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

S. Korea missile fails after successful NKorean rocket test

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A malfunctioning South Korean ballistic missile blew up as it plowed into the ground Wednesday during a live-fire drill with the United States that was a reprisal for North Korea’s successful launch a day earlier of a weapon that flew over Japan and has the range to strike the U.S. territory of Guam.

The explosion and subsequent fire panicked and confused residents of the coastal city of Gangneung, who were already uneasy over the increasingly provocative weapons tests by rival North Korea. Their concern that it could be a North Korean attack only grew as the military and government officials provided no explanation about the explosion for hours.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said no injuries have been reported from the explosion, which involved a short-range Hyumoo-2 missile that crashed inside an air force base in the outskirts of the city. It said the crash didn’t affect any civilian facilities.

During the same drill, the U.S. military launched four of its own missiles that are part of the Army Tactical Missile System and South Korea fired another Hyumoo-2 successfully. The homegrown missile is key to South Korea’s preemptive and retaliatory strike strategies against the North and is a version of a Russian-designed Iskander missile, which is also possessed by the North.

Kwon Seong-dong, a ruling party lawmaker representing Gangneung, wrote on Facebook that a “weapons system operated by our blood-like taxpayer money ended up threatening our own people” and called for the military to thoroughly investigate the missile failure. He also criticized the military for not issuing a notice about the failure while maintaining a media embargo on the joint drills.

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Retreating Russians leave their comrades’ bodies behind

LYMAN, Ukraine (AP) — Russian troops abandoned a key Ukrainian city so rapidly that they left the bodies of their comrades in the streets, offering more evidence Tuesday of Moscow’s latest military defeat as it struggles to hang on to four regions of Ukraine that it illegally annexed last week.

Meanwhile, Russia’s upper house of parliament rubber-stamped the annexations following “referendums” that Ukraine and its Western allies have dismissed as fraudulent.

Responding to the move, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy formally ruled out talks with Russia, declaring that negotiations with Russian President Vladimir Putin are impossible after his decision to take over the regions.

The Kremlin replied by saying that it will wait for Ukraine to agree to sit down for talks, noting that it may not happen until a new Ukrainian president takes office.

“We will wait for the incumbent president to change his position or wait for a future Ukrainian president who would revise his stand in the interests of the Ukrainian people,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

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Deal back on? Elon Musk gets closer to buying Twitter

The tumultuous saga of Elon Musk’s on-again off-again purchase of Twitter took a turn toward a conclusion Tuesday after the mercurial Tesla CEO proposed to buy the company at the originally agreed-on price of $44 billion.

Musk made the surprising turnaround not on Twitter, as has been his custom, but in a letter to Twitter that the company disclosed in a filing Tuesday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. It came less than two weeks before a trial between the two parties is scheduled to start in Delaware.

In response, Twitter said it intends to close the transaction at $54.20 per share after receiving the letter from Musk. But the company stopped short of saying it’s dropping its lawsuit against the billionaire Tesla CEO. Experts said that makes sense given the contentious relationship and lack of trust between the two parties.

“I don’t think Twitter will give up its trial date on just Musk’s word — it’s going to need more certainty about closing,” said Andrew Jennings, professor at Brooklyn Law School, noting that the company may also be worried about Musk’s proposal being a delay tactic. After all, he’s already tried to unsuccessfully postpone the trial twice.

Trading in Twitter’s stock, which had been halted for much of the day pending release of the news, resumed trading late Tuesday and soared 22% to close at $52.

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You’re a winner: Listening in on ‘the call’ for Nobel Prize

This is what it’s like to get “the call” — the Swedish Academy of Sciences ringing you up to say you won the Nobel Prize.

It’s usually a dream-of-a-lifetime call that only the special few get in private. But for American physicist John Clauser, who was awarded the Nobel for his work on quantum mechanics, it rang a little different.

Thanks to a three-hour delay from a phone busy with congratulations and reporters’ queries, the call finally got through to him while he was on a live Zoom interview with The Associated Press. And he shared his side of the notification and celebration.

“Oh hang on. They’re on the phone right now,” he said. “OK. Hang on just a second. Can I talk to the guys from the Swedish Nobel Committee?”

Over the next nine minutes, Clauser recounted to the Swedish Academy the difficult road that eventually led to a Nobel-awarding phone call — albeit a few hours late.

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Trump asks Supreme Court to intervene in Mar-a-Lago dispute

WASHINGTON (AP) — Lawyers for former President Donald Trump asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday to step into the legal fight over the classified documents seized during an FBI search of his Florida estate, escalating a dispute over the powers of an independent arbiter appointed to inspect the records.

The Trump team asked the justices to overturn a lower court ruling and allow the arbiter, called a special master, to review the roughly 100 documents with classification markings that were taken in the Aug. 8 search of Mar-a-Lago.

A three-judge panel from the Atlanta-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit last month limited the special master’s review to the much larger tranche of non-classified documents. The judges, including two Trump appointees, sided with the Justice Department, which had argued there was no legal basis for the special master to conduct his own review of the classified records.

But Trump’s lawyers said in their application to the Supreme Court that it was essential for the special master to have access to the classified records to “determine whether documents bearing classification markings are in fact classified, and regardless of classification, whether those records are personal records or Presidential records.”

“Since President Trump had absolute authority over classification decisions during his Presidency, the current status of any disputed document cannot possibly be determined solely by reference to the markings on that document,” the application states.

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Haiti at breaking point as economy tanks and violence soars

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Daily life in Haiti began to spin out of control last month just hours after Prime Minister Ariel Henry said fuel subsidies would be eliminated, causing prices to double.

Gunshots rang out as protesters blocked roads with iron gates and mango trees. Then Haiti’s most powerful gang took a drastic step: It dug trenches to block access to the Caribbean country’s largest fuel terminal, vowing not to budge until Henry resigns and prices for fuel and basic goods go down.

The poorest country in the Western hemisphere is in the grips of an inflationary vise that is squeezing its citizenry and exacerbating protests that have brought society to the breaking point. Violence is raging and making parents afraid to send their kids to school; fuel and clean water are scarce; hospitals, banks and grocery stores are struggling to stay open.

The president of neighboring Dominican Republic described the situation as a “low-intensity civil war.”

Life in Haiti is always extremely difficult, if not downright dysfunctional. But the magnitude of the current paralysis and despair is unprecedented. Political instability has simmered ever since last year’s still-unsolved assassination of Haiti’s president; inflation soaring around 30% has only aggravated the situation.

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Police: California serial killer ‘on a mission’ in slayings

STOCKTON, Calif. (AP) — A California serial killer seems to be “on a mission” throughout the fatal shooting of six men and the wounding of one woman dating back to last year.

Ballistics tests and some video evidence linked the crimes in Stockton and Oakland, about 70 miles (110 kilometers) apart, police said.

“We don’t know what the motive is. What we do believe is that it’s mission-oriented,” Stockton Police Chief Stanley McFadden said Tuesday. “This person’s on a mission.”

The first fatal shooting was in Oakland in April 2021. The woman was wounded in Stockton days later. More than a year passed, then the five killings in Stockton took place between July 8 and Sept. 27, all within a radius of a few square miles, police said.

Although police would not say whether all seven shootings had been linked to the same gun, McFadden alluded to a single pistol during the news conference.

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Yankees star Judge hits 62nd homer to break Maris’ AL record

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Aaron Judge took a smooth, mighty swing, then broke into a big smile as he trotted around the bases. Heading home, his teammates backed away, letting him touch the plate alone.

At last, the New York Yankees slugger had the American League home run record all to himself.

Judge hit his 62nd home run of the season Tuesday night, breaking Roger Maris’ American League record and setting what some fans consider baseball’s “clean” standard.

After slamming his helmet in a rare show of frustration when he went without a homer in the first game of the doubleheader in Texas, Judge hit the third pitch of the nightcap into the first row of seats in left field.

That trip around the bases after a long chase was certainly a mixture of pure joy and relief for No. 99, whose only homer in the previous 13 games had been when he tied Maris’ 61 last Wednesday in Toronto.

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Son’s images show him rescuing Mom from Ian’s floodwaters

In one photo, Johnny Lauder’s 86-year-old mother is in her Florida home, submerged nearly to her shoulders in black murky water, staring straight at the camera, mouth open.

In another, she lies just above the waterline on a table, wrapped in sheets to keep warm. In yet another, she’s being pushed through the water in a wheelchair, her rescue nearly complete.

The photos were taken after Hurricane Ian made landfall last Wednesday, bringing a powerful storm surge and 150 mph (241 kph) winds. They tell the story of Lauder’s journey to save his mother, Karen Lauder, from the home she refused to leave, despite the family’s pleading .

He sent the short videos and photos to his family, letting them know he was OK.

“That’s how I unintentionally documented the whole ordeal,” he said.

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Jolie details Brad Pitt abuse allegations in court filing

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A court filing Tuesday from Angelina Jolie alleges that on a 2016 flight, Brad Pitt grabbed her by the head and shook her then choked one of their children and struck another when they tried to defend her.

The descriptions of abuse on the private flight came in a cross-complaint Jolie filed in the couple’s dispute over a French home and winery they co-owned that is separate from their ongoing divorce, which she sought soon after.

A representative for Pitt, who was not authorized to speak publicly, strongly denied Jolie’s allegations and called them “another rehash that only harms the family.”

The allegations of abuse on the plane first became public shortly after the flight, but reports were initially vague and details were kept sealed in divorce documents and investigations by the FBI and Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, both of which found that no action against Pitt was necessary.

A judge gave Pitt 50-50 custody of the children after a closed-door trial in which the allegations were aired. But an appeals court subsequently disqualified the private judge for not disclosing possible conflicts of interest after a motion from Jolie, nullifying the decision.

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