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BERLIN (AP) — Olaf Scholz took over as Germany's new chancellor on Wednesday at the head of a three-party coalition government, ending the 16-year era of outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel. Scholz will lead a 17-member Cabinet, with one more minister than Merkel's, made up of nine men and eight women. Here's a look at the key players.

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BERLIN (AP) — A three-party deal to form a new German coalition government under center-left leader Olaf Scholz cleared its final hurdle Monday, setting the scene for him to succeed longtime Chancellor Angela Merkel later this week.

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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and their spouses held a “family” celebration of Hanukkah at the White House Wednesday, with the first Jewish spouse of a vice president, second gentleman Doug Emhoff, joining in lighting the menorah.

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — Dr. Mandy Cohen, the head of North Carolina's health department and face of regular updates on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the state for two years, is stepping down from her post, Gov. Roy Cooper announced Tuesday.

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ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan (AP) — Turkmenistan’s autocratic president has put his only son in charge of the Central Asian nation's energy sector, further expanding his clout in a move seen as laying the foundations for a political dynasty.

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NANTUCKET, Mass. (AP) — Two women of color are President Joe Biden’s picks to lead the White House budget office, a milestone for the powerful agency after his first choice withdrew following criticism over her previous attacks on lawmakers from both parties.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Biotechnology entrepreneur Elizabeth Holmes, a former billionaire accused of engineering a massive medical scam, expressed some remorse while on the witness stand Tuesday, but denied trying to conceal that her company's blood-testing methods weren't working as she had promised.

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SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Biotechnology entrepreneur Elizabeth Holmes, a former billionaire accused of engineering a massive medical scam, expressed some remorse while on the witness stand Tuesday, but denied trying to conceal that her company's blood-testing methods weren't working as she had promised.

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Inflation is driving up consumer prices and will drive a big salary increase for Pennsylvania state lawmakers, judges and top executive branch officials in 2022. For many of these positions, it's the biggest increase in three decades.

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana edged forward Wednesday with its latest effort to update the state's voting system, with the convening of a new commission that will help choose the technology after receiving broader input than officials did during prevous unsuccessful efforts to replace thousands of old voting machines.

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TOKYO (AP) — The Japanese government's preparations for the next virus surge include adding thousands more hospital beds to avoid a situation like last summer when many COVID-19 patients were forced to stay home, even while dependent on oxygen deliveries.

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TOKYO (AP) — Fumio Kishida, reelected as Japan’s prime minister on Wednesday after his governing party scored a major victory in key parliamentary elections, said the coronavirus remains the country's most urgent issue and pledged to take steps to mend the pandemic-battered economy.

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CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia’s deal to acquire submarines powered by U.S. nuclear technology was aimed at protecting the United States from Chinese nuclear attack and had changed Australia-Sino relations, former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating said on Wednesday.

The raises were the result of a pay freeze for top federal officials, including the vice president and cabinet secretaries, that was on the verge of expiring because of the shutdown.

In the memo, Weichert writes that, "In the current absence of Congressional guidance," OPM "believes it would be prudent for agencies to continue to pay these senior political officials at the frozen rate until appropriations legislation is enacted that would clarify the status of the freeze."

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