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Thousands of yellow-clad supporters have greeted Thailand’s king as he led a birthday commemoration for his revered late father, the latest in a series of public appearances at a time of unprecedented challenge to the monarchy from student-led protesters. King Maha Vajiralongkorn, accompanied by Queen Suthida, waved as he arrived at Bangkok’s Sanam Luang ceremonial ground. Pro-royalist supporters held Thai and yellow royal flags to welcome them, with some cheering “Long live the king.” The crowd wore yellow shirts, the color associated with the royal institution. The king led the crowd in a candlelit tribute to his late father. Although King Bhumibhol Adulyadej died four years ago, his birthday remains on the national calendar as Fathers’ Day. Read more

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NEW DELHI — India has registered 36,652 confirmed coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours. Read more

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Jed Leiber was an adult before he learned that his family was once part-owner of a collection of centuries-old religious artworks now said to be worth at least $250 million. His mother told him in the 1990s that his grandfather was one of a group of German art dealers who purchased a collection called the Guelph Treasure in 1929. She said the group was later forced to sell the works to the Nazis. That conversation set Leiber on a decadeslong mission to reclaim some 40 pieces of the Guelph Treasure on display in a Berlin museum. It’s a pursuit that's now landed him at the Supreme Court, in a case to be argued Monday.  Read more

Ghanaians head to the polls for general elections Dec. 7 that many contend will be a close race between the current head of state and a former president who have faced off twice before in one of the continent’s most politically stable countries. The vote is also seen as a test of democracy for the West African nation whose regional neighbors Guinea and Ivory Coast saw leaders hold onto power for third terms after constitutional changes. Whoever wins Ghana’s election will serve their second and final term. Read more

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Thousands of doctors, teachers and others in high-risk groups have signed up for a COVID-19 vaccination in Moscow starting Saturday, a precursor to a Russia-wide immunization effort. The vaccination effort comes three days after President Vladimir Putin ordered the launch of a “large-scale” COVID-19 immunization campaign even though a Russian-designed vaccine has yet to complete the advanced studies needed to ensure its effectiveness and safety in line with established scientific protocols. The Russian leader said Wednesday that more than 2 million doses of the Sputnik V jab will be available in the next few days, allowing authorities to offer jabs to medical workers and teachers across the country starting late next week. Read more

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Kuwait is voting for its National Assembly, the first election since the death of its longtime ruling emir, and as the oil-rich nation faces serious economic problems under the coronavirus pandemic. The election Saturday saw the tiny country’s hundreds of thousands of voters select lawmakers for 50 seats in the parliament, the freest and most-rambunctious of all of the Gulf Arab countries. The new parliament will need to make decisions on a number of matters, perhaps none more important than that Kuwait’s economy. Read more

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The wind will help dry things out today.  Find out when it's less windy. Read more

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the European Union’s top official are set to discuss the state of play of post-Brexit trade discussions after negotiators paused talks in light of their inability to bridge an array of differences. With the discussions stuck over the same issues for months, Johnson and Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the EU’s executive European Commission, will see if there is a route to a deal before a year-end deadline. Without an agreement in place, tariffs will end up being imposed on traded goods at the start of 2021. Read more

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Japan’s space agency says the country's Hayabusa2 spacecraft has successfully released a small capsule and sent it toward Earth to deliver samples from a distant asteroid that could provide clues to the origin of the solar system and life on our planet. The agency said the capsule successfully detached from 136,700 miles away Saturday in a challenging operation that required precision control. The capsule — just 15 inches in diameter — is now descending and is expected to land Sunday in a remote area of Woomera, Australia. Hayabusa2 left the asteroid Ryugu, about 180 million miles away, a year ago. After it released the capsule, it set off on a new expedition to another distant asteroid. Read more

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China state TV reports at least 18 miners have died due to high levels of carbon monoxide in the country's southwest. The report says one miner was found alive and rescuers are looking for five more. The disaster occurred Friday at the Diaoshuidong mine in Chongqing. China's coal mining industry used to be the world's deadliest, suffering more than 5,000 fatalities a year. Safety improved dramatically after authorities overhauled the industry starting about 15 years ago. Read more

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Much of California is on the brink of sweeping new restrictions on businesses and activities in a desperate attempt to slow a frightening coronavirus surge threatening to overwhelm hospitals. Five San Francisco Bay Area counties imposed a new stay-at-home order for their residents that will take effect Sunday. Southern California and a large swath of the central portion of the state could join this weekend. Those two regions have seen their intensive care unit capacity fall below the 15% threshold the state says will trigger an order halting on-site restaurant dining and closing hair salons and many other businesses. Read more

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While the COVID-19 pandemic has led France, Italy and Austria to shut or severely restrict access to their ski stations this holiday season, Switzerland is keeping its slopes open, a move that has driven a wedge among European leaders and fanned grumbling and envy among many business owners. But the lucky few who are allowed to ski are grateful. Local leaders are holding out hope that Switzerland will keep the slopes open, despite the pressure, and acknowledge the frustrations felt by businesses and Alpinists on the other side of the border.   Read more

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No. 20 Louisiana-Lafayette overcame three snaps over the punter’s head and another bad one on a extra point, beating Appalachian State 24-21 on a cold, rainy Friday night when the Mountaineers’ Chandler Staton missed a 30-yard field goal with 2 seconds left. Running back Trey Ragas scored three touchdowns, and Levi Lewis threw for 101 yards and a touchdown and ran for 77 yards to help the Ragin’ Cajuns beat Appalachian State for the first time and win their sixth straight game. Louisiana-Lafayette was 0-8 against Appalachian State, including losses in the last two conference championship games. Read more

Democrats and Republicans alike are pouring millions of dollars into Georgia's dueling Senate runoff races ahead of the Jan. 5 election. The state has long been a Republican stronghold. But a massive spike in TV advertising, as well as the millions of dollars in contributions sustaining it, reflects Georgia’s emerging status as a swing state after Democratic President-elect Joe Biden narrowly won it during the Nov. 3 election. The Senate runoffs will test whether the state’s electorate has truly shifted or if old voting patterns will snap back into place with President Donald Trump no longer on the ballot.  Read more

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President-elect Joe Biden’s choices for secretary of agriculture are as diverse as the department of 100,000 employees that he or she would represent. The choice is especially critical this year as USDA provides extra aid for the hungry and oversees food production amid the pandemic. For Biden, the emerging choice between Rep. Marcia Fudge of Ohio, former Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and several other potential candidates seems like another test of his vision for the Democratic Party. It's a contest between urban and rural and liberals and moderates, with the pick potentially placing an added emphasis on anti-hunger programs, farm subsidies or worker protections. Read more

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President-elect Joe Biden is hearing from the diverse groups who supported his election. Now he is under increasing pressure to expand racial and ideological diversity in his Cabinet and other top jobs. Of the nine major picks Biden has made so far, only two are white men — Secretary of State choice Antony Blinken and chief of staff Ron Klain. That's a historic low. But civil rights leaders are grumbling that none of the so-called “big four” Cabinet positions – the secretaries of state, defense, treasury and the attorney general – has yet gone to a person of color. And Biden is refusing to commit to doing so. Read more

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Under pressure from moderates in both parties, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have initiated late-game negotiations in hopes of combining a relief package of, in all likelihood, less than $1 trillion with a separate $1.4 trillion governmentwide omnibus spending bill. After kengthy delays, optimism is finally building in Washington for a COVID-19 aid bill that would offer relief for businesses, the unemployed, schools and health care providers, among others struggling as caseloads are spiking. Success is not certain and considerable differences remain over details, such as whether to issue a second round of $1,200 direct payments to most Americans. Read more

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The U.N. health chief says positive results from coronavirus vaccine trials mean the world “can begin to dream about the end of the pandemic.” But the director-general of the World Health Organization says rich and powerful nations must not trample the poor and marginalized “in the stampede for vaccines.” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told the General Assembly’s first high-level session on the pandemic that while the virus can be stopped, “the path ahead remains treacherous.” Tedros said Friday that the pandemic has shown humanity at “its best and worst,” pointing to acts of compassion and scientific achievements but also “signs of self-interest, blame-shifting and divisions.” Read more

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It's where you or a loved one may begin an unexpected medical emergency journey and need the assistance of first responders. Read more

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Fire danger remains high amid unpredictable wind gusts and dry conditions in Southern California, as crews made progress against blazes that burned several homes and injured two firefighters. The region’s notorious Santa Ana winds decreased slightly but red flag warnings of extreme wildfire risk were in place into the weekend because of low humidity. After the weather calms in the southern part of the state, winds are expected to increase in Northern California. Firefighters were still busy trying to contain a number of blazes south and east of Los Angeles. The biggest, in Orange County’s Silverado Canyon, is 10% contained. Read more

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TAMAQUA, Pa. - A woman died as a result of a fire at a high-rise apartment building Friday morning, and several others were injured. Residents have since been allowed back into their homes, except for those living in the top two floors where the fire broke out. Read more

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The Trump administration must accept new applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that protects some young immigrants from deportation. U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis says the government has to post a public notice within three days that new DACA applications are being accepted. The ruling follows one from November where Garaufis said Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf was unlawfully in his position. In the latest ruling, the judge says that invalidates the memo Wolf had issued in July suspending DACA. An email seeking comment was sent to Homeland Security. Read more

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Murphy and lawmakers announced the deal in a statement on Friday. Read more

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A federal judge hearing President Donald Trump’s lawsuit seeking to overturn Democrat Joe Biden’s win in Wisconsin says that the president’s request to “remand” the case to the GOP-controlled Legislature to pick new electors was “bizarre.” The federal case is one of two Trump has in Wisconsin making similar arguments. He filed another one in state court, which the Wisconsin Supreme Court refused to hear before it first goes through lower courts. Hearings on both cases were set for Thursday, with judges noting the importance of resolving the issues before the Electoral College meets on Dec. 14. Read more

South Korea’s capital has begun enforcing stricter distancing rules as the country added nearly 600 new coronavirus cases for the second straight day. The restrictions require large stores, gyms, movie theaters, barbershops and amusement parks to shut after 9 p.m., and restaurants to provide only deliveries and takeouts after that time. Public transportation will also be reduced after 9 p.m. in an aim to discourage unnecessary gatherings. The agency says most of the new cases came from the densely populated Seoul area where health officials are struggling to track infections tied to various places, including hospitals, churches, schools, saunas and gyms. Read more

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Major League Baseball and all 30 of its teams are suing their insurance providers, citing billions of dollars in losses during the 2020 season played almost entirely without fans due to the coronavirus pandemic. The suit, filed in October in California Superior Court in Alameda County, was obtained Friday by The Associated Press. It says providers AIG, Factory Mutual and Interstate Fire and Casualty Company have refused to pay claims made by MLB despite the league’s “all-risk” policy purchases. The league claims to have lost billions of dollars on unsold tickets, hundreds of millions on concessions, tens of millions on parking and millions more on suites and luxury seat licenses, in-park merchandise sales and corporate sponsorships.  Read more

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The health officers in five San Francisco Bay Area counties have issued a new stay-at-home order as the number of virus cases surge and hospitals fill. The changes announced Friday will take effect in most of the area at 10 p.m. Sunday and last through Jan. 4. The new restrictions were imposed in San Francisco and four other counties. Most of those counties have not yet reached Gov. Gavin Newsom’s threshold requiring the shutdown when hospitals fill 85% of ICU beds. It comes the same day the state recorded another daily record number of cases, with 22,018, and hospitalizations topped 9,000 for first time. Read more

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In his quest to cling to power, President Donald Trump has managed to lose not just once to Democrat Joe Biden but over and over again in courts across the country. Seemingly incapable of accepting the reality of his defeat, Trump and his allies continue to mount new cases recycling the same baseless claims, even after Trump’s own attorney general said the Justice Department uncovered no widespread fraud. Four more losses came Friday. The Trump campaign lost its bid to overturn the results of the election in Nevada and the Michigan appeals court rejected a case from his campaign. The Minnesota Supreme Court dismissed a challenge brought by GOP lawmakers. And an Arizona judge threw out thrown out a bid to undo Biden’s victory there. Read more

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President-elect Joe Biden (all times local): Read more

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President Donald Trump’s frantic effort in the courts to delegitimize an election he lost has come no closer in a month to reversing any results. Lawyers for Trump and his allies have asked judges in several states to take the drastic and unprecedented step of setting aside President-elect Joe Biden’s wins. They filed new cases and vowed to press on with appeals. But the quantity of affidavits, lawsuits and claims made by Trump belies that they are spurious or often repetitive of arguments already rejected by judges and elections officials, some of them Republicans.  Read more