Nation & World

AP News in Brief at 11:04 p.m. EDT

Saudi Arabia: Drone attacks knocked out half its oil supply

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Yemen's Houthi rebels launched drone attacks on the world's largest oil processing facility in Saudi Arabia and a major oil field Saturday, sparking huge fires and halting about half of the supplies from the world's largest exporter of oil.

The attacks were the latest of many drone assaults on the kingdom's oil infrastructure in recent weeks, but easily the most damaging. They raise concerns about the global oil supply and likely will further increase tensions across the Persian Gulf amid an escalating crisis between the U.S. and Iran over its unraveling nuclear deal with world powers.

The attacks resulted in "the temporary suspension of production operations" at the Abqaiq oil processing facility and the Khurais oil field, Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said in a statement carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency. The fires "were controlled," the statement said, and no workers were injured.

The fires led to the interruption of an estimated 5.7 million barrels in crude supplies, according to the statement, which said part of that would be offset with stockpiles. The statement said Saudi Aramco, the state-owned oil giant, would provide updated information in the next 48 hours.

The Iranian-backed Houthis, who hold Yemen's capital, Sanaa, and other territory in the Arab world's poorest country, took responsibility for the attacks in the war against a Saudi-led coalition that has fought since 2015 to reinstate the internationally recognized Yemeni government. But the U.S. blamed Iran, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeting, "There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen."

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The rise and fall of an Eagle Scout's deadly fentanyl empire

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The photo that flashed onto the courtroom screen showed a young man dead on his bedroom floor, bare feet poking from the cuffs of his rolled-up jeans. Lurking on a trash can at the edge of the picture was what prosecutors said delivered this death: an ordinary, U.S. Postal Service envelope.

It had arrived with 10 round, blue pills inside, the markings of pharmaceutical-grade oxycodone stamped onto the surface. The young man took out two, crushed and snorted them. But the pills were poison, prosecutors said: counterfeits containing fatal grains of fentanyl, a potent synthetic opioid that has written a deadly new chapter in the American opioid epidemic.

The envelope was postmarked from the suburbs of Salt Lake City.

That's where a clean-cut, 29-year-old college dropout and Eagle Scout named Aaron Shamo made himself a millionaire by building a fentanyl trafficking empire with not much more than his computer and the help of a few friends.

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Drug company attorneys seek to disqualify federal judge

CLEVELAND (AP) — Attorneys for eight drug distributors, pharmacies and retailers facing trial next month for their roles in the opioid crisis want to disqualify the federal judge overseeing their cases, saying he has shown bias in his effort to obtain a multibillion-dollar global settlement.

According to the motion filed late Friday in U.S. District Court in Cleveland, where Judge Dan Polster presides over most of the 2,000 lawsuits filed by state, local and tribal governments, the judicial code requires judges to recuse themselves when there is an appearance of prejudice or bias.

The attorneys wrote that Polster has made comments during hearings, media interviews and public forums about the importance of getting help to governments struggling to contain a crisis that has killed 400,000 people nationally since 2000.

"Defendants do not bring this motion lightly," the motion said. "Taken as a whole and viewed objectively, the record clearly demonstrates that recusal is necessary."

Polster has not responded to the motion filed by attorneys for the drug distributors AmerisourceBergen Drug Corp., Cardinal Health Inc., McKesson Corp. and Henry Schein Inc.; drugstore chains CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens; and retailer Walmart.

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Auto workers union sets stage for possible strike against GM

DETROIT (AP) — A top United Auto Workers official said the union and General Motors are far apart on major issues, increasing the likelihood of a strike as early as Sunday night.

The union, in letters to members and GM Saturday, said it will let its four-year contract with the company expire just before midnight. But workers are to report to their jobs if they're scheduled to work on Sunday.

Just what the union will do after that will be decided in meetings scheduled for Sunday morning in Detroit.

The letters are designed to turn up the pressure on GM negotiators as the contract expiration deadline approaches at 11:59 p.m. Saturday.

"While we are fighting for better wages, affordable quality health care, and job security, GM refuses to put hard working Americans ahead of their record profits," union Vice President Terry Dittes said in a statement Saturday night.

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Workers off the job question future of top US coal region

GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) — At two of the world's biggest coal mines, the finances got so bad that their owner couldn't even get toilet paper on credit.

Warehouse technician Melissa Worden divvied up what remained of the last case, giving four rolls to each mine and two to the mine supply facility where she worked.

Days later, things got worse.

Mine owner Blackjewel LLC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on July 1. Worden at first figured the accounts would get settled quickly and vendors of everything from copy paper to parts for house-sized dump trucks would soon be back to doing normal business with the mines.

"The consensus was: In 30 days, we'll look back on this, and we made it through, and we'll be up and running, and it's a fresh start," she said.

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Over 2,000 fetal remains found at ex-abortion doctor's home

JOLIET, Ill. (AP) — More than 2,000 medically preserved fetal remains have been found at the Illinois home of a former Indiana abortion clinic doctor who died last week, authorities said.

The Will County Sheriff's Office said in a news release late Friday that an attorney for Dr. Ulrich Klopfer's family contacted the coroner's office Thursday about possible fetal remains being found at the home in an unincorporated part of Will County in northeastern Illinois.

The sheriff's office said authorities found 2,246 preserved fetal remains but there's no evidence medical procedures were performed at the home.

The coroner's office took possession of the remains. An investigation is underway.

A message left Saturday seeking additional comment on the discovery was not returned by the Will County Sheriff's Office investigations department.

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Decks collapse during firefighter event; at least 22 injured

WILDWOOD, N.J. (AP) — A home's multilevel deck collapsed Saturday evening at the Jersey Shore during an event weekend, trapping people and injuring at least 22, including some children, officials said. No deaths were reported.

The collapse happened around 6 p.m. Saturday in Wildwood during the annual New Jersey Firemen's Convention.

It was unclear how many people were on or under the decks at the time, or how many were firefighters, but authorities said those who were trapped were quickly removed.

The annual convention attracts thousands of current and former firefighters to the resort town. Firefighters were likely among those hurt or trapped.

Cape May Regional Health System said 21 people were taken there, at least three of them children. Eleven patients had been released by 10 p.m., including all the children who were admitted, hospital spokeswoman Susan Staeger said.

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Don't vote? The Trump campaign would like a word with you

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Ashley Arentz is a political unicorn.

The 28-year-old Marine from Jacksonville, North Carolina, didn't vote in 2016, and she wasn't even registered to vote in the state. But there she was on Monday, standing in line for hours in the 90-degree heat waiting to enter President Donald Trump's rally in Fayetteville. That made her a golden target for the volunteers in day-glow yellow T-shirts working to register new voters.

Arentz said she likes the president because he's "just being straightforward."

She filled out a registration form on the spot.

Less than 14 months before Election Day, the president's team is banking his reelection hopes on identifying and bringing to the polls hundreds of thousands of Trump supporters such as Arentz — people in closely contested states who didn't vote in 2016. The campaign is betting that it may be easier to make voters out of these electoral rarities than to win over millions of Trump skeptics in the center of the electorate.

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White House says bin Laden son killed in US operation

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House announced Saturday that Hamza bin Laden , the son of the late al-Qaida leader who had become an increasingly prominent figure in the terrorist organization, was killed in a U.S. counterterrorism operation in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region.

A statement issued in President Donald Trump's name gave no further details, such as when Hamza bin Laden was killed or how the United States had confirmed his death. Administration officials would provide no more information beyond the three-sentence statement from the White House.

American officials have said there are indications that the CIA, not the U.S. military, conducted the strike. The CIA declined comment on whether the agency was involved.

The White House statement said Hamza bin Laden's death "not only deprives al-Qaida of important leadership skills and the symbolic connection to his father, but undermines important operational activities of the group." It said Osama bin Laden's son "was responsible for planning and dealing with various terrorist groups."

The U.S. officials had suspected this summer that Hamza bin Laden was dead, based on intelligence reports and the fact that he had not been heard from in some time. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters. Defense Secretary Mark Esper told Fox News Channel in a late August interview that it was "my understanding" that Hamza bin Laden was dead.

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Solid gold toilet stolen from Winston Churchill's birthplace

LONDON (AP) — A unique solid gold toilet that was part of an art exhibit was stolen early Saturday from the magnificent home in England where British wartime leader Winston Churchill was born.

The toilet, valued at roughly 1 million pounds ($1.25 million), was the work of Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan. It had been installed only two days earlier at Blenheim Palace, west of London, after previously being shown to appreciative audiences at the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

Police said the toilet was taken early Saturday by thieves who used at least two vehicles. Because it had been connected to the palace's plumbing system, police said the toilet's removal caused "significant damage and flooding" to the building, a UNESCO World Heritage site filled with valuable art and furniture.

A 66-year-old man was arrested in the case, but he has not been identified or charged.

Inspector Richard Nicholls from Thames Valley Police said police believe the thieves left the spacious property about 4:50 a.m. and that the toilet was the only item taken. Closed circuit TV footage is being studied in the investigation.

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