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AP Top News at 11:18 p.m. EDT

September 27, 2022 GMT

Hurricane Ian nears Cuba on path to strike Florida as Cat 4

HAVANA (AP) — Hurricane Ian was growing stronger as it barreled toward Cuba on a track to hit Florida’s west coast as a major hurricane as early as Wednesday. Ian was forecast to hit the western tip of Cuba as a major hurricane and then become an even stronger Category 4 with top winds of 140 mph (225 km/h) over warm Gulf of Mexico waters before striking Florida. As of Monday, Tampa and St. Petersburg appeared to be the among the most likely targets for their first direct hit by a major hurricane since 1921. “Please treat this storm seriously. It’s the real deal.

Bam! NASA spacecraft crashes into asteroid in defense test

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — A NASA spacecraft rammed an asteroid at blistering speed Monday in an unprecedented dress rehearsal for the day a killer rock menaces Earth. The galactic slam occurred at a harmless asteroid 7 million miles (11.3 million kilometers) away, with the spacecraft named Dart plowing into the space rock at 14,000 mph (22,500 kph). Scientists expected the impact to carve out a crater, hurl streams of rocks and dirt into space and, most importantly, alter the asteroid’s orbit. “We have impact!” Mission Control’s Elena Adams announced, jumping up and down and thrusting her arms skyward. Telescopes around the world and in space aimed at the same point in the sky to capture the spectacle.

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Putin’s call-up fuels Russians’ anger, protests and violence

TALLINN, Estonia (AP) — Long lines of cars on roads snaking to Russia’s border crossings with Georgia, Kazakhstan and Mongolia, and similar queues at airports. Angry demonstrations — not just in Moscow and St. Petersburg — but in the remote far north province of Yakutia and in the southern region of Dagestan, with women chasing a police officer and shouting, “No to war!” A gunman who opened fire in an enlistment office in a Siberian city and gravely wounded the military commandant, saying, “We will all go home now.” Five days after President Vladimir Putin announced a partial mobilization to call up hundreds of thousands of reservists to fight in Ukraine, the move has triggered outraged protests, a fearful exodus and acts of violence across the vast country.

Tense Japan holds funeral for assassinated ex-leader Abe

TOKYO (AP) — A tense Japan prepared Tuesday for a rare and controversial state funeral for assassinated former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the longest-serving leader in his nation’s modern history and one of the most divisive. Tokyo was under maximum security, with angry protests opposing the funeral planned around the capital and nation. Hours before the ceremony began, dozens of people carrying bouquets of flowers queued at public flower-laying stands at nearby Kudanzaka park. Thousands of uniformed police mobilized around the Budokan hall, where the funeral is being held, and at major train stations. Roads around the venue are closed throughout the day, and coin lockers at main stations were sealed for security.

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As Cantonese language wanes, efforts grow to preserve it

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Three decades ago, finding opportunities to learn Cantonese in San Francisco wasn’t hard. But today in the city that’s drawn Cantonese speakers from South China for over 150 years, there’s fear that political and social upheaval are diminishing a language that is a cultural touchstone. The Chinese government’s push for wider use of Mandarin— already the national language, spoken by 1 billion people — along with the country’s changing migration patterns have contributed to an undeniable shift away from Cantonese. It’s a change that has reverberated from East to West. From the United States to the United Kingdom and beyond, there’s worry among native and second-generation Cantonese speakers about preserving the language, spoken by some 85 million people worldwide.

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Russia gives citizenship to ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia on Monday granted citizenship to former American intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, who fled prosecution after he revealed highly classified U.S. surveillance programs to capture communications and data from around the world. A decree signed Monday by Russian President Vladimir Putin listed Snowden as one of 75 foreign citizens listed as being granted Russian citizenship. After fleeing the U.S. in 2013, Snowden was granted permanent Russian residency in 2020 and said at the time that he planned to apply for Russian citizenship without renouncing his U.S. citizenship. Ties between Washington and Moscow are already at their lowest point in decades following Putin’s decision to launch what the Kremlin has dubbed a “special military operation” in Ukraine.

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Arizona abortion clinics send women to other states

PHOENIX (AP) — When an Arizona judge ruled last week that prosecutors can resume enforcing a near-total ban on abortion that dates to the Civil War, it fell to the staff at Camelback Family Planning to break the news to the women scheduled for appointments in the coming weeks. The staff faced “crying, a lot of very, very angry people, denial,” nurse Ashleigh Feiring said Monday. One woman argued, “But I’m only five weeks (along).” Women seeking abortions across Arizona were forced to find alternatives beyond the state’s borders after the ruling, which clears the way for prosecutors to charge doctors and others who help a woman end a pregnancy unless her life is in danger.

17 dead, 24 wounded in school shooting in Russia

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MOSCOW (AP) — A gunman opened fire in a school in central Russia on Monday, killing 17 people and wounding 24 others before shooting himself dead, authorities said. The shooting took place in School No. 88 in Izhevsk, a city 960 kilometers (600 miles) east of Moscow in the Udmurtia region. Russia’s Investigative Committee identified the gunman as 34-year-old Artyom Kazantsev, a graduate of the same school, and said he was wearing a black t-shirt bearing “Nazi symbols.” No details about his motives have been released. The government of Udmurtia said 17 people, including 11 children, were killed in the shooting.

Vulnerable Tampa Bay braces for storm not seen in a century

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — It’s been more than a century since a major storm like Hurricane Ian has struck the Tampa Bay area, which blossomed from a few hundred thousand people in 1921 to more than 3 million today. Many of these people live in low-lying neighborhoods that are highly susceptible to storm surge and flooding they have rarely before experienced, which some experts say could be worsened by the effects of climate change. The problem confronting the region is that storms approaching from the south, as Hurricane Ian is on track to do, bulldoze huge volumes of water up into shallow Tampa Bay and are likely to inundate homes and businesses.

Harrowing film tells of Las Vegas shooting and its aftermath

NEW YORK (AP) — A pair of cowboy boots that Ashley Hoff never thought she would see again helped unlock a powerful story about the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history. The resulting film, “11 Minutes,” is an inside account of the 2017 massacre at a country music festival in Las Vegas and, more importantly, about how it reverberated in the lives of those who were there. More than three hours long, the four-part documentary debuts Tuesday on the Paramount+ streaming service. “I’ve never felt more useful or more like the universe put me exactly where I was supposed to be,” said Hoff, an executive producer of “11 Minutes.” It seems like a strange sentiment given that Hoff was at the show on Oct.