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AP Top News at 11:08 p.m. EST

December 15, 2022 GMT

Fed raises key rate by half-point and signals more to come

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve reinforced its inflation fight Wednesday by raising its key interest rate for the seventh time this year and signaling more hikes to come. But it announced a smaller hike than it had in its past four meetings at a time when inflation is showing signs of easing. The Fed made clear, in a statement and a news conference by Chair Jerome Powell, that it thinks sharply higher rates are still needed to fully tame the worst inflation bout to strike the economy in four decades. The central bank boosted its benchmark rate a half-point to a range of 4.25% to 4.5%, its highest level in 15 years.

Twitter changes rules over account tracking Elon Musk’s jet

Twitter on Wednesday suspended an account that used publicly available flight data to track Elon Musk’s private jet, despite a pledge by the social media platform’s new owner to keep it up because of his free speech principles. Then, hours later, Musk brought back the jet-tracking account after imposing new conditions on all of Twitter’s users — no more sharing of anyone’s current location. But shortly afterward, the account was suspended again. That came after Musk tweeted that a “crazy stalker” attacked a car in Los Angeles carrying his young son. He also threatened legal action against Jack Sweeney, the 20-year-old college sophomore and programmer who started the @elonjet flight-tracking account, and “organizations who supported harm to my family.” It’s not clear what legal action Musk could take against Sweeney for an account that automatically posted public flight information.

Biden tells African leaders US is ‘all in’ on the continent

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden told dozens of African leaders gathered in Washington that the United States is “all in on Africa’s future,” laying out billions in promised government funding and private investment Wednesday to help the growing continent in health, infrastructure, business and technology. “The U.S. is committed to supporting every aspect of Africa’s growth,” Biden told the leaders and others in a big conference hall, presenting his vision at the three-day U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit of how the U.S. can be a critical catalyst. Biden, who is pitching the U.S. as a reliable partner to promote democratic elections and push critical health and energy growth, told the crowd the $55 billion in committed investments over the next three years — announced on Monday — was “just the beginning.” He announced more than $15 billion in private trade and investment commitments and partnerships.

Diplomats: UN blocks Myanmar military from taking UN seat

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — A key U.N. committee has again blocked Myanmar’s military junta from taking the country’s seat at the United Nations, two well-informed U.N. diplomats said Wednesday. The General Assembly’s credentials committee met Monday and deferred action on the junta’s request, the diplomats said, speaking on condition of anonymity before a formal announcement likely later this week. The decision means that Kyaw Moe Tun, who was Myanmar’s ambassador at the United Nations when the military ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Feb. 1, 2021, will remain on the job. Last December, Myanmar’s military rulers also failed in their effort to replace Tun, who remains a supporter of the previous government and the opposition National Unity Government, which opposes the junta.

France celebrates WCup victory, fans cheer Morocco team

PARIS (AP) — Crowds in Paris and other French cities erupted in shouts of joy as France advanced to the World Cup final Wednesday, while disappointed Morocco fans mingled with the exuberant supporters of the winning team, paying tribute to the African country’s unprecedented achievement. Football fans streamed to the Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris, shooting off firecrackers and red flares, to an unending chorus of honking cars. On the famous avenue, many were brandishing French flags and singing “we are in the final.” Some Moroccan fans, wrapped in the North African country’s flag, also cheered their team in the streets of the French capital.

US sues Arizona over shipping containers on Mexico border

PHOENIX (AP) — The U.S. government sued Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and the state Wednesday over the placement of shipping containers as a barrier on the border with Mexico, saying it is trespassing on federal lands. The complaint filed in U.S. District Court comes three weeks before the Republican governor steps aside for Democratic Gov.-elect Katie Hobbs, who has said she opposes the construction. Ducey told U.S. officials earlier this week that Arizona is ready to help remove the containers, which he says were placed as a temporary barrier. But he wants the U.S. government to say when it will fill any remaining gaps in the permanent border wall as it announced it would a year ago.

3 dead in Louisiana as US storm spawns Southern tornadoes

KEITHVILLE, La. (AP) — A vast and volatile storm system ripping across the U.S. killed at least three people in Louisiana, spinning up tornadoes that battered the state from north to south, including the New Orleans area where memories of 2021′s Hurricane Ida and a tornado in March linger. Elsewhere, the huge system hurled blizzard-like conditions at the Great Plains. Several injuries were reported around Louisiana by authorities, and more than 40,000 power outages statewide as of Wednesday night. The punishing storms barreled eastward Wednesday after killing a mother and son in the northwestern part of the state a day earlier.

Peru’s new government declares police state amid protests

LIMA, Peru (AP) — Peru’s new government declared a national emergency Wednesday as it struggled to calm violent protests over President Pedro Castillo’s ouster, suspending the rights of “personal security and freedom” across the Andean nation for 30 days. Acts of vandalism, violence and highway blockades as thousands of Peruvians are in the streets “require a forceful and authoritative response from the government,” Defense Minister Luis Otarola Peñaranda said. The declaration suspends the rights of assembly and freedom of movement and empowers the police, supported by the military, to search people’s homes without permission or judicial order. Otarola said it had not been determined whether a nightly curfew would be imposed.

Trump Org. was secretly held in contempt for hindering probe

NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump’s company impeded a grand jury investigation last year by repeatedly failing to turn over evidence in a timely fashion, leading to a secret contempt finding and a $4,000 fine, according to court records made public Tuesday. The Trump Organization was found to have been “willfully disobeying” four grand jury subpoenas and three court orders, to the detriment of Manhattan prosecutors who were left ill-prepared to question witnesses, Judge Juan Manuel Merchan ruled. The subpoenas, issued in March, April, May and June 2021, preceded the Trump Organization’s July 2021 indictment on criminal tax fraud charges for helping executives avoid taxes on company-paid perks.

An 84-year-old filmmaker looks into a donkey’s soul in ‘EO’

It was the eyes that did it. Filmmaker Jerzy Skolimowski had decided some years ago that his next film was going to be about an animal. He and his wife and co-writer, Ewa Piaskowska, had been getting bored of traditional movie structure and dialogue and wanted to do something different. They didn’t know which animal to choose, though. Cats and dogs were out. That’s been overdone, they thought. Then they came upon the donkey, an intelligent, stoic creature with historic significance in not only religion but cinema as well, most famously in Robert Bresson’s 1966 masterpiece “Au Hasard Balthazar.” But it was those massive, expressive eyes that convinced them they’d found a star who could hold the frame.