Hurricane Ian strikes Cuba; NASA spacecraft crashes into asteroid; NFL ends Pro Bowl | Hot off the Wire podcast

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Hurricane Ian has made landfall in western Cuba, lashing the island with rain and winds as it barreled north toward the Florida coast. The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Ian hit Cuba early Tuesday as a Category 3 storm as it continued to strengthen, with sustained winds of 125 mph. The hurricane is expected to strike Florida as early as Wednesday, possibly as a Category 4 storm.

As Russia’s war in Ukraine continues continues, a spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry said Tuesday that the U.N. Security Council should help mediate the end of the conflict. Also, a top Russian security official has issued the sternest warning yet that Moscow has the right to use nuclear weapons against Ukraine if under threat, saying that the West won’t dare intervene.

A NASA Dart spacecraft has rammed an asteroid in an unprecedented test to see if a potentially menacing space rock could be knocked off course. The galactic grand slam occurred at a harmless asteroid 7 million miles away Monday.

A senior member of the Taliban-run government has called on the Taliban to reopen schools for girls in Afghanistan beyond the sixth grade, saying there is no valid reason in Islam for the ban.

Experts say the U.S. Supreme Court’s June ruling overturning Roe v. Wade appears to be sending more teens to their doctors in search of birth control, including long-acting reversible forms like intrauterine devices and implants.

The U.S. Coast Guard says a ship on routine patrol in the Bering Sea came across a guided missile cruiser from China about 86 miles north of Alaska’s Kiska Island. The U.S. patrol ship, known as a cutter, found two other Chinese ships and four Russian naval vessels, including a destroyer.

In sports, the NFL has dropped the Pro Bowl, the Cowboys knocked the Giants out from the unbeaten ranks, the Yankees’ Judge is still sitting on 60 home runs, and NASCAR great Jimmie Johnson plans to scale back.

Japan’s assassinated hawkish former leader, Shinzo Abe, has been honored by a rare and divisive state funeral that was full of militaristic pomp and surrounded by throngs of mourners as well as by widespread protests.

Officials say one person was shot and a Chicago police officer was wounded during an incident inside a police facility on the city’s West Side. Shots were fired shortly before noon Monday at the building in Homan Square, police spokesman Tom Ahern told WGN-TV.

A Kentucky man who killed three fellow students and wounded five others when he was 14 years old will spend the rest of his life in prison without another opportunity to seek parole. The Kentucky Parole Board voted 7-0 on Monday to deny parole to 39-year-old Michael Carneal, and ordered him to serve out his full life sentence.

Authorities say a gunman has killed 15 people and wounded 24 others in a school in central Russia. According to officials, 11 children were among those killed in the Monday morning shooting in School No. 88 in Izhevsk, a city 600 miles east of Moscow in the Udmurtia region. The governor of the region said the gunman killed himself after the attack.

President Joe Biden says the Atlanta Braves will be “forever known as the upset kings of October” for their improbable 2021 World Series win. He called their drive an “unstoppable, joyful run.” Biden welcomed the champs for a packed East Room ceremony on Monday.

Seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson tells The Associated Press that he is retiring from full-time racing and will turn his focus toward spending time with family. 

Oath Keepers militia group founder Stewart Rhodes was once a promising Yale Law School graduate. Rhodes was born in California and spent time in Nevada and once secured an Arizona Supreme Court clerkship. But Rhodes’ deep distrust of government and thirst for greatness led him down a different path.

Rhodes built one of the country’s largest anti-government militia groups with members who’d eventually storm the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. The 57-year-old Rhodes and four others tied to the group head to trial this week on charges of seditious conspiracy.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has granted Russian citizenship to Edward Snowden, a former contractor with the U.S. National Security Agency. He has been living in Russia since 2013 to escape prosecution in the U.S. after leaking classified documents detailing government surveillance programs.

Biden plans to announce a new initiative that would eventually allow consumers to see a more complete price on airline tickets before they buy them. That would include baggage and change fees. The White House says the proposed rule from the Department of Transportation will prevent airlines from hiding the “true cost” of airline tickets, which would help consumers save money up front and encourage more competition among airlines to offer better fares.

New York City’s mayor says he plans to erect hangar-sized tents as temporary shelter for thousands of international migrants who have been bused into the Big Apple as part of a campaign by Republican governors to disrupt federal border policies.

In this week’s religion roundup: Tens of thousands gathered to pray at Jerusalem’s Western Wall, monks offered Buddhist prayers for Queeen Elizabeth II and the Unification Church promised reforms.