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‘We failed the test’ of COVID-19, says human rights champion

By LORI HINNANT Associated Press PARIS (AP) — Agnès Callamard is best known for her investigation into the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and has made a career uncovering extrajudicial killings. The French human rights expert's focus on rights abuses is taking on new dimensions as she assumes leadership of Amnesty International and turns her attention to what she says is one of the world's most pressing issues — vaccine equity to end the coronavirus pandemic, which has eroded freedoms globally. Amnesty International released its annual report on Wednesday, arguing that governments have used the coronavirus pandemic as an...

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Arkansas lawmakers override governor veto, enact transgender youth treatment ban

By ANDREW DeMILLO Associated Press LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas lawmakers on Tuesday made the state the first to ban gender confirming treatments and surgery for transgender youth, enacting the prohibition over the governor's objections. The Republican-controlled House and Senate voted to override GOP Gov. Asa Hutchinson's veto of the measure, which prohibits doctors from providing gender confirming hormone...

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Senate gives Biden a big tool to work around GOP filibuster

By LISA MASCARO AP Congressional Correspondent WASHINGTON (AP) — With a powerful new tool, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has fresh options for potentially advancing President Joe Biden's infrastructure package and other priorities past Republican obstruction in the 50-50 split Senate. Republicans still pledge to do all they can to halt Biden, but an official parliamentarian's opinion this week is...

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EXPLAINER: Senate eyes budget rule to push past filibuster

By LISA MASCARO AP Congressional Correspondent WASHINGTON (AP) — With the Senate split 50-50, leaders of the Democratic majority are looking for ways to advance their priorities and President Joe Biden's agenda around the typical 60-vote threshold needed to overcome a filibuster by opponents. This week, the Senate parliamentarian ruled that one tool, budget reconciliation, could be used more often...

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Police official: Chauvin trained to avoid neck pressure

By AMY FORLITI, STEVE KARNOWSKI and TAMMY WEBBER Associated Press MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minneapolis police are taught to restrain combative suspects with a knee on their back or shoulders if necessary but are told to "stay away from the neck when possible," a department use-of-force instructor testified Tuesday at former Officer Derek Chauvin's murder trial. Lt. Johnny Mercil became the...

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Study: Drought-breaking rains more rare, erratic in US West

By MATTHEW BROWN Associated Press BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Rainstorms grew more erratic and droughts much longer across most of the U.S. West over the past half-century as climate change warmed the planet, according to a sweeping government study released Tuesday that concludes the situation is worsening. The most dramatic changes were recorded in the desert Southwest, where the average...

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Nearly half of new US virus infections are in just 5 states

By RUSS BYNUM and MICHELLE R. SMITH Associated Press Nearly half of new coronavirus infections nationwide are in just five states — a situation that is putting pressure on the federal government to consider changing how it distributes vaccines by sending more doses to hot spots. New York, Michigan, Florida, Pennsylvania and New Jersey together reported 44% of the nation's...

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Senate gives Biden a big tool to work around GOP filibuster

By LISA MASCARO AP Congressional Correspondent WASHINGTON (AP) — With a powerful new tool, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has fresh options for potentially advancing President Joe Biden's infrastructure package and other priorities past Republican obstruction in the 50-50 split Senate. Republicans still pledge to do all they can to halt Biden, but an official parliamentarian's opinion this week is...

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