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Former Italian Premier Matteo Renzi is testing his already low popularity by provoking a political crisis that could bring down the government at yet another critical juncture in the fight against the pandemic. Renzi orchestrated the resignations of two ministers from his tiny but key Italia Viva party. The outcome of his power play will become clearer this week, when Premier Giuseppe Conte addresses both houses of Parliament. If Conte makes a successful bid for support, he could go on to form what would be his third coalition government since 2018. This isn't Renzi’s first foray as an iconoclast in Italian politics. He became Italy's leader in 2014 by unceremoniously deposing his party's premier. Read more

Some capitols are closed, fences are up and extra police are in place at statehouses across the U.S. as authorities brace for potentially violent demonstrations over the coming days. The stepped-up security Sunday comes after FBI warnings of potential armed protests at all 50 state capitols and in Washington, D.C. The safeguards will remain in place leading up to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on Wednesday. On Jan. 6, a violent mob supporting President Donald Trump overran the U.S. Capitol. Authorities in some states said they have no indication of any specific demonstrations planned Sunday, but were prepared just in case. Read more

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Across the Balkans and other nations in southeastern Europe, a vaccination campaign against the coronavirus is being overshadowed by heated political debates or conspiracy theories that threaten to thwart the process. In countries like the Czech Republic, Serbia, Bosnia, Romania and Bulgaria, vaccine skeptics have ranged from former presidents to top athletes and doctors. Nations that once routinely went through mass inoculations under Communist leaders are deeply split over whether to take the vaccines at all. There's also a split in Serbia over which vaccine to take: the Western-made Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, Russia’s Sputnik V or China's Sinopharm. It's yet another source of division in a country where many favor closer ties with Moscow. Read more

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ISLAMABAD — Pakistan’s planning minister says the country’s drug regulatory authority has approved the use of Oxford-AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine and the government is trying to make it available by the first quarter of the year. Read more

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The Buffalo Bills advanced to their first AFC championship game in 27 years after Taron Johnson scored on a 101-yard interception return to seal a 17-3 win over the Baltimore Ravens. The interception return came with Baltimore facing third-and-goal from Buffalo's 9 where Johnson stepped in front of Lamar Jackson's pass intended for tight end Mark Andrews with 41 seconds left in the third quarter. Jackson did not return after sustaining a head injury on the final play of the third quarter when he was sacked while chasing down an errant snap. Buffalo limited the NFL’s top running offense to 150 yards on 32 carries. Read more

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A group of 47 elite tennis players preparing for the Australian Open will be confined to their hotel rooms for the next 14 days. They will be unable to practice after local health authorities said there were four positive coronavirus tests on their charter flights from Los Angeles and from Abu Dhabi to Melbourne. The positive tests from a coach on one flight and from an aircrew member, a coach and member of a TV broadcast team on the other flight from Los Angeles, came within two days of the first planeload of players arrived in Australia for the first tennis major of the year. The Australian Open starts Feb. 8. Read more

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A city government in eastern China says the coronavirus was found on ice cream produced there, prompting a recall of cartons from the same batch. The government says employees of the company in Tianjin, adjacent to Beijing, are being tested for the coronavirus. There is no indication anyone has contracted the virus from the ice cream. Most of the 29,000 cartons of ice cream in the batch had yet to be sold. The government says 390 sold in Tianjin are being tracked down and authorities elsewhere were notified of sales to their areas. China has suggested the disease, first detected in Wuhan, came from abroad and has highlighted what it says are discoveries of the virus on imported fish and other food.  Read more

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Hundreds of protesters braved a cold night in Jerusalem to press on with their calls for the Israeli prime minister to step down over corruption charges against him. Demonstrators gathered Saturday at a Jerusalem square near Benjamin Netanyahu’s official residence. The weekly protests have been taking place for over seven months. Netanyahu is charged with fraud, breach of trust and accepting bribes in three cases involving billionaire associates and media moguls, charges that he denies. The protesters insist Netanyahu cannot properly lead the country while under indictment for corruption. The protesters also say Netanyahu and his government have bungled the coronavirus response.  Read more

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Corey Kispert had 17 points and five rebounds and No. 1 Gonzaga overcame a slow start with a surge to end the first half, pulling away late to beat rival Saint Mary’s 73-59 for its 18th straight victory spanning the past two seasons. Joel Ayayi scored 16 points to help the Bulldogs improve to 14-0 overall and 5-0 in the West Coast Conference. A 4.5-magnitude earthquake in the South Bay shook the gym early in the second half. Play continued with no disruption at what typically would be an imposing visiting arena at McKeon Pavilion but had a far different feel devoid of fans. Read more

A day after Mexico angered U.S. officials by publishing an entire 751-page U.S. case file against a former defense secretary, the Mexican prosecutors who exonerated him released their own version. But so many pages are wholly blacked out it 's almost impossible to tell what they found. The report released Sunday includes a 226-page stretch with every page blacked out, followed shortly thereafter by a 275-page stretch of blacked-out pages. The officials appeared to be struggling to control the damage to the reputation of the justice system after prosecutors took just five days to completely absolve retired Gen. Salvador Cienfuegos of U.S. allegations he aided drug traffickers. Read more

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Aaron Rodgers made sure he’d get the opportunity to play an NFC championship game at home for the first time in his Hall of Fame-caliber career. Rodgers threw two touchdown passes and also ran for a score as the top-seeded Green Bay Packers defeated the Los Angeles Rams 32-18 in an NFC divisional playoff game Saturday. Green Bay’s potent offense overpowered the Rams’ vaunted defense for much of the day. The Packers didn’t allow any sacks despite playing without injured All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari. Green Bay sacked Jared Goff four times. Read more

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A group of 47 elite tennis players preparing for the Australian Open will be confined to their hotel rooms for the next 14 days. They will be unable to practice after local health authorities said there were four positive coronavirus tests on their charter flights from Los Angeles and from Abu Dhabi to Melbourne. The positive tests from a coach on one flight and from an aircrew member, a coach and member of a TV broadcast team on the other flight from Los Angeles, came within two days of the first planeload of players arrived in Australia for the first tennis major of the year. The Australian Open starts Feb. 8. Read more

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Brendan Steele didn't have to wait long for a chance to redeem himself in the Sony Open. Steele had a career-low score of 9-under 61. That carried him to a two-shot lead Saturday over Kevin Na and Joaquin Niemann. A year ago, Steele was on the verge of winning at Waialae until mistakes on each of the last three holes he played. That ended with a playoff loss to Cameron Smith. The conditions were so good and the scores so low that Steele didn't even have the low score of the day to himself. Na matched him with a 61. Read more

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A California congressman contracted the coronavirus before he could get a second dose of vaccine that would have improved his immunity. Democratic Rep. Lou Correa announced Saturday he tested positive upon returning home from Washington, D.C., prompting him to self-quarantine away from his family. His office said he received the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on Dec. 19 and has not received the second shot that would have boosted his immunity to about 95%. Correa is the latest House member to report testing positive since dozens of lawmakers huddled together for protection during the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol Read more

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Lottery players' second chance to win really big this weekend has come with Saturday’s drawing for a $640 million Powerball top prize. It's the eighth-largest jackpot ever. The winning numbers are 67, 20, 65, 14, 39, and the Powerball is 02. The odds of winning are one in 292.2 million. No one beat the odds for Friday’s $750 million Mega Millions top prize. What had marked the fifth-largest-ever jackpot is now estimated to grow to $850 million for Tuesday's drawing. That would be the third-largest of all time. It had been nearly two years since a lottery jackpot has grown so large. No one has won either game’s top prize in months. Read more

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Guatemalan soldiers have blocked part of a caravan of as many as 9,000 Honduran migrants not far from where they entered the country in a bid to reach the U.S. border. The soldiers in helmets and wielding shields and sticks formed ranks Saturday across a highway near the town of Chiquimula, near the Honduras border, to block the procession of migrants.  Mexico continued to drill thousands of National Guard members and immigration agents on its southern border, in a show of force. On Friday night, two groups of more than 3,000 Honduran migrants each pushed their way into Guatemala without registering. Read more

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Nathan Chen doesn’t miss. As he has done since his last loss at the Pyeonchang Olympics — yes, nearly three years ago — the dynamic Chen was nearly perfect and rather playful in winning the short program at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships. Seeking a fifth straight national title, something no man has done since Dick Button from 1946-52 with seven, Chen put out the most difficult routine that any man anywhere attempts. Later, Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier won pairs. Read more

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The Los Angeles Rams' vaunted defense wasn't at full strength and therefore was no match for the Green Bay Packers' potent offense. All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald played through a rib injury but wasn't himself and recorded just one assisted tackle. That helped the Green Bay Packers score on their first five series and beat the Rams 32-18 in the NFC divisional playoffs. The Rams didn't record any sacks and gave up their highest yardage total of the season. Read more

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BEIJING — China on Sunday reported 109 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, two-thirds of them in a northern province that abuts Beijing, and no deaths. Read more

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In his first hours as president, Joe Biden plans to take executive action to roll back some of the most controversial decisions of his predecessor and to address the raging coronavirus pandemic. Those actions are outlined by his incoming chief of staff in a memo released Saturday. The opening salvo would herald a 10-day blitz of executive actions as Biden seeks to act swiftly to redirect the country without waiting for Congress. Biden plans to end President Donald Trump’s restriction on immigration to the U.S. from some Muslim-majority countries, move to rejoin the Paris climate accord, and mandate mask-wearing on federal property and during interstate travel. Read more

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James Harden delivered 32 points and a triple-double in his Brooklyn debut, Kevin Durant scored a season-high 42 points in his first game back with his former teammate, and the Nets showed off their potent potential in a 122-115 victory over the Orlando Magic. Harden had 14 assists and 12 rebounds after being cleared to play earlier in the afternoon after all the players in the blockbuster trade that brought him from Houston had completed their physicals. He had no practice time with the Nets and sure didn’t need it, becoming the first player in franchise history to have a triple-double in his debut with them.  Read more

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With four days until President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration, security preparations are underway at state capitols across the country, and battleground states like Pennsylvania are on high alert. Read more

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Indonesian rescuers have retrieved more bodies from the rubble of homes and buildings toppled by a 6.2 magnitude earthquake, raising the death toll to 56. Military engineers managed to reopen ruptured roads and rebuild a bridge to clear access for relief goods. More heavy equipment reached the hardest-hit city of Mamuju and the neighboring district of Majene on Sulawesi island, where the quake hit Friday night. Power supply and phone communications also began to improve. Thousands are homeless and more than 800 have been injured, more than half still receiving treatment for serious injuries. Mamuju, the provincial capital of nearly 300,000 people, is strewn with debris. The governor’s office building was almost flattened by the quake and a shopping mall reduced to a crumpled hulk. Read more

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Newly acquired swingman Caris LeVert is out indefinitely for the Indiana Pacers after an MRI showed a small mass on his left kidney while conducting a physical. The 26-year-old was part of this week's blockbuster four-team deal that sent All-Star James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets and All-Star Victor Oladipo from Indiana to Houston. LeVert was expected to help replace Oladipo and injured forward T.J. Warren with Indiana. Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard said he expects LeVert to join the team as soon as possible. Read more

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More than 125 people have been arrested so far on charges related to the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, where a Capitol police officer and four others were killed. Charges from the Jan. 6 riot range from curfew violations to federal felonies related to theft and weapons possession. From a man pictured kicking his feet up on a desk in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office to a far right-wing media personality known as “Baked Alaska” to the bare-chested guy sporting a furry hat with horns, here’s a list in alphabetical order of some notable arrests and allegations made by authorities. Read more

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Uganda’s electoral commission says longtime President Yoweri Museveni has won a sixth term, while top opposition challenger Bobi Wine alleged rigging and officials struggled to explain how polling results were compiled amid an internet blackout. In a generational clash widely watched across the continent, the young singer-turned-lawmaker Wine posed arguably the greatest challenge to Museveni. He had strong support in urban centers where frustration with unemployment and corruption is high. The top U.S. diplomat to Africa called the electoral process fundamentally flawed and the State Department warned of action against those who undermine democracy in Uganda. Thursday’s vote followed the East African country’s worst pre-election violence since Museveni took office in 1986. Read more

President-elect Joe Biden will announce legislation his first day in office that provides a path to citizenship for millions of immigrants in the United States illegally. People briefed on the plans note it would be the biggest move toward granting status to people in the country illegally since Ronald Reagan bestowed amnesty on nearly 3 million people in 1986. Legislative efforts to overhaul immigration policy failed in 2007 and 2013. The scope and timing of the move surprised advocates given how immigration has long divided Democrats and Republicans, even within their own parties, and how the issue got little attention during the campaign. Read more

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Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers are making a return trip to the NFC title game and this time they get to play it at home. Rodgers threw for two touchdown passes to tie an NFL record and became the first Packers quarterback to run for a score in the playoffs since Bart Starr in the Ice Bowl in the Packers' 32-18 win over the Los Angeles Rams in the first game this season with fans in Green Bay. Buffalo is hosting Baltimore in the second game of the day. Read more

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Chain-link fencing surrounds state capitols and police and National Guard troops are on patrol or standby in advance of possible violence leading up to the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. With the FBI warning of potential violence at all state capitols Sunday, the ornate halls of government and symbols of democracy looked more like heavily guarded U.S. embassies in war-torn countries. Signs of ramped up security were in abundance from Atlanta to Sacramento, California throughout the week. SWAT officers stood guard at the Georgia State Capitol. A bomb-sniffing dog surveyed the capitol in Jackson, Mississippi. State troopers stood atop the Ohio Statehouse. Read more

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Police have arrested a man with a handgun and 500 rounds of ammunition at a checkpoint in Washington that's been set up ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. Wesley Allen Beeler of Front Royal, Virginia, has been charged with carrying a pistol without a license to do so in Washington after being stopped and searched at a checkpoint near the U.S. Capitol on Friday. A law enforcement official tells The Associated Press that Beeler had a valid credential for inaugural events, though it was not issued by the government and was not recognized by the officers. Read more