Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: September 12, 2022

Charles officially declared king across U.K. and Commonwealth, retreating Russian forces strike Ukraine power plants, and more


Proclamations recognize Charles as king in U.K., Commonwealth

The capital cities of Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland held proclamation ceremonies Sunday officially declaring Charles king of the nations that make up the United Kingdom, along with England. Thousands of people gathered for the official announcement at Edinburgh Castle, Cardiff Castle, and Hillsborough Castle in Belfast. The ceremonies took place as Queen Elizabeth's coffin was transported from Balmoral Castle, her country estate in Scotland, to Edinburgh, on the way to London. King Charles III met with Realm High Commissioners to bolster longstanding relationships with the 14 formerly British-ruled lands where he is still head of state. Some of the Commonwealth realm countries are considering dropping the British crown.


Russian forces target Ukraine power stations while retreating

Retreating Russian forces attacked Ukrainian power stations and other infrastructure as they fled from Kharkiv province in the face of a Ukrainian counterattack to reclaim territory seized by Russia early in its invasion. Russia's missile strikes caused a fire at a large power station outside Kharkiv, Ukraine's second largest city. At least one person was killed. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky denounced what he called "deliberate and cynical missile strikes" that targeted civilians and amounted to terrorism. The attacks caused widespread outages across Ukraine. Separately, Ukrainian operators shut down the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in the Russian-occupied south, to keep nearby fighting from triggering a radiation disaster.


Ceremonies honor victims 21 years after 9/11 attacks 

Americans gathered Sunday for ceremonies to honor the people who lost their lives in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. "It's been 21 years, but it's not 21 years for us. It seems like just yesterday," said Bonita Mentis, whose sister Shevonne Mentis died that day, before reading victims' names at the memorial event at the World Trade Center. Vice President Kamala Harris and husband Doug Emhoff attended the ceremony. President Biden attended a 9/11 anniversary ceremony at the Pentagon, and first lady Jill Biden spoke at the third attack site, a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The annual Tribute in Light beamed two powerful lights into the night sky over lower Manhattan, invoking the memory of the fallen Twin Towers.


Sweden conservative bloc leads election still too close to call 

Sweden's Sunday election remained too close to call overnight, but near-final results suggested that a bloc of right-wing parties might have narrowly beaten Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson's left-wing bloc. The early count showed Andersson's ruling Social Democrats with 30.5 percent of the vote. That was more than any other single party, but her four-party left-wing coalition fell short of a majority in the 349-seat parliament, or Riksdag. Exit polls initially suggested Andersson and her allies would eke out a win, but the early vote count shifted the edge to the conservative bloc, which includes a populist anti-immigration party that won its most support ever.


Earthquake search, rescue continue as 4 confirmed dead in Papua New Guinea

Authorities in Papua New Guinea on Sunday confirmed that at least four people were killed in the 7.6-magnitude earthquake that struck the southwestern Pacific island nation. The quake's epicenter was about 41 miles east of Kainantu in the country's highlands, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. One of the people killed was caught in a landslide in the southeastern Madang province. Three others were buried in another landslide in Wau, a town in nearby Morobe province. An unspecified number of people were injured by debris and falling structures. Numerous homes, health clinics, and rural roads sustained damage. The hardest hit areas were sparsely populated, limiting the destruction.


Fast-spreading Oregon wildfire breaks through containment lines

A fast-spreading Oregon wildfire threatened more than 2,000 homes after it "breached existing lines" on Sunday, officials said. The blaze has quadrupled in size since last week, forcing people to evacuate thousands of homes and hundreds of commercial buildings along the smoke-choked Interstate 5 corridor, some of them in the Portland metropolitan area. The Cedar Creek fire, started Aug. 1 by a lightning storm, had grown to nearly 86,000 acres as of Sunday, and was 0 percent contained. The fire got worse heading into the weekend as it was fueled by gusty winds and hot, dry conditions. Gov. Kate Brown (D) declared as state fire emergency on Friday, clearing the state fire marshal to support local fire agencies responding to the blaze.


Child poverty rate down 59 percent since 1993

The child poverty rate has dropped 59 percent since 1993, The New York Times reported Sunday, citing an analysis of Census Bureau data the newspaper conducted jointly with the nonpartisan research group Child Trends. The research showed that child poverty fell in every state and among white, Black, Hispanic, and Asian children, whether they had one parent or two. The numbers also were down among immigrant households. Rates of deep poverty also fell sharply. In 1993, nearly 28 percent of the nation's children were living in households without enough income to meet basic needs. By 2019, that number was about 11 percent. More than eight million people are still in poverty, with Black and Latino children about three times as likely as their white counterparts to be poor.


Study says COVID still keeping 500,000 out of workforce

COVID-19 is continuing to force about 500,000 people sickened by the coronavirus to stay out of the U.S. labor force, according to a study released Monday by economists Gopi Shah Goda of Stanford University and Evan J. Soltas of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Millions quit jobs during the pandemic. Some retired, some lacked child care, some feared infection. The labor force, a measure of those working or seeking employment, rose to 164.7 million in August, topping the February 2020 pre-pandemic level for the first time but falling short of where the U.S. workforce would be without the pandemic. "If we stay where we are with COVID infection rates going forward, we expect that 500,000-person loss to persist until either exposure goes down or severity goes down," Soltas said.


Cargo delays loom as unions, railroads hit contract impasse  

Two unions said Sunday that major U.S. freight railways are halting some cargo shipments to increase their leverage ahead of this week's deadline to finalize new labor agreements. The unions, which represent nearly 60,000 workers, have until midnight Friday to reach tentative deals with the railroads, including Union Pacific, Berkshire Hathaway's BNSF, CSX, and Norfolk Southern. While the unions said the slowdowns are meant to increase the railroads' bargaining position, the railroads late last week announced they would halt shipments of hazardous and toxic materials beginning on Monday due to safety concerns in the event of a strike.


Carlos Alcaraz wins U.S. Open, becomes youngest man ranked No. 1

Spain's Carlos Alcaraz beat Norway's Casper Ruud 6-4, 2-6, 7-6, 6-3 to win the U.S. Open on Sunday. It was the first grand slam for Alcaraz, who is just 19. "It's crazy for me. I've never thought that I was going to achieve something like that at 19 years old," Alcaraz said. "It's something I dream since I was a kid, since I start playing tennis." Alcaraz rises to No. 1 in the world on Monday, the youngest player in history to top the men's rankings. He also is the youngest man to win a Grand Slam tournament since 2005, when Rafael Nadal won the French Open at age 19.


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