AP Top News at 11:37 p.m. EDT
NEW YORK (AP) — President Joe Biden said Thursday that the risk of nuclear “Armageddon” is at the highest level since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, as Russian officials speak of the possibility of using tactical nuclear weapons after suffering massive setbacks in the eight-month invasion of Ukraine. Speaking at a fundraiser for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Biden said Russian President Vladimir Putin was “a guy I know fairly well” and the Russian leader was “not joking when he talks about the use of tactical nuclear weapons or biological or chemical weapons.” Biden added, “We have not faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis.” He suggested the threat from Putin is real “because his military is — you might say — significantly underperforming.” U.S.
WASHINGTON (AP) — A North Carolina man pleaded guilty Thursday to plotting with other members of the far-right Proud Boys to violently stop the transfer of presidential power after the 2020 election, making him the first member of the extremist group to plead guilty to a seditious conspiracy charge. Jeremy Joseph Bertino, 43, has agreed to cooperate with the Justice Department’s investigation of the role that Proud Boys leaders played in the mob’s attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, a federal prosecutor said. Bertino’s cooperation could ratchet up the pressure on other Proud Boys charged in the siege, including former national chairman Henry “Enrique” Tarrio.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is pardoning thousands of Americans convicted of “simple possession” of marijuana under federal law, as his administration takes a dramatic step toward decriminalizing the drug and addressing charging practices that disproportionately impact people of color. Biden’s move also covers thousands convicted of the crime in the District of Columbia. He is also calling on governors to issue similar pardons for those convicted of state marijuana offenses, which reflect the vast majority of marijuana possession cases. Biden, in a statement, said the move reflects his position that “no one should be in jail just for using or possessing marijuana.” “Too many lives have been upended because of our failed approach to marijuana,” he added.
A judge has delayed a looming trial between Twitter and Elon Musk, giving the Tesla CEO more time to close his $44 billion deal to buy the company after months spent fighting to get out of it. Musk had asked to halt the upcoming Delaware court trial, where the Tesla billionaire was expected to fare poorly against Twitter’s lawsuit to force him to complete his April merger agreement. Musk revived the takeover offer on Monday but said he needed time to get the financing in order. Chancellor Kathaleen St. Jude McCormick, head of the Delaware Chancery Court, said Thursday that Musk and Twitter now have until Oct.
SANIBEL ISLAND, Fla. (AP) — Rotting fish and garbage lie scattered in Sanibel Island’s streets. On the mainland, debris from washed-away homes is heaped in a canal like matchsticks. Huge shrimp boats sit perched amid the remains of a mobile home park. “Think of a snow globe. Pick it up and shake it — that’s what happened,” said Fred Szott. For the past three days, he and his wife Joyce have been making trips to their damaged mobile home in Fort Myers, cleaning up after Hurricane Ian slammed into Florida’s Gulf Coast. As for the emotional turbulence, he says: “You either hold on, or you lose it.” The number of storm-related deaths rose to at least 101 on Thursday, eight days after the storm made landfall in southwest Florida.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan launched a new round of naval drills with South Korean warships on Friday, a day after North Korea fired more ballistic missiles and flew warplanes in an escalation of tensions with its rivals. The Reagan and its battle group returned to the waters near the Korean Peninsula after North Korea earlier this week launched a nuclear-capable missile over Japan in response to the carrier group’s earlier training with South Korean navy ships. North Korea views U.S.-South Korean military exercises as a practice to invade the country. The latest two-day drills, which also involve U.S.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The suspect in the kidnapping and killing of an 8-month-old baby, as well as her parents and uncle, had once worked for the family’s trucking business and had a longstanding feud with them that culminated in an act of “pure evil,” a sheriff said Thursday. The slayings left relatives mourning worldwide as investigators prepared a case against the suspect — a convicted felon who tried to kill himself a day after the kidnappings — and sought a person of interest believed to be his accomplice. “Right now, I’ve got hundreds of people in a community that are grieving the loss of two families, and this is worldwide.
UTHAI SAWAN, Thailand (AP) — A former police officer facing a drug charge burst into a day care center Thursday in Thailand, killing dozens of preschoolers and teachers and then shooting more people as he fled. At least 36 people were slain in the deadliest rampage in the nation’s history. The assailant, who was fired earlier this year, took his own life after killing his wife and child at home. Photos taken by first responders showed the school’s floor littered with the tiny bodies of children still on their blankets, where they had been taking an afternoon nap. The images showed slashes to their faces and gunshots to their heads and pools of blood.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Judy Tenuta, a brash standup who cheekily styled herself as the “Goddess of Love” and toured with George Carlin as she built her career in the 1980s golden age of comedy, died Thursday. She was 72. Tenuta died Thursday afternoon at home in Los Angeles, with her family around her, publicist Roger Neal told The Associated Press. The cause of death was ovarian cancer. “She was a very funny, amazing performer,” Neal said, and it was always a “happy time to be around her.” Tenuta had claimed her birthdate as Nov. 7, 1965, but she was born in 1949, Neal said.
Major League Baseball’s postseason has a little more heft this season. The playoffs are here, with the first games played on Friday. The postseason begins with a field of 12 teams — up from last year’s 10 — and includes a best-of-three format for the opening wild-card round. The expanded postseason has produced some spicy early postseason matchups. San Diego’s newly acquired slugger Juan Soto against the 101-win New York Mets? Ageless star Albert Pujols and the Cardinals against Bryce Harper, Kyle Schwarber and the Phillies? Buckle up, they’re happening this weekend. MLB’s new wild-card format is similar to the one currently used in college baseball for the NCAA Super Regional round: The three games will be scheduled on three consecutive days from Friday to Sunday at the higher seed’s field.