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North Korea blames COVID-19 outbreak on 'alien things' from South

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North Korea blamed its COVID-19 outbreak on “alien things” likely sent by balloon across its border with South Korea, saying a teenage soldier and a five-year-old girl in April were the first people in the country infected by coronavirus.

Kim Jong Un’s regime called on its officials “to vigilantly deal with alien things coming by wind ...Read more

Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune/Antonio Perez

The end of 'Remain in Mexico' immigration policy uplifts hope for immigration advocates but changes little for asylum seekers at the border, say Chicago-area advocates

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Over the past three years, Julie Contreras, an immigration and humanitarian activist from the Waukegan area, has visited the makeshift tent encampments filled with asylum-seekers on the southwestern border that were erected after the Trump administration enacted the “Remain in Mexico” program in 2019.

Contreras said she has witnessed the ...Read more

Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune/TNS

The end of 'Remain in Mexico' immigration policy uplifts hope for immigration advocates but changes little for asylum seekers at the border, say Chicago-area advocates

Current News / News & Features /

Over the past three years, Julie Contreras, an immigration and humanitarian activist from the Waukegan area, has visited the makeshift tent encampments filled with asylum-seekers on the southwestern border that were erected after the Trump administration enacted the “Remain in Mexico” program in 2019.

Contreras said she has witnessed the ...Read more

Michael Laughlin/South Florida Sun Sentinel/TNS

Florida advocates of legal abortion cheer rare victory. Foes say they'll win in the end

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MIAMI — Florida advocates for legal abortion won a respite Thursday from the parade of bad news for their cause after a judge in Leon County said he would block implementation of a 15-week abortion ban just a day before the law was scheduled to go into effect.

But supporters of the law believe they will win in the end.

It was the latest ...Read more

Lenin Nolly/NurPhoto via ZUMA Press/TNS

At north Minneapolis town hall, U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar praises new gun safety law, decries Roe's demise

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MINNEAPOLIS — U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar and others expressed gratitude for new federal gun legislation at a forum in north Minneapolis on Thursday night, but the message included a reminder that there is much more to be done.

"This particular town hall is different," Omar said, explaining that the monthly gatherings rarely focus on a one or two ...Read more

Gene Blevins/ZUMA Wire/TNS

Musk's SpaceX can serve planes, cars with broadband, FCC says

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Elon Musk’s SpaceX won permission from U.S. regulators to offers its Starlink broadband-from-space service to users in vehicles, vessels and aircraft.

The Federal Communications Commission announced the decision in an order published Thursday, which said it also granted permission for the service to mobile customers of Kepler Communications ...Read more

Ukraine considering debt-restructuring options as payments loom

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Ukrainian officials are exploring the possibility of debt restructuring as the war-ravaged country’s funding options are at risk of running out, according to three people familiar with the discussions.

Multiple scenarios are being considered and no decision is expected until later in the summer, according to two of the people, all of whom ...Read more

FREDERIC J. BROWN/Getty Images North America/TNS

'We're really worried.' Coronavirus cases jump at LA County workplaces, sparking new safety push

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An upswing in coronavirus infections has spawned a rise in worksite case clusters in Los Angeles County, prompting health officials to recommend additional measures aimed at tamping down transmission, including reducing crowding and, if there’s a suspected outbreak, expanding remote work.

“With the continued increase in cases, and now as ...Read more

News briefs

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Josh Hawley became a symbol of the Jan. 6 insurrection. He hasn’t come up in the hearings

WASHINGTON — The Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol has presented a lot of evidence about the effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

They’ve presented evidence that extremist groups ...Read more

Al Seib/Los Angeles Times/TNS

Newsom signs state budget bills, with gas refunds to 17.5 million California taxpayers

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday signed into law key elements of a new $307.9-billion state budget, a spending plan centered on gas refunds for 17.5 million taxpayers to soften the sting of high fuel prices and the cost of living.

The refunds, varying from as little as $200 for individuals up to $1,050 for couples...Read more

Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times/TNS

How California will fight Supreme Court's limits on EPA climate enforcement

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LOS ANGELES — Many public officials and environmental advocates in California were dismayed by Thursday’s Supreme Court decision to limit federal authority on greenhouse gases from power plants, citing a collective blow to the monumental challenge of tackling global warming.

But experts say it’s not likely to unravel California’s ...Read more

Brandon Bell/Getty Images North America/TNS

Trump derides Jan. 6 committee witness Cassidy Hutchinson as 'this girl' in new rant

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Former President Donald Trump belittled Cassidy Hutchinson, who testified before the Jan. 6 committee on Tuesday, as “this girl” in an angry new attack on the House panel investigating the attack on the Capitol.

Displaying deep frustration with Hutchinson’s revelations, Trump called the 26-year-old ex-White House staffer a no-name junior ...Read more

Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images North America/TNS

NYPD Special Victims unit faces Justice Department probe into allegations cops 're-traumatizing' sex assault victims

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The Justice Department on Thursday said it will investigate the NYPD’s scandal-plagued Special Victims Division due to rampant allegations that detectives are “retraumatizing” sex assault victims.

Federal prosecutors will examine the Special Victims Division’s policies and training in the probe of alleged “gender-biased policing.” ...Read more

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images North America/TNS

California won't pay for travel to four states over laws prohibiting transgender girls in sports

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California is banning state-funded travel to four states that passed laws this year prohibiting transgender women and girls from competing in school sports according to their gender identities.

State agencies will no longer pay for travel to Arizona, Indiana, Louisiana or Utah, according to a Thursday announcement by California Attorney General...Read more

Emil Lippe/Getty Images North America/TNS

Man who sold pistol used in Colleyville synagogue hostage crisis pleads guilty to crime

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The Dallas man who sold Malik Faisal Akram the gun he used to kidnap hostages in a Colleyville synagogue pleaded guilty Thursday to a federal gun crime, according to a federal official in Dallas.

Henry “Michael” Dwight Williams, 32, who was charged via criminal complaint in January, pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm...Read more

Kent County Jail/Kent County Jail/TNS

Judge orders new trial for two accused Whitmer kidnapping plotters

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A federal judge on Thursday ordered two men accused of plotting to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to stand for a retrial, nearly three months after jurors failed to reach a unanimous verdict on their guilt.

Prosecutors pushed to hold new trials for Grand Rapids resident Adam Fox, 39, and Delaware trucker Barry Croft, 46, ...Read more

Anti-slavery measure sits in California Senate, disappointing prison reform advocates

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A measure that would change the California constitution to prohibit involuntary servitude in criminal punishment did not pass the Senate in time to make a deadline for the November ballot, disappointing prison reform advocates who called it critical in addressing the state’s history of enslavement.

The amendment, which requires voter approval...Read more

Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune/TNS

NYC to issue paxlovid to those testing positive for COVID in first program of its kind

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Coronavirus testing sites in New York City will begin issuing the antiviral COVID-19 drug paxlovid to people who test positive for the virus as part of the city’s new “Test to Treat” initiative — the first of its kind in the United States.

Mayor Adams announced the new plan Thursday alongside White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Dr...Read more

GREG NASH/Getty Images North America/TNS

Leahy's surgery could complicate Democratic agenda

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Senate Democrats suddenly found themselves Thursday potentially without a critical vote they will need in their uphill effort to pass a major tax and spending reconciliation package before the August recess.

Appropriations Chairman Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., broke his hip after taking a fall in his McLean, Virginia, home Wednesday night and was ...Read more

Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images North America/TNS

Protesters arrested at Supreme Court abortion rights rally

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Several dozen people were arrested Thursday afternoon, including Democratic lawmakers, near the Supreme Court in Washington during a protest in support of abortion rights.

Hundreds of people streamed to the court earlier in the day and shut down traffic briefly in reaction to Roe v. Wade being overturned last week. Organizers, including Planned...Read more