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CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Rio Tinto chairman Simon Thompson said Wednesday he was accountable for the mining giant destroying sacred Indigenous sites in Australia to access iron ore and he will not seek reelection as a board director next year.

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LONDON (AP) — Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Wednesday strongly denied being part of a plot against her predecessor, as she testified under oath in a political saga that is threatening both her leadership and her push for an independent Scotland.

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RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil dodged the most dire economic forecasts in 2020, but official figures released Wednesday show the COVID-19 pandemic still battered the nation and it continues to dim the outlook for recovery.

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MOSCOW (AP) — The Kremlin on Wednesday shrugged off new Western sanctions over the poisoning and arrest of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny as unfounded and pointless — but warned that Moscow will retaliate.

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LONDON (AP) — Britain’s treasury chief on Wednesday announced an additional 65 billion pounds ($91 billion) of support for an economy ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic, extending job support programs and temporary tax cuts to help workers and businesses in his annual budget.

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THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — A blast caused by a “homemade device” smashed windows at a coronavirus testing center in a small Dutch town early Wednesday, police said. Nobody was hurt in the explosion, which was condemned by the government and health officials.

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MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday urged police to track down people who encourage children to join in unsanctioned demonstrations, a move that follows a wave of protests against the jailing of opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

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PARIS (AP) — One plaintiff lost her father in a nursing home last spring as the virus pandemic swept France. Another has fought for a year to keep her mother, isolated in another nursing home, out of depression.

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TOKYO (AP) — The new president of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee stopped short of saying there would be no foreign fans at this year's games, but she certainly hinted at it Wednesday after online talks with IOC President Thomas Bach and others.

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BERLIN (AP) — Germany's domestic intelligence agency has put the Alternative for Germany party under observation due to suspicions of extreme-right sympathies, German media reported Wednesday, a move against the biggest opposition party in parliament that comes only six months before a national election.

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BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Hungary’s governing party pulled out of its conservative group in the European Union’s legislature on Wednesday following years of conflict over the rule of law and European values.

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Kuwait’s new Cabinet was sworn in Wednesday, state-run media reported, weeks after the government quit amid a deepening deadlock with parliament that has blocked badly needed reforms in the tiny oil-rich Gulf Arab state.

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RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — The Palestinian Authority's decision to divert some of its tiny stockpile of coronavirus vaccines to senior officials, soccer players and others has sparked controversy, feeding into long-standing concerns about corruption as it struggles to respond to a worsening outbreak.

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YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Authorities in Myanmar have charged Associated Press journalist Thein Zaw and five other members of the media with violating a public order law that could see them imprisoned for up to three years, a lawyer said Tuesday.

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BEIJING (AP) — Calls for a boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics on human rights grounds are “doomed to failure,” a Chinese government spokesperson said Wednesday, as lawmakers and political advisers began converging on China's capital for the biggest annual gathering of the political calendar.

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BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union is set to extend for around two more years the economic safety net it put in place to help save businesses and jobs from the impact of restrictions imposed to halt the spread of the coronavirus.

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