AP News Summary at 11:59 p.m. EDT

Ian lashes South Carolina as Florida’s death toll climbs

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — A revived Hurricane Ian has pounded coastal South Carolina after causing catastrophic damage in Florida. The storm washed away parts of piers and flooded streets in parts of South Carolina. The U.S. death toll from Hurricane Ian rose to at least 27 as Florida authorities confirmed several drowning deaths and other fatalities. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement said Friday that the deaths included a 22-year-old woman ejected in an ATV rollover because of a road washout. Many other deaths were drownings, including that of a 68-year-old woman swept into the ocean by a wave. Authorities expect the death toll to rise further.

Putin illegally annexes Ukraine land; Kyiv seeks NATO entry

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed treaties to illegally annex parts of Ukraine, while Kyiv has submitted an “accelerated” application to join NATO. At the Kremlin, Putin and the pro-Moscow heads of the four Ukrainian regions inked the treaties in a sharp escalation of the war. The signing came three days after the end of Kremlin-orchestrated “referendums” on joining Russia that Kyiv and the West dismissed as a bare-faced land grab, held at gunpoint and based on lies. NATO’s chief said the war is at “a pivotal moment,” and that Putin’s decision was “the most serious escalation” since the war began. Russia pounded Ukrainian cities, with one strike in the Zaporizhzhia region’s capital killing 30 people and wounding 88.

U.S. captives ‘prayed for death’ on brutal ride from Ukraine

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — One of two American veterans released from Russian captivity after being captured in Ukraine says they both prayed for death during the brutal ride to freedom. Alex Drueke says he and fellow Alabamian Andy Huynh endured three months of captivity that included execution threats, physical torture, solitary confinement and food deprivation. But he says the final 24 hours were the toughest because of mental and emotional torture. Drueke tells The Associated Press that he and Huynh both prayed for death during the ride to an airport in Russia, unsure of what they would face. The men arrived back in the United States last week. Both traveled to Ukraine in the spring to help fight off the Russian invasion.

North Korea fires 4th round of missile tests in 1 week

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea has fired two short-range ballistic missiles toward its eastern waters. It’s the North’s fourth round of weapons launches this week and seen as a response to military drills among its rivals. Japan’s Defense Ministry and South Korea’s military each said they detected the two North Korean missile launches Saturday morning. South Korea says it has bolstered its surveillance posture and maintains a military readiness in close coordination with the United States. North Korea has carried out a record number of missile tests this year. Experts say Pyongyang is trying to expand its weapons arsenal amid stalled nuclear diplomacy with Washington.

After #FreeBritney, California to limit conservatorships

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law Friday that will limit the use of conservatorships, the process in which guardians can be granted legal power to make life decisions for those deemed unable to make them. The new law, authored by Democratic Assemblymember Brian Maienschein drew attention after Britney Spears’ conservatorship case became a national cause. It will require that judges document all alternatives to a conservatorship before granting one and give potential conservatees preference for selecting a conservator. Maienschein, who represents parts of San Diego, hopes the new law will help protect the autonomy of Californians with disabilities.

Army officers appear on Burkina Faso TV, declare new coup

OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso (AP) — More than a dozen soldiers have appeared on Burkina Faso’s state broadcaster to declare they have overthrown the country’s coup leader. In a statement carried Friday night, their spokesman declared that Lt. Col. Paul Henri Sandaogo Damiba was no longer in charge. They say Capt. Ibrahim Traore is Burkina Faso’s new leader. Damiba and his allies had overthrown the democratically elected president only nine months ago, coming to power with promises of make the country more secure. However, violence has continued unabated and frustration with his leadership has grown in recent months. Damiba had just returned home after addressing the U.N. General Assembly in New York.

Arizona judge won’t suspend ruling that halted all abortions

PHOENIX (AP) — An Arizona judge has refused to suspend her order that allowed enforcement of a pre-statehood law making it a crime to provide an abortion. Friday’s ruling from Pima County Superior Court Judge Kellie Johnson means the state’s abortion providers will not be able to restart procedures. Abortions were halted on Sept. 23 when Johnson ruled that a 1973 injunction must be lifted so that the Civil War-era law could be enforced. Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich sought the order lifting the injunction. Planned Parenthood argued newer laws take precedence. They asked Johnson to put her ruling on hold to allow an appeal.

In Ian’s wake, worried families crowdsource rescue efforts

Desperate to locate and rescue their loved ones, social media users are sharing phone numbers, addresses and photos of their family members and friends online for anyone who can check on them after Hurricane Ian made landfall in southwest Florida. While authorities recommend that those in distress contact official emergency channels, strangers online are braving the conditions to step in and answer the pleas for help. And the family members are more than grateful. Heather Donlan says her social media post crowdsourced the person she holds responsible for saving her father’s life.

NFL’s handling of concussions questioned after Tua’s injury

The NFL’s handling of concussions has evolved dramatically from the days when players were given smelling salts on the bench and sent back into the game. The league and the NFL Players Association have implemented extensive protocols and hired unaffiliated neurotrauma consultants to work with team physicians at each game to diagnose concussions. Still, football is a violent sport and injuries similar to the frightening one Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa suffered Thursday night seem unavoidable. The most effective means of protecting players remains enforcing strict concussion protocols, which players, fans and others are concerned didn’t happen with Tagovailoa.

Some officials now say monkeypox elimination unlikely in US

NEW YORK (AP) — Some U.S. health officials are conceding that monkeypox is probably not going away anytime soon. The disease’s spread is slowing but the virus is so widespread that elimination is unlikely. That conclusion was in a recent CDC report and echoed Friday by an agency disease-forecasting scientist. The CDC report contained some good news: The U.S. outbreak seems to have peaked in August. The average number of cases being reported daily is fewer than 150. That’s just a fraction of what was reported in the middle of the summer. Officials expect the decline will continue for at least the next several weeks.

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