The Associated Press

TOKYO — Japan's government says the coronavirus state of emergency will end Thursday so the economy can be reactivated as infections slow.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced Tuesday that virus restrictions will be eased gradually.

With the lifting, Japan will be entirely free of emergency requirements for the first time in more than six months. Government officials are preparing for the relaxed restrictions by instituting other plans such as vaccine passports and virus tests.

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea fired a short-range missile into the sea early Tuesday, its neighboring countries said, in the latest weapon tests by North Korea that has raised questions about the sincerity of its recent offer for talks with South Korea.

NEW DELHI — Thousands of Indian farmers blocked traffic on major roads and railway tracks outside of the nation's capital on Monday, marking one year of demonstrations against government-backed laws that they say will shatter their livelihoods.

The farmers have renewed their protests with calls for a nationwide strike on the anniversary of the legislation's passage. The drawn-out demonstrations have posed one of the biggest political challenges to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who swept the polls for the second time in 2019.

BERLIN — Germany's center-left Social Democrats won the biggest share of the vote in a national election Sunday, narrowly beating outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel 's center-right Union bloc in a closely fought race that will determine who succeeds the long-time leader at the helm of Europe's biggest economy.

Updated September 26, 2021 at 11:14 AM ET

GENEVA (AP) — Switzerland voted by a wide margin to allow same-sex couples to marry in a referendum on Sunday, bringing the Alpine nation into line with many others in western Europe.

Official results showed the measure passed with 64.1% of voters in favor and won a majority in all of Switzerland's 26 cantons, or states.

JERUSALEM (AP) — Five Palestinian gunmen were killed in shootouts with Israeli security forces during a sweeping West Bank arrest operation cracking down on the Islamic militant group Hamas on Sunday.

It was the deadliest violence between Israeli troops and Palestinian militants in the occupied West Bank in recent weeks and came amid heightened tensions following this year's 11-day war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

A 6-year-old Colorado girl fell to her death at the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park in Glenwood Springs earlier this month after ride operators failed to properly check her seatbelts, state officials said.

Wongel Estifanos of Colorado Springs, Colo., died from her injuries on Sept. 5 after investigators said she fell 110 feet from the Haunted Mine Drop ride.

Updated September 23, 2021 at 3:25 PM ET

WASHINGTON — In what officials call a key step to combat climate change, the Environmental Protection Agency is sharply limiting domestic production and use of hydrofluorocarbons, highly potent greenhouse gases commonly used in refrigerators and air conditioners.

LOS ANGELES — Britney Spears said in a court filing Wednesday that she agrees with her father that the conservatorship that has controlled her life and money since 2008 should be terminated.

The filing in Los Angeles Superior Court from Spears' attorney Mathew Rosengart says she "fully consents" to "expeditiously" ending the conservatorship, which her father James Spears, who has controlled it for most of its 13 years, asked for in a Sept. 7 petition.

HELSINKI, Finland — The top U.S. military officer met with his Russian counterpart Wednesday, against the backdrop of U.S. struggles to get military basing rights and other counterterrorism support in countries bordering Afghanistan — a move Moscow has flatly opposed.

The meeting in the Finnish capital, Helsinki, between Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Chief of the Russian General Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov comes at a crucial time in the wake of the military withdrawal from Afghanistan.

LOS ANGELES — Willie Garson, who played Stanford Blatch, Carrie Bradshaw's friend on TV's "Sex and the City" and its movie sequels, has died, his son announced Tuesday. He was 57.

"I love you so much papa. Rest In Peace and I'm so glad you got to share all your adventures with me and were able to accomplish so much," Nathen Garson wrote on Instagram. "I'm so proud of you."

"You always were the toughest and funniest and smartest person I've known," his son added.

Canadian voters have narrowly awarded Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a third term in a snap parliamentary election, but he fell short of his goal of winning an outright majority for his Liberal Party.

Early Tuesday, ballots were still being counted across the country, but the broad outlines of the next government were already evident. Trudeau, who had hoped that voters would reward Liberals for his government's handling of the coronavirus pandemic, instead came up with much the same result as in 2019: another minority government dependent on the help of partners to govern.

COVID-19 has now killed about as many Americans as the 1918-19 Spanish flu pandemic did — approximately 675,000.

The U.S. population a century ago was just one-third of what it is today, meaning the flu cut a much bigger, more lethal swath through the country. But the COVID-19 crisis is by any measure a colossal tragedy in its own right, especially given the incredible advances in scientific knowledge since then and the failure to take maximum advantage of the vaccines available this time.

Updated September 20, 2021 at 3:43 PM ET

Two students were wounded in a shooting at a Virginia high school Monday afternoon, police said.

A 17-year-old boy was shot in the face at Heritage High School and a 17-year-old girl was shot in the leg, Newport News police Chief Steve Drew said at a news conference. Both were taken to the hospital and neither injury was thought to be life-threatening, he said.

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine boxing icon and senator Manny Pacquiao says he will run for president in the 2022 elections.

Pacquiao accepted the nomination of his PDP-Laban party at its national convention on Sunday, saying that the Filipino people have been waiting for a change of government.

"I am a fighter, and I will always be a fighter inside and outside the ring," Pacquiao, 42, said in his speech.

"We need government to serve our people with integrity, compassion and transparency," he added.

Updated September 19, 2021 at 9:11 PM ET

LOS LLANOS DE ARIDANE, Spain — A volcano on Spain's Atlantic Ocean island of La Palma erupted Sunday after a weeklong buildup of seismic activity, prompting authorities to evacuate thousands as lava flows destroyed isolated houses and threatened to reach the coast. New eruptions continued into the night.

Updated September 19, 2021 at 10:03 PM ET

DEL RIO, Texas — The U.S. flew Haitians camped in a Texas border town back to their homeland Sunday and tried blocking others from crossing the border from Mexico in a massive show of force that signaled the beginning of what could be one of America's swiftest, large-scale expulsions of migrants or refugees in decades.

Updated September 16, 2021 at 8:24 PM ET

Early Tuesday morning, Melissa Breyer set out to do her usual volunteer work — collecting the bodies of migratory birds who had died colliding with skyscrapers in downtown Manhattan.

BUDAPEST, Hungary — Pope Francis urged Hungary on Sunday to "extend its arms towards everyone," in a veiled critique of Prime Minister Viktor Orban's anti-migrant policies as the pontiff opened a four-day visit to Central Europe, his first big international outing since undergoing intestinal surgery in July.

LIMA, Peru — Abimael Guzmán, the leader of the brutal Shining Path insurgency in Peru who was captured in 1992, died on Saturday in a military hospital after an illness, the Peruvian government said.

Guzmán, 86, died at 6:40 a.m. after suffering from an infection, Justice Minister Aníbal Torres said.

Guzmán, a former philosophy professor, launched an insurgency against the state in 1980 and presided over numerous car bombings and assassinations in the years that followed. Guzmán was captured in 1992 and sentenced in life in prison for terrorism and other crimes.

LAMBERTVILLE, N.J. — President Joe Biden approved major disaster declarations Monday greenlighting federal aid for people in six New Jersey counties and five New York counties affected by devastating flooding last week from the remnants of Hurricane Ida.

At least 50 people were killed in six Eastern states as record rainfall last Wednesday overwhelmed rivers and sewer systems. Some people were trapped in fast-filling basement apartments and cars, or swept away as they tried to escape. The storm also spawned several tornadoes.

Updated September 5, 2021 at 7:57 PM ET

A man wearing full-body armor fatally shot four people, including a mother and the 3-month-old baby she was cradling, a Florida sheriff said Sunday. The shooter, a former Marine, then engaged in a gunfight with police and deputies before he was wounded and surrendered. An 11-year-old girl who was shot seven times survived.

Updated September 5, 2021 at 2:12 PM ET

CONAKRY, Guinea (AP) — A Guinean army colonel seized control of state television Sunday and declared that President Alpha Conde's government had been dissolved in the West African nation, an announcement that came after hours of heavy gunfire near the presidential palace.

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis is encouraging countries to welcome Afghan refugees who are seeking a new life.

During his appearance to the public in St. Peter's Square on Sunday, Francis also prayed that displaced persons inside Afghanistan receive assistance and protection.

"In these tumultuous moments, in which Afghans are seeking refuge, I pray for the most vulnerable among them, I pray so that many countries welcome and protect all those seeking a new life," Francis said.

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — New Zealand authorities were so worried about an Islamic extremist they were following him around-the-clock and were able to shoot and kill him within 60 seconds of him unleashing a frenzied knife attack that wounded six people Friday at an Auckland supermarket.

Three of the shoppers were taken to Auckland hospitals in critical condition, police said. Another was in serious condition, while two more were in moderate condition.

SCHOHARIE, N.Y. (AP) — The operator of a limousine company was spared prison time Thursday in a 2018 crash that killed 20 people when catastrophic brake failure sent a stretch limo full of birthday revelers hurtling down a hill in upstate New York.

Loved ones of the dead excoriated Nauman Hussain, 31, as he sat quietly at the defense table during a hearing that was held in a high school gymnasium to provide for social distancing among the many relatives, friends and media members attending.

BEIJING — China needs to expand its efforts to reduce carbon emissions to help hold back the rise in global temperatures, U.S. envoy John Kerry said Thursday.

The State Department said Kerry told Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng in a virtual meeting that there is "no way" for the world to solve the climate crisis without China's "full engagement and commitment."

China is the world's largest carbon emitter, producing an estimated 27% of global greenhouse gases, followed by the United States.

Updated September 1, 2021 at 7:38 PM ET

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — A suspect was taken into custody Wednesday after one student was fatally shot at a North Carolina high school, officials said.

Winston-Salem police Chief Catrina Thompson, fighting back tears, told a news conference that Mount Tabor High School went into immediate lockdown as emergency responders, sheriff's deputies and police officers arrived just after noon to search for the suspect, who she said was believed to be a student at the school.

WASHINGTON — The sharp shock of the coronavirus recession pushed Social Security a year closer to insolvency but left Medicare's exhaustion date unchanged, the government reported Tuesday in a counterintuitive assessment that deepens the uncertainty around the nation's bedrock retirement programs.

Updated August 31, 2021 at 10:05 PM ET

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (AP) — A day after an explosive wildfire emptied a resort city at the southern tip of Lake Tahoe, a huge firefighting force braced for strong winds Tuesday as some residents in neighboring Nevada were ordered to evacuate.

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