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    The COVID-19 vaccine mandate for members of the U.S. military would be rescinded under the annual defense bill heading for a vote this week in Congress.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.

      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,

        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.

          A state court judge’s ruling has placed Oregon’s tough new voter-approved gun law on hold just hours after a federal court judge in Portland allowed a ban on the sale and transfer of high-capacity magazines to take effect this week. The ruling by Harney County Judge Robert Raschio threw the law’s implementation into limbo. Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum will file an immediate appeal with the Oregon Supreme Court. Earlier Tuesday, a federal judge in Portland delivered an initial victory to proponents of the sweeping gun-control measure by allowing the high-capacity magazine ban to take effect Thursday.

            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 as apartments and luxury cars. As punishment, the Trump Organization could be fined up to $1.6 million. The guilty verdict Tuesday day came on the second day of deliberations in the only criminal trial to arise from the Manhattan district attorney’s three-year investigation of the former president and his businesses. Longtime Trump Organization finance chief Allen Weisselberg previously pleaded guilty to hatching the 15-year scheme. He testified at the trial in exchange for a promised five-month jail sentence. Trump himself was not on trial.

              A year and a half before the Colorado Springs gay nightclub shooting that left five dead, the alleged shooter was accused of threatening to kill grandparents if they stood in the way of plans to become “the next mass killer.” Sealed court documents verified by The Associated Press detail Anderson Lee Aldrich’s day of terror in 2021 that also included a bomb threat and a standoff with police. It stands as a glaring missed warning because charges over Aldrich's actions were dropped and there was no record guns were seized under Colorado’s “red flag” law for reasons authorities have yet to explain.

              New Mexico lawmakers are drafting legislation aimed at overhauling high school graduation requirements and reducing the minimum number of class-unit credits. High school teacher and state Rep. Andrés Romero of Albuquerque said Tuesday he’ll work as the lead sponsor on a bill that would eliminate algebra 2 as a graduation requirement, among other changes. New Mexico has gone about 20 years since the last comprehensive overhaul of high school graduation requirements. Separately, the state Public Education Department proposed a spending increase of $261 million tied to a possible expansion of minimum annual instructional time at K-12 schools and a 4% raise for teachers and school personnel.

              Recounts in two Anchorage-area legislative races are scheduled to take place this week. A state elections official says a recount is planned for Wednesday in the Senate District E race and for Thursday in the House District 15 race. The recounts will take place in Juneau. The recount in the Senate race was requested by Democrat Roselynn Cacy, who was the first of the three candidates in that ranked-vote contest to be eliminated. The race was won by Republican Cathy Giessel, a former Senate president. Incumbent Republican Rep. Roger Holland also competed. Democrat Denny Wells requested a recount in the Anchorage House race. He finished seven votes behind Republican Rep. Tom McKay after the final ranked vote tabulations.

              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.

              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.

              A Washington state Court of Appeals has upheld most of the campaign finance violations that longtime anti-tax initiative promoter Tim Eyman was found liable for last year. The Seattle Times reports the court on Tuesday kept in place the multimillion-dollar verdict against Eyman and most of the restrictions prohibiting Eyman from controlling the finances of political committees. The Division II Court of Appeals largely found for Attorney General Bob Ferguson in his case against Eyman, but Eyman received a few limited victories. The court tossed one of the violations against Eyman, a small portion of the restrictions imposed on him, and asked the trial judge to reconsider the size of the fine levied against him.

              A legal fight has erupted over a Washington D.C. police officer who was communicating with Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio before the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection that could shape the outcome of the upcoming trial of Tarrio and other far-right extremists. Lawyers for Tarrio say Metropolitan Police Lt. Shane Lamond’s testimony is crucial for the former Proud Boys national chairman’s defense against seditious conspiracy and other serious charges stemming from the U.S. Capitol attack. Lawyers for Tarrio have accused the Justice Department of trying to bully Lamond into not testifying because his testimony will hurt their case. Prosecutors have vehemently denied that charge.

              Indonesia’s Parliament unanimously voted on Tuesday to ban sex outside of marriage and insulting the president and state institutions. Once in force, the bans will affect foreign visitors as well as citizens. They’re part of an overhaul of the country’s criminal code that has been in the works for years. The new code also expands an existing blasphemy law. The code still needs approval from the president, and the government says it will not be fully implemented for several years. The amended code says sex outside marriage is punishable by a year in jail and cohabitation by six months, but adultery charges must be based on police reports lodged by a spouse, parents or children.


              Argentina's Vice President Cristina Fernández has been found guilty of committing a $1 billion fraud involving public works contracts during her presidency. A panel of judges announced her conviction and sentenced her Tuesday to six years in prison and a lifetime ban from public office. The populist leader is certain to appeal. Having denied all the allegations, Fernández lashed out at the verdict, describing herself as the victim of a “judicial mafia.” But she also later announced that she will not run next year for the presidency, a post she previously held in 2007-2015. Her supporters vowed to paralyze the country in a nationwide strike. She will remain immune from arrest until her appeal is settled.

              A New York jury has convicted Donald Trump’s company of tax fraud. Tuesday's verdict could damage the Republican politically and adds to an already long list of legal headaches as he mounts another run for president. Although Trump was not personally charged in the Manhattan district attorney’s tax case against the Trump Organization, he faces other inquiries. They include a criminal investigation over top secret documents found at his Florida estate, probes in Georgia and Washington into his efforts to undo the results of the 2020 presidential election and more probes in New York. Trump has denied any wrongdoing.

              U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland says the early work of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division meant confronting white supremacists who were intimidating Black voters, and the division's work remains urgent 65 years later amid a surge of hate crimes. The division marked its anniversary the same day that a gunman was charged with hate crimes in a mass shooting at a Colorado LGBTQ nightclub and a week after another mass shooter pleaded guilty to targeting Black shoppers at a Buffalo supermarket. Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke says the division is using every tool it has to fight a resurgence of hate.

              A federal judge has dismissed a U.S. lawsuit against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the killing of U.S.-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Tuesday's ruling bows to the Biden administration’s insistence that the prince was legally immune in the case. Washington, D.C., U.S. District Judge John D. Bates heeded the U.S. government’s request shielding Prince Mohammed from the case under the longstanding principle of limited immunity for heads of government. That's despite what Bates called “credible allegations of his involvement in Khashoggi’s murder.” Saudi officials killed Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018. Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post, had written critically of Prince Mohammed.

              President Joe Biden has visited the building site for an Arizona computer chip plant to emphasize how his policies are fostering job growth in what could be a challenge to the incoming Republican House majority. The Democratic president has staked his legacy in large part on major investments in technology and infrastructure that were approved by Congress along bipartisan lines. Biden maintains the factory jobs fostered by $52 billion in semiconductor investments and another $200 billion for scientific research will help revive the U.S. middle class. Republican House Leader Kevin McCarthy has attacked the government investments as a “blank check” and “corporate welfare.”

              A South Dakota legislative committee is trying to clarify how lawmakers can express their religious beliefs while respecting the First Amendment and the history of the Capitol building. The Legislature’s Executive Board advanced a new policy Tuesday after a pair of Republican lawmakers stained five chairs in a Capitol meeting room with oil. They were marking the chairs with crosses ahead of a meeting last month to elect caucus leaders. It took the Capitol’s groundskeepers about three hours to clean and left a slight discoloration on the chairs. But the episode also opened questions on who had access to the Statehouse rooms where laws are formed and to what degree lawmakers, often compelled by their Christian convictions, can leave a mark in the Capitol.

              An audit of more than 19,000 ballots cast in Idaho’s general election has identified only six variations. The Secretary of State's office released the audit results late last week. It found that the few variations all resulted from sorting errors or faint markings on ballots, which were counted differently by the tabulation machines and the auditors. Deputy Secretary of State Jason Hancock says the findings show that Idaho's elections are well run and the results are accurate and reliable. The audit is required under a law passed earlier this year intended to increase public confidence in election results by checking paper ballots.

              The House Ethics Committee has told departing U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina to pay over $14,000 to charity. The committee determined Cawthorn financially benefited while purchasing a cryptocurrency that he was promoting and violated conflict of interest rules. The Republican lost his reelection bid in May’s primary. The committee released its report Tuesday about Cawthorn's activities related to a “meme” coin he purchased in late 2021. An investigative subcommittee didn't reach consensus on whether Cawthorn intended to profit personally from those promotions. The committee also agreed there was no evidence that the Republican had an improper relationship with a staff member.

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