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The European Union is edging closer to a $60-per-barrel price cap on Russian oil. It's a highly anticipated and complex political and economic maneuver designed to keep Russian oil flowing into global markets while clamping down on President Vladimir Putin’s ability to fund his war in Ukraine. EU nations sought to push the cap across the finish line Thursday after Poland held out to get as low a figure as possible. There's a deadline to set the price for discounted oil by Monday, when a European embargo on seaborne Russian crude and a ban on shipping insurance for those supplies take effect.

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DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Brazil and Portugal already advanced into the knockout round so the focus on the final day of World Cup group play should be on the six other teams trying to avoid elimination.

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French referee Stéphanie Frappart has bocame the first woman to take charge of a men’s World Cup game after blowing her whistle to start Germany’s game against Costa Rica. Frappart also had two women as assistants. Neuza Back of Brazil and Karen Diaz Medina of Mexico complete an all-female refereeing team on the field. Kathryn Nesbitt of the United States was also working at the Al Bayt Stadium as the offside specialist in the video review team. Frappart has already refereed men’s games in World Cup qualifying and the Champions League. She also took charge of this year’s men’s French Cup final and the 2019 Women’s World Cup final for FIFA.

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Renewed allegations of racism at Buckingham Palace threatened to overshadow Prince William’s trip to the United States after campaigners said the palace needed to acknowledge that the latest incident was part of a wider problem. The controversy erupted Wednesday when a Black advocate for survivors of domestic abuse said a senior member of the royal household interrogated her about her origins during a reception at the palace for people working to end violence against women. Shortly after the Prince and Princess of Wales arrived in Boston for a three-day visit, a royal spokesman said racism had “no place in our society” and noted that the household member involved had resigned.

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Spanish officials say a suspicious parcel has been discovered at the U.S. Embassy in Madrid and detonated by police. The finding on Thursday came as police reported a wave of explosive packages being sent in Spain, including one that ignited at the Ukrainian Embassy on Wednesday, injuring one person. Police say other explosive devices concealed in postal packages were sent over the past two days to Spain’s Defense Ministry, a European Union satellite center in Spain and an arms factory that makes grenades sent to Ukraine. An earlier one was sent to the Spanish Prime Minister. There were no other reports of injuries.

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José Irizarry accepts that he’s known as the most corrupt agent in U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration history, admitting he conspired with Colombian cartels to build a lavish lifestyle of sports cars, jewels and paramours around the world. But as he used his final hours of freedom to tell his story to The Associated Press, Irizarry says he won't go down alone, accusing some long-trusted DEA colleagues of joining him in skimming millions from money laundering stings to fund a decade-long joyride of luxury travel, strip clubs, party boats and prostitutes. Now federal investigators are following Irizarry's confessional roadmap, questioning up to two-dozen agents and prosecutors.

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Word of anti-lockdown protests in China spread on domestic social media for a short period last weekend, thanks to a rare pause in the cat-and-mouse game that goes on between millions of Chinese internet users and the country’s gargantuan censorship machine. Chinese authorities maintain a tight grip on the country’s internet via a complex, multi-layered censorship operation that blocks access to almost all foreign news and social media, and blocks topics and keywords considered politically sensitive or detrimental to the Chinese Communist Party’s rule. Videos of or calls to protest are usually deleted immediately. But at moments of overwhelming public anger, experts said, the system can struggle to keep up.

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A Hong Kong court has postponed a pro-democracy newspaper publisher's trial. Jimmy Lai faces a possible life sentence if convicted under a National Security Law imposed by Beijing. Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee asked Beijing to decide whether foreign lawyers who don't normally practice in Hong Kong can be rejected for national security cases. The objection came after judges on Monday approved Lai’s plan to hire British human rights lawyer Timothy Owen. The trial is being delayed until Beijing makes a decision. If Beijing intervenes, that would mark the sixth time the Communist-ruled government has stepped into the city’s legal affairs.

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It’s time to raise a glass for sljivovica - Serbia’s traditional plum brandy that is being added to the U.N.’s list of intangible cultural heritage as a cherished tradition to be preserved by humanity. Serbia’s Ministry of Culture said Thursday UNESCO experts who gathered in Morocco this week decided that sljivovica (pronounced SHLI’-vuh-vitsah) deserves U.N. recognition as an example of an important cultural tradition. Sljivovica has been handcrafted — and consumed — in Serbia for centuries, a custom carried from generation to generation that experts say has become part of the national identity. Making the potent drink remains a tradition in many rural areas of the Balkan country despite a boom in modern distilleries and brands.

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More Chinese cities are easing anti-virus restrictions and police are patrolling their streets as the government tries to defuse public anger over some of the world’s most stringent COVID measures. Following weekend demonstrations at which some crowds made the politically explosive demand that leader Xi Jinping resign, the streets of major cities have been quiet in the face of a crackdown. Guangzhou, Shijiazhuang, Chengdu and other major cities announced they were easing testing requirements and controls on movement. In some areas, markets and bus service reopened. A newspaper reported Beijing has begun allowing some people with the virus to isolate at home. The government didn’t immediately respond to a request for confirmation Thursday.

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India officially takes up its role as chair of the Group of 20 leading economies for the coming year Thursday and it’s putting climate at the top of the group’s priorities. Programs to encourage sustainable living and money for countries to transition to clean energy and deal with the effects of a warming world are some of the key areas that India will focus on during its presidency, experts say. Some say the country will use the position to boost its climate credentials and act as a bridge between the interests of industrialized nations and developing ones. India has made considerable moves toward renewable energy but remains one of the world’s current top emitters of planet-warming gases.

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When peace returns to Ukraine, many thousands of its combatants will likely return from the battlefields bearing psychological scars. Psychologists, veterans affairs officers and former soldiers are working to head off a potential mental health crisis when troops transition to civilian life. A mental health rehabilitation center for soldiers on the outskirts of Ukraine's capital, Kyiv, treats post-traumatic disorders with acupuncture, soothing sounds and other therapies. A former paratrooper who ran a half-marathon to raise awareness and funds for treatments says healthy-looking soldiers suffer inwardly. He worries about the risks of traumatized soldiers taking their own lives or turning guns on others.

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Award-winning “Squid Game” actor Oh Young-soo will stand trial on charges of indecent assault after a woman accused him of inappropriately touching her in 2017. The district court in Seongnam city said Thursday that prosecutors indicted the 78-year-old Emmy nominee last week over the allegations and that his trial will begin in February. Oh did not answer multiple calls by the Associated Press seeking comments. South Korean cable channel JTBC said Oh denied wrongdoing when reached by its reporter, saying that he had only held the woman’s hands to “show her the way” as they walked around a lake.

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Shares have advanced in Asia after a rally on Wall Street spurred by the chair of the Federal Reserve's comments on easing the pace of interest rate hikes to tame inflation. Benchmarks in Tokyo and Hong Kong surged more than 1%. While citing some signs that inflation is cooling, Fed Chair Jerome Powell stressed that the Fed will push rates higher than previously expected and keep them there for an extended period. The S&P 500 jumped 3.1% Wednesday. The tech-heavy Nasdaq rose 4.4% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 2.2%. Treasury yields fell broadly and crude oil prices rose. Major indexes ended November with their second straight month of gains.

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Lionel Messi will grace the World Cup stage at least one more time. The Argentina great had a penalty saved but his team still beat Poland 2-0 after second-half goals from Alexis Mac Allister and Julian Alvarez and advanced to the last 16. Argentina finished in first place in Group C to set up a match against surprise qualifier Australia. Poland also advanced despite the loss. Argentina has bounced back from opening the World Cup with a shocking 2-1 loss to Saudi Arabia. Messi’s likely final World Cup rolls onto Saturday. He will be relieved after failing to score a penalty for the second straight World Cup.

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BUCHAREST (AP) — Apart from Ukraine, Moldova has been hit hardest by Russia’s invasion of its neighbor, the Moldovan foreign minister said Wednesday, as NATO offered fresh support to three cou…

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BEIJING (AP) — Jiang Zemin, who led China out of isolation after the army crushed the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests in 1989 and supported economic reforms that led to a decade of exp…

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The humble French baguette is being inscribed on the U.N.’s list of intangible heritage as a prized tradition and savoir-faire that should be protected by humanity. UNESCO experts gathering in Morocco this week decided that the staple bread flute deserved U.N. recognition after France’s culture ministry warned of a “continuous decline” in the number of traditional bakeries, and the closures of 400 bakeries a year over the past half-century. The “artisanal know-how and culture of baguette bread” was inscribed at the Morocco meeting among other global cultural heritage items, including Japan’s Furyu-odori ritual dances, and Cuba’s light rum masters.

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Germany must win in its final game of the group stage against Costa Rica on Thursday to have any shot of advancing at the World Cup. Or the four-time World Cup champions will go home early for a second consecutive tournament. Germany was knocked out as reigning World Cup champions in group play four years ago in Russia. But even a victory might not be enough. Spain still has some work left to do in Group E as it prepares to take on Japan. Croatia needs only a draw against Belgium in Group F to ensure its place in the round of 16. Morocco will advance with a victory or a draw on Thursday against already-eliminated Canada