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Ukraine claws back more territory Russia is trying to absorb

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Ukraine claws back more territory Russia is trying to absorb

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainian forces scored more gains in their counteroffensive across at least two fronts Monday, advancing in the very areas that Russia is trying to absorb and challenging Moscow’s effort to engage fresh troops and its threats to defend incorporated areas by all means.

In their latest breakthrough, Ukrainian forces penetrated Moscow’s defenses in the strategic southern Kherson region, one of the four areas in Ukraine that Russia is in the process of annexing.

Kyiv’s troops also consolidated gains in the east and other major battlefields, re-establishing Ukrainian control just as Russian President Vladimir Putin is trying to overcome problems with manpower, weapons, troop morale and logistics, along with intensifying domestic and international criticism. Putin faces disarray and anger domestically about his partial troop mobilization and confusion about the establishment of new Russian borders.

Ukraine’s advances have become so apparent that even Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov, who usually focuses on his military’s successes and the enemy’s losses, was forced to acknowledge it.

“With numerically superior tank units in the direction of Zolota Balka and Oleksandrivka, the enemy managed to forge deep into our defenses,” Konashenkov said Monday, referring to two towns in the Kherson region. He coupled that with claims that Russian forces inflicted heavy losses on Ukraine’s military.

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N. Korea sends missile soaring over Japan in escalation

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea on Tuesday fired an intermediate-range ballistic missile over Japan for the first time in five years, forcing Japan to issue evacuation notices and suspend trains, as the North escalates tests of weapons designed to strike regional U.S. allies.

It was the most significant missile test by North Korea since January, when it fired an Hwasong-12 intermediate-range missile capable of reaching the U.S. territory of Guam. Japan and South Korea both called security meetings to discuss the launch.

The Japanese prime minister’s office said at least one missile fired from North Korea flew over Japan and was believed to have landed into the Pacific Ocean.

Japanese authorities alerted residents in northeastern regions to evacuate to shelters, in the first “J-alert” alert since 2017 when North Korea fired a Hwasong-12 missile over Japan in its previous provocative run of weapons tests.

Trains were suspended in the Hokkaido and Aomori regions until the government issued a subsequent notice that the North Korean missile appeared to have landed into the Pacific.

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Officials: US to send Ukraine more advanced rocket systems

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. will soon deliver to Ukraine four more of the advanced rocket systems credited with helping the country’s military gain momentum in its war with Russia.

The High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, known as HIMARS, will be part of a new $625 million package of aid expected to be announced on Tuesday, according to U.S. officials.

The decision marks the first time the U.S. has sent more HIMARS to Ukraine since late July, and it will bring the total number delivered so far to 20. The systems have become a key tool in Ukraine’s ability to strike bridges that Russia has used to supply its troops, enabling Ukrainian forces to make inroads in Russia-controlled regions.

The U.S. in recent weeks also provided funding through a separate program — the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative — so another 18 HIMARS can be purchased through longer-term contracts. USAI funds are being used as part of the effort by the U.S. and Western allies to ensure Ukraine’s forces are trained and equipped to defend their country in the years to come. But those contracts will take several years to fulfill.

The latest aid package is also expected to include other ammunition and equipment for Ukraine’s troops. Several U.S. officials spoke on condition of anonymity to provide details of the package ahead of the announcement. This is the first tranche of U.S. aid delivered in the new fiscal year, which began Oct. 1.

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Oath Keepers trial: Jan. 6 was ‘rebellion,’ prosecutor says

WASHINGTON (AP) — The founder of the Oath Keepers extremist group and four associates planned an “armed rebellion” to keep President Donald Trump in power, a federal prosecutor contended Monday as the most serious case yet went to trial in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Stewart Rhodes and his band of extremists were prepared to go to war to stop Joe Biden from becoming president, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Nestler told jurors. The group celebrated the Capitol attack as a victory in that fight and continued their plot even after Biden’s electoral victory was certified, Nestler alleged.

“Their goal was to stop, by whatever means necessary, the lawful transfer of presidential power, including by taking up arms against the United States government,” the prosecutor said during his opening statement. “They concocted a plan for armed rebellion to shatter a bedrock of American democracy.”

The defendants are the first among hundreds of people arrested in the Capitol riot to stand trial on seditious conspiracy, a rare Civil War-era charge that calls for up to 20 years behind bars. The stakes are high for the Justice Department, which last secured such a conviction at trial nearly 30 years ago, and intends to try two more groups on the charge later this year.

The trial comes as Trump continues to insist, against much evidence, that the 2020 election was stolen from him, and as vocal pushback against the charges filed against those who entered the Capitol continues in some quarters. The broader reaction could show how the American public, as well as the jury, sees the attack, nearly two years later.

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Indonesia police chief, others removed over soccer disaster

MALANG, Indonesia (AP) — An Indonesian police chief and nine elite officers were removed from their posts Monday and 18 others were being investigated for responsibility in the firing of tear gas inside a soccer stadium that set off a stampede, killing at least 125 people, officials said.

Distraught family members were struggling to comprehend the loss of their loved ones, including 17 children, at the match in East Java’s Malang city that was attended only by hometown Arema FC fans. The organizer had banned supporters of the visiting team, Persebaya Surabaya, because of Indonesia’s history of violent soccer rivalries.

The disaster Saturday night was among the deadliest ever at a sporting event.

Arema players and officials laid wreaths Monday in front of the stadium.

“We came here as a team asking forgiveness from the families impacted by this tragedy, those who lost their loves ones or the ones still being treated in the hospital,” head coach Javier Roca said.

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Frustration and desperation mount as Ian’s effects linger

FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — Days after the skies cleared and the winds died down in Florida, Hurricane Ian’s effects persisted Monday, as people faced another week without power and others were being rescued from homes inundated with lingering floodwaters.

Ten additional deaths were blamed on the storm in Florida as frustration and desperation mounted in the path the storm cut through state. And the hurricane’s remnants, now a nor’easter, weren’t done with the U.S.

The mid-Atlantic and Northeast coasts were getting flooding rains. The storm’s onshore winds piled even more water into an already inundated Chesapeake Bay.

Norfolk and Virginia Beach declared states of emergency, although a shift in wind direction prevented potentially catastrophic levels Monday, said Cody Poche, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wakefield, Virginia

Coastal flooding temporarily shut down the only highway to part of North Carolina’s Outer Banks and flooding was possible all the way to Long Island, the National Weather Service said.

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Georgia election probe enters new phase with search warrants

ATLANTA (AP) — The Georgia prosecutor investigating whether former President Donald Trump and his allies broke the law trying to overturn his 2020 election loss in the state is seeking search warrants in the case, a sign that the wide-ranging probe has entered a new phase.

The revelation came Monday in a court order filed by Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney, who’s overseeing the special grand jury seated to help the investigation. In an order sealing any search warrants and related documents from being made public, McBurney wrote that District Attorney Fani Willis’ office is “now seeking to obtain and execute a series of search warrants, the affidavits for which are predicated on sensitive information acquired during the investigation.”

Disclosure of the information could compromise the investigation, McBurney wrote, “by, among other things, causing flight from prosecution, destruction of or tampering with evidence, and intimidation of potential witnesses.” It could also result in risks to the “safety and well-being” of people involved in the investigation, he wrote.

It wasn’t immediately clear who the targets of the search warrants are or whether any search warrants had yet to be approved by a judge. To obtain a search warrant, prosecutors must convince a judge they have probable cause that a crime occurred at the location where authorities want to search.

As Willis’ investigation ramps up, the public court filings in the case have provided a rare window into the workings of a special grand jury that meets behind closed doors.

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Frustration with Ukraine war spills out on Russian state TV

Russia’s retreat from a key Ukrainian city over the weekend elicited outcry from an unlikely crowd – state-run media outlets that typically cast Moscow’s war in glowing terms.

A series of embarrassing military losses in recent weeks has presented a challenge for prominent hosts of Russian news and political talk shows struggling to find ways to paint Ukraine’s gains in a way that is still favorable to the Kremlin.

Frustration with the battlefield setbacks has long been expressed in social media blogs run by nationalist pundits and pro-Kremlin analysts, and the volume grew after Ukraine’s counteroffensive last month around Kharkiv in the northeast. But it is now spilling out on state TV broadcasts and in the pages of government-backed newspapers.

The less conciliatory tone from state-run media comes as President Vladimir Putin faces widespread Russian discontent about his partial mobilization of reservists and as government officials struggle to explain plans to annex Ukrainian regions at the same time they are being retaken by Kyiv’s forces.

“The Russian defeat in Kharkiv (region) and Lyman, combined with the Kremlin’s failure to conduct partial mobilization effectively and fairly are fundamentally changing the Russian information space,” Washington-based Institute for the Study of War said in a report.

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Wall Street soars to best day since summer, S&P 500 up 2.6%

NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street soared to its best day in months Monday in a widespread relief rally after some unexpectedly weak data on the economy raised the possibility that the Federal Reserve won’t have to be so aggressive about hiking interest rates.

The S&P 500’s leap of 2.6% was its biggest since July, the latest swing for a scattershot market that’s been mostly falling this year on worries about a possible global recession. Wall Street’s main measure of health was coming off its worst month since the coronavirus crashed markets in early 2020 and is still down nearly 23% for the year.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 2.7%, and the Nasdaq composite gained 2.3% in Monday’s widespread rally that swept the vast majority of U.S. stocks higher.

Stocks took their cue from the bond market, where yields fell to ease some of the pressure that’s been battering markets this year. The yield on the 10-year Treasury, which helps set rates for mortgages and many other kinds of loans, fell to 3.64% from 3.83% late Friday. It got as high as 4% last week after starting the year at just 1.51%.

Helping to drive markets was a report on U.S. manufacturing that came in weaker than expected, along with data showing a drop off in construction sending from July to August. While that may seem discouraging for the economy, it could mean the Federal Reserve won’t have to be so aggressive about raising interest rates in order to beat down the high inflation damaging households’ finances.

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Will Smith’s ‘Emancipation’ gets release date, post-slap

NEW YORK (AP) — After holding “Emancipation” in limbo following Will Smith’s slap of Chris Rock at the Academy Awards in March, Apple will release the actor’s next big project this December.

In the fallout of Smith’s smack of the comedian, the fate of “Emancipation” — a $120 million runaway slave thriller directed by Antoine Fuqua — had been uncertain. One of Apple’s most high-profile productions yet, the film had once been expected to be an Oscar contender this year. But an awards-season rollout of a film headlined by Smith, whom the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences banned from attending the Oscars for 10 years, has obvious complications.

Nevertheless, Apple TV+ said Monday that it will debut “Emancipation” on Dec. 2 in theaters and begin streaming it Dec. 9.

Over the weekend, Apple and the NAACP held the first screening of the film in Washington as part of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Legislative Conference. Smith attended the screening and spoke on stage.

The release of “Emancipation” will pose the biggest test yet of how eager moviegoers are for a movie headlined by Smith, an actor who has generated more than $6.5 billion in worldwide box office. Still, the brief exclusive run in theaters will also mean “Emancipation,” like Apple’s best picture-winning “CODA,” will be seen primarily in homes.

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