AP Top News at 11:53 p.m. EDT
ROLLING FORK, Miss. (AP) — Rescuers raced Saturday to search for survivors and help hundreds of people left homeless after a powerful tornado cut a devastating path through Mississippi, killing at least 25 people, injuring dozens, and flattening entire blocks as it carved a path of destruction for more than an hour. One person was killed in Alabama. The tornado devastated a swath of the Mississippi Delta town of Rolling Fork, reducing homes to piles of rubble, flipping cars on their sides and toppling the town’s water tower. Residents hunkered down in bath tubs and hallways during Friday night’s storm and later broke into a John Deere store that they converted into a triage center for the wounded.
WACO, Texas (AP) — Facing a potential indictment, Donald Trump took a defiant stance at a rally Saturday in Waco, disparaging the prosecutors investigating him and predicting his vindication as he rallied supporters in a city made famous by deadly resistance against law enforcement. With a hand over his heart, Trump stood at attention when his rally opened with a song called “Justice for All” performed by a choir of people imprisoned for their roles in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Some footage from the insurrection was shown on big screens displayed at the rally site as the choir sang the national anthem and a recording played of Trump reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said Saturday he has been released from the rehabilitation facility where he had physical therapy for a concussion caused by a fall earlier this month. The 81-year-old Kentucky Republican said in a statement released by his office that he will work from home for the next few days. The Senate is scheduled to be on break for the weeks of April 3 and April 10. McConnell was at dinner on March 8 after a hotel reception for a campaign committee aligned with him when he tripped and fell. In addition to the concussion, he also had a rib fracture.
WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — President Joe Biden’s choice to run the Federal Aviation Administration has withdrawn his nomination, a setback for the administration that comes after Denver International Airport CEO Phillip Washington appeared to lack enough support in the closely divided Senate. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg confirmed Washington’s withdrawal in a tweet Saturday night, calling him “an excellent nominee” and blaming undeserved and partisan attacks. Republicans were united in opposition to Washington, calling him unqualified because of limited aviation experience. Democrats and allied independents still might have pushed the nomination through, but key senators on their side balked at supporting Biden’s pick.
NEW YORK (AP) — The actor Jonathan Majors was arrested Saturday in New York on charges of strangulation, assault and harassment, authorities said. New York City police said that Majors, star of the recently released “Creed III” and “Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania,” was involved in a domestic dispute with a 30-year-old woman. Police responded around 11 a.m. to a 911 call inside an apartment in the Manhattan neighborhood of Chelsea. “The victim informed police she was assaulted,” a spokesperson for the NYPD said in a statement. “Officers placed the 33-year-old male into custody without incident. The victim sustained minor injuries to her head and neck and was removed to an area hospital in stable condition.” He was no longer in police custody as of Saturday night, the NYPD spokesperson confirmed to The Associated Press.
BEIJING (AP) — Honduras formed diplomatic ties with China on Sunday after breaking off relations with Taiwan, which is now recognized by only 13 sovereign states, including Vatican City. The announcement reported by Chinese state media CCTV came after the Honduran and Taiwanese governments made separate announcements that they were severing ties. “The government of the Republic of Honduras recognizes the existence of only one China in the world and that the government of the People’s Republic of China is the only legitimate government that represents all of China,” Honduras’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement posted on Twitter. It added that “Taiwan is an inalienable part of Chinese territory, and as of today, the Honduran government has informed Taiwan of the severance of diplomatic relations, pledging not to have any official relationship or contact with Taiwan.” Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said Sunday that Taiwan had ended its relations with Honduras to “safeguard its sovereignty and dignity.” Wu said that Honduras President Xiomara Castro and her team always had a “fantasy” about China and had raised the issue of switching ties before the presidential election in Honduras in 2021.
WEST READING, Pa. (AP) — An explosion at a chocolate factory in Pennsylvania on Friday killed three people and left five people missing, authorities said. One person was pulled alive from the rubble overnight. Rescue crews using dogs and imaging equipment continued to search through the rubble Saturday — hours after the blast that erupted just before 5 p.m. Friday at the R.M. Palmer Co. plant in the borough of West Reading, about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northwest of Philadelphia. The Berks County Medical Examiner and Coroner on Saturday night confirmed three fatalities. The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency had earlier said there were five fatalities, citing county emergency management officials, but after an update from the county also indicated that two had died and five were missing.
MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin announced plans on Saturday to station tactical nuclear weapons in neighboring Belarus, a warning to the West as it steps up military support for Ukraine. Putin said the move was triggered by Britain’s decision this past week to provide Ukraine with armor-piercing rounds containing depleted uranium. Tactical nuclear weapons are intended for use on the battlefield and have a short range and a low yield compared with much more powerful nuclear warheads fitted to long-range missiles. Russia plans to maintain control over those it sends to Belarus, and construction of storage facilities for them will be completed by July 1, Putin said.
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Jordan Hawkins scored 20 points and UConn overwhelmed its fourth straight NCAA Tournament opponent, earning its first trip to the Final Four in nine years with an 82-54 blowout of Gonzaga on Saturday night. The Huskies (29-8) have felt right at home in their first extended March Madness run since winning the 2014 national championship, playing their best basketball of what had been an up-and-down season. “The Big East Conference is the best conference in the country, so we went through some struggles,” UConn coach Dan Hurley said. “But once we got out of that league and started playing nonconference teams again, we’ve been back to that team that looked like the best team in the country.” UConn controlled the usually efficient Bulldogs at both ends in the West Region final, building a 23-point lead early in the second half to waltz right into the final section of the bracket.
NEW YORK (AP) — Alijah Martin sent a message early for upstart Florida Atlantic, soaring to the basket for a one-handed jam and chirping with the Kansas State players about his poster moment at Madison Square Garden. “They’re going to label us whatever, but we’re some pit bulls and Rottweilers,” Martin said. Now they can call the ninth-seeded Owls a Final Four team. Martin and FAU withstood another huge game by Kansas State’s Markquis Nowell and brushed off a deficit in the final eight minutes to beat the Wildcats 79-76 on Saturday night. FAU (35-3), making just its second appearance in the NCAA Tournament and first since 2003, won the East Region and will head to Houston to play the winner of Sunday’s South Region final between Creighton and San Diego State.