Top Stories Digest | The Independent

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THE OTHER PANDEMIC-NATIVE AMERICANS — The medicine man told her she should soon give her son back to the Earth Rachel Taylor kissed her fingertips and pressed them to the image of a crow sewn onto a leather bag full of her son’s ashes. Kyle Domrese was one of more than a record-high 100,000 Americans lost in a year to drug overdoses as the COVID-19 pandemic sent addiction up by nearly 30 percent. The death rate for Native Americans is now the highest in the nation, and they are 12 times more likely than others to die from methamphetamine. By Claire Galofaro. 2,600 words. With AP Photos. Abridged version will also move.

WHITE SUPREMACISTS-LAW ENFORCEMENT — In nearly 10 years working undercover for the FBI inside Florida’s Ku Klux Klan, Joseph Moore helped foil at least two murder plots. He was also an active informant when the FBI exposed klan members working as law enforcement officers in Florida at the city, county and state levels. The 50-year-old has never discussed his undercover work in the KKK publicly, until now. By Jason Dearen. SENT: 2010 words, photos. An abridged version is also available.




MED-VIRUS-OUTBREAK-TREATMENTS — U.S. health regulators on Wednesday authorized the first pill against COVID-19, a Pfizer drug that Americans will be able to take at home to head off the worst effects of the virus. By Matthew Perone. SENT: 780 words, photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK — South Africa’s drop in new COVID-19 cases in recent days may signal the country’s dramatic omicron-driven surge has passed its peak, medical experts say. Although the early findings are not conclusive, especially because daily figures are prone to fluctuations, the signs that South Africa’s intense wave is weakening are notable. SENT: 960 words, photos. With: VIRUS OUTBREAK-TEST EXPLAINER (sent) and VIRUS OUTBREAK-THE LATEST (sent).

EDUCATION-STUDENT LOANS — The Biden administration is extending a student loan moratorium that has allowed tens of millions of Americans to put off debt payments during the pandemic. SENT; developing.

CONGRESS-BUDGET — President Joe Biden appears determined to return to the negotiating table with Sen. Joe Manchin Biden says he and the West Virginia Democrat will, as Biden put it, “get something done.” By Lisa Mascaro and Farnoush Amiri. SENT: 970 words, photos.

GERMANY-RUSSIA-PIPELINE — Russia’s newly built natural gas pipeline is facing a rocky road, with Germany’s new leaders less friendly to the Nord Stream 2 project and tensions ratcheting up over Russia’s troop buildup at the Ukrainian border. The pipeline opposed by Ukraine, Poland and the U.S. needs backing from Germany to start bringing natural gas directly to Europe which is struggling with a shortage that has sent prices surging. But the U.S. and Germany have evoked the project as a way to counter any possible Russian aggression in Ukraine. By David McHugh and Vladimir Isachenkov. SENT: 1,200 words, photos.




ISRAEL-SHIPWRECKS — The Israel Antiquities Authority says it’s discovered remnants of two shipwrecks off the Mediterranean coast, replete with a sunken trove of hundreds of silver and bronze coins and Roman and medieval artifacts. Archaeologists said on Wednesday that the finds made near the ancient city of Caesarea date to the Roman and Mamluk periods, around 1,700 and 600 years ago. SENT: 250 words, photos.

LAST-SLAVE-SHIP — Researchers studying the wreckage of the last U.S. slave ship on the Alabama coast have made a surprising discovery. A recently released report shows that most of the wooden schooner remains intact, including the pen that was used to imprison African captives during the journey across the Atlantic Ocean in 1860. SENT: 640 words, photos.




BORDER WALL — U.S. Customs and Border Protection has been authorized to start cleaning up construction sites and close small gaps in the southern border wall nearly a year after President Joe Biden took office and ordered the building to stop. SENT; developing.

TREASURY-AFGHANISTAN — The Treasury Department says it is issuing special licenses to ensure that some international aid can flow to Afghanistan. SENT: 320 words, photos.


NATIONAL ______________

DAUNTE WRIGHT-OFFICER TRIAL — Jurors in the trial of a suburban Minneapolis police officer who shot and killed Black motorist Daunte Wright have begun their third day of deliberations, after a question to the judge suggested some are concerned they may not be able to reach agreement. SENT; developing. With DAUNTE WRIGHT-OFFICER TRIAL-EXPLAINER-GUN AND TASER (sent)

JEFFREY EPSTEIN-MAXWELL TRIAL — A jury has resumed deliberations at the sex trafficking trial of Ghislaine Maxwell. The jury entered its second full day Wednesday of considering the British socialite’s fate. SENT; developing..




GAZA-BATTERIES — In the Gaza Strip, small batteries power internet routers and LED lights and large ones are connected to solar panels. Most houses have many different batteries, thanks in large part to the chronic power crisis in the Palestinian enclave. Though they helped mitigate the power shortage, the batteries cause another problem: They have been piling up — Gaza lacks a way to safely dispose of them. There are no recycling factories in the territory, and a punishing blockade means they cannot be exported. SENT: 730 words, photos.

LIBYA ELECTIONS — Libyan parliament says it is ‘impossible’ to hold long-awaited presidential election as scheduled on Friday. SENT: 640 words, photos




FINANCIAL MARKETS — Stocks rose in afternoon trading on Wall Street Wednesday and added to the week’s gains ahead of the Christmas holiday. SENT; developing.




OLY-HKO-NHL WITHDRAWING — The NHL has announced that players won’t be able to participate in the Beijing Olympics. SENT: 930 words, photos.


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