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Voters in Taiwan have overwhelmingly chosen the opposition Nationalist party in several major races across the self-ruled island in an election in which lingering concerns about threats from China took a backseat to more local issues. Chiang Wan-an, the Nationalist party’s mayoral candidate, won the closely watched seat in capital Taipei. Other Nationalist party candidates also won mayoral seats in Taoyuan, Taichung and New Taipei city. The vote Saturday also included a referendum to lower the voting age from 20 to 18. While international observers and the ruling party have attempted to link the elections to the long-term existential threat that is Taiwan’s neighbor, many local experts do not think China has a large role to play this time around.

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in a televised address has praised paramilitary volunteers tasked with quashing dissent. Meanwhile, a pro-reform Iranian news site said Saturday that 140 ophthalmologists have expressed concern over a rising number of people blinded after being shot by security forces with metal pellets. Khamenei met with the paramilitary Basij group and reiterated unsupported claims that the mass anti-government protests are a foreign plot devised by the U.S. to destabilize Iran. He said the protesters were mercenaries. Khamenei's comments came a day after Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi met with the Basij and praised their efforts to maintain security.

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Ukrainian authorities are endeavoring to restore electricity and water services after recent pummeling by Russian military strikes that vastly damaged infrastructure. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said millions have seen their power restored since blackouts swept across the war-battered country days ago. Skirmishes continued Saturday in the east and residents from the southern city of Kherson have headed north and west to flee after punishing, deadly bombardments by Russian forces in recent days. The strikes have been seen as attempts at Russian retribution against Ukraine’s beleaguered but defiant people after Ukrainian troops over two weeks ago liberated the city that had been in Russian hands for many months.

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Germany’s socially liberal government is moving ahead with plans to ease the rules for obtaining citizenship in the European Union’s most populous country, a drive that is being assailed by the conservative opposition. Chancellor OIaf Scholz said in a video message Saturday that Germany has long since become “the country of hope” for many, and it’s a good thing when people who have put down roots in the country decide to take citizenship. He said that “Germany needs better rules for the naturalization of all these great women and men.” The overhaul of citizenship rules is one of a series of modernizing reforms that Scholz's three-party coalition agreed to tackle when it took office last December,

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Authorities say a fire in an apartment building in northwestern China’s Xinjiang region has left 10 people dead and nine injured. It was the second major fire in the country this week, leaving a total of 48 dead. The Thursday night fire struck the building in the regional capital of Urumqi, where temperatures fall below freezing at night. The blaze took around three hours to extinguish. The local government says the injured were all expected to survive and the cause of the fire is under investigation. State media reports say the dead and injured inhaled toxic smoke but had not been under a strict COVID-19 lockdown and were able to leave their apartments.

Jarkel Joiner scored 15 points to help North Carolina State beat Butler 76-61 in the fifth-place game at the Battle 4 Atlantis. DJ Burns added 14 points for the Wolfpack, who shot 44.6% while converting 14 turnovers by Butler into 21 points. N.C. State had five double-figure scorers. Chuck Harris scored 20 points while Jayden Taylor had 18 for Butler. Bulldogs big man Manny Bates had eight points, nine rebounds and three blocks against his former program. N.C. State led 35-22 at halftime and pushed that margin to 20 points midway through the second half.

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An international wildlife conference has moved to enact some of the most significant protection for shark species targeted in the fin trade and scores of turtles, lizards and frogs whose numbers are being decimated by the pet trade. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, known by its initials as CITES, ended Friday in Panama. Along with protections for over 500 species, delegates at the United Nations wildlife conference rejected a proposal to reopen ivory trade. An ivory ban was enacted in 1989.

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Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen casts her ballots at a polling station in New Taipei City, Taiwan, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. Voters headed to the polls across Taiwan in a closely watched local election Saturday that will determine the strength of the island's major political parties ahead of the 2024 presidential election. (Chang Hao-an/Pool Photo via AP)

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Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen casts her ballots at a polling station in New Taipei City, Taiwan, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. Voters headed to the polls across Taiwan in a closely watched local election Saturday that will determine the strength of the island's major political parties ahead of the 2024 presidential election. (Chang Hao-an/Pool Photo via AP)