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Myanmar crackdown on protests, widely filmed, sparks outrage

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Footage of a brutal crackdown on protests against a coup in Myanmar unleashed outrage and calls for a stronger international response Thursday, a day after 38 people were killed. Videos showed security forces shooting a person at point-blank range and chasing down and savagely beating demonstrators. Despite the shocking violence the day before, protesters returned to the streets Thursday to denounce the military’s Feb. 1 takeover — and were met again with tear gas. The international response to the coup has so far been fitful, but a flood of videos shared online showing security forces brutally targeting protesters and other civilians led to calls for more action.

House passes sweeping voting rights bill over GOP opposition

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Democrats passed sweeping voting and ethics legislation over unanimous Republican opposition, advancing to the Senate what would be the largest overhaul of the U.S. election law in at least a generation. House Resolution 1, which touches on virtually every aspect of the electoral process, was approved Wednesday night on a near party-line 220-210 vote. It would restrict partisan gerrymandering of congressional districts, strike down hurdles to voting and bring transparency to a murky campaign finance system that allows wealthy donors to anonymously bankroll political causes. The bill is a powerful counterweight to voting rights restrictions advancing in Republican-controlled statehouses across the country in the wake of Donald Trump’s repeated false claims of a stolen 2020 election.

Eager to act, Biden and Democrats leave Republicans behind

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress are jamming their agenda forward with a sense of urgency, an unapologetically partisan approach based on the calculation that it’s better to advance the giant COVID-19 rescue package and other priorities than waste time courting Republicans who may never compromise. The pandemic is driving the crush of legislative action, but so are the still-raw emotions from the U.S. Capitol siege as well as the hard lessons of the last time Democrats had the sweep of party control of Washington. Republicans are mounting blockades of Biden’s agenda just as they did during the devastating 2009 financial crisis with Barack Obama.

Police request 60-day extension of Guard at US Capitol

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Capitol Police have requested that members of the National Guard continue to provide security at the U.S. Capitol for another two months, The Associated Press has learned. Defense officials say the new proposal is being reviewed by the Pentagon. The request underscores the continuing concerns about security and the potential for violence at the Capitol, two months after rioters breached the building in violence that left five people dead. And it comes as law enforcement was on high alert Thursday around the U.S. Capitol after intelligence uncovered a “possible plot” by a militia group to storm the building.

Takeaways: What hearings have revealed about Jan. 6 failures

WASHINGTON (AP) — Many questions remain unanswered about the failure to prevent the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. But after six congressional hearings, it’s clear that the Capitol Police were unprepared and overwhelmed as hundreds of Donald Trump’s supporters laid siege to the building. It’s also clear that no one wants to take responsibility for it. Officials who were in charge of protecting the Capitol, and the people inside it, have pointed fingers at each other in testimony to the House and Senate. Their deflections are indicative of the chaos of that day, the lack of intelligence leading up to the attack and the fact that none of the law enforcement agencies involved imagined that so many of Trump’s supporters would violently lay siege to the Capitol with the mission of overturning his defeat.

Double standard? Gillibrand in spotlight after Cuomo scandal

WASHINGTON (AP) — Kirsten Gillibrand was the first Democratic senator to call for her colleague Al Franken’s resignation in 2017 as he faced allegations of sexual misconduct, building a profile as a leading advocate for women that became the centerpiece of her 2020 presidential bid. But the New York senator is taking a different approach when it comes to sexual harassment allegations hitting closer to home, those against her state’s Democratic governor, Andrew Cuomo. In a series of statements, Gillibrand has said accusations of offensive behavior by Cuomo are “serious and deeply concerning” and that the three women “who have come forward have shown tremendous courage.” She has said that the claims against Cuomo are “completely unacceptable” and called for a full investigation — but stopped short of demanding his resignation.

Ahead of Pope visit, survivor recalls Iraq church massacre

BAGHDAD (AP) — It began like any other Sunday in the Our Lady of Salvation Church in Baghdad for worshipper Louis Climis. That day nearly 11 years ago would end with blood-stained pews, anguish and lives lost. Six al-Qaeda-linked militants stormed and seized the church, killing dozens inside. At the time, the Oct. 31, 2010 attack was the bloodiest in a drumbeat of violence that Iraq’s Christians suffered during the brutal sectarian warfare following the 2003 U.S. invasion. More than a decade later, it still stands as perhaps the deadliest single attack against the community. The carnage prompted many Christians to flee Iraq and deepened the mistrust between the community and its Muslim neighbors, a chasm that endures to this day.

GOP state lawmakers seek to nullify federal gun limits

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — With Democrats controlling the presidency and Congress, Republican state lawmakers concerned about the possibility of new federal gun control laws aren’t waiting to react. Legislation in at least a dozen states seeks to nullify any new restrictions, such as ammunition limits or a ban on certain types of weapons. Some bills would make it a crime for local police officers to enforce federal gun laws. That can create confusion for officers who often work with federal law enforcement, said Daniel Isom, a former chief of the St. Louis Police Department who is now a senior advisor for Everytown for Gun Safety.

Boston Marathon’s plan to hand out 70K medals roils runners

BOSTON (AP) — Distance running, traditionally one of the world’s most genteel sports, has been roiled by an ugly mid-pandemic squabble over who should get a shot at a coveted Boston Marathon medal. Rival camps in the running world began snapping at each other’s heels this week. It began after the Boston Athletic Association, which still hopes to hold a truncated in-person edition of the planet’s most prestigious footrace in October, said it will award medals to up to 70,000 athletes if they go the distance wherever they are. Practically within minutes of the BAA’s announcement greatly expanding its virtual version of the race, a boisterous social media maelstrom ensued.

When will children be able to get COVID-19 vaccines?

NEW YORK (AP) — When will children be able to get COVID-19 vaccines? It depends on the child’s age, but some teenagers could be rolling up their sleeves before too long. The Pfizer vaccine already is cleared for use starting at age 16. That means some high schoolers could get in line for those shots whenever they become eligible in their area, either because of a medical condition or once availability opens up. Pfizer and Moderna both have completed enrollment for studies of children ages 12 and older, and expect to release the data over the summer. If regulators clear the results, younger teens likewise could start getting vaccinated once supply allows.

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