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CHINA-LITHUANIA

China reduces ties with Lithuania in Taiwan spat

BEIJING (AP) — China has reduced its official relations with Lithuania to below ambassador level after Taiwan, the island democracy that Beijing claims as part of its own territory, was allowed to open a representative office in the Baltic nation. Beijing earlier expelled the Lithuanian ambassador and withdrew its own envoy to the country. The foreign ministry said relations would be downgraded to the level of charge d’affaires, am embassy’s No. 2 official. Taiwan has just 15 formal diplomatic allies, but maintains informal ties with all major nations through trade offices that act as de facto embassies, including in the United States and Japan.

CHINA-MISSING TENNIS STAR

Video of missing Chinese tennis star posted online

BEIJING (AP) — Missing tennis star Peng Shuai has reappeared in public at a youth tournament in Beijing, according to photos released by the organizer, as the ruling Communist Party tried to quell fears abroad while suppressing information in China about Peng after she accused a senior leader of sexual assault. The posting by China Open management on the Weibo social media service made no mention of Peng’s disappearance or accusation she was sexually assaulted by a former Chinese leader. Peng was shown standing beside a court, waving and signing oversize commemorative tennis balls for children. The ruling party appears to be trying to defuse alarm about Peng without acknowledging her disappearance.

AP-US-AIRPORT-GUN-DISCHARGED

Atlanta airport checkpoint chaos: Man grabs gun, it goes off

ATLANTA (AP) — Authorities say a passenger awaiting a bag search at the Atlanta airport’s main security checkpoint reached in the bag and grabbed a firearm, and it went off, causing chaos among travelers. The Transportation Security Administration said the firearm discharged Saturday afternoon at Hartsfield-Jackson airport but it was not an active shooter incident. Officials say the passenger fled out an airport exit and they were seeking his arrest. They identified him as a 42-year-old convicted felon. The FAA ordered a temporary ground stop on flights before normal operations resumed less than two hours later. The incident caused alarm among travelers at one of the nation’s busiest airports days ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday travel season. 

AP-US-KENOSHA-PROTEST-SHOOTINGS-MEDIA

Fox says it did not pay for Rittenhouse film and interview

NEW YORK (AP) — Fox News on Saturday said it did not pay Kyle Rittenhouse for any special access during his murder trial or after his acquittal. Hours after he was found not guilty in shootings during a Wisconsin protest on racial injustice, Fox announced that Rittenhouse would give his first interview to Fox's Tucker Carlson and was participating in a documentary being made by Carlson's team. Rittenhouse's lawyer, Mark Richards, said  that a Fox documentary crew was embedded with Rittenhouse’s team against his wishes. Richards told The Associated Press on Saturday that he didn’t think the filming was appropriate and that he had tossed the crew out of meetings several times. 

CALIFORNIA-OIL SHEEN

Oil sheen spotted near Southern California's oil spill

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Officials are investigating an oil sheen spotted Saturday near last month’s crude pipeline leak off Southern California’s coast. The U.S. Coast Guard says the oil sheen is about 70 feet by 30 feet and that it has dispatched “pollution responders, aircraft and boats” to investigate. The oil sheen is located in the same area where a massive oil spill was confirmed last month off the coast of Orange County. The spill confirmed Oct. 2 from a ruptured underwater pipeline owned by Houston-based Amplify Energy leaked up to about 25,000 gallons of crude.  

CHRISTMAS BOMBING-NASHVILLE

Ex-girlfriend who reported bomber ID files suit over reward

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The ex-girlfriend of the man who detonated an explosive in downtown Nashville last Christmas has filed a lawsuit saying she should receive $284,000 in rewards offered after the blast. News outlets report Pamela Perry filed suit Friday in seeking the reward because she came forward “at great personal risk to aid law enforcement in identifying” Anthony Warner as the bomber. Warner parked an RV in the middle of a Nashville tourist district and set off the blast that killed him, injured others and damaged buildings. One company that offered a reward told WTVF-TV that it was for “capture and conviction,” which did not occur because Warner died. Another declined to comment.

MIGRATION-ITALY-LIBYA

UN agency: 75 migrants drown in Mediterranean off Libya

ROME (AP) — The UN’s migration agency says 75 migrants have drowned in the Mediterranean Sea north of Libya earlier this week as they attempted to reach Italy by boat. The International Organization for Migration reported the latest tragedy in a tweet on Saturday, attributing the information to 15 survivors who were rescued by fishermen and brought to the port of Zuwara in northwestern Libya. Also on Saturday, the Italian Coast Guard said it rescued more than 420 migrants, including dozens of minors, from boats in difficulty in the Mediterranean Sea. 

CANADA-US-CHINA-PACIFIC

Top US admiral warns about China threat at Halifax forum

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (AP) — The head of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command says the U.S. and its allies need to operate with a greater sense of urgency amid rising tensions and China’s increasingly assertive military actions.  Adm. John C. Aquilino reaffirmed America’s commitment to achieving a free and open Indo-Pacific region during meetings with allies at the Halifax International Security Forum. Aquilino sys the U.S. and its allies need to work together more frequently in international waters to build interoperability so that can operate together quickly if needed. Chinese President Xi Jinping has overseen an assertive foreign policy and expansion of the party’s military wing, the People’s Liberation Army.

FATAL POLICE SHOOTING

Man fatally shot by police after call from N. Carolina home

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Authorities say a police officer in North Carolina shot and killed a man after responding to a caller’s report that somebody was trying to enter a home. Greensboro police said in a news release that 29-year-old Joseph Thomas Lee Lopez died in the shooting. The name of the officer who fatally shot Lopez on Friday night wasn’t immediately released. The News & Record reports that officers were responding to “a wanted person call” at a residence when they encountered Lopez in a shed behind the caller’s home. The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation is investigating the shooting.

AP-LT-VENEZUELA-ORCHESTRA-RECORD-ATTEMPT

Venezuelan musicians set world's largest orchestra record

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Thousands of Venezuelan musicians, most of them children and adolescents, have earned the title of the world’s largest orchestra. The record was set by more than 8,500 musicians. The Guinness World Records announced the feat in a video released Saturday. The musicians, all connected to the country’s network of youth orchestras, earned the designation with a performance a week earlier of Tchaikovsky’s “Slavonic March.” They attempted the record during a patriotic concert at a military academy in the capital of Caracas. The previous record belonged to a Russian group that played that country’s national anthem. 

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