Hurricane Ian heads for Carolinas; Jackson set to join Supreme Court; Thomas reiterates false election claims | Hot off the Wire podcast

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A revived Hurricane Ian is bearing down on South Carolina’s coast and the historic city of Charleston, with forecasters predicting a storm surge and floods. Earlier, the megastorm caused catastrophic damage in Florida, leaving people trapped in flooded homes and was blamed in growing reports of deaths in the state.

China is dismissing complaints from two U.S. lawmakers over the quarantining of American diplomats and their family members under the country’s strict COVID-19 regulations. Republican Congressmen James Comer and Michael McCaul wrote to Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday asking for clarification of the quarantines.

Russia plans to annex four regions of Ukraine on Friday.

Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson is making her first appearance on the Supreme Court bench in a brief courtroom ceremony three days ahead of the start of the high court’s new term. President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and their spouses are expected Friday at Jackson’s ceremonial investiture.

Hundreds of royal fans have lined up outside Windsor Castle for the chance to pay their final respects to Queen Elizabeth II as the chapel where the late monarch is buried opened to the public for the first time since her death.

Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, stood by the false claim that the 2020 election was fraudulent during an interview with the House panel investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection. That is according to Rep. Bennie Thompson, the panel’s Democratic chairman.

In sports, the Dolphins lost a game and their quarterback to a concussion, the Chiefs-Buccaneers game will go on as scheduled Sunday in Tampa, and the race for the National League’s final Wild Card between the Phillies and Brewers remains tight.

Previous updates

President Joe Biden says the entire United States “hurts” along with the people of Florida after Hurricane Ian flooded communities across the state, knocked out power and raised fear of a “substantial loss of life.” Biden went to the Washington headquarters of the Federal Emergency Management Agency for a briefing on federal response efforts.

Congress is moving quickly to avoid a government shutdown. The Senate on Thursday passed a short-term spending bill that would finance federal agencies into mid-December.

British Prime Minister Liz Truss has defended her economic plan that roiled financial markets, saying she’s willing to make “difficult decisions” to get the economy growing.

The number of Americans filing for jobless benefits dropped last week, a sign that few companies are cutting jobs despite high inflation and a weak economy. Applications for unemployment benefits for the week ending Sept. 24 fell by 16,000 to 193,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

The man who assassinated presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy in 1968 said from a California prison that he wants a judge to free him so he can live the rest of his life in peace. Now 78-years-old, Sirhan Sirhan has been incarcerated for 54 years.

Nearly a dozen lawsuits in Illinois accuse gun-maker Smith & Wesson of illegally targeting young men at risk of violence with ads for firearms. The 11 suits filed Wednesday cite the 22-year-old gunman accused of opening fire on a July Fourth parade in suburban Chicago and killing seven people.

A scientist who built a global COVID-19 website received this year’s Lasker award for public service. The Lasker Foundation, which gives out annual prizes for medical research, announced this year’s winners on Wednesday.