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CHINESE-SCANNERS — At some of the world’s most sensitive spots, authorities have installed security screening devices made by a single Chinese company with deep ties to China’s military and the highest levels of the ruling Communist Party. The company, Nuctech, has been frozen out of the U.S. for years due to national security concerns, but it has made deep inroads across Europe, according to records reviewed by The Associated Press. By Erika Kinetz. SENT: 2,660 words, photo. An abridged version of 1,060 words is also available.

BIDEN-ONE YEAR-AP POLL — President Joe Biden ends his first year in the White House with a clear majority of Americans for the first time disapproving of his handling of the presidency in the face of an unrelenting pandemic and roaring inflation. That’s according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. By Aamer Madhani and Hannah Fingerhut. SENT: 1,250 words, photos.




UNITED STATES-UKRAINE — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned that there would be a “swift, severe” response from the United States and its allies if Russia sends military forces into Ukraine. Blinken’s comments in Berlin appeared to be another effort to clear up any confusion about the position of the U.S. and its NATO allies after U.S. President Joe Biden was heavily criticized for saying a “minor incursion” by Russia would elicit a lesser response. By Matthew Lee and Frank Jordans. SENT: 1,215 words, photos. WITH: UNITED STATES-UKRAINE-MILITARY-EXPLAINER — What are U.S. military options to help Ukraine? SENT: 1,040 words, photos. WITH: RUSSIA-UKRAINE — Russia accuses West of plotting “provocations” in Ukraine. SENT: 745 words, photos. WITH: BIDEN-UKRAINE-SANCTIONS — The U.S. Treasury Department says it’s levying new sanctions against four Ukrainian officials, including two current members of parliament who administration officials say are part of a Russian influence effort to set the pretext for further invasion of Ukraine. SENT: 610 words, photos.

BIDEN — President Joe Biden launches his second year in office with a new focus on making “fatigued” Americans believe they’re better off under his leadership as he embraces a pared-back agenda. By Zeke Miller and Alexandra Jaffe. SENT: 830 words, photos. With BIDEN-ONE YEAR-ECONOMY-ANALYSIS —Biden is paying a steep price for high inflation — a problem that festered during his first year in office instead of fading away as he suggested it would. SENT: 1,200 words, photos.

CAPITOL RIOT-INVESTIGATION — The House committee investigating the U.S. Capitol insurrection is asking Ivanka Trump, daughter of former President Donald Trump, to voluntarily cooperate with its probe. By Jill Colvin and Farnoush Amiri. SENT: 940 words, photos.

CONGRESS-VOTING BILLS — Democrats pick up the pieces following the collapse of their top-priority voting legislation, with many shifting focus to a narrower effort to shore up an obscure law Donald Trump exploited in his bid to overturn the 2020 election. UPCOMING: 900 words, photos by 7 p.m. With CONGRESS-VOTING BILLS-MCCONNELL— Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell draws criticism for saying “African Americans” vote at similar rates to “Americans.” SENT: 630 words, photos; CONGRESS-VOTING BILLS-SCHUMER — Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says Democrats “made progress” toward changing the Senate’s filibuster rules. SENT: 600 words, photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK — The Spanish government is laying the groundwork for a different COVID-19 playbook, moving from crisis to control mode. Shifting from pandemic to endemic should allow it to approach the virus in much the same way countries deal with flu or measles. Similar steps are under consideration in Portugal and the United Kingdom. By Aritz Parra. SENT: 1,100 words, photos. WITH: VIRUS OUTBREAK-PANDEMIC TO ENDEMIC-EXPLAINER— What does it mean for COVID-19 to be endemic? SENT: 680 words, photos.

TONGA-VOLCANO ERUPTION — The first flights carrying fresh water and other aid to Tonga finally arrived after the Pacific nation’s main airport runway was cleared of ash left by a huge volcanic eruption. New Zealand and Australia each sent military transport planes that were carrying water containers, kits for temporary shelters, generators, hygiene supplies and communications equipment. By Nick Perry. SENT: 600 words, photos. WITH: TONGA-VOLCANO-ERUPTION-COMMUNICATIONS — Cut off by volcano, Tongans relieved as contact restored. SENT: 630 words, photos.




McDONALD’S-McPLANT — McDonald’s is expanding sales of its meatless McPlant burger to hundreds of locations. SENT: 225 words, photo.

BELGIUM-TEEN’S-GLOBAL-FIGHT —The 19-year-old Belgian-British pilot Zara Rutherford has set a world record as the youngest woman to fly solo around the world. SENT: 400 words, photos.

LIBERIA-STAMPEDE — Officials say that at least 29 people in Liberia, including 11 children and a pregnant woman, have died in a stampede of worshippers at a Christian ceremony. SENT: 245 words, photos.

FLIGHT RETURNS-MASK — An American Airlines flight to London returned to Miami after a passenger refused to follow the federal requirement to wear a face mask, according to the airline. SENT: 170 words, photo.

WINTER-WEATHER — The Carolinas and Virginia are bracing for more winter weather, which forecasters predict will arrive as mixed precipitation on Thursday, followed by a round of snow on Friday night into Saturday. SENT: 630 words, photos.

CHILD WELFARE ACTIVIST-MYSTERY — A Rhode Island man who authorities say fled the U.S. and faked his death to evade prosecution for rape and financial fraud has been arrested after skipping his court date in Scotland, police said. SENT: 460 words.




VIRUS OUTBREAK-GUN STORE CLOSURES — Two California counties violated the Constitution’s right to keep and bear arms when they shut down gun and ammunition stores in 2020 as nonessential businesses during the coronavirus pandemic, a federal appeals court ruled. SENT: 230 words.

VIRUS-OUTBREAK-CDC — From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the top U.S. public health agency has been criticized as too slow to collect and act on new information. Now, increasingly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is also being criticized for moving too fast. SENT: 1,430 words, photos.

VIRUS-OUTBREAK-AUSTRIA — Austria’s parliament has voted to introduce a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for adults from Feb. 1, the first of its kind in Europe. SENT: 570 words, photos.

VIRUS-OUTBREAK-UGANDA-FUEL-CRISIS — A dispute over COVID-19 testing fees for truckers has created a fuel crisis in Uganda, highlighting an economic impact of the pandemic in a landlocked country with virtually no fuel reserves of its own. SENT: 340 words, photos.

VIRUS-OUTBREAK-AFRICA-VACCINES — At least 2.8 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines donated to African countries have expired, the Africa Centers for Disease Control said Thursday, citing short shelf lives as the major reason. SENT: 455 words.




GEORGIA-ELECTION-INVESTIGATION — The Georgia prosecutor who’s investigating possible attempts to interfere in the 2020 general election by former President Trump and others has asked for a special grand jury to aid the investigation. SENT: 750 words, photo. With GEORGIA ELECTION-INVESTIGATION-EXPLAINER — What’s a special grand jury and how does it work? SENT: 640 words, photo.

HAVANA-SYNDROME — The CIA believes it is unlikely that Russia or another foreign adversary is using microwaves or other forms of directed energy to attack hundreds of American officials who attribute symptoms associated with brain injuries to what’s come to be known as “Havana syndrome.” SENT: 535 words, photos.

SUPREME COURT-CROSS-EXAMINATION — The Supreme Court has bolstered a criminal defendant’s right to cross-examine prosecution witnesses. SENT: 355 words, photos.

MIT-PROFESSOR-CHINA — The Justice Department has dropped its case against a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor charged last year with hiding work he did for the Chinese government. The department said in a filing in federal court in Boston that it could no longer meet its burden of proof at trial in the case against Gang Chen. SENT: 490 words, photo.

SUPREME COURT-ABORTION-TEXAS — In the latest setback for abortion rights in Texas, the Supreme Court refuses to speed up the ongoing court case over the state’s ban on most abortions. SENT: 400 words, photo.




GEORGE FLOYD-OFFICERS-CIVIL RIGHTS —A jury has been selected in the federal trial of three Minneapolis police officers charged in George Floyd’s killing. Eighteen jurors were chosen after questioning by the judge on Thursday — 12 who will deliberate and six alternates. SENT: 980 words, photos.

TEXAS-SYNAGOGUE STANDOFF — A British man who held four people hostage in a Texas synagogue ranted against Jews and American wars in countries like Afghanistan as his brother pleaded with him to give up and free the captives, a recording of the conversation shows. SENT: 545 words, photos.

SCHOOLS-TEACHING-RACE — A proposal to overhaul New Mexico’s social studies standards has stirred debate over how race should be taught, with thousands of parents and teachers weighing in on changes that would dramatically increase instruction related to racial and social identity beginning in kindergarten. SENT: 1,010 words, photos.

JEFFREY-EPSTEIN-MAXWELL-TRIAL — Ghislaine Maxwell has formally requested a new trial, less than a month after her conviction on sex trafficking charges. The motion for a new trial had been promised by Maxwell’s lawyers, who had raised concerns about media interviews following the verdict in which the juror said he had been sexually abused as a child. SENT: 350 words, photos.

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN-DOCTOR-ASSAULT-EXPLAINER — An explainer on how the University of Michigan’s $490 million settlement will work with more than 1,000 people who say they were sexually assaulted by a sports doctor during his nearly four-decade career at the school. SENT: 500 words, photos.

RACIAL-INJUSTICE-NAACP-FUTURE — The NAACP, the nation’s oldest civil rights organization, will soon celebrate its 113th birthday, which its leaders say comes as it undergoes a restructuring to reflect a membership and leadership that is trending younger. In 2022, look for its voice to grow louder on issues like climate change, the student debt crisis and the ongoing response to the coronavirus pandemic. SENT: 1,300 words, photos.

KENOSHA PROTEST-SHOOTINGS — Kyle Rittenhouse, the Illinois man acquitted of fatally shooting two men and wounding a third during street protests in Kenosha in 2020, is seeking the return of the gun and other property that police seized after his arrest. SENT: 350 words.




BELARUS-FLIGHT DIVERTED — U.S. prosecutors charged four Belarusian government officials on Thursday with aircraft piracy for diverting a Ryanair flight last year to arrest an opposition journalist, using a ruse that there was a bomb threat. SENT: 320 words, photos.

GERMANY-CHURCH ABUSE — A long-awaited report on sexual abuse in Germany’s Munich diocese faulted retired Pope Benedict XVI’s handling of four cases when he was archbishop in the 1970s and 1980s. The law firm that drew up the report said that Benedict strongly denies any wrongdoing. SENT: 700 words, photos.

AFGHANISTAN-MISSING-ACTIVIST — The Taliban have stormed an apartment in Kabul, arresting a woman rights activist and her three sisters. A Taliban statement appeared to blame the incident on a recent women’s protest. SENT: 800 words, photos.

BRITAIN-CONSERVATIVES-EXPLAINER — Some Conservative lawmakers in Britain are talking about ousting their leader, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has been tarnished by allegations that he and his staff held lockdown-breaching parties during the coronavirus pandemic. SENT: 440 words, photos.

ETHIOPIA-TIGRAY CRISIS — The United Nations says food distribution in Ethiopia’s blockaded Tigray region has reached its “all-time lowest” while more than 50,000 children are thought to be severely malnourished, the latest sign of growing crisis amid efforts to end the country’s 14-month war. SENT: 430 words.

NORTH KOREA-US — Accusing the United States of hostility and threats, North Korea says it will consider restarting “all temporally-suspended activities” it had paused during its diplomacy with the Trump administration, in an apparent threat to resume testing of nuclear explosives and long-range missiles. SENT: 940 words, photos.

LEBANON-FIGHTING FOR GARBAGE — Sifting through a Beirut dumpster in the rain, 56-year-old Hoda is among Lebanon’s poorest, forced by a devastating economic crisis into an underclass of garbage pickers scratching out an existence. SENT: 880 words, photos.

NORWAY-BREIVIK-PAROLE HEARING — A prosecutor in Norway says that a far-right extremist who killed 77 people in 2011 still is “a very dangerous man” and therefore a poor candidate for release after 10 years in prison, as Norwegian law permits. SENT: 545 words, photos.

VATICAN-WOMEN — The Vatican has included a group that advocates for women’s ordination on a website promoting a two-year consultation of rank-and-file Catholics. The inclusion of the Women’s Ordination Conference on the website promoting the Vatican’s 2023 “synod,” or bishops’ meeting, is significant since the Vatican has long held the group at arm’s length. SENT: 350 words, photo.




PIG-TRANSPLANTS — Researchers reported the latest in a surprising string of experiments in the quest to save human lives with organs from genetically modified pigs. This time around, surgeons in Alabama transplanted a pig’s kidneys into a brain-dead man — a step-by-step rehearsal for an operation they hope to try in living patients possibly later this year. By Lauran Neergaard. SENT: 850 words, photos.

MED-ANTIBIOTIC-GLOBAL-RESISTANCE-DEATHS — Antibiotic-resistant germs caused more than 1.2 million deaths globally in one year, according to new research that suggests that these “superbugs” have joined the ranks of the world’s leading infectious disease killers. The new estimate is not a complete count of such deaths, but rather an attempt to fill in gaps from countries that report little or no data on the germs’ toll. SENT: 450 words, photos.

PEANUT ALLERGY-TREATMENT, HFR — Young children might be able to overcome their peanut allergies if treated at an early enough age, a new study finds. UPCOMING: Hold for release at 6:30 p.m. 600 words, photo.




5G-AIRLINES-EXPLAINER — The rollout of new 5G wireless service in the U.S. failed to have the much-dreaded result of crippling air travel, although it began in rocky fashion, with international airlines canceling some flights to the U.S. and spotty problems showing up on domestic flights. SENT: 890 words.

FEDERAL RESERVE-DIGITAL CURRENCY — The Federal Reserve on Thursday released a highly anticipated report on central bank digital currencies that suggested it is leaning toward having banks and other financial firms, rather than the Fed itself, manage digital accounts for customers. SENT: 750 words, photo.

OFF THE CHARTS-INFLATION — Retail sales took an unexpected dip in December in what could be a signal that persistently rising inflation is prompting a pullback in consumer spending. Consumers paid more for everything from groceries to cars in 2021 as companies passed along the costs of pricier raw materials and supply chain delays. Spending remained strong thanks to pent-up demand throughout the year, despite the rising costs and longer waits for big-ticket items like cars and furniture. SENT: 545 words, photos.

DAVOS FORUM — Indonesia’s leader says the country holding the presidency of the Group of 20 biggest economies wants to strengthen global partnership to aid the economic recovery from COVID-19. SENT: 440 words, photo.




SANFORD-AND-SON-AT-50 — It was 50 years ago this month that the sitcom “Sanford and Son” debuted on NBC. The show featured an unlikely network star, Redd Foxx, known for his rowdy stand-up routines. But Foxx adjusted his act for TV and “Sanford and Son” was an instant hit, opening the door for other Black family shows to move into mostly white TV. SENT: 800 words.




TEN-AUSTRALIAN-OPEN-DJOKOVIC — Three Australian Federal Court judges have revealed their reasons for backing a government order to deport tennis star Novak Djokovic, explaining they did not consider the “merits or wisdom of the decision.” The judges on Sunday unanimously endorsed Immigration Minister Alex Hawke’s decision to deport the 34-year-old Serb following an urgent court challenge on the eve of what was to be Djokovic’s first match in defense of his Australian Open title. SENT: 505 words, photos.

NCAA-TRANSGENDER ATHLETES — The NCAA has adopted a sport-by-sport approach for transgender athletes, bringing the organization in line with the U.S. and International Olympic Committees. SENT: 270 words, photos.




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