Suicide drones strike fear in Ukraine's capital, killing 4
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Waves of explosives-laden suicide drones struck Ukraine’s capital Monday, setting buildings ablaze, tearing a hole in one of them and sending people scurrying for cover or trying to shoot them down in what the president said was Russia’s attempt to terrorize civilians.
The concentrated use of the kamikaze drones was the second barrage in as many weeks — after months in which air attacks had become a rarity in central Kyiv. The assault sowed fear and frayed nerves as blasts rocked the city. Energy facilities were struck and one drone largely collapsed a residential building, killing four people, authorities said.
Intense bursts of gunfire rang out as the Iranian-made Shahed drones buzzed overhead, apparently as soldiers tried to destroy them. Others headed for shelter, nervously scanning the skies. But Ukraine has become grimly accustomed to attacks nearly eight months into the Russian invasion, and city life resumed as rescuers picked through debris.
Previous Russian airstrikes on Kyiv were mostly with missiles. Analysts believe the slower-moving Shahed drones can be programmed to accurately hit certain targets using GPS unless the system fails.
Also Monday, a Russian Su-34 warplane crashed in a residential area in the Russian port of Yeysk, on the Sea of Azov, after an engine failure — killing at least four people on the ground, injuring 25 others and starting a fire that engulfed several floors of a nine-story apartment building, authorities said.
Student loan forgiveness application website goes live
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden on Monday officially kicked off the application process for his student debt cancellation program and announced that 8 million borrowers had already applied for loan relief during the federal government's soft launch period over the weekend.
He encouraged the tens of millions eligible for potential relief to visit studentaid.gov and touted the application form that the president said would take less than five minutes to complete. An early, “beta launch” version of the online form released late Friday handled the early stream of applications “without a glitch or any difficulty,” Biden said.
“It means more than 8 million Americans are — starting this week — on their way to receiving life-changing relief,” Biden, accompanied by Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, said Monday. The president called his program a “game-changer” for millions of Americans saddled with student loan debt.
The number of borrowers who applied during the testing period already amounts to more than one-fourth of the total number of applicants the administration had projected would submit forms, underscoring the popularity of the program and the eagerness of borrowers to receive the debt relief. Some 8 million borrowers who have income information already on file with the Education Department would see their debt canceled without applying.
Biden’s plan calls for $10,000 in federal student debt cancellation for those with incomes below $125,000 a year, or households that make less than $250,000 a year. Those who received federal Pell Grants to attend college are eligible for an additional $10,000. The plan makes 20 million eligible to get their federal student debt erased entirely.
House panel: Trump's bills to Secret Service 'exorbitant'
NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump’s private company arranged for the Secret Service to pay for rooms at his properties in excess of government-approved rates at least 40 times, including two charges for more than $1,100 per room, per night, according to documents released Monday by a congressional committee.
The Secret Service was charged room rates of more than $800 per night at least 11 times when agents stayed at Mar-a-Lago in Florida, the Trump hotel in Washington, D.C., and other properties, the Democratic-led House Oversight Committee said. It noted that Trump made over 500 trips to his properties while president.
The “exorbitant” rates point to a possible “taxpayer-funded windfall for former President Trump’s struggling businesses,” Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney of New York wrote in a letter Monday to the Secret Service requesting more information.
The Secret Service said it had received the letter and was reviewing it.
The Trump Organization denied that the Secret Service charges were a problem and said it provided rooms and other services at cost, at big discounts or for free.
US businesses propose hiding trade data used to trace abuse
A group of major U.S. businesses wants the government to hide key import data -- a move trade experts say would make it more difficult for Americans to link the products they buy to labor abuse overseas.
The Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee is made up of executives from 20 companies, including Walmart, General Motors and Intel. The committee is authorized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection to advise on ways to streamline trade regulations.
Last week -- ahead of closed-door meetings starting Monday in Washington with senior officials from CBP and other federal agencies -- the executives quietly unveiled proposals they said would modernize import and export rules to keep pace with trade volumes that have nearly quintupled in the past three decades. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the proposal from a committee member.
Among the proposed changes: making data collected from vessel manifests confidential.
The information is vitally important for researchers and reporters seeking to hold corporations accountable for the mistreatment of workers in their foreign supply chains.
Mike Lee tries to distance himself from Trump in Utah debate
OREM, Utah (AP) — Fending off attacks from his independent challenger, U.S. Sen. Mike Lee of Utah worked to distinguish himself from former President Donald Trump in a contentious debate Monday evening.
“I stood against my party time and time again to oppose reckless spending. I will do it again and again and again. We need people who say no,” the second-term Republican said.
Lee repeatedly said that his voting record demonstrated that he wasn’t beholden to any party or politician. Twice he told the audience at Utah Valley University that he voted less in line with Trump than all but two Republican senators — Rand Paul and Susan Collins.
“To suggest that I’m beholden to either party, that I’ve been a bootlicker for either party is folly. And it’s contradicted by the plain facts,” Lee said.
Lee faces a challenge from Evan McMullin, a former Republican known most for his long-shot bid for president six years ago, when as an independent he won 21.5% of the vote in Utah, including Lee’s. McMullin has since become a pillar of the anti-Trump movement, attacking Trump as a threat to democracy and arguing his actions are contrary to the history of the Republican Party and what's best for the United States.
UK leader in peril after Treasury chief axes 'Trussonomics'
LONDON (AP) — The U.K.’s new Treasury chief ripped up the government’s economic plan on Monday, dramatically reversing most of the tax cuts and spending plans that new Prime Minister Liz Truss announced less than a month ago. The move raises more questions about how long the beleaguered British leader can stay in office, though Truss insisted she has no plans to quit.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt, said he was scrapping “almost all” of Truss' tax cuts, along with her flagship energy policy and her promise — repeated just last week — that there will be no public spending cuts.
While the reversal of policy calmed financial markets and helped restore the government’s economic credibility, it further undermined the prime minister’s rapidly crumbling authority and fueled calls for her to step down before her despairing Conservative Party forces her out.
Truss declined to attend the House of Commons to answer a question on the economy from the leader of the opposition, sending House of Commons leader Penny Mordaunt in her place. Mordaunt denied a lawmaker's suggestion that Truss was “cowering under her desk” to avoid scrutiny.
"The prime minister is not under a desk," Mordaunt said, words hardly likely to inspire confidence in the leader who only came to power last month.
Australia drops recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia has reversed a previous government's recognition of West Jerusalem as Israel's capital, the foreign minister said Tuesday.
The center-left Labor Party government Cabinet agreed to again recognize Tel Aviv as the capital and reaffirmed that Jerusalem's status must be resolved in peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, Foreign Minister Penny Wong said.
Australia remained committed to a two-party solution to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, and “we will not support an approach that undermines this prospect,” Wong said.
Former conservative Prime Minister Scott Morrison formally recognized West Jerusalem as Israel's capital in December 2018, although the Australian embassy remained in Tel Aviv.
The change followed the then-U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to shift the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. President Joe Biden has kept the embassy in Jerusalem as the U.S. steps back from its once-intense mediation between the Israelis and Palestinians, who have not held substantive peace talks in more than a decade.
North Carolina No. 1 in preseason AP Top 25 men's basketball
North Carolina surprised just about everyone last year when a talented team led by first-year coach Hubert Davis parlayed a No. 8 seed in the NCAA Tournament into a run to the national title game.
The Tar Heels won't be sneaking up on anyone this year.
With four starters back from the team that lost to Kansas in New Orleans, the Tar Heels are the runaway pick as the preseason No. 1 in the AP Top 25 released Monday. They earned 47 of 62 first-place votes from a national media panel to easily outdistance Gonzaga, the top preseason team the past two years.
“As they opened up their lockers for the first practice of last year, there was a picture of the New Orleans Superdome in there. I wanted them to see where we were headed in April,” Davis recalled last week. “The hard work and preparation, the practice that had to be put into place to put ourselves in position to do that. t’s the same approach this year compared to last year. The only difference this year is the outside noise.
“Last year,” Davis said, “the outside noise didn’t think we had a chance. The outside noise this year thinks we do.”
Haiti calls for help at the UN as world mulls assistance
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United States and Mexico said Monday they are preparing a U.N. resolution that would authorize an international mission to help improve security in Haiti, whose government issued a “distress call” for the people of the crisis-wracked nation.
U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield made the announcement at an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council as thousands across Haiti organized protests demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry. The demonstrations came on the day the country commemorated the death of Jean-Jacques Dessalines, a slave who became the leader of the world’s first Black republic.
The U.S. ambassador said the proposed “non-U.N.” mission would be limited in time and scope and be led by “a partner country” that was not named “with the deep, necessary experience required for such an effort to be effective.” It would have a mandate to use military force if necessary.
She said the resolution being worked on is a “direct response” to a request on Oct. 7 by prime minister Henry and the Haitian Council of Ministers for international assistance to help restore security and alleviate the humanitarian crisis. It reflects one option in a letter from U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to the council on Oct. 9 that called for deployment of a rapid action force by one or several U.N. member states to help Haiti’s National Police.
Both Russia and China raised questions about sending a foreign armed force to Haiti.
How Michael Flynn goes local to spread Christian nationalism
VENICE, Fla. (AP) — It was less than three weeks before the Sarasota County, Florida, school board election when the former White House national security adviser weighed in on the local political race.
“These ‘woke’ members need to be defeated in detail this upcoming election,” Michael Flynn posted on Telegram on Aug. 6. “Our children’s lives and futures are at risk when our school boards here in Florida and around the nation shove (critical race theory) and transgender nonsense down their throats.”
A few days later, the retired three-star Army general who spent decades enmeshed in international conflict weighed in again on the local election: “‘WOKE’ SOBs operating in many counties and on many school boards across the country” have to be voted out or censured "and some just need to be arrested.”
Later that month, Flynn’s chosen candidates — who were also backed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis — defeated three school board candidates backed by Democrats.
Flynn, who just eight years ago under President Barack Obama led the U.S. military's intelligence agency, now is at the center of a far-right Christian nationalist movement that has a growing influence in the Republican Party. In speeches across the U.S., he urges his supporters to get involved in local politics as a way to change the country from the bottom up.
The Associated Press