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Omicron variant may have reached Europe earlier than thought

By RAF CASERT and ANDREW MELDRUM BRUSSELS (AP) — Economic powerhouses Japan and France reported their first cases of the omicron variant Tuesday, while new findings indicate the mutant coronavirus was already in Europe close to a week before South Africa sounded the alarm. The Netherlands’ RIVM health institute disclosed that patient samples dating from Nov. 19 and 23 were found to contain the variant. It was last Wednesday, Nov. 24, that South African authorities reported the existence of the highly mutated virus to the World Health Organization. That indicates omicron had a bigger head start in the Netherlands than previously believed. Together with the cases in Japan and France, the finding illustrated the difficulty in containing the virus in an age of jet travel and economic globaliza

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World

Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, Prince Andrew flew on Jeffrey Epstein’s jets: pilot in Ghislaine Maxwell trial

Jeffrey Epstein’s pilot testified in court Tuesday, saying he did not see Epstein engaging inappropriately with minors (Pictures: Getty Images/Reuters/AP)Jeffrey Epstein’s pilot testified in the criminal sex-trafficking trial of Ghislaine Maxwell that he met former Presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton as well as Prince Andrew while working with the late financier. The pilot, Larry Visoki, mentioned the household names and others during the second day of the trial in New York City on Tuesday. As the prosecution’s first witness, Visoki put Maxwell in the center of Epstein’s life, but also said he did not see Epstein engaging in any wrongdoing with minors while aboard his private planes. Maxwell is accused of recruiting and grooming underage girls to give Epstein erotic mass...

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World

Photo exhibition chronicles life of Princess Diana

Diana, Princess of Wales — riding in the glass coach used on her wedding day 10 years years earlier — heads to the state Opening of Parliament in November 1981 in London, England. | Anwar Hussein“Princess Diana Exhibition: Accredited Access” at Oakbrook Center shows an intimate side of the Princess of Wales through the lens of Anwar Hussein, her lifelong photographer and a close confidant. There’s a passage in the recent movie “Spencer” about a pivotal weekend in the life of Princess Diana when the beloved royal (played by actress Kristen Stewart) ponders what the world might write about her in the future. It’s a stunningly simple moment that sits with viewers who, from the future, know how her cherished legacy plays out — a legacy that’s getting renewed attention in what would have been

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World

Sir Alex Ferguson names his best ever Manchester United captain

Sir Alex Ferguson worked with the very best during his time in charge (Picture: Alex Livesey/Getty Images)Sir Alex Ferguson insists Bryan Robson was ‘easily’ the best captain he had during his Manchester United tenure. The Scot worked with some of the very best in world football during his 26 years at the Old Trafford helm that included some memorable captains. The likes of Steve Bruce, Eric Cantona, Roy Keane, Gary Neville and Nemanja Vidic all lifted league titles wearing the captain’s armband under his leadership. But Robson, who captained the club for a record 12 years between 1982 and 1994, was the standout leader for Ferguson. ‘Well, he was easily the best captain I had. I think over the period he was at United, he was the best player,’ Ferguson told United’s website.

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World

Lightfoot threatens to veto any new ward map that protects indicted Ald. Edward Burke

Ald. Ed Burke (far left) sparred with with Mayor Lori Lightfoot during her very first Chicago City Council meeting, back in May 2019. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-TimesThe mayor’s veto threat is not surprising, given her longstanding political animus toward Burke. But it further complicates an already contentious redistricting situation that is going right down to the wire. Mayor Lori Lightfoot is prepared to veto any new ward map that protects her longtime political nemesis, indicted Ald. Edward Burke (14th), her City Council allies have been told. The mayor’s veto threat is not surprising, given her longstanding political animus toward Burke, her repeated demands for his resignation and the fact that Lightfoot owes her election to the Burke corruption scandal. But it further complicates an alre

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News

Justice served in senseless Arbery murder

Had it not been for widespread public outrage, the three Georgia men responsible for the killing of Ahmaud Arbery would not even have faced prosecution, let alone been convicted of multiple counts of murder. Fortunately, justice — although delayed — was served after a mostly White jury handed down its verdict in the racially charged shooting case. The 25-year-old Arbery was jogging through a neighborhood in Brunswick, Ga., when Gregory McMichael and his son, Travis, suspected him of committing a crime. They armed themselves, jumped in their truck and began pursing him. A neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan Jr. joined in the chase and video-recorded the encounter. The unarmed Arbery reportedly evaded his pursuers. Certainly, no American is under any obligation to yield to gun-toting pursuers.

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World

Brendan Rodgers rates Manchester United’s decision to appoint Ralf Rangnick as interim manager

Brendan Rodgers is also in the frame to become Manchester United manager next year (Getty)Brendan Rodgers believes Ralf Rangnick will offer stability and experience to Manchester United. The 63-year-old has agreed to become United’s interim manager for the remainder of the season following the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer earlier this month. Rangnick will then move to a consultancy role at Old Trafford next summer, while United will look to appoint a new long-term manager. Rodgers is among the names on United’s shortlist alongside Mauricio Pochettino and Ajax boss Erik ten Hag. But the Leicester City manager believes United have made a smart move by bringing in Rangnick. ‘I think they have appointed a very experienced man in football, both in his role as a sporting dir...

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News

Outgunned: The story of a woman, an abuser, and California’s failing gun control

Eighteen miles south of the Central Valley home that was her prison, down Highway 99 past almond orchards and trucks overloaded with hay bales, sits the Madera County Superior Court. The four-story steel-structure with its light granite exterior boasts 10 courtrooms, large flat-screen monitors and a glass-skinned atrium. The courthouse opened in 2015 in this county of 160,000, part of a decades-long effort to shift funding and oversight of local courts to the state and ensure equal access to justice for all Californians. “The Madera Courthouse was designed to demonstrate the transparency and dignity of democracy, providing a place to facilitate the workings of the American ideals of justice,” the architect’s website says. Calley Garay, a 32-year-old mother of three young boys, came here

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World

Josephine Baker first Black woman to be honored at France’s Pantheon

Pictures of Josephine Baker and a red carpet lead to the Pantheon monument, rear, in Paris, France, Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021 , where Baker is to symbolically be inducted, becoming the first Black woman to receive France’s highest honor. A coffin carrying soils from the U.S., France and Monaco will be deposited inside the Pantheon. Her body will stay in Monaco at the request of her family. | APBaker was joining other French luminaries honored at the site, including philosopher Voltaire, scientist Marie Curie and writer Victor Hugo. PARIS — France is inducting U.S.-born entertainer, anti-Nazi spy and civil rights activist Josephine Baker into the Pantheon, the first Black woman to receive the nation’s highest honor. Baker’s voice resonated Tuesday through streets of Paris’ famed Left Bank as

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News

What David Archuleta wants you to understand about his faith journey

David Archuleta discussed his experience of reconciling his sexuality with his Latter-day Saint faith in a recent interview with the Deseret News. | Zack Knudsen At the end of October, David Archuleta performed with the Temple Hill Symphony Orchestra in front of 3,000 people on back-to-back nights on the grounds of the Oakland California Temple. In between songs, the 30-year-old singer from Utah shared personal experiences and messages of choosing faith amid trials and knowing there is a place for everyone in God’s family, said Debbie Bromley, one of Temple Hill’s communications directors. “He was brilliant in the way he did it,” Bromley said. “It was very organic. He wasn’t preachy at all. He was just sharing these beautiful messages of hope and faith, and I think it resonated with a lot

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World

Royal Christmas carol concert led by Kate to be aired on ITV in ‘snub to BBC’

A Christmas service hosted by the Duchess of Cambridge to celebrate inspirational individuals will be held at Westminster Abbey (Picture: ITV/REX)Kate Middleton’s special Christmas carol service at Westminster Abbey will be aired on ITV in a last-minute move seen as a snub to BBC. Rumours about the festive event began last week after BBC Two’s series The Princes and The Press attracted criticism from the Royal Family for airing ‘overblown and unfounded claims’. The high-profile concert was developed with BBC Studios Events, but instead, it will be aired on ITV. It is thought the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge decided against the national broadcaster over a feud about the documentary, which delivers some bombshell claims about Prince William and Prince Harry. The documentary expl

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Entertainment

For Your Tias, Primas & More: 8 Latinx Beauty Gifts To Give This Navidad

'Tis the season for holiday shopping and — if you’re anything like my procrastinating self — being suuuuper stressed about what to get everyone. The pressure to find gifts for all your tias and primas can be overwhelming, especially if you’re looking to switch up your gift-giving game this year. Our approach: to shop with your giftee's personality in mind, instead of going the gift-card route yet again (hey, no judgment).When you’re trying to find the best gifts for beauty lovers, consider their overall aesthetic first. Are they a no-makeup minimalist? Do they wear a red lip religiously? Is their smoky eye the best you’ve ever seen? Zero in on which products they use on the reg to inspire your search. You want to treat them to a gift they’ll actually incorporate into their routine, because...

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News

Why a proposed mine in Parleys Canyon has residents worried

Cars drive on I-80 through Parleys Canyon on Monday, Nove. 29, 2021. A plan calls for a mine operation in the area. | Mark Wetzel, KSL-TV A plan to mine rock and other materials in Parleys Canyon has drawn concern and questions from residents and even officials from Utah's capital city, who say they feel out of the loop about the project. Tree Farm LLC, a company based in Salt Lake City, submitted a notice of intent to the Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining for a mining operation in the canyon earlier this month. The company first filed an application on Nov. 12 and then clarified questions the division had last week. The total size of the proposed mine, referred to as Silver Mine, would be about 20 acres of land located north of Grandeur Peak and west of Mount Aire in Parleys Canyon, ac

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News

Panel weighs safety, effectiveness of Merck’s COVID-19 pill

By MATTHEW PERRONE WASHINGTON (AP) — Government health advisers on Tuesday weighed the benefits and risks of a closely watched drug from Merck that could soon become the first U.S.-authorized pill for patients to take at home to treat COVID-19. The Food and Drug Administration asked its outside experts whether the agency should authorize the pill, weighing new information that it is less effective than first reported and may cause birth defects. A vote was expected Tuesday afternoon. The panel’s recommendations aren’t binding but often guide FDA decisions. The meeting comes as U.S. infections are rising again and health authorities worldwide size up the threat posed by the new omicron variant. If authorized, Merck’s pill would be the first that doctors could prescribe for patients to take

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Newark issuing grants up to $20,000 for small businesses hit by pandemic

NEWARK — Newark will use $1.5 million of federal relief funds to award grants to small businesses that are “exceptionally disadvantaged by the pandemic,” in an attempt to head off more closures in the small East Bay city. The grants will be up to $20,000 per business, and can be used to pay for a variety of things, including employee wages, current or back-due rent or mortgage payments, utilities or other expenses such as advertising or supplies. The program, called the Exceptional COVID Grant Program, will be aimed at small personal services businesses, like hair and nail salons, barbers, cosmetologists, personal trainers, in-home care providers and small day care or education centers. While previous local and federal grants helped support businesses that took a financial hit because of t

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