Recovery from Hurricane Ian continues; Russia smuggling Ukrainian grain; ‘Smile’ leads box office | Hot off the Wire podcast

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Days after Hurricane Ian carved a path of destruction from Florida to the Carolinas, the dangers persisted, and even worsened in some places. It was clear the road to recovery from the monster storm will be long and painful.

Search and rescue efforts are ongoing Monday. And Ian still is not done. The storm doused Virginia with rain Sunday. It was dissipating as it moved offshore, but officials warned there still was the potential of severe flooding along Virginia’s coast and a coastal flood warning was in effect Monday. Ian was one of the strongest storms to make landfall in the United States.

An investigation by The Associated Press and the PBS series “Frontline” has documented a sophisticated Russian-run smuggling operation that has used falsified manifests and seaborne subterfuge to steal Ukrainian grain worth at least $530 million. Legal experts say the theft is a potential war crime.

Swedish scientist Svante Paabo has won this year’s Nobel Prize in medicine for his discoveries on human evolution, the award’s panel said Monday. Paabo spearheaded the development of new techniques that allowed researchers to compare the genome of modern humans and our closest extinct relatives, the Neanderthals and Denisovans.

Moviegoing audiences kicked off the month of October with a horror movie. Studio estimates Sunday show Paramount’s “Smile” easily topped the North American charts with $22 million in ticket sales and left Universal’s rom-com “Bros” in the dust.

Doctors have a message for vaccine-weary Americans: Don’t skip your flu shot this fall. And for the first time, seniors are urged to get a special extra-strength kind. Because seniors don’t respond as well, the U.S. now recommends they get one of three types made with higher doses or an immune-boosting ingredient.

In sports, the Chiefs handled the Buccaneers, the Eagles remained perfect, the Bills rallied against the Ravens, the Braves are on the verge of another division title, Albert Pujols caught the Babe, Aaron Judge’s power-drought continued, the Padres extended their season and the Phillies have a magic number of one.

Distraught family members were struggling to comprehend the sudden loss of loved ones at the Indonesia soccer match in East Java’s Malang city that was watched only by hometown Arema FC fans. The organizer had banned visiting Persebaya Surabaya’s supporters due to Indonesia’s history of violent soccer rivalries. 125 people were crushed at the match.

A Wisconsin man accused of killing six people and injuring dozens more when he allegedly drove his SUV through a Christmas parade in suburban Milwaukee last year is set to go on trial Monday. Darrell Brooks faces nearly 80 charges in the 2021 disaster in Waukesha and will represent himself. 

Congressional districts that a federal court panel said were unconstitutional because they dilute representation for Black voters in Alabama are nevertheless being used for the November election after the U.S. Supreme Court allowed them. The high court hears arguments in the case on Tuesday. 

Venezuela’s government has freed seven Americans imprisoned in the South American country in exchange for the release of two nephews of President Nicolás Maduro’s wife who had been jailed for years by the United States on drug smuggling convictions.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has called on state regulators to relax rules on oil refineries in an effort to lower soaring fuel prices. According to AAA, the average cost of a gallon of gas in California is $6.30. That’s far above the national average of $3.80.

President Joe Biden has signed into law a bill that finances the federal government through mid-December and provides another infusion of military and economic aid to Ukraine. He signed the bill Friday after lawmakers acted to avert a partial government shutdown set to begin after midnight.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed treaties to illegally annex parts of Ukraine, while Kyiv has submitted an “accelerated” application to join NATO.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused the West of sabotaging the Russia-built gas pipelines under the Baltic Sea to Germany. Putin claimed that the West had turned from sanctions against Russia to “terror attacks,” sabotaging the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines. The White House said Putin’s comments were outlandish and just an attempt to distract the world from his annexation on Friday of four parts of Ukraine.

Civil rights lawyer John Burris is Northern California’s go-to attorney when it comes to police brutality. At age 77, he continues to travel the state to appear with victims big and small to allege violations against law enforcement.

Consumers spent a bit more in August than the previous month, a sign the economy is holding up even as inflation lifts prices for food, rent, and other essentials. Americans boosted their spending at stores and for services such as haircuts by 0.4% in August, after it fell 0.2% in July, the Commerce Department said Friday.

Wall Street closed out a miserable September with a loss of 9.3%, the worst monthly decline since March 2020. The S&P 500 fell 1.5% Friday and is at its lowest level in almost two years.

The ranks of late-night television comedy are thinning. Trevor Noah told his studio audience during Thursday’s taping that he’s leaving as host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show.”