November 21, 2021
Currently: 78° — Complete forecast
Published Friday, Nov. 19, 2021 | 9 p.m.
Updated Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021 | 11:02 a.m.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The buildup of Russian troops near Ukraine has left U.S. officials perplexed, muddying the Biden administration’s response. Some Republican lawmakers have been pressing the U.S. to step up military support for Ukraine. But that risks turning what may be mere muscle-flexing by Russian President Vladimir Putin into a full-blown confrontation that only adds to the peril for Ukraine and could trigger an energy crisis in Europe. But a weak U.S. response carries its own risks. It could embolden Putin to take more aggressive steps against Ukraine as fears grow he could try to seize more of its territory.
Soon after a Wisconsin jury acquitted Kyle Rittenhouse of all charges against him, defense attorney Mark Richards took a swipe at his predecessors, telling reporters that their tactics — leaning into Rittenhouse’s portrayal as a rallying point for the right to carry weapons and defend oneself — were not his. “I was hired by the two first lawyers. I’m not going to use their names,” Richards said Friday. “They wanted to use Kyle for a cause and something that I think was inappropriate — and I don’t represent causes. I represent clients.” Richards, beaming as he talked to reporters outside his Racine law office after the acquittal, said that to him, the only thing that mattered was “whether he was found not guilty or not.” It seemed an apt comment from Richards.
VIENNA (AP) — Tens of thousands of protesters, many from far-right groups, marched through Vienna on Saturday after the Austrian government announced a nationwide lockdown beginning Monday to contain skyrocketing coronavirus infections. Demonstrations against virus restrictions also took place in Switzerland, Croatia, Italy, Northern Ireland and the Netherlands on Saturday, a day after Dutch police opened fire on protesters and seven people were injured in rioting that erupted in Rotterdam. Protesters rallied against coronavirus restrictions and mandatory COVID-19 passes needed in many European countries to enter restaurants, Christmas markets or sports events, as well as mandatory vaccinations. The Austrian lockdown will start Monday and comes as average daily deaths have tripled in recent weeks and hospitals in heavily hit states have warned that intensive care units are reaching capacity.
BRUSSELS (AP) — This was supposed to be the Christmas in Europe where family and friends could once again embrace holiday festivities and one another. Instead, the continent is the global epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic as cases soar to record levels in many countries. With infections spiking again despite nearly two years of restrictions, the health crisis increasingly is pitting citizen against citizen — the vaccinated against the unvaccinated. Governments desperate to shield overburdened healthcare systems are imposing rules that limit choices for the unvaccinated in the hope that doing so will drive up rates of vaccinations. Austria on Friday went a step further, making vaccinations mandatory as of Feb.
BRUNSWICK, Ga. (AP) — Months before Ahmaud Arbery was killed, shooter Travis McMichael wrote a simple, chilling response to a Facebook post about a suspected car burglary in his Georgia neighborhood: “Arm up.” The item he commented on was sandwiched between chats about lost dogs and water service interruption, like in many online communities in the U.S. based around physical neighborhoods. But in the year before Arbery’s death, the posts in the Facebook group for the subdivision where McMichael lived portray a neighborhood increasingly on edge over low-level incidents, with residents swapping suspicions, keeping children inside and becoming willing to take matters into their own hands.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Millions more home tests for COVID-19 are hitting store shelves, but will there be enough for Americans hoping to screen themselves before holiday gatherings? Gone are last year’s long lines to get tested, thanks to nearly a year of vaccinations, increased testing supplies and quicker options. But with many Americans unvaccinated and reports of infections among those who’ve gotten the shots, some are looking to home tests for an extra layer of protection ahead of this year’s festivities. Janis Alpine of Seattle is getting together with seven relatives for Thanksgiving, including her 97-year-old father. While everyone is vaccinated, she plans to bring enough Abbott rapid tests for them to use.
WASHINGTON (AP) — After talking the climate talk at U.N. negotiations in Scotland, the Biden administration now tests whether a divided United States can walk the climate walk: push a massive investment for a new era of clean energy through the narrowest of margins in the Senate. The House passed a roughly $2 trillion social policy and climate bill Friday, including $555 billion for cleaner energy, although the legislation is almost certain to be changed by the Senate. What ultimately emerges in the climate part of the bill will have a lasting impact on America and all its neighbors on Earth, and help determine whether the United States does its promised share to keep climate damage at a level not disastrously worse than it is now.
DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Saturday warned a shadowy Russian company with connections to the Kremlin not to interfere in efforts aimed at restoring democracy in the West African nation of Mali. As he wrapped up a weeklong, three-nation tour of Africa that was dominated by crises across the continent, Blinken said it would be “unfortunate” if the Wagner Group became active in Mali, where there are internationally backed plans to have a democratically elected government in place by April. Mali “remains a linchpin for future stability in the Sahel and we have deep concerns about that stability and deep concerns about the extremism and terrorism that is spreading tentacles in the region,” Blinken said at news conference with Senegal’s foreign minister, Aissata Tall Sall.
BEIJING (AP) — An employee of Chinese state TV has posted photos of missing tennis star Peng Shuai online in a new effort to dispel concern about her disappearance after she accused a senior leader of sexual assault. The photos appeared Friday on Twitter, which cannot be seen by most internet users in China. The state TV employee, Shen Shiwei, wrote they were on Peng’s account on the WeChat message service with the comment, “Happy Weekend.” The ruling Communist Party faces mounting appeals from tennis stars and the sport’s professional tour to prove Peng, a three-time Olympian and former No. 1-ranked women’s doubles player, is safe and let her speak freely.
NEW YORK (AP) — David Cohen has been yearning for a return to the days when business boomed at his family’s souvenir shop in Times Square. While tourists have begun returning, foot traffic into Grand Slam souvenirs is still not what it was before the coronavirus pandemic, when hordes of global visitors crowded under the canopy of electric billboards just outside his door. But the return of foreign tourists to a place popularly called the crossroads of the world may help hasten recovery for businesses like his — many of them mom-and-pop shops — that collectively employ thousands of people and serve as one of New York City’s most important economic engines.
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