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10 things you need to know today: September 24, 2022

Zelensky urges 'sabotage' as Russia stages sham referendums in 4 Ukrainian regions, Arizona judge bans abortion statewide by reinstating a 1864 law, and more


Zelensky urges 'sabotage' as Russia stages referendums in eastern Ukraine

Russian proxies in four Ukrainian provinces continued a multi-day referendum on joining Russia, a pretext for annexation by Moscow. Some residents in Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Luhansk, and Donetsk provinces described masked soldiers standing by voting places, telling people to vote and taking names of those that vote against joining Russia. The voting "looked more like an opinion survey under the gun barrels," said Luhansk Gov. Serhiy Haidai. Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky on Friday night urged Russians facing conscription and Ukrainians in occupied territory to resist being drafted into Russian President Vladimir Putin's war. "Sabotage any activity of the enemy" and "provide us with any important information about the occupiers," he said. Putin on Saturday signed a bill increasing punishments for Russians who disobey orders, desert, or surrender.


Arizona judge bans abortion statewide by reinstating 1864 law

An Arizona judge on Friday lifted a 50-year-old injunction on a 19th century abortion ban, all but outlawing the procedure in the state. Pima County Superior Court Judge Kellie Johnson ruled that Arizona's 1864 abortion law, codified in 1901 then enjoined after the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, supersedes a 15-week ban enacted by the state Legislature that was set to take effect Saturday. The older ban has an exception when the pregnant woman's life is at stake but not for rape, incest, or health risks. "No archaic law should dictate our reproductive freedom and how we live our lives today," said Brittany Fonteno, president of Planned Parenthood Arizona. "This is not the end of the fight."


Iran anti-government protests spread and death toll rises

Protests in Iran sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini continued for a seventh day Friday and spread to more than five dozen cities, including the religious city of Qum, even as the government and security forces warn of harsher crackdowns. Iranian state media said at least 35 people have been killed in the week of protests, but human rights groups say the number is probably much higher. Security forces opened fire on protesters in Tehran and other cities, according verified video, and the government has blocked internet and cellphone access in large parts of the country, especially in the Kurdish west. One Kurdish city, Oshnavieh, was wrested from security forces by locals now bracing for a bloody reprisal. Amini died after Iran's morality police arrested her and allegedly beat her.


Hurricane Fiona makes landfall in Canada as Ian threatens Florida

Hurricane Fiona, which dropped to a Category 2 storm after ravaging Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands, made landfall in Nova Scotia, Canada, early Saturday as a dangerous post-tropical cyclone. More than 376,000 customers in Nova Scotia are without power, and residents of New Brunswick, southern Quebec, and Newfoundland and Labrador are facing a day of heavy downpours and strong winds. "This could be a landmark event for Canada in terms of intensity of a tropical cyclone," perhaps rivaling 2012's Superstorm Sandy in the northeastern U.S., said Chris Fogarty of the Canadian Hurricane Centre. Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Ian is gathering strength in the eastern Caribbean and is projected to hit Cuba early next week and Florida on Wednesday, possibly as a Category 3 hurricane.


Trump trying to limit aides' Jan. 6 grand jury testimony

Former President Donald Trump and his lawyers are "fighting a secret court battle to block a federal grand jury from gathering information from an expanding circle of close Trump aides about his efforts to overturn the 2020 election," CNN reported Friday. The fight to limit testimony, happening under seal in federal court in Washington, D.C. and confirmed by other news organizations, came to light as three of Trump's lawyers were seen exiting a D.C. courthouse. Some of Trump's former aides and former lawyers have already limited what they've told the grand jury investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot, citing Trump's claims of attorney-client and executive privileges, while others have pushed back and asked for court guidance.


McCarthy rolls out House GOP 'Commitment to America'

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) unveiled his party's "Commitment to America" agenda in Pennsylvania on Friday, laying out in broad strokes some of the things House Republicans will try to do if they win control in November. "The agenda was light on details and avoided certain topics" that might turn off suburban voters, like abortion, the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, or defunding the FBI to protect former President Donald Trump, The New York Times reports. Instead it focuses on items that can unite his fractious caucus, like firing IRS agents and increasing border security. The weeklong rollout of the slim document was marred by prematurely released materials, a fake Abraham Lincoln quote, and a gauzy rollout video of bucolic Americana that apparently shows stock footage from Russia and Ukraine. 


Elijah McClain autopsy amended, says he died of ketamine jab

Elijah McClain, an unarmed 23-year-old Black man in Colorado who suffered a fatal heart attack in police custody in 2019, died from "complications of ketamine administration following forcible restraint," Adams County Chief Coroner Monica Broncucia-Jordan said Friday. The initial autopsy put McLain's cause of death as "undetermined." After examining police body-camera footage, witness statements, and other records, the coroner's office determined paramedics injected McClain with too much ketamine for his weight as police restrained him in a carotid hold. A state grand jury indicted three police officers and two paramedics last year and they face manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, and other charges. The city of Aurora settled a civil lawsuit with McClain's family for $15 million in 2021.


Roger Federer retires from pro tennis after final doubles match

Tennis icon Roger Federer played his last professional game Friday night, capping a storied 24-year career with a doubles match at the Laver Cup in London. Federer, 41, and doubles partner Rafael Nadal lost to Frances Tiafoe and Jack Sock, 4-6, 7-6 (2), (11-9). "It's been a wonderful day," Federer said after the match. "I told the guys I'm happy, I'm not sad. I enjoyed tying my shoes one more time. Everything was the last time." Nadal — one of the Big Three of men's tennis, along with Federer and Novak Djokovic — said they had shared "a lot of things together," and "when Roger leaves the tour, an important part of my life is leaving, too."


Albert Pujols hits 700th home run

Slugger Albert Pujols hit his 700th career home run Friday, a milestone only three other major leaguers have hit. Pujols, 42 and nearing the end of his 22-year career, slammed homer No. 699 in the third inning at Dodger Stadium then hit No. 700 into the left field bleachers an inning later. Pujols is ending his career with the St. Louis Cardinals but played five months with the Dodgers last season, after being released from the Angels. He tied Alex Rodriguez's record of 696 home runs on Sept. 10, and now he trails only Babe Ruth (714), Hank Aaron (755), and Barry Bonds (762).


Louise Fletcher, Oscar-winning actress, dies at 88

Louise Fletcher, who won an Oscar for playing Nurse Ratched in the 1975 film One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, died Friday at her home in Montdurausse, France. She was 88. Fletcher, who had paused her career to raise two sons, was virtually unknown when, at age 40, director Milos Foreman cast her as Jack Nicholson's tormentor in Cuckoo's Nest. "It looks as though you all hated me so much. But you have given me this award for it," she said in her Oscars acceptance speech, during which she also thanked her deaf parents in American Sign Language. "All I can say is, I've loved being hated by you." Fletcher's other roles included six years on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and an Emmy-nominated cameo on Picket Fences.


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