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UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. chief warned Thursday that the social and economic impact of COVID-19 “is enormous and growing” and said it’s foolish to believe a vaccine can undo damage from the global pandemic that will last for years or even decades.

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SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Hundreds of thousands of masked students in South Korea, including 41 confirmed COVID-19 patients, took the highly competitive university entrance exam Thursday despite a viral resurgence that forced authorities to toughen social distancing rules.

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NEW DELHI (AP) — Instead of cars, the normally busy highway on the outskirts of New Delhi that connects most northern Indian towns to the capital is filled with tens of thousands of protesting farmers, many wearing colorful turbans.

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NEW DELHI (AP) — Indian movie superstar Rajinikanth said Thursday he plans to launch his own political party in southern India in January, ending years of speculation by millions of his fans on his political future.

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MOSUL, Iraq (AP) — In a quest to root out Islamic State group hideouts over the summer, Iraqi forces on the ground cleared nearly 90 villages across a notoriously unruly northern province. But the much-touted operation still relied heavily on U.S. intelligence, coalition flights and planning…

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BEIJING (AP) — China said Thursday its latest lunar probe has finished taking samples of the moon’s surface and sealed them within the spacecraft for return to Earth, the first time such a mission has been attempted by any country in more than 40 years.

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BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand’s highest court on Wednesday acquitted Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha of breaching ethics clauses in the country’s constitution, allowing him to stay in his job at a time he's fending off calls for his resignation from student-led pro-democracy protesters.

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HONG KONG (AP) — Three prominent Hong Kong pro-democracy activists were sentenced to prison Wednesday for a protest outside police headquarters as authorities stepped up a crackdown on opposition to tighten control by Beijing over the territory.

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LONDON (AP) — Britain became the first country in the world to authorize a rigorously tested COVID-19 vaccine Wednesday and could be dispensing shots within days — a historic step toward eventually ending the outbreak that has killed more than 1.4 million people around the globe.

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JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel took a major step toward plunging into its fourth national election in under two years on Wednesday as lawmakers — supported by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s main coalition partner — passed a preliminary proposal to dissolve parliament.

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TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday expressed his opposition to a bill approved by parliament the previous day to suspend U.N. inspections and boost uranium enrichment, saying it would be “harmful” to diplomatic efforts aimed at restoring the 2015 nuclear deal an…

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BERLIN (AP) — Residents of Trier placed flowers and lit candles at the base of the southwestern German city's landmark Roman gate Wednesday in tribute to the five people who were killed and more than a dozen others injured when a man sped an SUV through a central pedestrian zone. His motive …

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BEIJING (AP) — China’s landing of its third probe on the moon is part of an increasingly ambitious space program that has a robot rover en route to Mars, is developing a reusable space plane and is planning to put humans back on the lunar surface.

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GENEVA (AP) — Climate change is increasingly damaging the U.N.’s most cherished heritage sites, a leading conservation agency warned Wednesday, reporting that Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and dozens of other natural wonders are facing severe threats.

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NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — In a breakthrough a month after deadly conflict cut off Ethiopia’s Tigray region from the world, the United Nations on Wednesday said it and the Ethiopian government have signed a deal to allow “unimpeded” humanitarian access, at least for areas under federal government…

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VAGANESH, Kosovo (AP) — Blagica Dicic, 92 and in failing health, is the only resident of a remote ethnic Serb minority village in the mountains of eastern Kosovo that's been abandoned by all its other inhabitants — including her own children.

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BEIJING (AP) — A Chinese spacecraft took samples of the moon's surface Wednesday as part of a mission to bring lunar rocks back to Earth for the first time since the 1970s, the government said, adding to a string of successes for Beijing's increasingly ambitious space program.

BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand’s highest court is set to rule Wednesday on whether Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has breached ethics clauses in the country’s constitution and should be ousted from his position.

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BEIJING (AP) — A Chinese spacecraft sent to return lunar rocks to Earth collected its first samples Wednesday after landing on the moon, the government announced, adding to a string of successes for Beijing's increasingly ambitious space program.

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BERLIN (AP) — A man zig-zagged an SUV at high speed through a pedestrian zone in the southwestern German city of Trier on Tuesday, killing five people, including a 9-month-old child, and seriously injuring more than a dozen, officials said.

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BERLIN (AP) — The European Union drug agency said Tuesday it may need four more weeks to approve its first coronavirus vaccine, even as authorities in the United States and Britain continue to aim for a green light before Christmas.

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ROME (AP) — Pope Francis is supporting demands for racial justice in the wake of the U.S. police killing of George Floyd and is blasting COVID-19 skeptics and media organizations that spread their conspiracies in a new book penned during the Vatican’s coronavirus lockdown.

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RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Dozens of gunmen armed with assault rifles invaded a city in southern Brazil overnight Tuesday and took control of the streets as they assaulted a local bank.

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PARIS (AP) — Vendors broke out in applause in the flagship Galeries Lafayette department store in Paris as eager shoppers returned for the first time in a month, after yet another virus lockdown.

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TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran’s parliament on Tuesday approved a bill that would suspend U.N. inspections of its nuclear facilities and require the government to boost its uranium enrichment if European signatories to the 2015 nuclear deal do not provide relief from oil and banking sanctions.

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THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — A group of environmental organizations backed by thousands of Dutch citizens launched a civil case Tuesday against the energy giant Shell, asking a court to order the multinational to commit to reining in its carbon emissions 45% by the year 2030.

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ROUEN, France (AP) — The panicked 22-year-old is led to Consultation Room No. 2, with its easy-mop floor and honeycombed meshing over the window. Behind her, the psychiatric emergency ward's heavy double doors — openable only with a staff member's key — thud shut.

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BETHLEHEM, West Bank (AP) — The coronavirus has cast a pall over Christmas celebrations in Bethlehem, all but shutting down the biblical town revered as Jesus’ birthplace at the height of the normally cheery holiday season.

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SRINAGAR, India (AP) — Amid the long-raging deadly strife in Indian-controlled Kashmir, another conflict is silently taking its toll on the Himalayan region’s residents: the conflict between man and wild animals.

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BEIJING (AP) — Asian stocks rose Tuesday after Chinese manufacturing improved, with investors looking ahead to U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s appearance before legislators.

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NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — The fugitive leader of Ethiopia’s defiant Tigray region on Monday called on Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to “stop the madness” and withdraw troops from the region as he asserted that fighting continues “on every front” two days after Abiy declared victory.

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ROME (AP) — The pope’s former treasurer, Cardinal George Pell, said Monday he feels a dismayed sense of vindication as the financial mismanagement he tried to uncover in the Holy See is now being exposed in a spiraling Vatican corruption investigation.

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TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — A top Iranian security official on Monday accused Israel of using “electronic devices” to remotely kill a scientist who founded the Islamic Republic's military nuclear program in the 2000s.

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PARIS (AP) — French activists fear that a proposed new security law will deprive them of a potent weapon against abuse — cellphone videos of police activity — threatening their efforts to document possible cases of police brutality, especially in impoverished immigrant neighborhoods.

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COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Inmates unhappy about the coronavirus threat at an overcrowded prison near Sri Lanka's capital have clashed with guards who opened fire, leaving eight prisoners dead and 59 others injured, officials said Monday. Two guards were critically injured, they said.

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — The pachyderm dubbed the “ world’s loneliest elephant ” after languishing alone for years in a Pakistani zoo was greeted on his arrival in Cambodia on Monday by chanting Buddhist monks and was then sent on his way to a wildlife sanctuary.

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LONDON (AP) — In late October, Matthew Jones was enjoying a rare “bit of normality” at his London barber shop in a year that has been short on that. He was cutting hair and laughing with colleagues — when the news landed that the business would have to close for the second time.