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In this photo taken during Dec. 27 - Dec. 31, 2021 and provided on Jan. 1, 2022 by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends a meeting of the Central Committee of the ruling Workers' Party in Pyongyang, North Korea. North Korea fires projectile into sea in the fourth launch this month, South Korea says on Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the North Korean government. The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)

Seoul: N. Korea fires projectile in 4th launch this month

Associated Press

North Korea fired at least one projectile into the sea on Monday, South Korea’s military said, in a fourth weapons launch this month as it demonstrates its military might amid pandemic border closures and paused diplomacy with the United States.

U.S. soldiers stand guard during the handover ceremony of Qayyarah Airfield, Iraqi Security Forces, in the south of Mosul, Iraq on early Friday, March 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Ali Abdul Hassan) **FILE**

Iraqi officials: 4 rockets target U.S. Embassy in Baghdad

- Associated Press

At least four rockets targeted the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone on Thursday, two Iraqi security officials said. The area is home to diplomatic missions and the seat of Iraq’s government,

Cheering Romanians cast shadows on a giant European Union flag during New Year celebrations for Romania's accession in the EU in Bucharest Romania Monday January 1, 2007. The European Union on Thursday prolonged economic sanctions against Russia for six months for failing to live up to its commitments to the peace agreement in Ukraine, amid concern that Moscow may be preparing to invade its former Soviet neighbor. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda, File)

EU extends Russia sanctions over Ukraine peace deal failures

Associated Press

The European Union on Thursday prolonged economic sanctions against Russia for six months for failing to live up to its commitments to the peace agreement in Ukraine, amid concern that Moscow may be preparing to invade its former Soviet neighbor.

A Russian officer of the Collective Security Treaty Organization peacekeepers attends the official ceremony of starting withdraw its troops in Almaty, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022. In light of unprecedented mass protests that quickly grew violent, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev requested help from the Collective Security Treaty Organization, a Russia-led military alliance of six ex-Soviet states. The bloc sent over 2,000 troops to Kazakhstan last week, and on Tuesday Tokayev declared their mission largely complete. (Vladimir Tretyakov/NUR.KZ via AP)

Kazakhstan: Russia-led alliance’s troops prepare to pull out

- Associated Press

Troops belonging to a Russia-led security alliance were preparing to pull out of Kazakhstan, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Thursday. The withdrawal comes only a week after they were deployed to the ex-Soviet nation on the request of its president, who was seeking to quell violent mass protests.

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In this file photo, security personnel gather near the entrance of the Wuhan Institute of Virology during a visit by the World Health Organization team in Wuhan in China's Hubei province on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021. A Marine Corps officer working with DARPA disclosed in a memorandum in August 2021 that his study of the virus behind the COVID-19 pandemic concluded that it was produced as part of vaccine research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, according to documents made public by a conservative investigative group. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)  **FILE**

COVID virus made in Chinese lab as bat vaccine, Marine researcher says

- The Washington Times

A Marine Corps officer working with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency disclosed in a memorandum last August that his study of the virus behind the COVID-19 pandemic concluded that it was produced as part of vaccine research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, according to documents made public by a conservative investigative group.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, speaks at the weekly cabinet meeting in Kibbutz Mevo Hama, in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, Sunday, Dec. 26, 2021. Bennett said Sunday the country intends to double the amount of settlers living in the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights with a multimillion-dollar plan meant to further consolidate Israel’s hold on the territory it captured from Syria more than five decades ago. (Nir Elias/Pool via AP)

Israeli PM says not opposed to 'good' nuclear deal with Iran

- Associated Press

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Tuesday he is not opposed to a "good" nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, but voiced skepticism that such an outcome would emerge from the current negotiations.

- Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas listens during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Nov. 16, 2021, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Agents with an investigative unit of the Department of Homeland Security will wear body cameras for the first time as part of a six-month pilot program that will focus on the costs and benefits of using the technology in federal law enforcement, officials said Tuesday, Dec. 21. “With its body worn camera pilot, ICE is making an important statement that transparency and accountability are essential components of our ability to fulfill our law enforcement mission and keep communities safe,” Mayorkas said in announcing the pilot program. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

U.S. Homeland Security agents to test use of body cameras

- Associated Press

Agents with an investigative unit of the Department of Homeland Security will wear body cameras for the first time as part of a six-month pilot program that will focus on the costs and benefits of using the technology in federal law enforcement, officials said Tuesday.

Staff Sgt. Travis Snyder, left, receives the first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine given at Madigan Army Medical Center at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state, Dec. 16, 2020, south of Seattle. The Army says 98% of its active duty force had gotten at least one dose of the mandatory coronavirus vaccine as of this week’s deadline for the shots.  (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren) **FILE**

Army says nearly 98% got the COVID-19 vaccine by deadline

- Associated Press

Nearly 98% of the active duty Army had gotten at least one dose of the mandatory COVID-19 vaccine as of this week's deadline for the shots, but more than 3,800 soldiers flatly refused and could start being removed from the military next month, officials said Thursday.

In this file photo, U.S. Army medic Kristen Rogers of Waxhaw, N.C. fills syringes with the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, Wednesday, March 3, 2021, in North Miami, Fla.  (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)  **FILE**

As Army hits mandate deadline, services ponder next moves

- The Washington Times

The Pentagon reached a tipping point Wednesday as the deadline for soldiers in the U.S. Army, the largest military service, passed to get the COVID-19 vaccination. Troops who refuse the mandatory shots or aren't in the process of receiving an accepted exemption will find themselves in an administrative limbo until they're out of the military.

In this file photo, Spc. Brady McNeil, a radiologist with the Vermont Army National Guard, draws up a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 during a vaccination clinic at the Brattleboro Area Middle School, April 14, 2021, in Brattleboro, Vt. The U.S. Army next month will begin kicking out soldiers who refuse to take the COVID-19 vaccine and aren't in the process of seeking an exemption to the Department of Defense's vaccination policy. (Kristopher Radder/The Brattleboro Reformer via AP, File)  **FILE**

Air Force discharges 27 for refusing COVID-19 vaccine

- Associated Press

The Air Force has discharged 27 people for refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine, making them what officials believe are the first service members to be removed for disobeying the mandate to get the shots.

In this Friday, Feb. 12, 2021 photo released by the U.S. Navy, the guided-missile destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill boarded a stateless dhow off the coast of Somalia and interdicted an illicit shipment of weapons and weapon components. The U.S. Navy said on Tuesday, Feb. 16  that it seized a large cache of weapons, including Kalashnikov-style rifles and rocket-propelled grenade launchers, being smuggled by ships off the coast of Somalia. (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Louis Thompson Staats IV/U.S. Navy via AP)

Navy commander fired over vaccine refusal

- Associated Press

A Navy commander has been fired from his job as the executive officer of a warship because he refused to get a COVID-19 vaccine as required and refused to be tested for the virus, Navy officials said Friday.