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Jack Kurtz/ZUMA Wire/TNS

Front-line, farm-state Democrats push back against Biden tax plan

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WASHINGTON — A group of 13 House Democrats, led by Iowa’s Cindy Axne and California’s Jim Costa, is pressing party leaders to exempt family farms from a tax increase President Joe Biden has proposed on inherited assets to help pay for new child care, education and other spending.

Under Biden’s $1.8 trillion package of family-related ...Read more

Al Seib/Los Angeles Times/TNS

The vulnerable homebound are left behind on vaccination

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It was April, more than three months into the vaccination campaign against COVID-19, and Jim Freeman, 83, still had not gotten his first dose.

Freeman had been eligible for months as part of the 75-and-older target group deemed most vulnerable to death and serious illness in the pandemic. But he could not leave his home to make the journey to ...Read more

Christian Gooden/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/TNS

Drones? Lasers? New study suggests ways park service could clean Gateway Arch

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ST. LOUIS — The Gateway Arch gradually is losing some of its silver sheen, as a variety of forces — from salt to body oils to graffiti — take a toll on the stainless steel monument to westward expansion and a symbol of St. Louis.

Now, a group of national nonprofit organizations and preservationists are suggesting ways the National Park ...Read more


North Carolina GOP wants to strengthen school discipline but some say change may harm Black students

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RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina Republican lawmakers want to toughen how school discipline is handled, but Democrats warn that a change could lead to more minority students being suspended and dropping out.

The North Carolina House approved legislation Thursday that removes language from state law listing violations not serious enough for a ...Read more

Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News/TNS

Texas House gives initial OK to penalize cities that cut police spending

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AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas House gave initial approval Thursday to a bill that would penalize cities that cut police spending, inspired by the Austin City Council's move last year to trim the Police Department budget.

It was the first of a raft of GOP bills addressing such funding cuts to get a House vote. Gov. Greg Abbott made punishing ...Read more


Judge dismisses lawsuit by wrestling official in controversial South Jersey dreadlocks case

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A judge has dismissed a lawsuit by a suspended high school referee who gave a South Jersey wrestler only seconds to choose between having his dreadlocks cut or forfeiting his match in 2018.

In a decision Tuesday, Superior Court Judge John Porto rejected defamation and other claims by veteran officiant Alan Maloney that the Buena Regional High ...Read more


SC poised to join 45 other states that allow gun owners to carry openly in public

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May 7—COLUMBIA, S.C. — Gun owners permitted to carry concealed weapons in the state of South Carolina are soon likely to join residents in 45 other states who can carry their hand guns openly in public — a proposal that has frustrated gun-control advocates, doctors and top law enforcement leaders but was a resounding win for many ...Read more

Viorel Margineanu/Dreamstime/TNS

Sixth-grader in custody after school shooting injures three in East Idaho

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BOISE, Idaho — A sixth-grade girl was taken into custody Thursday morning after three people were injured in a shooting at an East Idaho middle school.

Two students and one adult sustained non-life-threatening injuries in the shooting at Rigby Middle School, Jefferson County Sheriff Steve Anderson said at a news conference Thursday afternoon....Read more

Alec Tabak/New York Daily News/TNS

Michael Avenatti not 'as high profile as he once was,' NYC federal judge writes

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NEW YORK — Michael Avenatti is not “quite as high profile as he once was,” a Manhattan federal judge wrote Thursday, denying the disgraced lawyer’s bid to restrict press access to jury selection at his upcoming trial.

Judge Jesse Furman wrote that there was no evidence that media coverage of jury selection during Avenatti’s earlier ...Read more

Nelvin C. Cepeda/The San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS

Graduation day for first women to attend Marine boot camp in San Diego

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SAN DIEGO — There was excitement in the air as family and friends of new Marines made their way to the grandstands on the parade deck of Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego on Thursday morning. At the end of the parade grounds, 397 freshly minted Marines stood at parade rest in formation. Passing family members stole glances trying to find ...Read more

Election watchdog closes Trump case on 2016 payment to porn star

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WASHINGTON — The Federal Election Commission deadlocked on continuing the inquiry into the payoff of an adult film star who claimed to have had a sexual relationship with Donald Trump, meaning that the former president and his campaign won’t face any penalties in the case.

Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty in ...Read more

Jim West/ZUMA Wire/TNS

'We Build the Wall' co-founder Kolfage indicted in new tax case

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Brian Kolfage, whose work with Stephen Bannon to raise money for a U.S.-Mexico border wall resulted in a federal fraud indictment last year, faces a new tax case.

Kolfage, a disabled Air Force veteran, was indicted this week for filing a false tax return and fraud by a federal grand jury in Pensacola, Florida, according to court records. In ...Read more

Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times/TNS

California DMV to eliminate 25 language options from drivers license tests, memo says

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The California DMV is preparing to stop offering written drivers license tests in 25 languages, reducing the available test languages to seven, according to a directive issued last week.

After the change, the test would be offered only in English, Spanish, Armenian, Chinese, Hindi, Punjabi and Vietnamese, according to the...Read more

News briefs

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Biden administration looks to triple amount of protected land in the US

Faced with the possible extinction of tens of thousands of species and the growing threat of climate change, the Biden administration on Thursday announced plans to protect 30% of the nation’s land and ocean territory by the end of the decade.

The administration’s ...Read more

Tammy Ljungblad/The Kansas City Star/TNS

Young veterans in Missouri die by suicide at exceptionally high rate. Experts blame guns

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Kindall Johnson woke up early that October Saturday to get to his fraternity’s Homecoming Day tailgate.

On the way out the door of his parents’ house, he shouted a goodbye to his mother, Kathy Davis: “Love ya, Ma!”

Davis watched her 22-year-old son, the youngest of her three boys, jog out to his car and leave, like...Read more

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images North America/TNS

COVID-19 US death toll as high as 905,000, worldwide is double official estimates, study claims

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The worldwide COVID-19 death toll is more than double the official count of 3.24 million, a controversial new study estimates, and the U.S. is no exception.

More than 905,000 people have died of COVID-19 in the U.S., 57% more than the official tally, researchers at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington ...Read more

San Diego Fire-Rescue/ZUMA Wire/TNS

Accused boat captain in court on human smuggling, assault charges

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SAN DIEGO — The man accused of piloting the boat that crashed into the rocks near Point Loma, killing three in a human smuggling attempt, made his first appearance in San Diego federal court Thursday.

Antonio Hurtado is charged with attempting to bring undocumented immigrants into the U.S. at a place other than a port of entry and assault of ...Read more

Alex Wong/Getty Images North America/TNS

Harris to meet virtually with Mexico's president about migrant issues

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WASHINGTON — Vice President Kamala Harris plans to meet virtually Friday with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, her second conversation with the leader and a prelude to her first trip next month to a region for which she has taken a special diplomatic role.

Their meeting will be Harris’ second in two weeks with the head of a ...Read more

Matias J. Ocner/TNS

Former Cuban political prisoner ordered to pay $100,000 bond to avoid eviction

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MIAMI — A judge has ordered Ana Lazara Rodriguez, the former Cuban political prisoner at risk of being evicted from her home in Miami, to post $100,000 in bond money in order to delay her eviction so she can present evidence of bank fraud upon the court.

Judge Peter R. Lopez ruled in Miami-Dade Circuit Court on May 5 that Rodriguez, 82, must ...Read more


Chief judge of Maryland District Courts bans staff from wearing 'thin blue line' face masks and other items

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The chief judge of Maryland District Courts has banned all court employees, bailiffs, commissioners, constables, clerks, staff and judges from wearing face masks with the law enforcement symbol of the “thin blue line.”

Chief Judge John P. Morrissey sent an email Wednesday ordering staff to cease wearing the masks across the 34 District ...Read more