National News

AP Top Headlines at 2:26 a.m. EST

Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock has defeated Republican challenger Herschel Walker in a runoff election in Georgia In a sharp reversal, China has announced a series of measures rolling back some of its most draconian anti-COVID-19 restrictions Drones struck inside Russia’s…

AP Top News at 2:26 a.m. EST

Democratic Sen. Warnock wins Georgia runoff against Walker ATLANTA (AP) — Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock defeated Republican challenger Herschel Walker in a Georgia runoff election Tuesday, ensuring Democrats an outright majority in the Senate for the rest of President Joe…

China announces roll-back of strict anti-COVID-19 measures

In a sharp reversal, China has announced a series of measures rolling back some of the most draconian anti-COVID-19 restrictions. The Wednesday announcement includes limiting the scale of lockdown to individual apartment floors and buildings, rather than entire districts and neighborhoods. People who test positive for the virus will be able to isolate at home rather than in overcrowded and unsanitary field hospitals, and schools where there have been no outbreaks must return to in-class teaching. The announcement follows recent street protests in several cities over the strict “zero-COVID" policy now entering its fourth year, which has been blamed for upending ordinary life, travel and employment while dealing a harsh blow to the national economy.

Hawaii remembrance to draw handful of Pearl Harbor survivors

A handful of centenarian survivors of the attack on Pearl Harbor are expected to gather at the scene in Hawaii to commemorate those who perished 81 years ago in the Japanese bombing. That’s fewer than in recent years, when a dozen or more came from across the country to pay their respects at the annual remembrance ceremony. Part of the decline reflects the dwindling number of survivors as they age. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs doesn’t have statistics for how many Pearl Harbor survivors are still living. But its data show the number of World War II veterans is rapidly declining.

China's Xi visiting Saudi Arabia amid bid to boost economy

Chinese leader Xi Jinping is attending a pair of regional summits in Saudi Arabia amid efforts to kick-start economic growth weighed down by strict anti-COVID-19 measures. The Foreign Ministry said Wednesday Xi will attend the inaugural China-Arab States Summit and a meeting with leaders of the six nations that make up the Gulf Cooperation Council in the Saudi capital of Riyadh. His state visit to Saudi Arabia will end on Saturday. China is the world’s second largest economy, a leading consumer of oil and source of foreign investment. China imports half of its oil, and half of those imports come from Saudi Arabia. Chinese economic growth rebounded to 3.9% over a year earlier in the three months ending in September.

Bombing at Indonesian police station kills officer, hurts 7

A man blew himself up Wednesday at a police station on Indonesia’s main island of Java in what appeared to be the latest in a string of suicide attacks in the world’s most populous Muslim nation. Television reports showed white smoke billowing from the building and people running in panic subsequent to a loud bang. West Java Police spokesperson Ibrahim Tompo said the man was entering the station when he detonated his explosive, instantly killing himself and an officer. Six other officers and a civilian were rushed to a nearby hospital with injuries. Police are still investigating the attack in West Java’s Bandung city and whether the man, who has not been identified, had links to radical groups.

AP Top Headlines at 11:47 p.m. EST

Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock has defeated Republican challenger Herschel Walker in a runoff election in Georgia Donald Trump’s company has been convicted of tax fraud for a scheme by top executives to avoid paying personal income taxes on perks such…

AP Top News at 11:47 p.m. EST

Democratic Sen. Warnock wins Georgia runoff against Walker ATLANTA (AP) — Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock defeated Republican challenger Herschel Walker in a Georgia runoff election Tuesday, ensuring Democrats an outright majority in the Senate for the rest of President Joe…

Lakers lose star Davis with flu-like symptoms, fall to Cavs

Los Angeles star center Anthony Davis was forced to leave Los Angeles’ game against the Cleveland Cavaliers after the first quarter and his teammates struggled without him in a 116-102 loss. Davis had scored 99 points in his previous two games and had been on a tear over the past 10 as the Lakers went 8-2 to erase most of a horrible start this season. He scored just one in eight minutes before he was forced to leave. Lakers coach Darvin Ham said Davis’ symptoms gradually got worse during the course of the day. Ham said Davis is unlikely to play on Wednesday in Toronto. He also stressed Davis had not tested positive for COVID-19.

China trade shrinks amid virus pressure, interest rate hikes

China’s imports and exports shrank in November under pressure from weakening global demand and anti-virus controls at home. Customs data showed exports sank 9% from a year earlier to $296.1 billion, worsening from October’s 0.9% decline. Imports fell 10.9% to $226.2 billion, down from the previous month’s 0.7% retreat. Chinese trade had been forecast to weaken as global demand cooled following interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve and central banks in Europe and Asia to rein in surging inflation. Chinese consumer demand has been hurt by anti-virus measures that shut down large sections of cities to contain virus outbreaks.

Why AP called the Georgia Senate runoff for Warnock

There weren't enough uncounted votes in Republican-leaning areas for Republican challenger Herschel Walker to make up his runoff election night gap with incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock. That’s what led The Associated Press to call the race for Warnock late Tuesday. Voting in the runoff began just weeks after the Nov. 8 general election. Georgia law requires a runoff four weeks after the general election if no candidate gets more than 50% of the initial vote in the general election. Twin runoff elections in Georgia in early 2021 determined the balance of power in the U.S. Senate, with Warnock and fellow Democrat Jon Ossoff taking both seats. This time around Democrats secured control of the chamber last month.

No. 17 Illinois rallies late, beats No. 2 Texas 85-78 in OT

Terrence Shannon Jr. scored 12 of his 16 points in overtime, including the tiebreaking 3-pointer with 3:34 remaining, and No. 17 Illinois rallied for an 85-78 victory over second-ranked Texas in the Jimmy V Classic. Matthew Mayer, who faced Texas several times at Baylor, tied a career high with 21 points as he made his first seven shots and finished 8 of 10. Jayden Epps added 11 points, including the final five points of regulation at Madison Square Garden. Shannon took over in the extra period to help Illinois beat a ranked foe for the second time this season. Timmy Allen scored a season-high 21 points for previously unbeaten Texas.

US approves $425 million in arms sales to Taiwan

The Biden administration has signed off on two new significant arms sales to Taiwan in approvals that are sure to rankle China. The State Department said late Tuesday that it had approved sales worth more than $425 million of spare aircraft parts to Taiwan to support its fleet of F-16 fighters, C-130 transport planes and other U.S.-supplied weapons systems. The package includes $330 million in standard replacement parts and $98 million in non-standard equipment. The sales were announced just weeks after President Joe Biden met his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping for talks in Indonesia in which China's increasingly aggressive behavior toward Taiwan was a major issue.

AP sources: Walker, Bellinger, Bell move; Giants add Haniger

Aaron Judge remains a free agent as baseball's winter meetings continue in San Diego. While much of the majors awaited the resolution of Judge’s free agency, Taijuan Walker agreed to a $72 million, four-year contract with Philadelphia, Mitch Haniger got a $43.5 million deal from San Francisco and Cody Bellinger reached a $17.5 million, one-year deal with the Chicago Cubs. Negotiations continued for some marquee free agents, including shortstops Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts and Dansby Swanson, along with catcher Willson Contreras and left-hander Carlos Rodón. Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol says the team recently met with Contreras and his representatives.

Congress set to rescind COVID-19 vaccine mandate for troops

The COVID-19 vaccine mandate for members of the U.S. military would be rescinded under the annual defense bill heading for a vote this week in Congress. If the measure passes, it will end a policy that helped ensure the vast majority of troops were vaccinated but also raised concerns that it harmed recruitment and retention. Republicans emboldened by their new House majority next year have pushed the effort in negotiations. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre says President Joe Biden told House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy he would consider lifting the mandate, but Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin recommended it be kept.

Trump's Constitution remarks put McConnell, GOP on defense

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell has delivered another rebuke of Donald Trump, saying anyone who thinks the Constitution can be suspended would have a “very hard time” becoming president in the United States. The comment marked the second time in as many weeks that McConnell and other Republicans have been compelled to denounce Trump’s words and actions since the former president announced he is running again for the White House in 2024. Over the weekend, Trump called for the “the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution” after new revelations of what he said was Twitter’s unfair treatment of him during the 2020 presidential election,

Coast Guard faults pilot in Chesapeake Bay ship grounding

A Coast Guard investigation into the grounding in March of a cargo ship in the Chesapeake Bay is faulting the pilot tasked with helping the ship navigate the waterway. In a news release Tuesday the Coast Guard specifically cited “the pilot’s failure to maintain situational awareness and attention while navigating, and inadequate bridge resource management.” The investigation found that the pilot relied too much on one piece of equipment to navigate and was on his cell phone in the runup to the grounding. The Maryland Board of Pilots also says they're suspending the pilot’s operating license.

Mills Lane, Hall of Fame boxing referee, dies at 85

Mills Lane, the Hall of Fame boxing referee who was the third man in the ring when Mike Tyson bit Evander Holyfield’s ear, died Tuesday. He was 85. Respected for being tough but fair, his “Let’s get it on!” command became the final words heard before many memorable fights. Lane had suffered a stroke in 2002 and his son, Tommy, said his father had taken a significant turn for the worse recently before entering hospice care on Friday. He died at his home in Reno, Nevada, with his wife, Kaye, and two sons in the home.

Amid outcry, San Francisco pauses on 'killer police robots'

San Francisco supervisors have voted to put the brakes on a controversial policy to let police use robots for deadly force. The board voted unanimously Tuesday to ban such use of robots for now. But supervisors sent the issue back to a policy committee for further discussion and may allow it in the future. It's a reversal from last week's vote to let the police use robots for deadly force, such as by strapping explosives on them, in limited cases. The vote generated pushback from critics who said robots shouldn't have that power.

Brother finds body Baltimore firefighters missed in building

A Baltimore family is demanding answers after firefighters responded to a warehouse fire Saturday night and failed to realize the building was occupied before leaving the scene. James Craig Jr., 45, was found dead the next morning after his brother went looking for him. Baltimore Police later launched a homicide investigation. Baltimore Fire officials said they had no reason to believe the building was occupied after finding signs of structural instability. Questions about their response come amid a time of turmoil for the department. The chief resigned last week after the release of an investigative report examining the department's response to a call that left three firefighters dead early this year.