AP news recap at 6:33 p.m. EDT

No more swing state? GOP confidence grows in Florida

THE VILLAGES, Fla. (AP) — Democrats are growing concerned that Florida could slide this fall — and perhaps beyond — as emboldened Republicans address divisive cultural issues and demographic shifts in crucial contests for governor and the U.S. Senate. Republicans predict an overall victory in diverse Miami-Dade County in South Florida that would have been unthinkable four years ago. Republicans and Democrats privately agree that Hurricane Ian may have helped Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis expand his appeal. DeSantis’ Democratic rival, former Gov. Charlie Crist, says Republicans are “cocky”. But Democratic Senate nominee Val Demings admits her party’s midterm message isn’t getting the go she had hoped.

Florida Gov. DeSantis is up against Crist in a single debate

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Democratic challenger Charlie Crist take to the debate stage for Crist’s best — and perhaps final — opportunity to change the trajectory of the Florida governor’s race. A Republican arsonist with presidential aspirations, DeSantis leads many polls, having focused on divisive cultural issues during his first term. Crist is a former Republican governor who most recently served as a Democratic congressman, and he is keen to halt DeSantis’ political rise. Monday night’s debate will be a rare moment for DeSantis to ask questions outside of the friendly conservative media circles he’s drawn to.

EXPLAINER: Why the British public doesn’t vote for their leader

LONDON (AP) – Observers of British politics can be forgiven for scratching their heads in recent weeks as they watch the country lurch through a string of prime ministers without holding an election. Under Britain’s parliamentary system, the public never actually elects their prime minister. Instead, voters tick the box for a representative from their region, who then becomes one of Britain’s 650 MPs. The party that wins the majority forms a government and places its leader in the Prime Minister’s seat. If that leader falls out of favor, the party – and only the party – can elect a new leader and prime minister. That’s what the Conservative Party did on Monday with new leader Rishi Sunak.

Ukraine cites success in downing drones and repairing energy sites

Kyiv, Ukraine (AP) – Ukrainian authorities claim they are having increasing success in shooting down Iranian-made drones launched by Russia to terrorize the public. The head of Ukraine’s intelligence service said Monday that Ukrainian forces shot down 70 percent of some 330 Shahed kamikaze drones fired by Russia through Saturday. Russian officials have doubled down on their claims of a possible “dirty bomb” radioactive attack, which both Ukraine and the West say did not come from Ukraine. In the war-torn country’s cities and towns, Ukrainians are bracing for less power this winter after a sustained Russian barrage on infrastructure. Authorities are scrambling to rebuild damaged facilities while ordinary Ukrainians try to conserve energy.

2 killed in St. Louis High School shooting; shooter dead

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A gunman broke into a St. Louis high school Monday morning, fatally shooting a teacher and a teenage girl and injuring six others before police killed him. The shooting just after 9 a.m. at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School forced students to barricade doors and hole up in classroom corners, jump out of windows and run out of the building. A terrorized girl said she was eye to eye with the gunman before his gun apparently jammed and she was able to run away. At a news conference, Police Commissioner Michael Sack said the shooter was 19-year-old Orlando Harris, who graduated from the school last year.

What’s Behind the Worrying RSV Rise in US Children’s Hospitals?

Some children’s hospitals in the US are seeing an increase in a disease called RSV. It’s a common virus that can cause mild symptoms like a runny nose and cough. But for some babies and older adults, RSV can be very serious and cause infections in the lungs. Experts say RSV is hitting a very vulnerable population of babies and children who have been protected from common bugs during the pandemic lockdowns and have not had a chance to build immunity. Doctors are preparing for how RSV, influenza and COVID-19 could combine this winter to strain hospital resources.

Test results show historic COVID setbacks for children in US

WASHINGTON (AP) — New national test results show the pandemic has spared no part of the country as it has caused historic learning setbacks for American children. Every single state saw a decline in math or reading scores in the latest results of the National Assessment of Educational Achievement. National math scores saw their biggest declines ever, and reading scores fell back to 1992 levels. This year, the test was conducted for the first time since 2019 and is considered the first nationally representative study of the impact of the pandemic on learning. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona called the results unacceptable and said schools must redouble their efforts to help students recover.

Leslie Jordan, all-round Emmy winner, dies at 67

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Leslie Jordan, the Emmy-winning actor whose tongue-in-cheek Southern streak and versatility made him a standout for comedy and drama on television shows like ‘Will & Grace’ and ‘American Horror Story,’ has died . He was 67 years old. The Tennessee native, who won an Outstanding Guest Actor Emmy in 2005 for Will & Grace, recently appeared in the Mayim Bialik comedy Call Me Kat and starred in the sitcom The Cool Kids. Jordan gained an unexpected new following in 2021 while spending time close to family in his hometown during the pandemic lockdown. He broke equality by posting videos of himself on Instagram and TikTok on a daily basis.

‘It’s About Time’: Diwali celebrations light up NYC

NEW YORK (AP) – The week started grimly in New York. But the dreary fog was no match for the upcoming holiday: Diwali, the festival of lights that symbolizes victory over darkness. Celebrated to some extent by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists across South Asia, the multi-day festival has secured a foothold far from the subcontinent in places with significant Disapora populations – like New York. In Queens, shoppers took advantage of the Diwali special offers and sales ahead of the holiday. Fashion designer Prabal Gurung was one of the hosts of Diwali New York, a glittering soiree designed to raise the profile of the holiday. He said it was “time” to make Diwali mainstream.

Oscar Tshiebwe, Drew Timme, Best AP Preseason All-America Team

Oscar Tshiebwe of Kentucky and Drew Timme of Gonzaga were unanimously voted onto The Associated Press’ preseason All-America team. They were joined by North Carolina forward Armando Bacot, Houston guard Marcus Sasser and Indiana forward Trayce Jackson-Davis. Timme and Jackson-Davis were AP Preseason All-Americans a year ago. Tshiebwe is the first AP international of the year to return for another season since Tyler Hansbrough returned to guide North Carolina to a national title in 2009.

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