Europe's summer tourism outlook dimmed by variants, rules
LONDON (AP) — Chaos and confusion over travel rules and measures to contain new virus outbreaks are contributing to another cruel summer for Europe’s battered tourism industry.
Popular destination countries are grappling with surging COVID-19 variants, but the patchwork and last-minute nature of the efforts as the peak season gets underway threatens to derail another summer.
In France, the world's most visited country, visitors to cultural and tourist sites were confronted this week with a new requirement for a special COVID-19 pass.
To get the pass, which comes in paper or digital form, people must prove they're either fully vaccinated or recently recovered from an infection, or produce a negative virus test. Use of the pass could extend next month to restaurants and cafes.
Italy said Thursday that people will need a similar pass to access museums and movie theaters, dine inside restaurants and cafes, and get into pools, casinos and a range of other venues.
AP FACT CHECK: Trump is relentless in election fabrications
PHOENIX (AP) — In mid-May, partisan investigators hired by Arizona state lawmakers backed off their allegation that the state's most populous county had destroyed its 2020 election database. Confronted with proof that the data still existed, they admitted everything was there.
Two months later, the tale lives on. At an event Saturday, former President Donald Trump presented the debunked allegation as a key piece of evidence that the state's electoral votes were stolen from him in 2020.
It was one of a number of fabricated and familiar stories Trump told the crowd in his relentless effort to deny the well-established legitimacy of his defeat at the hands of President Joe Biden.
Over nearly two hours, Trump revisited his touchstones of grievance, leveling allegations of fraud that election officials and judges have systematically refuted or brushed aside. It was Trump’s most explicit effort to insert himself into the widely discredited Arizona audit as he tries to increase the pressure on other states to embark on similar efforts.
He spoke of untold thousands of dead people voting — no such phenomenon surfaced in postelection audits. He alleged 168,000 Arizona ballots were fraudulent — there is no support for that.
Tunisian teen wins surprise Olympic swimming gold
TOKYO (AP) — Nobody was watching Ahmed Hafnaoui in lane eight of the Olympic pool.
All eyes were on the Tunisian teenager at the finish.
Hafnaoui was the stunning winner of the 400-meter freestyle at the Tokyo Games on Sunday, beating a field of faster and older swimmers. The 18-year-old finished in 3 minutes, 43.26 seconds, punctuating his victory with loud yelling that echoed in the mostly empty 15,000-seat arena.
“I believe when I touched the wall and I saw myself first,” he said. "I was so surprised.”
Australia’s Jack McLoughlin earned silver and American Kieran Smith took bronze. The top three were separated by less than a second after the eight-lap race.
California's largest fire torches homes as blazes lash West
INDIAN FALLS, Calif. (AP) — Flames racing through rugged terrain in Northern California destroyed multiple homes Saturday as the state's largest wildfire intensified and numerous other blazes battered the U.S. West.
The Dixie fire, which started July 14, had already leveled over a dozen houses and other structures when it tore through the tiny community of Indian Falls after dark.
An updated damage estimate was not immediately available, though fire officials said the blaze has charred more than 181,000 acres (73,200 hectares) in Plumas and Butte counties and was 20% contained.
The fire was burning in a remote area with limited access, hampering firefighters’ efforts as it charged eastward, fire officials said. It has prompted evacuation orders in several small communities and along the west shore of Lake Almanor, a popular area getaway.
Meanwhile, the nation's largest wildfire, southern Oregon’s Bootleg fire, was nearly halfway surrounded Saturday as more than 2,200 crew members worked to corral it in the heat and wind, fire officials said. The growth of the sprawling blaze had slowed, but thousands of homes remained threatened on its eastern side, authorities said.
AP Interview: Premier: Iraq doesn't need US combat troops
BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq’s prime minister says his country no longer requires American combat troops to fight the Islamic State group, but a formal time frame for their redeployment will depend on the outcome of talks with U.S. officials this week.
Mustafa al-Kadhimi said Iraq will still ask for U.S. training and military intelligence gathering. His comments came in an exclusive interview with The Associated Press ahead of a planned trip to Washington, where he's slated to meet with President Joe Biden on Monday for a fourth round of strategic talks.
“There is no need for any foreign combat forces on Iraqi soil,” said al-Kadhimi, falling short of announcing a deadline for a U.S. troop departure. Iraq’s security forces and army are capable of defending the country without U.S.-led coalition troops, he said.
But al-Kadhimi said any withdrawal schedule would be based on the needs of Iraqi forces, who have shown themselves capable in the last year of conducting independent anti-IS missions.
“The war against IS and the readiness of our forces requires a special timetable, and this depends on the negotiations that we will conduct in Washington,” he said.
Olympic Latest: Johnny Hooper key in US water polo win
The Latest on the Tokyo Olympics, which are taking place under heavy restrictions after a year’s delay because of the coronavirus pandemic:
Johnny Hooper has returned to his mother’s homeland for his Olympic debut and had one of the biggest U.S. goals in a 15-13 victory over Japan.
The win came on the first day of the men’s water polo tournament at the Tokyo Games.
Hooper scored from deep with the U.S. clinging to a one-goal lead in the final minute to help close out the win.
EXPLAINER: The Olympic soccer team that doesn't quite exist
TOKYO (AP) — It was Caroline Weir’s hesitancy about a seemingly innocuous question that piqued curiosity about the British soccer team at the Olympics: Would she sing Britain’s national anthem “God Save the Queen” in Japan?
“Just for certain reasons,” she pondered, “it’s something I have to think about.”
Certain reasons — like the question of her nationality. The 26-year-old midfielder, a Scot, faced an awkward decision after agreeing to represent what is known as “Team GB” for the first time. Representing her country previously has only meant singing “Flower of Scotland” before kickoff.
The dilemma helps explain the challenges Britons face over their national identities — particularly for a proud Scot like Weir — and in forming unified sports teams.
If it wasn’t for the Olympics, Weir would never be playing soccer for Britain. Instead, as she did at the 2019 Women’s World Cup, she'd represent the saltire of Scotland — a nation with its own legal system and church.
Typhoon In-fa hits China's east coast, canceling flights
BEIJING (AP) — Typhoon In-fa hit China's east coast south of Shanghai on Sunday after people living near the sea were evacuated, airline flights and trains were canceled and the public was ordered to stay indoors.
The typhoon made landfall in Zhoushan in Zhejiang province, state TV reported, citing the national weather agency. It forecast rainfall of 10-14 inches (250-350 millimeters).
“People should not willingly go outdoors,” the bureau said.
The typhoon earlier dumped rain on Taiwan and knocked down tree branches, but no deaths or injuries were reported.
About 330,000 residents of Fengxian District on Shanghai's southern edge were evacuated after wind speeds off shore reached 60 mph (100 kph), the newspaper China Daily reported.
Jackie Mason, comic who perfected amused outrage, dies at 93
NEW YORK (AP) — Jackie Mason, a rabbi-turned-comedian whose feisty brand of standup comedy led him to Catskills nightclubs, West Coast talk shows and Broadway stages, has died. He was 93.
Mason died Saturday at 6 p.m. ET at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Manhattan after being hospitalized for over two weeks, the celebrity lawyer Raoul Felder told The Associated Press.
The irascible Mason was known for his sharp wit and piercing social commentary, often about being Jewish, men and women and his own inadequacies. His typical style was amused outrage.
“Eighty percent of married men cheat in America. The rest cheat in Europe,” he once joked. Another Mason line was: “Politics doesn’t make strange bedfellows, marriage does.” About himself, he once said: “I was so self-conscious, every time football players went into a huddle; I thought they were talking about me.”
His death was mourned far and wide, from fellow comedian Gilbert Gottfried, who called him “one of the best,” to Fox News Channel personality Sean Hannity, who hailed Mason as “irreverent, iconoclastic, funny, smart and a great American patriot.” Henry Winkler tweeted: “Now you get to make heaven laugh.”
Prosecutors air more claims in R. Kelly case; 1 involves boy
NEW YORK (AP) — Federal prosecutors in R. Kelly's sex trafficking case say he had sexual contact with an underage boy in addition to girls, and the government wants jurors in his upcoming sex trafficking trial to hear those claims.
Prosecutors aired a wide-ranging raft of additional allegations — but not new charges — against the R&B star in a court filing Friday. Jury selection is due to start Aug. 9 in a New York federal court for Kelly, who denies ever abusing anyone.
A message was sent Saturday to his lawyers about the additional allegations.
The Grammy Award-winning singer is charged with leading what prosecutors call a criminal enterprise of managers, bodyguards and other employees who allegedly helped him recruit women and girls for sex and pornography and to exercise a lot of control over them.
The charges involve six different women and girls, who aren't named in court filings.