Biden vows abortion legislation as top priority next year

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is promising that the first bill he sends to Capitol Hill next year will be one that codifies Roe v. Wade — if Democrats control enough seats in Congress for Biden to sign abortion protections into law. In a speech designed to energize his party’s voters just three weeks before the November midterms, Biden said, “If you care about the right to choose, then you gotta vote.” Democrats tried repeatedly in this Congress to enshrine abortion rights into law, only to be thwarted by GOP filibusters and the unwillingness of their own members to change the Senate’s rules. That dynamic is likely to persist no matter what happens in the November elections.

Ukraine’s power, water supplies under Russian attack again

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Airstrikes cut power and water supplies to hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians. That’s part of what the country’s president called an expanding Russian campaign to drive the nation into the cold and dark and make peace talks impossible. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said nearly a third of Ukraine’s power stations have been destroyed in the past week, causing massive blackouts. The mayor of Zhytomyr said all of the city was without electricity and water after a double missile strike Tuesday on an energy facility. Authorities said missile strikes also hit an energy facility in Kyiv and severely damaged another in the south-central city of Dnipro.

Worry grows for Iran athlete who competed without her hijab

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — An Iranian competitive climber has left South Korea after competing at an event in which she climbed without her nation’s mandatory headscarf covering. Farsi-language media outside of Iran have warned that she may have been forced to leave early by Iranian officials and could face arrest back home. The decision by climber Elnaz Rekabi comes as protests sparked by the September death of a 22-year-old woman detained by the country’s morality police have entered a fifth week. Iran’s Embassy in Seoul denied “all the fake, false news and disinformation” about Rekabi. A later Instagram post on Rekabi’s account claimed she “unintentionally” didn’t wear it and was rushed, though video of the event showed her relaxed at the time.

Biden to release 15M barrels from oil reserve, more possible

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden will announce the release of 15 million barrels of oil from the U.S. strategic reserve Wednesday as part of a response to recent production cuts announced by OPEC+ nations. That’s according to senior administration officials who spoke Tuesday on the condition of anonymity to outline Biden’s plans. He will also say more oil sales are possible this winter, as his administration rushes to be seen as pulling out all the stops ahead of next month’s midterm elections. The strategic reserve now contains roughly 400 million barrels of oil, its lowest level since 1984.

Demings goes on attack against Rubio in Fla. Senate debate

MIAMI (AP) — Democratic U.S. Rep. Val Demings of Florida went on the attack in her first debate against Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, accusing him of being a serial liar, while Rubio criticized her for supporting President Joe Biden’s economic agenda. Each accused the other of being an extremist on abortion. The two faced questions on topics including inflation, voting rights, gun violence, immigration and foreign policy. When asked to explain his position on abortion, Rubio skirted a question on whether he would support a federal abortion ban with no exceptions. He instead called Demings’ position extreme because she would not say what limits on abortion she would support.

Patagonia condor repopulation drive faces wind farm threat

SIERRA PAILEMAN, Argentina (AP) — Some 200 people trudged up a hill in southern Argentina with a singular mission: to free two Andean condors that had been born in captivity. Members of the Mapuche Indigenous group played traditional instruments and children threw condor feathers into the air. Then an eerie silence engulfed the mountain as researchers opened the cages where the two specimens of the world’s largest flying bird were kept — and set them free for the first time in their lives. But plans for a massive wind farm are putting at risk efforts to repopulate the Atlantic coast of Patagonia with the majestic bird.

Analyst acquitted at trial over discredited Trump dossier

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — A jury has acquitted on all counts a think tank analyst accused of lying to the FBI about his role in the creation of a discredited dossier about former President Donald Trump. The case decided Tuesday involving Igor Danchenko was the third and possibly final case brought by Special Counsel John Durham as part of his probe into how the FBI conducted its own investigation into allegations of collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign and the Kremlin. The first two cases ended in an acquittal and a guilty plea with a sentence of probation. It was the first of the three cases to delve deeply into the origins of the “Steele dossier.”

Everything to know to apply for student loan forgiveness

NEW YORK (AP) — President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan, announced in August, will cancel up to $20,000 in debt per borrower. The application process is now open, and the administration says the forms should take five minutes to complete. Borrowers who apply before mid-November should see forgiveness before Jan. 1, when payments on loans are scheduled to restart after a pause during the pandemic. Some Republican-led states have filed lawsuits to try to stop the cancellation, but the Biden administration says they’re confident the challenges won’t succeed.

Rape allegations aired against ’70s Show’ actor Masterson

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Los Angeles prosecutor says rape allegations by three women against “That ’70s Show” actor Danny Masterson contain some of the same disturbing elements. A deputy district attorney said in opening statements Tuesday that the women were either woozy or unconscious after a couple drinks or woke up to Masterson having sex with them. A defense lawyer says the allegations seem similar because the alleged victims contaminated the case by speaking with each other. The prosecutor says the women didn’t initially report the two-decade-old crimes because they feared being ostracized by the Church of Scientology where they and Masterson were members.

Review: ‘Black Adam,’ a superhero franchise born on a Rock

“Black Adam,” with Dwayne Johnson making his big-screen superhero debut, isn’t bad, says Associated Press critic Mark Kennedy. It’s just predictable and color-by-numbers, stealing from other films like an intellectual property super-villain. But Johnson is a natural in the title role, mixing might with humor and able to deliver those necessary wooden lines. The film has a convoluted origin story that stretches back thousands of years and fulfills a whacko destiny, a clutch of secondary level heroes and pockets of humor that DC has not always done well. The PG-13-rated “Black Adam” opens Friday in movie theaters.


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