular plan to raise the retirement age to 64 that unleashed mass protests. It is a victory for President Emmanuel Macron after three months of public anger over the legislation that have damaged his leadership. The move enraged and disappointed unions and other opponents of the pension plan. Protesters were gathered in spots around France on Friday evening as the decision came down. The council rejected some other measures in the pension bill. But the higher age was central to Macron's plan and the target of protesters' anger. Macron can enact the bill within 15 days.
Capitol rioter who crushed officer with shield gets 7 years
WASHINGTON (AP) — A Connecticut man who used a stolen riot shield to crush a police officer in a doorframe during the U.S. Capitol insurrection has been sentenced to more than seven years in prison for his role in one of the most violent episodes of the Jan. 6 attack. The sentence that a U.S. District Court judge imposed on 25-year-old Patrick McCaughey III on Friday was approximately half the length of the prison term that prosecutors had recommended. McCaughey apologized for his actions and said he's ashamed that he joined the mob of then-President Donald Trump's supporters who attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
NRA convention draws top GOP 2024 hopefuls after shootings
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Top Republican hopefuls for the 2024 presidential race are vowing at the National Rifle Association's annual convention to defend the Second Amendment at all costs. They suggested Friday that new firearms restrictions in the wake of mass shootings in the country would only hurt law-abiding gun owners. The three-day gathering kicked off mere days after mass shootings in Nashville and Louisville. Former President Donald Trump said if he's voted back into the White House, he would create a new tax credit to reimburse teachers for concealed-carry firearms and gun training.
At Irish shrine, Biden meets priest who gave Beau last rites
KNOCK, Ireland (AP) — President Joe Biden was moved to tears during a stop at a Catholic shrine in Ireland when he discovered that a chaplain working there had performed last rites for his late son Beau Biden. Knock Shrine is a pilgrimage site where, according to Catholic lore, saints Mary, Joseph and John the Evangelist appeared near a stone wall. Biden touched the remaining old wall, and toured the site with Father Richard Gibbons. Gibbons said he discovered on Friday that another priest working at the site had performed last rites for Beau when he died from brain cancer in 2015 in Maryland.
America's first heroes: Revolutionary War soldiers reburied
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Historians and archeologists in South Carolina are preparing to rebury 12 unknown U.S. Revolutionary War soldiers who died in the 1780 battle at Camden. The ceremonies starting April 20 are the result of months of work to carefully excavate the bodies from shallow graves, take DNA samples and study them, and give them a proper burial where they fell on the now-protected battlefield. Several of the soldiers were teenagers. Historians say they should be honored as America's first heroes and that their sacrifice helped make the U.S. the country it is today. A similar project is studying a dozen German soldiers, called Hessians, who died fighting for the British at Red Bank, New Jersey.
Russell Crowe stars as Vatican's 'James Bond of exorcists'
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Rev. Edward Siebert is a key figure behind the new film "The Pope's Exorcist" starring Russell Crowe. About six years ago, Siebert bought the rights to the story of the Rev. Gabriele Amorth, the Catholic priest who is known as "the James Bond of exorcists." For three decades until his death in 2016, Amorth served as the chief exorcist for the Diocese of Rome. He claimed to have performed over 60,000 exorcisms. The Oscar-winning Crowe said he was honored to play Amorth, particularly highlighting his unshakeable faith and his wicked sense of humor. Siebert says he is happy to see a Catholic priest portrayed as a hero and a vanquisher of evil.