AP News in Brief at 11:04 p.m. EDT (2023)

Italy voters shift sharply, reward Meloni's far-right party

ROME (AP) — Italian voters rewarded Giorgia Meloni's euroskeptic party with neo-fascist roots, propelling the country toward what likely would be its first far-right-led government since World War II, based on partial results Monday from the election for Parliament.

In a victory speech, far-right Italian leader Giorgia Meloni struck a moderate tone after projections based on votes counted from some two-thirds of polling stations showed her Brothers of Italy party ahead of other contenders in Sunday's balloting.

“If we are called to govern this nation, we will do it for everyone, we will do it for all Italians and we will do it with the aim of uniting the people (of this country),” Meloni said at her party’s Rome headquarters.

“Italy chose us,” she said. “We will not betray (the country) as we never have.”

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The formation of a ruling coalition, with the help of Meloni's right-wing and center-right allies, could take weeks. If Meloni, 45, succeeds, she would be the first woman to hold the country’s premiership.

Russia's call-up splits EU; Ukraine says it shows weakness

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russia’s rush to mobilize hundreds of thousands of recruits to staunch stinging losses in Ukraine is a tacit acknowledgement that its “army is not able to fight,” Ukraine’s president said Sunday, as splits sharpened in Europe over whether to welcome or turn away Russians fleeing the call-up.

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Speaking to U.S. broadcaster CBS, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy also said he's bracing for more Russian strikes on Ukraine's electrical infrastructure, as the Kremlin seeks to ramp up the pressure on Ukraine and its Western backers as the weather gets colder. Zelenskyy warned that this winter “will be very difficult.”

“They will shoot missiles, and they will target our electric grid. This is a challenge, but we are not afraid of that.” he said on “Face the Nation.”

He portrayed the Russian mobilization — its first such call-up since World War II — as a signal of weakness, not strength, saying: “They admitted that their army is not able to fight with Ukraine anymore."

Zelenskyy also said Ukraine has received NASAMS air defense systems from the U.S. NASAMS uses surface-to-air missiles to track and shoot down incoming missiles or aircraft. Zelenskyy did not say how many Ukraine received.

Canada struggles to restore power after storm; body found

TORONTO (AP) — Hundreds of thousands of people in Atlantic Canada remained without power Sunday and officials said they found the body of a woman swept into the sea after former Hurricane Fiona washed away houses, stripped off roofs and blocked roads across the country’s Atlantic provinces.

After surging north from the Caribbean, Fiona came ashore before dawn Saturday as a post-tropical cyclone, battering Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Quebec with hurricane-strength winds, rains and waves.

Defense Minister Anita Anand said troops would help remove fallen trees, restore transportation links and do whatever else is required for as long as it takes.

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Fiona was blamed for at least five deaths in the Caribbean, and one death in Canada. Authorities found the body of a 73-year-old woman in the water who was missing in Channel-Port Aux Basques, a town on the southern coast of Newfoundland.

Police said the woman was inside her residence moments before a wave struck the home Saturday morning, tearing away a portion of the basement. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said in a release on social media that with assistance from the Canadian Coast Guard, as other rescue teams her body woman was recovered late Sunday afternoon.

Texas vow to 'eliminate all rapists' rings hollow at clinics

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — When Texas' new abortion law made no exceptions in cases of rape, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott defended it with an assurance: Texas would get to work eliminating rapes.

One year later, Lindsey LeBlanc is busy as ever helping rape victims in a college town outside Houston.

“The numbers have stayed consistently high,” said LeBlanc, executive director of the Sexual Assault Resource Center in Bryan, near Texas A&M University. Despite hiring two additional counselors in the past six months, she still has a waitlist for victims.

“We are struggling to keep up with demand," she said.

The constant caseloads in Texas are another example of how Republicans have struggled to defend zero-exception abortion bans that are unpopular in public polling, have caused uproar in high-profile cases and are inviting political risk heading into November’s midterm elections. A year since Texas' law went into effect in September 2021, at least a dozen states also have bans that make no exceptions in cases of rape or incest.

Powerful typhoon leaves 5 rescuers dead in north Philippines

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Typhoon Noru blew out of the northern Philippines on Monday, leaving five rescuers dead, causing floods and power outages and forcing officials to suspend classes and government work in the capital and outlying provinces.

The most powerful typhoon to hit the country this year slammed into the coast in Burdeos town in Quezon province before nightfall on Sunday then weakened as it barreled overnight across the main Luzon region, where thousands of people were moved to emergency shelters, some forcibly, officials said.

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Gov. Daniel Fernando of Bulacan province, north of Manila, said five rescuers, who were using a boat to help residents trapped in floodwaters, were hit by a collapsed wall then apparently drowned in the rampaging waters.

“They were living heroes who were helping save the lives of our countrymen amid this calamity,” Fernando told DZMM radio network. “This is really very sad.”

On Polillo island in northeastern Quezon province, a man was injured after falling off the roof of his house, officials said.

After rocky start, hopes up in Oregon drug decriminalization

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Two years after Oregon residents voted to decriminalize hard drugs and dedicate hundreds of millions of dollars to treatment, few people have requested the services and the state has been slow to channel the funds.

When voters passed the state's pioneering Drug Addiction Treatment and Recovery Act in 2020, the emphasis was on treatment as much as on decriminalizing possession of personal-use amounts of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and other drugs.

But Oregon still has among the highest addiction rates in the country. Fatal overdoses have increased almost 20% over the previous year, with over a thousand dead. Over half of addiction treatment programs in the state lack capacity to meet demand because they don't have enough staffing and funding, according to testimony before lawmakers.

Supporters want more states to follow Oregon's lead, saying decriminalization reduces the stigma of addiction and keeps people who use drugs from going to jail and being saddled with criminal records. How Oregon is faring will almost certainly be taken into account if another state considers decriminalizing.

Steve Allen, behavioral health director of the Oregon Health Authority, acknowledged the rocky start, even as he announced a “true milestone” has been reached, with more than $302 million being sent to facilities to help people get off drugs, or at least use them more safely.

Texts: Favre also sought welfare money for football facility

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — After Mississippi spent millions of dollars in welfare money on Brett Favre’s pet project, a university volleyball arena, the retired NFL quarterback tried two years later to get additional cash from the state’s welfare agency for another sports facility, new court documents show.

The governor at the time, Republican Phil Bryant, texted in 2019 with Favre, who wanted to build an indoor practice facility for the University of Southern Mississippi’s football team. Bryant told him federal money for children and low-income adults is “tightly controlled” and “improper use could result in violation of Federal Law.”

Text messages between Bryant and Favre are in court documents filed Friday by Bryant’s lawyers, which seek to show the governor was willing to help Favre raise private money for the volleyball facility starting in 2017 and was unaware for more than two years that welfare money was going to the project.

Mississippi’s largest-ever public corruption case has ensnared several people, including a pro wrestler whose drug rehab was funded with welfare money.

The state has filed a civil lawsuit against Favre and others to recover more than $20 million in misspent welfare money intended to help needy people in one of the country's poorest states. Bryant and Favre are not facing criminal charges, and Bryant is not among those named in the state’s civil lawsuit.

AP Top 25: Vols, Wolfpack join top 10; Florida State returns

Tennessee and North Carolina State broke into the top 10 of The Associated Press college football poll Sunday, and Florida State is back in the rankings for the first time in four years.

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Georgia remained No. 1 and received 55 of 63 first-place votes in the Top 25, presented by Regions Bank. No. 2 Alabama (four first-place votes), No. 3 Ohio State (four first-place votes), No. 4 Michigan and No. 5 Clemson all held their places.

Oklahoma's upset loss to Kansas State created room for teams to move up, like Southern California to No. 6 and Kentucky to No. 7.

Tennessee moved up three spots to No. 8, its best ranking since 2006 and first top-10 appearance since a few weeks at ninth in the first half of 2016. That was the last time the Volunteers started 4-0. The Vols knocked Florida out of the rankings by snapping a five-game losing streak in the rivalry.

Oklahoma State remained at nine and North Carolina State jumped two spots to No. 10. The Wolfpack have their best ranking since they were 10th in 2002.

Musk faces deposition with Twitter ahead of October trial

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — Tesla CEO Elon Musk is scheduled to spend the next few days with lawyers for Twitter, answering questions ahead of an October trial that will determine whether he must carry through with his $44 billion agreement to acquire the social platform after attempting to back out of the deal.

The deposition, planned for Monday, Tuesday and a possible extension on Wednesday, will not be public. As of Sunday evening it was not clear whether Musk will appear in person or by video. The trial is set to begin October 17 in Delaware Chancery Court, where it's scheduled to last just five days.

Musk, the world’s richest man, agreed in April to buy Twitter and take it private, offering $54.20 a share and vowing to loosen the company’s policing of content and to root out fake accounts. Twitter shares closed Friday at $41.58.

Musk indicated in July that he wanted to back away from the deal, prompting Twitter to file a lawsuit to force him to carry through with the acquisition.

Rihanna to headline the next Super Bowl halftime show

NEW YORK (AP) — Rihanna will take center stage at February's Super Bowl halftime show.

The singer, who declined to perform in the 2019 Super Bowl halftime show out of solidarity with Colin Kaepernick, will headline the 2023 Super Bowl, the NFL announced Sunday along with Jay-Z's Roc Nation and Apple Music. Rihanna posted an image on Instagram of an arm outstretched holding an NFL football.

“Rihanna is a generational talent, a woman of humble beginnings who has surpassed expectations at every turn," said Jay-Z, whose Roc Nation is an executive producer of the show, in a statement. “A person born on the small island of Barbados who became one of the most prominent artists ever. Self-made in business and entertainment.”

The Super Bowl will take place at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, on Feb. 12. After years of Pepsi's sponsorship, the upcoming halftime show will be sponsored by Apple Music.

Rihanna earlier said she turned down a similar opportunity for the 2019 Super Bowl that was ultimately headlined by Maroon 5. At the time, many artists voiced support for Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who protested police brutality against Black people and minorities by kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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