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President Joe Biden has surveyed the devastation of hurricane-ravaged Florida, promising to marshal the power of the federal government to help rebuild. Biden comforted local residents alongside Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, a potential 2024 foe. Biden praised DeSantis’ handling of the storm recovery as both men — who have battled over pandemic protocols and migration as the governor mulls a presidential bid — put aside politics for a few days. The state is struggling to recover from the wreckage of Hurricane Ian, which tore through southwestern Florida last week and left dozens dead.

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A grim Mayor London Breed pledged for the second time in a year a serious crackdown on open air opioid drug sales and rampant public drug use that she says is destroying San Francisco. The Democrat says the police now have partners in a new district attorney and city supervisor that she appointed. District Attorney Brooke Jenkins replaced Chesa Boudin, who was ousted by voters in June. Jenkins has announced policies to prosecute drug dealers and force repeat drug users into treatment. The mayor announced a crackdown in December and was criticized by Boudin and other elected officials who said police enforcement would not solve drug addiction.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared that Russia is taking ownership of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, Europe’s largest. Putin signed a decree Wednesday ordering the creation of a state company to manage the facility and said all workers now need Russian permission to work there. Russian troops have occupied the plant for months. Ukraine condemned the “illegal” Russian takeover attempt and called on the West to impose sanctions on the Russian state nuclear operator, Rosatom, and for all countries to limit civilian nuclear cooperation with Russia. Ukraine’s state nuclear operator, Energoatom, said it considers Putin’s decree “worthless” and “absurd.” It said the plant would continue to be operated by Energoatom as part of the Ukrainian energy system.

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Leaders of Spain and Germany are meeting in northwestern Spain for a brief summit centering on Europe's energy crisis and consequences of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and 15 ministers from their governments are attending the meeting Wednesday in the city of A Coruña. Germany's gas supplies have been cut by its main provider Russia and the country is interested in proposals to build a gas pipeline linking the Iberian peninsula to the rest of Europe. The two will also discuss European fiscal policies and possibly Germany's suggested European anti-missile defense shield.

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Mississippi’s top law enforcement official said officers of a special police unit in the capital city of Jackson will not change the way they pursue suspects. Department of Public Safety Commissioner Sean Tindell met with community members following a spate of recent shootings involving the Capitol Police. The unit patrols areas around state government buildings and other neighborhoods near downtown Jackson. A man was shot and killed in an encounter with the police Sunday night. Capitol Police officers have also been involved in two other nonfatal shootings since August. Tindell said there is a “criminal element” in Jackson “that is not used to being policed.”

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Supporters of abortion rights are suing to keep an old Arizona law that criminalizes nearly all abortions from being enforced. They argue in the lawsuit filed Tuesday that laws passed by the state Legislature after 1973′s Roe v. Wade decision should take precedence and abortions should be allowed until 15 weeks into a pregnancy. The 15-week law was passed this year and took effect a day after a Tucson judge said a pre-statehood law banning all abortions can be enforced. The lawsuit filed by a Phoenix abortion doctor and the Arizona Medical Association repeats many of the arguments made by abortion rights groups in their failed effort to get a judge to continue a 50-year-old injunction against enforcing the pre-statehood law.

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A judge has dismissed charges against seven people in the Flint water scandal, including two former state health officials blamed for deaths from Legionnaires’ disease. Judge Elizabeth Kelly took action Tuesday, three months after the Michigan Supreme Court said a one-judge grand jury had no authority to issue indictments. Kelly rejected efforts by the attorney general’s office to just send the cases to Flint District Court and turn them into criminal complaints. That's the typical path to filing felony charges in Michigan. In 2014, Flint managers took the city out of a regional water system and began using the Flint River to save money. The water wasn't treated to reduce corrosion of old pipes, resulting in lead contamination.

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Russian state-owned energy giant Gazprom says it may halt gas deliveries to Moldova, Europe’s poorest country, if it fails to pay its latest bill by Oct. 20 as its contract stipulates. Gazprom said Tuesday it had repeatedly allowed Moldovan national gas supplier Moldovagaz this year to pay its monthly bills with delay, but may not continue that practice. Gazprom further said it reserved the right to annul completely its 5-year supply contract with the tiny country over its failure to settle old debts. The director of Moldovan natural gas supplier Moldovagaz said his company “will make every effort to fulfil its contractual obligation.” Moldovagaz has struggled this year to meet its payments to Gazprom after prices rose sharply.

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A judge has barred the enforcement of an executive order signed by Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney last week banning guns and deadly weapons from the city’s indoor and outdoor recreation spaces, including parks, basketball courts and pools. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Common Pleas Judge Joshua Roberts on Monday ordered Philadelphia “permanently enjoined” from enforcing the order. The Gun Owners of America, on behalf of several state residents, filed a lawsuit immediately after Kenny’s order, which was the latest attempt by Philadelphia officials to regulate guns inside city limits despite a state law barring any city or county from passing gun-control measures.

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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. It's a sign 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. It wasn’t immediately clear who the targets of the search warrants are or whether any search warrants had been executed. As the investigation ramps up, the public court filings have provided a rare window into the workings of a special grand jury that meets behind closed doors.

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Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, just five weeks before he is up for reelection, says that if he wins he will propose a 4% increase in funding for local governments each of the next two years. Evers said Monday that the money, totaling more than $91 million over two years, could be used to pay for public safety priorities. His plan includes $10 million in funding for local governments to be spent specifically on police, fire and emergency services costs. Evers also announced that he was immediately providing nearly $3.5 million in federal COVID-19 relief money to the Wisconsin State Patrol and campus police departments.

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Officials and witnesses say at least 20 people are dead and 36 others are wounded after extremist fighters targeted a local Somali government headquarters in the Hiran region. The town has been the center of a recent mobilization against extremists. The Somalia-based al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack in the town of Beledweyne. Somalia’s government earlier Monday announced that it and international partners had killed a top al-Shabab leader over the weekend. The Hiran governor survived the extremists' attack and told The Associated Press that the health minister of Hirshabelle state and the deputy governor of Hiran in charge of finance were among those killed Monday.

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Theaters and other cultural institutions in Hungary are reeling from exponentially growing energy prices, and some plan to close for the winter to avoid the skyrocketing bills. The Erkel Theatre in the capital of Budapest will close in November after its utilities went up as much as tenfold, and local governments across the country have ordered theaters, cinemas and museums to shut down during the cold months. Others are cutting costs by staging fewer productions, having fewer rehearsals and turning down the thermostat. As winter approaches, cultural leaders say the energy crisis could have negative consequences for the cultural life of Hungarians.

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Sunday is election day in Brazil. In the Amazon region, many Indigenous people live days away from the nearest town where there is a voting center. But the nation addressed that challenge years ago, thanks in large part to Indigenous advocate Bruno Pereira, who was murdered earlier this year. Pereira created a system for voting machines to travel to Indigenous villages, rather than vice versa, after an infamous incident where Indigenous voters were stranded on a riverbank for weeks with insufficient gasoline to motor their boats home, and many got sick. Some died. Today that system continues, with election officials using light aircraft and helicopters to reach remote villages.

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Hurricane Ian ravaged coastal towns in southwest Florida. But the impact has not been confined to the beaches and tourist towns. The rains from the storm's deluge are flowing into inland towns not usually part of the hurricane warnings. In the Sarasota suburb of North Port, water levels have gone up significantly, turning roads into canals, reaching mailboxes, flooding SUVs and trucks, blocking the main access to the interstate and leaving families trapped. Now, as days go by, they are starting to run out of food and water. It’s the rising rivers that cause the flooding, and authorities say that flooding now poses a danger to those nearby.

A Riverside city council member says the county sheriff libeled her when he said on social media that she had supported defacing the historic courthouse during a July abortion rights protest. The Press-Enterprise reported Friday that City Council Member Clarissa Cervantes sued Sheriff Chad Bianco for posting false comments that have immensely harmed her reputation. Bianco has refused demands to apologize and says the lawsuit is probably as fictional as most of her social media posts after protesters left green handprints on the historic Riverside courthouse. Cervantes has condemned the vandalism and says she didn't participate in the protest.

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Thousands of Catalans have gathered in Barcelona to commemorate the fifth anniversary of an independence referendum that marked the high point of their movement to break away from the rest of Spain. The 2017 vote was declared unconstitutional by Spain’s top courts and marred by clashes with police. Catalonia’s separatist lawmakers used the referendum vote to justify a unilateral declaration of independence issued on Oct. 27, 2017 that failed to garner any international support. Since the referendum victory the separatist movement has been increasingly fraught with in-fighting. Divisions in the separatist camp were heard on Saturday when some speakers at the rally were booed.

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Max Baer, the chief justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, has died at age 74 only months before he was set to retire. The court confirmed Saturday that Baer died overnight at his home near Pittsburgh. It didn't give a cause of death but called his “sudden passing" a “tremendous loss for the court and all of Pennsylvania.” The court also said Justice Debra Todd is now the first female chief justice in commonwealth history. Baer was an Allegheny County family court judge and an administrative judge in family court before he was elected to the high court in 2003. He became its chief justice last year. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Baer was set to retire at the end of the year.

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An Arizona judge has refused to suspend her order that allowed enforcement of a pre-statehood law making it a crime to provide an abortion. Friday's ruling from Pima County Superior Court Judge Kellie Johnson means the state’s abortion providers will not be able to restart procedures. Abortions were halted on Sept. 23 when Johnson ruled that a 1973 injunction must be lifted so that the Civil War-era law could be enforced. Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich sought the order lifting the injunction. Planned Parenthood argued newer laws take precedence. They asked Johnson to put her ruling on hold to allow an appeal.

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An Arizona judge has refused to suspend her order that allowed enforcement of a pre-statehood law making it a crime to provide an abortion. Friday's ruling from Pima County Superior Court Judge Kellie Johnson means the state’s abortion providers will not be able to restart procedures. Abortions were halted on Sept. 23 when Johnson ruled that a 1973 injunction must be lifted so that the Civil War-era law could be enforced. Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich sought the order lifting the injunction. Planned Parenthood argued newer laws take precedence. They asked Johnson to put her ruling on hold to allow an appeal.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched 5G services in India, calling it a “step towards the new era.” The government says the launch in select cities will cover the entire country over the next couple of years. Bharti Airtel is rolling out its 5G services in eight cities on Saturday and has set March 2024 as the deadline for countrywide coverage for as many as 5,000 towns. Reliance Jio telecom company plans to start from four metropolitan areas in October and hopes to reach most cities and towns in 18 months. Research agency OMDIA projects that with 369 million 5G subscriptions _ over half the total global 5G subscriptions currently _ India will be just behind China and the U.S. in world rankings by 2026.

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A Georgia judge has rejected an agreement that would have provided a huge property tax break to Rivian Automotive. The ruling clouds the upstart electric truck maker’s plans to build a $5 billion plant east of Atlanta that would employ 7,500 people. Morgan County Superior Court Judge Brenda Trammell finds that under state law, Rivian should be required to pay regular property taxes. She also finds that a local development authority hasn't proved that Rivian's plan is “sound, reasonable and feasible," citing the company's production and financial challenges. The challenge was brought by opponents of the plant. State and local economic developers say they're considering an appeal. Rivian declined to comment.

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Two lawsuits filed this week argue that Wisconsin election clerks should be allowed to accept absentee ballots that are missing portions of witness addresses, the next step in the ongoing legal battle that has pit conservatives against liberals in the battleground state. The lawsuits come after a judge in Waukesha County circuit court in September sided with Republicans and said election clerks are barred from filling in missing information on the form that serves as an envelope for absentee ballots. The judge struck down guidance issued by the bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission, in place for six years, saying that clerks could fill in missing information.

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has whipsawed his way through the national conversation this month, first by putting migrants on planes or buses to Democratic strongholds and then shifting to a more traditional role of crisis manager as Hurricane Ian barreled into his state. He's been forced to partner with a president he has spent the better part of two years demeaning. He’s also gladly accepting the type of federal disaster aid he rejected as a member of Congress. But the past two weeks offer insight into how DeSantis might govern if he wins another term as governor or advances in a presidential contest.

The GOP is pursuing its latest legal challenge to North Carolina electoral procedures established by the Democrat-led State Board of Elections. Republicans made the move one week before North Carolina election officials begin processing by-mail ballots in the closely watched Southern swing state. The North Carolina Republican Party filed two motions in Wake County Superior Court this week, asking the court to block the board from enforcing its prohibition of county election officials scrutinizing signatures on absentee voting documents. The GOP motions mark Republicans’ latest attempts to mold election laws to their liking in a state that could shift the political balance locally and nationwide.

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