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AP Top News at 11:30 am EST – Las Vegas Sun

November 19, 2021
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Published Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021 | 9 p.m.
Updated Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021 | 8:30 a.m.
LYON, France (AP) — In China, she enjoyed the privileges that flowed from being married to a senior member of the governing elite. Her husband was a top police official in the security apparatus that keeps the Communist Party in power, so trusted that China sent him to France to take up a prestigious role at Interpol. But Meng Hongwei, the former Interpol president, has now vanished into China’s sprawling penal system, purged in a stunning fall from grace. And his wife is alone with their twin boys in France, a political refugee under round-the-clock French police protection following what she suspects was an attempt by Chinese agents to kidnap and deliver them to an uncertain fate.
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Years after coming under scrutiny for contributing to ethnic and religious violence in Myanmar, Facebook still has problems detecting and moderating hate speech and misinformation on its platform in the Southeast Asian nation, internal documents viewed by The Associated Press show. Three years ago, the company commissioned a report that found Facebook was used to “foment division and incite offline violence” in the country. It pledged to do better and developed several tools and policies to deal with hate speech. But the breaches have persisted — and even been exploited by hostile actors — since the Feb.
BRUNSWICK, Ga. (AP) — The man who fatally shot Ahmaud Arbery testified Thursday that the 25-year-old Black man’s demeanor struck him as suspicious when he first approached to question him about a possible crime in his coastal Georgia neighborhood, but he acknowledged that Arbery did not threaten him in any way. Travis McMichael said neighbors indicated something had happened down the road and he wanted to ask Arbery, who was running there, about it. He testified he pulled alongside Arbery in his pickup truck with a shotgun pointed to the floor beside him. He said Arbery stopped, but then took off running when McMichael told him police were on the way.
KENOSHA, Wis. (AP) — The jury at Kyle Rittenhouse’s murder trial began deliberating for a third day Thursday with a new defense request for a mistrial hanging over the politically and racially fraught case. The mistrial bid was sparked by a jury request Wednesday to re-watch video evidence, including drone footage that prosecutors used to try to undermine Rittenhouse’s self-defense claim and portray him as the instigator of the bloodshed in Kenosha in the summer of 2020. Prosecutors said the video showed him pointing his rifle at protesters before the shooting erupted. But the defense team said Wednesday that it had received an inferior copy of the potentially critical video from prosecutors, prompting its second mistrial motion in a week.
The first man Kyle Rittenhouse fatally shot on the streets of Kenosha, Wisconsin, was “irrational and crazy,” Rittenhouse’s attorney told jurors at his murder trial. Joseph Rosenbaum had been on medication for bipolar disorder and depression, and he was trying to take Rittenhouse’s rifle, attorney Mark Richards said, suggesting there could have been more bloodshed if Rittenhouse hadn’t acted. “I’m glad he shot him because if Joseph Rosenbaum got that gun I don’t for a minute believe he wouldn’t have used it against somebody else,” Richards said during closing arguments in the 18-year-old Illinois man’s trial for killing Rosenbaum and another man and wounding a third during a chaotic night of protests in August 2020.
The U.S. government will pay drugmaker Pfizer $5.29 billion for 10 million treatment courses of its potential COVID-19 treatment if regulators authorize it, the nation’s largest purchase agreement yet for a coronavirus therapy. Pfizer asked the Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday to authorize emergency use of the experimental pill, which has been shown to significantly cut the rate of hospitalizations and deaths among people with coronavirus infections. The FDA is already reviewing a competing pill from Merck and will hold a public meeting on it later this month. The price for Pfizer’s potential treatment amounts to about $529 per course.
BERLIN (AP) — German lawmakers approved new measures Thursday to rein in record coronavirus infections after the head of the country’s disease control agency warned Germany could face a “really terrible Christmas.” The measures passed in the Bundestag with votes from the center-left Social Democrats, the environmentalist Greens and the pro-business Free Democrats. The three parties are currently negotiating to form a new government. The legislation includes requirements for employees to prove they are vaccinated, recently recovered from COVID-19 or have tested negative for the virus in order to access communal workplaces; a similar rule will apply to public transport. The measures need to be approved by Germany’s upper house of parliament, the Bundesrat, which could happen Friday.
TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — A Chinese professional tennis player not seen in public since she accused a former top government official of sexual assault purportedly sent an email claiming she was safe and that the allegation was false, a message that only amplified concerns about her safety and demands for information about her well-being and whereabouts. So far, those calls have been met by silence. Chinese officials have said nothing publicly since the accusation about two weeks ago by Grand Slam doubles champion Peng Shuai that she was sexually assaulted. The first #MeToo case to reach the political realm in China has not been reported by the domestic media and online discussion of it has been highly censored.
PONGARA NATIONAL PARK, Gabon (AP) — Loss of habitat and poaching have made African forest elephants a critically endangered species. Yet the dense forests of sparsely populated Gabon in the Congo River Basin remain a “last stronghold” of the magnificent creatures, according to new research that concluded the population is much higher than previous estimates. Counting forest elephants is a far bigger challenge than surveying plains-dwelling savanna elephants from the air. It takes difficult and dirty scientific work that doesn’t involve laying eyes on the elusive animals that flee at the slightest whiff of human scent. Instead, researchers have been trekking for years through dense undergrowth collecting dung from Gabon’s forest elephants and analyzing the DNA from thousands of samples to determine the number of individual elephants in each plot of land examined.
Why can’t some COVID-19 vaccinated people travel to the U.S.? Because they might not be vaccinated with shots recognized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or the World Health Organization. When lifting overseas travel restrictions in November, the U.S. required adults coming to the country to be fully vaccinated with shots approved or authorized by the FDA or allowed by WHO. Among the most widely used vaccines that don’t meet that criteria are Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine and China’s CanSino vaccine. Sputnik V is authorized for use in more than 70 countries while CanSino is allowed in at least nine countries.
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