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    China says leader Xi Jinping has urged negotiations on a political solution to the Ukraine conflict in talks with visiting European Council President Charles Michel in Beijing. State broadcaster CCTV quoted Xi as saying that “solving the Ukrainian crisis through political means is in the best interest of Europe and the common interest of all countries in Eurasia." China has made such statements repeatedly in the past, while refusing to condemn Russia's invasion and criticizing sanctions against Moscow. EU officials say Michel's one-day visit is devoted to seeking a balance between the EU’s wish for more exports to China and the need to be firm with Beijing in the defense of democracy and fundamental freedoms.

      World shares have advanced after a rally on Wall Street spurred by the Federal Reserve chair's comments on easing the pace of interest rate hikes to tame inflation. News of a further easing of pandemic restrictions in some Chinese cities also lifted sentiment. U.S. futures edged lower and oil prices were little changed. Fed Chair Jerome Powell stressed that the Fed still will push rates higher than previously expected and keep them there for an extended period even though inflation appears to be moderating. On Wednesday, the S&P 500 jumped 3.1% Wednesday. The tech-heavy Nasdaq rose 4.4% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 2.2%.

        Word of anti-lockdown protests in China spread on domestic social media for a short period last weekend, thanks to a rare pause in the cat-and-mouse game that goes on between millions of Chinese internet users and the country’s gargantuan censorship machine. Chinese authorities maintain a tight grip on the country’s internet via a complex, multi-layered censorship operation that blocks access to almost all foreign news and social media, and blocks topics and keywords considered politically sensitive or detrimental to the Chinese Communist Party’s rule. Videos of or calls to protest are usually deleted immediately. But at moments of overwhelming public anger, experts said, the system can struggle to keep up.

          In the wake of the semiconductor supply chain shortage that began during the COVID-19 pandemic—which hit the auto industry particularly hard, and inspired policymakers to respond with new investments in domestic production—the role of electrical and electronics engineers has become even more…

          Congress is moving urgently to head off the looming U.S. rail strike. The House passed a bill Wednesday that would bind companies and workers to a proposed settlement reached in September that failed to gain the support of all 12 unions involved. The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration. It would impose a compromise labor agreement brokered by President Joe Biden's administration. That agreement was ultimately voted down by four of the 12 unions representing more than 100,000 employees at large freight rail carriers. The unions have threatened to strike if an agreement can’t be reached before a Dec. 9 deadline.

          Shares have advanced in Asia after a rally on Wall Street spurred by the chair of the Federal Reserve's comments on easing the pace of interest rate hikes to tame inflation. Benchmarks in Tokyo and Hong Kong surged more than 1%. While citing some signs that inflation is cooling, Fed Chair Jerome Powell stressed that the Fed will push rates higher than previously expected and keep them there for an extended period. The S&P 500 jumped 3.1% Wednesday. The tech-heavy Nasdaq rose 4.4% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 2.2%. Treasury yields fell broadly and crude oil prices rose. Major indexes ended November with their second straight month of gains.

          Hong Kong publisher Jimmy Lai broke into the media industry about 30 years ago armed with the belief that delivering information equates with delivering freedom. Lai now is accused of endangering national security with his now-defunct pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily. Lai, 74, faces up to a life sentence if he is convicted under a sweeping National Security Law that Beijing imposed on the former British colony in 2020. His high-profile trial was slated to begin Thursday, but is being postponed. Lai's decision to hire a British defense lawyer is the basis of the appeal for delaying the trial. Hong Kong leader John Lee has asked Beijing to issue a ruling that could effectively block the veteran barrister from representing Lai.

          Los Angeles police are seeking a search warrant for the Reddit website as they try to identify the person who leaked a racist discussion between City Council members and a powerful labor leader, causing a scandal that has rocked the community and shaken faith in its lawmakers. The LAPD said Tuesday that it's trying to determine the origin of the recording that was posted on Reddit last month. Police want to determine whether the recording was made illegally. The recording captured then-council President Nury Martinez and Councilmen Gil Cedillo and Kevin de León scheming to protect their political clout. It also featured offensive and bigoted remarks against Blacks and others. Martinez resigned. The other council members have refused repeated calls to do so.

          Amazon CEO Andy Jassy has said the company does not have plans to stop selling the antisemitic film that gained notoriety recently after Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving tweeted out an Amazon link to it. Pressure has been mounting on Amazon to stop selling the film or add a disclaimer to the documentary and the related book that it sells on its site. Jassy addressed the company's handling of the issue at the New York Times’ DealBook Summit in New York City. He says Amazon is a retailer of content to millions of customers with different viewpoints, and it has to allow access to those viewpoints even if they're objectionable.

          The former CEO of the failed cryptocurrency exchange FTX says that he did not "knowingly” misuse customers' funds. He also says he believes his millions of angry customers will eventually be made whole. The comments from Sam Bankman-Fried came during an interview with Andrew Ross Sorkin at conference put on by The New York Times. Bankman-Fried has done a handful of media interviews since FTX collapsed in mid-November, but Wednesday's was his first video interview since it filed for bankruptcy protection on Nov. 11. FTX failed in the cryptocurrency version of a bank run.

          A campaign to vaccinate older Chinese has sparked hopes Beijing might roll back severe anti-virus controls that prompted angry protesters to demand President Xi Jinping resign. But the country faces daunting hurdles before “zero COVID” can end. Global stock markets rose after Beijing announced the long-awaited campaign Tuesday. A low vaccination rate is one of the biggest obstacles to ending curbs that confine millions of people to their homes. Health experts and economists warn a vaccination effort will take months. They say China also must build up its hospitals and work out a long-term virus strategy, so “zero COVID” is likely to stay in place until mid-2023 and possibly as late as 2024.

          Journalists from an investigative news outlet in El Salvador have sued NSO Group in U.S. federal court after the Israeli firm’s powerful Pegasus spyware was detected on their iPhones. In January, the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab internet watchdog reported that dozens of journalists and human rights defenders in El Salvador had their cellphones repeatedly hacked with the spyware. Among them were journalists at the El Faro news site. El Faro’s co-founder and director says in a Wednesday statement that “these spyware attacks were an attempt to silence our sources and deter us from doing journalism."


          Need gift ideas to help with the ladies in your life? This list will surely help you make the grade.

          A top European Union official has warned Elon Musk that Twitter needs to beef up to protect users from hate speech, misinformation and other harmful content to avoid violating new rules. The EU's commissioner for digital policy, Thierry Breton, told Musk on Wednesday that the social media platform will have to significantly increase efforts to comply with the rules that threaten big fines or even a ban in the 27-nation bloc if tech giants don’t comply. The two held a video call to discuss Twitter’s preparedness for the rules. Breton says Musk told him that the new EU rules were “a sensible approach to implement on a worldwide basis.”

          Some $3.1 billion was donated to charitable causes in the U.S. in the 24 hours that are called Giving Tuesday. The movement to donate on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving started as a hashtag in 2012 and 10 years later has become a staple of fundraising for nonprofits. Asha Curran is the CEO of the organization GivingTuesday, which grew out of the hashtag. She said despite a difficult economic year, people we as generous as they had the capacity to be.

          U.S. officials approved the first pharmaceutical-grade version of the fecal transplant procedures that doctors have increasingly used to treat a potentially life-threatening intestinal infection. The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved the drug for adult patients at risk for reinfection with the infection commonly referred to as C. diff. The bacterial infection is particularly dangerous when it reoccurs and is linked to about 15,000 to 30.000 deaths a year. For more than a decade, some U.S. doctors have used stool samples from healthy donors to treat the condition. The new therapy from Ferring Pharmaceuticals Inc. is manufactured from stool donations by donors who are screened for dozens of conditions.

          A Virginia sheriff’s deputy posed as a 17-year-old boy online and asked a teenage California girl for nude photos before he drove across the country and killed her mother and grandparents and set fire to their home. Police say 28-year-old Austin Lee Edwards left with the teenager Friday and died by suicide during a shootout with law enforcement hours later. Family members and authorities said Wednesday that the girl is now in trauma counseling. The bodies were identified as Mark and Sharie Winek and their daughter Brooke Winek. Police say Edwards met the girl online and obtained her information by deceiving her with a false identity, known as “catfishing.”

          You might want to buy an electric car, but the price gives you a severe case of sticker shock. It leaves you wondering, “Why is the cost so much higher…

          Fed Chair Jerome Powell says the Federal Reserve will push rates higher than previously expected and keep them there longer to fight a stubborn bout of inflation. In a speech to the Brookings Institution on Wednesday, Powell also signaled that the Fed may increase its key interest rate by a smaller increment at its December meeting, only a half-point after four straight three-quarter point hikes. But Powell also stressed that the smaller size shouldn’t be seen as a sign the Fed will let up on its inflation fight anytime soon. Financial markets rallied in response to Powell’s suggestion that rate increases will slow.

          The Ohio Supreme Court has rejected a city’s argument that the streaming services Netflix and Hulu should have to pay local governments the same fees levied on cable operators. At issue was Ohio's 2007 Video Service Authorization law, which directed the state Commerce Department to determine what entities must obtain permission to physically install cables and wires in a public right-of-way. Companies deemed video service providers must pay a fee to local governments under that law. Streaming companies argue their distribution method is different from traditional video providers. The court on Wednesday sided with the streaming services.

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