Local News

Joe Bowman still remembers when he first stepped foot inside the Stirling Guest Hotel two years ago for its pre-Christmas soup kitchen outreach. Read more

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U.S. health officials say a fully-vaccinated traveler is self-quarantining after testing positive in late November. Read more

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Chairman Seymour Traub said properties that are not being improved are a waste of Neighborhood Improvement Zone space. Read more

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It's been talked about for days now, as health officials and scientists rush to learn more about it. Read more

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Allentown's Neighborhood Improvement Zone should spend more on marketing, City Center Investment Corp.'s J.B. Reilly said Wednesday. Read more

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Allentown City Council forwarded an amended bill Wednesday night that will create uniform pay scales for non-bargaining city employees.  Read more

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The township's proposed 2022 budget projects a general fund deficit of a little more than 1% — or about $173,000 — on total spending of $16.55 million. Read more

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A New Jersey man has come forward about abuse he says started when he was 12 years old. Read more

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A 15-year-old boy has been charged with murder and terrorism for a shooting that killed four fellow students and injured others at a Michigan high school. Authorities on Wednesday revealed that his parents were summoned just a few hours before the bloodshed. No motive was offered by Oakland County authorities, a day after violence at Oxford High School. But sheriff’s Lt. Tim Willis told a judge that Ethan Crumbley recorded a video the night before the violence in which he discussed killing students. Crumbley is charged as an adult with murder, attempted murder, terrorism causing death and gun crimes. A judge ordered him held without bond and transferred to jail from a juvenile facility. Read more

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Protestors on both sides of the abortion issue marched outside the U.S. Supreme Court as justices heard two hours of testimony on a Mississippi law that would ban abortion after 15 weeks. Read more

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Each jacket dropped off is one more child, parent, or teenager, with warmth on their back. Read more

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A Texas resident was arrested by police after Transportation Security Administration officers prevented him from bringing his handgun onto his flight Wednesday. Read more

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Crews were called around 1:30 p.m. to the East Penn Self Storage center on Route 309 in Upper Saucon Township. Read more

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(The Center Square) – Celebrity heart surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz has joined the Pennsylvania U.S. Senate race after weeks of speculation and the recent exit of former President Donald Trump-endorsed candidate Sean Parnell. Read more

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Alberto Rivera-Vázquez is charged with first- and third-degree murder. Read more

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President Judge Michael J. Koury sentenced Daniel Zipp to five to 10 years in state prison for the death of Joseph Lee Boucher. Read more

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The county prosecutor's office says Elaine Trachin's death is being investigated as a homicide. Read more

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Election limbo, as every race in Lehigh County still is technically up in the air. It's all due to one race. Read more

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Five people walked into the store at Hamilton Crossings on Monday shortly before 6:30 p.m. and stole store merchandise by filling bags they brought into the store, state police say. Read more

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(The Center Square) – The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled a school mask order imposed by the Pennsylvania Department of Health will remain in effect until the high court makes a final decision. Read more

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By a 3-0 vote, the commissioners approved a resolution with Bucks County Water & Sewer Authority. Read more

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Ginger Kunkel will assume leadership of the Spring Township-based bank in 2022. Read more

"This fund pays for leg amputations, eye enucleation, x-rays and anything extra that our animals need before they make it to their adoption." Read more

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A community in Kansas decided to take matters into their own hands when their church started crumbling. Read more

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It was all to show appreciation for a woman who has been serving up smiles since 1987. Read more

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Animal shelters across the country have been struggling with overcrowding during the pandemic. Read more

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Outside of some light, primarily rain showers Wednesday night and Thursday, it's a mainly dry weather pattern through Sunday. Read more

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Authorities say a 15-year-old sophomore opened fire at his Michigan high school on Tuesday, killing three students, including a 16-year-old boy who died in a deputy’s patrol car on the way to a hospital. Eight other people were wounded, some critically. Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard says investigators are still trying to determine a motive for the shooting at Oxford High School in Oxford Township. He says the suspect isn't talking. The suspect’s father had bought the 9 mm Sig Sauer used in the shooting on Friday, Bouchard said, adding that he did not know why the man bought the gun.  Read more

US and World News

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South Korea has broken its daily record for coronavirus infections for a second straight day with more than 5,200 new cases, as pressure mounts on a health care system grappling with rising hospitalizations and deaths. The rapid delta-driven spread comes amid the emergence of the new omicron variant, which is seen as potentially more contagious than previous strains of the virus, and has fueled concerns about prolonged pandemic suffering. South Korea confirmed its first five omicron cases Wednesday night linked to arrivals from Nigeria, prompting the government to tighten its border controls. Read more

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The U.S. defense chief says that China’s pursuit of hypersonic weapons “increases tensions in the region” and has vowed the U.S. will maintain its capability to deter potential threats posed by China. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin made the remarks in Seoul on Thursday following annual security talks with his South Korean counterpart. Austin says the U.S. is concerned about China’s military capability and calls Beijing “our pacing challenge.” He says the U.S. will "maintain the capabilities to defend and deter against a range of potential threats from (China) to ourselves and to our allies.” Read more

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The head of the women’s professional tennis tour tells The Associated Press that the suspension of all WTA tournaments in China could extend beyond 2022. The WTA on Wednesday said it would not play in China next year because of concerns about the safety of Grand Slam doubles champion Peng Shuai. WTA President and CEO Steve Simon said in a video call that halting the tour’s play in China came with the backing of the WTA Board of Directors, players, tournaments and sponsors. It is the strongest public stand against China taken by a sports body. Peng accused a former government official of sexual assault last month and has dropped out of public view. Read more

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has appointed a new treasury and finance minister after Lutfi Elvan stepped down from the post as the currency has been tumbling to record lows. An announcement published in the Official Gazette early Thursday said that Erdogan named deputy minister Nureddin Nebati to the post. The announcement said Elvan asked to be “pardoned from the job” and that his request was accepted. His resignation comes as the Turkish lira has been plummeting to successive all-time lows over concerns about the government’s economic policy following a series of cuts in borrowing costs despite soaring inflation. The Turkish currency has lost about 40% of its value since the start of the year. Read more

Human Rights Watch says the killing of at least 65 protesters in Myanmar’s biggest city on March 14 this year was planned and premeditated. The group accused security forces of deliberately encircling and using lethal force against crowds in Yangon’s working class neighborhood of Hlaing Tharyar that were demonstrating against the military’s Feb. 1 seizure of power. The report charges that soldiers and police armed with military assault rifles fired on trapped protesters and on those trying to assist the wounded. Human Rights Watch urges the international community to keep pressure on the military-installed government. The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners says at least 1,300 protesters and bystanders have been killed in Myanmar.  Read more

Pope Francis’ trip to Cyprus and Greece this weekend is drawing fresh attention to the plight of migrants on Europe’s borders. The eastern Mediterranean island nation of Cyprus has seen such a spike in migrant arrivals this year that it has formally asked the European Commission to let it stop processing asylum claims altogether. Francis is expected to raise the migration question as well as Cyprus’ nearly half-century division when he arrives in Nicosia on Thursday on the first leg of his five-day trip. The visit will also take him back to Lesbos where in 2016 he made headlines when he brought a dozen Syrian refugees home with him from a refugee camp on the Greek island. Read more

Governments around the world are weighing new measures for populations tired of hearing about restrictions and vaccines with the coronavirus delta variant of COVID-19 pushing up cases in Europe and growing fears over the omicron variant. Greeks who are over age 60 and refuse vaccinations could be hit with monthly fines.  Potential carriers of omicron in Israel could be tracked by the nation’s spy agency. Weekly protests in the Netherlands over the country’s 5 p.m. lockdown and other new restrictions have recently descended into violence. That's despite what appears to be overwhelming acceptance of the new rules. It’s a thorny calculus made more difficult by the prospect of backlash, increased social divisions and the fear of being voted out of office. Read more

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Major League Baseball teams committed to an unprecedented $1.4 billion in salaries Wednesday, hours before the league locked out players following the 11:59 p.m. expiration of the sport's collective bargaining agreement. It’s the first time clubs have combined to spend over $1 billion in a single day. The Texas Rangers led the spending spree, finalizing deals with shortstop Corey Seager for $325 million over 10 years and infielder Marcus Semien for $175 million over seven years. The Detroit Tigers locked up Javier Báez on a $140 million, six-year deal, and ace Max Scherzer got $130 million over three years from the New York Mets. Read more

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Major League Baseball plunged into its first work stoppage in a quarter-century when the sport’s collective bargaining agreement expired and owners immediately locked out players in a move that threatens spring training and opening day. The strategy, management’s equivalent of a strike under federal labor law, ended the sport’s labor peace after 9,740 days over 26 1/2 years. Teams decided to force the long-anticipated confrontation during an offseason rather than risk players walking out during the summer, as they did in 1994. Players and owners had successfully reached four consecutive agreements without a work stoppage. Read more

The federal government could be heading for a temporary shutdown. Republicans in Congress are poised to stall a must-pass funding bill as they force a debate on rolling back the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates for some workers. Conservative Republicans in the House and Senate want to take a hardline stand against the mandated vaccinations. Delays could cause a shutdown Friday that lasts through the weekend. But not all Republicans are on board, saying even a short stoppage of the federal government will not play well with the public. The White House is confident Congress will approve funding to keep the government running.  Read more

One of the two outstanding vote recounts that will settle whether Virginia Republicans have reclaimed the majority in the House of Delegates is set to get underway. Elections officials and representatives from both parties in Virginia Beach are expected to take part in the secondary counting of ballots that was requested by Democratic Del. Alex Askew. The freshman delegate currently represents the 85th House District. Askew and fellow Democratic Del. Martha Mugler of the 91st District requested recounts after certified results from the Nov. 2 election showed their GOP challengers ahead by razor-thin margins. Republicans have said they are confident their candidates’ leads will hold and they will take office in January with a 52-seat majority.  Read more

Rights groups say Israel failed to investigate shootings that killed more than 200 Palestinians and wounded thousands at violent protests along the Gaza frontier in 2018 and 2019. That would potentially strengthen the case for the International Criminal Court to intervene. The Israeli military rejected the findings, saying the “mass riots” organized by Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers were aimed at providing cover for attacks. The military said alleged abuses were investigated. B'Tselem said that out of 143 cases referred to military prosecutors, one soldier was convicted and given a month of community service. The military says at least two soldiers have been convicted and other cases are still being investigated. Read more

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Even Christmas trees aren’t immune to the pandemic-induced shortages and inflation plaguing the economy. Extreme weather and supply chain disruptions have reduced supplies of both real and artificial trees this season. Industry officials say American shoppers should expect to have fewer choices and pay up to 30% more for both types this Christmas. Read more

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Asian stock markets are mixed after a turbulent day on Wall Street as traders tried to forecast the impact of the coronavirus’s omicron variant. Tokyo and Sydney fell while Hong Kong and Seoul advanced. Shanghai was unchanged. Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index ended down 1.2%. That was despite surveys showing U.S. hiring and factory activity in November were better than expected. The White House announced the discovery of the first omicron case in the United States. Governments have responded to the variant by tightening travel controls, fueling unease about the outlook for a global economic recovery. Read more

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The House panel investigating the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection has voted to pursue contempt charges against Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice Department official who refused to answer the committee’s questions. The committee, however, has agreed to let Clark come back for another try. The chairman of the panel, Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson, says it has received a last-minute notification from Clark’s lawyer that he wants to instead invoke his right to not incriminate himself. Thompson says he believes Clark’s attempt to return is a “a last-ditch attempt to delay the Select Committee’s proceedings” but the panel has agreed to try to interview him again.  Read more

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The Biden administration's COVID-19 vaccine mandate in the U.S. is on hold because of legal challenges, but employers can still require the shots. The regulation says businesses with 100 or more employees need to require COVID-19 vaccination or have workers get tested weekly for the virus. It was set to take effect Jan. 4, but has faced legal challenges from businesses, Republican attorneys general and others. A federal appeals court put the rule on hold. Then all the legal challenges were consolidated in another appeals court, which is taking written arguments from parties that want to join the case. Read more

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Jussie Smollett’s legal team will seek to dent the credibility of a star state witness who testified about how he said the former “Empire” actor recruited him and his brother to stage a racist, homophobic attack on Smollett. But casting doubts on the testimony of Abimbola Osundairo as the defense begins cross-examining the aspiring actor on Thursday won’t be easy. Much of what he told jurors from the stand on Wednesday appears to be corroborated by video and other evidence. Osundairo testified that Smollett instructed Osundairo and his brother in advance on how they should carry out the Jan. 29, 2019, hoax, telling Osundairo to deliver light punches and even to rub his knuckles hard on Smollett’s head.  Read more

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A 15-year-old boy has been denied bail and moved to jail after being charged in a Michigan school shooting that killed four students and injured others. Authorities on Wednesday revealed that Ethan Crumbley's parents were summoned to discuss his behavior just a few hours before the bloodshed Tuesday. No motive for the shooting was offered by Oakland County authorities. But sheriff’s Lt. Tim Willis told a judge that Crumbley recorded a video the night before the violence in which he discussed killing students. Crumbley is charged as an adult with 24 crimes, including murder and terrorism.  Read more

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Japan says it has retracted a ban on new incoming international flight bookings to defend against the new variant of the coronavirus only a day after the policy was announced. The transport ministry on Wednesday issued a request to international airlines to stop taking new reservations for flights coming into Japan until the end of December as an emergency precaution to defend against the new omicron variant. The ministry said Thursday it has retracted the request after receiving heavy criticisms from inside and outside the country that the ban was too strict. Japan has reported two cases of the omicron variant, which was first reported in South Africa last week. Read more

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Prosecutors and attorneys for the suburban Minneapolis police officer charged in Daunte Wright’s shooting death have seated nine of the 14 jurors needed for her trial, including a woman who said she owns a stun gun. Kim Potter, who is white, is charged with manslaughter in the April 11 shooting of Wright, a 20-year-old Black motorist, following a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center. Potter has said she meant to use her Taser on Wright when he pulled away from officers, but that she shot him with her handgun by mistake. The stun gun owner seated on the jury said she could set aside what she knows about her own device in judging the case. Read more

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Asian stock markets are mixed after a turbulent day on Wall Street as traders tried to forecast the impact of the coronavirus’s omicron variant. Shanghai and Tokyo fell while Hong Kong and Seoul advanced. Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index ended down 1.2%. The was despite surveys showing U.S. hiring and factory activity in November were better than expected. The White House announced the discovery of the first omicron case in the United States. Governments have responded to the variant by tightening travel controls, fueling unease about the outlook for a global economic recovery. Read more

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Notre Dame is working on a deal to promote defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman to head coach to replace Brian Kelly. That's according to a person with knowledge of the situation who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because nothing has been finalized. Kelly left for LSU earlier this week. The first piece of Notre Dame’s plan for the future has already fallen into place. Offensive offensive coordinator Tommy Rees informed Notre Dame to he would remain with the Fighting Irish instead of joining Kelly. Freeman is 35 years old and considered a rising star in coaching. Read more

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Asian stock markets are mixed after a turbulent day on Wall Street as traders tried to forecast the impact of the coronavirus’s omicron variant. Shanghai and Tokyo fell while Hong Kong and Seoul advanced. Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index ended down 1.2%. That was despite surveys showing U.S. hiring and factory activity in November were better than expected. The White House announced the discovery of the first omicron case in the United States. Governments have responded to the variant by tightening travel controls, fueling unease about the outlook for a global economic recovery. Read more

Alaska State Troopers say DNA and genome sequencing have identified a body found decades ago on Fire Island just west of Anchorage. Troopers say the victim was Michael Allison Beavers, who owned an excavation business in suburban Chugiak. He was last seen in November 1979, when he left by car for Seattle for business. His spouse reported him missing two months later. The remains were discovered in 1989. Officials at the time estimated the body had been on the beach at least a year, but the date of death couldn’t be determined. Troopers say the investigation into his death continues, and anyone with information about his disappearance and death should contact authorities. Read more

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The holly, jolly, best time of the year has gotten a light-filled launch. The towering Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center has been officially turned on. The 79-foot Norway spruce is covered with more than 50,000 lights in a rainbow of colors. It bears a crystal-covered, 900-pound star. The tree was lit Wednesday in a midtown Manhattan ceremony, once again open to the public, in contrast to last year’s virus-impacted event. The tree came from Elkton, Maryland, where it stood for more than 80 years outside a family home. The first Christmas tree was placed in Rockefeller Center by men working there in 1931. Read more

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An 11-person collective from Belfast that aims to transcend Northern Ireland’s political and religious divides has won the U.K.’s prestigious Turner Prize for art. The Array Collective took the 25,000 pound ($33,000) prize on Wednesday for “The Druithaib’s Ball,” a recreation of a traditional Irish shebeen, or speakeasy full of references to 100 years of Northern Ireland history. Prize organizers said the collective’s work tackles “urgent social and political issues affecting Northern Ireland with humor, seriousness and beauty.” Named for 19th-century landscape painter J.M.W. Turner, the award was founded in 1984 and helped make stars of potter Grayson Perry, shark-pickling artist Damien Hirst and filmmaker Steve McQueen. Read more

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Members of the United Auto Workers union apparently will approve picking their leaders in direct elections. With 72% of the ballots counted, nearly 63% favor direct elections. About 37% want to keep the current system of delegates selecting the union’s leadership. A federal court-appointed monitor who is conducting the election says on his website that the number of ballots supporting direct voting crossed a threshold indicating that it will win. Direct voting received 65,136 votes to 38,503 for the delegates. The website says the results are unofficial and the full count likely won’t be done until Thursday. Just over 143,000 ballots were received by Monday’s mail-in deadline. Read more

The new U.S. ambassador to New Zealand says he wants to find areas of common ground with China in a region where tensions often run high. Tom Udall, a former U.S. senator from New Mexico, held his first press conference in his new role Thursday after presenting his credentials a day earlier. Udall says he’s been good friends with U.S. President Joe Biden since first interning for him in 1973. Udall replaces another former U.S. senator, Scott Brown, who was appointed by former President Donald Trump. Udall, who is 73, said he’d never visited New Zealand before his recent arrival but was working on learning the Indigenous Maori language. Read more

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The federal government could be heading for a temporary shutdown. Republicans in Congress are poised to stall a must-pass funding bill as they force a debate on rolling back the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates for some workers. Conservative Republicans in the House and Senate want to take a hardline stand against the mandated vaccinations. Delays could cause a shutdown Friday that lasts through the weekend. But not all Republicans are on board, saying even a short stoppage of the federal government will not play well with the public. The White House is confident Congress will approve funding to keep the government running.  Read more

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The House panel investigating the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection has voted to pursue contempt charges against Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice Department official who refused to answer the committee’s questions. The committee, however, has agreed to let Clark come back for another try. The chairman of the panel, Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson, says it has received a last-minute notification from Clark’s lawyer that he wants to instead invoke his right to not incriminate himself. Thompson says he believes Clark’s attempt to return is a “a last-ditch attempt to delay the Select Committee’s proceedings” but the panel has agreed to try to interview him again.  Read more