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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — With a video series on issues he sees as pertinent to the Black community, the U.S. Senate’s only Black Republican, Tim Scott of South Carolina, is putting forth what he characterizes as a positive response to partisan rhetoric on race that he’s best-positioned to rebut.

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Officially, NBA players began participating in games that were scheduled to celebrate and honor the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1986 when the federal holiday commemorating the civil-rights leader was observed for the first time.

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WASHINGTON (AP) — From the inaugural platform, President Joe Biden saw American sickness on two fronts — a disease of the national spirit and the one from the rampaging coronavirus — and he saw hope, because leaders always must see that.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The omicron variant is sickening so many sanitation workers around the U.S. that some cities have had to delay or suspend garbage or recycling pickup, angering residents shocked that governments can’t perform this most basic of functions.

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NEW YORK (AP) — Americans overlooked shortages, spiking prices and uncertainty over the omicron variant to break spending records during the critical holiday shopping season. But figures released Friday show that after spending robustly early in the holiday season, consumers sharply slowed their purchases from November to December.

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A Christmas tree fire caused the blaze that killed 12 people in a Philadelphia rowhome duplex, investigators confirmed Tuesday after a preliminary investigation, stopping short of officially saying a 5-year-old boy playing with a lighter was behind it.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — New Orleans will reinstitute an indoor mask mandate to fight the spread of COVID-19 while readying for an influx of visitors for the Mardi Gras season, the city health director said Tuesday.

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ATLANTA (AP) — Martin Luther King Jr.’s daughter used an address Monday to push for federal voting rights legislation and slam the twisting of critical race theory to create what she called “false narratives.”

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NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Ethiopia’s government on Friday announced an amnesty for some of the country’s most high-profile political detainees, including opposition figure Jawar Mohammed and senior Tigray party officials, as Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed spoke of reconciliation for Orthodox Christmas.

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The top men's tennis player in the world, Novak Djokovic, spent Orthodox Christmas in an immigration detention hotel in Australia on Friday as he sought to fend off deportation over the country's COVID-19 rules and compete in the Australian Open.

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Investigators are looking into whether a 5-year-old who was playing with a lighter set a Christmas tree on fire, sparking a conflagration that killed 12 family members in a Philadelphia rowhome, officials revealed Thursday.

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Vaccinated, masked and ready-to-revel New Orleans residents began ushering in Carnival season Thursday with a rolling party on the city's historic streetcar line, an annual march honoring Joan of Arc in the French Quarter and a collective, wary eye on coronavirus statistics.

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Afternoons with Grammy. Birthday parties. Meeting other toddlers at the park. Parents of children too young to be vaccinated are facing difficult choices as an omicron variant-fueled surge in COVID-19 cases makes every encounter seem risky.

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AUSTIN, Texas — Texas officials indicated Tuesday that thousands of National Guard members are refusing COVID-19 vaccines in the latest challenge against a Biden administration order that requires all members of the military to get one.

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NEW ORLEANS — Costumed revelers will mark the beginning of New Orleans’ annual Carnival season this week with a ride on a historic streetcar — carrying out a cherished tradition despite recent surges in COVID-19 infections.