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Giuffre’s Prince Andrew costume continues despite Epstein deal

NEW YORK (AP) – A judge has given the green light to a lawsuit against Prince Andrew by an American who says she sexually assaulted her when she was 17. U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan wrote in an opinion Wednesday that lawyers for Andrew failed to successfully challenge the constitutionality of Virginia Giuffre’s lawsuit against him in August. Her lawyers said the trial lacked specificity and was disqualified by a deal she reached in 2009 with attorneys for Jeffrey Epstein. This trial settlement was reached a decade before Epstein committed suicide in a Manhattan dungeon while awaiting a sex trafficking trial.


NATO, Russia consider more high-level talks amid tensions

BRUSSELS (AP) – NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says the military organization and Russia have agreed to try to schedule more meetings amid tensions over the military build-up of Moscow near Ukraine . Stoltenberg said on Wednesday the two sides had “expressed the need for dialogue and to explore a schedule of future meetings.” But Stoltenberg said the Ukraine talks would not be easy. He told reporters that “there are significant differences between NATO allies and Russia on this issue.”


Energy Monitor accuses Russia of exacerbating gas crisis in Europe

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) – The head of the International Energy Agency has accused Russia of exacerbating the natural gas crisis in Europe. Fatih Birol said on Wednesday that the high prices and low storage levels were largely due to the behavior of public gas supplier Gazprom. He says Gazprom could send up to a third of additional gas through existing pipelines. This would represent around 10% of European daily consumption and what industry officials believe is necessary to avoid a serious shortage in colder weather than expected. Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed that Gazprom had fulfilled its obligations under long-term contracts and blamed high spot gas prices on European decisions to move towards short-term volatile market prices.


Stocks rise as inflation report keeps Fed on track for hikes

Stocks open higher after the latest report on the surge in prices appears to keep the Federal Reserve on track to raise interest rates later this year. The S&P 500 was up 0.4% at the start of Wednesday. Tech stocks outperformed the rest of the market, pushing the Nasdaq up 0.9%. Bond yields have fallen. The yield on the 10-year Treasury bill fell to 1.72%. Inflation jumped 7% last month, its fastest year-on-year pace in nearly four decades, but according to economists’ forecasts. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell told Congress on Tuesday that the Fed was ready to raise rates to fight inflation.


US inflation climbed 7% last year, the highest since 1982

WASHINGTON (AP) – Prices paid by U.S. consumers jumped 7% in December from a year earlier, the highest inflation rate since 1982 and the latest evidence that rising food costs, gasoline, rent and other basic necessities are increasing financial pressures on American households. . Inflation rose during the recovery from the pandemic recession, as Americans increased their spending on goods such as cars, furniture and appliances. These increased purchases have clogged ports and warehouses and exacerbated supply shortages of semiconductors and other parts.


Biden sends more COVID tests to schools to keep them open

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Biden administration is increasing federal support for COVID-19 testing for schools in a bid to keep them open amid the omicron wave. The White House said on Wednesday that the administration is making a dedicated stream of 5 million rapid tests and 5 million laboratory PCR tests available to schools as of this month. The aim is to alleviate supply shortages and promote the safe reopening of schools. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said CBS students should be in their classrooms and the announcement shows the administration’s commitment to helping schools stay open. The initiative comes after Chicago’s public schools were closed for days amid a standoff between teachers and officials over reopening policies.


WHO: COVID-19 cases increased by more than 50%, deaths stable

GENEVA (AP) – The World Health Organization says the number of new coronavirus infections over the past week has increased by around 55% globally, although the number of deaths has remained stable. In its latest weekly pandemic report released on Tuesday, the United Nations health agency said there were around 15 million new cases of COVID-19 last week and more than 43,000 new deaths. Every region of the world has reported an increase in COVID-19 cases, except Africa, where authorities have recorded an 11% drop. The WHO says the hugely contagious omicron variant continues to define the pandemic globally and is now crowding out the previously dominant delta variant.


Vaccine protesters try to storm Bulgarian parliament

SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) – Protesters opposing COVID-19 restrictions in Bulgaria clashed with police as they tried to storm Parliament in Sofia. A heavy police presence prevented protesters from entering the building and some were arrested. Several people, including police officers, were injured in the clashes. Eventually, the demonstrators were driven back and the police cordoned off the building. The violence erupted during a protest rally against the mask and vaccine warrants organized by a nationalist group that fiercely opposes government-sponsored anti-epidemic measures. Bulgaria, which is facing a new wave of infections, is the least vaccinated country in the EU-27, with only a third of the population fully vaccinated against COVID-19.


Trial postponed for Wisconsin man accused of killing relatives

MADISON, Wisconsin (AP) – Legal authorities have said the trial of a Wisconsin man accused of killing and dismembering his parents has been postponed because he tested positive for COVID-19. Chandler Halderson, 23, is on trial in Dane County Circuit Court for killing and dismembering Bart and Krista Halderson in July. Circuit court clerk Carlo Esqueda said the length of the delay depends on any symptoms Halderson might have. Court officials expect the trial, which began on January 3, will be postponed until at least January 18. Halderson is charged with first degree manslaughter, dismemberment and concealment of a corpse and misinforming authorities. His lawyer said he did not kill his parents.


Child among 17 dead in Bronx fire as final victim identified

NEW YORK (AP) – Police have confirmed that the eight children killed in the Bronx apartment building fire that left 17 people dead included a two-year-old boy. New York Police have released the names and ages of the last three victims identified after the deadly fire on Sunday: a 31-year-old woman, a 47-year-old man and two-year-old Ousmane Konteh, who is the youngest victim. The fire damaged only a small part of the 19-story building, but victims succumbed to the smoke that poured through the building and the open door. Firefighters said a faulty electric heater started the blaze.

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