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Sen. Menendez, wife indicted on bribe charges; Amazon Prime Video will soon come with ads; baseball and AM radio

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On the version of Hot off the Wire posted Sept. 22 at 2:30 p.m. CT:

NEW YORK (AP) — Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey has been indicted, accused of using his foreign affairs influence to help Egypt in return for bribes from the authoritarian regime. He says he’s been falsely accused and won’t be “distracted” from Senate work. Menendez was charged with his wife on Friday. A lawyer for her says she’ll ”vigorously contest these charges in court.” Prosecutors say a search of the couple’s home found $100,000 in gold bars and $480,000 in hidden cash. Menendez will have to step down as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee now that he’s been indicted. The indictment alleges Menendez provided sensitive U.S. government information and took other steps to secretly help Egypt.

Auto workers have expanded their strike against major carmakers, walking out of 38 General Motors and Stellantis parts-distribution centers in 20 states. In announcing the strike's expansion Friday, United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain said Ford was spared additional strikes because the company has met some of the union’s demands during negotiations over the past week. The union is pointing to the companies’ huge recent profits as it seeks wage increases of 36% over four years. The companies have offered a little over half that amount. The UAW has other demands, including a 32-hour work week for 40 hours of pay and a restoration of traditional pension plans for newer workers.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House is preparing to direct federal agencies to get ready for a shutdown after House Republicans left town for the weekend with no viable plan to keep the government funded. Speaker Kevin McCarthy said Friday the House would return next week to start voting on the latest plan. He has just five days until the Sept. 30 deadline. A hard-right flank of Republicans has essentially seized control and is demanding spending cuts. The Republican McCarthy was unable to convince his rebellious flank to approve a temporary funding measure to prevent closures. Instead, House Republicans will try Tuesday to pass some of the individual spending bills in a typically lengthy process.

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — A Ukrainian missile struck the headquarters of Russia's navy in Crimea. The Russian Defense Ministry initially said one servicemember was killed in the Friday attack, but then issued a statement saying he was missing. Images posted on social media showed plumes of smoke over the Black Sea Fleet headquarters in the city of Sevastopol. Russia said five missiles were shot down by its air defense systems responding to the attack. The attack comes a day after Russian missiles and artillery pounded cities across Ukraine, killing at least five people. Military experts say it is essential for Ukraine to keep up its attacks on targets in Crimea to degrade Russian morale.

HANGZHOU, China (AP) — In the first Asian Games since the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan, two teams of athletes are arriving in the Chinese city of Hangzhou, looking very different. One, sent from Afghanistan where women are now banned by the Taliban from participating in sports, consists of about 130 all-male athletes, a Taliban-appointed spokesman for the Afghanistan’s Olympic Committee, told The Associated Press. Another, competing under the black, red and green flag of the elected government the Taliban toppled in 2021, is drawn from the diaspora of Afghan athletes around the world, and includes 17 women.

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Another member of K-pop supergroup BTS has begun his mandatory military service in South Korea. Suga started serving on Friday as a social service agent, an alternative form of military service in the country. The 30-year-old is the group’s third member to start carrying out military service. The two others, Jin and J-Hope, are already performing active service at army bases. In South Korea, all able-bodied men must serve in the military for 18 to 21 months. Individuals with physical and mental issues can instead carry out their duties at non-military facilities such as welfare centers, community service centers and post offices. Local media reported Suga’s alternative service was likely related to a shoulder surgery.

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Maryland man who attacked an Associated Press photographer and threw a flagpole and smoke grenade at police officers guarding the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, has been sentenced to five years in prison. Prosecutors say 56-year-old Rodney Milstreed prepared himself for violence on Jan. 6 by injecting steroids and arming himself with a four-foot wooden club disguised as a flagpole. Before U.S. District Judge James Boasberg sentenced Milstreed on Friday, a prosecutor showed videos of the rioter's attacks on the photographer and police. A Capitol police officer suffered a concussion when Milstreed hurled his wooded club at a line of officers.

Amazon’s Prime Video will begin showing adds during shows and movies early next year, joining other streaming services that have added different tiers of subscriptions. The company said Friday that members of Amazon Prime can pay $2.99 per month in the U.S. to keep their service ad-free. Amazon says limited advertisements will be aired during shows and movies starting early next year so that it can “continue investing in compelling content and keep increasing that investment over a long period of time.” Ads in Prime Video content will start in the U.S., U.K., Germany, and Canada in early 2024, followed by France, Italy, Spain, Mexico, and Australia later in the year.

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Pfizer and Moderna say they have sent out millions of doses of the new COVID-19 vaccines in the past week. But availability depends on where you live. People across the country are having trouble getting the new shots. Some insurance providers have not updated their systems to cover the vaccines. Some pharmacies have canceled appointments at the last minute because of supply issues. Others are still waiting for their first doses.

NEW YORK (AP) — Many baseball fans, especially older ones, originally fell in love with America’s pastime by listening to ballgames on AM radio. In fact, next month will mark the 100th anniversary of the first World Series broadcast to a national radio audience. But a century later, some consider AM stations a dying medium in the modern age of digital technology. Several major automakers are eliminating broadcast AM radio from newer models, prompting lawmakers on Capitol Hill to propose legislation that would prevent the practice for safety and other reasons. A bill with bipartisan support, the “AM for Every Vehicle Act” is winding its way through Congress. In the meantime, there's no denying the profound impact AM radio has had on the growth and popularity of baseball through the years.

HARDIN, Mont. (AP) — Kaysera Stops Pretty Places’ death remains unsolved four years after her body was found in a Native American reservation border town. Now her grandmother Yolanda Fraser is using the tragedy to highlight missing and murdered Indigenous peoples across the U.S. The Northern Cheyenne woman says the voices of victims’ families are getting louder as they band together. Meanwhile, federal agencies are dedicating more agents to solving such cases. Yet thousands of cases remain unsolved. Investigators continue to be hindered by jurisdictional limits that leave their hands tied if a crime occurs off-reservation.

—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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