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The Biden administration is actively searching for ways to safeguard abortion access for millions of women. But those efforts are bumping up against a complex web of strict new state laws enacted in the months after the Supreme Court stripped the constitutional right. After midterm elections there’s a renewed purpose at the White House to find ways to help women in states have virtually outlawed or limited the treatment, and to enforce policies already in place. But the administration is shackled by a ban on federal funding for most abortions, a conservative-leaning Supreme Court and a split Congress.

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.

Wisconsin’s Republican representatives in Congress are calling on Democratic Gov. Tony Evers to delete the video platform TikTok from all state government devices. The lawmakers told Evers in a letter Tuesday that the popular video sharing app should be removed because it can be used by the Chinese government to spy on users and promote Chinese Communist Party propaganda. The request comes a week after South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, a Republican, banned state employees and contractors from accessing TikTok on state-owned devices, citing its ties to China. TikTok has been targeted by Republicans who say the Chinese government could access user data such as browsing history and location.

Jurors in the Trump Organization’s criminal tax fraud trial are deliberating for a second day as they weigh charges that former President Donald Trump’s company helped executives dodge personal income taxes on perks such as Manhattan apartments and luxury cars. Jurors returned to the courtroom twice with questions Tuesday, seeking a refresher on some of the charges in the complex, numbers-heavy case.

    Gov.-elect Josh Shapiro is tapping longtime aides to take top positions in his office weeks before he's sworn in as Pennsylvania’s 48th governor. Shapiro, the state's attorney general, said Tuesday that Uri Monson will be his top fiscal officer as budget secretary and Jennifer Selber will be his top lawyer as general counsel. Shapiro also named his campaign manager Dana Fritz as his chief of staff atop a state government of roughly 80,000 employees. Shapiro will be sworn in Jan. 17. Selber is currently Shapiro’s executive deputy attorney general in charge of the office’s criminal division. Monson is a senior administrator at the $4.4 billion Philadelphia school district.

      Poland's prime minister has backed down from his initial declaration to award bonuses to the national soccer team for its World Cup performance. It was a sudden reversal by Mateusz Morawieck after saying earlier in the day the players should be rewarded for advancing from their group. It was Poland's best result in 36 years. But following controversy fuelled by high inflation and uncertainty in the country, Morawiecki eventually said on Facebook that “there will be no government means” for bonuses for the players. A government spokesman previously said the money mentioned would be spent on training children and developing the soccer infrastructure. Some angered Twitter users said the taxpayers' money should be spent on general use purposes.

        A U.S. Supreme Court case involving North Carolina's congressional districts could have ramifications for the way voting districts are drawn in other states. At issue in Wednesday's arguments is whether state courts can strike down U.S. House maps passed by state lawmakers for violating state constitutions. North Carolina's Republican legislative leaders are asserting an “independent state legislature” theory — claiming the U.S. Constitution gives no role to state courts in federal election disputes. The outcome could affect similar lawsuits pending in state courts in Kentucky, New Mexico and Utah. It also could have implications in New York and Ohio, where state courts previously struck down U.S. House districts.

        Georgia voters are deciding the final Senate contest in the country. They're choosing whether to reelect Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock or opt for Republican challenger Herschel Walker. Tuesday's contest concludes a four-week runoff blitz that's drawn a flood of outside spending to an increasingly personal fight. The outcome will determine whether Democrats have a 51-49 Senate majority or control a 50-50 chamber based on Vice President Kamala Harris' tiebreaking vote. In last month's general election, Warnock led Walker by 37,000 votes out of almost 4 million cast but fell shy of a majority, triggering the runoff. As polls opened Tuesday morning, a 40-degree wind chill and steady rain greeted voters in the Atlanta area.

        Facebook’s quasi-independent oversight board says an internal system that exempted high-profile users, including former U.S. President Donald Trump, from some or all of its content moderation rules needs a major overhaul. The report released Tuesday by the Oversight Board said the system “is flawed in key areas which the company must address.” The board opened its review after The Wall Street Journal reported that the system was being abused by many of its elite users, who posted material that would result in penalties for ordinary people, including for harassment and incitement of violence. Meta has agreed to respond to the report within 90 days.

        Minnesota lawmakers will head into the 2023 legislative session with a massive $17.6 billion projected budget surplus. Minnesota Management and Budget says “strong collections and lower-than-projected spending” are contributing to the surplus in the current two-year budget period, which runs through June. The agency also expects that economic headwinds and lower expected growth for the next two-year budget period will be balanced by a large leftover surplus and healthy net revenues. The agency’s previous forecast was for a record $12.1 billion. Democrats will take full control of Minnesota government when the 2023 Legislature convenes on Jan. 3.

        President Joe Biden is going to 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 to revive the U.S. middle class. Republican House Leader Kevin McCarthy has attacked the government investments as a “blank check” and “corporate welfare.”

        A former Miami congressman who signed a $50 million consulting contract with Venezuela’s socialist government was arrested Monday on charges of money laundering and representing a foreign government without registering. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Miami says Republican David Rivera was arrested in Atlanta. The eight-count indictment alleges he was part of a conspiracy to lobby on behalf of Venezuela to improve U.S.-Venezuela relations, resolve an oil company legal dispute and end U.S. economic sanctions against the South American nation — without registering as a foreign agent. A lawyer for Rivera said he had not seen the indictment and Rivera did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

        A Conservative member of Britain's House of Lords says she is taking a leave of absence from Parliament to “clear her name” over allegations that she profited from links to a company awarded government contracts for personal protective equipment during the coronavirus pandemic. Michelle Mone has denied reports that she used her political connections to recommend a company called PPE Medpro to senior government officials and won contracts worth more than 200 million pounds ($244 million) to supply protective equipment to the government in 2020. The Guardian newspaper has reported that Mone and her children received 29 million pounds originating from profits of PPE Medpro. Mone’s lawyers have said she is not connected to the company in any capacity.

        EU leaders and their counterparts in the Western Balkans have worked to strengthen their partnership during a summit in Albania as Russia's war in Ukraine threatens to reshape the geopolitical balance in the region. The EU wanted to reassure leaders from Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia that they have futures within the wealthy economic bloc, and give them concrete signs, instead of just promises, that they will join one day. Since Russia started its war in February, EU officials have been repeating that stepping up the bloc’s engagement with the sextet of nations is more crucial than ever to maintaining Europe’s security.

        An opposition legislator in Turkey has been hospitalized following a brawl that broke out in the country's parliament during a debate over next year’s budget. Television footage on Tuesday showed dozens of legislators from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling party and from opposition parties engaged in a tussle. Some lawmakers threw punches at each other, while others tried to pull their fighting colleagues apart. Turkey's DHA news agency says opposition member Huseyin Ors was punched in the face and taken to a hospital by ambulance. Fighting is a frequent occurrence in Turkey’s parliament. It was not immediately known what caused Tuesday’s brawl but tensions are running high ahead of elections scheduled for June.


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

        Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin swept into office as a Republican revelation with a fresh formula for victory as the GOP contemplated its future beyond Donald Trump. But a year after Youngkin's stunning win, some Republicans believe the shine of his national star is being tested. That's even as Youngkin quietly contemplates a 2024 presidential run. Most of the midterm candidates Youngkin tried to help this fall were defeated. Major presidential donors see the former private-equity chief as simply one in a crowded class of would-be Trump alternatives. And the 55-year-old Youngkin has few major accomplishments to sell as he faces debates on guns and abortion at home.

        Latvian media authorities have revoked the license of an independent Russian TV channel exiled in the Baltic country for, among other things, voicing support for the Russian military and including Crimea in its map of Russia. The decision by the Latvian National Electronic Mass Media Council was based on a number of recent violations by TV Rain and the license was revoked on the grounds of a threat to national security and public order. The region’s main news agency, Baltic News Service, said the decision will take effect on Thursday when not only TV Rain’s broadcasts but also its programs on YouTube will be blocked in Latvia.

        North Korea has fired a barrage of artillery rounds into waters near rival South Korea for the second consecutive day in a tit-for-tat for ongoing U.S.-South Korea live-fire drills. South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff says it detected North Korea firing around 100 artillery rounds from a front-line area along its eastern coast. It said the shells, which were likely from multiple rocket launchers, landed in the northern side of a maritime buffer zone the Koreas established in 2018 to reduce border tensions. The South said it communicated verbal warnings to North Korea and urged it to abide by the military agreement. An spokesperson of the North Korean military said the firings were meant as a warning against “enemy side” artillery exercises.

        Protesters have tried to force their way into Mongolia's State Palace, incensed by allegations of corruption linked to the coal trade with China. The U.S. Embassy in Ulaanbaatar issued an alert Monday saying that several hundred protesters gathered in the city's Sukhbaatar Square during the weekend and marched to the presidential residence. The demonstrators were demanding that the government investigate claims that 385,000 tons of coal was stolen from stockpiles on Mongolia's border with China. Foreign sales of Mongolia's vast mineral wealth, coal and other resources are a perennial source of conflict for the country, where nearly one in three people live in poverty. The pandemic has left many Mongolians struggling to make ends meet, with inflation topping 15%.

        The daughter of former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is promising a new era of social equality, saying if her party is elected to power in next year’s election it will bring an end to poverty in the Southeast Asian nation. Paetongtarn Shinawatra told supporters Tuesday that if Thailand’s largest opposition party, Pheu Thai, wins in May people would see a marked change from the administration of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, who seized power in a military coup in 2014 and was then elected in 2019. She says: “To think big and act smart will help rebuild our country and improve the livelihood of Thai people.”

        The White House is playing host to roughly 50 Democratic state legislators from 31 states this week as legislatures prepare for their upcoming sessions. The discussions will center on gun violence prevention, abortion rights and voting rights, among other topics. Those who are expected to attend the meetings Tuesday and Wednesday include House Democratic leaders from Georgia, Florida and Idaho, all states where Republicans control the House. The aim is to give state lawmakers a to-do list for the upcoming legislative session, though meeting those goals will be nearly impossible in states where Republicans are in control.

        China's Defense Ministry says the country strictly adheres to a policy of no first use of nuclear weapons “at any time and under any circumstances." The pledge came in a scathing response Tuesday to a U.S. report alleging a major buildup in Beijing’s nuclear capabilities. The Pentagon last week released an annual China security report that warned Beijing would likely have 1,500 nuclear warheads by 2035, and that it has provided no clarity on how it plans to use them. A ministry spokesperson says the report “distorts China’s national defense policy and military strategy, makes groundless speculation about China’s military development and grossly interferes in China’s internal affairs on the issue of Taiwan.”

        Members of South Korea’s ruling conservative party have proposed a bill that would place tighter restrictions on the voting rights of foreign permanent residents in local elections. They say it's necessary to protect democracy from being undermined by Chinese voters. Critics say the efforts could exacerbate anti-Chinese racism and would be a step back in an increasingly multicultural society that must embrace immigration to make up for a shrinking population. People Power Party lawmaker Kweon Seong-dong, a close ally of President Yoon Suk Yeol, says it's crucial to prevent the voting system from being exploited by other governments. Under current law, foreign nationals with at least three years of permanent residency can vote for mayors, governors, and local council members.

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