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Woman describes how Ghislaine Maxwell induced her to give naked Jeffrey Epstein a massage

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NEW YORK — When Kate met Ghislaine Maxwell at the age of 17, the then-aspiring British singer-songwriter recalled being taken in by Maxwell’s charm, sophistication and social connections.

“She seemed everything I wanted to be,” Kate testified Monday at the trial of the British socialite. Maxwell faces six charges connected to the sexual...Read more

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Minneapolis police chief to retire, leaving behind an embattled department

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MINNEAPOLIS — Medaria Arradondo, who became Minneapolis' first Black police chief in 2017 and guided the Police Department through the worst crisis of its 154-year history, announced his retirement Monday.

"I have made the decision that I will not be accepting a new term as chief of the Minneapolis Police Department," Arradondo said during ...Read more

Kamil Krzaczynski/AFP/Getty Images North America/TNS

Jussie Smollett testifies he gave check for diet and exercise plan, not for phony hate crime beating

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CHICAGO — Former “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett testified in his own defense Monday that he paid $3,500 to a friend for a diet and exercise plan for him, not to arrange phony hate crime beating on himself.

The friend, Abimbola Osundario, testified last week that Smollett texted in late January 2019 that he needed help “on the low,” ...Read more

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Sidelining of tarnished icon Aung San Suu Kyi leaves Myanmar's democratic hopes in hands of others

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SINGAPORE — The international condemnations poured in swiftly over Monday’s sentencing of onetime democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi by a court in military-ruled Myanmar.

But in reality, the 76-year-old Nobel laureate is no longer the prime torchbearer for the country’s democratic aspirations.

Suu Kyi, the civilian leader who was pushed ...Read more

India is eager for Putin's weapons despite US sanctions risk

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President Vladimir Putin visited New Delhi on Monday as billions of dollars of Russian weaponry flow into India that would normally attract U.S. sanctions. Eager to draw India into its efforts to contain China, the U.S. appears to be looking away this time.

Putin’s first foreign trip in nearly six months includes talks with Prime Minister ...Read more

Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times/TNS

Could omicron cause less severe COVID infections? There's optimism but also worry

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Some health officials are calling it a hopeful sign that the first people known to be infected with the omicron variant have had mild symptoms of COVID-19, although they warned it is still far too early to understand the implications of the newest coronavirus variant of interest.

A report issued over the weekend by the South African Medical ...Read more

Kamil Krzaczynski/AFP/Getty Images North America/TNS

Jussie Smollett takes the witness stand in his own defense on fifth day of his trial

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CHICAGO — Jussie Smollett has taken the witness stand in his own defense against charges that he arranged a phony hate crime on himself one frigid night in January 2019.

The former “Empire” actor was sworn in just after noon Monday, and at first spoke so quietly that his attorney had to ask him to speak up.

After speaking to jurors about...Read more

Ghislaine Maxwell outsourced sex acts for Jeffrey Epstein, jury hears

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NEW YORK — Ghislaine Maxwell spoke in a baby voice and outsourced sex acts for her boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein because she couldn’t keep up with his all-consuming libido, an anonymous witness told a jury on Monday at the British socialite’s trial.

“She said he needed to have sex about three times a day,” the witness, who testified under...Read more

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NYC expands COVID vaccine mandates to cover kids ages 5-11

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NEW YORK — New York Mayor Bill de Blasio expanded the city’s coronavirus vaccination mandates on Monday to cover children ages 5-11 amid concern about an uptick in infections among youngsters.

Starting Dec. 14, kids 5 years old through 11 years old will need to show proof of at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine to participate in indoor ...Read more

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Travis Scott reportedly asks judge to dismiss Astroworld lawsuit

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Rapper Travis Scott is asking a judge to dismiss one of the lawsuits he’s facing after the deadly Astroworld concert.

According to TMZ, Scott requested that a suit filed against him and several of his businesses by an attendee of the fatal festival be dismissed with prejudice. Scott issued a “general denial” to the allegations to claim ...Read more

U.S. Border Patrol/TNS/TNS

A cocaine shipment was found floating off the Florida Keys. It weighed 69 pounds

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A boater spotted a large shipment of cocaine floating off the Florida Keys on Saturday, according to the U.S. Border Patrol.

The cocaine had a total weight of 69 pounds, and authorities estimate the haul has a street value of more than $1 million.

The drugs were found at sea off Islamorada in the Upper Keys, said U.S. Customs and Border ...Read more

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Biden to confront Putin about amassing troops on Ukraine's border

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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden expressed cautious optimism after meeting in June with Russian President Vladimir Putin, suggesting the next three to six months would reveal whether their frank face-to-face discussion in Geneva was yielding progress.

“Did the things we agreed to sit down and try to work out, did it work? Do we — are we ...Read more

Amy Davis/Baltimore Sun/TNS

Maryland lawmakers won't vote to decriminalize syringes and other drug paraphernalia

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BALTIMORE — Maryland lawmakers won’t vote this week to decriminalize paraphernalia used to inject drugs, allowing a veto from Gov. Larry Hogan to stand.

Senate President Bill Ferguson said in an interview Monday morning that he won’t bring the bill up for a vote in his chamber during a special legislative session. The drug paraphernalia ...Read more

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Schumer aims to push Biden's economic bill through before holiday

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WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told fellow Democrats he’s still aiming to pass President Joe Biden’s nearly $2 trillion economic package before Christmas, a goal that is increasingly challenged by competing priorities that include raising the debt ceiling and the divisions in the party over the massive tax and spending ...Read more

Ryan Garza/Detroit Free Press/TNS

Oxford High School survivor Phoebe Arthur goes home: 'She is a fighter'

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DETROIT — Phoebe Arthur is out of the hospital.

"My sweet baby is HOME ... GOD IS GOOD," wrote her mother Sandy Cunningham on a verified GoFundMe page set up to help the 14-year-old Oxford High School gunshot victim.

"OUR COMMUNITY IS AMAZING ... lots of love to you all!"

Phoebe had just been released from Hurley Medical Center in Flint. ...Read more


15-year-old student arrested after a threat against Miami High, school district says

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MIAMI — Police have arrested a 15-year-old student accused of making a social media threat against Miami Senior High School, a threat that was then altered by others to affect other schools, Miami-Dade school district officials said Monday.

The student is being charged with a felony count of written threats to kill or do bodily harm, said ...Read more


St. Louis Zoo says gun rights activist should pay its legal bills

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ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis Zoo appears to have succeeded in officially becoming a "gun-free zone," but its yearslong legal fight with a gun rights activist isn't yet over.

The St. Louis Zoo is pursuing a portion of the estimated $150,000 in attorneys fees billed to taxpayers spent defending the zoo's gun ban in court. A lawyer for Jeffry Smith...Read more

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Three more Christian missionaries kidnapped in Haiti for over a month have been released

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Three more Christian missionaries who have been held hostage in Haiti for more than seven weeks have been released, Christian Aid Ministries said Monday.

The group, released Sunday evening, were among 17 U.S. and Canadian missionaries who were kidnapped in Haiti on Oct. 16. Two other hostages, an American husband and wife, were freed on Nov. 22...Read more

Oakland County Sheriff's Office/Oakland County Sheriff's Office/TNS

Detroit police chief planned for Crumbley flight: 'We weren't surprised'

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DETROIT — Detroit Police Chief James White specifically prepared his police officers to get ready in case the parents of the Oxford High School shooting suspect — who are also criminally charged in the case — fled to Detroit, the Free Press learned Sunday.

"We literally talked about the possibility of Mr. and Mrs. Crumbley in the Oxford ...Read more

Jussie Smollett defense could rest today with or without his testimony

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CHICAGO — Jussie Smollett’s attorneys are expected to continue presenting their case to jurors Monday morning on what might be the final day of the “Empire” actor’s trial.

And as the trial nears its close, all eyes are on Smollett: Will he take the stand in his own defense?

Smollett faces six counts of felony disorderly conduct ...Read more