AP News in Brief at 9:04 p.m. EDT
Biden vows abortion legislation as top priority next year
WASHINGTON (AP) – President Joe Biden promised Tuesday that the first bill he sends to Capitol Hill next year will be one that writes abortion protections into law – if Democrats control enough seats in Congress to pass it – as he sought to energize his party´s voters just three weeks ahead of the November midterms.
Twice over, Biden urged people to remember how they felt in late June when the Supreme Court overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v.Wade ruling that legalized abortion, fresh evidence of White House efforts to ensure the issue stays front of mind for Democratic voters this year.
“I want to remind us all how we felt when 50 years of constitutional precedent was overturned,” Biden said in remarks at the Howard Theatre, “the anger, the worry, the disbelief.”
He repeatedly lambasted Republicans nationwide who have pushed for restrictions on the procedure, often without exceptions, and told Democrats in attendance that “if you care about the right to choose, then you gotta vote.”
As he has done all year, Biden emphasized that only Congress can fully restore abortion access to what it was before the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v.Jackson, which overturned Roe. But he also acknowledged “we’re short a handful of votes” now to reinstate abortion protections at the federal level, urging voters to send more Democrats to Congress.
Ukraine’s power, water supplies under Russian attack again
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) – Airstrikes cut power and water supplies to hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians on Tuesday, 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 one-third of Ukraine´s power stations have been destroyed in the past week, “causing massive blackouts across the country.”
“No space left for negotiations with Putin´s regime,” he tweeted.
Depriving people of water, electricity and heat as winter begins to bite, and the broadening use of so-called suicide drones that nosedive into targets have opened a new phase in Russian President Vladimir Putin´s war.The bombardments appear aimed at wearing down the notable resilience Ukrainians have shown in the nearly eight months since Moscow invaded.
Meanwhile, along the front lines, things remained “very difficult” for Russian troops in the southern region and city of Kherson, according to Russia’s new commander, Sergei Surovikin.
Worry grows for Iran athlete who competed without her hijab
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – An Iranian competitive climber left South Korea on Tuesday after competing at an event in which she climbed without her nation’s mandatory headscarf covering, authorities said.Farsi-language media outside of Iran warned she may have been forced to leave early by Iranian officials and could face arrest back home, which Tehran quickly denied.
The decision by Elnaz Rekabi, a multiple medalist in competitions, to forgo the headscarf, or hijab, came as protests sparked by the Sept.16 death in custody of a 22-year-old woman have entered a fifth week. Mahsa Amini was detained by the country’s morality police over her clothing.
The demonstrations, drawing school-age children, oil workers and others to the street in over 100 cities, represent the most-serious challenge to Iran’s theocracy since the mass protests surrounding its disputed 2009 presidential election.
A later Instagram post on an account attributed to Rekabi described her not wearing a hijab as “unintentional,” though it wasn’t immediately clear whether she wrote the post or what condition she was in at the time.The Iranian government routinely pressures activists at home and abroad, often airing what rights group describe as coerced confessions on state television.
Rekabi left Seoul on a Tuesday morning flight, the Iranian Embassy in South Korea said.The BBC’s Persian service, which has extensive contacts within Iran despite being banned from operating there, quoted an unnamed “informed source” who described Iranian officials as seizing both Rekabi’s mobile phone and passport.
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, and he will 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.
Biden will deliver remarks Wednesday to announce the drawdown from the strategic reserve, senior administration officials said Tuesday on the condition of anonymity to outline Biden’s plans.
It completes the release of 180 million barrels authorized by Biden in March that was initially supposed to occur over six months. That has sent the strategic reserve to its lowest level since 1984 in what the administration called a “bridge” until domestic production could be increased.
The reserve now contains roughly 400 million barrels of oil.
Biden will also open the door to additional releases this winter in an effort to keep prices down. But administration officials would not detail how much the president would be willing to tap, nor how much they want domestic and production to increase by in order to end the drawdown.
Biden will also say that the U.S.government will restock the strategic reserve when oil prices are at or lower than $67 to $72 a barrel, an offer that administration officials argue will increase domestic production by guaranteeing a baseline level of demand. Yet the president is also expected to renew his criticism of the profits reaped by oil companies – repeating a bet made this summer that public condemnation would matter more to these companies than shareholders´ focus on returns.
It marks the continuation of an about-face by Biden, who has tried to move the U.S.past fossil fuels to identify additional sources of energy to satisfy U.S. and global supply as a result of disruptions from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and production cuts announced by the Saudi Arabia-led oil cartel.
Demings goes on attack against Rubio in Fla.Senate debate
MIAMI (AP) – Democratic U.S. Rep. Val Demings went on the attack Tuesday in her first debate against Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, castigating him as 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.
Rubio, a two-term senator, and Demings, a three-term congresswoman and former Orlando police chief, 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 and instead called Demings’ position extreme because she would not say what limits on abortion she would support.
“Every bill I have ever sponsored on abortion and every bill I´ve ever voted for has exceptions,” Rubio said.
“What we know is that the senator supports no exceptions,” Demings responded.”He can make his mouth say anything today. He is good at that, by the way. What day is it and what is Marco Rubio saying?”
Analyst acquitted at trial over discredited Trump dossier
ALEXANDRIA, Va.(AP) – A jury on Tuesday acquitted 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 against 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.
Danchenko betrayed no emotion as the verdict was read.His wife wiped away tears after the clerk read the final “not guilty” to the four counts he faced.
Danchenko didn’t comment after the hearing, but his lawyer, Stuart Sears, spoke briefly to reporters, saying, “We´ve known all along that Mr. Danchenko is innocent. We´re happy now that the American public knows that as well.”
Everything to know to apply for student loan forgiveness
NEW YORK (AP) – President Joe Biden´s student loan forgiveness program.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.
Here´s how to apply, and everything else you need to know:
WHO QUALIFIES FOR STUDENT LOAN FORGIVENESS?
You qualify to have up to $10,000 forgiven if your loan is held by the Department of Education and you make less than $125,000 individually or $250,000 for a family.If you received Pell grants, which are reserved for undergraduates with the most significant financial need, you can have up to $20,000 forgiven. If you are a current borrower and a dependent student, you will be eligible for relief based on your parents´ income, rather than your own.
Rape allegations aired against ’70s Show’ actor Masterson
LOS ANGELES (AP) – A prosecutor described rape allegations by three women Tuesday against “That ´۷۰s Show” actor Danny Masterson from two decades ago that contained some of the same disturbing elements.
Two women became woozy or passed out after a couple drinks and were tossed in his hot tub, Deputy District Attorney Reinhold Mueller said in his opening statement in Masterson’s trial.One of them said he dragged her to his bed where she regained consciousness to find him having sex with her. A third woman, an ex-girlfriend, said she woke up to find him on top of her.
Masterson’s lawyer said the reason the allegations had so much in common is that the alleged victims violated a detective’s warning not to speak with each other and had “cross-pollinated” their accounts and undermined their credibility.
“If you speak to each other you will contaminate this case,” they were told, defense attorney Phillip Cohen said in Los Angeles Superior Court.”Speaking to each other and other witnesses is fatal to a case.”
Masterson, 46, has pleaded not guilty to three counts of forcible rape between 2001 and 2003 at his Hollywood home, which functioned as a social hub when he was at the height of his fame.
Review: ‘Black Adam,’ a superhero franchise born on a Rock
Not long into “Black Adam,” a preteen boy looks up at the muscled hulk of Dwayne Johnson and begs for his help: “We could use a superhero right now.” Speak for yourself, kid.
Do we need another superhero with another convoluted origin story that stretches back thousands of years and fulfills a whacko destiny?Do we really need another clutch of secondary level heroes to muddy focus? We´re almost 40 deep into the Marvel Cinematic Universe and a dozen in the DC universe. You can almost smell the fumes now, can’t you?
“Black Adam” isn’t bad, 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.Why he hasn’t had a starring role in a DC or Marvel superhero flick until now is astonishing – c’mon, he’s built himself into a freaking superhero in street clothes already.
Like Marvel’s “Eternals,” “Black Adam” gets out of the blocks very sluggishly with the tangled tale of our setting – Kahndaq, a fictional Middle Eastern kingdom in 2,600 B.C.that has wizards, a blood-thirsty king, a magical crown and Eternium, a rare metallic ore with energy-manipulating properties (Hello, Vibranium from “Black Panther”).
Flash-forward to present day, where Kahndaq is under the cruel rule of the organized crime syndicate Intergang and its citizens are ripe to rebel.They think they may have a leader in Black Adam (here Teth Adam, when he is introduced), who is released from his 5,000-year-long tomb and is naturally cranky. Is he a force for good or bad? (Or for a new sub-franchise?) The answer is yes to all.
Stanton, Judge bash Yanks to 5-1 win, into ALCS vs Astros
NEW YORK (AP) – Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge staggered Cleveland with early homers, kolaybet and the New York Yankees rocked past the Guardians 5-1 Tuesday in the decisive Game 5 of their AL Division Series, setting up another rematch with Houston for the pennant.
With two on and two outs in the ninth and ace Gerrit Cole warming up in case, Myles Straw hit a game-ending grounder to shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa, who threw to second for the final out.
Gleyber Torres stepped on the bag to end it, then mimicked rocking a baby with the ball — a jab at Guardians slugger Josh Naylor, who made the motion rounding the bases after a homer off Cole in Game 4.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone won his gamble by starting Nestor Cortes on three days´ rest over Jameson Taillon, making the late switch after Monday night´s rain caused a postponement.
Cleveland manager Terry Francona stayed the course with Aaron Civale instead of switching to 2020 Cy Young Award winner Shane Bieber on short rest.Civale had trouble throwing strikes, and the Guardians never recovered from Stanton´s three-run homer just 21 pitches in.