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Biden to join UAW picket line; government shutdown looms; FDA to consider Lou Gehrig’s disease treatment; Sen. Menendez pushes back against allegations

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On the version of Hot off the Wire posted Sept. 26 at 6:43 a.m. CT:

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden’s decision to stand alongside United Auto Workers pickets in Michigan during their strike against major carmakers underscores an allegiance to labor unions that appears to be unparalleled in presidential history. Experts in presidential and U.S. labor history say they cannot recall an instance when a sitting president has joined a strike. The Democratic president will join the pickets Tuesday, the 12th day of their strike. It comes a day before former President Donald Trump makes his own visit to meet with striking UAW members. Biden has repeatedly sided with the UAW during their strike. Biden says the workers should participate in the carmakers’ riches “now that the industry is roaring back.”

WASHINGTON (AP) — With five days to go before a government shutdown, Congress returns to work in crisis mode. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy faces an insurgency from hard-right Republicans eager to slash spending even if it means closing federal offices to millions of Americans. On Tuesday evening, the House is expected to vote on a package of government funding bills, but it’s not at all clear that McCarthy has the support needed. Meanwhile, the Senate is trying to stave off a federal closure with its own bipartisan plan for a stopgap measure. It would buy some time and keep offices funded past Saturday’s deadline.

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A white Texas gunman who killed 23 people in a racist attack on Hispanic shoppers at a Walmart in 2019 has agreed to pay more than $5 million to families of the victims. U.S. District Judge David Guaderrama signed off Monday on the amount that Patrick Crusius must pay in restitution. Crusius was sentenced to 90 consecutive life sentences in July after pleading guilty to federal hate crime charges following one of the nation’s worst mass killings. Crusius still faces a separate trial in a Texas court that could end with him getting the death penalty.

HONOLULU (AP) — Authorities on Monday will begin allowing the first residents and property owners to return to their devastated properties in Lahaina, many for the first time since the historic town was demolished by a wildfire nearly seven weeks ago. The prospect of returning has stirred strong emotions in residents who fled in vehicles or on foot as the wind-whipped flames raced across Lahaina. Some survivors jumped over a sea wall and sheltered in the waves as black smoke blotted out the sun. The wildfire killed at least 97 people and destroyed more than 2,000 buildings, most of them homes. Officials are urging people not to sift through the ashes for fear of raising toxic dust.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Food and Drug Administration meets this week to consider a much-debated treatment for Lou Gehrig’s disease. The deadly neurological disease has few treatment options. NurOwn, a stem cell therapy, is at the center of a yearslong lobbying campaign by patients seeking access to experimental medicines. But the FDA has repeatedly rebuffed drugmaker Brainstorm. The agency says the company's only study failed to show a benefit for patients. The review is the starkest test yet of FDA's commitment to “regulatory flexibility” to help patients with rare, deadly conditions. Advocates see reasons for optimism. The FDA has approved two new treatments for ALS in the past year after intense lobbying by patients.

Monday's sports news: The Eagles remain unbeaten, the Bengals get their first win, Jimmy Garoppolo is in concussion protocol, and the Astros beat the Mariners in a pivotal game.

On the version of Hot off the Wire posted Sept. 25 at 4 p.m. CT:

UNION CITY, N.J. (AP) — Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey is rejecting calls to resign, saying that nearly half a million dollars in cash found in his home was from personal savings, not from bribes. He predicted on Monday that he would be exonerated in his federal bribery case and would still be "New Jersey’s senior senator.” An indictment alleges Menendez illegally took cash, gold bars and a luxury car in exchange for using his position as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to help Egypt and New Jersey business associates. Democratic Party support for Menendez in the state where he’s held office for nearly five decades has significantly eroded.

NEW YORK (AP) — The exclusive online livestream for the second Republican presidential debate this week will take place on Rumble, an alternative video-sharing platform that has been criticized for allowing far-right extremism, bigotry, election disinformation and conspiracy theories. Rumble was the choice of the Republican National Committee, whose chairwoman said earlier this year that the decision was aimed toward “getting away from Big Tech.” Some of the GOP contenders have begun posting their campaign videos on the site, including former President Donald Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy. The platform says it has policies against speech promoting violence, antisemitism and racism.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A tentative agreement between striking screenwriters and Hollywood studios offers some hope that the industry’s dual walkouts may be over soon. But when will your favorite shows return? Well, it's complicated. Late-night talk shows — and talk shows in general — will likely be the first productions to come back on the air. Actors remain on strike, and that will complicate the return of filming on shows such as “Stranger Things” and movies like the “Deadpool” sequel. Before shooting starts again on most projects, the 11,500-member Writers Guild of America must first approve the proposed agreement.

LONDON (AP) — British police have opened a sex crimes investigation triggered by news reports about comedian Russell Brand. London’s Metropolitan Police force said Monday that it had “received a number of allegations of sexual offences” after a television documentary and newspaper investigations. The police force did not name Brand in its statement, but referred to the recent articles and documentary. It said detectives were investigating allegations of “non-recent” sexual offenses, both in London and elsewhere. Brand, 48, denies allegations of sexual assault made by four women in a Channel 4 television documentary and The Times and Sunday Times newspapers.

219 dogs hit the red carpet — and set a world record — at the movie premiere for "PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie."

In this week's AP religion roundup, the Adidas CEO apologized for comments about Kanye West, Pope Francis touted migrants in Marseille, and a TikTok video landed a Muslim woman in prison.

—The Associated Press

About this program

Host Terry Lipshetz is a senior producer for Lee Enterprises. Besides producing the daily Hot off the Wire news podcast, Terry conducts periodic interviews for this Behind the Headlines program, co-hosts the Streamed & Screened movies and television program and is the producer of Across the Sky, a podcast dedicated to weather and climate.

Lee Enterprises produces many national, regional and sports podcasts. Learn more here.

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