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10 things you need to know today: November 25, 2022

Ukraine makes repairs after Russian strikes leave 'vast majority' without electricity, Thanksgiving celebrations move toward pre-pandemic normal, and more


Latest Russian strikes leave most of Ukraine without electricity

Authorities in Ukraine rushed to restore electricity to towns across the country on Thursday after the latest barrage of Russian missiles hit critical infrastructure. The attacks shut down most of the country's power plants and left the "vast majority" of Ukrainians without power, the national energy company Kurenergo said. The company said Wednesday's attacks caused "systemic" problems, so repairs were "taking longer than after previous attacks." Power production had been restored across Ukraine by late Thursday, but residences were only "gradually being connected to the grid," Kyrylo Tymoshenko, an official in President Volodymyr Zelensky's office, said on Telegram.


Americans' Thanksgiving celebrations move toward pre-pandemic normal

The United States marked the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday with a return to traditional feasts and parades, and travel estimated to have returned to near pre-pandemic levels. Millions of Americans spent part of the day watching football or the 96th annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, the second full parade of marching bands and giant helium-filled balloons through Manhattan since the coronavirus pandemic forced organizers to hold a reduced, block-long version in 2020. "We just want to say we're so grateful for the people, for this opportunity, for the health that we have now in America," first lady Jill Biden said in a video call she and President Biden had with NBC's Today hosts.


Musk announces 'amnesty' for most banned Twitter accounts

Elon Musk said Thursday that he would reinstate most banned Twitter accounts, after 72.4 percent of respondents to a Twitter poll said they favored "a general amnesty to suspended accounts, provided that they have not broken the law or engaged in egregious spam." Musk, Twitter's new owner, said Thursday: "Amnesty begins next week." The news sparked concern among online safety experts, who warned the decision could result in a surge of harassment, hate speech, and misinformation. Musk recently said he was lifting a ban on former President Donald Trump's account that was imposed after the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack, although Trump, who now has his own social media company, has said he has no plans to return to Twitter.


Biden renews call for assault rifle ban after latest shootings

President Biden on Thursday renewed his call for a ban on assault weapons in response to the latest mass shootings in the U.S. "The idea we still allow semiautomatic weapons to be purchased is sick. It's just sick," Biden said during a stop at a fire station in Nantucket, Massachusetts. The remarks came after two recent and high-profile deadly shootings. In one, a night manager at a Virginia Walmart allegedly opened fire on co-workers, killing six people. In the other, a suspect was charged with murder and hate crimes after a shooting that left five people dead at a LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs. Now that Republicans have won control of the House in the next Congress, a ban would have little chance of passing, according to ABC News.


Iran arrests soccer star for criticizing government

Iranian authorities on Thursday arrested prominent Iranian soccer player Voria Ghafouri, a frequent government critic, on charges of damaging the national team's reputation, per state-linked Iranian media outlets. Ghafouri, a former member of Iran's national team, was arrested after current team members faced intense scrutiny during the World Cup in Qatar. During a match with England on Monday, Iranian players declined to sing their country's national anthem in what was widely interpreted as a show of support for women's rights protests that have erupted back home. The United Nations Human Rights Council voted Thursday to investigate alleged rights violations in the Iranian government's crackdown on protesters.


China COVID surge prompts broadening lockdowns that could threaten growth

Lockdowns imposed in China this week in response to the country's biggest COVID-19 outbreak are stoking concerns that global supply chains could face renewed disruptions. Authorities on Thursday ordered residents of eight districts in the manufacturing hub of Zhengzhou, home to 6.6 million people, to stay home for five days, allowing them to leave only to buy food or to seek medical care. The broadening lockdowns could hold back global economic growth, according to many economists. The potential slowdown in the world's second largest economy comes as the United States and other nations lose economic steam while central banks raise interest rates aggressively to bring down inflation.


Murkowski, Peltola win in Alaska

Centrist Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Democratic incumbent Rep. Mary Peltola have won their elections, the Alaska Division of Elections announced late Wednesday. Murkowski and Peltola endorsed each other as both faced Republican challengers. Murkowski beat challenger Kelly Tshibaka, who had the support of former President Donald Trump, 53.7 percent to 46.3 percent. Peltola defeated ex-Alaska governor and former GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin 54.9 percent to 45.1 percent. Peltola, a former state legislator, beat Palin and another Republican, Nick Begich III, in a special election in August to become the first woman to represent Alaska in the House and the first Alaska native in Congress. She now will serve a full two-year term.


EU members fail to agree on natural gas price cap

European Union nations failed to reach an agreement on a natural gas price cap in an emergency meeting on Thursday. Energy ministers in the 27-nation bloc are seeking ways to protect their 450 million residents from huge utility bill increases this winter as Russia's continued occupation of Ukraine threatens to send heating costs soaring. Some nations, including Greece, Spain, Belgium, France, and Poland, are pushing for ways to make gas cheaper, while others, like Germany and the Netherlands, warned of possible shortages if EU members are prevented from buying gas above a set price. "The discussion was quite heated," said Czech Industry Minister Jozef Síkela, who chaired the meeting.


Trump accuser E. Jean Carroll files lawsuit under new N.Y. law

E. Jean Carroll, the former magazine columnist who has accused former President Donald Trump of raping her in the mid-1990s, filed a second lawsuit against Trump for battery and defamation on Thursday. The filing came on the first day civil lawsuits could be brought under New York's Adult Survivors Act, a new law affording adults a one-year window to file a claim years after an alleged sexual attack. Trump has denied Carroll's allegation that he raped her in the dressing room of a New York department store. Carroll is asking a judge to order Trump to retract his statements calling her story a "hoax and a lie," and also award unspecified damages.


Black Friday sales launch holiday season as shoppers squeezed by inflation

The holiday shopping season kicks off unofficially with Black Friday, but post-Thanksgiving crowds are expected to be watching every dollar this year as continued high inflation threatens their buying power. The National Retail Federation projects holiday sales to grow 6 percent to 8 percent, down from a strong 13.5 percent last year and possibly marking a decline after adjusting for inflation. Recent data has shown that Americans are increasingly holding out for big discounts, or replacing luxury goods with less expensive alternatives. Shoppers also are more likely to choose "buy now, pay later" options this year and pay in installments, according to The Associated Press.


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