AP News Summary at 3:48 p.m. EDT | National

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One day after Zelenskyy speech, US, Russia square off at UN

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United States has made its case at the U.N. Security Council for why Russia should face further censure and isolation over the Ukraine invasion. It comes the day after Ukraine’s president laid out a forceful case against Russia’s invasion at the United Nations. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke to Security Council members, detailing allegations of war crimes and other atrocities that Russia has committed against Ukraine. He urged them to “send a clear message” for Russia to stop its nuclear threats. Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, fired right back minutes later. he called the claims unfair and Ukraine to blame.

EXPLAINER: What’s behind referendums in occupied Ukraine?

Four occupied regions in eastern and southern Ukraine are set to start voting Friday in Kremlin-engineered referendums on whether to become part of Russia, setting the stage for Moscow to annex the areas in a sharp escalation of the nearly seven-month war. Ukraine and its Western allies have rejected the votes as illegitimate and neither free nor fair, saying they will have no binding force. The votes come as Russian President Vladimir Putin dramatically upped the ante by declaring a partial mobilization and declaring his readiness to use nuclear weapons. In 2014, Russia held a referendum in Ukraine’s Crimean region that also was denounced by the West as illegal and illegitimate. It later annexed the peninsula.

Trump docs probe: Court lifts hold on Mar-a-Lago records

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal appeals court is allowing the Justice Department to resume its use of classified records seized from Donald Trump’s Florida estate in its ongoing criminal investigation. The ruling Wednesday clears the way for investigators to continue scrutinizing the documents as they evaluate whether to bring criminal charges over the storage of top-secret government records at Mar-a-Lago. The appeals court note that Trump presented no evidence that he had declassified the records. Trump claimed in a Fox News Interview Wednesday that “If you’re the president of the United States, you can declassify” material just by saying “It’s declassified” and “even by thinking about it.”

At least 9 killed as Iran protests over woman’s death spread

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Clashes between Iranian security forces and protesters have killed at least nine people since the violence erupted over the weekend. That’s according to a tally on Thursday by The Associated Press, based on statements from Iran’s state-run and semiofficial media. The demonstrations in Iran began as an outpouring of anger over the death last week of a young woman held by the country’s morality police for allegedly violating its strictly enforced dress code. The government has largely shut down internet access in an attempt to rein in the protests, in which many have called for the overthrow of Iran’s ruling clerics.

Biden vows US won’t walk away from storm-struck Puerto Rico

SAN SALVADOR, Puerto Rico (AP) — President Joe Biden says the full force of the federal government is ready to help Puerto Rico recover from the devastation of Hurricane Fiona. Speaking in New York Thursday, he said hundreds of FEMA and other federal officials are already on the ground with more help coming. He said his message to the people of Puerto Rico is: “We’re with you. We’re not going to walk away.”  Meanwhile, Bermuda and Canada’s Atlantic provinces are preparing for a major blast from the Category 4 storm. It’s expected to pass overnight near Bermuda, where officials are opening shelters.

AP PHOTOS: Backbreaking work for kids in Afghan brick kilns

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Aid agencies say the number of children working in Afghanistan is growing ever since the economy collapsed following the Taliban takeover more than a year ago. Nowhere is it clearer than in the brick factories outside of the capital, Kabul. Children as young as four or five labor alongside their parents from early in the morning until late at night, doing backbreaking tasks like hauling wheelbarrows full of bricks. Their families say they have no choice, the work is needed to put food on the table. A recent survey by Save The Children estimated that half of Afghanistan’s families have had to put their children to work.

Alex Jones testifies in trial over his Sandy Hook hoax lies

WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) — Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has taken the stand at his trial in Connecticut to try to limit the damages he must pay for calling the Sandy Hook school shooting a hoax. Jones took the stand Thursday in Waterbury. The trial is to decide damages for an FBI agent who responded to the school and the families of eight children and adults who died who sued Jones for defamation. A total of 20 first graders and six educators were killed at the Newtown school in 2012. Victims’ relatives have given emotional testimony during the trial’s first six days about being traumatized by people who say the shooting was fake.

Judge blocks Indiana abortion ban week after it took effect

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An Indiana judge has blocked the state’s abortion ban from being enforced, putting the new law on hold as abortion clinic operators argue that it violates the state constitution. Owen County Judge Kelsey Hanlon issued a preliminary injunction Thursday against the ban that took effect one week ago. The injunction was sought by abortion clinic operators who argued in a lawsuit that the state constitution protects access to the medical procedure. The judge wrote “there is reasonable likelihood that this significant restriction of personal autonomy offends the liberty guarantees of the Indiana Constitution” and that the clinics will prevail in the lawsuit.

AP sources: Celtics considering suspension of Ime Udoka

BOSTON (AP) — Two people with knowledge of the matter say Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka is headed for a likely suspension for violating a team policy. The people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the reigning Eastern Conference champion Celtics have not revealed any details publicly. The length of the suspension has not been determined. One of the people who spoke with the AP said the Celtics have decided that assistant coach Joe Mazzulla will take over the team on an interim basis if Udoka is suspended.

EXPLAINER: Why a NASA spacecraft will crash into an asteroid

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — A NASA spacecraft is about to clobber a small, harmless asteroid millions of miles away. The spacecraft named Dart will zero in on the asteroid Monday, intent on slamming it head-on at 14,000 mph. The impact should be just enough to nudge the asteroid into a slightly tighter orbit around its companion space rock. It’s the first save-the-world experiment of its kind. If successful, the test will demonstrate that if a killer asteroid ever heads our way, we’ll stand a fighting chance. Dart blasted off on the $325 million mission last fall.

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