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    In meeting after meeting in Tokyo, Vice President Kamala Harris has emphasized the U.S. commitment to regional security. She described the alliance with South Korea as a “linchpin,” and the alliance with Japan as a “cornerstone.” She also met with the prime minister from Australia, another key player in U.S. security efforts. The relationships are critical to U.S. plans to counter China's growing power. In addition, Harris plans to visit the Demilitarized Zone between South and North Korea on Thursday before returning to Washington. The visit comes amid concerns about North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs and had been under wraps until it was unexpectedly revealed during a meeting with South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo on Tuesday.

      The NFL is replacing the Pro Bowl with weeklong skills competitions and a flag football game. The new event will be renamed “The Pro Bowl Games” and will feature AFC and NFC players showcasing their football and non-football skills in challenges over several days. The 2023 Games will be held in Las Vegas, and the flag football game at Allegiant Stadium is Sunday, Feb. 5. Peyton Manning and his Omaha Productions company will help shape programming and promote the event’s content throughout the week. Manning, a 14-time Pro Bowl pick during his Hall of Fame career, will provide his perspective, and will also be a part of the coaching staff for flag game.

        Whether conservative South Carolina changes its abortion laws at all in the wake of this year’s U.S. Supreme Court decision is about to be decided by divided conservatives in the state House. Members on Tuesday either accept a Senate-passed bill that tweaks the state's six-week ban. That ban isn't in effect at the moment because of a state Supreme Court challenge. Or the House can insist on its own bill outlawing all abortions except when the life of the mother is at risk or if the pregnancy was caused by rape or incest. Typically, the House and Senate would then negotiate their differences. But Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey says there aren't enough Republican votes in the Senate for anything stricter than the six-week ban.

          Experts say the U.S. Supreme Court’s June ruling overturning Roe v. Wade appears to be sending more teens to their doctors in search of birth control, including long-acting reversible forms like intrauterine devices and implants. Waits for appointments are growing in some areas, Planned Parenthood is getting a flood of questions and doctors report demand even among teens who aren’t sexually active. Some patients are especially fearful because some of the new abortion laws don’t include exceptions for sexual assault. Dr. Peggy Stager said dedicated spots for insertion of the Nexplanon implant are consistently filled at her Ohio practice and requests for contraceptive refills have increased 30% to 40% since the Court's June ruling.

            Jury selection is expected to get underway Tuesday in one of the most serious cases to emerge from the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. The founder of the far-right Oath Keepers extremist group and four associates are charged with seditious conspiracy. Stewart Rhodes and the others are the first Jan. 6 defendants charged with the the rare Civil War-era offense to stand trial. Authorities allege there was a serious, weekslong plot to violently stop the transfer of presidential power from election-denier Donald Trump to Joe Biden.

            Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson has seemed to play with fire at times in his third bid for the seat. The Republican has called for the end of guaranteed money for Medicare and Social Security. He’s also trafficked in conspiracy theories about the 2020 election and dabbled in pseudoscience around the coronavirus. Democratic challenger Mandela Barnes has gone in a safer direction, cultivating an image as a nonthreatening defender of the middle class. Of the races that could decide control of the Senate next year, it's the only one with an incumbent Republican seeking reelection in a state carried by President Joe Biden.

            When Cara Mund was competing to become Miss North Dakota, a key part of her platform was increasing the number of women elected to political office. After she went on to win Miss America, she traveled the country to encourage women to use their voice to make an impact. Now, the recent Harvard Law School graduate is taking on the job of candidate herself in a run for North Dakota's House seat as an independent. Mund is gambling that her primary issue — support for abortion rights — plus her outsider status and her celebrity can win over enough voters to overcome a far-better-funded incumbent, Republican Rep. Kelly Armstrong.

            Japan has protested to Russia over the detention of a Japanese consulate official on espionage allegations, denying the allegations and accusing Russian authorities of abusive interrogation. The Foreign Ministry says the official was interrogated with his eyes covered, his hands and head pressed and immobilized. It is demanding an apology and steps to avoid a similar situation in the future. The consulate official has been released. Japan has joined other Group of Seven nations in sanctioning against Russia over its war against Ukraine, straining Tokyo's relations with Moscow.

            The gathering of world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly is over. While the parade of world leaders flocking to New York seemed endless, data shows it indeed wasn’t. Over six days and dozens of hours, 195 leaders spoke about the rather dire state of the world. That figure includes two U.N. officials, three permanent observers, and the heads of government, heads of state, ministers and permanent representatives from 190 countries. Of those speakers, 22 were women. The longest speech was nearly three times the recommended limit of 15 minutes, while the jauntiest was less than half that.

            Three decades ago, finding opportunities to learn the Cantonese language in San Francisco wasn’t hard. But today in the city that’s drawn Cantonese speakers from South China for over 150 years, there is fear that political and social upheaval are gradually diminishing the language. The Chinese government’s push for wider use of Mandarin, which is already the national language, along with the country’s changing migration patterns have contributed to an undeniable shift away from Cantonese. It’s a change that has reverberated from East to West. From the U.S. to the U.K. and beyond, there is worry that Cantonese won't survive in some families for another generation.

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            The U.S. Coast Guard says a ship on routine patrol in the Bering Sea came across a guided missile cruiser from China. But it turns out the cruiser wasn't alone when it was spotted about 86 miles north of Alaska's Kiska Island. The U.S. patrol ship, known as a cutter, found two other Chinese ships and four Russian naval vessels, including a destroyer. The ships broke their single formation and dispersed but the Coast Guard says the Honolulu-based Kimball will continue to monitor the area. The Coast Guard commander in Alaska says the Chinese and Russian ships operated in accordance with international rules and norms.

            A party with neo-fascist roots has won the most votes in Italy’s national election, setting the stage for talks to form the country’s first far right-led government since World War II, with Giorgia Meloni at the helm as Italy’s first female premier. Near-final results show Meloni's Brothers of Italy, swept the election. The country's lurch to the far right immediately shifts Europe’s geopolitical reality, placing a euroskeptic party in a position to lead a founding member of the European Union and its third-largest economy. Europe’s right-wing party leaders immediately hailed Meloni’s victory and her party’s meteoric rise as sending a historic message to Brussels. Italy’s left warned of “dark days” ahead and vowed to keep Italy in the heart of Europe.

            A NASA spacecraft has rammed an asteroid in an unprecedented test to see if a potentially menacing space rock could be knocked off course. The galactic grand slam occurred at a harmless asteroid 7 million miles away Monday. The Dart spacecraft plowed into the small space rock at 14,000 mph. Scientists say the impact should have carved out a crater and hurled streams of rocks and dirt into space. Most importantly, though, scientists are hoping the collision altered the asteroid’s orbit. NASA won’t know how much the spacecraft nudged the asteroid for a couple of months.

            Police in Southern California say a woman was shot to death in a domestic violence incident, and the suspect is on the run with his 15-year-old daughter. Officers responded around 7:30 a.m. Monday to reports of shots fired at a home in Fontana. The woman was pronounced dead at a hospital. Investigators believe the suspect, 45-year-old Anthony John Graziano, is with his daughter, Savannah Graziano. He should be considered armed and dangerous. They are believed to be in a white 2017 Nissan Frontier with California plates. The pickup truck has distinctive stickers on the rear quarter panel that say “Pro-4X” and “animal.” An Amber Alert was issued for the teen.

            Tesla CEO Elon Musk won a reprieve from questioning by Twitter lawyers Monday, according to several press reports citing anonymous sources. The billionaire had been scheduled to give a deposition in his high-stakes court fight with Twitter over whether he has to follow through with his agreement to buy the social platform for $44 billion. Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal likewise postponed a Monday deposition with Musk lawyers. The trial is set to begin October 17 in Delaware’s Chancery Court, and is scheduled to last just five days. Twitter shares briefly rallied, apparently on hopes of a settlement.

            U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris has arrived in Tokyo to lead a U.S. delegation to the state funeral of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was  assassinated in July. She held a meeting with his successor, Fumio Kishida, and described the alliance between the United States and Japan as a “cornerstone” for peace and prosperity in the region. Kishida said Abe “poured his heart and soul” into strengthening ties between the two countries. The funeral, which has proved politically controversial in Japan, will be held Tuesday.

            An Oregon man retried on a sexual assault charge has been found guilty and was sentenced to 25 years in prison, about 45 years after he was acquitted of raping his then-wife in a trial that garnered national attention. The Statesman Journal reports John Rideout was found guilty of rape and sodomy by a Marion County jury in 2017, and the judge sentenced him to over 16 years in prison. Rideout was given a new trial last week because the sodomy verdict had been non-unanimous. In 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that such convictions were unconstitutional. Rideout in court Monday argued legal points with the judge and accused the women of fabricating their assaults.

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