AP News Summary at 4:51 p.m. EDT | National

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UN chief: World is ‘paralyzed’ and equity is slipping away

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — In an alarming assessment, the head of the United Nations is telling world leaders that nations are “gridlocked in colossal global dysfunction” and aren’t ready or willing to tackle major challenges. Speaking at the opening of the General Assembly’s annual high-level meeting, Antonio Guterres pointed to the war in Ukraine and multiplying conflicts around the world, the climate emergency and “suicidal war against nature,” the dire financial situation of developing countries, and many reversals in U.N. goals for 2030 including to end extreme poverty and provide quality education for all children.

4 Ukrainian regions schedule votes this week to join Russia

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — The separatist leaders of four Russian-controlled areas of Ukraine say they are planning to hold referendums this week for the territories to become part of Russia as Moscow loses ground in the war it launched. The votes will be held in the Luhansk, Kherson and partly Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk regions. The announcement of the balloting starting Friday came after a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that they were needed. Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev also said that folding Luhansk and Donetsk in eastern Ukraine into Russia itself would make their redrawn frontiers “irreversible” and enable Moscow to use “any means” to defend them.

Feds: 47 exploited pandemic to steal $250M from food program

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Federal authorities have charged 47 people in what they’re calling the largest fraud scheme yet to take advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic by stealing and defrauding the government of $250 million. Documents made public Tuesday charge the defendants with counts including conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering and bribery. Prosecutors say the defendants created companies that claimed to be offering food to thousands of low-income children across Minnesota, then sought reimbursement through a federal program. But prosecutors say few meals were actually served, and the defendants used the money to buy luxury cars, property and jewelry. This year, the U.S. Justice Department has made prosecuting pandemic-related fraud a priority and has stepped up enforcement actions.

Fiona swipes Turks and Caicos, Puerto Rico faces big cleanup

CAYEY, Puerto Rico (AP) — Hurricane Fiona is blasting the Turks and Caicos Islands as a Category 3 storm after devastating Puerto Rico, where most people remain without electricity or running water. The U.S. National Hurricane Center says the storm’s eye passed close to Grand Turk, the British territory’s capital island. The government imposed a curfew and urged people to flee flood-prone areas. The storm could raise seas by 5 to 8 feet above normal. Fiona had maximum sustained winds of 115 mph and was moving north-northwest at 9 mph early Tuesday. The Hurricane Center says the storm is likely to strengthen into a Category 4 hurricane as it approaches Bermuda on Friday.

Arbiter in Trump docs probe signals intent to move quickly

WASHINGTON (AP) — The independent arbiter tasked with inspecting documents seized in an FBI search of former President Donald Trump’s Florida home says he intends to push briskly though the review process. Raymond Dearie, the veteran Brooklyn-based judge, also appeared skeptical of the Trump team’s reluctance to say whether it believed the records had been declassified. The purpose of Tuesday’s meeting was to sort out next steps in a review process expected to slow by weeks, if not months, the criminal investigation into the retention of top-secret information at Mar-a-Lago after Trump left the White House.

‘Serial’ host: Evidence that freed Syed was long available

The creator of a true-crime podcast that helped free a Maryland man imprisoned for murder said that she feels a mix of emotions over how long it took authorities to act on evidence that’s long been available. Podcast host Sarah Koenig released a new episode of “Serial” on Tuesday, a day after a judge vacated Adnan Syed’s conviction and allowed him to walk out of court after more than two decades. Koenig noted that all of the evidence cited in prosecutors’ motion to overturn the conviction was available since 1999. She argued that the case against Syed involved “just about every chronic problem” in the system.

Stocks close lower ahead of Fed decision on interest rates

Stocks closed lower on Wall Street ahead of a key decision on interest rates by the Federal Reserve. The S&P 500 fell 1.1% Tuesday. The Nasdaq composite and the Dow Jones Industrial Average also lost ground. Treasury yields were mostly higher. Traders are waiting to see how high the Fed will raise interest rates at its meeting that ends Wednesday. The Fed has been raising the cost of borrowing money in hopes of slowing down the hottest inflation in four decades. Traders worry the Fed may overshoot its goal and slow down the economy so much it causes a recession.

Ad spending shows Dems hinging midterm hopes on abortion

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats are pumping an unprecedented amount of money into advertising related to abortion rights. The spending underscores how central the message is to the party in the final weeks before midterm elections. The most intense period of campaigning is only just beginning, and Democrats have already invested more than an estimated $124 million this year in television advertising referencing abortion. That’s twice as much money as the Democrats’ next top issue and almost 20 times more than Democrats spent on abortion-related ads in the 2018 midterms. The spending figures are based on an Associated Press analysis of data provided by the nonpartisan research firm AdImpact.

Mexico’s earthquake coincidence drives anxiety for many

MEXICO CITY (AP) — The parents of children killed when a school collapsed during Mexico’s 2017 earthquake were celebrating a Mass in their memory, And then the ground began to shake again, as people cried out: “No, not again! My God, not again!” In the end, the magnitude 7.6 quake caused relatively little damage in the capital on Monday, though it killed two in the Pacific coast state of Colima. Three powerful earthquakes have struck Mexico on Sept. 19 — in 1985, 2017 and 2022. That unlucky coincidence has made many feel the date is somehow cursed, though scientists say it’s purely coincidence.

Beyond Meat executive charged with biting man in fight

A top executive at plant-based food company Beyond Meat has been charged with felony battery after a fight outside a college football game in which he was accused of biting a man’s nose. Doug Ramsey was also charged with making a terroristic threat after the attack Saturday in a parking garage outside a University of Arkansas football game. According to police, Ramsey was angered when another driver inched in front of him in a traffic lane and made contact with the front passenger wheel on Ramsey’s SUV. Beyond Meat hasn’t responded to requests for comment.

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