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Members of the United Auto Workers union appear to favor replacing many of their current leaders in an election that stemmed from a federal bribery and embezzlement scandal involving former union officials. Reform-minded candidates are leading in multiple key positions with about 73% of the vote in. Many challengers campaigned on rescinding concessions made to companies in previous contract talks. That could raise costs for General Motors, Ford and Stellantis, and almost inevitably will drive up already expensive auto prices. With tallies from six of nine UAW regions counted, incumbent President Ray Curry had a slight lead over international union official Shawn Fain. Curry had 38.6% of the vote to Fain's 38%. The race likely will go to a runoff.

Street protests that broke out in several Chinese cities over the weekend may have come as a surprise, but the ruling Communist Party has been preparing for this moment for years, decades even. Ever since the last major demonstrations culminated in the bloody military crackdown of 1989, China has been building an internal security force aimed at overwhelming, intimidating, imprisoning and silencing all challenges. By most estimates, China spends more on internal security than on national defense. This includes police, paramilitary troops and internet spies that have honed their skills against minority rights activists, pro-democracy advocates and independent labor organizers. That's what faces anyone daring to protest China's severe anti-COVID-19 measures.

Tesla has delivered its first electric semis to PepsiCo more than three years after Elon Musk said the company would start making the trucks. The Austin, Texas, company made the deliveries at a factory near Reno, Nevada. The event was livestreamed on Twitter, which Musk now owns. Musk drove one of three Tesla Semis in front of a crowd inside the factory. One was white, one was painted with a Pepsi logo, and another with Frito-Lay colors. Musk has said the truck has a range per charge of 500 miles (800 kilometers) when pulling an 82,000-pound (37,000 kilo) load.

President Joe Biden's first White House state dinner is drawing big names from the worlds of entertainment, politics, business and fashion to celebrate French President Emmanuel Macron. The official guest list includes late-night TV talk-show host Stephen Colbert, “Good Morning America” anchor Robin Roberts, actors Jennifer Garner, Ariana DeBose and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and singer John Legend and his wife, Chrissy Teigen. Outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was there, as was House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy, who hopes to succeed Pelosi. The 338 guests passed through a White House decorated for the holidays. Trolleys took them to a heated party tent on the South Lawn.

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ These Virginia lotteries were drawn Thursday:

Legislation to avert a freight rail strike in the United States is headed to President Joe Biden's desk. A bill to avoid the strike won final approval Thursday, clearing the Senate in a bipartisan vote. The bill will bind rail companies and workers to a proposed settlement that was reached between the rail companies and union leaders in September. That settlement had been rejected by four of the 12 unions involved, creating the possibility of a strike. The Senate vote was 80-15 and came one day after the House voted to impose the agreement. Biden has vowed to sign it quickly.

Family members of three tourists who died while staying at an Airbnb in Mexico City, apparently of carbon monoxide poisoning, are urging the short-term rental company to require detectors in properties it lists. Jennifer Marshall is the mother of Jordan Marshall, one of the travelers. She tells reporters the hope is to pressure Airbnb to mandate and regulate carbon monoxide devices. She says the campaign is also a way to help honor their children. Airbnb says it has suspended the listing where the bodies were found and canceled upcoming reservations pending investigation. It notes that it operates a global program making free smoke and carbon monoxide detectors available to hosts.

A lawyer for environmental groups suing the Tennessee Valley Authority argues distributors have signed onto what amount to “never-ending” contracts that unfairly tie them to power generated by the nation’s largest public utility. Southern Environmental Law Center lawyer Amanda Garcia made the argument in Memphis federal court. TVA says three environmental groups have no standing to sue after TVA reached long-term agreements with many local power distributors in its seven-state region. The lawsuit alleges the deals will deprive distributors and ratepayers of the opportunity to renegotiate with TVA to obtain cheaper, cleaner electricity.


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