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Wet winter gives way to colorful ‘Superbloom’ in US West

The tiny rain-fed wildflowers, no bigger than a few inches, are so vivid and abundant across California this year that their hues of purple, yellow and orange look like paint swatches from space. From the mist-shrouded San Francisco Bay Area to the Mexican border and across the deserts of Arizona there are flashes of color popping up following an unusually wet winter that experts say helped produce a so-called “Superbloom.” Experts say this year’s show is especially stunning because it is so widespread. Botanists say it is expected to last well into May with some areas just starting to bloom.

G7 energy, environment leaders haggle over climate strategy

SAPPORO, Japan (AP) — Energy and environment ministers of the Group of Seven wealthy nations are meeting in the northern Japanese city of Sapporo to try to forge an agreement on the best way forward in battling climate change. The officials hope to draft a communique for a G-7 summit in May, despite differences over how, and how quickly, to end carbon emissions. The war in Ukraine has deepened concerns over energy security, complicating that effort. Japan has focused its own national strategy on so-called clean coal, hydrogen and nuclear energy. U.S. officials voiced support for that approach, while others want a faster transition to renewable energy. The talks in Sapporo will also focus on biodiversity loss and other global challenges.

Gov. vetoes Kansas bill on live deliveries during abortion

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly has vetoed a bill that could have penalized doctors accused of not providing enough care to infants delivered alive during certain kinds of abortion procedures. In a statement on Friday, Kelly called the legislation “misleading and unnecessary.” The legislation could have subjected doctors to lawsuits and criminal charges in certain kinds of abortions and in circumstances when doctors induce labor to deliver a fetus that is expected to die within minutes or even seconds outside the womb.

FAA gives OK for SpaceX’s Starship test flight from Texas

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — SpaceX has cleared the final hurdle for launching its new giant Starship from Texas as early as next week on a first test flight. The Federal Aviation Administration issued the license on Friday. SpaceX announced that Starship _ the world’s biggest and most powerful rocket _ could soar as soon as Monday. No people or satellites will be aboard the nearly 400-foot-tall rocket. SpaceX will attempt to send the spacecraft around the world, all the way to the Pacific near Hawaii. All of the pieces will be dumped into the sea, with no landings attempted.

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. That illustrated the stark reality that such shootings have become so common that the NRA can no longer schedule around them, even if it wanted to. Former President Donald Trump said, if reelected, he would create a new tax credit to reimburse teachers for concealed-carry firearms and gun training.

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.

DA: Suspect in killing of Cash App founder planned attack

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco prosecutors say the tech consultant charged with the killing of Cash App founder Bob Lee planned the attack. They say Nima Momeni, 38, stabbed Lee over an apparent dispute involving Momeni’s sister. The information was included in a motion filed Friday to detain Momeni without bail. Momeni made his first appearance Friday in a San Francisco courtroom, but he did not enter a plea. The motion is the first official accounting of what may have led to the stabbing death of Lee. The prosecutor’s office says if convicted, Momeni faces 26 years to life in prison.

Florida floods: Businesses, residents begin cleaning up mess

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Business owners and residents have begun the slow process of drying out and recovering possessions following an unprecedented deluge that dumped more than 2 feet of rain in some areas of South Florida in one day. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport reopened Friday morning after a nearly two-day closure because of flooding caused by the rains. By the afternoon, airport operations were slowly returning to normal, but the closure was still affecting some passengers. Meteorologists with the National Weather Service in Miami say the amount of rain the area received is unprecedented.

‘Water was red’: Hawaii surfer recalls costly shark attack

HONOLULU (AP) — A Hawaii surfer credits his faith in God for surviving an Easter shark attack. Mike Morita said Wednesday from a hospital bed that he’s at peace with losing his right foot to Sunday’s shark attack at his regular Honolulu surfing spot known as Kewalos on the south shore of the island of Oahu. Morita credits the bravery of his surfing friends, who came to his aid and used their board leashes to fashion a tourniquet. Doctors already had to amputate his foot, and he was scheduled for another surgery Thursday and was praying that they wouldn’t have to take more of his leg. Morita has been surfing since childhood and believes he’ll surf again.

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