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UN chief: World is ‘paralyzed’ and equity is slipping away
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — In an alarming assessment, the head of the United Nations is telling world leaders that nations are “gridlocked in colossal global dysfunction” and aren’t ready or willing to tackle major challenges. Speaking at the opening of the General Assembly’s annual high-level meeting, Antonio Guterres pointed to the war in Ukraine and multiplying conflicts around the world, the climate emergency and “suicidal war against nature,” the dire financial situation of developing countries, and many reversals in U.N. goals for 2030 including to end extreme poverty and provide quality education for all children.
One year later, growing global perils as Biden returns to UN
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is confronting difficult issues as he travels to New York this week for the annual gathering of world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly. The Russian war in Ukraine is at a critical juncture. Europe fears a recession could be around the corner. Administration officials are concerned that time is running short to revive the Iran nuclear deal and worry about China’s saber-rattling on Taiwan. Biden is set to address world leaders, meet with new British Prime Minister Liz Truss and prod allies to do their part to help the U.N. meet an $18 billion target to replenish a global fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
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4 Ukrainian regions schedule votes this week to join Russia
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — The separatist leaders of four Russian-controlled areas of Ukraine say they are planning to hold referendums this week for the territories to become part of Russia as Moscow loses ground in the war it launched. The votes will be held in the Luhansk, Kherson and partly Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk regions. The announcement of the balloting starting Friday came after a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that they were needed. Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev also said that folding Luhansk and Donetsk in eastern Ukraine into Russia itself would make their redrawn frontiers “irreversible” and enable Moscow to use “any means” to defend them.
Fiona wallops Turks and Caicos, Puerto Rico still stunned
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Hurricane Fiona is blasting the Turks and Caicos Islands as a Category 3 storm after devastating Puerto Rico, where most people remain without electricity or running water. The U.S. National Hurricane Center says the storm’s eye passed close to Grand Turk, the British territory’s capital island. The government had imposed a curfew and urged people to flee flood-prone areas. The storm could raise seas by 5 to 8 feet above normal. Fiona had maximum sustained winds of 115 mph and was moving north-northwest at 9 mph early Tuesday. The Hurricane Center says the storm is likely to strengthen into a Category 4 hurricane as it approaches Bermuda on Friday.
Feds: Minnesota food scheme stole $250M; 47 people charged
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Federal authorities have charged 47 people in what they’re calling the largest fraud scheme yet to take advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic by stealing and defrauding the government of $250 million. Documents made public Tuesday charge the defendants with counts including conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering and bribery. Prosecutors say the defendants created companies that claimed to be offering food to thousands of low-income children across Minnesota, then sought reimbursement through a federal program. But prosecutors say few meals were actually served, and the defendants used the money to buy luxury cars, property and jewelry. This year, the U.S. Justice Department has made prosecuting pandemic-related fraud a priority and has stepped up enforcement actions.
Trump legal team balks at judge’s declassification questions
WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump’s legal team has told a special arbiter it doesn’t want to answer questions about the declassification status of documents seized from the Trump’s Florida home. It says that issue could be part of Trump’s defense if he’s indicted. Lawyers for Trump and for the Justice Department are to appear in federal court in Brooklyn on Tuesday before the arbiter to review the roughly 11,000 documents — including about 100 marked as classified — taken during the FBI’s Aug. 8 search of Mar-a-Lago. Trump’s lawyers also asked a federal appeals court to leave in place an order that temporarily barred the Justice Department from using the classified documents in its criminal investigation.
‘Serial’ host: Evidence that freed Syed was long available
BALTIMORE (AP) — The creator of a true-crime podcast that helped free a Maryland man imprisoned for murder said that she feels a mix of emotions over how long it took authorities to act on evidence that’s long been available. Podcast host Sarah Koenig released a new episode of “Serial” on Tuesday, a day after a judge vacated Adnan Syed’s 2000 conviction and allowed him to walk out of court. Koenig noted that all of the evidence cited in prosecutors’ motion to overturn the conviction was available since 1999. She argued that the case against Syed involved “just about every chronic problem” in the system.
Iran faces global criticism, protests over woman’s death
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Iran is facing international criticism over the death of a woman held by its morality police, which ignited three days of protests across the country. An Iranian official said Tuesday that three people had been killed by unnamed armed groups in the Kurdish region of the country where the protests began. It was the first official confirmation of deaths linked to the unrest. The U.N. human rights office called for an investigation. The United States, which is trying to revive the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, called on the Islamic Republic to end its “systemic persecution” of women. Italy also condemned her death. Iran dismissed the criticism as politically motivated.
Ad spending shows Dems hinging midterm hopes on abortion
WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats are pumping an unprecedented amount of money into advertising related to abortion rights. The spending underscores how central the message is to the party in the final weeks before midterm elections. The most intense period of campaigning is only just beginning, and Democrats have already invested more than an estimated $124 million this year in television advertising referencing abortion. That’s twice as much money as the Democrats’ next top issue and almost 20 times more than Democrats spent on abortion-related ads in the 2018 midterms. The spending figures are based on an Associated Press analysis of data provided by the nonpartisan research firm AdImpact.
Minnesota Ojibwe harvest sacred, climate-imperiled wild rice
ON LEECH LAKE, Minnesota (AP) — Wild rice, or manoomin in Ojibwe, is sacred to Indigenous peoples in the Great Lakes region because it’s part of their creation story and because for centuries, even a handful made a difference between life and starvation during harsh winters. But changing climate, invasive species, and pollution are threatening the plant, even as its cultivated sibling rises in popularity nationwide. Those threats make it crucial to teach young tribe members to harvest wild rice respecting both the rituals and the environment. That’s what the Leech Lake Tribal College was doing last week in north-central Minnesota, taking students ricing for the first time on the vast waterway.
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