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AP News in Brief at 11:04 p.m. EDT |


Ukrainian president: Mass grave found near recaptured city

IZIUM, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainian authorities found a mass burial site near a recaptured northeastern city previously occupied by Russian forces, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced Thursday night.

The grave was discovered close to Izium in the Kharkiv region.

“The necessary procedures have already begun there. More information — clear, verifiable information — should be available tomorrow,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly televised address.

Associated Press journalists saw the site Thursday in a forest outside Izium. Amid the trees were hundreds of graves with simple wooden crosses, most of them marked only with numbers. A larger grave bore a marker saying it contained the bodies of 17 Ukrainian soldiers.

Investigators with metal detectors were scanning the site for any hidden explosives.


Florida, Texas escalate flights, buses to move migrants

EDGARTOWN, Mass. (AP) — Republican governors are escalating their partisan tactic of sending migrants to Democratic strongholds without advance warning, including a wealthy summer enclave in Massachusetts and the home of Vice President Kamala Harris, to taunt leaders of immigrant-friendly “sanctuary” cities and stoke opposition to Biden administration border policies.

The governors of Texas and Arizona have sent thousands of migrants on buses to New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C., in recent months. But the latest surprise moves — which included two flights to Martha’s Vineyard Wednesday paid for by Florida — reached a new level of political theater that critics derided as inhumane.

Upon arrival in Martha’s Vineyard, where former President Barack Obama has a home, the migrants who are predominantly from Venezuela were provided with meals, shelter, health care and information about where to find work.

The vacation island south of Boston, whose year-round residents include many blue-collar workers, appeared to absorb the dozens of arrivals without a major hitch.

Elizabeth Folcarelli, chief executive of the nonprofit Martha’s Vineyard Community Services, was wrapping up work when she saw 48 Venezuelans with luggage and backpacks approach her office. They carried red folders with brochures for her organization.


Veteran NY judge named as arbiter in Trump Mar-a-Lago probe

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge on Thursday appointed a veteran New York jurist to serve as an independent arbiter in the criminal investigation into the presence of classified documents at former President Donald Trump’s Florida home, and refused to permit the Justice Department to resume its use of the highly sensitive records seized in an FBI search last month.

U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon empowered the newly named special master, Raymond Dearie, to review the entire tranche of records taken in the Aug. 8 search of Mar-a-Lago and set a November deadline for his work. In the meantime, she continued to block the department from using for its investigation roughly 100 documents marked as classified that were seized.

The sharply worded order from Cannon, a Trump appointee, will almost certainly slow the pace of the investigation and set the stage for a challenge to a federal appeals court. The department had given Cannon until Thursday to put on hold her order pausing investigators’ review of classified records while the special master completes his work. The department said it would ask the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to intervene if she did not do so by then.

The Justice Department did not immediately comment on Thursday’s ruling.

Cannon, who last week granted the Trump team’s request for a special master over the objections of the Justice Department, made clear in her Thursday order that she was not prepared to blindly accept the government’s characterizations of the documents, saying “evenhanded procedure does not demand unquestioning trust in the determinations of the Department of Justice.”


Biden, Dems see both political, economic wins in rail deal

WASHINGTON (AP) — While President Joe Biden was quick to hail Thursday’s strike-averting rail agreement as a win for America, it was also a big win for him politically, allowing Democrats to sidestep what could have been an economic debacle before November’s midterm elections.

Pressured to choose between labor and business, the president pushed hard for them to work together.

Prodded by a strategic late-night phone call from Biden — and fortified with Italian takeout — corporate and union negotiators spent 20 hours in intense talks at the Labor Department. They reached wee-hours common ground following an appeal to act in the shared interests of the nation, avoiding a strike that would have shut down railroads across the country.

By keeping the trains running, Biden overcame a major economic threat that doubled as a political risk. His fellow Democrats already face a difficult fight to maintain their narrow hold on power in Congress amid soaring inflation. Biden’s own approval rating, though improving, is still underwater.

The tentative deal, which still requires approval from a dozen unions, would raise members’ pay 24% over five years and improve work schedules and health care in a way that Biden said recognizes “the dignity of their work.” Railroad companies could continue vital operations and avoid a costly shutdown, while being in a better place to recruit and retain employees.


Mourners wait for hours, miles to farewell Queen Elizabeth

LONDON (AP) — Thousands of mourners waited for hours Thursday in a line that stretched for almost 5 miles (8 kilometers) across London for the chance to spend a few minutes filing past Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin while she lies in state. King Charles III spent the day in private to reflect on his first week on the throne.

The queue to pay respects to the late queen at Westminster Hall in Parliament was at least a nine-hour wait, snaking across a bridge and along the south bank of the River Thames beyond Tower Bridge. But people said they didn’t mind the wait, and authorities brought in portable toilets and other facilities to make the slog bearable.

“I’m glad there was a queue, because that gave us time to see what was ahead of us, prepared us and absorbed the whole atmosphere,” health care professional Nimisha Maroo said. “I wouldn’t have liked it if I’d had to just rush through.”

A week after the queen died at Balmoral Castle in Scotland after 70 years on the throne, the focus of commemorations was in Westminster — the heart of political power in London. Her coffin will lie in state at Westminster Hall until Monday, when it will be taken across the street to Westminster Abbey for the queen’s funeral.

Buckingham Palace on Thursday released details about the service, the first state funeral held in Britain since the death of former Prime Minister Winston Churchill in 1965. Royalty and heads of state from around the world are expected to be among the 2,000 people attending, with a smaller, private burial service planned for later Monday at Windsor Castle.


Griner, Whelan families to meet Biden amid US-Russia talks

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden plans to meet at the White House on Friday with family members of WNBA star Brittney Griner and Michigan corporate security executive Paul Whelan, both of whom remain jailed in Russia, the White House announced Thursday.

“He wanted to let them know that they remain front of mind and that his team is working on this every day, on making sure that Brittney and Paul return home safely,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at Thursday’s press briefing at the White House.

The separate meetings are to be the first in-person encounter between Biden and the families and are taking place amid sustained but so far unsuccessful efforts by the administration to secure the Americans’ release. The administration said in July that it had made a “substantial proposal” to get them home, but despite plans for the White House meetings, there is no sign a breakthrough is imminent.

“While I would love to say that the purpose of this meeting is to inform the families that the Russians have accepted our offer and we are bringing their loved ones home — that is not what we’re seeing in these negotiations at this time,” Jean-Pierre said.

She added: “The Russians should accept our offer. The Russians should accept our offer today.”


EXPLAINER: States scramble as US abortion landscape shifts

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Almost three months after Roe v. Wade was overturned, the landscape of abortion access is still shifting significantly in some states, sometimes very quickly.

Changing restrictions and litigation in neighboring Indiana and Ohio this week illustrate the whiplash for providers and patients navigating sudden changes in what is allowed where.

Sister clinics who just weeks ago were sending patients from Ohio, where most abortions were banned, to Indiana, where the procedure was allowed, have now flip-flopped roles after the two states’ access restrictions reversed, at least temporarily.

Here is a deeper look at the current state of the shifting national landscape:

WHAT CHANGED THIS WEEK?


Warming, other factors worsened Pakistan floods, study finds

Climate change likely juiced rainfall by up to 50% late last month in two southern Pakistan provinces, but global warming wasn’t the biggest cause of the country’s catastrophic flooding that has killed more than 1,500 people, a new scientific analysis finds.

Pakistan’s overall vulnerability, including people living in harm’s way, is the chief factor in the disaster that at one point submerged one-third of the country under water, but human-caused “climate change also plays a really important role here,” said study senior author Friederike Otto, a climate scientist at Imperial College of London.

There are many ingredients to the still ongoing humanitarian crisis — some meteorological, some economic, some societal, some historic and construction oriented. Add to that weather records that don’t go back far enough in time.

With such complications and limitations, the team of international scientists looking at the disaster couldn’t quantify how much climate change had increased the likelihood and frequency of the flooding, said authors of the study. It was released Thursday but not yet peer reviewed.

What happened “would have been a disastrously high rainfall event without climate change, but it’s worse because of climate change,” Otto said. “And especially in this highly vulnerable region, small changes matter a lot.”


Review: Ana de Armas digs deep as Marilyn in brutal ‘Blonde’

What a dream it must be to be Marilyn Monroe, a starstruck assistant tells her. “Everyone would give their right arm to be you!”

And we cringe, as we’ll do many times during Andrew Dominik’s brutal, bruising and often beautiful “Blonde,” starring a heartbreaking Ana de Armas. This time, it’s because we already know that Norma Jeane, the real person underneath, is giving so much more than her right arm to be Marilyn. An arm would be getting off easy. She’s giving her body, her sanity, her dignity, her health and probably her very soul to be Marilyn.

There’s a lot that “Blonde,” written and directed by Dominik with some stunning cinematography by Chayse Irvin, is. Let’s first clarify what it isn’t.

It is not a biopic, not in a familiar sense. It is not chronological, nor an attempt at a complete account. Most crucially, it’s not factual — it’s based on a novel, “Blonde” by Joyce Carol Oates.

And as for the performance at its core — de Armas’ committed, fearless, leap of faith of a performance — well, it’s not an imitation. And so the complaints circulating about her accent, saying her native Cuban inflection sometimes peeks through, are absurd and irrelevant. De Armas digs so deep to play Marilyn, she could be speaking ancient Greek and it wouldn’t affect the emotional truth she finds here.


As Roger Federer retires, an appreciation of his career

Roger Federer never let ’em see him sweat.

He played tennis with a style that only rarely betrayed the effort behind the masterful serving, the rare-in-its-day attacking and the flawless footwork. He was not one to grunt loudly on shots or celebrate wildly after them.

The way he wielded a racket helped him to win, yes, and win a lot, to the tune of 20 Grand Slam championships — a half-dozen more than any man before him — across a 15-year stretch, and 103 tournament titles in all, plus a Davis Cup trophy and Olympic medals for Switzerland, and spend week after week at No. 1 in the rankings. It also helped him manage to avoid serious injuries for so long and achieve the consistent excellence over decades he prized.

“Every time people write me off, or try to write me off, I’m able to bounce back,” Federer once said in an interview with The Associated Press. On Thursday, at a little more than a month past his 41st birthday and after a series of knee operations, he announced that there would be no more comebacks.

It is a loss for tennis, to be sure, and a loss for the sports world. The news arrives less than two weeks after Serena Williams, who owns 23 Grand Slam singles titles, played what she indicated would be the last match of her own illustrious career shortly before she turns 41.



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