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China’s yuan has fallen to a 14-year low against the dollar despite central bank efforts to stem the slide after U.S. interest rate hikes prompted traders to convert money into dollars in search of higher returns. A weaker yuan helps Chinese exporters by making their goods cheaper abroad but it encourages capital to flow out of the economy. That raises costs for Chinese borrowers and sets back the ruling Communist Party’s efforts to boost weak economic growth. The Federal Reserve has raised interest rates five times this year to cool inflation that is at a four-decade high. Meanwhile, China's central bank has cut rates.

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Vice President Kamala Harris has said her trip to Asia is intended to shore up American alliances with Japan and South Korea. However, tensions between the two nations have undermined the united front that the U.S. wants to show toward China. Japan and South Korea remain at odds over historical issues such as the legacy of Japan's forced labor and prostitution before and during World War II. The disputes have spilled over into debates over trade, technology and intelligence sharing. Japan and South Korea are taking steps to repair their relationship, but progress remains uncertain.

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The European Union's top diplomat says the bloc suspects that damage to two underwater natural gas pipelines was sabotage and is warning of retaliation for any attack on Europe’s energy networks. Josep Borell said Wednesday that “all available information indicates those leaks are the result of a deliberate act,” He added that any deliberate disruption of European energy infrastructure "is utterly unacceptable and will be met with a robust and united response.” 

Australia’s federal and state governments have called for Optus to pay for replacing passports and driver’s licenses after 9.8 million of the telecommunications company’s customers had personal data stolen by computer hackers. The Australian government has blamed lax cybersecurity at Optus for last week's unprecedented breach of the personal information of current and former customers. On Wednesday, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese rejected opposition lawmakers’ calls for the government to waive the costs of replacing compromised Optus customers’ passports. Albanese told Parliament that Optus should pay, not taxpayers. Optus did not immediately reply to a request for comment. Different states have had varying responses to customer's requests for ID replacements.

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Asian shares have tumbled after a wobbly day on Wall Street as markets churn over the prospect of a possible recession. U.S. futures and oil prices also fell. The volatile trading Tuesday in New York came a day after the Dow Jones Industrial Average followed other major U.S. indexes into a bear market. The S&P 500 slipped 0.2%, the Dow fell a bit more and the Nasdaq composite wound up with a gain of 0.2%. With just a few days left in September, stocks are heading for another losing month as investors fear that the higher interest rates being used to fight inflation could help knock the economy into a downturn.

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Vice President Kamala Harris has highlighted a new U.S. law boosting support for computer chip manufacturing as she met with Japanese technology executives on Wednesday. The meeting on her last full day in Tokyo reflects the administration’s focus on boosting semiconductor manufacturing and expanding the supply chain for critical materials. At the same time, Japan is looking to rejuvenate its own computer chip industry, and there could be opportunities for new partnerships as the allies work together to counter China's own technology investments.

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Sen. Joe Manchin has abandoned his push to speed up the permitting process for energy projects. His decision eases the Senate’s path toward passing a stopgap spending bill that would keep the federal government running when the fiscal year ends at midnight Friday and provide more aid to Ukraine.  A procedural vote advancing the effort cleared easily, 72-23, after Democrats announced that Manchin’s proposal would be stripped from the final legislation. While lawmakers are waiting once again until the final moments of the fiscal year to keep the government running, they are confident they will do so.

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Denmark believes “deliberate actions” caused big leaks in two natural gas pipelines that run under the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany, and seismologists said powerful explosions preceded the leaks. European leaders and experts pointed to possible sabotage amid the energy standoff with Russia provoked by the war in Ukraine. Although filled with gas, neither pipeline is currently supplying it to Europe. Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said Tuesday that “it is the authorities’ clear assessment that these are deliberate actions -– not accidents." The incident overshadowed the inauguration of a long-awaited pipeline that will bring Norwegian gas to Poland to bolster the continent’s energy independence from Moscow.

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Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey on Tuesday awarded an $82.45 million grant for what she said will be a “transformative” project to expand broadband service in the state. Ivey said the grant will be used by Fiber Utility Network, a corporation formed by eight rural electric cooperatives to fund a “middle-mile” broadband network to help close gaps in service. The Fiber Utility Network will create a middle-mile network that will connect almost 3,000 miles of existing and new fiber infrastructure within a three-year period,

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A prototype, all-electric airplane took its first flight Tuesday morning in central Washington state. The Seattle Times reports that if the Federal Aviation Administration eventually certifies the small airplane to carry passengers, it could become the first all-electric commercial airplane. The plane, built by startup Eviation, was built to carry nine passengers and up two pilots. It took off from Moses Lake, Washington, at 7:10 a.m. Tuesday, and landed eight minutes later. The company’s goal is to show such electric planes are viable as commuter aircraft flying at an altitude of about 15,000 feet. The plane, designed by engineers in Washington state and Israel, is powered by 21,500 small Tesla-style battery cells.

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A Delaware judge heard more arguments over the exchange of information by lawyers in the Twitter lawsuit that seeks to force billionaire Elon Musk to carry through with his $44 billion acquisition of the social platform. Tuesday’s hearing came three weeks before a scheduled trial in the dispute. Musk agreed in April to buy Twitter and take it private, offering $54.20 a share and vowing to loosen the company’s policing of content and to root out fake accounts. He later backed away from the deal, claiming that Twitter hadn't provided him with enough information about the number of fake accounts on its platform.

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The Arizona Supreme Court says the state utility regulation commission can't prevent a single member from issuing subpoenas to investigate companies the panel oversees. The former commissioner who filed the case, Bob Burns, says Tuesday's decision will prevent others on the panel from uniting to shield utilities from scrutiny. Burns has fought for years to get the state’s largest electric utility to acknowledge that it spent millions to elect two Arizona Corporation Commission members in the 2014 election. Subpoenas he issued in 2016 to Arizona Public Service Co. seeking to prove that it was spending to elect its own regulators were blocked by the four other commissioners. APS later admitted it spent millions on commission races.

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A trial is underway in the federal government's lawsuit aiming to kill a partnership between American Airlines and JetBlue Airways in the Northeast. The government says the deal is, in effect, a merger that will cost consumers $700 million a year in higher fares. But the airlines say the pact — which has been in place for 18 months — is already letting them open new routes that are good for travelers. They say the deal boosts competition by helping American and JetBlue compete with Delta and United, especially in the New York area.

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If there are two things that are reliable for broadcast television in a changing world, it's football and franchise procedural dramas. The 10 most-watched scripted programs in the Nielsen co.'s ranking last week all fit this drama category. They included CBS' “FBI” drama and two of its spinoffs, and each of the Dick Wolf-produced “Chicago” dramas on NBC. The most popular comedy, well out of Nielsen's top 20, was CBS' “The Neighborhood.” The CBS newsmagazine “60 Minutes” was the most-watched non-Sunday night No comedies appeared in Nielsen’s top 20 programs for the week of Sept. 19 through the 25th.

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Pro-Moscow officials say that residents in all four occupied areas of Ukraine voted to join Russia. The Kremlin-orchestrated votes have been dismissed by the U.S. and its Western allies as illegitimate. According to Russia-installed election officials, 93% of the ballots case in the Zaporizhzhia region were in support of annexation, as were 87% of ballots in the southern Kherson region and 98% in Luhansk. The preordained outcome sets the stage for a dangerous new phase in Russia’s seven-month war in Ukraine because it is expected to serve as a pretext for Moscow to annex the four areas. That could happen within days.

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Facebook says it has identified and stopped a sprawling network of fake accounts that spread Russian propaganda about the invasion of Ukraine throughout Western Europe. Facebook parent company Meta says the network created more than 60 websites that mimicked legitimate news organizations but parroted Russian talking points about Ukraine. More than 1,600 fake Facebook accounts were used to spread the propaganda to audiences in Germany, Italy, France, the United Kingdom and Ukraine. Meta says it was the largest and most complex network linked to Russia that the California-based company has identified since the Ukraine invasion began. The Russian Embassy in Washington, D.C., hasn't responded to a request for comment.

A union that rejected its deal with the nation’s freight railroads earlier this month now has a new tentative agreement. But officials cautioned that the contract dispute won’t be fully settled until all 12 rail unions approve their agreements this fall. The five-year deal announced Tuesday includes a 24% pay raise and $5,000 in bonuses that were in the first deal along. It also has a couple of additional benefits, including a cap on health insurance expenses and a promise that each railroad will negotiate individually over expense reimbursement. Officials with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers said they hope those enhancements will be enough to pass the agreement.

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Pro-Moscow officials say residents in one of the four occupied areas of Ukraine voted to join Russia in Kremlin-orchestrated referendums. According to Russia-installed election officials in Zaporizhzhia, 93.11% of the ballots cast in the vote were in support of the annexation. Results from three other Ukrainian regions were expected to follow shortly. The preordained outcome sets the stage for a dangerous new phase in Russia’s war in Ukraine. It's expected to serve as a pretext for Moscow to annex the four areas. The referendums in the Luhansk and Kherson regions and parts of Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia asked residents whether they wanted the areas to be incorporated into Russia. Armed officials sometimes went door-to-door collecting votes.

As the country’s food charities struggle to keep up with rising inflation and demand, the White House will host a conference on Wednesday. For several months, the Biden administration has hosted listening sessions with hunger and nutrition groups, corporations, and federal agencies to help find ways to end hunger by 2030. It’s an ambitious goal that would transform operations for nonprofits like Catholic Charities and the foundations that help feed the one in six Americans seeking food from nonprofits every year. Nonprofits and foundations have found reasons for optimism. They hope the conference will be a launching point for sweeping change.

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The Biden administration has an ambitious goal for America: ending hunger in the U.S. by 2030. The administration's plan includes expanding monthly benefits that help low-income Americans buy food. It also seeks to promote healthy eating and physical activity so that fewer people are afflicted with diabetes, obesity, hypertension and other diet-related diseases. Expanding Medicaid and Medicare access to obesity counseling and nutrition are part of the strategy. President Joe Biden is hosting a conference this week on hunger, nutrition and health, the first by the White House since 1969.

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