Ukrainians scared by Russia’s preordained referendums
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — After seven weary months of war, many Ukrainians fear more suffering and political repression awaits them. Kremlin-orchestrated referendums conducted under gun barrels portend Russia’s imminent annexation of four occupied regions. Many residents fled the regions before the referendums got underway, scared about being forced to vote or potentially being conscripted into the Russian army. The referendums, denounced by Kyiv and its Western allies as rigged, are taking place in the Russian-controlled Luhansk and Kherson regions, and in occupied areas of the Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia regions. Russian authorities are expected to announce the regions as theirs once the preordained vote ends Tuesday.
Italy shifts to the right as voters reward Meloni’s party
ROME (AP) — Near-final results show a party with neo-fascist roots, the Brothers of Italy, has swept Italy’s national elections. The victory looks set to deliver the first far-right-led government since World War II and make its leader, Giorgia Meloni, the first woman to become Italy’s premier. The country’s lurch to the far right immediately shifted Europe’s geopolitical reality, placing a euroskeptic party in position to lead a founding member of the European Union and its third-largest economy. Europe’s right-wing party leaders immediately hailed Meloni’s victory and her party’s meteoric rise as sending a historic message to Brussels. Near-final results showed Meloni’s center-right coalition netting some 44% of the parliamentary vote. Turnout was a historic low 64%.
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From Yale to jail: Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes’ path
PHOENIX (AP) — Oath Keepers militia group founder Stewart Rhodes was once a promising Yale Law School graduate. Rhodes was born in California and spent time in Nevada and once secured an Arizona Supreme Court clerkship. But Rhodes’ deep distrust of government and thirst for greatness led him down a different path. Rhodes built one of the country’s largest anti-government militia groups with members who’d eventually storm the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. The 57-year-old Rhodes and four others tied to the group head to trial this week on charges of seditious conspiracy. It’s the most serious charge leveled by the Justice Department in its far-reaching prosecution of Capitol rioters.
Drone attack hits Ukraine; US vows ‘consequences’ over nukes
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — An overnight drone strike near the Ukrainian port of Odesa has sparked a massive fire and explosion, hours after the United States vowed to take decisive action and promised “catastrophic consequences” if Russia uses nuclear weapons in Ukraine. The airstrike was the latest in a series of drone attacks on the key southern city in recent days. This one hit a military installation and detonated ammunition when it struck. Firefighters were struggling to contain the blaze, the Ukrainian military’s southern command said Monday.
13 dead, 21 wounded in school shooting in Russia
MOSCOW (AP) — Authorities say a gunman has killed 13 people and wounded 21 others in a school in central Russia. Russia’s Investigative Committee said in statement that seven children were among those killed in the Monday morning shooting in School No. 88 in Izhevsk, a city about 960 kilometers (596 miles) east of Moscow in the Udmurtia region. The wounded were 14 children and 7 adults, the Committee said. Governor of Udmurtia Alexander Brechalov said in a video statement that the gunman shot himself. The school has been evacuated and the area around it has been cordoned off, the official said. No details about the gunman’s motives have been released.
Ian strengthens into a hurricane, heads toward Cuba, Florida
HAVANA (AP) — Forecasters say Tropical Storm Ian has strengthened into a hurricane as it moves closer to Cuba on a track expected to take it to Florida in the coming days. Authorities in Cuba have suspended classes in Pinar del Rio province and say they will begin evacuations Monday as Ian is forecast to strengthen before reaching the western part of the island on its way to Florida. A hurricane warning was in effect for Grand Cayman and the Cuban provinces of Isla de Juventud, Pinar del Rio and Artemisa. The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Ian should reach the far-western part of Cuba late Monday or early Tuesday, hitting near the country’s most famed tobacco fields. It could become a major hurricane late Monday.
Pakistan floods raise fears of hunger after crops wrecked
KHAIRPUR, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistan’s massive floods this summer have wiped out large swaths of crops. Now the country fears significant food shortages. One reason for concern is that the wheat planting season is fast approaching, but vast areas that would normally be planted with wheat are still underwater and may not drain in time. That could mean a smaller harvest down the line. At the same time, hundreds of thousands of small farming families have had their livelihoods and food stores wiped out. The cash-strapped government has been forced to turn to imports, but still hopes the upcoming wheat crop will come through.
Lights out, ovens off: Europe preps for winter energy crisis
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Europe is staring down a winter energy crisis. Russia has reduced natural gas supplies as Europe supports Ukraine, and the continent’s ability to get through the winter may depend on how cold it is and competition from Asia. The lights of the Eiffel Tower are turning off earlier than normal and shop windows across Europe are going dark to save energy. High prices mean households and businesses are trying to use less heat and electricity, but they’re running into the hard truth that cutting back only shaves a little off their bills. Governments are rolling out relief and have been able to bolster natural gas storage. But analysts say Russia still has leverage with energy prices high and supplies tight.
False claims, threats fuel poll worker sign-ups for midterms
ATLANTA (AP) — False claims about the 2020 presidential election by former President Donald Trump and his allies are spurring new interest in working the polls in Georgia and elsewhere for the upcoming midterm elections, but for different reasons. Some prospective poll workers tell The Associated Press they aim to shore up a critical part of their state’s voting system amid the lies and misinformation. But others have bought into the claims, leading election security experts to worry that those workers could overstep their roles. Local election officials say they have numerous safeguards to prevent a single poll worker from disrupting voting or trying to manipulate results.
British pound plunges to new low as tax cuts spark concern
LONDON (AP) — The British pound has fallen to an all-time low against the U.S. dollar after the government pledged a sweeping package of tax cuts that have fueled concerns about its economic policy. The pound fell as low as $1.0373 Monday, before rallying to above $1.07 in early London trading. The British currency has lost more than 5% against the dollar since Friday, when Treasury chief Kwasi Kwarteng announced the biggest tax cuts in 50 years. It comes as the government plans to spend billions of pounds to help consumers and businesses struggling with high energy bills that are driving a cost-of-living crisis. The combination sparked investor concern about spiraling government debt.
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