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Few men in power have delved deeply into gender equality on the main stage of the United Nations this month. But the ones who did went there boldly. They claimed feminist credibility, sold “positive masculinity” and resolutely demanded an end to The Patriarchy. Gender equality is as one of the U.N.’s primary goals. It has long been a safe talking point for world leaders, and there were many brief and polite mentions of progress made toward female empowerment. There were also some leaders who did not say the words “women” or “girls” at all during their time on stage. At other times, a a word considered a dirty word by many for generations was used proudly. Feminism.

The CIA has revealed the scale model of the safe house where it found and killed al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri in Afghanistan. The model is now on display at the CIA Museum, newly refurbished for the agency's 75th anniversary. Intelligence officials used the model to brief President Joe Biden in the White House Situation Room in July. The house shows several balconies, which officials used to show Biden where and how al-Zawahri liked to sit. The museum is not open to the public and generally restricted to agency employees and guests, but it allowed journalists in on Saturday to see its newest exhibits.

Arizona Democrats are vowing to fight for women’s rights after a court reinstated a law first enacted during the Civil War that bans abortion in nearly all circumstances. Democrats on Saturday looked to capitalize on an issue they hope will have a major impact on the midterm elections. Top Democrats implored women not to sit on the sidelines this year, saying the ruling sets women back  to an era when only men had the right to vote. Republican candidates have been silent since the ruling, which said the state can prosecute doctors and others who assist with an abortion unless it’s necessary to save the mother’s life.

Forty years after a predominantly Black community in Warren County, North Carolina, rallied against hosting a hazardous waste landfill, President Biden’s top environment official has returned to what is widely considered the birthplace of the environmental justice movement to unveil a national office that will distribute $3 billion in block grants to underserved communities burdened by pollution. Joined by civil rights leaders and participants from the 1982 protests, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan announced Saturday that he is dedicating a new senior level of leadership to the environmental justice movement they ignited. The Office of Environmental Justice and External Civil Rights will merge three existing EPA programs .

Russian police have moved quickly to disperse peaceful protests against President Vladimir Putin’s military mobilization order. An independent website that monitors political arrests in Russia said police detained more than 700 people on Saturday, including over 300 in Moscow and nearly 150 in St. Petersburg. OVD-Info said some of the arrested individuals were children. The demonstrations followed protests that erupted within hours Wednesday after Putin, in a move to beef up his volunteer forces fighting in Ukraine, announced a call-up of experienced and skilled army reservists. In Moscow, a heavy contingent of police roamed a downtown area where a protest was planned and checked the IDs of passersby. Officers rounded up those they deemed suspicious.

China has underscored its commitment to its claim to Taiwan. Its foreign minister told world leaders that anyone who gets in the way of its determination to reunify with the self-governing island would be “crushed by the wheels of history.” China vehemently defends its claim on Taiwan. The island separated from the mainland after a 1949 civil war and now functions with its own government. A recent visit to Taiwan by the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives markedly ratcheted up tensions between Washington and Beijing. The language was forceful but not out of the realm of the normal for China.

Seven Sri Lankans held captive by Russian forces in an agricultural factory in eastern Ukraine say they were beaten and tortured for months before escaping on foot as the Russians withdrew from the Kharkiv region. One said he was shot in the foot; another says he had his head slammed with the butt of a rifle. The Sri Lankans recounted their ordeal to reporters on Saturday. Four of the seven were medical students in the city of Kupiansk and three were working there when Russian forces poured across the border in late February. They said they were captured at a checkpoint and held in the factory near the Russian border with around 20 Ukrainians.

The way President Joe Biden sees it, the overturning of Roe vs. Wade by the Supreme Court wasn't just about whether a woman has the right to obtain an abortion. “It’s about freedom,” Biden said this past week while in New York. Vice President Kamala Harris tells voters that “extremist, so-called leaders trumpet the rhetoric of freedom while they take away freedoms." That deliberate echo of “freedom” from Biden, Harris and other top White House officials shows how Democrats at the highest ranks are increasingly co-opting traditionally conservative rhetoric in a blunt appeal to a broad swath of the electorate this fall.

It’s been a long road to the upcoming Capitol riot trial of the the leader of the extremist group Oath Keepers. But the prosecution’s case against Stewart Rhodes covers a lot more than just the insurrection of Jan. 6, 2021. Rhodes and four co-defendants are facing the difficult-to-prove charge of seditious conspiracy. Prosecutors will try to show that for the Oath Keepers, the siege wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment protest but that it was part of a weekslong plot to stop the peaceful transfer of presidential power from election-denier Donald Trump to Joe Biden. Jury selection begins Tuesday in federal court in the nation’s capital. The trial is expected to last several weeks.

It's been a long road to the upcoming Capitol riot trial of the the leader of the extremist group Oath Keepers. But the prosecution's case against Stewart Rhodes covers a lot more than just the insurrection of Jan. 6, 2021. Rhodes and four co-defendants are facing the difficult-to-prove charge of seditious conspiracy. Prosecutors will try to show that for the Oath Keepers, the siege wasn't a spur-of-the-moment protest but that it was part of a weekslong plot to stop the peaceful transfer of presidential power from election-denier Donald Trump to Joe Biden. Jury selection begins Tuesday in federal court in the nation's capital. The trial is expected to last several weeks.

A stark gender divide has emerged in debates unfolding in Republican-led states including West Virginia, Indiana and South Carolina following the U.S. Supreme Court’s June decision to end constitutional protections for abortion. As male-dominated legislatures worked to advance bans, protesters were more likely to be women. That happened even as legislators often had support of the few Republican women holding office. In all three states, lawmakers fighting against abortion bans have pointed to the gender divide. They've insisted that male counterparts shouldn’t get to dictate medical decisions for women. Ban supporters maintain that abortion affects not only women, but also children, and all of society.

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. wants to “reintroduce the Philippines” to the world. He has ambitious plans for his nation on the international stage and at home. That is, if the twin specters of pandemic and climate change can be overcome or at least managed. And if he can get past the legacies of two people: his predecessor, and his father. He also wants to strengthen ties with both the United States and China. That's a delicate balancing act for the Southeast Asian nation. Marcos spoke in an AP interview on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly.

Sunday's parliamentary election will determine who next governs major industrial economy and key NATO member Italy. Given the country's fractured political spectrum, no single party stands much chance of winning enough seats to govern alone, so it could take weeks to build a ruling coalition. Electoral alliances are vital in how seats are divvied up. The center-right's solid campaign pact has the edge, since the rival center-left forces failed to forge a united camp. Italy could see its first far-right premier of the post-war era and its first woman in that office — Giorgia Meloni, whose Brothers of Italy party has led opinion polls.

In one of the most politically competitive states in the U.S., the Democratic contender for Pennsylvania governor is waging a notably drama-free campaign. Josh Shapiro is betting that a relatively under the radar approach will resonate with voters exhausted by a deeply charged political environment. But Shapiro faces a test of whether his comparatively low-key style will energize Democrats to rally against Republican Doug Mastriano, whom many in the party view as an existential threat. The GOP candidate supports ending abortion rights and would be in position to appoint the secretary of state, who oversees elections in a state that's often decisive in choosing presidents.

A breach of sensitive voting equipment data from a rural county in Georgia spilled into the public light last month when documents and emails produced in response to subpoenas revealed the involvement of high-profile supporters of former President Donald Trump. Since then, a series of revelations about what happened in Coffee County have raised questions about whether the Dominion Voting Systems machines used throughout Georgia have been compromised. The tale involves a bail bondsman, a prominent attorney tied to Trump and a cast of characters from an area that rarely draws notice from outsiders.

A Chinese scientific ship bristling with surveillance equipment docked in a Sri Lankan port. Hundreds of fishing boats anchored for months at a time among disputed islands in the South China Sea. And ocean-going ferries, built to be capable of carrying heavy vehicles and large loads of people. All are ostensibly civilian ships, but experts and uneasy regional governments say they are part of a Chinese civil-military fusion strategy, little concealed by Beijing, that enhances its maritime capabilities. The civilian vessels do more than just augment the raw numbers of ships, performing tasks that would be difficult for the military to carry out.

How will American leaders and their allies respond if President Vladimir Putin seeks to escalate his way out of his bad situation on Ukraine’s battlefields? Putin this week renewed threats of claiming more Ukrainian territory, and even using nuclear weapons. U.S. and European leaders have made clear they will try to double down on the same tactics that have helped put Russia in a corner in Ukraine. That means more financial penalties and international isolation for Russia, more arms and other backing for Ukraine. There’s no sign of the United States and NATO matching Putin’s intensified nuclear threats with the same bluster, which could raise the risks of escalating the conflict.

Elton John says he has played in some beautiful venues, but the stage in front of the White House on Friday, beneath a massive tent on a perfect autumn night, was “probably the icing on the cake.” President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden welcomed the 75-year-old singer, talking about his activism, the power of his music and his all-around goodness. John kicked off his concert with “Your Song,” his first big international hit. At the end of the show Biden surprised John with the National Humanities Medal, for his songbook and his long legacy of advocacy.

Republican J.R. Majewski insisted Friday that he would stay in the race for a competitive northwest Ohio congressional seat after The Associated Press reported earlier this week that he misrepresented key elements of his Air Force service. “I flew into combat zones often, specifically in Afghanistan and I served my country proud,” Majewski said at a news conference. The comments came amid growing fallout for Majewski, who repeatedly said he deployed to Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks, but instead served a six-month stint loading and unloading planes while based in Qatar, according to records obtained by the AP through a public records request.

World Bank President David Malpass says he won’t resign after coming under criticism for his remarks earlier this week regarding climate change. At an event sponsored by The New York Times, Malpass wouldn’t answer directly when asked whether the burning of fossil fuels has contributed to global warming. Instead, he said he is not a scientist. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the Biden administration disagrees with Malpass’ comments suggesting climate change is not caused by human activity.

In-person voting for the midterm elections has started in Minnesota, South Dakota, Virginia and Wyoming, in a landscape that has changed since the pandemic drove a shift to mail balloting in the 2020 presidential contest. Twenty people voted in the first hour after Minneapolis’ early voting center opened Friday. They took advantage of generous rules that election officials credit with making Minnesota a perennial leader in voter turnout. In-person voting starts Saturday in New Jersey. Saturday also is the deadline by which election officials must send ballots to their military and overseas voters. North Carolina started mailing out absentee ballots Sept. 9.

As billions of dollars in opioid lawsuit settlements are starting to flow to governments, families and advocates impacted by the opioid crisis are pushing for a meaningful say in how the money will be used. There are requirements to direct most of it to fighting the deepening crisis, and in some states, people in recovery or who lost relatives have been put on committees making spending recommendations. But advocates from New York to Nevada are worried they won’t have enough input on how the money is used. The funding processes are already subject to a partisan tussle in Wisconsin and a lawsuit in Ohio.

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh has announced a settlement with a property management company owned by the family of former President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Frosh announced Friday that Westminster Management has agreed to pay a $3.25 million civil penalty and restitution to settle a 2019 lawsuit in Maryland. The settlement addresses charges that Westminster and the property owners violated the Consumer Protection Act by charging tenants illegal fees and by failing to maintain the properties. Westminster is not admitting wrongdoing under the settlement. Kushner company chief operating officer Peter Febo says Westminster is pleased to have settled this litigation with no admission of liability or wrongdoing.

Top allies of ex-President Donald Trump are creating a new super PAC that's expected to serve as the main vehicle for his midterm spending and could become a key part of his campaign infrastructure if he moves forward with a 2024 White House run. The MAGA Inc. group will supersede Trump’s existing super political action committee. Paperwork for the new group was filed Friday. The buildout comes as the Republican former president is under mounting legal pressure on multiple fronts, including a Department of Justice criminal investigation into how documents with classified markings ended up at his Florida home. Trump officials won't say how much he intends to spend on his midterm efforts.

The Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, Dr. Mehmet Oz, has released his health records as he maneuvers to keep questions about Democratic rival John Fetterman’s recovery from a stroke front and center. Dr. Rebecca Kurth wrote in a letter obtained by The Associated Press that she found the heart surgeon-turned-TV celebrity to be in “excellent health” in an annual checkup Thursday. The release of the New York City doctor’s note and health records comes as Oz has increasingly made Fetterman’s fitness to serve a central theme in his campaign and as Oz is trying to close a gap in polls. Fetterman didn't immediately comment Friday.

Youth activists have staged a coordinated ‘global climate strike’ to highlight their fears about the effects of global warming and demand more aid for poor countries hit by wild weather. Protesters took to the streets in Jakarta, Tokyo and Berlin Friday carrying banners and posters with slogans such as “We are worried about the climate crisis” and “It’s not too late.” The demonstrations were organized by the Fridays for Future youth movement that took its cue from activist Greta Thunberg, who began protesting alone outside the Swedish parliament in 2018. Thousands of people attended the rally in Berlin, which featured calls for the German government to establish a 100-billion-euro (dollar) fund for tackling climate change.

A model from Myanmar denounced her country’s military rulers last year from the stage of a beauty pageant in Thailand. Now she fears she may be forced back home. Thaw Nandar Aung says she is stuck at Bangkok’s airport. When she arrived Wednesday night by air from a short trip to Vietnam, she was denied reentry into Thailand. A Thai Foreign Ministry spokesperson says the model was denied entry into Thailand due to an issue with her travel document. He said she was not arrested and there are currently no plans to deport her anywhere. Since Myanmar's military seized power last year it has violently cracked down on opposition and jailed critics.

Hong Kong’s leader has announced the city would no longer require incoming travelers to quarantine in designated hotels after nearly two years. The city seeks to open up globally and remain competitive. The city’s chief executive John Lee at a news conference Friday said incoming travelers will also no longer need a negative PCR test within 48 hours before boarding a plane to Hong Kong. Instead, they will need to present a negative result from a rapid antigen test, conducted 24 hours before their flight. The measures will come into effect Monday.

Panic and anxiety gripped members of Turkey's lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer communities when several thousand demonstrators marched in Istanbul last weekend to demand a ban on what they consider gay propaganda and to outlaw LGBTQ organizations. The Big Family Gathering march attracted parents with children, nationalists, hard-line Islamists and conspiracy theorists. Turkey’s media watchdog gave the event the government’s blessing by including a promotional video that called LGBTQ people a “virus” in its list of public service announcements. A trans drag performer who identifies as nonbinary describes feeling like they “can be publicly lynched.” Some LGBTQ groups in Turkey have stopped posting their addresses online with threats and hate speech gaining steam.

Italian voters cast ballots on Sunday in an election that has been billed as crucial as Europe reels from the repercussions of war in Ukraine. Soaring energy costs mean many Italian families and businesses are struggling to stay afloat. Opinion polls indicate Giorgia Meloni's far-right Brothers of Italy party could be the biggest vote-getter, just ahead of the center-left Democratic Party of former Premier Enrico Letta. But a solid campaign alliance linking Meloni to her conservative allies gives her the advantage in determining who governs. Meloni would be Italy's first far-right premier and first female one in the post-war period. But experts say this Italian election could also set another record — one for the lowest-ever turnout.

Bangladesh's economic miracle is under severe strain as fuel price hikes amplify public frustrations over rising costs for food and other necessities. Protests have erupted in recent weeks, adding to pressures on the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, which has sought help from the International Monetary Fund to safeguard the country's finances. Experts say Bangladesh's predicament is nowhere nearly as severe as Sri Lanka's, where months' long unrest led its long-time president to flee the country. But it faces similar troubles: excessive spending on showcase projects, public anger over corruption and cronyism and a weakening trade balance. Such trends are undermining Bangladesh's progress toward becoming a more affluent, middle-income country.

Voting has begun in Moscow-held regions of Ukraine on referendums to become part of Russia. The Kremlin orchestrated the votes and they're certain to go Russia's way, though Ukraine and the West have denounced them as shams without any legal force. The votes are being held in the Luhansk, partly Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk regions. In Kherson, the balloting is also expected to get underway. The expected outcome favoring joining Russia would give it the pretext to claim Ukrainian forces are attacking Russia itself, dramatically escalating the 7-month-old conflict. The referendums follow President Vladimir Putin’s order of a partial mobilization, which could add some 300,000 Russian troops to the fight.

House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy is rolling out his party's Trump-like midterm election agenda. The GOP leader is traveling Friday to Pennsylvania to challenge President Joe Biden and the party in power. But House Republicans have a spotty record of delivering and governing in Congress. McCarthy is in line to seize the speaker's gavel if Republicans win control of the House in the November election and he's trying to replicate the strategy Newt Gingrich used in 1994. The “Commitment to America” includes broad ideas for the economy, border security and social issues. But McCarthy faces challenges ahead — notably unifying the party's different factions.

North Carolina Republican Senate candidate Ted Budd is leaning into his support for abortion restrictions and his allegiance to former President Donald Trump as Democrats fight for an elusive victory in the southern swing state. Democratic optimism remains tempered given the state’s recent red tilt. But Democratic officials believe Budd's candidacy gives them a real chance at flipping a Senate seat — and the balance of power in Washington — this fall. Budd is set to appear alongside Trump on Friday night at a rally in Wilmington. There are political risks to campaigning alongside the divisive former president. But a Budd adviser says the campaign is eager to welcome Trump.

The tide of international opinion appears to have decisively shifted against Russia, as a number of non-aligned countries joined the United States and its allies in condemning Russia’s war in Ukraine and its threats to the principles of the international rules-based order. In what many believed earlier this year was Western wishful thinking, much of the international community spoke out against the conflict in rare displays of unity at the often fractured United Nations. The coalescing condemnation picked up steam earlier in the week when Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the mobilization of some additional 300,000 troops to Ukraine, signaling the unlikelihood of a quick end to the war and suggested that nuclear weapons may be an option.

After three days in which the war in Ukraine consumed world leaders at the United Nations, other conflicts and concerns are beginning to emerge. Some are long-simmering ones that have receded from the public’s attention recently. Israel’s prime minister called for the establishment of a Palestinian state in a speech that focused on that conflict. The Palestinian president speaks on Friday. Others are regional conflicts that have flared. Armenia’s prime minister warned that “the risk of new aggression by Azerbaijan remains very high.” That's after the largest outbreak of hostilities between the two adversaries in nearly two years.

The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan has arrived in the South Korean port of Busan ahead of the two countries’ joint military exercise that aims to show their strength against growing North Korean threats. The joint drills will be the first involving a U.S. aircraft carrier in the region since 2017. The allies have revived large-scale military drills this year, responding to North Korea’s resumption of major weapons testing and increasing threats of nuclear conflicts with Seoul and Washington. The South Korean navy said the training is meant to boost the allies’ military readiness and show “the firm resolve" of the South Korea-U.S. alliance for the sake of peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Donald Trump’s latest legal troubles – sweeping fraud allegations by New York’s attorney general and a stark repudiation by federal judges he appointed – have laid bare the challenges piling up as the former president operates without the protections afforded by the White House. The bluster and bravado that served him well in the political arena are less handy in a legal realm dominated by verifiable evidence, where judges this week have looked askance at his positions. This week alone, he has been sued in New York and a federal appeals court sharply rejected his legal team's arguments.

Federal regulators are ordering Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and CEO Andy Jassy to testify in the government's investigation of Amazon Prime. The regulators rejected the company’s complaint that the executives are being unfairly harassed in the probe of the popular streaming and shopping service. The Federal Trade Commission issued an order denying Amazon’s request to cancel civil subpoenas sent in June to Bezos, the Seattle-based company's former CEO, and Jassy. The order also sets a deadline of Jan. 20 for the completion of all testimony by Bezos, Jassy and 15 other senior executives, who also were subpoenaed.

Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake is misrepresenting her opponent's legislative record on education in a video being widely shared on social media. In the video, set to dramatic music and featuring patriotic visuals, Lake falsely suggests that Democratic candidate Katie Hobbs wanted to ban the Pledge of Allegiance in schools and to teach kindergartners about sex, misrepresenting Hobbs' voting record and the content of various Arizona education bills. Hobbs did not vote to block documents such as the Pledge of Allegiance from schools, and her support for a bill for K-12 sex education specified that the sex education be age-appropriate.

A former director of Mississippi’s welfare agency has pleaded guilty to new federal charges in a conspiracy to misspend tens of millions of dollars that were intended to help needy families. Mississippi is one of the poorest states in the U.S. The charges are part of the largest public corruption case in the state’s history. John Davis appeared in federal court Thursday and pleaded guilty to one conspiracy and one counts of fraud against the government. State charges against Davis are being dropped, and he has agreed to testify against others in the case. Davis remains free on bond and sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 2.

The rare eruption of deadly clashes this week between Palestinians and their own security forces has cast a spotlight on the growing ranks of disenfranchised, impoverished young men taking up arms. Many have spent their entire lives in a territory occupied by Israel, scarred by infighting and segmented by checkpoints. They have not seen a national election since 2006. They have no hope in the long-stalemated peace process. Their aging president, Mahmoud Abbas, is in his 18th year of what was supposed to be a four-year term. Experts also attribute the surge in West Bank violence to a leadership vacuum and looming succession crisis. The occupied territories have seen the deadliest violence this year since 2016.

An Indiana judge has blocked the state’s abortion ban from being enforced, putting the new law on hold as abortion clinic operators argue that it violates the state constitution. Owen County Judge Kelsey Hanlon issued a preliminary injunction Thursday against the ban that took effect one week ago. The injunction was sought by abortion clinic operators who argued in a lawsuit that the state constitution protects access to the medical procedure. The judge wrote “there is reasonable likelihood that this significant restriction of personal autonomy offends the liberty guarantees of the Indiana Constitution” and that the clinics will prevail in the lawsuit.

Officials say Russian missile strikes in the southern city of Zaporizhzha left one person dead and five others wounded as Ukrainian shelling in Russian-controlled Donetsk city killed at least five people. Zaporizhzia Gov. Oleksandr Starukh said Thursday Russian forces targeted infrastructure facilities and also damaged nearby apartment buildings, Donetsk city mayor Alexei Kulemzin said at least five people where killed when Ukrainian shelling Thursday hit a covered market and a passenger minibus.  The exchange of fire came just a few hours after a high-profile prisoner swap that saw 215 Ukrainian and foreign fighters exchanged primarily for an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The main candidates in Italy's general election on Sunday to elect a new Parliament and determine who next governs the country include both familiar names and lesser-known ones. They range from three-time former Premier Silvio Berlusconi to far-right opposition leader Giorgia Meloni, who is intent on becoming Italy's first woman to hold the premiership. Three other candidates are also former premiers — populist leader Giuseppe Conte, Democratic Party leader Enrico Letta and Matteo Renzi, a former Democrat who now heads a tiny centrist party. In polls ahead of this vote, Meloni has been riding high in voter opinion surveys and Letta is following close behind.

Cambodia’s U.N.-backed Khmer Rouge tribunal on Thursday rejected the appeal of a genocide conviction by the communist group’s last surviving leader in what is expected to be the special court’s last session. The historic international court issued its ruling on an appeal by Khieu Samphan, who served as head of state in Cambodia’s 1975-79 Khmer Rouge government. He was convicted in 2018 of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes and sentenced to life in prison. The tribunal spent $337 million and 16 years to convict just him and two other defendants in connection with a reign of terror that caused the deaths of an estimated 1.7 million people.

An Australian national day of mourning for the late Queen Elizabeth II has centered on Parliament House. The government declared Thursday a nationwide public holiday. Dignitaries placed sprigs of golden wattle, the national floral emblem, in a wreath. A portrait of the queen in a yellow dress adorned with wattle motifs that she wore on her first night in Australia in 1954 was the focus at the ceremony Thursday. The queen’s death on Sept. 8 came in the Southern Hemisphere spring when wattle blooms. Its golden flowers and green leaves reflect Australia’s national colors in what has become a symbol of unity. The ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Governor-General David Hurley, King Charles III’s representative in Australia.

A Malaysian defense contractor nicknamed “Fat Leonard” who orchestrated one of the largest bribery scandals in U.S. military history has been arrested in Venezuela. The U.S. Marshals Service says Leonard Glenn Francis was arrested Tuesday as he was about to board a plane in Caracas. Francis was under home arrest in San Diego when he cut off his GPS ankle bracelet and escaped on Sept. 4, prompting an international manhunt. Francis was awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty in 2015 to bribing Navy officers to help his ship servicing company, then overcharging the military at least $35 million. Dozens of Navy officers were convicted for the scheme.

After two years of discourse dominated by the coronavirus pandemic, the war in Ukraine has taken center stage at this year’s U.N. General Assembly. The pleas made by leaders from around the world for peace were both an altruistic amplification of besieged Ukrainians’ plight as well as born from self-interest. As several speeches made clear, the repercussions of the Russian invasion have been felt even thousands of miles away. The speeches that elided any direct reference to the conflict were few, but the war resounded in the absence of its direct invocation.

The White House is reaching out to local governments. It's hosting officials from North Carolina on Thursday to highlight funding opportunities and hear firsthand how coronavirus relief, infrastructure dollars and other policies are faring in communities. The event reflects new efforts to expand the use of the White House campus as pandemic restrictions have eased. But it’s also part of a larger effort to host municipal and county officials on a weekly basis from all 50 states. That outreach coincides with campaigning for November’s midterm elections as the White House tries to energize Democratic voters.

The Federal Reserve delivered its bluntest reckoning Wednesday of what it will take to finally tame painfully high inflation: Slower growth, higher unemployment and potentially a recession. Speaking at a news conference, Chair Jerome Powell acknowledged what many economists have been saying for months: That the Fed’s goal of engineering a “soft landing” — in which it would manage to slow growth enough to curb inflation but not so much as to trigger a recession — looks increasingly unlikely. “The chances of a soft landing,” Powell said, “are likely to diminish” as the Fed steadily raises borrowing costs to slow the worst inflation in four decades.

Ukraine’s president has laid out his case against Russia’s invasion at the United Nations and demanded punishment from world leaders. Volodymyr Zelenskyy's speech was delivered just hours after Moscow made an extraordinary announcement that it would mobilize some reservists for the war effort. Buoyed by a counteroffensive that has retaken swaths of territory that the Russians had seized, Zelenskyy vowed in a video address that his forces would not stop until they had reclaimed all of Ukraine. Video addresses by Zelenskyy in an olive green T-shirt have become almost commonplace. But this speech was one of the most keenly anticipated at the U.N. General Assembly, where the war has dominated.

The wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, conservative activist Virginia Thomas, has agreed to participate in a voluntary interview with the House panel investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection. Attorney Mark Paoletta says Thomas is “eager to answer the committee’s questions to clear up any misconceptions about her work relating to the 2020 election.” The committee has sought an interview with Thomas to know more about her role in trying to help former President Donald Trump overturn his election defeat. She contacted lawmakers in Arizona and Wisconsin as part of that effort.

A federal appeals court has lifted a judge’s hold on the Justice Department’s ability to use classified records seized from former President Donald Trump’s Florida estate in its ongoing criminal investigation. The ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta clears the way for the department to immediately resume its use of the documents as it evaluates whether to bring criminal charges in its investigation into the presence of top-secret government records held at Mar-a-Lago after Trump left the White House.

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U.S. President Joe Biden and Iran President Ebrahim Raisi are among those taking the spotlight on the second day of the world body’s first fully in-person meeting since the coronavirus pandemic began. But perhaps one of the biggest draws on Wednesday will be Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskky, who will be heard but not seen in the flesh. The 193-member assembly voted last week to allow Zelenskky to deliver a pre-recorded address because of his need to deal with Russia’s invasion, making an exception to its requirement that all leaders speak in person. Unsurprisingly, Ukraine has been the center of attention at the U.N. assembly, with world leader after world leader condemning Russia for attacking a sovereign nation.

The Federal Reserve sent a sobering message after it announced its latest big interest rate hike: It plans to keep raising rates as long as it takes to conquer the worst inflation bout in decades — even at the risk of causing a recession in the process. Its aggressive pace of rate hikes will increasingly make borrowing and spending costly for consumers and businesses. Job cuts and rising unemployment could follow. And eventually, as the job market steadily weakens along with the economy, a recession could follow. Given the strength of the job market, most economists say a recession seems months away, at least. But most of them nevertheless think an economic downturn is inevitable.

Last month, when Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell spoke at an economic conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, he issued a blunt warning: The Fed’s drive to curb inflation by aggressively raising interest rates, he said, would “bring some pain” for Americans. When the Fed ends its latest meeting Wednesday and Powell holds a news conference, Americans will likely get a better idea of how much pain could be in store. The central bank is expected to raise its key short-term rate by a substantial three-quarters of a point for the third consecutive time. Many Fed watchers, though, will be paying particular attention to Powell’s remarks at a news conference afterward.

There are few places in the U.S. with a more deeply ingrained reputation as a refuge for immigrants than New York City. But for Mayor Eric Adams, reconciling that image with an influx of migrants sent to the city as part of a political tactic from several Republican governors is proving difficult. Adams says the city is struggling to accommodate asylum seekers, leading him to explore whether New York can ease its practices for sheltering the homeless or even temporarily house migrants on cruise ships. He is one of several leaders of Democratic-leaning jurisdictions facing a sudden test of their commitment to being “sanctuary” cities or states.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has issued another grave warning to the West after his country’s military suffered a series of embarrassing setbacks in Ukraine. Putin has ordered a partial mobilization that will make up to 300,000 more troops available but could also make battlefield setbacks more personal to many Russians. In addition, Putin's thinly-veiled threat of Moscow’s willingness to use nuclear weapons comes as Russia prepares to hold referendums in Ukrainian regions it has occupied. Those votes, which start Friday, have been dismissed as a sham by Ukraine and its allies, including U.S. President Joe Biden. Western officials said Putin's threats would not affect their resolve to back Ukraine politically and militarily.

Republican J.R. Majewski has campaigned for a northwestern Ohio congressional seat by presenting himself as an Air Force combat veteran who deployed to Afghanistan after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Military records and an Air Force accounting of his service tell a different story. They indicate Majewski never deployed to Afghanistan but instead completed a six-month stint helping to load planes at an airbase in Qatar, a longtime U.S. ally that was a safe distance from the fighting. Majewski’s account of his time in the military is just one aspect of his biography that’s suspect. His post-military career has been defined by exaggerations, conspiracy theories, talk of violent action against the U.S. government and occasional financial duress.

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Large numbers of Russians have rushed to book one-way tickets out of the country after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a partial mobilization of military reservists for the war in Ukraine. Flights filled up quickly and the prices of tickets for remaining connections sky-rocketed on Wednesday, apparently driven by fears that Russia’s borders could soon close. Tickets for the Moscow-Belgrade flights operated by Air Serbia, the only European carrier besides Turkish Airlines to maintain flights to Russia despite a European Union flight embargo, sold out for the next several days. The price for flights from Moscow to Istanbul or Dubai kept increasing, reaching as high as 9,200 euros ($9,119) for a one-way economy class fare.

An independent commission in Ohio has canceled a pair of debates in the state’s governor’s and U.S. Senate races because the Republican candidates declined to participate. The Ohio Debate Commission expressed disappointment on Wednesday that neither Republican Gov. Mike DeWine nor Senate nominee JD Vance accepted their invitations by a 5 p.m. Tuesday deadline. The invitations were extended in May. Republicans have cast the Ohio Debate Commission as less than even-handed. Both Democratic gubernatorial nominee Nan Whaley and U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, the Democratic Senate nominee, had accepted their invitations. Whaley cast DeWine as a coward unwilling to defend his record. DeWine has said Ohioans already know him and his positions well.

Republican J.R. Majewski has campaigned for a northwestern Ohio congressional seat by presenting himself as an Air Force combat veteran who deployed to Afghanistan after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Military records and an Air Force accounting of his service tell a different story. They indicate Majewski never deployed to Afghanistan but instead completed a six-month stint helping to load planes at an airbase in Qatar, a longtime U.S. ally that was a safe distance from the fighting. Majewski’s account of his time in the military is just one aspect of his biography that's suspect. His post-military career has been defined by exaggerations, conspiracy theories, talk of violent action against the U.S. government and occasional financial duress.

New York’s attorney general sued former President Donald Trump and his company on Wednesday, alleging business fraud involving some of their most prized assets, including properties in Manhattan, Chicago and Washington, D.C. Attorney General Letitia James’ lawsuit, filed in state court in New York, is the culmination of the Democrat’s three-year civil investigation of Trump and the Trump Organization. Trump’s three eldest children, Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric Trump, were also named as defendants, along with two longtime company executives, Allen Weisselberg and Jeffrey McConney. Alina Habba, an attorney for Trump, said the lawsuit is “neither focused on the facts nor the law.”

Iran’s president insists that his country was serious about reviving a deal to put curbs on its nuclear program but questioned whether it could trust America’s commitment to any eventual accord. Former U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from a deal brokered by the Obama administration. That has led Tehran to abandon over time every limitation the accord imposed on its nuclear enrichment. Ebrahim Raisi addressed the U.N. General Assembly as talks to revive the nuclear deal approached a take-it-or-leave-it moment.

President Joe Biden is ready to make the case at the U.N. General Assembly that Russia's “naked aggression” in Ukraine is an affront to the heart of what the international body stands. In his address Wednesday morning, the American president is looking to rally allies to continue to back the Ukrainian resistance. Biden also plans to meet on the sidelines of the General Assembly with new British Prime Minister Liz Truss and announce a global food security initiative. But White House officials say the crux of Biden's visit to the U.N. this year will be a full-throated condemnation of Russia as its brutal war nears the seven-month mark.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday announced a partial mobilization in Russia as the fighting reaches nearly seven months. Putin’s address to the nation comes a day after Russian-controlled regions in eastern and southern Ukraine announced plans to hold votes on becoming integral parts of Russia. The Kremlin-backed efforts to swallow up four regions could set the stage for Moscow to escalate the war following Ukrainian successes on the battlefield. The referendums, which have been expected to take since the first months of the war, will start Friday in the Luhansk, Kherson and partly Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk regions.

A man has set himself on fire near the Japanese prime minister’s office in Tokyo in apparent protest of the state funeral for former leader Shinzo Abe. Kyodo News agency reported the man sustained burns but told police he set himself on fire with oil and a note found with him proclaimed his opposition to the Abe state funeral. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is in New York for the U.N. General Assembly meeting. The planned state funeral for Abe has become increasingly unpopular among Japanese as more details emerge about the ruling party’s and Abe’s links to the Unification Church, which built close ties with ruling party lawmakers over their shared interests in conservative causes.

Hundreds of Native Americans returned to their historic capital in Macon, Georgia, this weekend for the 30th annual Ocmulgee Indigenous Celebration. Nearly 200 years after the last Creek Indians were forcibly removed to Oklahoma to make way for slave labor in the Deep South, citizens of the Muscogee Creek Nation are celebrating their survival. They're also supporting an initiative to put the National Park Service in charge of protecting the heart of the Creek Confederacy. A federal review is nearly complete, meaning Interior Secretary Deb Haaland could soon ask Congress to create the Ocmulgee National Park and Preserve.

A campaign that could bring legalized sports betting to California has become the most expensive ballot-initiative fight in U.S. history. Two rival proposals on the November ballot are pitting wealthy Native American tribes against FanDuel, DraftKings and other online gambling companies. At stake is what's expected to be a multibillion-dollar marketplace. Together, both sides have raised over $400 million. A torrent of advertising has crossed TV and cable screens, much of it from the gambling companies. They're making promises about using revenues to fix homelessness, which Gov. Gavin Newsom and other critics say is a false promise.

The House is preparing to vote on an overhaul of a centuries-old election law in an effort to prevent future presidential candidates from trying to subvert the popular will. The legislation under consideration Wednesday is a direct response to the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection and former President Donald Trump’s efforts to find a way around the Electoral Count Act. That arcane 19th century law governs, along with the U.S. Constitution, how states and Congress certify electors and declare presidential election winners. Trump and a group of his aides and lawyers tried to exploit loopholes in the law to overturn his defeat.

The Department of Justice has charged 48 people in what prosecutors have called a scheme to take advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to defraud the U.S. government of $250 million. Prosecutors say the defendants obtained government funds under the guise of providing food to underprivileged children. But just a small fraction of the money went toward feeding kids and the rest was instead laundered through shell companies and spent on property, luxury cars and travel. Prosecutors say it is the largest fraud case to date that deals with the misuse of government funds during the pandemic.

A New Mexico politician and Trump supporter who was removed and barred from elected office for his role in the U.S. Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021, is attempting to appeal that decision to the state Supreme Court. Cowboys for Trump cofounder and former county commissioner Couy Griffin on Tuesday notified the high court of his intent to appeal. The ruling against Griffin this month from a Santa Fe-based state District Court was the first to remove an elected official from office in connection with the attack that disrupted Congress as it was trying to certify President Joe Biden’s 2020 electoral victory.

The Ohio Supreme Court has cleared a conservative podcaster who embraces former President Donald Trump’s discredited claims of a stolen 2020 election to run for Ohio secretary of state in November. Terpeshore “Tore” Maras will appear as an independent against Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose and Democratic challenger Chelsea Clark. Tuesday's ruling is the latest twist in Maras' rollercoaster bid to seek the office overseeing Ohio elections. LaRose's office initially cleared her for the ballot, but a Republican official successfully had challenged enough of her signatures to get her disqualified.

U.S. health regulators say their response to the ongoing infant formula shortage was slowed by delays in processing a whistleblower complaint and test samples from the nation’s largest formula factory. The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday published its first formal report detailing the factors that led to the shortage, which has forced the U.S. government to import formula from overseas. The report highlights several key problems at the regulatory agency. Those include unclear procedures for vetting whistleblower complaints about company violations. The agency also says it needs more funding and authority to regulate food manufacturers.

Big-name celebrities are coming back to the White House after boycotting America's most famous address under Donald Trump. Rocker Elton John is bringing his farewell tour to the South Lawn on Friday at the invitation of President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden. Singer James Taylor strummed his guitar and sang at the White House last week to open an event celebrating a new health care and climate change law. Younger pop stars like singer Olivia Rodrigo and South Korean boy band BTS have visited. And Biden has resumed the tradition of hosting a White House reception for the artists receiving honors from the Kennedy Center.

Sen. Joe Manchin on Tuesday railed against what he called “revenge politics″ being used against him, as liberals in the House and Senate team up with Republicans to oppose his plan to speed permits for natural gas pipelines and other energy projects. Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, secured a commitment from President Joe Biden and Democratic leaders to include the permitting package in a stopgap government-funding bill in return for his support of a landmark law to curb climate change. But in recent weeks Democrats and environmental groups have lined up to oppose the permitting plan, calling it bad for the country and the climate.

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.

Federal authorities have charged 47 people in what they say was a massive scheme to take advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic and defraud 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.

Donald Trump’s legal team has told a judge it does not want to answer his questions about the declassification status of the documents seized last month from the former president’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 veteran judge who has been appointed as independent 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.

A nighttime bus crash that killed 27 people in southwest China this week has set off a storm of anger online over the harshness of the country’s strict COVID-19 policies. The passengers on the bus were traveling to a quarantine location outside their city of Guiyang. Following public anger, Guiyang fired three officials in charge of Yunyan district, where the residents had been picked up. Users online questioned how a driver could see properly when his face was covered up and why he was driving so late at night. Others accused the government of moving people so that the city would no longer report any new cases. Many comments were censored on Weibo, a popular social media platform.

The energy crisis facing Italian industry and households is a top voter concern going into Sunday's parliamentary elections as fears grow that astronomically high bills will shutter some businesses and force household rationing by winter. Never in an Italian election campaign has energy been such a central talking point. Candidates have sparred over whether debt-laden Italy, which has already spent more than 60 billion euros to help families, businesses and local governments, should incur yet more debt to finance new relief. They also disagree on whether Italy should consider reinvesting in new nuclear technologies. But no party is discussing whether to implement conservation measures, like many of Italy’s European neighbors.

A new court filing says a former Republican Party official in Georgia who was a fake elector in 2020 misrepresented her role in an alleged breach of voting equipment at a rural elections office two months after the presidential election. The filing late Monday is part of a broader lawsuit challenging the security of the state’s voting machines that has been drawn into a separate investigation of former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn his loss in Georgia. According to the latest filing, Cathy Latham helped coordinate the arrival of a computer forensics team at the Coffee County elections office on Jan. 7, 2021, and spent nearly all day there instructing them what to copy. The filing says that directly refutes her previous testimony.

Prime Minister Liz Truss has kicked off her first visit to the United States as Britain’s leader with an admission that a U.K-U.S. free trade deal is not going to happen for years. On her way to the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Truss said “there (aren’t) currently any negotiations taking place with the U.S., and I don’t have an expectation that those are going to start in the short to medium term.” That's a sharp contrast with the stance of her immediate predecessors, Boris Johnson and Theresa May. Both dangled the promise of a deal with the world’s biggest economy as one of the main prizes of Britain’s exit from the European Union.

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.

Vice President Kamala Harris is visiting two historically Black colleges in South Carolina to push for voter registration. The vice president is focusing on places and demographics that will be key to Democrats’ chances to hold on to Congress in midterm elections. Harris is traveling to Orangeburg on Tuesday to speak at a convocation at South Carolina State University. She’ll also hold a roundtable at nearby Claflin University. Harris’ stepped-up travel schedule ahead of voting is designed to prevent, or at least limit, any drop-off in turnout among voters of color and young people. Both are important parts of the Democratic coalition.

House Democrats are voting this week on changes to a 19th century law for certifying presidential elections. The measure is their strongest legislative response yet to the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection and former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn his 2020 election defeat. A vote to overhaul the Electoral Count Act is expected Wednesday. A bipartisan group of senators is moving forward with a similar bill. The Senate Rules Committee will vote on its version of the legislation next week. Lawmakers in both parties have said they want to change the arcane law before it is challenged again.

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