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Five Americans detained in Iran return home; Biden, Zelenskyy to address UN; ABC will air an additional 'Monday Night Football' games

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On the version of Hot off the Wire posted Sept. 19 at 7 a.m. CT:

  • WASHINGTON (AP) — The Americans released by Iran after being detained for years have arrived back home and declared, “Freedom!” The former prisoners posed for a group photograph with their families at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, early Tuesday. The brother of one of the five freed Americans says “The nightmare is finally over." The Americans were freed as part of a politically risky deal that saw President Joe Biden agree to the release of $5.9 billion in frozen Iranian assets. The successful negotiations for the Americans’ freedom brought Biden profuse thanks from their families but heat from Republicans for the monetary arrangement with one of America’s top adversaries.
  • NEW YORK (AP) — President Joe Biden will use his annual address before the U.N. General Assembly to make the case to world leaders — and the 2024 U.S. electorate — that he’s reestablished U.S. leadership on the world stage. White House officials say Biden will use his Tuesday address to make a robust case for leaders to continue to back Ukraine’s effort to repel a nearly 19-month-old Russian invasion that has no end in sight. In a pair of fundraisers on Monday night, Biden underscored to supporters that he stood up to Vladimir Putin’s invasion, and questioned whether former President Donald Trump would have even attempted to help Ukraine stop the Russian land grab if he were in power.
  • NEW YORK (AP) — Ukraine's leader and Russia’s top diplomat could cross paths at the United Nations this week. And Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy suggested Monday that the world body needs to answer for allowing his country’s invader a seat at the tables of power. Zelenskyy is due to address world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday, then speak Wednesday at a U.N. Security Council meeting about Ukraine. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also is expected at the council meeting. Zelenskyy says that if there's still a place for Russia in the U.N., that's “a question to all the members.” He spoke while visiting injured Ukrainian military members at New York's Staten Island University Hospital.
  • MOSCOW (AP) — A senior Kremlin official has called for closer policy coordination between Moscow and Beijing to counter Western efforts to contain them as he hosted China’s top diplomat for security talks. Nikolai Patrushev, the secretary of Russia’s Security Council chaired by President Vladimir Putin, told Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi that Moscow wants to further strengthen “strategic cooperation” with China. He reaffirmed Russia’s support for Beijing’s policy on issues related to Taiwan, the western Xinjiang region and Hong Kong, which he said “are being used by the West to discredit China.” The Kremlin has continuously expressed support for Beijing as Russia and China have grown increasingly close while their relations with the West deteriorate.
  • MOSCOW (AP) — Evan Gershkovich, a Wall Street Journal reporter who was detained on espionage charges, appeared in a Moscow court Tuesday to appeal his arrest. A 31-year-old United States citizen, Gershkovich was arrested in the city of Yekaterinburg while on a reporting trip to Russia in late March. He and his employer deny the allegations, and the U.S. government declared him to be wrongfully detained. Russian authorities have not provided any evidence to support the espionage charges. Gershkovich is the first American reporter to face espionage charges in Russia since September 1986, when Nicholas Daniloff, a Moscow correspondent for U.S. News and World Report, was arrested by the KGB.
  • NEW DELHI (AP) — India has expelled a senior Canadian diplomat and accuses Canada of interfering in its internal affairs, escalating a breach with Ottawa over alleged Indian involvement in the killing of a Sikh activist in Canada. It came a day after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said there were credible allegations that India was connected to the assassination of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Sikh independence advocate who was gunned down on June 18 outside a Sikh cultural center in Surrey, British Columbia, and Canada expelled a top Indian diplomat. India rejected the allegations as “absurd.” India has fought against a movement to establish an independent Sikh homeland known as Khalistan since the 1980s.
  • In sports: Two NFL Monday night games with close scores, Patrick Mahomes wins without even playing, Adam Wainwright reaches a career milestone and big games down the stretch in Major League Baseball. 

On the version of Hot off the Wire posted Sept. 18 at 4 p.m. CT:

  • DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Americans held for years in Iranian custody walked arm-in-arm off a plane into freedom. Monday's release was part of a painstakingly negotiated deal between the United States and Iran. The U.S.-Iran prisoner swap saw the Biden administration agree to the release of nearly $6 billion in frozen Iranian assets owed by South Korea. Despite the release, tensions remain high between the U.S. and Iran over Tehran’s nuclear program and other matters. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi suggests the deal could be used to build trust with the U.S. But the exchange has unfolded during ongoing disputes between the two rivals and an American military buildup in the Persian Gulf.
  • ROMEOVILLE, Ill. (AP) — A couple, their two children and three dogs have been found fatally shot in a suburban Chicago home. Police say Monday that their bodies were found about 8:40 p.m. Sunday in Romeoville by officers sent to the home by concerned family members. Police say the victims were believed to have been shot between Saturday night and early Sunday. The adults were identified as Roberto Rolon and Zoraida Bartolomei. The names and ages of their children were not immediately released. Police say the deaths are being investigated as murders. Romeoville is about 30 miles southwest of Chicago.
  • WASHINGTON (AP) — Hunter Biden has filed a lawsuit against the Internal Revenue Service. He's arguing that two agents violated his right to privacy when they publicly aired his tax information as they pressed claims that a federal investigation of Biden had been improperly handled. The lawsuit filed Monday says that his personal tax details shared during congressional hearings and interviews was not allowed by whistleblower protections. The suit comes days after Biden was indicted on federal firearms charges amid a long-running Justice Department investigation. The charges alleging that he lied about his drug use to buy and possess a gun in October 2018 could put the case on track toward a possible high-stakes trial as the 2024 election looms.
  • ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — It wasn’t an escapee from the Country Bear Jamboree attraction, but a wild black bear managed to be the star of its own show at Walt Disney World. The bear was eventually captured Monday afternoon. The presence of the black bear in a tree in the Magic Kingdom delayed the opening of Frontierland, Liberty Square and Adventureland. Disney World says in a statement that staffers with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission were at the park, attempting to capture and relocate the bear. Wildlife officials say the bear was likely in search of food as it looks to pack on fat reserves for the winter.
  • ISLAMABAD (AP) — Two years after the Taliban banned girls from school beyond sixth grade, Afghanistan is the only country in the world with restrictions on female education. Now, the rights of Afghan women and children are on the agenda of the United Nations General Assembly Monday in New York. The U.N. children’s agency says more than 1 million girls are affected by the ban. It triggered global condemnation and remains the Taliban’s biggest obstacle to gaining recognition as the legitimate rulers of Afghanistan. But the Taliban has gone further, excluding women and girls from higher education, public spaces like parks and most jobs.
  • LOS ANGELES (AP) — ABC will be airing more “Monday Night Football” games than originally planned. An additional 10 games originally set to appear only on ESPN will be simulcast on ABC. The move is because of the ongoing strikes by the Writers Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents Disney, Netflix, Amazon and others. The strikes, which have been going on for months, have delayed most of the upcoming fall television season. The move also means that ABC has a game all 18 weeks of the regular season along with simulcasts of two playoff games.
  • MONT BELVIEU, Texas (AP) — A Black high school student in Texas has been punished with an in-school suspension over his hairstyle for over two weeks, his mother said. The family has argued he is not violating the dress code, but when he arrived Monday wearing his hair still in twisted dreadlocks tied on top of his head, he was suspended again. School officials say Darryl George's dreadlocks violate the district’s dress code. His mother says he isn't violating rules about hair length for boys. The incident recalls debates over hair discrimination in schools and the workplace.
  • COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The same Ohio river valley where the Wright brothers pioneered human flight will soon manufacture cutting-edge electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft. An agreement announced Monday between the state and Joby Aviation Inc. will bring air taxi production to a 140-acre site at Dayton International Airport by 2025. Futuristic eVTOL aircraft are making their way toward market around the world as a ridesharing alternative in crowded cities. California-based Joby's Ohio facility would produce up to 500 of the quiet aircraft a year, creating some 2,000 jobs. The project is supported by about $325 million in the state of Ohio, JobsOhio and local investment.
  • BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana has had an unprecedented wildfire season, exacerbated by extreme heat and dry conditions. In August alone, there were more than 550 fires across the state, and officials say the season is far from over. One of the largest wildfires in Louisiana history continues to burn through land and threaten rural communities, which are used to flooding and hurricanes this time of year rather than drought and blazes. Louisiana’s excessive wildfire season is just one climate disaster in a summer of weather anomalies that have plagued the country — from the first-ever tropical storm watch issued for southern California, destructive flooding in the Northeast and deadly wildfires in Maui.

—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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