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

By The Associated Press

UAW poised for midnight strike at plants in Wayne, Michigan, Toledo, Ohio, and Wentzville, Missouri

DETROIT (AP) — The United Auto Workers union says it will go on strike at three vehicle assembly plants as it presses Detroit companies to come up with better wage and benefit offers.

The factories include a General Motors assembly plant in Wentzville, Missouri, a Ford factory in Wayne Michigan, near Detroit, and a Stellantis Jeep plant in Toledo, Ohio. Only assembly and paint shop workers will walk out at the Ford plant.

Contracts between 146,000 auto workers and the companies are set to expire at 11:59 p.m. Thursday. Workers will stay on the job at all other plants.

“Time is of the essence,” union President Shawn Fain told workers late Thursday in an online address less than two hours before the deadline.

Despite increased offers from Ford and GM, it appears that no deals will be reached before the contacts expire.


Hunter Biden is indicted on federal firearm-purchasing charges after plea deal fails

WASHINGTON (AP) — Hunter Biden was indicted Thursday on federal firearms charges, the latest step in a long-running investigation into the president’s son that puts the case on track toward a possible high-stakes trial as the 2024 election looms.

Biden is accused of lying about his drug use when he bought a firearm in October 2018, a period when he has acknowledged struggling with addiction to crack cocaine, according to the indictment filed in federal court in Delaware by a special counsel overseeing the case.

The indictment comes weeks after the collapse of a plea deal that would have averted a criminal trial and distracting headlines for President Joe Biden.

The court fight doesn’t seem likely to end soon. Hunter Biden’s defense attorney argues he didn’t violate the law and remains protected by an immunity provision that was part of the plea deal. The charges, meanwhile, are rarely filed as stand-alone counts and a federal appeals court recently found the measure he was charged under unconstitutional.

He’s also been under investigation for his business dealings, and the special counsel has indicated that tax charges could be filed at some point in Washington or in California, where he lives.


Kim Jong Un arrives in Russian city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur for expected visit to fighter jet plant

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrived Friday in Komsomolsk-on-Amur in far eastern Russia and is expected to visit a plant that builds fighter jets as South Korea has said it’s concerned his visit is focused on expanding military cooperation in a possible arms-for-technology deal.

The visit to Komsomolsk-on-Amur is one of several the North Korean leader is making on a days-long trip to Russia. Arriving on an armored train from North Korea, he rolled into Russia Tuesday and was met by officials at a station near the Russia-North Korea border.

After a long train trip north, on Wednesday Kim met President Putin at the Vostochny Cosmodrome and was greeted by Putin with a 40-second handshake. On Thursday, he largely disappeared from view, before reappearing local time Friday.

Russian state news agency RIA Novosti published a video which showed Kim’s train pulling into the station as North Korean officials waited by a specially constructed ramp and red carpet. Shortly afterwards, his convoy swept out of Komsomolsk-on-Amur station.

Putin told Russian state TV after the summit that Kim would visit an aircraft plant in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, and then go to Vladivostok to view Russia’s Pacific Fleet, a university and other facilities. The visit to the aircraft plant would possibly hint at what Kim seeks to gain from Russia in exchange for help fueling Putin’s war on Ukraine.


Zelenskyy is expected to visit Washington as Congress is debating $24 billion in aid for Ukraine

WASHINGTON (AP) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is expected at the White House and on Capitol Hill next week as he visits the U.S. during the United Nations General Assembly.

Zelenskyy’s trip comes as Congress is debating President Joe Biden’s request to provide as much as $24 billion in military and humanitarian aid for Ukraine as it fights the Russian invasion.

An administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive visit, said Zelenskyy will meet with Biden at the White House next Thursday. The trip to the Capitol was confirmed by two congressional aides granted anonymity to discuss the plans.

The Ukrainian president made a wartime visit to Washington in December 2022 and delivered an impassioned address to a joint meeting of Congress. At the time it was his first known trip outside his country since Russia invaded in February of that year.

In his speech to cheering lawmakers, Zelenskyy thanked Americans for helping to fund the war effort and said that the money is “not charity,” but an “investment” in global security and democracy.


How hard will Hurricane Lee hit New England? The cold North Atlantic may decide that

New England is known for its fickle weather, powerful nor’easters and blizzards. Destructive hurricanes, however, are relatively rare and typically don’t pack the same punch as tropical cyclones that hit the Southeast.

Hurricanes usually lose some steam, becoming tropical storms, or extratropical storms, in northern waters.


New England, awaiting the arrival of Hurricane Lee, is usually protected from the worst of a hurricane’s wrath by the cold waters of the North Atlantic, and that’s expected to help reduce Lee to a tropical storm by the time it arrives Saturday.

A number of factors determine the path and strength of a hurricane. But the warm waters that can strengthen a hurricane are typically south of Cape Cod. North of there, the Atlantic waters are much colder.


Angry and frustrated, McCarthy challenges right-flank colleagues to try to oust him from his post

WASHINGTON (AP) — Angry, frustrated and unable to lead a fractured and unruly Republican majority, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Thursday told the colleagues threatening to oust him: Do it.

The embattled Republican leader essentially dared his hard-right flank to quit holding the risk of a vote to remove him from the job.

If you’re going to do it, go ahead and try, McCarthy told the Republicans behind closed doors.

“File the f——- motion,” McCarthy said, using a profanity for emphasis, according to those in the private meeting.

With a government shutdown looming, McCarthy is confronting the same stubborn problem that has driven Republicans before him from the speaker’s job — trying to lead a ruptured GOP majority that’s split between what’s left of the traditional party and a harder-right element largely allied with former President Donald Trump.


Americans sharply divided over whether Biden acted wrongly in son’s businesses, AP-NORC poll shows

WASHINGTON (AP) — About half of Americans say they have little or no confidence that the Justice Department is handling its investigation into Hunter Biden in a fair and nonpartisan way, and 1 in 3 are highly concerned about whether President Joe Biden may have committed wrongdoing related to his son’s business dealings, according to a new poll. But the political divide is stark.

Sixty-six percent of Republicans — and just 7% of Democrats — are very or extremely concerned about whether Joe Biden committed wrongdoing when it comes to his son’s business dealings, according to the poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

Overall, Democrats are far more wary of faulting the president at all with regard to his son’s business dealings.

“The way I look at it, if Biden did something wrong, then he should be held accountable,” said Pilar DeAvila-Pinsley 60, a New York Democrat. “But there is no proof of this.”

The poll was conducted just before House Speaker Kevin McCarthy launched an impeachment inquiry aiming to link the president to the business dealings of his son and deflect attention from Donald Trump’s legal peril as the two men battle anew for the White House. The special counsel appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland indicted Hunter Biden on gun purchase charges Thursday, an issue unearthed during the probe into his tax dealings. The investigation has continued after a plea deal fell apart this summer.


Flooding death toll soars to 11,300 in Libya’s coastal city of Derna, aid group says

DERNA, Libya (AP) — The death toll in Libya’s coastal city of Derna has soared to 11,300 as search efforts continue following a massive flood fed by the breaching of two dams in heavy rains, the Libyan Red Crescent said Thursday.

Marie el-Drese, the aid group’s secretary-general, told The Associated Press by phone that a further 10,100 people are reported missing in the Mediterranean city. Health authorities previously put the death toll in Derna at 5,500. The storm also killed about 170 people elsewhere in the country.

The flooding swept away entire families in Derna on Sunday night and exposed vulnerabilities in the oil-rich country that has been mired in conflict since a 2011 uprising that toppled long-ruling dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

Here’s a look at where things stand:

Daniel, an unusually strong Mediterranean storm, caused deadly flooding in communities across eastern Libya, but the worst-hit was Derna. As the storm pounded the coast Sunday night, residents said they heard loud explosions when two dams outside the city collapsed. Floodwaters gushed down Wadi Derna, a valley that cuts through the city, crashing through buildings and washing people out to sea.


Pig kidney works a record 2 months in donated body, raising hope for animal-human transplants

NEW YORK (AP) — Dozens of doctors and nurses silently lined the hospital hallway in tribute: For a history-making two months, a pig’s kidney worked normally inside the brain-dead man on the gurney rolling past them.

The dramatic experiment came to an end Wednesday as surgeons at NYU Langone Health removed the pig kidney and returned the donated body of Maurice “Mo” Miller to his family for cremation.

It marked the longest a genetically modified pig kidney has ever functioned inside a human, albeit a deceased one. And by pushing the boundaries of research with the dead, the scientists learned critical lessons they’re preparing to share with the Food and Drug Administration -– in hopes of eventually testing pig kidneys in the living.

“It’s a combination of excitement and relief,” Dr. Robert Montgomery, the transplant surgeon who led the experiment, told The Associated Press. “Two months is a lot to have a pig kidney in this good a condition. That gives you a lot of confidence” for next attempts.

Montgomery, himself a recipient of a heart transplant, sees animal-to-human transplants as crucial to ease the nation’s organ shortage. More than 100,000 people are on the national waiting list, most who need a kidney, and thousands will die waiting.


NASA says more science and less stigma are needed to understand UFOs

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — NASA said Thursday that the study of UFOs will require new scientific techniques, including advanced satellites as well as a shift in how unidentified flying objects are perceived.

The space agency released the findings after a yearlong study into UFOs.

In its 33-page report, an independent team commissioned by NASA cautioned that the negative perception surrounding UFOs poses an obstacle to collecting data. But officials said NASA’s involvement should help reduce the stigma around what it calls UAPs, or unidentified anomalous phenomena.

“We want to shift the conversation about UAPs from sensationalism to science,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said. He promised an open and transparent approach.

Officials stressed the panel found no evidence that UAPs had extraterrestrial origin. But Nelson acknowledged with billions of stars in billions of galaxies out there, another Earth could exist.

The Associated Press

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