Islamic State group spokesman says IS leader Abu al-Hassan al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi was recently killed in battle

November 30th, 2022

BEIRUT (AP) — Islamic State group spokesman says IS leader Abu al-Hassan al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi was recently killed in battle.


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NATO allies vow to back Moldova, Georgia, and Bosnia

November 30th, 2022

BUCHAREST (AP) — Apart from Ukraine, Moldova has been hit hardest by Russia’s invasion of its neighbor, the Moldavian foreign minister said Wednesday, as NATO offered fresh support to three countries shaken by the effects of Moscow’s 10-month-old war.

Nicu Popescu told The Associated Press in an interview in Romania’s capital that “we want to be expanding our cooperation with partners who support Moldova … that includes the European Union (and) NATO.”

That support for Moldova — as well as Georgia and Bosnia — came from NATO allies also on Wednesday when the three countries’ foreign ministers met with their NATO counterparts to discuss how the world’s biggest security organization could help them in the face of political, energy and territorial uncertainty precipitated by the war.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said after talks that the allies discussed shared security concerns with the three countries which he said are facing Russian pressure. Stoltenberg said alliance members agreed to help train and improve the three nations’ security and defense institutions.

“If there is one lesson learned from Ukraine it’s that we need to support them now … when we have seen developments going in the absolutely wrong direction as we saw with the invasion of Ukraine,” Stoltenberg said at the Palace of the Parliament in Bucharest.

Russia’s war in Ukraine has had a particularly troubling effect on Moldova, Ukraine’s neighbor, which is currently facing a severe energy crisis due to its reliance on Russian energy.

In recent weeks it has suffered massive power outages as a result of Russian strikes on Ukraine’s energy grid. Russian missiles have also traversed its skies, missile debris has landed on its soil, and in April blasts occurred in the country’s Russian-backed breakaway region of Transnistria — where Moscow bases around 1,500 troops.

“Every week there is something new, there’s a new negative effect of this war on us,” Popescu said. “Last week … almost 80-90% of the country was plunged into darkness for most of a day. This is a really, totally unacceptable, very aggressive Russian campaign that targets Ukraine but also in complete disregard of our security.”

Moldova was granted E.U. candidate status in June, the same day as Ukraine, and is constitutionally neutral, but “neutrality does not mean demilitarisation, we need the military means and all the other means to defend our country, to defend our peace, to defend our people from aggression,” Popescu added.

Stoltenberg told reporters on Wednesday that Bosnia — which has long been wracked by political instability, Russian interference, and ethnic tensions — is “important for stability in the whole of the Western Balkans.” Protests rocked the Bosnian Serb half of the ethnically divided country last month after some voters alleged that a pro-Russian Bosnian Serb leader rigged an election in the Serb entity, Republika Srpska.

Bosnian Foreign Minister Bisera Turkovic said her country, where a government is in the process of being formed following the elections, “is very concerned about the future.”

“We have proxies, or we had the proxies, in our government, Russian proxies. So division in the country is deep and we hope that we will be able to overcome it. NATO’s presence is extremely important for Bosnia-Herzegovina because it is a guarantor of our security,” she said.

NATO has promised Georgia that, like Ukraine, it will join the 30-nation alliance one day, but Russian troops swept into Georgia after that pledge was made 14 years ago. A breakaway Georgian region has this year threatened to hold a referendum on joining Russia.

At an international aid conference in Paris last week co-chaired by France, Germany and Romania raised more than 100 million euros ($103 million) to support Moldova, Europe’s poorest country. Earlier this month, the European Union also pledged the country 250 million euros (nearly $258 million) in aid.

“We are working with all the partners … and that is helping us,” Popescu said Wednesday. “At the same time, the truth is that between now and April (we) still have quite a lot to go in ensuring that we’ll be having an uninterrupted supply of gas and electricity.”


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Penalty asked for doctor who spoke of 10-year-old’s abortion

November 30th, 2022

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana’s Republican attorney general on Wednesday asked the state medical licensing board to discipline an Indianapolis doctor who has spoken publicly about providing an abortion to a 10-year-old rape victim who traveled from Ohio after its more-restrictive abortion law took effect.

The complaint alleges Dr. Caitlin Bernard violated state law by not reporting the girl’s child abuse to Indiana authorities and violated patient privacy laws by telling a newspaper reporter about the girl’s treatment.

That account sparked a national political uproar in the weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, with some news outlets and Republican politicians falsely suggesting Bernard fabricated the story and President Joe Biden nearly shouting his outrage over the case during a White House event.

Bernard and her lawyers maintain the girl’s abuse had already been reported to Ohio police and child protective services officials before the doctor ever saw the child. A 27-year-old man has been charged in Columbus, Ohio, with raping the girl.

Bernard’s lawyers argue Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita, who is stridently anti-abortion, has been spreading false or misleading information about the doctor with his investigation allegations for several months.

The attorney general’s complaint asked the licensing board to impose “appropriate disciplinary action” but doesn’t specify a requested penalty.

“Dr. Bernard violated the law, her patient’s trust, and the standards for the medical profession when she disclosed her patient’s abuse, medical issues, and medical treatment to a reporter at an abortion rights rally to further her political agenda,” the office said in a statement. “Simply concealing the patient’s name falls far short of her legal and ethical duties here.”

Bernard’s lawyers didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment on the licensing complaint.

The attorney general’s office filed the action as an Indianapolis judge considers whether to block the attorney general’s office from trying to obtain patient medical records for its investigation. The judge’s ruling is expected later this week.

Bernard treated the girl in Indianapolis in late June, as she said doctors determined the girl was unable to have an abortion in neighboring Ohio. That’s because Ohio’s “fetal heartbeat” law took effect with the Supreme Court’s June 24 decision. Such laws ban abortions from the time cardiac activity can be detected in an embryo, which is typically around the sixth week of pregnancy, before many realize they are pregnant.

Deputy Attorney General Caryn Nieman-Szyper said during a court hearing last week that Bernard wouldn’t be under investigation if she had not disclosed the girl’s rape to a reporter to advance her own advocacy of abortion rights. Nieman-Szyper said Bernard had not shown she had permission from the girl’s family to discuss her care in public, exposing the child to national attention.

Bernard testified that she spoke with an Indianapolis Star reporter about the girl’s impending abortion at an event protesting the Supreme Court’s abortion decision.

After the newspaper cited that case in a July 1 article about patients heading to Indiana for abortions because of more restrictive laws elsewhere, Rokita told Fox News that he would investigate Bernard’s actions, calling her an “abortion activist acting as a doctor.”

Rokita has kept the investigation going even after rape charges were filed in Ohio and public records obtained by The Associated Press show Bernard met Indiana’s required three-day reporting period for an abortion performed on a girl younger than 16.


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Celery stalk in trash, luck, lead to lost wedding rings

November 30th, 2022

WINDHAM, N.H. (AP) — A celery stalk sighting and a little luck came together to help a New Hampshire man find his wife’s wedding rings in a 20-ton trash trailer, the jewelry wrapped in a napkin he had accidentally thrown away.

Kevin Butler had taken the trash to a transfer station in Windham last Wednesday. Unwittingly, he had tossed the napkin into the white trash bag, not realizing his wife had cleaned the rings and wrapped them in the napkin to dry.

Several hours later, he returned and asked for help in finding the rings amid the piles of garbage.

“He said, ‘I’m pretty sure I threw the rings out,'” Dennis Senibaldi, the transfer station supervisor, said Tuesday.

Senibaldi and his crew reviewed surveillance video to see what time Butler first showed up at the transfer station and where he threw it out. They used an excavator to start scooping up trash from the trailer.

After about five or six scoops, they saw a white bag with a telltale clue.

“One of the things he said was (inside) was celery stalks, and I could see a celery stalk sticking out the side of the bag,” Senibaldi said.

They started going through the bag, but there was no sign of the rings.

But at the very bottom, underneath some carrot or sweet potato peelings, there was a napkin. “Literally, I opened up the napkin, there were the two rings,” Senibaldi said.

Butler jumped up and hugged Senibaldi.

“I wouldn’t recommend doing that,” Butler told WMUR-TV of searching through the trash, “but to get the rings back, I would do it a thousand times over.”


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Indiana attorney general asks medical board to penalize doctor who spoke about abortion for 10-year-old Ohio rape victim

November 30th, 2022

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana attorney general asks medical board to penalize doctor who spoke about abortion for 10-year-old Ohio rape victim.


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Spain starts new code to avoid sexism in ads for kids’ toys

November 30th, 2022

MADRID (AP) —

Spain said Wednesday it’s enacting a new ethics code to discourage toy manufacturers from using sexist stereotypes such as dolls for girls and action figures for boys in advertisements as the Christmas season kicks off.

A government statement said the new “self-regulatory” code urges companies to run adverts that engender an image of pluralism and equality, free from stereotypes.

“The characterization of girls with sexual connotations will be prohibited and the exclusive association of toys with roles such as caring, domestic work or beauty with them (girls), and action, physical activity or technology with boys will be avoided,” the statement said.

The idea is that companies will no longer use colors such as blue or pink to indicate products intended for boys or girls, the government said.

The code follows an agreement between the Consumer Affairs Ministry, toy manufacturers and publicity companies in April.

The code, which updates another from 2005, goes into effect Thursday. It’s directed at advertising geared toward children under 15 and especially kids under seven.

Other European countries have similar codes.


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Zambian killed in Ukraine was employed as Russian mercenary

November 30th, 2022

MOSCOW (AP) — A Zambian student who had been serving a prison sentence in Russia and died fighting alongside Russian troops in Ukraine had been employed by Russian mercenary group Wagner, its leader said.

Wagner Group head Yevgeny Prigozhin said on the Russian social media app VKontake on Tuesday that the student, 23 year-old Lemekhane Nyireda, “died a hero.”

Zambian Foreign Minister Stanley Kakubo said earlier this month that Russian officials had informed the Zambian government of the death of Nyireda, who was a government-sponsored student before he was sentenced in Russia for unspecified crimes in April 2020.

He said the Zambian Embassy in the Russian capital of Moscow had established that Nyirenda died Sept. 22 and that his remains were transported to the Russian border town of Rostov ahead of repatriation to Zambia.

Before his prison sentence, Nyirenda was studying nuclear engineering at the Moscow Engineering Physics Institute. He was serving his approximately nine-year sentence at a prison on the outskirts of Moscow, according to the Zambian government.

Reports have circulated that Russia — desperate for more manpower to support what the Kremlin calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine — has offered freedom to convicts if they join the fight. Russia has employed the Wagner Group, whose head Prigozhin is said to be a close ally of President Vladimir Putin and has admitted meddling in U.S. elections — in several armed conflicts worldwide.

Prigozhin said he had asked the jailed student why he wanted to join the fight, given a high chance he would be killed, and that the Zambian citizen responded: “You Russians helped us Africans gain independence for many years. When it was difficult for us, you extended your hand to us and continue to do so now … The least I could do, probably, to pay our debts is go to war with you.”


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US job openings fell in October to still-high level

November 30th, 2022

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. job openings dropped in October but remained high, a sign that businesses became slightly less needy for workers as the Federal Reserve ramps up interest rates in an effort to cool the economy.

Employers posted 10.3 million job vacancies in October, down from 10.7 million in September, the Labor Department said Wednesday. Even with the drop, openings were slightly lower in August, when they dipped below 10.3 million before rebounding the following month.

The number of people quitting their jobs also slipped in October, to 4 million from 4.1 million.

The Federal Reserve is closely monitoring the figures on job openings and quits for signals about the strength of the job market. The Fed is seeking to pull off a delicate task by slowing hiring and the broader economy to cool inflation, but not so much as to cause a recession.

While more job openings are a benefit for those seeking work, Fed officials would like to see the number of openings fall. That’s because fewer openings would indicate less competition between businesses to find and keep workers, reducing pressure on them to raise wages.

The number of open jobs dropped last month in construction, manufacturing, professional services such as architecture and engineering, and health care. They rose in financial services and remained high for restaurants, bars, and hotels.

“The labor market is cooling (what the Fed wants) but it is far from cold,” Jennifer Lee, an economist at BMO Capital Markets, said in an email.

Fed officials would also like to see the number of people quitting decline. When workers quit, they typically do so for a new, higher-paying job. Since the pandemic, people who have left one job for a new one have been getting historically large wage increases.

Many businesses then pass on the higher labor costs to customers through price increases, fueling inflation.

The Fed would like to slow — though not eliminate — wage gains, so it is hoping that its rate hikes will bring down the number of jobs that companies advertise.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell is scheduled to speak about inflation and the labor market in a highly-anticipated speech Wednesday afternoon. Wall Street traders in particular will watch his speech closely for any signs he may give of how much further the Fed will raise interest rates.

Powell’s appearance comes two days before the U.S. releases critical employment data for November.

The Fed has hiked its benchmark interest rate six times this year to a range of 3.75% to 4%, the highest in about 15 years, in a bid to quell rampant inflation. Prices have soared 7.7% in the past year, near the highest in four decades. The Fed typically seeks to slow price increases by weakening the economy and pushing up unemployment, which reduces spending and often brings down inflation.

However, with job openings so high — they hit a two-decade record of 11.9 million in March — many Fed officials hope they can bring down wage increases and inflation by sharply reducing openings, without causing layoffs to rise significantly. Many economists are skeptical that such an approach can succeed, because historically layoffs have also risen when job openings have gone down.

Wednesday’s report — known as the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey — provides greater detail about the labor market, while the monthly jobs report on Friday includes the unemployment rate and the number of jobs added or lost each month.


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German gas importer Uniper seeks damages from Gazprom

November 30th, 2022

BERLIN (AP) — German energy company Uniper said Wednesday it’s suing Gazprom for damages over natural gas that hasn’t been delivered since June, when the Russian supplier started reducing amounts to Germany.

Gas importer Uniper said it has initiated proceedings against Gazprom Export at an international arbitration tribunal in Stockholm. It said the cost to replace gas that Russia failed to supply so far totals at least 11.6 billion euros ($12 billion) and that cost will continue to increase until the end of 2024.

Gazprom started reducing gas supplies through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline under the Baltic Sea to Germany in mid-June, citing alleged technical problems. German officials dismissed that explanation as cover for a political decision to push up prices and create uncertainty.

Russia hasn’t delivered any gas to Germany, which is supporting Ukraine in the face of Russia’s invasion, since the end of August.

Uniper has incurred huge costs as a result of the gas cuts. The government announced the company’s nationalization in late September.

The cuts have contributed to high prices for heating fuel and power generation which, in turn, have raised fears of business closures, rationing and a recession as the weather turns cold. Uniper has been forced to buy gas at far higher market prices to meet is supply contract obligations.

“We are claiming recovery of our significant financial damages in these proceedings. It’s about gas volumes that were contractually agreed with Gazprom but not delivered and for which we had to procure replacements at extremely high market prices and still have to do so,” Uniper CEO Klaus-Dieter Maubach said in a statement.

“We incurred these costs, but they are not our responsibility. We are pursuing these legal proceedings with all due vigor: We owe this to our shareholders, our employees and the taxpayers.”

Uniper also said it has decided to “further distance itself as far as possible” from Russian unit Unipro, saying that a sale was agreed in September with a local buyer but Russian regulatory approval is outstanding and “uncertain.”

Uniper said that Unipro’s management hasn’t been involved in the parent company’s “information processes” for some time and that finances and IT systems also have been separated. It said its board this week launched a process to further separate the two companies “as far as possible.”


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World Cup Viewer’s Guide: Germany must win for last-16 shot

November 30th, 2022

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — It’s a simple task for Germany in its final game of group stage: beat Costa Rica on Thursday or the four-time World Cup champions will go home early for a second consecutive tournament.

Germany was knocked out as reigning World Cup champions in group play four years ago in Russia.

But even a victory might not be enough. Germany is in last place in Group E and, depending on the outcome of Japan versus Spain, goal difference deficit might come into play. Germany has scored two goals through its two games, a 2-1 loss to Japan in its opening match and 1-1 draw against Spain.

“We have a lot of humility,” Germany midfielder Thomas Müller said. “There isn’t much reason to be really euphoric.”

Germany had the same struggles in Russia in 2018 after opening with a 1-0 loss to Mexico before beating Sweden 2-1. Germany would have advanced with a win over South Korea in the final group game, but the defending champions lost 2-0 and went home.

“Now we have to do it differently,” Müller said. “When the football world looks at Germany versus Costa Rica, I think we’re the favorite for those looking from the outside. It’s clear we have to win. Naturally we have respect.”

Costa Rica earned a surprise win over Japan last week and now control its own fate. Costa Rica will advance with a victory over Germany, and even a draw would be enough for Costa Rica to reach the knockout stages if Spain beats Japan in the group’s other game being played at the same time.

“We didn’t come to sit around and take pictures of Qatar,” Costa Rica coach Luis Fernando Suárez said before the tournament.

JAPAN-SPAIN

Spain still has some work left to do.

The 2010 World Cup champions routed Costa Rica 7-0 in their opening match in Qatar, but a 1-1 draw against Germany in the second game made things interesting again.

The Spanish will face Japan on Thursday and the winner will be guaranteed of reaching the round of 16. Spain could also advance with a loss, depending on the result of Germany’s match against the Costa Ricans.

If Spain wins the group, the team would face the second-place from Group F. That could be Croatia, Belgium or Morocco. After that, a match against Brazil is possible.

“We are not thinking about our opponents in the knockout rounds,” Spain midfielder Koke Resurrección said. “We need to beat Japan first and then we’ll see which team we’ll have to play against. If it’s Brazil in the quarterfinals, so be it, and we’ll try to prepare for it as best as possible.”

Spain coach Luis Enrique is expected to rotate some of his players after making only one change from the first to the second game — Dani Carvajal coming in for César Azpilicueta at right back.

Teenager Gavi, who started the first two matches, trained separately from the group after the 1-1 draw with Germany because of a minor knee injury. He was expected to be available for Thursday’s match, but wasn’t likely to start.

Another midfielder expected to be rested is 34-year-old Sergio Busquets, the only remaining player from Spain’s World Cup-winning squad in 2010. Striker Álvaro Morata, who scored a goal in each of the first two matches after coming off the bench, could get a spot in the starting lineup against Japan.

The Japanese are trying to advance to the knockout round for the second straight World Cup. They could see Ayase Ueda and Junya Ito playing together in attack from the start for the first time.

CROATIA-BELGIUM

There should be some young faces on the field when two veteran teams meet in a decisive Group F match.

Croatia, which reached the World Cup final four years ago but lost to France, needs only a draw against Belgium to ensure its place in the round of 16. The Belgians and their aging “Golden Generation” likely need a victory, but a draw may be enough depending on the result in the other group game between Morocco and Canada.

The youngsters could make the difference.

Joško Gvardiol is a 20-year-old center back who joined the national team last year. Nicknamed “Little Pep” because of the similarities between his last name and that of Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola, the physical Gvardiol has already become a mainstay in the defense for Croatia.

“At the age of 20 he has demonstrated that he can play at a great level,” Croatia teammate Mateo Kovačić said. “He just needs to continue doing that.”

On the other side is 21-year-old midfielder Charles De Ketelaere. The baby-faced De Ketelaere, or “CDK” as he’s referred to, has only played off the bench so far at this tournament. But he has been impressive with Italian champion AC Milan this season, drawing comparisons to former club great Kaká for his dribbling ability and precise crosses in the playmaker position.

“Some of the young players that haven’t been in the game, they are growing behind the scenes. I can feel that they can be called on when needed,” Belgium coach Roberto Martínez said. “I thought the players that came on against Morocco, they did their jobs, they performed well.”

CANADA-MOROCCO

Morocco is on the verge of reaching the knockout stage of the World Cup for the first time since 1986 and coach Walid Regragui made it clear why the team is in such a position.

The players.

“There are other coaches that like to make you think that they’re magicians, they’re the ones, they’re puppeteers,” Regragui said through an interpreter on Wednesday. “The players are the ones that make the coach and not the other way around.”

Morocco would advance with a victory or a draw on Thursday against already-eliminated Canada and also could reach the round of 16 with a loss depending on the result of Belgium’s match with Croatia.

Regragui, who replaced Vahid Halilhodžić in August, said if his tactics hadn’t worked against Belgium, “it was something that probably would have had plenty of Morocco after my skin.”

Canada has lost all five World Cup matches it has played in its history, failing to score in its only other appearance in 1986. After outplaying Belgium for most of their opener this year, but losing 1-0, they took an early lead against Croatia but lost 4-1.

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AP World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/world-cup and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports


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