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    Mexico’s domestic airline industry is in shambles, plagued by safety problems, a downgrade of Mexico’s safety rating, and vandalism. This week alone, passengers missed connections because thieves had cut the fiber optic cables leading into the Mexico City airport, forcing immigration authorities to return to paper forms. The internet outage came almost one month after aviation and transportation authorities were forced to suspend routine medical, physical and licensing exams because the government’s computer systems were hacked. And on May 7, there was a near-miss between two planes at the airport.

      For more than three weeks, supporters of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro have blocked roads and camped outside military buildings across the nation. They refuse to accept his narrow defeat in October’s election and are pleading for intervention from the armed forces or marching orders from their commander in chief. The protests have gotten increasingly tense in a handful of states, such as Mato Grosso and Santa Catarina, where authorities have described tactics akin to terrorism. Bolsonaro has dropped out of public view, and has not disavowed the recent emergence of violence.

        Germany and France have pledged to provide each other mutual support in preventing a possible energy crisis after supplies from Russia dried up amid the war in Ukraine. As part of a joint agreement signed by the countries' leaders Friday, Germany will provide France with electricity while getting much-needed natural gas in return. Before Russia invaded Ukraine nine months ago, Germany was heavily reliant on Russian gas supplies. Since then, Germany has scrambled to find other sources. France is struggling to meet its electricity needs due to repairs at nuclear power plants. There are concerns that a sharp rise in electricity demand from France this winter, coupled with lower production in Germany, could strain the continent’s grid.

          A Las Vegas man has been sentenced to five years in prison and ordered to pay more than $2.5 million in restitution for bilking the government out of millions of dollars in federal loans and COVID-relief funds during the pandemic two years ago. Federal prosecutors say 40-year-old Jorge Abramovs participated in a scheme to defraud multiple financial institutions out of more than $1.9 million in loans and collecting more than $350,000 from employees as income that he failed to pay taxes due. Prosecutors say he spent the money on purchases for himself, including luxury condominiums, a Bentley and a Tesla passenger vehicle.

            Residents in eastern Congo are waiting to see whether a cease-fire would take effect as planned after weeks of fighting between government forces and a shadowy rebel group. Regional leaders called for the stop in violence at a summit earlier this week in Angola, and warned that force could be used if the M23 rebels do not comply. They also want M23 to relinquish control of the major towns that they have seized in their rapid advance. M23 chairman Bertrand Bisimwa said his rebels would accept the cease-fire. But he said they would still defend themselves and civilians as needed. The Congolese government accuses Rwanda of backing the rebels, which Rwanda has denied.

              A Georgia hospital authority wants its local government to start sharing local property tax collections to help pay for indigent care. The Macon-Bibb County Hospital Authority discussed its plans earlier this month. The authority oversees Atrium Health Navicent, the largest hospital in middle Georgia and one of four top-level trauma centers in the state. If the Macon-Bibb County Commission approves the request, Macon-Bibb would become at least the 14th county statewide to use property taxes to pay for hospital care or physical improvements, according to the state Revenue Department and Associated Press reporting. Bibb County helped pay for indigent care for decades, but cut off funding in 2018 amid budget troubles.

                When President Joe Biden speaks about the “scourge” of gun violence, his go-to answer is to zero in on so-called assault weapons. America has heard it many times, including this week after shootings in Colorado and Virginia, that Biden wants to sign into law a ban on high-powered guns that have the capacity to kill many people very quickly. Such a move is still far off in a closely divided Congress. But Biden and the Democrats have become increasingly emboldened in pushing for stronger gun controls, and they're doing so with no clear electoral consequences. The tough talk reflects steady progress that gun control advocates have made.

                Turkish police have broken up a rally calling for an end to violence against women and for Turkey’s return to a treaty aimed at protecting them, detaining dozens of people. The demonstrators tried to march along Istanbul’s main pedestrian street, Istiklal, to mark the Nov. 25 International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, defying an order by authorities banning the rally on security and public order grounds. Police blocked off protesters from entering streets leading to Istiklal Friday, surrounded groups of protesters and apprehended them. An Associated Press journalist saw three busses full of detained protesters being taken to a nearby police station.

                Alaska Republican U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski has again withstood challenges from a conservative faction within her party to win reelection. Murkowski defeated Kelly Tshibaka on Wednesday for her fourth term in the Senate. Tshibaka was endorsed by former President Donald Trump. Murkowski drew Trump’s wrath after calling on him to resign and then voting to impeach him after the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Murkowski won the race with a coalition of support from independents and Democrats. In 2010, Murkowski mounted a successful write-in campaign to win the general election after losing the primary to a Republican tea party favorite.

                Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador says he will host meetings with U.S. President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Mexico City early next year. López Obrador said Friday that the Jan. 9-10 North American summit would also include bilateral meetings with both countries. The Mexican president said in October that Biden had already agreed to make the trip. Neither U.S. nor Canadian officials have officially confirmed their attendance. The three leaders met last year in Washington. Such talks usually focus on immigration, security and the economy. But this year, both the United States and Canada have asked for consultations over López Obrador's policy of favoring Mexico's state-owned power company.

                The European Union and the United States are treading precariously close to a major trans-Atlantic trade dispute at a time when the two Western giants want to show unity in the face of challenges from Russia and China. EU trade ministers are insisting they would be forced to respond if Washington stuck to all the terms of its Inflation Reduction Act, which is favorable to local companies through subsidies. The EU says it will unfairly discriminate against its firms that want to compete for contracts.

                New Twitter owner Elon Musk says he is granting “amnesty” for suspended accounts, which online safety experts predict will spur a rise in harassment, hate speech and misinformation. The billionaire’s announcement Thursday came after he asked in a poll posted to his timeline to vote on reinstatements for accounts that have not “broken the law or engaged in egregious spam.” The yes vote was 72%. After a similar highly unscientific poll last weekend, Musk reinstated the account of former President Donald Trump, which Twitter had banned for encouraging the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection. Trump has said he won’t return to Twitter but has not deleted his account.

                Elon Musk says that Twitter plans to relaunch its premium service that will offer different colored check marks to accounts next week. Friday's announcement is the latest change to the social media platform that the billionaire Tesla CEO bought last month for $44 billion, coming a day after Musk said he would grant “amnesty” for suspended accounts. Twitter previously suspended the premium service, which which under Musk granted blue-check labels to anyone paying $8 a month, because of a wave of imposter accounts. In the latest version, Musk said companies will get a gold check, governments will get a gray check, and individuals, whether or not they’re celebrities, will get a blue check.

                French President Emmanuel Macron says he's not the main focus of a judicial investigation into suspected illegal financing of two electoral campaigns. The comments come after leading French newspaper Le Parisien reported on the probe on Thursday. Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a visit to eastern France Friday, Macron said he had “nothing to fear” from the investigation. The judiciary will work “freely” and “shed light on the issue,” he said. French prosecutors said Thursday that a judicial inquiry was opened last month over alleged “inconsistent campaign accounts” and “reduction of accounting items” in relation with consulting companies operating during electoral campaigns of 2017 and 2022, including U.S. consulting company McKinsey & Company.

                Illinois legislators have one more chance to finalize the criminal justice overhaul known as the SAFE-T Act. Major portions take effect Jan. 1 and lawmakers have three more days in their fall session to clarify the massive plan. The main point of contention is the plan to eliminate cash bail. Advocates say poor people have to sit in jail awaiting trial because they can't make bail but affluent defendants can pay their way to pretrial release. Legislative changes must be approved by three-fifth majorities in both houses to take effect immediately. Negotiations are ongoing, though Deputy Majority Leader Jehan Gordon-Booth hasn’t shared details.


                Wisconsin election officials are weighing whether changes to military absentee voting are needed after a top Milwaukee election official was charged with fraud in false requests for military absentee ballots just days before the midterm election. Members of the Wisconsin Election Commission say they've talked about the potential for a change in state law that would allow military voters to use their military IDs to verify their identity. However, it's not clear if such a law would comply with federal requirements or if a change is even necessary to a system that has been effective at preventing widespread voter fraud.

                Residents of some parts of China's capital are overwhelming delivery apps as the city government orders faster construction of quarantine centers and field hospitals. Uncertainty and unconfirmed reports of lockdowns in at least some Beijing districts have fueled unusual demand for supplies. Buyers cleared shelves of food items in supermarkets in the northern suburbs, but it wasn't clear how widespread the phenomena was. Daily cases of COVID-19 are hitting records across the country, with 32,695 reported Friday. Of those, 1,860 were in Beijing, the majority of them asymptomatic. Improvised quarantine centers and field hospitals thrown up in large indoor spaces have become notorious for overcrowding, poor sanitation, scarce food supplies and lights that stay on 24 hours.

                Fears of aggressive poll watchers sowing chaos at polling stations or conservative groups trying to intimidate votes didn't materialize on Election Day as many election officials and voting rights experts had feared. Voting proceeded smoothly across most of the U.S., with a few exceptions of scattered disruptions. There were no clear indications that new voting laws in some Republican-leaning states disenfranchised voters on a wide scale. Overall, Election Day went better than many expected. But groups focused on threats to American democracy say the biggest challenge is still ahead: the 2024 presidential race.

                An inquiry into a former Australian prime minister secretly appointing himself to multiple ministries has recommended that all such appointments be made public in the future to preserve trust in government. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said Friday he will recommend his Cabinet accept all of the retired judge’s recommendations. Albanese ordered the inquiry after revelations that his predecessor Prime Minister Scott Morrison had taken the unprecedented steps of appointing himself to five ministerial roles between March 2020 and May 2021, usually without the knowledge of the existing minister. The extraordinary power grab came to light after Morrison’s conservative coalition was voted out of office in May after nine years in power.

                In his first month as Britain's prime minister, Rishi Sunak has stabilized the economy, reassured allies from Washington to Kyiv and even soothed the European Union after years of sparring between Britain and the bloc. But Sunak’s challenges are just beginning. He is facing a stagnating economy, a cost-of-living crisis and a Conservative Party that is fractious and increasingly unpopular after 12 years in power. Opinion polls suggest the British public quite likes the 42-year-old former investment banker, who has brought a measure of calm after turmoil under Boris Johnson and Liz Truss. But voters have less affection for the Conservatives, and the divided party is not giving Sunak much room to maneuver.

                Anwar Ibrahim has won a hard-fought battle to become Malaysia’s new Prime Minister. But a polarized nation will immediately test his political mettle as the reformist leader works with former foes to form a new unity government. Anwar got to work Friday, a day after he was sworn in as the nation’s 10th leader. His first test will be the construction of a Cabinet that can appease the diverse members of his unity government. Anwar’s Alliance of Hope won 82 out of 222 parliamentary seats in the Nov. 19 general election that saw the rise of Islamists. To cobble a majority, he won support from two rival blocs. Anwar says his focus is to tackle the rising cost of living.

                Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to return to office, from where he could try to make his yearslong legal troubles disappear through new legislation advanced by his far-right and ultra-Orthodox allies. Critics say such a legal crusade is an assault on Israel’s democracy. Netanyahu is on trial for corruption. He is poised to return to power with a comfortable governing majority that could grant him a lifeline from conviction. Defenders of the justice system say the proposed changes would allow legislators to abuse their authority and disrupt the tenuous balance of powers that keeps them in check. The 73-year-old Netanyahu denies wrongdoing and views the charges as part of a witch hunt against him.

                A 90-year-old Roman Catholic cardinal and five others in Hong Kong were fined after being found guilty of failing to register a now-defunct fund meant to help people who were arrested in the widespread protests three years ago. Cardinal Joseph Zen is a retired bishop and a vocal democracy advocate of the city. He was first arrested in May on suspicion of colluding with foreign forces under the Beijing-imposed National Security Law. At that time, his arrest sent shockwaves through the Catholic community. Principal Magistrate Ada Yim ruled that the fund is considered an organization, not purely for charity purposes. That means it's obliged to register, and all six were convicted Friday. Their fines range from about $300-$500.

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