'We have to be heard': Texas women travel to seek abortions
SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) — The 33-year-old Texas woman drove alone four hours through the night to get to the Louisiana abortion clinic for a consultation. She initially planned to sleep in her car, but an advocacy group helped arrange a hotel room.
Single and with three children ranging from 5 to 13, she worried that adding a baby now would take time, food, money and space away from her three children. She doesn't have a job, and without help from groups offering a safe abortion, she said, she probably would have sought another way to end her pregnancy.
“If you can’t get rid of the baby, what’s the next thing you’re going to do? You’re going to try to get rid of it yourself. So I’m thinking: ‘What could I do? What are some home remedies that I could do to get rid of this baby, to have a miscarriage, to abort it?’ And it shouldn’t be like that. I shouldn’t have to do that. I shouldn’t have to think like that, feel like that, none of that.
“We have to be heard. This has got to change. It’s not right.”
She was one of more than a dozen women who arrived Saturday at the Hope Medical Group for Women, a single-story brick building with covered windows just south of downtown Shreveport. Some came alone. Others were accompanied by a friend or a partner. Some brought their children because they were unable to get child care.
Assailant with bow and arrows kills 5 people in Norway
COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — A man armed with a bow fired arrows at shoppers in a small Norwegian town Wednesday, killing five people before he was arrested, authorities said.
The police chief in the community of Kongsberg, near the capital of Oslo, said there was “a confrontation” between officers and the assailant, but he did not elaborate. Two other people were wounded and hospitalized in intensive care, including an officer who was off duty and inside the shop where the attack took place, police said.
“The man who carried out the act has been arrested by the police, and there is no active search for more people. Based on the information we have, there is one person behind this,” Police Chief Oeyving Aas said.
Acting Prime Minister Erna Solberg described the attack as “gruesome” and said it was too early to speculate on a motive. The prime minister-designate, Jonas Gahr Stoere, who is expected to take office Thursday, called the assault “a cruel and brutal act” in comments to Norwegian news agency NTB.
Police were alerted to the attack around 6:15 p.m. and arrested the suspect about 30 minutes later. The community of some 26,000 inhabitants is about 66 kilometers (41 miles) southwest of Oslo.
EXPLAINER: Why the Social Security COLA is jumping next year
WASHINGTON (AP) — Rising inflation has triggered a sizable increase in Social Security's annual cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, for 2022. The Social Security Administration announced the 5.9% COLA on Wednesday after a Labor Department report on inflation during September.
Over the last 10 years, the Social Security COLA has averaged about 1.7% annually as inflation remained low. But the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic has triggered rising prices for a wide range of goods and services, and that will translate to bigger checks for retirees.
WHY ARE SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS ADJUSTED?
Policymakers say the COLA works to preserve the purchasing power of Social Security benefits and shouldn’t be seen as a pay hike for retirees.
At one time Congress had to approve inflation increases, but starting in the mid-1970s lawmakers turned that function over to nonpartisan experts within the government bureaucracy. The annual review is now tied to changes in an official measure of inflation and proceeds automatically and with no political brinkmanship.
Border residents rejoice as US says it will lift travel ban
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Beleaguered business owners and families separated by COVID-19 restrictions rejoiced Wednesday after the U.S. said it will reopen its land borders to nonessential travel next month, ending a 19-month freeze.
Travel across land borders from Canada and Mexico has been largely restricted to workers whose jobs are deemed essential. New rules will allow fully vaccinated foreign nationals to enter the U.S. regardless of the reason starting in early November, when a similar easing of restrictions is set for air travel. By mid-January, even essential travelers seeking to enter the U.S., such as truck drivers, will need to be fully vaccinated.
Shopping malls and big box retailers in U.S. border towns whose parking spaces had been filled by cars with Mexican license plates were hit hard by travel restrictions.
San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria said the economic impact was hard to quantify but can be seen in the sparse presence of shoppers at a high-end outlet mall on the city’s border with Tijuana, Mexico. The decision comes at a critical time ahead of the holiday shopping season.
In Nogales, Arizona, travel restrictions forced about 40 retail businesses to close on the main strip in the city of 20,000 people, said Jessy Fontes, board member of the Nogales-Santa Cruz County Chamber of Commerce and owner of Mariposa Liquidation Store, which sells household appliances. His sales fell 60%, and he considered closing but instead cut his staff from seven to two.
Taiwan tensions raise fears of US-China conflict in Asia
BANGKOK (AP) — After sending a record number of military aircraft to harass Taiwan over China’s National Day holiday, Beijing has toned down the saber rattling but tensions remain high, with the rhetoric and reasoning behind the exercises unchanged.
Experts agree a direct conflict is unlikely at the moment, but as the future of self-ruled Taiwan increasingly becomes a powder keg, a mishap or miscalculation could lead to confrontation while Chinese and American ambitions are at odds.
China seeks to bring the strategically and symbolically important island back under its control, and the U.S. sees Taiwan in the context of broader challenges from China.
“From the U.S. perspective, the concept of a great power rivalry with China has driven this back up the agenda,” said Henry Boyd, a Britain-based defense analyst with the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
“The need to stand up to China is a strong enough motivating factor that not taking this fight would also be seen as a betrayal of American national interests.”
Facebook expands harassment policy to protect public figures
Facebook will expand its policies on harassment to remove more harmful content, the company said Wednesday in its latest change following congressional testimony from a whistleblower who faulted the social media giant for not doing enough to stop harmful content.
Under the new, more detailed harassment policy, Facebook will bar content that degrades or sexualizes public figures, including celebrities, elected officials and others in the public eye. Existing policies already prohibit similar content about private individuals.
Another change will add more protections from harassment to government dissidents, journalists and human rights activists around the world. In many nations, social media harassment has been used in efforts to silence journalists and activists.
Lastly, the company based in Menlo Park, California, announced it will ban all coordinated harassment, in which a group of individuals work together to bully another user. That change will apply to all users.
“We do not allow bullying and harassment on our platform, but when it does happen, we act,” Antigone Davis, Facebook’s head of global safety, wrote in a blog post.
Chicago police union head urges cops to defy vaccine mandate
CHICAGO (AP) — The head of the Chicago police officers union has called on its members to defy the city's requirement to report their COVID-19 vaccination status by Friday or be placed on unpaid leave.
In the video posted online Tuesday and first reported by the Chicago Sun-Times, Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara vowed to take Mayor Lori Lightfoot's administration to court if it tries to enforce the mandate, which requires city workers to report their vaccine status by the end of the work week. After Friday, unvaccinated workers who won't submit to semiweekly coronavirus testing will be placed on unpaid leave.
Catanzara suggested that if the city does enforce its requirement and many union members refuse to comply with it, “It's safe to say that the city of Chicago will have a police force at 50% or less for this weekend coming up."
In the video, Catanzara instructs officers to file for exemptions to receiving the vaccine but to not enter that information into the city's vaccine portal.
He said that although he has made clear his vaccine status, "I do not believe the city has the authority to mandate that to anybody, let alone that information about your medical history.”
William Shatner, TV's Capt. Kirk, blasts into space
VAN HORN, Texas (AP) — Hollywood’s Captain Kirk, 90-year-old William Shatner, blasted into space Wednesday in a convergence of science fiction and science reality, reaching the final frontier aboard a ship built by Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin company.
The “Star Trek” actor and three fellow passengers hurtled to an altitude of 66.5 miles (107 kilometers) over the West Texas desert in the fully automated capsule, then safely parachuted back to Earth. The flight lasted just over 10 minutes.
“What you have given me is the most profound experience," an exhilarated Shatner told Bezos after climbing out the hatch, the words spilling from him in a soliloquy almost as long as the flight. “I hope I never recover from this. I hope that I can maintain what I feel now. I don’t want to lose it.”
He said that going from the blue sky to the utter blackness of space was a moving experience: "In an instant you go, `Whoa, that’s death.' That’s what I saw.”
Shatner became the oldest person in space, eclipsing the previous record — set by a passenger on a similar jaunt on a Bezos spaceship in July — by eight years. The flight included about three minutes of weightlessness and a view of the curvature of the Earth.
New wind farms would dot US coastlines under Biden plan
WASHINGTON (AP) — Seven major offshore wind farms would be developed on the East and West coasts and in the Gulf of Mexico under a plan announced Wednesday by the Biden administration.
The projects are part of President Joe Biden’s plan to deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030, generating enough electricity to power more than 10 million homes.
Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said her department hopes to hold lease sales by 2025 off the coasts of Maine, New York and the mid-Atlantic, as well as the Carolinas, California, Oregon and the Gulf of Mexico. The projects are part of Biden’s plan to address global warming and could avoid about 78 million metric tons of planet-warming carbon dioxide emissions, while creating up to 77,000 jobs, officials said.
“The Interior Department is laying out an ambitious road map as we advance the administration’s plans to confront climate change, create good-paying jobs and accelerate the nation’s transition to a cleaner energy future,” Haaland said. “We have big goals to achieve a clean energy economy and Interior is meeting the moment.”
In addition to offshore wind, the Interior Department is working with other federal agencies to increase renewable energy production on public lands, Haaland said, with a goal of at least 25 gigawatts of onshore renewable energy from wind and solar power by 2025.
Weah, Dest spark US to 2-1 win over Costa Rica in qualifier
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Tim Weah scored on a shot that deflected off the goalkeeper in the 66th minute after Sergiño Dest started the comeback from a first-minute deficit, and the United States rallied past Costa Rica 2-1 on Wednesday night to ease pressure as World Cup qualifying neared the halfway point.
Goalkeeper Zack Steffen, one of nine new starters inserted by coach Gregg Berhalter following Sunday’s dismal 1-0 loss at Panama, made a costly headed clearance that led to Keysher Fuller’s goal 60 seconds in, the fastest goal conceded by the U.S. in 23 years.
Dest, another new starter by his rotation-emphasizing coach, tied it in the 25th minute when he curled a shot past Keylor Navas.
“I was like, I have to shoot it,” Dest said. “I was just so happy We needed that goal. It was a really important goal.”
Navas, one of the world’s top goalkeepers, strained an adductor muscle and was replaced by Leonel Moreiera at the start of the second half.