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Alabama Senate race winner Doug Jones urges Republican Roy Moore to ‘move on’

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Alabama Democrat Doug Jones, who won a bitter fight for a U.S. Senate seat this week, called on his Republican opponent to concede the race and help heal the Southern state after a deeply divisive contest.

Roy Moore, the conservative Christian Republican whose campaign was tainted by accusations that he pursued teenager girls while in his 30s, made a second statement on Wednesday night in which he did not concede the election.

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Jones, a former federal prosecutor, defeated Moore, a former Alabama Supreme Court justice, in a special election on Tuesday that saw a Democratic win a Senate seat in the state for the first time in a quarter-century. The result also raised questions about Republicans’ future under U.S. President Donald Trump.

With 99 percent of the vote counted, Jones had a lead of 1.5 percentage points over Moore, and the state’s secretary of state, a Republican, has said the remaining ballots were unlikely shrink the victory to the half a percentage point margin required to trigger a recount.

Jones said in an interview with NBC that he was confident of the outcome.

“It’s time to move on,” he said. “The people of Alabama have now spoken … Let’s get this behind us so the people of Alabama can get someone in there and start working for them.”

Jones on Wednesday said he had received congratulatory phone calls from Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, and Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader.

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Trump had attacked Jones and endorsed Moore, who was accused of trying to initiate sexual contact with one woman when she was 14. Moore has denied the allegations.

In a video statement released Wednesday night, Moore said he would not step aside as military and provisional ballots were still being counted and the race was not yet certified. He also derided the Washington establishment and contemporary society.

“We are indeed in a struggle to preserve our republic, our civilization, and our religion and to set free a suffering humanity,” Moore said. “And the battle rages on.”

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Jones’ win will reduce Republicans’ hold on the Senate, narrowing their majority to 51 seats of 100 as they seek to push through Trump’s legislative agenda.

Schumer has called on Republican leadership to hold their vote on pending tax legislation until Alabama certifies the election result and Jones is seated in the chamber.

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On Thursday, Jones told NBC that he did not have a position on that.

“I want to make sure it’s done right,” he said.

(Reporting by Susan Heavey; Additional reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Bill Trott)

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Investigators see ‘xenophobic motive’ behind Germany shootings

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German investigators said Thursday they suspected a "xenophobic motive" behind shootings at a shisha bar and a cafe that left 10 dead overnight in the city of Hanau.

Hours after police found the suspected gunman dead at his home in the early hours of Thursday following a huge manhunt, federal counter-terror prosecutors took over the case.

The probe was of "particular importance" and there were "signs of a xenophobic motive", a spokesman for the prosecutors told AFP.

Sources close to the investigation confirmed media reports that text and video material was found at the home of the perpetrator, who media reported was a 43-year-old man identified only as Tobias R.

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What makes dogs so special? Science says love

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The idea that animals can experience love was once anathema to the psychologists who studied them, seen as a case of putting sentimentality before scientific rigor.

But a new book argues that, when it comes to dogs, the word is necessary to understanding what has made the relationship between humans and our best friends one of the most significant interspecies partnerships in history.

Clive Wynne, founder the Canine Science Collaboratory at Arizona State University, makes the case in "Dog is Love: Why and How Your Dog Loves You."

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China sees drop in new virus cases, two Japan cruise passengers die

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China reported a big drop in new coronavirus cases on Thursday, fuelling hopes the epidemic is nearing its peak, but Japan faced a growing crisis as two passengers from a quarantined cruise ship died.

The death toll rose in China hit 2,118 as 114 more people died, but health officials reported the lowest number of new cases there in nearly a month, including in the hardest-hit province, Hubei.

More than 74,000 people have been infected in China and hundreds more in some 25 countries, with Iran reporting two deaths, the first fatalities in the Middle East.

n Japan, a man and a woman in their 80s who had been aboard the Diamond Princess have died, local media reported, citing a government source.

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