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AI presents political peril for 2024 with threat to mislead voters WASHINGTON (AP) — Computer engineers and tech-inclined political scientists have warned for years that cheap, powerful artificial intelligence tools would soon allow anyone to create

AI presents political peril for 2024 with threat to mislead voters

WASHINGTON (AP) — Computer engineers and tech-inclined political scientists have warned for years that cheap, powerful artificial intelligence tools would soon allow anyone to create fake images, video and audio that was realistic enough to fool voters and perhaps sway an election.

The synthetic images that emerged were often crude, unconvincing and costly to produce, especially when other kinds of misinformation were so inexpensive and easy to spread on social media. The threat posed by AI and so-called deepfakes always seemed a year or two away.

No more.

Sophisticated generative AI tools can now create cloned human voices and hyper-realistic images, videos and audio in seconds, at minimal cost. When strapped to powerful social media algorithms, this fake and digitally created content can spread far and fast and target highly specific audiences, potentially taking campaign dirty tricks to a new low.

The implications for the 2024 campaigns and elections are as large as they are troubling: Generative AI can not only rapidly produce targeted campaign emails, texts or videos, it also could be used to mislead voters, impersonate candidates and undermine elections on a scale and at a speed not yet seen.


Election count shows Turkey's Erdogan may go to a presidential election runoff

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Voter support for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan dipped below the majority required for him to win reelection outright with the ballot count from Turkey's national election nearly completed Sunday, making it more likely the country was headed toward a May 28 presidential runoff.

With almost 95% of ballot boxes counted, unofficial returns had Erdogan with 49.6% of the vote, according to the state-run Anadolu Agency. His main challenger, opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu, had 44.7% as the gap between the two shrank as the night went on.

Meanwhile, the opposition-leaning Anka news agency reported that with nearly all ballot boxes counted, Erdogan had 49% and Kilicdaroglu 45%. Ballots from about Turkish citizens who voted from outside the country still needed to be added to the tallies, officials said, and a runoff election was not assured.

If neither candidate secures more than half of the vote, the two top candidates will compete in a head-to-head contest in two weeks. Turkey's election authority, the Supreme Electoral Board, said it was providing numbers to competing political parties “instantly” but would not make the results public until the count was completed and finalized.

Erdogan, 69, has governed Turkey as either prime minister or president for two decades. In the run-up to the election, opinion surveys had indicated the increasingly authoritarian leader narrowly trailed his challenger. The opposition candidate’s party accused Anadolu of manipulating results, insisting at one point that the 74-year-old finance official was narrowly leading.


Victims of racist Buffalo supermarket mass shooting remembered on anniversary

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Standing in the same parking lot where he was shot in the neck a year ago in a racist attack at a Buffalo supermarket, Zaire Goodman said he was grateful to see the community come together in remembrance Sunday.

His family and others affected by the mass shooting gathered with top state and local officials, first responders and religious leaders to remember the 10 people who were killed and three, including Goodman, who were wounded at Tops Friendly Market, which closed Sunday for the one-year anniversary of the shootings.

Goodman, 21, who worked at the store and was shot while collecting carts outside, has been back to the market many times since, even visiting while it was being remodeled in the weeks after the massacre as some questioned whether it should ever reopen.

“I just wanted to show people that it’s alright. We don’t need to close the store indefinitely,” he said. “We know the store is still important to people in this area.”

Mayor Byron Brown read the 13 victims' names before a moment of silence. A first responder then chimed a bell 13 times. Brown, Gov. Kathy Hochul and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer were among those who gave speeches.


Ukraine's Zelenskyy makes surprise visit to Paris for talks with French President Macron

PARIS (AP) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made a surprise visit to Paris for talks Sunday night with French President Emmanuel Macron, extending a multi-stop European tour that has elicited fresh pledges of military support as his country gears up for a counteroffensive against Russian occupation forces.

In a tweet on his arrival, Zelenskyy said: “With each visit, Ukraine’s defense and offensive capabilities are expanding. The ties with Europe are getting stronger, and the pressure on Russia is growing."

He said he and Macron “will talk through the most important points of bilateral relations.” The French leader's office said they'll discuss Ukraine’s military and humanitarian needs and “the more long-term perspectives for a return to peace in Europe,” and that Macron will “reaffirm France and Europe’s unwavering support" for Ukraine in its fight against the Russian invasion.

France has supplied Ukraine with an array of weaponry, include air-defense systems, light tanks, howitzers and other arms and equipment and fuel. Macron and Zelenskyy didn't speak to waiting reporters as they greeted each other at the French presidential palace.

France dispatched a plane to pick up Zelenskyy in Germany, where he met Chancellor Olaf Scholz earlier Sunday and discussed his country's planned counteroffensive. Zelenskyy said it will aim to liberate Russian-occupied areas within Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders, and not attack Russian territory.


Stained glass window shows Jesus Christ with dark skin, stirring questions about race in New England

WARREN, R.I. (AP) — A nearly 150-year-old stained-glass church window that depicts a dark-skinned Jesus Christ interacting with women in New Testament scenes has stirred up questions about race, Rhode Island's role in the slave trade and the place of women in 19th century New England society.

The window installed at the long-closed St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Warren in 1878 is the oldest known public example of stained glass on which Christ is depicted as a person of color that one expert has seen.

“This window is unique and highly unusual,” said Virginia Raguin, a professor of humanities emerita at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, and an expert on the history of stained-glass art. “I have never seen this iconography for that time.”

The 12-foot tall, 5-foot wide (3.7 meters by 1.5 meters) window depicts two biblical passages in which women, also painted with dark skin, appear as equals to Christ. One shows Christ in conversation with Martha and Mary, the sisters of Lazarus, from the Gospel of Luke. The other shows Christ speaking to the Samaritan woman at the well from the Gospel of John.

The window made by the Henry E. Sharp studio in New York had largely been forgotten until a few years ago when Hadley Arnold and her family bought the 4,000-square-foot (371-square-meter) Greek Revival church building, which opened in 1830 and closed in 2010, to convert into their home.


Bolivian EV startup hopes tiny car will make it big in lithium-rich country

LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) — On a recent, cold morning, Dr. Carlos Ortuño hopped into a tiny electric car to go check on a patient in the outskirts of Bolivia's capital of La Paz, unsure if the vehicle would be able to handle the steep, winding streets of the high-altitude city.

“I thought that because of the city’s topography it was going to struggle, but it’s a great climber," said Ortuño about his experience driving a Quantum, the first EV to have ever been made in Bolivia. “The difference from a gasoline-powered vehicle is huge."

Ortuño's home visit aboard a car the size of a golf cart was part of a government-sponsored program that brings doctors to patients living in neighborhoods far from the city center. The “Doctor in your house” program was launched last month by the municipality of La Paz using a fleet of six EV's manufactured by Quantum Motors, the country's sole producer of electric cars.

“It is a pioneering idea. It helps protect the health of those in need, while protecting the environment and supporting local production," La Paz Mayor Iván Arias said.

The program could also help boost Quantum Motors, a company launched four years ago by a group of entrepreneurs who believe EVs will transform the auto industry in Bolivia, a lithium-rich country, where cheap, subsidized imported gasoline is still the norm.


‘In the hands of God’: One Venezuelan family's journey to the US

EL PASO, Texas (AP) — When Luis López was lost in Panama's Darien Gap last year with his wife, then seven months pregnant, their two young children and her grandmother, he often knelt in the mud to beg God not to abandon them.

“If I was bad, let me die here, but I came with my family,” the Venezuelan asylum seeker, 34, recalled on Friday of his prayers. Now in El Paso, the family has found shelter with the Catholic diocese.

But “la selva” — as many migrants call that particularly deadly stretch of their journey from South America to the United States — struck again two weeks ago. López’s sister called him in tears: She, too, had to flee and was now stuck in the jungle with their 68-year-old mother, who was badly injured from a fall trying to escape armed men.

Rescued by Panama’s border police, the two women are now en route to Texas. They don’t know how they will cross into the U.S., though, as new restrictions on asylum went into effect last Thursday after pandemic-era immigration rules known as Title 42 were lifted.

While the Biden administration has touted the new policy as a way to stabilize the border region and discourage illegal migration, thousands of people continue migrating to flee poverty, violence and political persecution in their countries.


How Barcelona won its 1st Spanish league title since Messi’s traumatic exit

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Barcelona’s risky bet to mortgage the club’s future paid off Sunday — in the short term at least — when a team led by newcomer Robert Lewandowski clinched its first Spanish league title in four years.

Barcelona won its 27th league title, second to Real Madrid’s 35, with four rounds remaining after a 4-2 win at Espanyol with a pair of goals by Lewandowski.

Now the club can finally start a new chapter after winning its first major title since the painful exit of Lionel Messi two years ago.

Here is how Barcelona led the league since the 13th round, brushing aside an arguably more talented Real Madrid side and giving Atletico Madrid no chance of catching up.



Grizzlies suspend Ja Morant after another gun video appears on social media

Ja Morant was suspended by the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday after he appeared to be holding a gun in another social media video that was streamed live on Instagram, the latest in a series of concerning incidents involving the two-time All-Star guard.

It’s the second time in less than three months that Morant was seen on Instagram holding what appeared to be a weapon. The first led to an eight-game NBA suspension that was handed down in March and cost Morant about $669,000 in salary.

It’s unclear what sanctions Morant may face for the second video, which was captured Saturday night and widely shared online. The video was streamed on the Instagram account of Morant associate Davonte Pack, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because neither the NBA nor the Grizzlies have commented on the specifics of the latest video.

“We are aware of the social media post involving Ja Morant and are in the process of gathering more information,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass said.

The Grizzlies, whose season is over, said Morant is suspended from all team activities “pending league review.”


Daughters without moms find support in each other's grief

When my mother died suddenly 30 years ago, I was 13. I'd spend the next 20 years attempting to understand what it means not to have a mother.

And I did this basically alone.

Mostly, this was because my mother's parents, who raised me, were old-fashioned folks who lived through the Dust Bowl. They didn’t discuss feelings, good or bad. I never once saw my grandfather shed a tear after his daughter died. Plus, our town was in the rural plains of Colorado, hours away from any city with services like a grief therapist, even if my grandparents had been open to that.

But the silence around grief also was a product of the times. I am encouraged to see that now a mom’s death is generally not handled the same way it was in 1993.

There are many kinds of support today, from the organized to the grassroots. Grief can be talked about and shared more publicly, experts say, and is acknowledged to last a long time.

The Associated Press

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