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New York congressman Hakeem Jeffries has been elected House Democratic leader and will become in the new year the first Black American to lead a major political party in Congress. Democrats met Wednesday behind closed doors for the internal party elections as Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her team step aside. House Democrats are ushering in a new generation of leaders. The 52-year-old Jeffries has vowed to “get things done,” even after Republicans won control of the chamber and relegate Democrats to the minority party in January. The trio led by Jeffries includes 59-year-old Rep. Katherine Clark of Massachusetts as the Democratic whip and 43-year-old Rep. Pete Aguilar of California as caucus chairman.

A person with knowledge of the negotiations tells The Associated Press that UAB is finalizing a deal with former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer to become Blazers coach. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because UAB was not making details of its search public. Dilfer, who led the Baltimore Ravens to a Super Bowl championship in 2000, has been the head coach at Lipscomb Academy in Nashville, Tennessee, since 2019. He has guided the school to three state championship games, including one scheduled for Thursday against Christ Presbyterian Academy. He has no previous college coaching experience.

North Dakota lawmakers will return to Bismarck next week to prepare for the 2023 Legislature. The three-day organizational session that begins Monday includes appointment to committees and briefings on legislative procedures and ethics. It also includes such mundane tasks as filling out paperwork and desk selection. The session concludes Wednesday, shortly after Gov. Doug Burgum presents his two-year budget recommendations to a joint session of the House and Senate. The Legislative session begins Jan. 3. The 2021 Legislature adjourned after 76 days, just short of the 80-day maximum set by the North Dakota Constitution.

The first eruption in 38 years of the world’s largest active volcano is drawing visitors to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Park spokesperson Jessica Ferracane said Tuesday that "the viewing has been spectacular,” especially at night and before sunrise. Visitors to the 24-hour park are currently able to witness both the lava flowing from a fissure on Mauna Loa and the glow from the lava lake at nearby Kilauea volcano. Officials were initially concerned that lava flowing down Mauna Loa would head toward the community of South Kona. Scientists later assured the public the eruption had migrated to the volcano’s northeast flank and wasn’t threatening communities.

Republican U.S. Sen. Mike Braun has formally launched a committee for a 2024 campaign for governor in his home state of Indiana. The 68-year-old wealthy founder of a national auto parts distribution business is the most prominent of several active potential Republican candidates for the field to replace GOP Gov. Eric Holcomb. The current governor cannot seek reelection because of term limits. Braun would be heavily favored to win a second Senate term in 2024 from Republican-dominated Indiana. Running for governor would forego a reelection bid for his Senate seat. Braun adviser Josh Kelley said that Braun “will be making an official announcement of his candidacy very soon.”

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is holding fundraisers for future political activity at events where the Republican is expected to talk about his eight years as governor, as well as plans for the future. Hogan has two separate fundraisers scheduled at a Maryland casino on Wednesday. The term-limited governor who leaves office in January has positioned himself to run as an alternative to former President Donald Trump, who already has announced he’s running in 2024. Hogan has been a fierce critic of Trump. He would be an underdog in a Republican primary. Hogan has been a popular governor in a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-to-1.

Stocks are wavering on Wall Street ahead of a speech by Jerome Powell, the chair of the Federal Reserve, on the outlook for the economy and inflation. Treasury yields were higher and crude oil prices rose. The S&P 500 index fell 0.1% in afternoon trading Wednesday. The tech-heavy Nasdaq was up 0.3% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.4%. Banks and industrial companies weighed down the broader market. European and Asian markets were mostly higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which influences mortgage rates, rose to 3.77%. Indexes are on track to notch gains for November.

Some high school athletes are banking big bucks thanks to changes that allow them to accept major endorsement deals. California has become the trendsetter among the 19 states that let high school athletes profit from their name, image and likeness without affecting their eligibility to play in college. Among them is Jada Williams, who was a social media star and a talented point guard when she moved with her mother from a Kansas City suburb to San Diego. She wanted to play basketball for a high school powerhouse and parlay her online prowess into endorsement deals. Now the 17-year-old is pulling in six figures a year from six major endorsement deals.

A former Florida tax collector whose arrest led to a federal investigation of U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz learns this week how much prison time he gets on charges of sex trafficking a minor and identity theft. Former Seminole County  Tax Collector Joel Greenberg on Wednesday tried to persuade a judge that his cooperation in several probes should lighten his prison sentence. Prosecutors already have asked for a reduction because of Greenberg's cooperation. During a court hearing, U.S. District Judge Gregory Presnell calculated that the reduction would put prison time at between 9 1/4 and 11 years. The judge will make a final sentencing decision on Thursday.

Amazon said Wednesday the Thanksgiving holiday shopping weekend was its biggest ever, aided by a record number of shoppers looking for deals amid high inflation. The company does not typically share how much it earns during its sales events and did not disclose its overall revenue from the weekend. It said independent businesses that sell on its site generated more than $1 billion in sales. The National Retail Federation says a record 196 million people shopped in stores and online during the five-day shopping period that stretched from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday. It says consumers also spent an average of $325 during the weekend on holiday-related purchases, up from $301 last year.

Hiroshi “Hershey” Miyamura, the son of Japanese immigrants who was awarded the U.S. Medal of Honor for actions in the Korean War, has died. The Congressional Medal of Honor Society announced that Miyamura died Tuesday at his home in Phoenix. He was 97.  Born in Gallup, New Mexico, Miyamura joined the Army late in World War II after the federal government lifted restrictions against Japanese Americans serving. While serving during the Korean War in 1951, he held off an invading Chinese force to allow members of his squad to withdraw. He was captured and held for 28 months. Miyamura remained active in veterans’ issues and gave annual summer lectures to military members in Gallup.


What many Americans hoped would be the first normal holiday season in three years has instead been thrown into crisis by inflation, with Christmas on the horizon. Food banks and charities across the country are reporting higher than expected levels of food insecurity as prices rise and food becomes less accessible to millions of American families.  Although the pandemic has largely faded, months of rising prices have driven working families back to the food bank lines. And that's left charitable organizations struggling to meet the demand.

In a picturesque corner of western Wisconsin, a growing right-wing conservative movement has rocketed to prominence. They see America as a dark place, dangerous, where democracy is under attack by a tyrannical government. They say few officials can be trusted, and believe neighbors might someday have to band together to protect one another. They have felt the contempt of people who see them as fanatics. But they insist they are just normal people who aren't so different from the rest of America. And their views haven't been swayed - not at all - by midterm elections that failed to see the sweeping Republican victories that many had predicted.

Indiana’s Republican attorney general has asked the state medical licensing board to discipline an Indianapolis doctor who has spoken publicly about providing an abortion to a 10-year-old rape victim who traveled from Ohio after its more-restrictive abortion law took effect. The complaint alleges Dr. Caitlin Bernard violated state law by not reporting the girl’s child abuse to Indiana authorities and violated patient privacy laws by telling a reporter about the girl’s treatment. That account sparked a national political uproar in the weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June. Bernard maintains the girl’s abuse had already been reported to Ohio police before the doctor ever saw the child.

Moldova’s Foreign Minister says that apart from Ukraine, his country has been hit hardest by Russia’s invasion of its neighbor, as NATO offered fresh support to three countries shaken by the effects of Russia’s 10-month-old war. Nicu Popescu told The Associated Press in an interview Wednesday that Moldova wants to expand cooperation with partners who support Moldova, including the European Union and NATO. The alliance pledged that support for Moldova — as well as Georgia and Bosnia — after NATO members agreed to help train and improve the three nations’ security and defense institutions.

Only scattered challenges to certification of the midterm election have been reported in the United States, and not a single one is based on any problems with the accuracy of the results. The biggest certification challenge comes in a lightly populated county in southeastern Arizona. The state's secretary of state has sued the Republican-controlled commission to force it to sign off on the election. While the overall number of certification fights is less than expected, election experts are concerned about what the attempts to delay or stop certification of accurate election results signals for the next presidential contest.

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