World opinion shifts against Russia as Ukraine worries grow
NEW YORK (AP) — The tide of international opinion appears to be decisively shifting against Russia, as a number of non-aligned countries are joining the United States and its allies in condemning Moscow’s war in Ukraine and its threats to the principles of the international rules-based order.
Western officials have repeatedly said that Russia has become isolated since invading Ukraine in February. Until recently, though, that was largely wishful thinking. But on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, much of the international community spoke out against the conflict in a rare display of unity at the often fractured United Nations.
The tide had already appeared to be turning against Russian President Vladimir Putin even before Thursday’s U.N. speeches. Chinese and Indian leaders had been critical of the war at a high-level summit last week in Uzbekistan. And then the U.N. General Assembly disregarded Russia’s objections and voted overwhelmingly to allow Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to be the only leader to address the body remotely, instead of requiring him to appear in person.
That shift against Russia accelerated after Putin on Wednesday announced the mobilization of some additional 300,000 troops to Ukraine, signaling the unlikelihood of a quick end to the war. Putin also suggested that nuclear weapons may be an option. That followed an announcement of Russia’s intention to hold referendums in several occupied Ukrainian regions on whether they will become part of Russia.
Those announcements came at the very moment that the General Assembly, considered the premier event in the global diplomatic calendar, was taking place in New York.
Russian men join exodus, fearing call-up to fight in Ukraine
ISTANBUL (AP) — Military-aged men fled Russia in droves Friday, filling planes and causing traffic jams at border crossings to avoid being rounded up to fight in Ukraine following the Kremlin's partial military mobilization.
Queues stretching for 10 kilometers (6 miles) formed on a road leading to the southern border with Georgia, according to Yandex Maps, a Russian online map service.
The lines of cars were so long at the border with Kazakhstan that some people abandoned their vehicles and proceeded on foot — just as some Ukrainians did after Russia invaded their country on Feb. 24.
Meanwhile, dozens of flights out of Russia — with tickets sold at sky-high prices — carried men to international destinations such as Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Serbia, where Russians don't need visas.
Among those who reached Turkey was a 41-year-old who landed in Istanbul with a suitcase and a backpack and plans to start a new life in Israel.
Dow sinks to 2022 low as recession fears roil world markets
Stocks fell sharply worldwide Friday on worries an already slowing global economy could fall into recession as central banks raise the pressure with additional interest rate hikes.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.6%, closing at its lowest level since late 2020. The S&P 500 fell 1.7%, close to its 2022 low set in mid-June, while the Nasdaq slid 1.8%.
The selling capped another rough week on Wall Street, leaving the major indexes with their fifth weekly loss in six weeks.
Energy prices closed sharply lower as traders worried about a possible recession. Treasury yields, which affect rates on mortgages and other kinds of loans, held at multiyear highs.
European stocks fell just as sharply or more after preliminary data there suggested business activity had its worst monthly contraction since the start of 2021. Adding to the pressure was a new plan announced in London to cut taxes, which sent U.K. yields soaring because it could ultimately force its central bank to raise rates even more sharply.
Amended autopsy: Black man died due to sedative, restraint
DENVER (AP) —
A Black man died after a police encounter in a Denver suburb in 2019 because he was injected with a powerful sedative after being forcibly restrained, according to an amended autopsy report publicly released Friday.
Despite the finding, the death of Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old massage therapist, was still listed as undetermined, not a homicide, the report shows. McClain was put in a neck hold and injected with ketamine after being stopped by police in Aurora for “being suspicious.” He was unarmed.
The original autopsy report that was written soon after his death in August 2019 did not reach a conclusion about how he died or what type of death is was, such as if it was natural, accidental or a homicide. That was a major reason why prosecutors initially decided not to pursue charges.
But a state grand jury last year indicted three officers and two paramedics on manslaughter and reckless homicide charges in McClain’s death after the case drew renewed attention following the killing of George Floyd in 2020. It became a rallying cry during the national reckoning over racism and police brutality.
Hurricane Fiona heads for Canada after whipping at Bermuda
CAGUAS, Puerto Rico (AP) — A hurricane expected to transform into a huge post-tropical storm will bring hurricane-strength wind, heavy rain and big waves to Atlantic Canada, meteorologists said Friday in warning that it has the potential to be one of the most severe storms in the country’s history.
Hurricane Fiona, which had weakened a bit to a Category 3 storm, was forecast to make landfall Saturday morning.
The Canadian Hurricane Centre issued a hurricane watch over extensive coastal expanses of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland. The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Fiona should reach the area as a “large and powerful post-tropical cyclone with hurricane-force winds.”
“This is is definitely going to be one of, if not the most powerful, tropical cyclones to affect our part of the country," said Ian Hubbard, meteorologist for the Canadian Hurricane Centre in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. “It’s going to be definitely as severe and as bad as any I’ve seen."
Fiona was a Category 4 hurricane when it pounded Bermuda with heavy rains and winds earlier Friday as it swept by the island on a route heading for northeastern Canada. Authorities in Bermuda opened shelters and closed schools and offices ahead of Fiona. Michael Weeks, the national security minister, said there had been no reports of major damage.
Arizona judge: State can enforce near-total abortion ban
PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona can enforce a near-total ban on abortions that has been blocked for nearly 50 years, a judge ruled Friday, meaning clinics statewide will have to stop providing the procedures to avoid the filing of criminal charges against doctors and other medical workers.
The judge lifted a decades-old injunction that blocked enforcement of the law on the books since before Arizona became a state. The only exemption to the ban is if the woman’s life is in jeopardy.
The ruling means the state's abortions clinics will have to shut down and anyone seeking an abortion will have to go out of state. The ruling takes effect immediately, although an appeal is possible. Planned Parenthood and two other large providers said they were halting abortions.
Abortion providers have been on a roller coaster since the U.S. Supreme Court in June overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision guaranteeing women a constitutional right to an abortion. At first providers shut down operations, then re-opened, and now have to close again.
Planned Parenthood had urged the judge not to allow enforcement, and its president declared that the ruling “takes Arizonans back to living under an archaic, 150-year-old law.”
Roger Federer retires after teaming with Nadal in last match
LONDON (AP) — This day, this match, had to come, of course, for Roger Federer, and for tennis, just as it inevitably must for every athlete in every sport.
Federer bid adieu Friday night with one last contest before he heads into retirement at age 41 after a superlative career that spanned nearly a quarter-century and included 20 Grand Slam titles and a statesman’s role. He wrapped up his days as a professional player with a loss in doubles alongside his longtime rival Rafael Nadal for Team Europe in the Laver Cup against Frances Tiafoe and Jack Sock of Team World.
The truth is that the victors, the statistics and the score (OK, for the record it was 4-6, 7-6 (2), 11-9) did not matter, and were all so entirely beside the point. The occasion was, after all, about the farewell itself. Or, better, the farewells, plural: Federer’s to tennis, to the fans, to his competitors and colleagues. And, naturally, each of those entities’ farewells to Federer.
“It's been a perfect journey,” Federer said. “I would do it all over again.”
When the match and, with it, his time in professional tennis ended, Federer hugged Nadal, then Tiafoe and Sock. And then Federer began crying. There were plenty of tears to go around; Nadal wiped his own away, too.
Pro-government rallies held in Iran amid mass protests
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Iranian counterprotesters gathered across the country on Friday in a show of support for authorities after nearly a week of anti-government protests and unrest over the death of a young woman who was being held by the morality police.
Thousands attended a rally in the capital, Tehran, where they waved Iranian flags, and similar demonstrations were held in other cities. The government claimed the demonstrations of support were spontaneous. Similar rallies have been held during past periods of widespread protests.
The pro-government demonstrators chanted against America and Israel, according to state media, reflecting the official line that blames the latest unrest on hostile foreign countries.
State TV suggested late on Friday that the death toll from this week's unrest could be as high as 35, raising an earlier estimate of 26. Anti-government protesters and security forces have clashed in several major cities in the most severe political violence since 2019, when rights groups say hundreds were killed amid demonstrations against a hike in state-controlled gasoline prices.
Iran has also disrupted internet access and tightened restrictions on popular platforms like Instagram and WhatsApp, which can be used to organize rallies.
Ohio Republican stays in campaign amid scrutiny of service
HOLLAND, Ohio (AP) — Republican J.R. Majewski insisted Friday that he would stay in the race for a competitive northwest Ohio congressional seat after The Associated Press reported earlier this week that he misrepresented key elements of his Air Force service.
“I flew into combat zones often, specifically in Afghanistan, and I served my country proud,” Majewski said at a news conference.
The comments came amid growing fallout for Majewski, who repeatedly said he deployed to Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks, but instead served a six-month stint loading and unloading planes while based in Qatar, according to records obtained by the AP through a public records request.
The House Republican campaign arm on Thursday cancelled nearly $1 million in advertising that it had planned to spend on Majewski’s behalf, a sign that the GOP was effectively giving up hope of unseating longtime Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur in a district that was recently redrawn to favor Republicans. Meanwhile, advocates for veterans questioned why Majewski has declined to offer proof, or even describe forays he made into Afghanistan.
Throughout his campaign, Majewski has repeatedly said he was a combat veteran who served a tour of duty under “tough” circumstances in Afghanistan, where by his account he once went over 40 days without a shower due to a lack of running water.
'Fat Leonard' may be Venezuela bargaining chip, experts say
SAN DIEGO (AP) — A fugitive defense contractor nicknamed “Fat Leonard” who claims to have incriminating sex photos of U.S. Navy brass could become the latest bargaining chip in Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s efforts to win official recognition from the Biden administration, according to experts.
But it’s unclear how hard the U.S. government will fight for the return of Leonard Glenn Francis, the Malaysian owner of a ship servicing company in Southeast Asia who is the central character in one of the largest bribery scandals in Pentagon history.
He fled home custody in San Diego on Sept. 4 and was arrested by Venezuelan police Tuesday attempting to board a flight at the Simon Bolivar International Airport outside Caracas. Francis had his first court appearance Thursday, according to a law enforcement official in Venezuela who spoke Friday to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss judicial proceedings.
The official, who had been briefed on the case, said now it is up to the United States to make the next move. U.S. authorities have 30 days to formally request his extradition, something that the official viewed as unlikely given that the Biden administration recognizes opposition leader Juan Guaido — not Maduro — as the country’s legitimate ruler.
Venezuela and the United States have an extradition agreement but it's not clear if U.S. authorities have made a formal request. In an email, a Department of Justice spokesperson said the agency does not comment on extradition-related matters. Even under normal circumstances, extraditions can take many months or even years to complete.