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Japan’s military, among world’s strongest, looks to build

ENIWA, Japan (AP) — Dozens of Japanese tanks are participating in a major exercise on the northern island of Hokkaido in a display of military power that coincides with a recent escalation of Chinese and Russian military moves around Japanese territory. Japan has so far focused on its defensive capabilities and carefully avoids using the word “military” for its troops. But as it looks to defend its territorial and military interests against an assertive China, North Korea and Russia, officials in Tokyo are pushing citizens to put aside widespread unease over a more robust military. Meanwhile critics, both Japan’s neighbors and at home, are urging Tokyo to learn from its past and pull back from military expansion.


Solomon Islands leader faces no-confidence vote after riots

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Lawmakers in the Solomon Islands are debating whether they still have confidence in the prime minister, after rioters last month set fire to buildings and looted stores in the capital. China, meanwhile, said it was shipping aid to its citizens caught up in the violence. Many businesses remained closed in Honiara ahead of the vote over concerns that violence could erupt again, leading to an eerie calm. Troops and police from Australia, Papua New Guinea, Fiji and New Zealand are helping keep the peace at the request of the Solomon Islands government. The riots grew from a peaceful protest that highlighted long-simmering regional rivalries, economic problems and concerns about the country’s increasing links with China.


Kennedy Center Honors back once more, Biden attends

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Kennedy Center Honors has returned to tradition this year with a real-life gala and the presence of the president for the first time since 2016. The lifetime achievement awards for artistic excellence were presented to Motown Records creator Berry Gordy, “Saturday Night Live” mastermind Lorne Michaels, actress-singer Bette Midler, opera singer Justino Diaz and folk music legend Joni Mitchell. Sunday night’s event represents a return to political normalcy, with President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump skipped the show the first three years he was in office. And last year, the pandemic forced organizers to bump the annual December ceremony back to May 2021.


O’Neil, Miñoso, Hodges, Kaat, Oliva, Fowler get baseball HOF

Buck O’Neil, a champion of Black ballplayers during a monumental, eight-decade career on and off the field, has joined Minnie Miñoso, Gil Hodges and three others in being elected to the baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday. Former Minnesota Twins teammates Tony Oliva and Jim Kaat also were chosen along with Bud Fowler by a pair of veterans committees. Longtime slugger Dick Allen, who died last December, fell one vote shy of election. The six newcomers will be enshrined in Cooperstown, New York, next July along with any new members elected by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. David Ortiz, Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez are on that ballot.


Dictionary.com anoints allyship word of the year for 2021

NEW YORK (AP) — Allyship is Dictionary.com’s word of the year. The look up site with 70 million monthly users took the unusual step of anointing a word it added just last month. The company’s John Kelly says allyship first surfaced in the mid-1800s. What it means to be an authentic ally has taken on fresh significance as buzz around the word has grown louder. One of the aspects of allyship, as it has emerged in recent decades, is how badly it can go. Among the dictionary site’s definitions for allyship is the role of a person who advocates for inclusion of a “marginalized or politicized group” — in solidarity but not as a member.


Fauci says early reports encouraging about omicron variant

U.S. health officials say that while the omicron variant of the coronavirus is rapidly spreading in the country, early indications suggest it may be less dangerous than delta, which continues to drive a surge of hospitalizations. President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, told CNN’s “State of the Union” scientists need more information before drawing conclusions about omicron’s severity. But reports from South Africa, where it emerged and is becoming the dominant strain, suggest hospitalization rates have not increased alarmingly. Omicron had been detected in about a third of U.S. states by Sunday. Fauci said the Biden administration is considering lifting travel restrictions against noncitizens entering the United States from several African countries.


Perdue gears up for primary brawl with Georgia GOP governor

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is likely to face a prominent challenger for the 2022 Republican primary for governor, former Sen. David Perdue. Kemp drew Donald Trump’s wrath for refusing to act on his false allegations of a stolen election. Late Sunday, a website and text updates launched for a Perdue governor’s campaign, proclaiming him “a bold conservative to unite Georgia, and inviting people to “join our team to stop Stacey Abrams,” the likely Democratic nominee. Perdue has been encouraged publicly by the former president and has been flirting with running for governor for months.


Lawyer: Chris Cuomo accuser was disgusted by ‘hypocrisy’

NEW YORK (AP) — A woman who lodged a sexual harassment allegation against former CNN anchor Chris Cuomo was “disgusted” by what she saw as his hypocrisy and attempts to discredit women who made similar allegations against his brother. The woman’s lawyer released a statement Sunday. The woman’s complaint became known shortly after CNN fired Cuomo Saturday night. He had been criticized for breaching journalistic ethics by trying to help his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, beat his own harassment charges. The woman was motivated to come forward after Cuomo’s statements saying he cared deeply and profoundly about issues of sexual misconduct, regarding allegations against his brother.


Dole mastered the caustic wisecrack, often against himself

WASHINGTON (AP) — Bob Dole’s frequent scowl concealed a dry, often caustic wit. He singed political rivals with it — but didn’t spare himself. The Senate veteran and former Republican presidential candidate died Sunday at age 98. Wisecracks came with Dole’s territory. After a poor showing in the 1980 Republican presidential primary in New Hampshire, Dole said, “I went home and slept like a baby. Every two hours I woke up and cried.” Dole drew heat for saying in a 1976 vice presidential debate that all the wars of the 20th century were “Democrat wars.” He came to regret that remark, saying, “I was supposed to go for the jugular. And I did — my own.”


Bob Dole, a man of war, power, zingers and denied ambition

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans are remembering Bob Dole, a man who defied the odds in war, only to fall short of his ultimate goal in politics. Dole died Sunday. He was 98. After paralyzing wounds in World War II, Dole willed himself to walk again, and ran for Congress with a right arm too damaged to shake hands. He rose through the Senate ranks to become a long-serving Republican leader and tireless champion of his party. But the prize of the presidency eluded him. He tried three times, and came closest in his final race, securing the 1996 Republican nomination only to be steamrolled by President Bill Clinton’s reelection machine.

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