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Trump angrily lashes out after his deposition is ordered
Former President Donald Trump angrily lashed out in a statement after a judge ordered him to answer questions under oath next week in a defamation lawsuit filed by a writer who says he raped her in the mid-1990s. The ruling Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan prompted the defiant statement from Trump in which he called writer E. Jean Carroll’s lawsuit a “complete con job” and a “hoax” and a “lie.” She says Trump raped her in an upscale Manhattan department store’s dressing room. Trump’s outburst came after Kaplan rejected a request by his lawyers to delay his testimony, set for Oct. 19.
Social Security payments set for big increase. What to know.
Tens of millions of older Americans are about to get what may be the biggest raise of their lifetimes. On Thursday, the U.S. government is set to announce what’s virtually certain to be the largest increase in Social Security benefits in 40 years. The boost is meant to allow beneficiaries to keep up with inflation, and how it’s generated stirs plenty of controversy. Critics say the data used to set the increase doesn’t reflect what older Americans are actually spending. It’s also a one-size-fits-all increase, which means beneficiaries get the same raise regardless of where they live or how big a nest egg they have.
Alex Jones ordered to pay $965 million for Sandy Hook lies
A Connecticut jury has ordered conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to pay $965 million to Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims’ relatives and an FBI agent. They said Jones turned their loss and trauma into years of torment by promoting the lie that the rampage was a hoax. The verdict is the second big judgment against Jones for claiming the massacre was staged. Jones says he now believes the shooting was real, but he says he had a right to publicly question whether it happened. A Texas jury in August ordered Jones to pay $50 million to the parents of another slain child.
West to bolster Ukraine air defense; nuke plant loses power
Unbowed Western powers have pledged to supply Ukraine with more powerful air defense systems following a furious barrage of retaliatory Russian missile strikes. The attacks included one that temporarily knocked Europe’s biggest nuclear power plant off the power grid on Wednesday. Ukraine’s nuclear operator said the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant suffered a “blackout” when a missile damaged an electrical substation. Energoatom said diesel generators provided backup power before the external power source was repaired. Russia launched wide-ranging attacks this week in retaliation for an explosion that damaged a bridge linking Russia with Crimea. As Ukraine’s Western allies calibrated their response, Russia’s domestic security said it arrested eight suspects.
US will take in some Venezuelans, expel others to Mexico
The Biden administration has agreed to accept up to 24,000 Venezuelan migrants, similar to how Ukrainians have been admitted since Russia’s invasion. Meanwhile, Mexico has agreed to accept some Venezuelans who are expelled from the United States. The U.S. and Mexico announced the plans Wednesday. The moves are a response to a dramatic increase in migration from Venezuela. In a related announcement, the Department of Homeland Security says it will make available nearly 65,000 temporary work visas for lower-skilled industries, roughly double the current annual allotment.
UN demands Russia reverse ‘illegal’ annexations in Ukraine
The U.N. General Assembly has voted overwhelmingly to condemn Russia’s “attempted illegal annexation” of four Ukrainian regions and demand that Moscow immediately reverse its action. The vote Wednesday in the 193-member world body was 143-5 with 35 abstentions, a sign of strong global opposition to the seven-month war and Moscow’s attempt to grab its neighbor’s territory. It was the strongest support from the General Assembly for Ukraine and against Russia of the four resolutions the world body has approved since Russian troops invaded their smaller neighbor Feb. 24. The Western-sponsored resolution was a response to Russia’s announced annexations last month.
ACT test scores drop to lowest in 30 years in pandemic slide
ACT test scores made public in a report Wednesday reveal a decline in preparedness for college-level coursework. Overall, the average ACT composite score was 19.8 out of 36. This year was the first time since 1991 that the average score was below 20, and it was the lowest average in more than 30 years. The report also shows 42% of ACT-tested graduates in the class of 2022 met none of the ACT’s subject benchmarks, which are indicators of how well students are expected to perform in college courses. The results offer a lens into systemic inequities in education, in place well before the pandemic shuttered schools and colleges waived testing requirements.
By wire sources
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