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Verstappen opens with a win as Red Bull takes 1-2 in Bahrain

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Verstappen opens with a win as Red Bull takes 1-2 in Bahrain

Max Verstappen’s dominant Bahrain Grand Prix victory seemed normal by his high standards.

The surprise of the Formula One season opening race? Fernando Alonso in a stunning third place on his debut for Aston Martin.

Verstappen cruised to the win Sunday as he opened his defense of his back-to-back world championships. His dominance put all the focus on the rest of the field and it was Alonso who stole the show with his first podium in 26 races — a performance that came 13 years after he won in Bahrain with Ferrari.

The Spaniard felt Aston Martin had a fighting chance after preseason testing, and he was strong all weekend in Bahrain in spectacular debut with his new organization.

“I had the same feeling from testing — it’s too good to be true,” Alonso said. “But it seems real. I could have driven for another hour on the track.”

Alonso has now kicked off “Mission 33,′ the catchphrase his fans created as he chases a 33rd career F1 victory. The 41-year-old is a two-time world champion but last won a grand prix 10 years ago.

“I would say yes, when you are P3 in race one, anything can happen in 22 races,” Alonso said of his chances at winning a race this year.

Verstappen’s mastery, meanwhile, is becoming increasingly commonplace. He won a record 15 races last year and led almost the entire race on Sunday as Red Bull clinched a 1-2 finish.

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Sergio Perez finished second, but a full 12 seconds behind his teammate.

As Red Bull celebrated, the spotlight shifted to Alonso and Aston Martin, which also got a sixth-place finish from Lance Stroll.

“What have you done guys? What have you done?” a jubilant Alonso radioed his team. “I’m so proud.”

Alonso, who joined after an acrimonious split with Alpine, pumped his fist at the finish line and then hugged his race crew.

“To finish on the podium first race of the year is just amazing,” Alonso said. “What Aston Martin did over the winter to have the second best car on race one is just unreal.”

Verstappen’s 36th career win was the Dutchman’s first at the flood-lit Sakhir circuit, where he retired just laps from the end in last year’s opening race.

“That was exactly the start to the season we needed,” said Verstappen, who retired from three of his first four career races in Bahrain. “I’m very happy to finally win a race here.”

Both Red Bulls failed to finish the race in 2022.

“Our best start ever, much different to last year,” Perez said. “I’m comfortable with the car.”

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The start of the new year brought no new luck to Ferrari as defending race winner Charles Leclerc lost power while running third near the end of the race.

“No, no, no, no,” pleaded Leclerc over his radio as his car slowed to a stop. Ferrari had changed an engine battery before the race, too.

“It’s a pity because it’s at these weekends where you have to maximize points,” Leclerc said. “Unfortunately we’ve taken a step back.”

Leclerc’s engine caused panic at Ferrari, and Carlos Sainz Jr. didn’t even bother trying to defend Alonso’s pass for third with 11 laps remaining.

Sainz finished fourth ahead of seven-time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton and Stroll, who missed preseason testing because of an injury suffered in a bicycle accident. He needed surgery on his right wrist and wasn’t even confirmed able to drive this weekend until Thursday.

“Congrats to my teammate Lance; 12 days ago he had surgery,” Alonso said. “He is fighting right up with everybody. So amazing for the team.”

George Russell was seventh for Mercedes and was followed by Valtteri Bottas of Alfa Romeo, and Pierre Gasly, who recovered from starting last to finish ninth in his Alpine debut. Williams driver Alex Albon rounded out the top 10.

Logan Sargeant, the first American driver on the grid since 2015, was 12th for Williams after starting 16th.

It was a day to forget for Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, who was hit with three time penalties totaling 20 seconds and finished 18th.

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Alonso was a menace for Ferrari and Mercedes, who both made tactical tire stops to ward off any challenges from Alonso. That helped Stroll, who used the undercut perfectly to overtake Russell just as he was emerging following a second tire change.

Alonso passed Hamilton on Lap 37 but then slid wide as Hamilton reclaimed position. Alonso had another go on the next lap, and passed him by attacking on the outside and then quickly diving inside in a classic move.

It could be one of many such moves in a season where Alonso has a car to match his talents.

“This is just the beginning,” Alonso said.

Next up: the Saudi Arabian GP on March 19, where there are more long straights, high-speed corners and less tire degradation. ___

More AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/hub/auto-racing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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Remember last year’s Memorial Day travel jams? Chances are they will be much worse this year

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Remember last year’s Memorial Day travel jams? Chances are they will be much worse this year

The patience of Memorial Day weekend travelers was tested Thursday by widespread delays across the country, but there were relatively few canceled flights, raising hopes that airlines can handle bigger crowds expected Friday.

By early evening on the East Coast, more than 6,000 flights had been delayed Thursday, with the biggest backups at the three major airports in the New York City area and Dallas-Fort Worth International.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pasha Pidlubniak waits for a domestic flight at Miami International Airport, Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Miami. A record number of Americans are expected to travel over the 2024 Memorial Day holiday. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

 

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Pasha Pidlubniak waits for a domestic flight at Miami International Airport, Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Miami. A record number of Americans are expected to travel over the 2024 Memorial Day holiday. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

 

The Transportation Security Administration predicted that Friday will be the busiest day for air travel over the holiday weekend, with nearly 3 million people expected to pass through airport checkpoints. It could rival the record of 2.9 million, set on the Sunday after Thanksgiving last year.

“Airports are going to be more packed than we have seen in 20 years,” said Aixa Diaz, a spokesperson for AAA.

When they aren’t waiting out flight delays, travelers are reporting sticker shock at the prices.

At Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, Larisa Latimer of New Lenox, Illinois, said her airfare was reasonable but other expenses for a getaway to New Orleans were not.

 

 

 

 

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Motorists travel along Interstate 24 near the Interstate 40 interchange Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn. A record number of Americans are expected to hit the pavement over the 2024 Memorial Day holiday. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

 

Motorists travel along Interstate 24 near the Interstate 40 interchange Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn. A record number of Americans are expected to hit the pavement over the 2024 Memorial Day holiday. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

 

“I just have to make the accommodation,” she said. “The rental car is up … this year, the hotel accommodations were very unusually expensive.”

Kathy Larko of Fort Meyers, Florida, used frequent-flyer miles — and some flexible scheduling — to pay for her trip to Chicago.

“I’m really conscious of looking at the cost of the entire trip. We’re staying a little farther out than we normally would” to get a lower hotel rate, she said. “We’re also flying back a day later, because we could get cheaper miles.”

More travelers will be on the road. AAA estimates that 43.8 million people will venture at least 50 miles (80 kilometers) from home between Thursday and Monday, with 38 million of them taking vehicles.

 
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Travelers wait at a TSA checkpoint at the Los Angeles International Airport, Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Los Angeles. A record number of Americans are expected to travel over the 2024 Memorial Day holiday. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)

 

Travelers wait at a TSA checkpoint at the Los Angeles International Airport, Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Los Angeles. A record number of Americans are expected to travel over the 2024 Memorial Day holiday. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)

 

Airport unions are using the holiday weekend to highlight their demands.

About 100 workers who clean airplane cabins and drive trash trucks at the airport in Charlotte, North Carolina, started a 24-hour strike Thursday, demanding better pay and healthcare, according to the Service Employees International Union. About 15% of flights were delayed, but it was unclear whether the strike played any role.

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A planned strike at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York was averted, however. Teamsters Local 553, which represents about 300 workers who refuel passenger and cargo jets at JFK, said that it reached a settlement with Allied Aviation Services and called off a walkout planned for Friday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

George Ridley, 4, left, rides on a suitcase as he and his father Chris Ridley make their way through the Nashville international Airport, Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn. A record number of Americans are expected to travel over the 2024 Memorial Day holiday. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

 

George Ridley, 4, left, rides on a suitcase as he and his father Chris Ridley make their way through the Nashville international Airport, Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn. A record number of Americans are expected to travel over the 2024 Memorial Day holiday. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

 

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“We are happy an agreement has been reached, a need for a strike averted, and we are hopeful that the deal will be ratified by our members,” said Demos Demopoulos, the secretary-treasurer of the local.

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Associated Press video journalist Melissa Perez Winder in Chicago and Associated Press radio reporter Shelley Adler in Washington contributed to this report.

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Texas health department appoints anti-abortion OB-GYN to maternal mortality committee

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Texas health department appoints anti-abortion OB-GYN to maternal mortality committee

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas’ health department has appointed an outspoken anti-abortion OB-GYN to a committee that reviews pregnancy-related deaths as doctors have been warning that the state’s restrictive abortion ban puts women’s lives at risk.

Dr. Ingrid Skop was among the new appointees to the Texas Maternal Morality and Morbidity Review Committee announced last week by the Texas Department of State Health Services. Her term starts June 1.

The committee, which compiles data on pregnancy-related deaths, makes recommendations to the Legislature on best practices and policy changes and is expected to assess the impact of abortion laws on maternal mortality.

Skop, who has worked as an OB-GYN for over three decades, is vice president and director of medical affairs for the Charlotte Lozier Institute, an anti-abortion research group. Skop will be the committee’s rural representative.

Skop, who has worked in San Antonio for most of her career, told the Houston Chronicle that she has “often cared for women traveling long distances from rural Texas maternity deserts, including women suffering complications from abortions.”

Texas has one of the most restrictive abortion bans in the U.S., and doctors have sought clarity on the state’s medical exemption, which allows an abortion to save a woman’s life or prevent the impairment of a major bodily function. Doctors have said the exemption is too vague, making it difficult to offer life-saving care for fear of repercussions. A doctor convicted of providing an illegal abortion in Texas can face up to 99 years in prison and a $100,000 fine and lose their medical license.

Skop has said medical associations are not giving doctors the proper guidance on the matter. She has also shared more controversial views, saying during a congressional hearing in 2021 that rape or incest victims as young as 9 or 10 could carry pregnancies to term.

Texas’ abortion ban has no exemption for cases of rape or incest.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which says abortion is “inherently tied to maternal health,” said in a statement that members of the Texas committee should be “unbiased, free of conflicts of interest and focused on the appropriate standards of care.” The organization noted that bias against abortion has already led to “compromised” analyses, citing a research articles co-authored by Skop and others affiliated with the Charlotte Lozier Institute.

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Earlier this year a medical journal retracted studies supported by the Charlotte Lozier Institute claiming to show harms of the abortion pill mifepristone, citing conflicts of interests by the authors and flaws in their research. Two of the studies were cited in a pivotal Texas court ruling that has threatened access to the drug.

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Michigan farmworker diagnosed with bird flu, becoming 2nd US case tied to dairy cows

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Michigan farmworker diagnosed with bird flu, becoming 2nd US case tied to dairy cows

A Michigan dairy worker has been diagnosed with bird flu — the second human case associated with an outbreak in U.S. dairy cows.

The male worker had been in contact with cows at a farm with infected animals. He experienced mild eye symptoms and has recovered, U.S. and Michigan health officials said in announcing the case Wednesday.

A nasal swab from the person tested negative for the virus, but an eye swab tested Tuesday was positive for bird flu, “indicating an eye infection,” U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials said.

The worker developed a “gritty feeling” in his eye earlier this month but it was a “very mild case,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, Michigan’s chief medical executive. He was not treated with oseltamivir, a medication advised for treating bird flu, she said.

The risk to the public remains low, but farmworkers exposed to infected animals are at higher risk, health officials said. They said those workers should be offered protective equipment, especially for their eyes.

Health officials say they do not know if the Michigan farmworker was wearing protective eyewear, but an investigation is continuing.

In late March, a farmworker in Texas was diagnosed in what officials called the first known instance globally of a person catching this version of bird flu from a mammal. That patient reported only eye inflammation and recovered.

Since 2020, a bird flu virus has been spreading among more animal species — including dogs, cats, skunks, bears and even seals and porpoises — in scores of countries.

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The detection in U.S. livestock earlier this year was an unexpected twist that sparked questions about food safety and whether it would start spreading among humans.

That hasn’t happened, although there’s been a steady increase of reported infections in cows. As of Wednesday, the virus had been confirmed in 51 dairy herds in nine states, according to the U.S. Agriculture Department. Fifteen of the herds were in Michigan.

The CDC’s Dr. Nirav Shah said the case was “not unexpected” and it’s possible more infections could be diagnosed in people who work around infected cows.

U.S. officials said they had tested 40 people since the first cow cases were discovered in late March. Michigan has tested 35 of them, Bagdasarian told The Associated Press in an interview.

Shah praised Michigan officials for actively monitoring farmworkers. He said health officials there have been sending daily text messages to workers exposed to infected cows asking about possible symptoms, and that the effort helped officials catch this infection. He said no other workers had reported symptoms.

That’s encouraging news, said Michael Osterholm, a University of Minnesota epidemiologist who has studied bird flu for decades. There’s no sign to date that the virus is causing flu-like illness or that it is spreading among people.

“If we had four or five people seriously ill with respiratory illness, we would be picking that up,” he said.

The virus has been found in high levels in the raw milk of infected cows, but government officials say pasteurized products sold in grocery stores are safe because heat treatment has been confirmed to kill the virus.

The new case marks the third time a person in the United States has been diagnosed with what’s known as Type A H5N1 virus. In 2022, a prison inmate in a work program picked it up while killing infected birds at a poultry farm in Montrose County, Colorado. His only symptom was fatigue, and he recovered. That predated the virus’s appearance in cows.

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The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Educational Media Group. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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