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Laurel Wamsley

French lawmakers have approved a tax on digital companies that will affect U.S. tech behemoths known in France as "Les GAFA" — Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple.

The U.S. government is already threatening to retaliate: On Wednesday, President Trump ordered a probe of the French tax. It's a sign that another trade war like the one between the U.S. and China could be stirring – except that it's with one of America's allies, and in this case, it's U.S. companies that are seen as the tax dodges.

Updated at 5:35 p.m. ET

Labor Secretary Alex Acosta defended a 2008 plea agreement he oversaw as a U.S. attorney in Florida in which multimillionaire and accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein got a light sentence in exchange for pleading guilty to state charges.

"Facts are important, and facts are being overlooked," Acosta told reporters at a news conference Wednesday.

Updated at 1:15 p.m. ET

A constitutional challenge to President Trump's continued ownership of his businesses has been ordered dismissed by a federal appeals court.

The case was brought by the attorneys general of Washington, D.C., and Maryland, arguing that Trump had violated the domestic and foreign emoluments clauses of the U.S. Constitution by accepting money from state and foreign governments via his Washington hotel and business empire.

It's the end of an era — an era that has stretched on for a very long time, albeit with slightly different silhouettes.

The last Volkswagen Beetle, a third-generation Denim Blue coupe, will be produced in Puebla, Mexico, on Wednesday.

"It's impossible to imagine where Volkswagen would be without the Beetle," said Scott Keogh, president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America. "While its time has come, the role it has played in the evolution of our brand will be forever cherished."

Updated at 6:35 p.m. ET

Federal prosecutors have charged multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein with sex trafficking of minors and paying victims to recruit other underage girls, accusing Epstein of creating a network that allowed him to sexually abuse dozens of young victims.

Prosecutors in the Southern District of New York announced two counts against Epstein on Monday morning: one count of sex trafficking conspiracy and one count of sex trafficking, according to the indictment.

Epstein appeared in court Monday afternoon and pleaded not guilty.

Before the World Cup began, nearly everyone predicted a final between the United States and, well, some team from Europe. Perhaps Germany, England or France. When the quarterfinals arrived, that soothsaying was on target: The Yanks and seven European squads remained.

Now all the blanks on the World Cup bracket have been filled in, save one. On Sunday, the mighty United States will battle the bright orange Netherlands as two soccer-crazed nations tune in.

Will the U.S. continue its march of greatness undaunted, or will the Dutch pull off an upset for the ages?

Temperatures climbed to 90 degrees in Anchorage, Alaska, on Thursday, breaking the all-time heat record for the northerly city.

Anchorage's previous record high (at least since 1952) was 85 degrees Fahrenheit, set on June 14, 1969.

U.S. Border Patrol agents and Mexican law enforcement are searching for a 2-year-old girl who went missing in the Rio Grande. They are searching a section of the river near the border city of Del Rio, Texas, which is about 150 miles west of San Antonio.

"Any time a child is lost it is a tragic event," said Del Rio Sector Chief Patrol Agent Raul L. Ortiz in a statement Tuesday evening. "I can not imagine the anguish the parents of this young girl must be feeling and I hope our search efforts pay off with a positive outcome."

Protests in Sudan demanding civilian rule were met by violence over the weekend. Tens of thousands of Sudanese filled the streets of the capital city, Khartoum, and other areas calling for the military government to relinquish control.

Updated at 6:32 p.m. ET

The man who drove his car into a crowd of anti-racist protesters in Charlottesville, Va., killing one person and injuring 35 has been sentenced to spending the rest of his life in prison.

A federal judge issued the sentence of life without the possibility of parole on Friday for self-proclaimed neo-Nazi James Fields Jr., 22, of the Toledo, Ohio, area.

The Toronto Raptors won the NBA Championship earlier this month, and the team's thrilling run has boosted the city's excitement about basketball to a new level.

But you wouldn't know it, watching a video posted this week of a Toronto city worker removing a basketball hoop from an outdoor court at one of the city's parks.

The United States doesn't have to beat Sweden in the last game of the group stage of the Women's World Cup on Thursday. The Americans are already through to the next round, as are the Swedes.

But in another sense, the U.S. women's national team does have to beat Sweden today in Le Havre, France — if they want to show they are the best in the world. The game starts at 3 p.m. ET and will be televised on Fox and Telemundo.

In the first seven days of the Women's World Cup, there have already been stunning goals, crushing defeats and no shortage of controversy. We've been following the action from France — oui, un croissant, s'il-vous plaît — and here are some of the key stories we've seen in a week of great soccer.

A very big win

One game at a time. That's the mantra of the U.S. women's soccer team today, as they play Thailand in their first match of the Women's World Cup in France — after watching every other team play first.

The 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup kicks off today in Paris. Twenty-four teams will vie for their chance at glory.

Here's what you need to know to follow all the action.

When does the Women's World Cup start?

The tournament begins at the Parc des Princes in Paris, where a strong team from host nation France takes on South Korea in the opening match. The schedule ramps up Saturday with three games: Germany vs. China, Spain vs. South Africa and Norway vs. Nigeria.

Nepal's tourism board is defending the number of permits it issued to climb Mount Everest for this season in which 11 people have died. And the country says it has no plans to restrict the number of permits issued next year, but rather that it hopes to attract still more tourists and climbers.

The Louvre was shuttered on Monday, leaving hordes of tourists outside amid its famous glass pyramids. The reason? The Paris museum's security and reception staff were on strike, protesting "unprecedented deterioration of conditions" amid record crowds.

Japan's foreign minister is making headlines — by pushing back on the headlines themselves.

At issue: the order in which foreign media write and say Japanese names.

In a news conference Tuesday, Foreign Minister Taro Kono said he plans to ask overseas news outlets to write Japanese names with the family name first and given name second — as is the convention in Japan.

Abortion-rights advocates are holding rallies across the country Tuesday, protesting a wave of laws passed by states in recent weeks to severely restrict access to abortions.

Organizers include the ACLU, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, and NARAL Pro-Choice America. More than 400 events were planned for a national day of action outside statehouses and courts, united under the #StopTheBans moniker.

Taiwan's parliament approved a bill on Friday that legalizes same-sex marriage, making it the first place in Asia to do so. Throngs of supporters who gathered outside parliament cheered and embraced at the news.

President Trump has granted a pardon to former media mogul and society figure Conrad Black, who was convicted of fraud in 2007.

Black is also a friend of the president and frequently praises him in his newspaper columns. Last year, Black published a biography of Trump, titled Donald J. Trump: A President Like No Other.

Updated at 6:23 p.m. ET Wednesday

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed a controversial bill that bans nearly all abortions into law Wednesday evening.

It's considered the most restrictive abortion law in the United States. The law makes it a crime for doctors to perform abortions at any stage of a pregnancy, unless a woman's life is threatened or there is a lethal fetal anomaly.

Under the new law, doctors in the state face felony jail time up to 99 years if convicted. But a woman would not be held criminally liable for having an abortion.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she was one of many who saw horrifying footage of the March 15 terrorist attacks in Christchurch when the video of it started autoplaying in her social media feed. In the wake of the violence in which 51 people were killed, New Zealand immediately imposed new gun control measures and introduced legislation that would ban most semi-automatic firearms.

Two seaplanes crashed Monday afternoon in Southeast Alaska, killing at least four people. Ten others were injured in the collision.

Two people were still missing, the Coast Guard told The Associated Press.

Both planes were carrying passengers from a Royal Princess cruise ship on sightseeing trips. A float plane operated by Taquan Air was carrying 11 people and a smaller plane, operated by an unidentified tour company, was carrying five near Ketchikan.

Updated May 14 at 2:58 a.m. ET

San Francisco police raided the home and office of a freelance journalist on Friday, taking a sledgehammer to the gate of his house and seizing his computers, phones and other devices.

Their goal: to uncover the source of a leaked police report in the possession of freelance videographer Bryan Carmody.

The raids on Carmody's home and office are the latest in a series of events concerning the death of San Francisco public defender Jeff Adachi in February, at age 59.

Updated at 4:19 p.m. ET

China is imposing new retaliatory tariffs on $60 billion worth of U.S. goods, days after the Trump administration said it would impose higher tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods. The latest tit-for-tat exchange comes as trade talks have failed to yield a deal.

U.S. stock prices plunged on the news. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 617 points Monday, or 2.4%, and the Nasdaq composite fell 3.4%.

A vote on what would be the country's most restrictive abortion ban was postponed in the Alabama Senate on Thursday after chaos erupted over the stripping of an amendment to allow exceptions in the case of rape or incest.

The attorneys general of 38 states and territories sent a letter to congressional leaders on Wednesday, urging them: Please, let us bank the money generated by the country's booming cannabis business.

The vice president of Venezuela's opposition-controlled National Assembly was arrested by intelligence agents Wednesday night in Caracas. The U.S. government warns that there will be consequences if he isn't released.

Edgar Zambrano was in his car when he was surrounded by SEBIN intelligence agents. When he refused to leave the car, agents towed it with Zambrano inside to the SEBIN headquarters. The incident was tweeted by Zambrano as it happened.

Updated at 6:49 p.m. ET

Iran's president says increased uranium enrichment will begin in 60 days if world powers don't shield it from U.S. sanctions, under the terms of the 2015 nuclear agreement. The move is a signal to the world that Tehran is losing patience with U.S. efforts to punish Iran economically.

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