Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: September 29, 2022

Hurricane Ian slams southwest Florida and crashes through the state, the European Union proposes more Russia sanctions, and more

1

Hurricane Ian hits Florida as a powerful Category 4 storm

Hurricane Ian hit southwest Florida on Wednesday as a Category 4 storm with 150-mile-per-hour winds, torrential rains, and historic storm surge of up to 18 feet. The Collier County Sheriff's Office said it had to rescue numerous people with "life-threatening medical emergencies in deep water," many of them trapped in flooded homes. Ian, tied with 2004's Hurricane Charley as the strongest storm to hit Florida's west coast, made landfall near Cayo Costa. It left two million utility customers without power. Ian weakened as it crossed the state toward Orlando, causing more damage. Downgraded to tropical storm status with top winds of 65 mph early Thursday, Ian was expected to emerge over Atlantic waters Thursday and move north toward a second U.S. landfall.

2

E.U. proposes more Russia sanctions 

The European Union proposed new sanctions against Russia on Wednesday. The measures are meant to punish Russia for "sham" annexation referendums in four occupied Ukrainian regions, Russian President Vladimir Putin's mobilization of 300,000 military reservists, and the Kremlin's threat to use nuclear arms in Ukraine. Russia's actions "escalated the invasion of Ukraine to a whole new level," Ursula von der Leyen, the bloc's top official, said, and the E.U. is "determined to make the Kremlin pay." The latest sanctions include an oil price cap, trade restrictions, and the blacklisting of several people behind the referendums. For the measures to take effect, all E.U. nations must sign on, and Hungary's approval is not assured.

3

U.S. to send Ukraine another $1.1 billion in security aid

The Biden administration on Wednesday announced another $1.1 billion in security aid for Ukraine and said it will never recognize the "sham referendum" in four Russian-occupied Ukrainian regions or Moscow's annexation of those areas, now scheduled for Friday. The latest military assistance package includes 18 High Mobility Rocket Systems, ammunition for the systems, 150 armored vehicles, other trucks and trailers, two radars for aerial drones, other radar equipment, and body armor. This is the 22nd such package, and it brings the total U.S. commitment to more than $16.2 billion since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February. President Biden has approved sending some of the weapons from U.S. stockpiles, but the latest aid draws from funds appropriated by Congress.

4

U.S. Embassy urges Americans to leave Russia

The U.S. Embassy in Moscow is urging American citizens to get out of Russia immediately. The embassy said in a security alert issued Tuesday and widely reported Wednesday that a mass exodus of Russian men trying to avoid being drafted in Russian President Vladimir Putin's mobilization of 300,000 reservists is crowding flights and borders, reducing the options for people seeking to leave the country. Some analysts fear Russian authorities will soon close border crossings and limit flights. The embassy also warned that Russia might refuse to recognize the U.S. citizenship of dual nationals and bar them from leaving the country, or even draft them into its military to fight in Ukraine. The embassy warned it has limited ability to help Americans in Russia.

5

NYT: Russian soldiers describe chaos, criticize Putin in intercepted calls home

Russian soldiers who made unauthorized phone calls home told wives, girlfriends, parents, and friends that Moscow's invasion went horribly from the start, The New York Times reports. The Times posted audio clips of some of the calls, which were intercepted by Ukrainian intelligence. In one, a soldier identified as Aleksandr said: "Putin is a fool. He wants to take Kyiv. But there's no way we can do it." Another, identified as Aleksey, told his partner: "They said we were going for training. These bastards didn't tell us anything." The recordings show that Russia's airborne units were in disarray and suffering heavy casualties just a few weeks into their invasion. One said a third of his battalion had been killed. Another said one battalion had been completely wiped out.

6

20 missing after migrant boat sinks ahead of Ian's landfall

A boat carrying Cuban migrants sank off the Florida coast on Wednesday as Hurricane Ian approached the state, U.S. Border Patrol said. Three of the migrants were rescued in the water two miles south of Boca Chica, Florida. Four others managed to swim to shore and were hospitalized. At least 20 migrants remained missing, and Coast Guard air crews were searching for them. "Do not risk your life by attempting this journey at sea. Storm surge along with King tide can create treacherous sea conditions even after a storm passes," Miami Chief Patrol Agent Walter Slosar said on Twitter. Hurricane Ian crashed through Cuba's western tip on Tuesday, killing two people and knocking out the electrical grid across the island of 11 million people.

7

Jan. 6 rioter sentenced to 86 months for assaulting police officer

U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson has sentenced Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol rioter Kyle Young to 86 months in prison for attacking Washington, D.C., police officer Michael Fanone during the attack by a mob of then-President Donald Trump's supporters. Several rioters attacked Fanone, but Jackson on Tuesday described Young as a "one-man wrecking ball" who assaulted Fanone "under the whirling banner of a 'Blue Lives Matter' flag." Young pleaded guilty in May to holding Fanone's wrist and pulling his arm as several fellow Trump supporters dragged him out of a line of officers and into the mob, where he was beaten as he begged for his life. "I hope someday you'll forgive me," Young told Fanone during his sentencing hearing.

8

6 injured in shooting at California school

Six people were injured in a shooting on an East Oakland, California, school campus just before hundreds of students were about to be dismissed for the afternoon on Wednesday. Two of the injured people reportedly had life-threatening wounds. Officers responded to reports of gunfire immediately, entered Rudsdale Newcomer High School — one of four schools in the complex — and found six adults with gunshot wounds, Oakland Police Assistant Chief Darren Allison told reporters. All of them had "some affiliation with the school," although it was not immediately clear whether some or all were students or employees. Police are looking for at least one shooter. The shooting was one of more than 130 at U.S. schools this year.

9

Rapper Coolio dies at 59

Grammy-winning rapper and producer Coolio, best known for 1995's "Gangsta's Paradise," died Wednesday in Los Angeles, his manager Jarel Posey confirmed. He was 59. Born Artis Leon Ivey Jr., Coolio gained prominence in the Los Angeles rap scene as part of the hip hop group WC and the Maad Circle. He broadened his fame with 1994's "Fantastic Voyage" from his debut solo album It Takes a Thief. A year later, he recorded "Gangsta's Paradise" for the film Dangerous Minds, starring Michelle Pfeiffer. The song spent three weeks atop the charts, was the No. 1 U.S. single for 1995, and won Coolio a Grammy for Best Rap Solo Performance. Coolio later had success as an actor in movies and television shows, including Martin, Futurama, and Gravity Falls.

10

Aaron Judge hits homer No. 61, tying Roger Maris' record

Yankees slugger Aaron Judge hit his 61st home run of the season in Toronto on Wednesday night, tying the American League single-season record set by Roger Maris in 1961. Judge has seven more games to hit No. 62. Babe Ruth — who hit 60 home runs in 1927 — Maris, and Judge were all Yankees. Three National League players have hit more than 61 home runs in a season. Barry Bonds hit 73 for the San Francisco giants in 2001. Mark McGwire hit 70 for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1998, and Sammy Sosa had 66 home runs in 1998 for the Chicago Cubs. Their feats were tainted by steroid use, and many fans considered Maris' 61 to be the "clean" single-season record.

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