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What started as an unplanned vigil last weekend in Shanghai by fewer than a dozen people grew hours later into a rowdy crowd of hundreds. The protesters expressed anger over China's harsh COVID-19 policies that they believed played a role in a deadly fire on Nov. 24 in a city in the far west. Then, a woman defiantly shouted for Chinese leader Xi Jinping to resign, emboldening others. Before dawn, police moved in to break up the gathering. The Nov. 26 protest in Shanghai wasn’t the first or the largest. But it was notable for the bold calls for the leadership change — the most open defiance of the ruling Communist Party in decades.

A tiny Nevada toad at the center of a legal battle over a geothermal project has officially been declared an endangered species. U.S. wildlife officials had temporarily listed it on a rarely used emergency basis last spring. The Fish and Wildlife Service said in a formal rule published Friday that the Dixie Valley toad is at risk of extinction "primarily due to the approval and commencement of geothermal development” about 100 miles east of Reno. Other threats to the quarter-sized amphibian include groundwater pumping, agriculture, climate change, disease and predation from bullfrogs. The temporary listing in April marked only the second time in 20 years the agency had taken such emergency action.

A prosecutor says the former medical director of a Virginia hospital that serves vulnerable children has been charged with four felony sex crimes in connection with abuse at the facility years ago. Court records indicate a grand jury indicted Dr. Daniel Davidow last month. Davidow was the longtime medical director of the Cumberland Hospital for Children and Adolescents. In a separate civil lawsuit, more than three dozen former female patients allege Davidow sexually abused them during physical exams. Davidow has previously denied the allegations. An attorney for Davidow declined comment to The Associated Press Friday.

A conservative prosecutor is asking a judge to toss out Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul’s lawsuit challenging Wisconsin’s 173-year-old ban on abortions, arguing that it lacks legal merit and that there is no weight to assertions that it is unenforceable because of its age. Sheboygan County District Attorney Joel Urmanski filed a motion late Wednesday to dismiss the case. His fellow defendants, Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne and Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, filed briefs preserving their rights to seek a dismissal as the case progresses. All three argued that the lawsuit seeks to improperly restrict prosecutorial discretion and that Kaul lacks standing to sue because he hasn’t been personally harmed by the ban.

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