Fetterman, Oz meet for highly anticipated Pa. Senate debate
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Democrat John Fetterman and Republican Mehmet Oz will meet Tuesday for one of the most highly anticipated debates of the midterm elections as they wage a fierce contest for a U.S. Senate seat from Pennsylvania that could decide control of the chamber and the future of President Joe Biden’s agenda.
Much of the focus is on Fetterman, who has spent the past several months fending off an escalating series of attacks from Oz about his health and fitness for office. Fetterman, who is Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor, had a stroke in May, a health scare that was so severe he said he “almost died.”
But he has insisted he is prepared for the demands of the Senate. Since his stroke, Fetterman has struggled at times to speak clearly in public events. Independent experts consulted by The Associated Press, however, said he appears to be recovering remarkably well. He will use closed-captioning during the debate to help him process the words he hears.
Still, Tuesday’s debate could prove to be a decisive moment in a race that represents the best chance for Democrats to flip a Republican-held Senate seat this year. It will provide an opportunity for Fetterman to prove that he has the stamina for the job and shift the focus to Oz, who Fetterman has argued is a carpetbagger from New Jersey with no understanding of the state. Oz, meanwhile, will have a high-profile chance to unite Republicans and appeal to moderates who could decide the race.
“The debate looms very large, bigger than usual for a Senate debate,” said Republican activist Charles Gerow, a veteran of two decades of Sunday TV political talk shows.
Ukraine alleges Russian dirty bomb deception at nuke plant
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine’s nuclear energy operator said Tuesday that Russian forces were performing secret work at Europe's largest nuclear power plant, activity that could shed light on Russia’s claims that the Ukrainian military is preparing a “provocation” involving a radioactive device.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu made an unsubstantiated allegation that Ukraine was preparing to launch a so-called dirty bomb. Shoigu leveled the charge over the weekend in calls to his British, French, Turkish and U.S. counterparts. Britain, France and the United States rejected it out of hand as “transparently false.”
Ukraine also dismissed Moscow’s claim as an attempt to distract attention from the Kremlin’s own alleged plans to detonate a dirty bomb, which uses explosives to scatter radioactive waste in an effort to sow terror.
Energoatom, the Ukrainian state enterprise that operates the country's four nuclear power plants, said Russian forces have carried out secret construction work over the last week at the occupied Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine.
Russian officers controlling the area won’t give access to Ukrainian staff running the plant or monitors from the U.N.'s atomic energy watchdog that would allow them to see what the Russians are doing, Energoatom said Tuesday in a statement.
School gunman had AR-15-style weapon, 600 rounds of ammo
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The 19-year-old gunman who killed a teacher and a 15-year-old girl at a St. Louis high school was armed with an AR-15-style rifle and what appeared to be more than 600 rounds of ammunition, Police Commissioner Michael Sack said Tuesday.
Orlando Harris also left behind a hand-written note offering his explanation for the shooting Monday at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School. Tenth-grader Alexzandria Bell and 61-year-old physical education teacher Jean Kuczka died and seven students were wounded before police killed Harris in an exchange of gunfire.
Sack read Harris' note in which the young man lamented that he had no friends, no family, no girlfriend and a life of isolation. In the note, Harris called it the “perfect storm for a mass shooter.”
Sack said Harris had some ammo strapped to his chest, some in a bag, and other magazines were found dumped in stairwells.
“This could have been much worse,” Sack said.
UK's Sunak is first PM of color, but equality fight not over
LONDON (AP) — Harmeet Singh Gill was excited to hear that Rishi Sunak would become Britain's first prime minister of color — news that came as he celebrated the Diwali festival in a London neighborhood sometimes called Little India.
“It’s almost a watershed moment,” the 31-year-old said as he volunteered at the cavernous dome-topped house of worship that serves the Sikh community in west London's Southall neighborhood. “It’s just a sign of 21st-century Britain, where it doesn’t matter what background you’re from now, that you can rise up the ranks to the positions of power.”
But, for many people of color in the U.K., it's not so simple. Sunak, 42, will be the first Hindu and the first person of South Asian descent to lead the country, which has a long history of colonialism and has often struggled to welcome immigrants from its former colonies — and continues to grapple with racism and wealth inequality.
King Charles III asked Sunak, whose parents moved to Britain from Africa in the 1960s, to form a new government Tuesday, a day after he was chosen leader of the governing Conservative Party.
The milestone is doubly significant for many people with Asian roots because it comes during Diwali, the five-day festival of light celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains.
Jan. 6 panel interviews former Trump aide Hope Hicks
WASHINGTON (AP) — The House Jan. 6 committee is interviewing Hope Hicks, a longtime aide to former President Donald Trump, according to a person familiar with the meeting.
Tuesday's interview comes as the investigation is winding down and as the panel has subpoenaed Trump for an interview in the coming weeks. The person requested anonymity to discuss the closed-door meeting.
Hicks did not play a major role in the White House response to the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection, in which hundreds of Trump's supporters broke into the U.S. Capitol and interrupted the certification of President Joe Biden's victory. The longtime Trump communications aide was still working there at the time but left the White House in the days afterward.
Still, Hicks had been one of Trump's most trusted aides. And she was looped in on some texts and emails that day ahead of the then-president's speech outside the White House and before the violence unfolded, according to CNN, which obtained copies of texts turned over by former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.
Hicks is no stranger to investigations of her former boss. She was a key witness in former special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, delivering important information to the special counsel’s office about Trump's attempts to obstruct that investigation. But she declined to answer questions about her time in the White House to House Democrats who were investigating the former president in 2019, after Mueller's report came out, citing privilege concerns.
Sleep apnea device recall drags on, stoking frustration
WASHINGTON (AP) — A massive recall of millions of sleep apnea machines has stoked anger and frustration among patients, and U.S. officials are weighing unprecedented legal action to speed a replacement effort that is set to drag into next year.
Sound-dampening foam in the pressurized breathing machines can break down over time, leading users to potentially inhale tiny black particles or hazardous chemicals while they sleep, manufacturer Philips warned in June 2021.
Philips initially estimated it could repair or replace the units within a year. But with the recall expanding to more than 5 million devices worldwide, the Dutch company now says the effort will stretch into 2023.
That’s left many patients to choose between using a potentially harmful device or trying risky remedies, including removing the foam themselves, buying second-hand machines online or simply going without the therapy.
The devices are called continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, machines. They force air through a mask to keep passageways open during sleep.
Condition of Texas teen shot eating hamburger 'touch and go'
A teen shot by a San Antonio police officer as he ate a hamburger in his car three weeks ago is still hospitalized and his condition remains “very touch and go,” his father said Tuesday in the family’s first public comments since the shooting.
“He is getting slightly better, his wounds are healing, but the wounds that he’s endured, they are great, there’s a lot of them,” Erik Cantu Sr. said at a news conference.
Family attorney Ben Crump — who has taken on some of the nation’s most high-profile police killings of Black people — said the family has been told that the now-fired officer who shot 17-year-old Erik Cantu Jr. racially profiled him while searching for a Hispanic suspect.
Cantu was shot on Oct. 2 by Officer James Brennand in a McDonald's parking lot. After the shooting, the 27-year-old rookie officer was fired and charged with two counts of aggravated assault by a public official. Police said Brennand violated his training and police procedures after approaching the car.
In body camera footage released by police, Brennand opens the car door and tells Cantu to get out. The car drives backward with the door open, and the officer fires multiple times into the vehicle. He continues to shoot as the car drives away.
Russian court rejects Griner appeal of her 9-year sentence
MOSCOW (AP) — A Russian court on Tuesday rejected an appeal by U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner of her nine-year prison sentence for drug possession, a step that could move her closer to a possible high-stakes prisoner swap between Moscow and Washington.
The eight-time all-star center with the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury and a two-time Olympic gold medalist was convicted Aug. 4 after police said they found vape canisters containing cannabis oil in her luggage at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport.
Griner, 32, was not at the Moscow Regional Court hearing but appeared via video link from a penal colony outside the capital where she is held.
At her trial, Griner admitted to having the canisters in her luggage but testified she packed them inadvertently in her haste to make her flight and had no criminal intent. Her defense team presented written statements saying she had been prescribed cannabis to treat chronic pain.
The nine-year sentence was close to the maximum of 10 years, and Griner’s lawyers argued after the conviction that the punishment was excessive. They said in similar cases defendants have received an average sentence of about five years, with about a third of them granted parole.
'They took my big love': Ukraine woman searches for answers
OZERA, Ukraine (AP) — Tetiana Boikiv peered from the doorway of the cellar at the Russian soldiers questioning her husband about his phone.
“Come up,” her husband, Mykola Moroz, called to her. “Don’t be afraid.”
Moroz — Kolia to his friends — was trying to explain that the surveillance video they’d found was from his job as an electrician, all taken before the Feb. 24 invasion.
“I am a religious person,” Kolia said. “I haven’t hurt anyone.”
But the two soldiers and their commander weren’t listening. They put a bag over his head. Despairing, Boikiv demanded to know what they would do with the man she called her big, big love.
Partial solar eclipse takes a bite out of the sun
Much of Europe and parts of Africa and Asia saw the moon take a bite out of the sun during the second and last solar eclipse of the year.
The partial eclipse took about four hours. At its peak, the eclipse covered more than 80% of the sun.
A solar eclipse happens when the moon’s path crosses in between the Earth and the sun, blocking out the sun’s light. In a partial eclipse, the three aren't perfectly aligned — so a crescent of the sun still peeks out.
The next solar eclipse is in April — a rare hybrid kind that will appear as a total eclipse across parts of Australia and Asia.
The Associated Press