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Washington state's GOP secretary of state resigns to join Biden administration

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OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman on Tuesday announced her resignation to take a key election-security position in President Joe Biden’s administration.

For the federal government, Tuesday’s announcement marks the recruitment of an administrator with depth of experience with mail voting and a rare Republican who has...Read more

Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images North America/TNS

Democrats clash on billionaire tax as Neal rejects Senate plan

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WASHINGTON — The head of the House tax-writing committee said a proposal to put a levy on the assets of billionaires has been dropped in negotiations over revenue measures to pay for President Joe Biden’s social spending bill.

The House is discussing with the Senate instead inclusion of a 3% surtax, on top of the top income rate, for those ...Read more

Ryan Garza/Detroit Free Press/TNS

Michigan's COVID-19 delta variant surge might be on its way out, experts say

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DETROIT — Michigan's fourth coronavirus surge, driven by the highly contagious delta variant, may be starting to retreat after more than three months of a steady rise in cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

The seven-day average of new daily cases fell to 3,210 on Monday — about 500 new daily cases fewer than at the Oct. 13 peak, when the ...Read more

Sean Rayford/TNS/TNS

Judge in Arbery death case denies motion limiting protests outside courthouse

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ATLANTA — As jury selection continues in the trial over Ahmaud Arbery’s death, lawyers for the three defendants expressed concern over whether demonstrations near the courthouse could intimidate potential jurors. The trial judge says prohibiting such demonstrations would violate the First Amendment.

On Tuesday, Judge Timothy Walmsley denied...Read more

Ethics panel recommends maximum $20,000 fine for sham candidate in Florida Senate race

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MIAMI — A state ethics panel has recommended that a no-party candidate be fined $20,000 and formally reprimanded by Gov. Ron DeSantis for violating campaign finance laws, which included accepting money from a Miami Republican operative prior to qualifying to run in a 2020 state Senate race.

Alexis Pedro Rodriguez last week reached a ...Read more

Bernhard Richter/Dreamstime/TNS

Former top woman in NYPD suffered 'offensive,' 'inappropriate' episodes, judge says

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NEW YORK — A trio of humiliating incidents that the former top woman in the NYPD faced after getting demoted were “offensive” and “inappropriate,” a judge wrote Tuesday.

After getting moved from being the first woman to serve as the NYPD’s chief of crime control strategies to chief of collaborative policing, a less desirable job, ...Read more

Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times/TNS

California plans ambitious effort to vaccinate young children

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LOS ANGELES — California health officials said Wednesday that they are prepared to pull out all the stops to vaccinate children ages 5 to 11 against COVID-19 as the country draws closer to authorizing eligibility for that age group.

While there are still a number of federal and state hoops to jump through, officials said they are preparing to...Read more

Cook County Sheriff's Office/TNS/TNS

Man who lived at O'Hare for 3 months without detection cleared of trespassing charges

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CHICAGO — A man who was discovered after living at O’Hare International Airport for three months without detection was cleared of a related criminal charge this week in a case that raised security questions at one of the world’s busiest airports.

A Cook County judge found Aditya Singh, 37, not guilty on Tuesday of felony criminal trespass...Read more

Dreamstime/Dreamstime/TNS

'Cult' leaders in Kansas engaged in child labor, beatings and other abuse, indictment says

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Eight people connected to a religious organization based in Kansas City, Kansas, are accused in federal court of forcing children to perform labor without pay and doling out physical abuse that spanned years.

The organization, formerly known as the United Nation of Islam, has been labeled a cult by a U.S. judge in the ...Read more

Detroit Free Press/TNS

Feds raid home in widening Detroit corruption investigation involving city officials

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DETROIT — FBI agents raided a Rochester Hills home Wednesday morning as part of a broadening corruption investigation centered on public officials in Detroit, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Agents were seen swarming the home about 9 a.m. and a man was handcuffed outside. An FBI spokeswoman confirmed a search warrant was ...Read more

Attorney General Merrick Garland defends probe into threats against school board members about COVID policies

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The nation’s top law enforcement official defended a memo on Wednesday responding to threats aimed at local school officials, pushing back at criticism from Republicans who suggested it was an overreach targeting conservative activists.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland portrayed the memo as a commonsense response to increasing acrimony ...Read more

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images North America/TNS

Fire season still a threat to Southern California despite rains

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LOS ANGELES — Record rainfall this week could mean the end of fire season for much of Northern California, experts said, but conditions in the Southland remain more tenuous, and the coming weeks could still bring fire danger.

Southern California saw much less rain than the Bay Area and Sierras, and this region's prime fire months often come ...Read more

Dreamstime/Dreamstime/TNS

Central Florida elementary student prank calls school shooting for 2nd time

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ORLANDO, Fla. — A Central Florida elementary school student prank called a school shooting for the second time this school year.

The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office said their deputies responded to a call about a possible active shooter a Rymfire Elementary School on Tuesday, according to the Flagler County Sheriff Office’s press release....Read more

Sam Wasson/Getty Images North America/TNS

Sheriff: Lead bullet fatally struck 'Rust' cinematographer; 500 rounds of ammo recovered on set

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SANTA FE, N.M. — Authorities have determined that the projectile that fatally wounded cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was a lead bullet, one of roughly 500 rounds of ammunition recovered from the set of the film “Rust,” Santa Fe County authorities announced Wednesday.

During a news conference, Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza said the...Read more

Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images North America/TNS

Hurricane-force gusts batter New England, knocking out power

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The nor’easter that soaked New York battered New England with hurricane-force gusts Wednesday, upending trees and leaving more than half a million homes and businesses without power. Wind gusts of 87 miles per hour ripped through Scituate, Massachusetts, near Boston. They reached 94 mph on Martha’s Vineyard, according to the National Weather...Read more

Sam Wasson/Getty Images North America/TNS

Sheriff: Lead bullet fatally struck 'Rust' cinematographer; 500 rounds of ammo recovered on set

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SANTA FE, N.M. — Authorities have determined that the projectile that fatally wounded cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was a lead bullet, one of roughly 500 rounds of ammunition recovered from the set of the film “Rust,” Santa Fe County authorities announced Wednesday.

During a Wednesday morning news conference, Santa Fe County Sheriff ...Read more

Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS

During busy week, Biden makes time for summit of Southeast Asian nations

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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is preparing for two international conferences in Europe this week, campaigning for Democrats and trying to reach an agenda-fulfilling deal on expanding safety net programs.

But he cleared a chunk of his schedule on Tuesday and Wednesday to participate in a virtual summit of Southeast Asian nations, a sign ...Read more

Heidi de Marco/Kaiser Health News/TNS

Direct primary care, with a touch of Robin Hood

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MODESTO, Calif. — Britta Foster and Minerva Tiznado are in different leagues as far as health care is concerned.

Foster, who married into the family that owns the $2.5 billion Foster Farms chicken company, has Blue Shield coverage as well as a high-octane primary care plan that gives her 24/7 digital access to her doctor for a $5,900 annual ...Read more

Sara Reardon/Kaiser Health News/TNS

Montana tribes want to stop jailing people for suicide attempts but lack a safer alternative

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POPLAR, Mont. — When Maria Vega was a senior in high school in 2015, she found the body of one of her closest friends, who had died by suicide. A few days later, devastated by the loss, Vega tried to take her own life.

After the attempt failed, she was arrested and taken to juvenile detention in Poplar, a remote town on the Missouri River a ...Read more

John Altdorfer/Zuma Press/TNS

President Biden honors Tree of Life victims, calls on those left behind to 'turn pain into purpose'

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PITTSBURGH — Marking the three-year anniversary of the mass shooting at Tree of Life synagogue on Oct. 27, 2018, that killed 11 worshippers and is believed to be the deadliest attack against Jews in American history, President Joe Biden said the day and its aftermath "remind all of us to embrace the better angels of our nature," to "turn pain ...Read more