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September 26, 2022

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AP Top News at 5:42 a.m. EDT

Updated Monday, Sept. 19, 2022 | 2:42 a.m.

Britain and the world to lay Queen Elizabeth II to rest

LONDON (AP) — Britain and the world are laying Queen Elizabeth II to rest on Monday at a state funeral that is drawing presidents and kings, princes and prime ministers — and up to a million people lining the streets of London to say a final goodbye to a monarch whose 70-year reign defined an age. A day packed with funeral events in London and Windsor began early when the doors of 900-year-old Westminster Hall were closed to mourners after hundreds of thousands had filed in front of her flag-draped coffin. Many had waited for hours in line, including through cold nights, to see the lying in state in an outpouring of collective grief and respect.

Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral | Live updates Biden: US would defend Taiwan against Chinese invasion

BEIJING (AP) — China's government on Monday criticized President Joe Biden's statement that American forces would defend Taiwan if Beijing tries to invade as a violation of U.S. commitments about the self-ruled island, but gave no indication of possible retaliation. Biden said “yes” when asked during an interview broadcast Sunday on CBS News’s “60 Minutes” program whether “U.S. forces, U.S. men and women, would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion.” The comment added to displays of official American support for the island democracy in the face of growing shows of force by the mainland's ruling Communist Party, which claims Taiwan as part of its territory.

Ukraine says Russian missile struck close to nuclear plant

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — A Russian missile struck close to a nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine Monday, not damaging its three reactors but hitting other industrial equipment in what Ukrainian authorities denounced as an act of “nuclear terrorism.” The strike follows warnings from Russian President Vladimir Putin of possible stepped-up attacks on key Ukrainian infrastructure after his forces suffered humiliating battlefield setbacks. The missile struck just 300 meters (yards) from the Pivdennoukrainsk nuclear plant, also known as the South Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant, according to Ukrainian nuclear operator Energoatom. Black-and-white CCTV footage released by Ukraine's Ministry of Defense showed two large fireballs erupting one after the other in the dark.

Fiona nears Dominican Republic after pounding Puerto Rico

HAVANA (AP) — Hurricane Fiona bore down on the Dominican Republic Monday after knocking out the power grid and unleashing floods and landslides in Puerto Rico, where the governor said the damage was “catastrophic.” No deaths have been reported, but authorities in the U.S. territory said it was too early to estimate the damage from a storm that was still forecast to unleash torrential rain across Puerto Rico on Monday. Up to 30 inches (76 centimeters) was forecast for Puerto Rico's eastern and southern regions. “It’s important people understand that this is not over,” said Ernesto Morales, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in San Juan.

In world beset by turbulence, nations' leaders gather at UN

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Facing a complex set of challenges that try humanity as never before, world leaders convene at the United Nations this week under the shadow of Europe’s first major war since World War II — a conflict that has unleashed a global food crisis and divided major powers in a way not seen since the Cold War. The many facets of the Ukraine war are expected to dominate the annual meeting, which convenes as many countries and peoples confront growing inequality, an escalating climate crisis, the threat of multiple famines and an internet-fueled tide of misinformation and hate speech — all atop a coronavirus pandemic that is halfway through its third year.

Taliban freed from Guantanamo, claims exchanged for American

ISLAMABAD (AP) — A senior Taliban detainee held for years at Guantanamo Bay said Monday he was released and handed over earlier in the day to the Taliban in Kabul, in exchange for an American prisoner held in Afghanistan. Bashir Noorzai, a notorious drug lord and member of the Taliban, told reporters in Kabul that he spent 17 years and six months in the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, and that he was the last Taliban prisoner there. The Taliban-appointed foreign minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi, also spoke at the press conference alongside Noorzai and welcomed the exchange, saying it marked the start of a “new era" in U.S.-Taliban relations.

2022 could be a political watershed for Massachusetts women

BOSTON (AP) — Just 20 years ago, Massachusetts voters had yet to elect a woman as governor, attorney general, U.S. senator or mayor of its largest city. This year, Democratic women won five of six statewide primary contests. 2022 is shaping up to be a watershed year for women seeking political power in Massachusetts, a state that despite its liberal reputation has lagged when it comes to electing women to top offices. Democratic Attorney General Maura Healey is heavily favored to flip the Republican-held governor’s office in November, which would make her the state’s first woman and first openly gay candidate elected chief executive.

62 and 700: Judge, Pujols closing in on home run milestones

Aaron Judge and Albert Pujols could make this a milestone week for home runs. Judge hit two more Sunday, raising his season total to 59, two shy of Roger Maris' American League record. Now the slugger returns to Yankee Stadium, where New York will play its next six games. Pujols, meanwhile, is somewhat improbably closing in on the 700-homer mark after hitting 12 since the start of August. Judge's pursuit of Maris has stirred debate over how to put this AL record in context, should he break it. He's unlikely to threaten Barry Bonds' major league record of 73, but that mark, as well as the exploits of Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa around the same time, have become complicated by performance-enhancing drug suspicions.

World shares slip as markets brace for more rate hikes

Shares opened lower in Europe after a day of declines for most Asian markets, as investors braced for another interest rate hike this week by the U.S. Federal Reserve. Britain was observing a day of mourning for Queen Elizabeth II. Japan’s markets were closed for a holiday. Germany's DAX lost 0.3% to 12,701.41 while the CAC 40 in Paris shed 0.9% to 6,023.55. The future for the S&P 500 was down 0.6% while the contract for the Dow industrials was 0.5% lower. Markets have been on edge because of stubbornly high inflation and the increases in interest rates being used to fight it.