Browns’ Garrett in accident, injuries not life-threatening

September 26th, 2022

CLEVELAND (AP) — Cleveland Browns All-Pro defensive end Myles Garrett has been taken to a hospital after being involved in a one-car accident following practice Monday.

The team said Garrett did not suffer life-threatening injuries, but provided no further details on his condition. The Browns said they are gathering more information.

Garrett and the Browns returned to practice following a long weekend after their home win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday night. The 26-year-old Garrett, who needs just one sack to become the team’s career leader, was held to two assisted tackles in the win.

One of the NFL’s most dominant players, Garrett was selected with the No. 1 overall pick by Cleveland in 2017. He set a team single-season record with 16 sacks last season.


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US expands, extends Myanmar immigration status to May 2024

September 26th, 2022

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Biden administration said Monday it is expanding and extending temporary legal status in the United States for several thousand people from Myanmar after a military coup last year in the Asian country.

The decision extends Temporary Protected Status for 18 months for an estimated 970 people of Myanmar until May 25, 2024, and makes an additional 2,290 eligible to live and work until that date if they were in the United States on Sunday.

People of Myanmar “are continuing to suffer a complex and deteriorating humanitarian crisis due to a military coup, upheaval, and security forces’ brutal violence against civilians,” said Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

Myanmar, also called Burma, has been ruled by the military for most of the past 70 years. The army’s takeover interrupted a gradual transition toward democratic civilian government and a more modern, open economy and resulted in a slew of sanctions against the military, which controls many industries as well as army family members and cronies.

About 150,000 immigrants from Myanmar lived in the U.S. in 2019, according to the Migration Policy Institute analysis of census data. The largest concentrations were in Marion County, Indiana, with 8,800; Los Angeles County, California, with 7,600; and Ramsey County, Minnesota, with 6,800.

Congress created the Temporary Protected Status program in 1990 to provide a safe haven for people unable to return to their countries due to natural disasters or civil strife. About 350,000 people from more than a dozen countries benefit from the status, which can be extended in increments of up to 18 months. People of El Salvador are the largest beneficiaries.

The Trump administration attempted to end the status for many countries but faced legal challenges.

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Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.


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CBO: Biden’s student debt plan would cost $400 billion

September 26th, 2022

President Joe Biden’s plan for student debt cancellation will cost the federal government about $400 billion over the next 30 years, according to new estimates from the Congressional Budget Office.

The figures were released Monday in response to a request from Republican lawmakers who oppose Biden’s plan in large part because of its costs. They were quick to cite the estimates as evidence that the plan will “bury” taxpayers, passing along the costs to huge numbers of Americans who never went to college.

The Biden administration previously estimated the plan would cost about $24 billion a year over the next 10 years — about $240 billion for the decade — while other estimates put the total cost at $500 billion or more over the decade.

On Monday, the White House noted that the CBO’s estimated cost in the first year — $21 billion — is actually lower than the administration’s early estimate of $24 billion.

To reach the CBO’s $400 billion figure, officials looked at the immediate cost of cancellation along with the longer-term impact, including lower monthly repayments that would have been higher if not for the cancellation.

The office separately estimated that Biden’s latest extension of a student loan pause will cost an additional $20 billion. Monthly payments on federal student loans have been frozen since the first weeks of the pandemic. Biden in August continued the pause through the end of the year, calling that the final extension.

Biden has played down the cost of the cancellation plan, saying it would be offset by other measures to reduce the federal deficit, including his landmark Inflation Reduction Act. On Monday, the White House defended the plan, saying it will provide relief to struggling borrowers, allowing them to start businesses, buy homes or just pay their bills.

“It’s a stark contrast to the Trump tax bill, which ballooned the deficit by nearly $2 trillion and provided the vast majority of benefits to big corporations and the wealthiest individuals,” White House spokesman Abdullah Hasan said.

The administration is expected to release its own detailed cost estimates in coming weeks.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who supported debt cancellation, said they don’t agree with some of the assumptions underpinning the CBO estimates. But a joint statement from the senators said the estimates show that “millions of middle class Americans have more breathing room” thanks to Biden’s plan.

Republicans didn’t see it that way.

“Rather than working with Congress to bring down college costs, President Biden has opted to bury the American people under our unsustainable debt,” said Rep. Virginia Foxx, the top Republican on the House education committee.

Biden’s plan promises to cancel $10,000 in federal student debt for borrowers with incomes of less than $125,000 per year or households making less than $250,000. Those who received federal Pell Grants to attend college would get an additional $10,000 erased.

An application to receive the benefit is expected by early October. The fate of the plan largely depends on whether it can survive legal challenges that conservatives have promised to bring.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that, out of 37 million Americans who have federal student loans, about 95% meet the income limit for $10,000 in relief. About 65% also received a Pell Grant, making them eligible for a $20,000 cancellation.

The office warned that its estimates are “highly uncertain” because it’s hard to know exactly how much borrowers would have paid in the future without Biden’s action. Some borrowers probably would have gotten their debt canceled anyway using payment plans that promise to cancel remaining debt after 10 or 20 years.

The estimates are based on everything that’s known about Biden’s plan now, but some details have yet to be hashed out. The office said it may revise its estimates as details emerge.

The $400 billion total notably does not include a separate loan payment plan that Biden proposed to help lower-income borrowers in the future. The new plan would be similar to existing plans that limit monthly bills based on a borrower’s income, but with more generous terms.

It would limit borrowers’ payments to 5% of their discretionary income, down from 10% now, and it would forgive any remaining balance after 10 years, down from 20 years now.

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The Associated Press education team receives support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. The AP is solely responsible for all content.


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New killing adds to fears of Brazil election violence

September 26th, 2022

SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazilian police said on Monday that a 39-year-old supporter of former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was stabbed to death in a bar amid rising concern about political violence in a tense presidential campaign.

The newspaper O Povo reported that witnesses told police a man entered a bar in the city of Cascavel on Saturday and asked who was voting for da Silva in the Oct. 2 election. A man said, “I will,” and then was stabbed. He died in hospital the same day.

A Ceara state police official confirmed the report Monday, speaking on condition of anonymity due to a lack of authorization to comment.

Police earlier issued a statement saying the man was killed due to a “political discussion” and said a 59-year-old suspect named Edmilson Freire da Silva had been arrested. The suspect had been arrested before due to a domestic violence case, police said.

Da Silva, a leftist who governed from 2003 to 2010, is leading in virtually all polls against right-wing incumbent Jair Bolsonaro, who has insisted that the polls are wrong and that election fraud may rob him of the presidency.

Earlier in the campaign, a Bolsonaro backer killed a local official of da Silva’s Workers’ Party in the city of Foz de Iguacu and there have been less serious clashes between Bolsonaro and da Silva backers.

Workers’ Party lawmaker Paulo Guedes said on Twitter his car had been shot at three times by Bolsonaro supporters during a rally.

“How far does this hatred go?,” Guedes said on his social media channels.

Police in the city of Angra dos Reis near Rio de Janeiro said on Saturday that a woman had been hit on the head by a Bolsonaro supporter after expressing criticism of the president.

Both leading candidates have taken to wearing bulletproof vests for public appearances. Bolsonaro nearly died due to a stabbing by a mentally ill man in the 2018 campaign.


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Navy bribery fugitive ‘Fat Leonard’ seeks Venezuelan asylum

September 26th, 2022

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The fugitive defense contractor nicknamed “Fat Leonard” who orchestrated a huge bribery scheme involving dozens of U.S. Navy officers, has requested asylum in Venezuela, a law enforcement official said Monday, nearly a week after he was captured in the South American country.

Leonard Glenn Francis slipped away from house arrest in San Diego on Sept. 4, only weeks before he was to be sentenced. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not permitted to speak to the press about the closed proceedings, did not provide any additional details about the Malaysian businessman’s moves. By law the Venezuelan government must consider the asylum request.

Francis owned Singapore-based Glenn Defense Marine Asia Ltd. or GDMA, that supplied food, water and fuel to vessels for decades. He has acknowledged overbilling the U.S. Navy by $35 million with the help of dozens of U.S. naval officers whom he plied with prostitutes, Kobe beef, cigars and other bribes so they would direct their ships to ports Francis controlled in the Pacific in Southeast Asia.

Francis, known for his wide girth and big personality, pleaded guilty in 2015 and faced up to 25 years in prison. While awaiting sentencing, he was given home confinement in San Diego to receive medical care as he cooperated with the prosecution, which led to the convictions of 33 of 34 defendants.

U.S. and Venezuelan officials said that Francis cut off his ankle monitor, fled to Mexico and then made his way to Cuba before turning up in Venezuela. He was arrested there Tuesday before he boarded a flight at the Simon Bolivar International Airport outside Caracas. Venezuelan officials have said he intended to reach Russia.

Venezuela and the United States have an extradition agreement, though the Biden administration doesn’t officially recognize President Nicolas Maduro’s socialist government, has no embassy in Venezuela and has imposed crushing sanctions on the country that have further embittered relations.

U.S. authorities have 30 days to formally request his extradition. In an email, a Department of Justice spokesperson has said that the agency does not comment on extradition-related matters.

The U.S. attorney’s office did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment about Francis’ request for asylum in Venezuela.

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Goodman reported from Miami.


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U.S. Congress negotiators set nearly $12 billion in new Ukraine aid -sources

September 26th, 2022

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Negotiators of a stop-gap spending bill in the U.S. Congress have agreed to include nearly $12 billion in new military and economic aid to Ukraine in response to a request from the Biden administration, sources familiar with the talks said on Monday.

The sources, who asked not to be identified ahead of the announcement, said the funding would include $4.5 billion to provide defense capabilities and equipment for Ukraine, as well as $2.7 billion to continue military, intelligence and other defense support.

It also will include $4.5 billion to continue to provide direct budget support to the Kyiv government through the next quarter. That way President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s administration can pay salaries to essential staff, support Ukrainians fleeing conflict and cover other critical expenses to help civilians, a government official said.

U.S. President Joe Biden asked Congress earlier this month to provide $11.7 billion in new emergency military and economic aid for Ukraine in the stopgap spending bill. There is widespread support in Congress from both Biden’s fellow Democrats and Republicans for helping Ukraine to defend itself following Russia’s invasion.

Congress is facing a midnight Friday deadline to pass the spending bill, which also would temporarily fund a wide range of U.S. government programs.

In addition to the previously listed funding, the package – which could be announced as soon as later on Monday – includes $2 billion for the U.S. energy industry, to address the impact of the war and reduce future energy costs.

One of the sources familiar with the package said the funding request – known as a continuing resolution – would also include resettlement funding for Afghan refugees.

In a separate, but related authorization request, a U.S. official said the Biden administration also planned to ask Congress for an additional $3.5 billion in Presidential Drawdown Authority, which allows the president to authorize the transfer of excess weapons from U.S. stocks.

Washington and its allies have sent billions of dollars in security and economic assistance to Ukraine during the seven-month-long war.

(Reporting by Richard Cowan, Steve Holland, Mike Stone and Patricia Zengerle; editing by Grant McCool)


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Ukraine annexation votes to end amid Russian mobilisation exodus

September 26th, 2022

By Tom Balmforth

KYIV, Ukraine (Reuters) – Russian-organized referendums that could lead to annexing 15% of Ukraine’s territory were due to end on Tuesday as the Kremlin said it made no decisions on closing its borders as the first mobilisation since World War Two prompted some to flee.

Voting in the Ukrainian provinces of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia in the east and southeast began on Friday and have been dismissed as a sham by Western nations, which have pledged not to recognise the results.

In Russia, the call-up of some 300,000 reservists has led to the first sustained protests since the invasion began, with one monitoring group estimating at least 2,000 people have been arrested so far. All public criticism of Russia’s “special military operation” is banned.

Flights out of Russia have sold out and cars have clogged border checkpoints, with reports of a 48-hour queue at the sole road border to Georgia, the rare pro-Western neighbour that allows Russian citizens to enter without a visa.

Asked about the prospect of the border being shut, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Monday: “I don’t know anything about this. At the moment, no decisions have been taken on this.”

Russia counts millions of former conscripts as official reservists. The authorities have not spelled out precisely who is due to be called up, as that part of President Vladimir Putin’s order is classified.

The mobilisation has also seen the first sustained criticism of the authorities within state-controlled media since the war began.

But Sergei Tsekov, a senior lawmaker who represents Russian-annexed Crimea in Russia’s upper house of parliament, told RIA news agency: “Everyone who is of conscription age should be banned from travelling abroad in the current situation.”

Two exiled news sites – Meduza and Novaya Gazeta Europe – both reported that the authorities were planning to ban men from leaving, citing unidentified officials.

Moscow says it wants to rid Ukraine of nationalists and protect Russian-speaking communities. Kyiv and the West describe Russia’s actions as an unprovoked war of aggression.

ANNEXATION

Late on Monday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy described the military situation in Donetsk – one of the four areas where votes are taking place – as difficult.

“The situation… is particularly severe,” he said. “We are doing everything to contain enemy activity. This is our No. 1 goal right now because Donbas is still the No. 1 goal for the occupiers,” referring to the wider region that encompasses Donetsk and Luhansk.

Last week, in what appeared to be choreographed requests, Russian-backed officials there and in other areas that together equal roughly the size of Portugal lined up to request referendums on joining Russia.

The self-styled Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, which Putin recognised as independent just before the invasion, and Russian-installed officials in the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions asked for votes.

Over the weekend, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia would defend any territory it annexes using any weapons in its arsenal.

U.S. national Security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Sunday the United States would respond “decisively” to any Russian use of nuclear weapons, and had privately told Moscow “exactly what that would mean”.

Asked about Sullivan’s comments, Kremlin spokesman Peskov said on Monday: “There are channels for dialogue at the proper level, but they are of a very sporadic nature. At least they allow for the exchange of some emergency messages about each other’s positions.”

Moves to annex Ukrainian regions could happen quickly.

TASS news agency last week quoted an unnamed Duma source as saying the chamber could debate a bill on incorporating parts of Ukraine as soon as Thursday, while RIA Novosti has previously said Putin could be preparing to make a formal address to an extraordinary joint session of both houses on Friday.

None of the provinces in question is fully under Moscow’s control and fighting has been under way along the entire front line, with Ukrainian forces reporting more advances since they routed Russian troops in a fifth province, Kharkiv, earlier this month.

The exiled mayor of Russian-controlled Melitopol in the Zaporizhzhia region accused Russia of forcibly enlisting Ukrainian men in occupied areas into its armed forces and denounced the referendum as “a fake and a farce”.

The Ukrainian governor of Luhansk Serhiy Gaidai said Russian-backed officials were carrying ballot boxes door to door, accompanied by security officials, and that residents’ names were taken down if they failed to vote as demanded.

Even traditional Russian allies such as Serbia and Kazakhstan have said they will not recognise the annexation votes.

Moscow says voting is voluntary and turnout is high. When it held a referendum in Crimea after seizing that peninsula in 2014, it declared 97% of people had voted for annexation.

(Reporting by Reuters bureaus; Writing by Costas Pitas; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)


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Siemens automates design process for testing new chips with advanced packaging

September 26th, 2022

(Reuters) – Siemens Digital Industries Software, a unit of Siemens AG, on Monday said it launched new software called Tessent Multi-die that automates a design process for testing chips made with advanced packaging.

While chips have traditionally been packaged with one silicon tile inside, as the industry faces challenges making features on these tiles smaller and smaller to cram more computing power into them, companies including Intel are starting to stack several of them, sometimes mixing and matching different technologies, to improve performance.

But testing these chips after they are made has been difficult as there are several layers of tiles, and Siemens’ head of the Tessent business Ankur Gupta said until now Siemens has had to work with customers on a case-by-case basis.

Testing is a key part of the chip-making process and a port to test them has to be designed into the chip before they are made.

“What we are doing now is taking all of those learnings and automating the solution, making it available general purpose for everybody to use,” Gupta told Reuters.

He said making the testing process easier for chips with advanced packaging, also referred to as 2.5 and 3-dimensional packaging, will help give the new technology a boost.

(Reporting by Jane Lanhee Lee; Editing by Stephen Coates)


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Biden urges companies to lower costs for consumers

September 26th, 2022

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday urged companies running gas stations, banks and cell phone services to lower costs for consumers coping with inflation.

During a White House meeting, Biden said that “junk fees” such as bank overdraft fees and cellular phone termination charges were hurting families and that gas station operators needed to lower prices at the pump “now.”

(Reporting by Jeff Mason, writing by Katharine Jackson, editing by Chris Gallagher)


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Shooting suspect believed to be on run with his daughter, 15

September 26th, 2022

FONTANA, Calif. (AP) — A Southern California woman was shot to death Monday in a domestic violence incident and police said the suspect is a man believed to be on the run with his 15-year-old daughter.

Officers responding around 7:30 a.m. to reports of gunfire found the victim with multiple gunshot wounds at a home in Fontana, police said in a statement.

The woman was rushed to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead, according to police.

“This was a domestic violence incident. The suspect, 45-year-old Anthony John Graziano, is considered armed and dangerous,” said the statement from the Fontana Police Department.

Investigators believe Graziano is with his teen daughter in a white 2017 Nissan Frontier with California plates.

During the investigation at the home, nearby Cypress Elementary School was temporarily locked down as a precaution, police said.


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