Bill Clinton in hospital for non-COVID-19-related infection

WASHINGTON — Former President Bill Clinton was admitted to a Southern California hospital with an infection but is “on the mend,” his spokesman said.

Clinton, 75, was admitted to the University of California Irvine Medical Center on Tuesday evening for a non-COVID-19-related infection, Angel Ureña said Thursday in a statement.

“He is on the mend, in good spirits and is incredibly thankful to the doctors, nurses, and staff providing him with excellent care,” Ureña said.

A second statement from Clinton’s spokesman quoted physicians Dr. Alpesh Amin and Dr. Lisa Bardack, who said the former president has been “administered IV antibiotics and fluids.”

Attorney: Cruz to plead guilty to Parkland school massacre

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — The gunman who killed 14 students and three staff members at a Parkland, Florida, high school will plead guilty to their murders, his attorneys said Friday, bringing some closure to a South Florida community more than three years after an attack that sparked a nationwide movement for gun control.

The guilty plea would set up a penalty phase where Nikolas Cruz, 23, would be fighting against the death penalty and hoping for life without parole.

Cruz attorney David Wheeler told Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer that he will plead guilty Wednesday to 17 counts of first-degree murder in the February 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The pleas will come with no conditions and prosecutors still plan to seek the death penalty. That will be decided by a jury, with the judge hoping to start the trial in January after choosing a jury from thousands of prospects starting in November.

Cruz will also plead guilty to 17 counts of attempted first-degree murder. He was not initially present during the hearing, but later entered the Broward County courtroom to plead guilty to attacking a jail guard nine months after the shooting.

Suicide attack on Shiite mosque in Afghanistan kills 47

KABUL, Afghanistan — Suicide bombers attacked a Shiite mosque packed with worshippers attending Friday prayers in southern Afghanistan, killing at least 47 people and wounding 70, a Taliban official said. It was the deadliest day since the U.S. military withdrawal.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the carnage at the Fatimiya mosque in Kandahar province. The attack came a week after a bombing claimed by the local Islamic State affiliate killed 46 people at a Shiite mosque in northern Afghanistan.

The sectarian bloodletting has raised fears that IS — an enemy of both the Taliban and the West — is expanding its foothold in Afghanistan.

China launches 3 astronauts on 6-month space station mission

BEIJING — China on Saturday launched a three-person crew for a six-month mission aboard its space station that is planned at setting a new record for the length of time spent in space by Chinese astronauts as the country moves toward completing the orbiting structure.

The Shenzhou-13 spaceship carrying the three astronauts was launched by a Long March-2F rocket at 12:25 a.m. Saturday (4225 GMT Friday).

It is expected to complete docking with the Tianhe module within the next six hours, beginning the mission that will continue the work of the first three-person crew that spent 90 days aboard. Those crew members conducted two spacewalks and deployed a 10-meter (33-foot) mechanical arm before returning to Earth in mid-September.

Israel quietly advances settlements with little US pushback

JERUSALEM — Israel is quietly advancing controversial settlement projects in and around Jerusalem without making major announcements that could anger the Biden administration. Critics say the latest moves, while incremental, pave the way for rapid growth once the political climate changes.

On Wednesday, as Foreign Minister Yair Lapid met with U.S. officials in Washington, a local planning committee in Jerusalem approved the expropriation of public land for the especially controversial Givat Hamatos settlement, which would largely cut the city off from Palestinian communities in the southern West Bank.

The same committee advanced plans for the construction of 470 homes in the existing east Jerusalem settlement of Pisgat Zeev. Authorities have scheduled a Dec. 6 hearing for another project in east Jerusalem to build 9,000 settler homes in the Atarot area, according to Ir Amim, an Israeli rights group that closely follows developments in the city.

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