The Michigan State Police says it continues to investigate the deaths of three Michigan rappers after confirming Tuesday each died of multiple gunshot wounds.Police have determined that their deaths were not a random incident and believe they have determined a motive, though it has not yet been released.The rappers — 38-year-old Armani Kelly, 31-year-old Dante Wicker and 31-year-old Montoya Givens — were last seen on Jan. 21.Their remains were found last week in the basement of an abandoned apartment complex in Highland Park, Michigan.Detroit Police, Michigan State Police and ATF agents work the scene at West McNichols and Log Cabin in Detroit on the border of Highland Park, Mich., Feb. 2, 2023.Detroit News via APThe men were scheduled to perform for a rap event at Lounge 31 that was canceled at the last minute due to an issue with the DJ.Police had been concerned about their disappearance because there had not been any activity on their phones or online accounts.Police said the three men were together at some point on Jan. 21, but they do not know if they left Lounge 31 together.
LAVAL, Quebec — A city bus crashed into a day care north of Montreal on Wednesday, sending eight people to the hospital, emergency officials said. It was unclear how many of the injured may have been children. Police set up a large perimeter around the day care in Laval, Quebec, as distraught parents arrived to check on their children.The bus driver, an employee of the Société de transport de Laval, has been arrested, Quebec Public Security Minister François Bonnardel said, but it was unclear if the driver was chargedIt’s a terrible tragedy,″ Bonnardel said from Quebec City.Aerial news footage from the scene shows the Societe de transport de Laval bus crashed into the front of the day care center. The building is located at the end of a driveway, and the bus driver would have had to leave the road to hit it.Laval police said they received a 911 call about 8:30 a.m., but gave no other details. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his office was “following the situation closely.”
ROME — European bishops on Wednesday demanded the immediate release of Nicaraguan clergy detained in the government’s crackdown on the Catholic Church, saying they have been falsely accused and are being subjected to unjust persecution.Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, president of the Commission of the Bishops Conferences of the European Union, said European bishops would do “everything in their power” to press EU institutions to work to liberate the detainees.Hollerich’s letter to the head of the Nicaraguan bishops conference came a day after a Nicaraguan court sentenced four Catholic priests to 10 years in prison on conspiracy charges stemming from long-standing government allegations that the church backed illegal pro-democracy protests. A fifth priest was sentenced on the same charges Sunday.It was the latest chapter in a crackdown on the church by President Daniel Ortega.Hollerich’s letter came in sharp contrast to the relative silence from the Vatican, which did not respond Wednesday to requests for comment on the court sentences. The Holy See has kept relatively quiet about the Nicaraguan crackdown, believing that speaking out would only inflame tensions further.Pope Francis last spoke out publicly after Nicaraguan police raided the home of Matagalpa Bishop Rolando Álvarez in August. A few weeks later, during a press conference returning from Kazakhstan, he confirmed a dialogue was under way with the government, but has said nothing since.Alvarez had been a key religious voice in discussions of Nicaragua’s future since 2018, when a wave of protests against Ortega’s government led to a sweeping crackdown on opponents. Alvarez is under house arrest on charges of conspiracy and “damaging the Nicaraguan government and society,” and is set to be sentenced soon.In the letter, Hollerich said the government’s actions were violating religious freedom.“We are closely following the development of the situation in Nicaragua, marked by the persecution of the Catholic Church and its faithful,” he wrote. “We join the voices crying out over the injustice to which our brothers in Nicaragua are being subjected and demand their immediate release.”
CVS Health is plunging deeper into primary care services, buying primary care provider Oak Street Health for approximately $10.6 billion.The drugstore chain said Wednesday it would pay $39 per share in cash for each share of Oak Street in a deal expected to close this year. Oak Street runs care centers mostly for lower-to-middle income people with Medicare Advantage plans. Those are privately run versions of the federal government’s program for people aged 65 and older.With its latest acquisition, CVS Health Corp. aims to capitalize on the federal government’s interest in cutting costs and improving the health of people in its Medicare program.The government wants more people in value-based care arrangements, which basically focus on keeping patients healthy and any chronic problems like diabetes under control. The goal: Ward off big medical expenses like hospital stays. In addition to running nearly 10,000 drugstores nationwide, CVS Health also covers more than 3 million people with Medicare Advantage plans through its Aetna arm. Big insurers like that need a major presence in primary care to help control costs, BTIG analyst David Larsen wrote before Wednesday’s deal was announced.“It is clear that value-based-care is becoming a dominant model in healthcare,” Larsen said.Oak Street specializes in this type of care. Its centers use doctors, social workers and other care providers to help people manage their health.Oak Street CEO Michael Pykosz has said that a lot of costs stem from people with chronic health problems who receive poor care and wind up with big medical problems. “Solving that problem creates a massive, massive market opportunity for Oak Street Health,” Pykosz said in January at an annual conference hosted by JPMorgan.Founded in 2012, Oak Street runs 169 locations in 21 states. It expects to have more than 300 locations by 2026.Oak Street’s revenue grew to $1.43 billion in 2021, and analysts expect that it topped $2 billion last year. But the company is spending heavily to open new clinics and its losses have grown every year. CVS Health Corp., based in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, has been expanding the amount of care it provides through its drugstores, and company leaders have been talking for well over a year about adding more primary care as rival health care giants UnitedHealth Group and Walgreens have done.“We believe it’s an asset that we want in our portfolio,” CEO Karen Lynch told investors at the JPMorgan conference. UnitedHealth has pushed aggressively to grow its Optum segment that provides care for a few years now. Rival drugstore chain Walgreens is investing close to $9 billion to help its VillageMD care partner acquire the urgent and primary care chain Summit Health-CityMD. Walgreens and VillageMD are opening next to drugstores primary care centers that also target Medicare Advantage patients. Another insurer, Cigna, also invests in VillageMD. The retail giant Amazon also is spending nearly $4 billion to buy primary care provider One Medical and recently said it was launching a subscription prescription drug service. CVS Health likely was “feeling more urgency around finding a high-quality ‘dance-partner,’” Larsen said in his note. CVS Health is already spending $8 billion on another growth priority: buying home health care provider Signify Health. CVS Health expects that deal to close in the first half of this year.CVS Health also announced on Wednesday better-than-expected results from the final quarter of 2022. The company’s profit surged 77% in the quarter to $2.3 billion, and adjusted earnings totaled $1.99 per share. Revenue climbed 9% to $83.84 billion.Analysts expected earnings of $1.92 per share on $76.32 billion in revenue, according to FactSet.The company also said it expects earnings to range between $8.70 and $8.90 per share in 2023.Analysts forecast earnings of $8.84 per share.Shares of Oak Street Health Inc., based in Chicago, jumped nearly 4%, while CVS Health’s stock rose almost 2% before the opening bell.
THE HAGUE, Netherlands — An international team of investigators said Wednesday it found “strong indications” that Russian President Vladimir Putin approved the supply of heavy anti-aircraft weapons to Ukrainian separatists who shot down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in 2014 with a Russian missile.However, the Joint Investigation Team said they had insufficient evidence to launch any new prosecutions and suspended their long running probe into the shooting down that killed all 298 people on board the Boeing 777 flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.Russia has always denied any involvement in the downing of the flight over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, and refused to cooperate with the international investigation.Dutch prosecutors said in their summary of investigation findings that “there are strong indications that the Russian president decided on supplying” a Buk missile system to Ukrainian separatists. A Buk system was used to bring down MH17.Dutch prosecutor Digna van Boetzelaer said that without Russian cooperation, “the investigation has now reached its limit. All leads have been exhausted.”The announcement comes nearly three months after a Dutch court convicted two Russians and a Ukrainian rebel for their roles in shooting down the plane. One Russian was acquitted by the court. None of the suspects appeared for the trial and it was unclear if the three who were found guilty of multiple murders will ever serve their sentences.The convictions and the court’s finding that the surface-to-air Buk missile came from a Russian military base were seen as a clear indication that Moscow had a role in the tragedy. Russia has always denied involvement. The Russian Foreign Ministry accused the court in November of bowing to pressure from Dutch politicians, prosecutors and the news media.But the November convictions held that Moscow was in overall control in 2014 over the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, the separatist area of eastern Ukraine where the missile was launched. The Buk missile system came from the Russian military’s 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade, based in the city of Kursk.The Joint Investigation Team is made up of experts from the Netherlands, Australia, Malaysia, Belgium and Ukraine. Most of the victims were Dutch. It had continued to investigate the crew of the missile system that brought down the plane and those who ordered its deployment in Ukraine.As well as the criminal trial that was held in the Netherlands, the Dutch and Ukrainian governments are suing Russia at the European Court of Human Rights over its alleged role in the downing of MH17.___Follow the AP’s coverage of the war at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine
BEIJING — China says it was smeared in U.S. President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address that repeatedly mentioned competition between the two countries.China does not fear competing with the U.S. but is “opposed to defining the entire China-U.S. relationship in terms of competition,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said at a daily briefing Wednesday.“It is not the practice of a responsible country to smear a country or restrict the country’s legitimate development rights under the excuse of competition, even at the expense of disrupting the global industrial and supply chain,” Mao said. China will defend its interests and the U.S. should work with it to “promote the return of bilateral relations to a track of sound and stable development,” she said.Mao’s comments came against a background of raging disputes over trade, Taiwan, human rights and access to advanced technologies.Biden mentioned China and its leader, Xi Jinping, at least seven times in his address Tuesday night, focusing mainly on how the U.S. was increasingly prepared to compete with Beijing while also seeking to avoid conflict. “I’ve made clear with President Xi that we seek competition, not conflict,” Biden said. “I will make no apologies that we are investing to make America strong. Investing in American innovation, in industries that will define the future, and that China’s government is intent on dominating,” he said. Biden said his administration is “committed to work with China where it can advance American interests and benefit the world.” However, he also warned that “if China threatens our sovereignty, we will act to protect our country,” a pointed reference to the shooting down on Saturday of a suspected Chinese spy balloon that had traversed the continental United States.China says the balloon was an unmanned civilian airship used for meteorological research and has strongly protested the U.S. action while threatening unspecified countermeasures.The incident prompted U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to cancel a trip to China this week that had stirred hopes of reversing the continued deterioration of relations between Beijing and Washington.
When LeBron James came into the NBA, he was laser focused on achieving several goals.“I wanted to be the rookie of the year my rookie year, I wanted to [be named an] All-Star, I wanted to win championships, I wanted to be the MVP of the league, I wanted to be the Player of the Year,” James told “Good Morning America” in an interview last week.What wasn’t on his list was breaking the all-time NBA scoring record, a feat the four-time MVP achieved last night against the Oklahoma City Thunder, surpassing the former all-time scoring record of 38,387 points — and doing so in front of the man who held the record for 38 years: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.Kareem Abdul-Jabbar #33 of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots the ball against the New York Knicks on January 22, 1988 at The Forum in Inglewood, California.Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images, FILE“I never ever was like I want to break the all-time score. I never ever even thought about it and the fact that I’m like literally right here, it is mind-blowing.”James now has 38,390 points scored during his nearly 20-year career. He holds the record for all-time playoffs points and eighth in career assists.On Jan. 31, “GMA” co-anchor Michael Strahan spoke to James before he took the court to face the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.Madison Square Garden is James’ self-proclaimed favorite place. He said the “history” of the arena is what makes it so special to him.“I think, not only what’s happened in this building over the years, but also the city,” James said. “I almost think it’s like a great Broadway show and I’m part of the cast.”Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) shoots over Indiana Pacers forward Aaron Nesmith (23) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Feb. 2, 2023.Michael Conroy/APThough he hasn’t played for the Knicks — he says he came “very close” in 2010 — James was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003 before going to the Miami Heat in 2010, where he won his first two NBA championships. In 2014, James, an Ohio native, re-signed with the Cavaliers and led the team to a championship in 2016, breaking the Cleveland sports curse.Now, James is with the Los Angeles Lakers, another legendary team, where he led the team to his fourth NBA championship in 2020.When asked if breaking the all-time scoring record officially makes James the greatest NBA player ever, the star said he didn’t know.”I don’t know if the record does,” he reflected. “The one thing I can tell you… I’ve always prided myself on saying, ‘I want to be.’ ‘I want to be the greatest to play this game,’ you know … and that came from a motivation to myself… my drive is to be the greatest of all time.”On raising 3 kids and what he wants his legacy to beWhile he leads the Lakers on the court, James has another big job at home: raising three kids — Bronny, Bryce and Zhuri — with his wife, Savannah.“The best thing I’ve been able to guide my boys and my little girl is showing them the way and showing them you know about how to respect adults, how to be great in the community,” said James, who added his advice for his children is to lead with independence.“At the end of the day, this is their walk in life, you have to be able to decide what journey you want to go. Mom and Dad are gonna give you the blueprint and you go from there.”Bronny, a high school senior and top draft prospect, is eligible for the NBA draft in 2024 and Bryce, a high school sophomore, in 2026, according to ESPN, creating a potential opening for James and his sons to play in the NBA together.The 38-year-old player is only a few years shy of becoming the oldest active NBA player, but he said he’s not hanging up the crown just yet.“No, I ain’t there yet, I ain’t there yet. My wife wishes I was there, though,” he said. “I tell her, ‘I got a little bit more time left.'”Reflecting on his legacy, James shared what he wants to be remembered for both on and off the court.”I want my legacy to be that all my teammates, and the people that played against me, know I play the game the right way and I competed at a high level. I never cheated the game … I never cheated a process,” he said.”But for me off the floor, I think you know me [as] having my own school in my hometown, [meeting] inspiring kids all over the world, being active in politics at times or social injustice and things that go on in regular life. Those are the things that I hope people talk about as well because those are things that last forever.”
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Sri Lanka’s president on Wednesday appealed for patience amid the country’s worst economic crisis but promised brighter times ahead.President Ranil Wickremesinghe said in a policy speech after inaugurating a new parliamentary session that he had been forced to make unpopular decisions to salvage the country’s finances, including by implementing measures such as higher taxes.“Inflation rises during an economic crisis. The price of goods increases. Employment is at risk. Businesses collapse. Taxes increase. It is difficult for all sections of the society to survive. However, if we endure this hardship for another five to six months, we can reach a solution,” Wickremesinghe said.He added that government employees would receive additional pay in the third and fourth quarters of the year and that the private sector would also be granted concessions. Wickremesinghe said that “if we continue in this manner … the public would become prosperous, with income sources increasing. The interest rate can be reduced. In another three years, present incomes can be increased by 75%.”Sri Lanka is effectively bankrupt and has suspended repayment of nearly $7 billion in foreign debt due this year pending the outcome of talks with the International Monetary Fund for a bailout package.The country’s foreign debt exceeds $51 billion, of which $28 billion must be repaid by 2027.A currency crisis has also led to shortages of essential items like food, fuel, medicine and cooking gas. Massive protests last year forced Wickremesinghe’s predecessor, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, to flee the country and resign.Wickremesinghe has managed to somewhat stabilize the economic situation by reducing the shortages, enabling schools and offices to function. But power cuts continue because of the fuel shortage, and the government struggles to find money to pay government employees.India was the first bilateral creditor to announce financial assurances to the IMF and on Tuesday the president’s office shared with media a statement from the Paris Club — a group of creditor nations including the U.S., Britain, France and others — giving similar assurances.However, the IMF program hinges on China, which owns about 10% of Sri Lanka’s foreign debt and has given a two-year debt moratorium starting from 2022. But a visiting U.S. diplomat said last week that China has not done enough to meet IMF standards for loan restructuring.“India has agreed to debt restructuring and has extended financial assurances. On the one hand, the Paris Club and India are continuing discussions. We are in direct discussions with China,” Wickremesinghe said.“We are now working towards unifying the approaches of other countries and that of China. I express our gratitude to all the countries that support us in this effort,” he said.Also Wednesday, government doctors, university teachers and other workers from ports and the power and petroleum sectors held protests, demanding the government to lower income taxes.Employees from the state-run power generation company also staged a demonstration in the capital, Colombo.In his speech, Wickremesinghe also reiterated that he will ensure maximum power sharing with ethnic minority Tamils to resolve a long-standing conflict.Tamil rebels fought for an independent state in the country’s northeast for more than 25 years until they were crushed by the military in 2009. More than 100,000 people were killed in the conflict by conservative U.N estimates.It is critical for Sri Lanka to resolve the ethnic conflict to win the international community’s support to rebuild the country’s economy. Neighboring India has shown a special interest in resolving the problem due to internal pressure from its own nearly 80 million Tamils who have linguistic, cultural and family ties with the Tamils in Sri Lanka.As Wickremesinghe spoke, hundreds of Buddhist monks demonstrated near Parliament against the proposal to share power with the Tamils. The monks said a government plan to give provincial councils power over policing and land would lead to division in the country. Rev. Omalpe Sobitha, a leading Buddhist monk, said the president had no mandate to share powers and would be remembered as a “traitor” if he went ahead with the plan.A group of monks also burned parts of the constitution in protest.___Associated Press writer Bharatha Mallawarachi contributed to this report
SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea’s opposition-controlled parliament on Wednesday voted to impeach the country’s interior and safety minister, Lee Sang-min, holding him responsible for government failures in disaster planning and the response that likely contributed to the high death toll in a crowd crush that killed nearly 160 people in October.The impeachment suspends Lee from his duties and the country’s Constitutional Court has 180 days to rule on whether to unseat him for good or give him back the job.Vice Minister Han Chang-seob will step in as acting minister until the Constitutional Court decides on Lee’s fate.Lee is seen as a key ally of conservative President Yoon Suk Yeol, whose office issued an irritated response to his impeachment, accusing opposition lawmakers of abandoning legislative principles and creating “shameful history.”Lee issued a statement expressing regret after lawmakers voted 179-109 in favor of impeaching him and said he would defend his case in the Constitutional Court.“(I) hope that the vacuum in public safety (management) created by this unprecedented situation would be minimized,” Lee said.Lee is the first ever South Korean Cabinet minister to be impeached by the National Assembly. Lawmakers had previously impeached former conservative President Park Geun-hye in December 2016. Three months later she was formally removed from office by the Constitutional Court and arrested over a huge corruption scandal.Lee’s impeachment highlights the growing impasse Yoon faces in a parliament controlled by his liberal opponents and could further intensify the country’s partisan political fighting that has fueled a national divide. Lee’s impeachment came weeks after police announced they are seeking criminal charges, including involuntary manslaughter and negligence, against 23 officials, about half of them law enforcement officers, for a lack of safety measures they said were responsible for the crowd crush in Itaewon, a major nightlife district in Seoul.Following a 74-day inquiry into the incident, a special investigation team led by the National Police Agency concluded that police and public officials in Seoul’s Yongsan district failed to employ meaningful crowd control measures despite anticipating huge gatherings of Halloween revelers. They also ignored pedestrian calls placed to police hotlines that warned of a swelling crowd hours before the surge turned deadly on Oct. 28.Officials also botched their response once people began getting toppled over and crushed in a narrow alley clogged with partygoers near Hamilton Hotel around 10 p.m., failing to establish effective control of the scene and allow rescue workers to reach the injured in time.However, opposition politicians claimed that police investigators went soft on higher members of Yoon’s government, including Lee and National Police Agency Commissioner General Yoon Hee-keun, who were facing calls to resign. The police investigators said they had closed their probes on Lee’s ministry and the National Police Agency before handing over the case to prosecutors, saying it was difficult to establish the direct responsibility of those offices.Oh Yeong-hwan, lawmaker and spokesperson for the main opposition Democratic Party, said lawmakers “carried out the order of the people” in impeaching Lee, who he said should be held responsible for the deadly crowd surge in Itaewon. He criticized Yoon for sticking with Lee in the face of mounting calls for his removal.“The National Assembly had to hold (Lee) to account, because President Yoon Suk Yeol refused to accept that responsibility,” Oh said.Lawmaker Jang Dong-hyuk of Yoon’s People’s Power Party accused the opposition of “tramping on (South Korea’s) constitutional order,” insisting that Lee was impeached without a justifiable cause.He insisted that the liberals were motivated by political vendetta against Yoon as prosecutors under his government push forward an investigation into corruption allegations surrounding Democratic Party Chairman Lee Jae-myung, a firebrand lawmaker who narrowly lost to Yoon in last year’s presidential elections.Lee Sang-min faced huge criticism shortly after the crowd crush after he insisted that having more police and emergency personnel on the ground still wouldn’t have prevented the tragedy in Itaewon, in what was seen as an attempt to sidestep questions about the lack of preventive measures.Despite anticipating a crowd of more than 100,000, Seoul police had assigned 137 officers to Itaewon on the day of the crush. Those officers were focused on monitoring narcotics use and violent crimes, which experts say left few resources for pedestrian safety.Some experts have called the crush in Itaewon a “manmade disaster” that could have been prevented with fairly simple steps, such as employing more police and public workers to monitor bottleneck points, enforcing one-way walk lanes and blocking narrow pathways or temporarily closing Itaewon’s subway station to prevent large numbers of people moving in the same direction.