National Politics

Top US diplomat 'visits' Mexico, Canada on virtual trip

WASHINGTON (AP) — Diplomats sat beside stacks of briefing papers, flanked by flags and emphasized their closeness. But they were geographically far apart Friday as Secretary of State Antony Blinken, because of the pandemic, started a new chapter in North American relations with virtual visits to Mexico and Canada in what was billed as his first official trip.

Nevada governor proposes giving tech firms power to govern

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Nevada's governor on Friday unveiled a proposal that would allow technology companies to establish jurisdictions with powers similar to those of county governments, arguing the state needed to be bold to diversify its economy and pushing back against those who have likened the idea to company towns.

US implicates Saudi crown prince in Khashoggi's killing

WASHINGTON (AP) — Saudi Arabia's crown prince likely approved the killing of U.S.-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, according to a newly declassified U.S. intelligence report released Friday that instantly ratcheted up pressure on the Biden administration to hold the kingdom accountable for a murder that drew worldwide outrage.

Andrew Yang helps photographer facing attack on ferry

NEW YORK (AP) — A photographer who was shoved by a man who then came at him with a metal pole during a trip on the Staten Island ferry on Friday was able to get out of harm's way when New York City mayoral candidate Andrew Yang intervened.

Biden: Strikes in Syria sent warning to Iran to 'be careful'

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden said Friday that Iran should view his decision to authorize U.S. airstrikes in Syria as a warning that it can expect consequences for its support of militia groups that threaten U.S. interests or personnel.

New Orleans move to vacate 22 non-unanimous jury convictions

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Prosecutors in New Orleans moved Friday to have convictions overturned for 22 people found guilty of felonies by non-unanimous juries, and to review hundreds of other such convictions obtained under a law with roots in the Jim Crow era.

Oath Keeper charged in Capitol riot renounces militia group

A member of the Oath Keepers militia group charged with plotting with other extremists in the attack on the U.S. Capitol disavowed the anti-government group in a court hearing Friday, telling the judge she is “appalled” by her fellow Oath Keepers and “humiliated” by her arrest.

'Now democracy starts,' Walz says as deficit becomes surplus

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota's budget outlook has swung from a near $1.3 billion deficit to an almost $1.6 billion surplus, state economists announced Friday, an improvement that could ease the big debates for the rest of the legislative session over taxes and spending.

California to spend $28M to help arriving asylum-seekers

SAN DIEGO (AP) — California is freeing up as much as $28 million to help immigrants arriving from Mexico and being released in the U.S. until their court dates, a sharp contrast from other border states that have emerged as foes of President Joe Biden's immigration policies.

Cooper vetoes bill that would force K-12 schools to reopen

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper on Friday rejected a bill that would compel the state's 115 K-12 public school districts to reopen with at least partial in-person instruction, while also allowing parents the option of keeping their kids learning remotely.

Democrats hold 2-hour Georgia Capitol sit-in on voting bills

ATLANTA (AP) — A group of Georgia Democrats held a two-hour sit-in Friday on a stairway at the state Capitol after one Democratic lawmaker said it was improper that a police officer had physically moved her away while Democrats were protesting bills that would restrict voting and elections.

Senate OKs bill giving relief to some jobless aid recipients

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The Kentucky Senate advanced a bill Friday that would allow the state to waive the overpayment of some unemployment claims, but bickered over the long delays many people have endured in seeking jobless assistance amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Could pandemic further erode the New England town meeting?

MIDDLESEX, Vt. (AP) — The town meeting, for centuries, was a staple of New England life — but the coronavirus pandemic could accelerate the departure from the tradition where people gather to debate everything from the purchase of local road equipment to multimillion-dollar budgets to pressing social issues.

Democratic-led House makes conservation push with lands bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House passed legislation Friday that would create about 1.5 million acres of new wilderness and incorporate nearly 1,200 miles of waterways into the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System as Democrats move to protect more public lands — with President Joe Biden's blessing.