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Who better to promote a product than a former president? How about three?

Former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton are willing to lend their star power for a good cause, saying this week that they would publicly take a coronavirus vaccine, once it's available in the U.S., to encourage skeptical Americans to do the same.

Obama said that if Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country's top infectious disease expert, thought the vaccine was safe and effective, then he would get his shot.

Abu Alaa leaves his home in Damascus at dawn to buy bread from his local bakery. There he stands in line for up to six hours to get the two packets of the round flat pita bread that government rations allow for a three-child family like his.

After this he goes to the gas station, where he usually waits a further six hours to buy the fuel he needs for his work as a minivan driver.

"Half of my day is spent waiting for bread — God, it's laughable," he says. "And the other half is spent waiting in line for diesel!"

Among the promises that President elect-Biden is expected to fulfill immediately upon taking office: lifting a ban that President Trump imposed on U.S. foreign aid dollars related to abortion.

Looking back, Sam Bloechl knows that when the health insurance broker who was helping him find a plan asked whether he'd ever been diagnosed with a major illness, that should have been a red flag. Preexisting medical conditions don't matter when you buy a comprehensive individual plan that complies with the Affordable Care Act. Insurers can't turn people down or charge them more based on their medical history.

The number of coronavirus cases in California has topped 1.2 million, leaving the state's hospitals near a breaking point. There are projections that the state could run out of intensive care beds before Christmas. And Gov. Gavin Newsom says he's considering another statewide stay-at-home order to stop the surge.

Before President-elect Joe Biden had even formally introduced his intended nominee for budget director, the pushback started rolling in.

Neera Tanden would make history as the first woman of color to head the Office of Management and Budget, but she's also been an outspoken partisan warrior, and that could complicate her confirmation process, especially if Republicans maintain control of the Senate after Georgia's two runoff races in early January.

High-profile supporters of President Trump took the stage in Georgia Wednesday to spread conspiracy theories and tell the state's Republicans not to vote in the crucial U.S. Senate runoffs there next month. The outcome of those races will determine which party controls the Senate next year.

At the rally in Atlanta, pro-Trump attorney Lin Wood took the microphone, telling the crowd that last month's election, won by President-elect Joe Biden, had been manipulated.

Google illegally fired two employees involved in labor organizing last year, the National Labor Relations Board alleged in a complaint on Wednesday.

The tech giant also violated federal labor law, the agency said, by surveilling employees who viewed a union organizing presentation, interrogating others, unfairly enforcing some rules and maintaining policies that "discourage" workers from protected organizing activities.

The Department of Transportation said Wednesday it will no longer require airlines to make the same accommodations for emotional support animals as they do for trained service dogs. No more guaranteed free flights for comfort cats and dogs, therapy monkeys or miniature horse companions.

A service dog is trained to do work or perform a task to benefit an individual with a disability. Emotional support and psychiatric service animals function therapeutically. And starting in 2021, it will be up to individual airlines to decide whether or not treat the two the same.

On Monday, armed and masked gangsters attacked the Southern Brazilian city of Criciúma, in Santa Catarina state, just before midnight.

Updated at 4:52 p.m. ET

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer say a $908 billion coronavirus relief proposal should be the starting point for bipartisan aid.

It is the first time Pelosi, D-Calif., and Schumer, D-N.Y., have accepted any COVID-19 legislation other than the $2.2 trillion bill that passed the House of Representatives in October. But their shift to the moderates' plan comes after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., already rejected the bipartisan proposal.

As a tech journalist for the website The Verge, Casey Newton established himself as something of a Silicon Valley institution. Known for a mix of original reporting and gimlet-eyed analysis, his writing has become essential reading for those who want to better understand the industry.

This fall, he quit his steady job at The Verge to start an email newsletter with Substack, a San Francisco-based startup.

Campbell County, Va., is taking a stand against Gov. Ralph Northam's COVID-19 restrictions as its Board of Supervisors endorsed a measure Tuesday night that calls on county agencies not to enforce Northam's crowd-size limits and other orders.

Early on in the coronavirus pandemic, as governments scrambled to find rapid and reliable coronavirus tests, three states ended up turning to a small public company that just months earlier had no major customers and was losing millions of dollars.

The Afghan government and the Taliban have agreed to forge ahead with substantive negotiations aimed at ending decades of almost continuous war in the country, representatives from the two sides said in near-twin tweets on Wednesday.

Although peace talks ostensibly began on Sept. 12 in Qatar, the negotiations quickly bogged down in procedural matters, like which form of Islamic law should govern disputes between negotiators.

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