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Al Seib/Pool Los Angeles Times/TNS

Robert Durst, draped in blanket after hospital stay, hears witness describe alleged 'accident on the stairs' phone call

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Multimillionaire murder suspect Robert Durst listened to startling new testimony Monday while draped in a huge blanket covering his jail uniform and exposed catheter bag at his California murder trial.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mark Windham refused Durst’s request to delay the day’s proceeding, saying he trusted the jail doctors who ...Read more

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/TNS

House Judiciary Committee joins scrutiny of Justice Department probe

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WASHINGTON — The House Judiciary Committee is beginning its own investigation into the Trump-era Justice Department’s surveillance of members of Congress and journalists, while the Senate’s top Republican on Monday characterized the scrutiny as a “witch hunt in the making.”

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the Judiciary Committee chairman, said ...Read more

Megan Varner/Getty Images North America/TNS

Georgia election investigation looks into Fulton County ballot drop box forms

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ATLANTA — The Georgia secretary of state's office is investigating whether Fulton County kept track of all absentee ballots returned in drop boxes before November's election.

"New revelations that Fulton County is unable to produce all ballot drop box transfer documents will be investigated thoroughly, as we have with other counties that ...Read more

Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/TNS/Orlando Sentinel/TNS

Moderate Democrats demand 'stable' debt ahead of key budget vote

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Five House Democrats representing the more moderate end of the caucus threw some doubt on the future of President Joe Biden’s agenda Monday.

The five lawmakers — one more than Speaker Nancy Pelosi‘s margin on party-line floor votes — sent a letter to the speaker arguing to “stabilize” federal debt so that it remains roughly the same...Read more

Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times/TNS

'Sigh of relief': Biden team embraces new Israeli government after Netanyahu drama

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JERUSALEM — The Biden administration wasted no time in embracing the new government of Israel.

The politics of Israel’s new prime minister, Naftali Bennett, are no more agreeable to President Joe Biden than those of the unseated Benjamin Netanyahu — including the rejection of both a Palestinian state and any agreement with Iran.

But ...Read more

Ronald Cortes/Getty Images North America/TNS

Been vaccinated? California wants to give you a dream vacation

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LOS ANGELES — On the eve of California’s vast reopening, the state offered some big-ticket items to encourage more residents to get vaccinated for COVID-19.

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday announced six dream vacation packages as part of the state’s Vax for the Win incentive program in an effort to keep building momentum for vaccination ...Read more

Tom Williams/Pool/Getty Images North America/TNS

Senate confirms Ketanji Jackson as judge in DC Circuit

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WASHINGTON — The Senate voted Monday evening to confirm Ketanji Brown Jackson to the influential federal appeals court in Washington, with Democrats touting the professional and demographic diversity she brings to the bench.

The 53-44 vote was mostly along party lines to put Jackson on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, which ...Read more

Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images North America/TNS

McConnell: 'Highly unlikely' he'd allow Biden to fill Supreme Court vacancy in 2024

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WASHINGTON — Mitch McConnell said Monday it’s “highly unlikely” he’d allow President Joe Biden to fill a Supreme Court vacancy in 2024 if he were Senate majority leader, once again stirring liberals’ fears about the composition of the country’s highest court and the importance of next year’s midterm elections.

“I think in the ...Read more

Drew Angerer/Getty Images North America/TNS

Georgia US Rep. Greene apologizes for comparing coronavirus policies to Holocaust

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WASHINGTON — Facing criticism from members of her own party and the possibility of further discipline, U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene has apologized for her comments last month comparing coronavirus restrictions to the Holocaust.

Greene made her apology during a news conference Monday evening and after visiting the United States Holocaust ...Read more

News briefs

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DeSantis signs bill requiring ‘moment of silence’ in Florida schools

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida K-12 public schools must hold a moment of silence at the start of each day starting next school year, after Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law Monday requiring the practice.

The bill drew criticism from liberal groups that it amounts to...Read more

Cook County Sheriff's Office/Chicago Tribune/TNS

'Serial stowaway' with history of trying to sneak onto flights could wind up in mental health court

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CHICAGO — The woman known as the “serial stowaway” for her penchant for attempting to sneak onto flights could be transferred this summer to a specialized “problem-solving court” for defendants with mental health concerns.

Admission to Cook County’s mental health court would mean a court-monitored treatment plan for Marilyn Hartman,...Read more

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/AFP/TNS

In push to get shots into 70% of adults, VP Kamala Harris visits South Carolina vaccine sites

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GREENVILLE, S.C. — Vice President Kamala Harris came to Greenville on Monday to kick off a multistate tour as part the Biden administration's push to get 70% of adults in the U.S. with at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose by July 4.

As of Monday only 46.3% of South Carolina's residents have received at least one dose, and just 39.5% of South ...Read more

Jerry Jackson/Baltimore Sun/The Baltimore Sun/TNS

FDA details how COVID-19 vaccines became tainted at Baltimore facility

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BALTIMORE — Top officials at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration detail a series of mistakes and costly human errors that rendered millions of doses of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine unusable in a memo posted over the weekend.

The memo also elaborates on federal regulators’ decision to authorize use of two batches of the vaccine ...Read more

Joe Raedle/Getty Images North America/TNS

Number of 'ghost guns' seized by San Diego police on pace to double last year's take

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SAN DIEGO — San Diego police are on pace this year to nearly double the number of ghost guns — firearms that are assembled by hand and are usually untraceable — that they impounded last year, according to a new report on the proliferation of such weapons in the city.

Police have gone from finding and seizing an average of 17.6 ghost guns ...Read more

TNS

After Austin mass shooting, Democrats call for gun control and urge Abbott to veto permitless carry bill

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Austin's mass shooting early Saturday renewed pleas from Texas Democrats for gun control measures and Gov. Greg Abbott to veto a bill that would end the requirement to obtain a permit to carry handguns.

It's an all too familiar call from Democrats, but one that has yet to lead to tighter gun restrictions. After 23 people died and dozens more ...Read more

Al Seib/Los Angeles Times/Los Angeles Times

California offers $100 million to rescue its struggling legal marijuana industry

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The California Legislature on Monday approved a $100 million plan to bolster California’s legal marijuana industry, which continues to struggle to compete with the large illicit pot market nearly five years after voters approved sales for recreational use.

Los Angeles will be the biggest beneficiary of the money, which ...Read more

Stacey Wescott/TNS

Chemical fire draws National Guard, prompts evacuation in Illinois town

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A massive fire at a chemical plant in northern Illinois spurred the governor to deploy the National Guard to the area as local residents were evacuated. No injuries have been reported.

The industrial fire broke out early Monday morning at a lubricants plant operated by Chemtool, owned by a unit of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. The ...Read more

Alex Wong/Getty Images North America/TNS

White House starts video series on crumbling infrastructure in McConnell's home state

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The White House Monday launched a series of videos to highlight crumbling infrastructure in Eastern Kentucky as part of a media push to drum up support for President Joe Biden’s proposed infrastructure bill.

As moderate Democrats and Republicans have been at loggerheads in coming up with an agreement on how much money to allocate to fixing ...Read more

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images North America/TNS

3rd shot could help boost COVID-19 defense in transplant patients

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A vaccine booster shot could help beef up protection against COVID-19 for some organ transplant recipients, a group fearful their suppressed immune systems may leave them defenseless as pandemic restrictions end.

A third of organ recipients who had no antibodies after their second dose developed them after a third dose, according to a small ...Read more

OLIVIER HOSLET/AFP/AFP/TNS

Biden calls Republican Party 'diminished' after Trump presidency

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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said Monday he believed that the Republican Party had been “diminished” and “fractured” after the Trump presidency and that he was disappointed that Republicans fearful of political retaliation wouldn’t investigate the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot.

Biden, speaking after a NATO summit in Brussels, said he...Read more