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House OKs debt ceiling bill, sends Biden-McCarthy deal to Senate

Veering away from a default crisis, the House approved a debt ceiling and budget cuts package late Wednesday, as President Joe Biden and Speaker Kevin McCarthy assembled a bipartisan coalition of centrist Democrats and Republicans against fierce conservative blowback and progressive dissent.

The hard-fought deal pleased few, but lawmakers assessed it was better than the alternative — a devastating economic upheaval if Congress failed to act. Tensions ran high throughout the day as hard-right Republicans refused the deal, while Democrats said "extremist" GOP views were risking a debt default as soon as next week.

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Macron urges 'tangible' NATO security guarantees for Kyiv

French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday called on the West to offer Ukraine "tangible and credible" security guarantees as it battles Russia's invasion.

Stressing that Ukraine "is today protecting Europe", Macron said in Bratislava that it is in the West's interest that Kyiv have security assurances from NATO.

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N. Korea failed satellite launch triggers public confusion, security jitters in neighbors

North Korea's launch of a spy satellite on Wednesday ended in an embarrassing failure, but still prompted public confusion and security jitters in neighboring South Korea and Japan, which are wary of the North's growing weapons arsenal.

About 14 minutes after the launch at 6:27 a.m., authorities in Seoul, South Korea's capital, sent text messages to all mobile phones in the city urging people to prepare to move to safer places, without explaining the reason. In some areas, the warning was broadcast over loudspeakers.

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Germany tells Russia to close four consulates on its soil

Germany will drastically reduce Moscow's diplomatic presence on its soil after Russia slashed the number of people Berlin can employ in its embassies and institutions in Russia, a foreign ministry spokesman said on Wednesday.

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Russia claims destroyed Ukraine's 'last warship'

Russia on Wednesday claimed it had destroyed the last major warship of the Ukrainian naval forces, which it said was stationed in the southern port of Odesa.

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Tensions high in north Kosovo as Serbs gather again

Tensions remained high in northern Kosovo on Wednesday, as hundreds of ethnic Serbs again gathered outside a town hall after clashing with NATO-led peacekeepers (KFOR) earlier this week.

KFOR soldiers formed a ring around the municipal building in Zvecan and additionally secured the perimeter with a metal fence and barbed wire, an AFP journalist said.

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Putin slams Ukraine after attack drones hit Moscow high-rises

Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused Kyiv of seeking to "frighten" Russians after drones hit Moscow high-rises in the first such attack since the beginning of the Kremlin's assault on Ukraine.

As drones struck in and around Moscow, Russian drones targeted Kyiv for a third straight day while Ukraine gears up for a major offensive against Russian forces.

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EU, US voice concern over Poland's 'Russian influence' committee

The United States and the European Union's top justice official on Tuesday criticized Polish plans for a law that could keep political opponents from holding public office without full legal recourse, and the EU threatened to take measures if it became fully clear such a law would undermine democratic standards.

Polish President Andrzej Duda said early this week he would sign a bill that critics view as a tool to remove from political life the opponents of the ruling party — mostly notably opposition leader Donald Tusk, the former EU Council president. Parliament last Friday already approved the bill, which was proposed by the ruling conservative Law and Justice party as the country heads toward a parliamentary election in the autumn.

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China supports Serbia in renewed Kosovo clashes involving NATO troops

China on Tuesday expressed its support for Serbia's efforts to "safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity" following renewed violence between ethnic Serbs and NATO peacekeeping troops in Kosovo.

China's ruling Communist Party has long been a critic of the NATO alliance, stemming partly from the bombing of Beijing's embassy in Belgrade during the 1999 air campaign to end Serbia's brutal crackdown on ethnic Albanian separatists in Kosovo.

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What 5 more years of Erdogan's rule means for Turkey

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan won reelection in a runoff Sunday, following a nail-biter first round two weeks earlier. Having secured another five years, Erdogan now faces a host of domestic challenges in a deeply divided country, from a battered economy to pressure for the repatriation of Syrian refugees to the need to rebuild after a devastating earthquake.

Here's a look at the challenges ahead.

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