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National News

Vice presidents’ policy projects come with political risks

WASHINGTON (AP) — Mike Pence led the coronavirus task force only to be constantly overruled by the White House. Al Gore's efforts to "reinvent government" were largely forgotten during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Dan Quayle's revamping of space policy never got much notice to begin ...

Tornadoes pummel Alabama, killing at least 5

Deadly tornadoes roared through Alabama on Thursday, toppling trees, demolishing homes and knocking out power to thousands, part of a broad swath of violent weather sweeping across the Deep South. At least five fatalities and an unknown number of injuries were reported. All of the deaths ...

Texas death toll from February storm, outages surpasses 100

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas officials on Thursday raised the death toll from February's winter storm and blackouts to at least 111 people — nearly doubling the state's initial tally following one of the worst power outages in U.S. history. The frigid weather also was blamed for dozens of ...

Georgia Gov. Kemp signs GOP election bill amid an outcry

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp drew protests Thursday as he signed into law a sweeping Republican-sponsored overhaul of state elections that includes new restrictions on voting by mail and greater legislative control over how elections are run. Democrats and voting rights groups say ...

Arkansas governor signs transgender sports ban into law

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Thursday signed a law banning transgender women and girls from competing in school sports teams consistent with their gender identity, making the state the second to approve such a restriction so far this year. The Republican governor ...

Los Angeles park closed after protest to save homeless camp

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A newly installed fence surrounded a Los Angeles park Thursday after a late-night confrontation between police and vocal demonstrators who oppose the city's effort to remove a large homeless encampment and perform what officials say are necessary repairs to the ...

Congress questions Texas officials about power grid failure

DALLAS (AP) — Congress is looking into last month's massive and deadly power outages across Texas and questioning officials who oversee the state's energy industry and electric grid. A House Energy subcommittee hearing Wednesday provided little new insight into the crisis, however, and often ...

Wyoming election changes pushed by Donald Trump Jr. fail

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming lawmakers rejected a measure that would have required candidates to win a majority of votes in primary elections to avoid runoffs — a change endorsed by Donald Trump Jr. in his campaign to undermine Republican U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney. The state Senate defeated ...

Impeachment probe to examine COVID tests for Cuomo relatives

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — The impeachment investigation into New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expanding to examine whether the governor unlawfully used his office to provide his family members with special access to scarce coronavirus tests a year ago, a state lawmaker said Thursday. The office of ...

Weaned on Hollywood endings, Americans now face a messy one

There will come a day — maybe even a day in the next few months — when Americans wake up, emerge from their homes, cast away their masks and resume their lives. On that day, the Great Coronavirus Pandemic of 2020-21 will be over. Ridiculous, right? A consummation devoutly to be wished, but ...

US jobless claims fall to 684,000, fewest since pandemic

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of people seeking unemployment benefits fell sharply last week to 684,000, the fewest since the pandemic erupted a year ago and a sign that the economy is improving. Thursday's report from the Labor Department showed that jobless claims fell from 781,000 the week ...

‘The world got dimmer’: Shooting victims’ lives remembered

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — One victim of the Colorado supermarket shooting was leaving after fixing a coffee machine. Another worked at the store but was only there because he stopped in to shop during his time off. A third was a police officer who was first to answer the 911 calls. Some died ...

Biden leaves door open for Senate changes to advance agenda

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden at his first news conference Thursday left the door open to backing fundamental changes in Senate procedure to muscle key parts of his agenda like immigration and voting rights past Republican opposition "if there's complete lockdown and chaos." Even as ...

Democrats vow vote on gun bills; Biden says ‘we have to act’

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats said they are pushing toward a vote on expanded gun control measures as the nation reels from its second mass shooting in a week. President Joe Biden said "we have to act," but prospects for any major changes were dim, for now, in the closely divided ...

Brighter outlook for US as vaccinations rise and deaths fall

More than three months into the U.S. vaccination drive, many of the numbers paint an increasingly encouraging picture, with 70% of Americans 65 and older receiving at least one dose of the vaccine and COVID-19 deaths dipping below 1,000 a day on average for the first time since November. Also, ...

A first: US Senate confirms transgender doctor for key post

Voting mostly along party lines, the U.S. Senate on Wednesday confirmed former Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine to be the nation's assistant secretary of health. She is the first openly transgender federal official to win Senate confirmation. The final vote was 52-48. Republican ...

Biden taps VP Harris to lead response to border challenges

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden has tapped Vice President Kamala Harris to lead the White House effort to tackle the migration challenge at the U.S. southern border and work with Central American nations to address root causes of the problem. Biden made the announcement as he and ...

Mass shooters exploited gun laws, loopholes before carnage

The suspect in the shooting at a Boulder, Colorado, supermarket was convicted of assaulting a high school classmate but still got a gun. The man accused of opening fire on three massage businesses in the Atlanta area bought his gun just hours before the attack — no waiting required. They are ...

Amid growing challenges, Biden to hold first news conference

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden held off on holding his first news conference so he could use it to celebrate passage of a defining legislative achievement, his giant COVID-19 relief package. But he's sure to be pressed at Thursday's question-and-answer session about all sorts of other ...

Feds: Oath Keeper coordinated with Proud Boys before riot

A reputed leader in the Oath Keepers militia group discussed forming an "alliance" and coordinating plans with another extremist group, the Proud Boys, ahead of the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, according to new court papers. The court filing — detailing messages from Kelly Meggs, ...