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It’s a ban that even supporters acknowledge will be hard to enforce. Yet 2021 has been a breakthrough year for legislation in several states seeking to prohibit abortions based solely on a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome.

Governors in Arizona and South Dakota recently signed such bills into law, and similar measures are pending in North Carolina and Texas. Most significantly, a federal appellate court said Ohio could begin to implement a 2017 law that has been on hold.


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A bipartisan group of 20 U.S. senators introduced legislation on Wednesday to provide the cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service (USPS) with $46 billion in financial relief over 10 years.

The U.S. House of Representatives Oversight and Reform Committee voted unanimously to approve companion legislation last week.


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The Biden administration imposed sanctions Wednesday on Russian companies and ships for their work on a European natural gas pipeline adamantly opposed by the U.S., but President Joe Biden angered many Democratic and Republican lawmakers by opting not to punish the German company overseeing the project.

Waiving penalties regarding ally German in the Nord Stream 2 project was “in line with our commitment to strengthen our Transatlantic relationships as a matter of national security,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.


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By joining forces in a newly combined criminal probe of former U.S. President Donald Trump’s finances, the New York attorney general and the Manhattan district attorney have opened new avenues to sharing critical information that could speed indictments in the sprawling investigation.

Investigators for both Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. and New York Attorney General Letitia James have been focused on some of the same questions: whether Trump or his representatives committed fraud by improperly manipulating the values on some of the Trump Organization’s signature properties, pushing them up to secure loans from banks, and writing them down to reduce his property taxes.


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The House voted Wednesday to create an independent commission on the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, sending the legislation to an uncertain future in the Senate as Republican leaders work to stop a bipartisan investigation that is opposed by former President Donald Trump.

Democrats say an independent investigation is crucial to reckoning what happened that day, when a violent mob of Trump’s supporters smashed into the Capitol to try and overturn President Joe Biden’s victory. Modeled after the investigation into the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the legislation would establish an independent, 10-member commission that would make recommendations by the end of the year for securing the Capitol and preventing another insurrection.


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A rocket launched from Gaza killed two Thai workers in southern Israel on Tuesday, police said, hours after Israeli airstrikes toppled a six-story building in the Palestinian territory that housed bookstores and educational centers. With the war showing no sign of abating, Palestinians in the region staged a general strike in a rare collective action against Israel’s policies.

Violence erupted at protests in the occupied West Bank, including in the city of Ramallah. Hundreds of Palestinians burned tires and hurled stones at an Israeli military checkpoint. Troops fired tear gas canisters at the crowd, and protesters picked up some of them and threw them back.


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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Tuesday for a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Olympics, citing human rights abuses by China’s government.

“We cannot proceed as if nothing is wrong about the Olympics going to China,” the California Democrat said during a joint video hearing of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission and the Congressional-Executive Commission on China.


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A North Carolina prosecutor will not bring criminal charges against sheriff's deputies for the fatal shooting of Andrew Brown, a Black man, outside his home last month, saying on Tuesday that the killing was justified because Brown endangered their lives by driving toward them.

Pasquotank County District Attorney Andrew Womble said he had concluded his investigation and found no wrongdoing by the deputies, despite calls for prosecution by lawyers for Brown's family, who described his death as an execution.


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House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy said Tuesday that he won’t support a proposal to form an independent, bipartisan commission to study the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, almost certainly eroding GOP support ahead of a vote and positioning his party as opposed to investigations of the attack.

McCarthy said he wanted the new panel to look beyond the violent uprising by supporters loyal to Donald Trump, who were trying to stop the certification of President Joe Biden’s election. McCarthy and other Republicans — including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — have pushed to have the new commission also investigate other violent acts, including protests last summer in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd.


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Top diplomats from the United States and Russia are set to square off this week in Iceland for their first face-to-face encounter that comes as ties between the nations have deteriorated sharply in recent months.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russia’s longtime Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov plan to talk Wednesday on the sidelines of an Arctic Council meeting in the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik, a city with deep history in U.S.-Russian relations.