AP Top News at 1:22 a.m. EDT

AP Top News at 1:22 a.m. EDT

Updated: 5 months, 2 days, 23 hours, 29 minutes, 42 seconds ago

AP sources: Musk in control of Twitter, ousts top executives

Elon Musk has taken control of Twitter and ousted the CEO, chief financial officer and the company’s top lawyer, two people familiar with the deal said Thursday night. The people wouldn’t say if all the paperwork for the deal, originally valued at $44 billion, had been signed or if the deal has closed. But they said Musk is in charge of the social media platform and has fired CEO Parag Agrawal, CFO Ned Segal and Chief Legal Counsel Vijaya Gadde. Neither person wanted to be identified because of the sensitive nature of the deal. A few hours later, Musk tweeted, “the bird has been freed,” a reference to Twitter's logo.

Ukraine attacks Russia's hold on southern city of Kherson

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainian forces attacked Russia's hold on the southern city of Kherson on Thursday while fighting intensified in the country's east. The battles came amid reports that Moscow-appointed authorities have abandoned the city, joining tens of thousands of residents who fled to other Russia-held areas. Ukrainian forces were surrounding Kherson from the west and attacking Russia’s foothold on the west bank of the Dnieper River, which divides the region and the country. As the battles unfolded, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Moscow has no intention to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, despite issuing repeated warnings in the past that he was prepared to use all available means to defend Russia, including its nuclear arsenal.

N Korea fires missiles toward sea as US warns over nukes

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles toward the sea on Friday in its first ballistic weapons launches in two weeks, as the U.S. military warned the North that the use of nuclear weapons “will result in the end of that regime.” South Korea’s military detected the two launches from the North’s eastern coastal Tongchon area around midday on Friday, Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement. South Korea’s military has boosted its surveillance posture and maintains readiness amid close coordination with the United States, it said. The U.S. Indo Pacific Command said the launches did not pose an immediate threat to the United States or its allies but highlighted the “destabilizing impact” of North Korea’s illicit nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.

Will post-Sandy repairs be enough for the next big storm?

HOBOKEN, N.J. (AP) — After Superstorm Sandy struck the northeast U.S. in 2012, an unprecedented effort began to fortify the densely populated coastline against the next big storm. Thousands of homes were raised on pilings. Concrete and steel walls meant to help hold back the sea were hidden beneath rebuilt dunes and beach boardwalks. Tunnels near New York’s harbor were equipped with giant flood doors. Then, last year, the region learned that even all those precautions might not be enough in an age of more powerful storms. Flash floods killed at least 58 people from Maryland to Connecticut when the remnants of Hurricane Ida blew into the northeast after first striking the Gulf Coast.

Barack Obama gets a midterm do-over to help boost Democrats

ATLANTA (AP) — Barack Obama is trying to do something he couldn’t during two terms as president: help Democrats succeed in national midterm elections when they already hold the White House. Of course, he’s more popular than he was back then, and now it’s President Joe Biden, Obama’s former vice president, who faces the prospects of a November rebuke. Obama begins a hopscotch across battleground states Friday in Georgia, and he will travel Saturday to Michigan and Wisconsin, followed by stops next week in Nevada and Pennsylvania. The itinerary, which includes rallies with Democratic candidates for federal and state offices, comes as Biden and Democrats try to stave off a strong Republican push to upend Democrats’ narrow majorities in the House and Senate and claim key governorships ahead of the 2024 presidential election.

Hand vote count on hold after Nevada high court says illegal

PAHRUMP, Nev. (AP) — An unprecedented hand-count of mail-in ballots in a rural Nevada county is on hold and may not resume after the Nevada Supreme Court said in an after-hours ruling the current process is illegal and the Republican secretary of state directed the county clerk to “cease immediately.” Volunteers in rural Nye County had wrapped up a second day of hand-counting the ballots on Thursday by the time the Supreme Court issued a three-page opinion siding with objections raised by the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada. Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, who is in charge of elections and has been been one of the GOP's most vocal critics of the sort of voter-fraud conspiracy theories that fueled the hand tallying of ballots, said the “hand-counting process must cease immediately.” She requested in a letter to Nye County Clerk Mark Kampf that he confirm to her office Thursday night that the hand count process “had been stopped.” Cegavske's office didn’t immediately respond to requests from The Associated Press for an update.

Hawaii's Big Island gets warning as huge volcano rumbles

HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii officials are warning residents of the Big Island that the world’s largest active volcano, Mauna Loa, is sending signals that it may erupt. Scientists say an eruption isn’t imminent, but they are on alert because of a recent spike in earthquakes at the volcano’s summit. Experts say it would take just a few hours for lava to reach homes closest to vents on the volcano, which last erupted in 1984. Hawaii’s civil defense agency is holding meetings across the island to educate residents about how to prepare for a possible emergency. They recommend having a ″go″ bag with food, identifying a place to stay once they leave home and making a plan for reuniting with family members.

Massive learning setbacks show COVID's sweeping toll on kids

The COVID-19 pandemic devastated poor children’s well-being, not just by closing their schools, but also by taking away their parents’ jobs, sickening their families and teachers, and adding chaos and fear to their daily lives. The scale of the disruption to American kids’ education is evident in a district-by-district analysis of test scores shared exclusively with The Associated Press. The data provide the most comprehensive look yet at how much schoolchildren have fallen behind academically. The analysis found the average student lost more than half a school year of learning in math and nearly a quarter of a school year in reading – with some district averages slipping by more than double those amounts, or worse.

At UN climate summit, India to flex its negotiating muscles

BENGALURU, India (AP) — As countries gathered in Scotland were crystallizing their pledges at last year's United Nations climate conference, India used its might to intervene. Along with China, India took issue with the draft deal's suggestion to “phase out” coal, preferring the wording, “phase down." After much back and forth and hurried discussions between leaders, Bhupendra Yadav, India’s minister for environment, forests, and climate change, read out the final version. It said that nations should work toward a “phase down” of coal power. The intervention was, for India's government, a success. Now the country is expected to exercise its influence yet again to look out for its own interests at the upcoming U.N.

New Zealand leader Ardern makes rare trip to Antarctica

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared awestruck Thursday to be standing in the Antarctic hut of explorer Ernest Shackleton. “I think when you’re a kid and you read stories about Shackleton, you’d never imagine you’d have the opportunity to come. So, I feel pretty lucky,” she said from inside the hut that was built more than a century ago. “It’s a cool place.” Ardern this week is making a rare visit by a world leader to Antarctica, to see firsthand the research taking place on global warming and to mark the 65th anniversary of New Zealand’s Scott Base, which will be demolished in a few years to make way for a rebuild.