Stories by associated press

Jussie Smollett Testifies at His Trial: ‘There Was No Hoax’

Actor Jussie Smollett arrives Monday, Dec. 6, 2021, with his mother Janet at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse for day five of his trial in Chicago. Smollett is accused of lying to police when he reported he was the victim of a racist, anti-gay attack in downtown Chicago nearly three years ago, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Former “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett denied Monday that he staged an anti-gay, racist attack on himself in downtown Chicago, testifying at his trial that “there was no hoax.”

Biden-Putin Talks on Ukraine Crisis Rooted in Older Dispute

A customer shows to a photographer traditional Russian wooden dolls called Matreska of Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, and U.S. President Joe Biden, center right, at a souvenirs store in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Dec. 6, 2021. (AP Photo / Pavel Golovkin)

The dispute over Ukraine’s status and its growing alignment with U.S.-led NATO will be at the center of President Vladimir Putin’s video meeting Tuesday with President Joe Biden, whose administration says an extensive Russian military buildup near Ukraine points to a potential invasion.

Emmett Till Investigation Closed by Justice Department

This undated photo shows Emmett Louis Till, a 14-year-old black Chicago boy, who was kidnapped, tortured and murdered in 1955 after he allegedly whistled at a white woman in Mississippi. (AP Photo, File)

Two white men, Roy Bryant and his half-brother J.W. Milam, were tried on murder charges about a month after Emmett Till was killed, but an all-white Mississippi jury acquitted them. 

How Can I Protect Myself From the New Omicron Variant?

(AP Illustration / Peter Hamlin)

The same way you guard against COVID-19 caused by any other variant: Get vaccinated if you haven’t yet, get a booster if you’re eligible and step up other precautions you may have relaxed, like wearing a mask and avoiding crowds.

Fauci Says Early Reports Encouraging About Omicron Variant

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021. (AP Photo / Susan Walsh, File)

Reports from South Africa, where it emerged and is becoming the dominant strain, suggest that hospitalization rates have not increased alarmingly.

O’Neil, Miñoso, Hodges, Kaat, Oliva, Fowler Get Baseball HOF

Minnie Minoso participates in the unveiling of a statue of himself before throwing out the ceremonial first fitch at U.S. Cellular Field before the game between Chicago White Sox and Detroit Tigers, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2004, in Chicago. Minoso has been elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame, Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021. (AP Photo/ Nam Y. Huh, File)

Buck O’Neil, a champion of Black ballplayers during a monumental, eight-decade career on and off the field, joined Minnie Miñoso, Gil Hodges and three others in getting chosen for the Hall of Fame on Sunday.

Kennedy Center Honors and Its Traditions Are Back Once More

2021 Kennedy Center honorees, from left, Justino Díaz, Lorne Michaels, Joni Mitchell, Bette Midler, and Berry Gordy pose following the Medallion Ceremony for the 44th annual Kennedy Center Honors on Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021, at the Library of Congress in Washington. (AP Photo / Kevin Wolf)

Honorees include Motown Records creator Berry Gordy, “Saturday Night Live” mastermind Lorne Michaels, actress-singer Bette Midler, opera singer Justino Diaz and folk music legend Joni Mitchell.

Senate Leader, Presidential Candidate Bob Dole Dies at 98

Bob Dole and his wife Elizabeth wave from the podium on the floor of the Republican National Convention in San Diego, Aug. 15, 1996, as confetti falls after Dole accepted the Republican presidential nomination. (AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite, File)

During his 36-year career on Capitol Hill, Dole became one of the most influential legislators and party leaders in the Senate, combining a talent for compromise with a caustic wit, which he often turned on himself but didn’t hesitate to turn on others, too.

CNN Fires Chris Cuomo for Helping Brother Deal with Scandal

Chris Cuomo attends The Hollywood Reporter's annual Most Powerful People in Media cocktail reception on April 11, 2019, in New York.  (Photo by Evan Agostini / Invision/AP, File)

The network had suspended its prime-time host on Tuesday to investigate his conduct, after New York’s attorney general released details showing he was more involved than previously known in helping to strategize and reach out to other journalists as his brother fought to keep his job.

EXPLAINER: Jussie Smollett’s Turn to Testify. Will He?

Actor Jussie Smollett arrives Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021, at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse for day two of his trial in Chicago. After two brothers spent hours telling a jury how Smollett paid them to carry out a fake racist and anti-gay attack on himself, the big question when the trial resumes Monday, Dec. 6, is whether the actor will tell his side. (AP Photo / Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

In Smollett’s case, it may be important for him to testify because, as bizarre as the brothers’ testimony was, they are the only witnesses to the incident who have testified. And, said Chicago-based defense attorney, Joe Lopez, Smollett’s attorneys “haven’t been able to impeach these brothers.”

US Jobless Rate Sinks to 4.2% as Many More People Find Jobs

A traveller wheels her baggage past a now hiring sign outside a bar and restaurant Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021, in Sioux Falls, S.D. (AP Photo / David Zalubowski)

Employers in some industries, such as restaurants, bars, and hotels, pulled back on hiring in November. By contrast, job growth remained solid in areas like transportation and warehousing, which are benefiting from the growth of online commerce.

Contact Tracing Revs up in Some States as Omicron Reaches US

This May 13, 2020, file photo taken with a fisheye lens shows a list of the confirmed COVID-19 cases in Salt Lake County early in the coronavirus pandemic at the Salt Lake County Health Department, in Salt Lake City.  (AP Photo / Rick Bowmer, File)

In New York City, officials quickly reached out to a man who tested positive for the variant and had attended an anime conference at a Manhattan convention center last month along with more than 50,000 people. Five other attendees have also been infected with the coronavirus, though officials don’t yet know whether it was with the omicron variant.

Bond Set at Combined $1M after Michigan Parents Enter Pleas

Three Oakland County Sheriff's deputies survey the grounds outside of the Crumbley residence while seeking James and Jennifer Crumbley, parents of alleged Oxford High School shooter Ethan Crumbley, on Friday, Dec. 3, 2021, in Oxford, Mich. (Jake May / The Flint Journal via AP)

A Detroit business owner spotted a car tied to the Crumbleys in his parking lot late Friday, Oakland County Undersheriff Michael McCabe said in a statement. A woman seen near the vehicle ran away when the business owner called 911, McCabe said. The couple was later located and arrested by Detroit police.

Parents of Michigan Boy Charged in Oxford School Shooting

Waterford resident Andrew Baldwin, cousin of Madisyn Baldwin, places candles at the base of a a memorial with his 5-year-old daughter Ariyah Baldwin on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021 outside of Oxford High School in Oxford, Mich.  (Jake May / The Flint Journal via AP)

James and Jennifer Crumbley committed “egregious” acts, from buying a gun on Black Friday and making it available to Ethan Crumbley to resisting his removal from school when they were summoned a few hours before the shooting, Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald said.

Omicron-Stricken South Africa May Be Glimpse Into the Future

An Orange Farm, South Africa, resident receives her jab against COVID-19 Friday Dec. 3, 2021 at the Orange Farm multipurpose center. South Africa has accelerated its vaccination campaign a week after the discovery of the omicron variant of the coronavirus. (AP Photo / Jerome Delay)

New COVID-19 cases in South Africa have burgeoned from about 200 a day in mid-November to more than 16,000 on Friday.

Biden Signs Stopgap Funding Bill to Keep Government Running

Night falls at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021, with the deadline to fund the government approaching. (AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite)

The White House released a statement noting the bill signing and thanking congressional leaders for their work.

BP Agrees to $500K Penalty, Soot Limits at Indiana Refinery

In this Sept. 21, 2017 file photo, the BP Whiting refinery in East Chicago, Ind., is shown on Sept. 21, 2017. Oil giant BP agreed Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021, to pay a $512,450 penalty and reduce soot emissions from its Whiting refinery in Indiana under an agreement with regulators and activists who accused the company of violating an earlier deal. (DroneBase via AP, File)

The U.S. District Court settlement modifies a previous consent decree that required BP Products North America Inc. to limit releases from the sprawling facility on the southwestern shore of Lake Michigan.

State Rests Case at Smollett Trial After Star Witnesses

Actor Jussie Smollett raises his fist when asked how he was doing while walking through the Leighton Criminal Courthouse lobby on day four of his trial Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021, in Chicago. Smollett is accused of lying to police when he reported he was the victim of a racist, anti-gay attack in downtown Chicago nearly three years ago. (AP Photo / Charles Rex Arbogast)

After a three-day presentation of evidence, special prosecutor Dan Webb told the presiding judge Thursday evening that the prosecution was done. The defense began its case immediately, calling, among others, an emergency room physician who saw Jussie Smollett after the purported attack.

Pushing COVID-19 Boosters, Biden Says ‘We Need to be Ready’

President Joe Biden speaks in the South Court Auditorium on the White House campus, Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021, in Washington. Biden is set to kick of more urgent campaign for Americans to get COVID-19 booster shots on Dec. 2, as he unveils his winter plans to combat the coronavirus. (AP Photo / Evan Vucci)

“Experts say the COVID-19 cases will continue to rise in the weeks ahead this winter, so we need to be ready,” President Biden said Thursday during a visit to the National Institutes of Health in suburban Maryland after a briefing with scientific advisers.

Man Testifies Smollett Recruited Him, Brother to Fake Attack

Actor Jussie Smollett, center, arrives with his mother Janet, left, and other family members at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse for day three of his trial in Chicago on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021. Smollett is accused of lying to police when he reported he was the victim of a racist, anti-gay attack in downtown Chicago nearly three years ago. (AP Photo / Charles Rex Arbogast)

Abimbola Osundairo said Jussie Smollett detailed how Osundairo and his brother should carry out the Jan. 29, 2019, hoax. Smollett planned a “dry run” and gave him a $100 bill to buy supplies, Osundairo testified.

Mississippi Abortion Activists Protest as Justices Weigh Ban

Allen Siders, an anti-abortion activist, center, calls out to speakers at an abortion rights rally in Jackson, Miss., Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021. A small group of anti-abortion activists attempted to disrupt the gathering of participants from various abortion rights groups. The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday heard a Mississippi case that directly challenges the constitutional right to an abortion established nearly 50 years ago. (AP Photo / Rogelio V. Solis)

The Supreme Court has never allowed states to ban abortion before viability, the point at roughly 24 weeks when a fetus can survive outside the womb. But the court’s conservative majority may overturn a nationwide right to abortion that has existed for nearly 50 years under the court’s Roe v. Wade decision.

US Reports 1st Case of Omicron Variant in Returning Traveler

A couple stands outside the security control section inside a terminal of the Barcelona Airport, Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021. (AP Photo / Joan Mateu Parra)

The infected person was identified as a traveler who had returned from South Africa on Nov. 22, developed mild symptoms and tested positive for COVID-19 Monday.

Louis Vuitton Show Pays Tribute to Designer Virgil Abloh

Flowers are left in memory of Virgil Abloh, Louis Vuitton's first Black artistic director, at a church in Miami's Design District, Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021, in Miami. Abloh, a leading designer whose groundbreaking fusions of streetwear and high couture made him one of the most celebrated tastemakers in fashion and beyond, died of cancer. He was 41. (AP Photo / Marta Lavandier)

Louis Vuitton’s first-ever U.S. fashion show turned into a somber yet whimsical tribute to groundbreaking designer Virgil Abloh days after his death.

Detective: Brothers Recounted How Jussie Smollett Staged Hoax

Actor Jussie Smollett, center, arrives Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021, at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse for day two of his trial in Chicago. Smollett is accused of lying to police when he reported he was the victim of a racist, anti-gay attack in downtown Chicago nearly three years ago, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Taking the stand as prosecutors began their case against Jussie Smollett, former Chicago police detective Michael Theis said he initially viewed the actor as a victim of a homophobic and racist attack and that they “absolutely” didn't rush to judgment.

US Panel Backs First-Of-A-Kind COVID-19 Pill from Merck

Pharmaceutical company Merck & Co. said Friday, Oct. 1, 2021, that its experimental COVID-19 pill reduced hospitalizations and deaths by half in people recently infected with the coronavirus and that it would soon ask health officials in the U.S. and around the world to authorize its use. (Merck & Co. via AP)

The Food and Drug Administration panel voted 13-10 that the antiviral drug’s benefits outweigh its risks, including potential birth defects if used during pregnancy.

Black Artist Josephine Baker Honored at France’s Pantheon

Pictures of Josephine Baker adorn the red carpet as the coffin with soils from the U.S., France and Monaco is carried towards the Pantheon monument in Paris, France, Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021, where Baker is to symbolically be inducted, becoming the first Black woman to receive France's highest honor. Her body will stay in Monaco at the request of her family. (AP Photo / Christophe Ena)

Josephine Baker — the U.S.-born entertainer, anti-Nazi spy and civil rights activist — was inducted into France’s Pantheon on Tuesday, becoming the first Black woman to receive the nation’s highest honor.