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AP Top News at 6:25 am EST – Las Vegas Sun

December 1, 2021
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Published Monday, Nov. 29, 2021 | 9 p.m.
Updated Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021 | 3:25 a.m.
PARIS (AP) — Dutch health authorities announced Tuesday that they found the new omicron variant of the coronavirus in cases dating back as much as 11 days, indicating that it was already spreading in western Europe before the first cases were identified in southern Africa. The RIVM health institute said it found omicron in samples dating from Nov. 19 and 23. Those findings predate the positive cases found among passengers who came from South Africa last Friday and were tested at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport. Japan and France also confirmed their first cases of the new variant of the coronavirus on Tuesday as countries around the world scrambled to close their doors or find ways to limit its spread while scientists study how damaging it might be.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Former President Donald Trump’s lawyers will try to persuade a federal appeals court to stop Congress from receiving call logs, drafts of speeches and other documents related to the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol led by his supporters. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit will hear arguments Tuesday from lawyers for Trump and the House committee seeking the records as part of its investigation into the riot. Trump’s attorneys want the court to reverse a federal judge’s ruling allowing the National Archives and Records Administration to turn over the records after President Joe Biden waived executive privilege.
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — At a playground outside a North Texas day care center, giggling preschoolers chase each other into a playhouse. Toddlers scoot by on tricycles. A boy cries as a teacher helps him negotiate over a toy. Uphill from the playground, peeking between trees, is a site where Total Energies is pumping for natural gas. The French energy giant wants to drill three new wells on the property next to Mother’s Heart Learning Center, which serves mainly Black and Latino children. The three wells, along with two existing ones, would lie about 600 feet from where the children planted a garden of sunflowers.
PARIS (AP) — The voice of Josephine Baker, speaking and singing, will resonate Tuesday in front of the Pantheon monument in Paris, where she is to symbolically be inducted — becoming the first Black woman to receive France’s highest honor. French President Emmanuel Macron made the decision in August to honor the “exceptional figure” who “embodies the French spirit,” making Baker also the first American-born citizen and the first performer to be immortalized into the Pantheon. She will join scientist Marie Curie, philosopher Voltaire, writer Victor Hugo and other French luminaries. The move aims to pay tribute to “a woman whose whole life is looking towards the quest of both freedom and justice,” Macron’s office said.
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Barbados stopped pledging allegiance to Queen Elizabeth II on Tuesday as it shed another vestige of its colonial past and became a republic for the first time in history. Several leaders and dignitaries, including Prince Charles, attended the ceremony that began late Monday in a popular square where the statue of a well-known British lord was removed last year amid a worldwide push to erase symbols of oppression. Fireworks peppered the sky at midnight as Barbados officially became a republic, with screens set up across the island so people could watch the event that featured an orchestra with more than 100 steel pan players and numerous artists.
CHICAGO (AP) — Testimony is set to begin Tuesday in the trial of ex-“Empire” actor Jussie Smollett, who prosecutors say staged a homophobic and racist attack in Chicago but whose defense attorney says is “a real victim” of a “real crime.” Special prosecutor Dan Webb told jurors during opening statements late Monday that Smollett recruited two brothers — who worked with him on the TV show — to help him carry out a fake attack in January 2019 because he believed the television studio didn’t take hate mail he had received seriously. Smollett then reported the alleged attack to Chicago police, who classified it as a hate crime and spent 3,000 staff hours on the investigation, Webb said.
LESBOS, Greece (AP) — When Pope Francis visited the Greek island of Lesbos in 2016, he was so moved by the stories he heard from families fleeing war in Iraq and Syria that he wept and brought a dozen refugees home with him. Speaking to reporters on the way home that day, he held up a drawing handed to him by a child from the island’s sprawling refugee camp. “Look at this one,” he said, revealing a bird neatly decorated in colored pencil, the word “peace” scrolled in English underneath it. “That’s what children want: Peace.” Francis is returning to Lesbos this week for the first time since that defining day of his papacy, making a repeat visit to the island where hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants have passed through on their journey to Europe.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A federal judge on Monday blocked President Joe Biden’s administration from enforcing a coronavirus vaccine mandate on thousands of health care workers in 10 states that had brought the first legal challenge against the requirement. The court order said that the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid had no clear authority from Congress to enact the vaccine mandate for providers participating in the two government health care programs for the elderly, disabled and poor. The preliminary injunction by St. Louis-based U.S. District Judge Matthew Schelp applies to a coalition of suing states that includes Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Intent on making a flawless impression as the first host of the world’s fair in the Middle East, Dubai sought to leave nothing to chance. It poured billions of dollars into its pristine fairgrounds and jubilant festivities that opened last month, aiming for 25 million visits to the pandemic-delayed Expo 2020. Propping up the world’s fair is the United Arab Emirates’ contentious labor system that long has drawn accusations of mistreating workers. Highly sensitive to its image and aware that Expo attracts more attention to its labor practices, Dubai has held companies on the project to higher-than-normal standards of worker treatment.
BANGKOK (AP) — A court in Myanmar postponed its verdict on Tuesday in the trial of ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi to allow testimony from an additional witness, a senior member of her political party. The court agreed with a defense motion that it allow Zaw Myint Maung, who had previously been unable to come to court for health reasons, to add his testimony, a legal official said. The court had been scheduled to deliver a verdict on Tuesday on charges of incitement and violating coronavirus restrictions. The verdict would have been the first for the 76-year-old Nobel laureate since the army seized power on Feb.
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