Local News

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Pennsylvania State Police canceled the Amber Alert around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, saying the 6-year-old girl was found safe. Read more

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Christmas is slightly more than two weeks away, and many have their perfect Christmas tree picked out and decorated. Read more

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Our snow chances for Wednesday, which weren't that exciting to begin with, have fizzled even more. There may be a few flakes around, but you have a better chance of seeing nothing at all than any ground whitening. Read more

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The new releases include Peeps marshmallow stockings and double hot chocolate marshmallows dipped in dark chocolate. Read more

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A warm head can lead to a warm heart in one Philadelphia neighborhood this holiday season. A woman in Passyunk is busy crocheting for a cause. Read more

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The incident happened Tuesday night in the 400 block of South 15th Street, nearby the Allentown YMCA. Read more

A little over a week after Thanksgiving, maybe the turkeys felt the coast was clear, wanting to "have it their way" with a visit to fast-food royalty. Read more

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It's the longest vacant high-rise in Berks County, and it will be getting a new look. Read more

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Hanover Township in Northampton County held a public hearing on the proposed 150-apartment Willow Crest Farms development Tuesday. Read more

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He was on board the USS Nautilus in the battle of Midway, and would become part of the naval crew that would help sink several Japanese warships.  Read more

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Parkland School District's annual board of directors organization meeting became a civics lesson Tuesday night. Read more

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Before diving into budget ordinances for 2022, Bethlehem City Council heard from two residents who told council it needs to do more to increase accessibility. Read more

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The Easton Area School District board of directors voted 5-4 Tuesday to elect Jodi Hess as its new president. Read more

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State police say the driver lost control of the vehicle while trying to exit the interstate at Exit 40 in Greenwich Township. Read more

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(The Center Square) – As officials continue to work to clear supply chain backlogs at the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach, several members of Congress are calling on leaders in Washington to take further action to address supply chain disruptions ahead of the holiday season. Read more

Spotlight PA is an independent, nonpartisan newsroom powered by The Philadelphia Inquirer in partnership with PennLive/The Patriot-News, TribLIVE/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and WITF Public Media. Sign up for our free newsletters. Read more

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Over time, the display was left in storage spaces around the town and forgotten about until 2013. Read more

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"It's left to us to carry that mantle, that message, that memorialization forward." Read more

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Washington is one of 25 towns in the U.S. receiving a "Hometown Grant." Read more

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WASHINGTON, N.J. - New paperwork shows a man charged in connection with a deadly attack in Warren County allegedly Googled information on murder scenes and tracking phones the day of the killing. Read more

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The flag was adopted by the National League of POW/MIA Families in 1972. Read more

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You can see patchwork on East Market Street in Bethlehem from several water main breaks. Read more

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Weis Markets donated $180,000 to the organization Tuesday as part of the grocer's program to support local food banks. Read more

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The building is slated to be occupied by the Lehigh Valley Health Network's Center for Healthcare Education. Read more

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Members of the city council said they're concerned about not seeing the final version of the plan. Read more

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(The Center Square) – Pennsylvania state Sen. John Yudichak is highlighting millions in grant funding for a total of five projects in his Luzerne County district, including a new commerce center, improvements at King’s College and health care infrastructure upgrades. Read more

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If you've suffered serious injuries as a result of another person's negligent actions, a personal injury attorney can help. Some common types of personal injury claims you should be aware of include slip and fall accidents, dog bites, auto accidents, medical malpractice, work injuries, defective products, and the intent to cause harm. Out of these, car accidents make up a majority of personal injury cases. Most car accidents are caused by speeding, negligent driving, drunk driving, and more. Read more

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"The primary things that we're doing are related to player health and wellness." Read more

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For the 36th year, RCN Lehigh Valley teamed up with Dream Come True of the Lehigh Valley, a non-profit dedicated to fulfilling the dreams of children who are seriously, chronically and terminally ill in the Greater Lehigh Valley area. Read more

US and World News

Associated Press Film Writers Lindsey Bahr and Jake Coyle have named their picks for the best movies of 2021. Bahr's No. 1 film is Maggie Gyllenhaal's Elena Ferrante adaptation “The Lost Daughter,” a Netflix release starring Olivia Colman. Coyle's top choice is Joachim Trier's Danish 30-something character study “The Worst Person in the World.” The critics also list among their favorites Paul Thomas Anderson's “Licorice Pizza,” Joanna Hogg's semi-autobiographical coming-of-age sequel “The Souvenir Part II,” Peter Jackson's eight-hour Beatles documentary “Get Back," Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi spectacle “Dune" and Ryusuke Hamaguchi's intimate epic “Drive My Car.”  Read more

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says no U.K. government minister will attend the Beijing Winter Olympics, calling it “effectively” a diplomatic boycott. Johnson was asked in the House of Commons whether the U.K. will join the United States, Australia and Lithuania in a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Games in February over Beijing’s human rights record. He said he opposed boycotts involving athletes, but Britain would effectively be boycotting the Olympics diplomatically.“ He said "No ministers are expected to attend and no officials.” The White House confirmed Monday that it was staging a diplomatic boycott of the upcoming Winter Olympics in Beijing to protest Chinese human rights abuses. Read more

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The European Union wants to set up a system of trade sanctions that it could impose on any foreign power it accuses of trying to coerce the 27-country bloc for economic or political gain. The EU’s executive branch, the European Commission, wants to be able to react without needing the endorsement of all member nations when a person, company or country tries to strong-arm the bloc. It says such a plan could be used in situations like China’s diplomatic and trade spat with Lithuania over Taiwan. The plan was unveiled Wednesday and would give Brussels the power to impose punitive tariffs, quotas or even limit access to EU markets.  Read more

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Pfizer says a booster dose of its COVID-19 vaccine appears to offer important protection against the new omicron variant. Pfizer and its partner BioNTech tested how well vaccine-produced antibodies could neutralize omicron in lab dishes. They found significant weakening after the standard two doses. But a booster dose increased antibody levels by 25-fold. The companies said two doses still may protect against severe illness, but they are working to develop an omicon-specific vaccine in case it's needed. They announced the findings Wednesday in a press release. The data is preliminary and hasn't undergone scientific review. Read more

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India’s air force says the country’s military chief, Gen. Bipin Rawat, his wife and 11 others were killed Wednesday in a helicopter crash in southern Tamil Nadu state. It said in a tweet that the helicopter “met with a tragic accident.” It said one air force officer, Group Capt. Varun Singh, survived and is being treated in a military hospital. Public broadcaster Prasar Bharati says the Mi-17V5 helicopter was on its way from an air force base to the army defense services college when it crashed near the town of Coonoor, a hill station in Tamil Nadu. The reason for the crash was not immediately known. Rawat was the most senior official in the Indian military. Read more

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Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Joe Biden have agreed to appoint envoys to continue talks in light of escalating tensions involving Russia massing tens of thousands of troops near its border with Ukraine. The Kremlin said Wednesday it was unclear when the talks would happen, but the two leaders intended for them to take place “rather promptly.” Biden and Putin spoke for over two hours on Tuesday. Biden delivered a simple message to Putin: invade Ukraine again and face painful sanctions that will do resounding harm to your economy. Putin's aides said the Russian leader told Biden that Russian troops were on their own territory and don't threaten anyone.  Read more

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Building materials maker Kingspan says it has agreed with the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One racing team to end a partnership deal after protests from families of people who died in a high-rise fire in London. The company said in a statement that it was “ deeply aware of the sensitivities raised in recent days’’ raised by the deal and “jointly agreed that it’s not appropriate to move forward at the current point in time.’’ Survivors and family members of the 72 people who died in the 2017 Grenfell Tower fire had asked the team to sever its ties with Kingspan. The company reiterated that it had nothing to do with the refurbishment project blamed for the fire. It said its insulation was misused in the tower without its knowledge. Read more

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The Netherlands’ national museum is planning to restretch Rembrandt van Rijn’s iconic painting “The Night Watch” to get rid of deformations in its top left corner. The museum announced Wednesday that the 379.5x453.5-centimeter (149.4x178.5-inch) canvas will be removed from its wooden stretcher next month and placed on a new one to remove rippling that was caused when the world famous painting was housed in a temporary gallery while the Rijksmuseum underwent major renovations from 2003-2013. The oil on canvas painting depicts an Amsterdam civil militia and shows off Rembrandt’s renowned use of light and composition to create a dynamic scene filled with characters.  Read more

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The European diplomat chairing nuclear talks between Iran and world powers says negotiations in Vienna will resume Thursday. Enrique Mora tweeted Wednesday that the parties to the 2015 Vienna accord will meet in the Austrian capital after consulting with their governments in recent days. European diplomats had urged Tehran to come back with “realistic proposals” after Iran’s delegation last week made numerous demands that were deemed unacceptable by Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia. The United States withdrew from the agreement in 2018 under former U.S. President Donald Trump. The Vienna accord was meant to rein in Tehran’s nuclear program in return for loosening economic sanctions against Iran. Read more

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When the leaders of the Soviet Union’s three Slavic republics met at a secluded hunting lodge near the Polish border on Dec. 8, 1991, they delivered a death blow to the USSR. Their agreement that day triggered shockwaves that are still reverberating three decades later in tensions between Russia and Ukraine. It declared that “the USSR ceases to exist" and created a loose alliance of former Soviet nations known as the Commonwealth of Independent States. One of the leaders who signed the accord recalls it as a “diplomatic masterpiece” that dissolved a nuclear superpower without shedding “a single drop of blood.” But that would come years later. Read more

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The Rev. Craig Duke has been a Methodist minister for three decades, building a reputation as a staunch advocate of LGBTQ inclusion. His pastoral duties have now been terminated — the result of a bitter rift surfacing in his Indiana church. The divisions flared after Duke sought to demonstrate solidarity by appearing in drag alongside prominent drag queens in the HBO reality series “We’re Here.” Duke says he thought most of his 400-member congregation at Newburgh United Methodist Church shared his inclusive views. He was taken aback when a prominent congregation member, soon backed by other churchgoers, circulated emails attacking him.  Read more

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has apologized and ordered an inquiry after a leaked video showed senior members of his staff joking about holding a lockdown-breaching Christmas party. The video has poured fuel on allegations that government officials flouted coronavirus rules they imposed on everyone else. Johnson said that “I understand and share the anger” at staff seeming to make light of lockdown rules. A video aired by broadcaster ITV showed then-press secretary Allegra Stratton appearing to joke about an illicit party at the prime minister's Downing Street office. Johnson said Wednesday that he had ordered Britain's top civil servant to investigate. He said “I apologize unreservedly for the offense” the video has caused. Read more

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Masked Milanese turned out in all their finery for La Scala’s gala season opener of Verdi’s “Macbeth” in a fully seated theater. The performance on Tuesday night was a welcome return to the famed opera house after  after the pandemic made last year’s premiere a televised-only affair and as many European theaters remain closed. Guests packed the opera house to capacity, including Italian President Sergio Mattarella and fashion designer Giorgio Armani. The appreciative crowd showered flowers from the La Scala’s tiered balconies on the opera’s stars. But La Scala’s strictly traditionalist upper tiers gave mixed reviews of the modern staging by director Davide Livermore, who received a smattering of boos.  Read more

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The World Health Organization’s European region has recorded a slight drop in both COVID-19 cases and deaths last week after facing a string of weekly increases. The U.N. health agency also noted figures showing that all the 212 confirmed cases of the omicron variant so far identified in 18 European Union countries as of Monday had turned up asymptomatic or mild disease. WHO said in its weekly epidemiological released late Tuesday that the weekly number of new cases in its 53-country European region fell 2% to more than 2.6 million new cases reported over the last week. It also reported 29,000 new deaths over the period. That's a decline of 3% from the previous week. Read more

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Thailand’s Supreme Court has affirmed a three-year, two-month prison sentence for a top construction tycoon in connection with a poaching incident in a wildlife sanctuary in which a black panther was shot and cooked over a campfire. Premchai Karnasuta is president of Italian-Thai Development PLC, one of the country’s biggest and best-known construction companies that was involved in the building of Bangkok international airport and the Skytrain mass transit system. His jailing is a rare case of a rich, influential Thai having to serve time for wrongdoing. The Thai public has grown weary of repeated examples of wealthy Thais apparently flouting the law with impunity. Premchai was arrested in 2018 at a campsite deep within a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Read more

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Angela Merkel is credited with raising Germany’s profile and influence and working to hold a fractious European Union together. She also been lauded for managing a string of crises and being a role model for women in a near-record tenure that ends with her leaving office amid praise from abroad and enduring popularity at home. The former scientist was raised in communist East Germany. She was already assured of a place in the history books when she became the first female chancellor in 2005. The 67-year-old bowed out of office 16 years later, around a week short of the record for longevity held by one-time mentor Helmut Kohl. He reunited Germany during his 1982-1998 tenure. Olaf Scholz replaced Merkel and took office Wednesday. Read more

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Olaf Scholz has taken over as Germany’s new chancellor at the head of a three-party coalition government, ending the 16-year era of outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel. Scholz will lead a 17-member Cabinet with one more minister than Merkel’s team. Green co-leader Robert Habeck will become vice chancellor. He will head an economy and climate ministry. The team of nine men and eight women includes Germany's first female foreign and interior ministers. The co-leader of the environmentalist Greens will head the newly created Economy and Climate Ministry and become vice chancellor. The leader of the pro-business Free Democrats will hold the government’s purse strings as finance minister. Read more

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Amazon’s cloud-service network suffered a major outage Tuesday, disrupting access to many popular sites. The service provides remote computing services to many companies, governments and universities and companies, including The Associated Press. For roughly five hours, companies dependent on Amazon's web services network to run their operations struggled to find workarounds. Among them was Amazon's own e-commerce operation. Critics said the issue highlighted the danger of centralizing too many of the internet's key functions. By 5 p.m. ET, Amazon said it had identified and fixed the underlying problem, although many online services took even longer to recover. Read more

An Indonesian court has sentenced an Islamic militant who eluded capture for 16 years to life in prison after finding him guilty of making bombs used in a 2005 market attack that killed 22 people. Upik Lawanga, known as “professor,” is a key member of the Jemaah Islamiyah militant network, which the U.S. has designated a terrorist group. It is widely blamed for attacks including the 2002 bombings on the resort island of Bali that killed 202 people, mostly foreign tourists. Most of the victims of the market attack were Christians. Muslim-Christian conflicts in Poso in Central Sulawesi province have killed at least 1,000 people. Read more

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Stocks are mostly higher in Europe and Asia after another broad rally on Wall Street as investors wager that the new variant of the COVID-19 virus won’t pose a big threat to the economy. Oil prices fell back. Shares rose in Paris, London, Tokyo and Shanghai but fell in Frankfurt. Japan downgraded its growth estimate for the last quarter to minus 3.6% from an earlier reported contraction of 3.0%. On Tuesday, the S&P 500 rose 2.1% for its biggest gain since March. Some 86% of stocks within the benchmark index made gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.4% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq rose 3%. Smaller company stocks outpaced the broader market.   Read more

Facebook’s parent company Meta has announced a new ban on postings linked to Myanmar’s military to include all pages, groups, and accounts representing military-controlled businesses. It had already banned advertising from such businesses in February. The February action, which also banned military and military-controlled state and media entities from Facebook and Instagram, came after the army seized power from the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi. The new action came just a day after a high-profile lawsuit was filed in California against Facebook parent Meta Platforms seeking over $150 billion over the company’s alleged failure to stop hateful posts inciting violence against the Muslim Rohingya minority by Myanmar’s military and its supporters.  Read more

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A Japanese billionaire and his producer rocketed to space Wednesday as the first self-paying space tourists in more than a decade. Fashion tycoon Yusaku Maezawa and producer Yozo Hirano, who plans to film his mission, blasted off for the International Space Station in a Russian Soyuz spacecraft along with Russian cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin. The trio lifted off as scheduled at 12:38 p.m. (0738 GMT) aboard Soyuz MS-20 from the Russia-leaded Baikonur launch facility in Kazakhstan. Maezawa and Hirano are scheduled to spend 12 days in space. The two will be the first self-paying tourists to visit the space station since 2009. The price of the trip hasn’t been disclosed. Read more

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Australia's prime minister says his country will join the U.S. in a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics over human rights concerns. Prime Minister Scott Morrison says it should come as no surprise that Australian officials would boycott the event after the nation’s relationship with China had broken down in recent years. He says Australian athletes would still be able to compete. China responded furiously, saying no Australian officials had been invited to the Olympics and “no one would care about whether they come or not.” Morrison says China has also been very critical of Australia’s efforts to have a strong defense force in the region, particularly its decision to acquire nuclear-powered submarines. Read more

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Japan has downgraded its growth estimate for the last quarter, saying weaker consumer spending and trade resulted in a 3.6% contraction. The government's revised estimate Tuesday compared with an earlier estimate of minus 3.0% growth. The world's third-largest economy has been mired in recession and struggling to recover from the impact of waves of coronavirus infections. The latest outbreak, in the late summer, has receded for now with a sharp drop in cases. But it hit during the usually busy summer travel season, with calls for restricted business activity and travel hurting restaurants, hotels and other service sector industries.   Read more

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Malaysia’s Appeal Court has upheld the conviction and 12-year jail sentence of ex-Prime Minister Najib Razak linked to the massive looting of the 1MDB state investment fund that brought down his government in 2018. Najib was found guilty by a high court in July 2020 of abuse of power, criminal breach of trust and money laundering for illegally receiving 42 million ringgit ($9.9 million) from SRC International, a former unit of 1MDB. The ruling was part of the first of several corruption trials against Najib that are linked to the 1MDB scandal, which sparked investigations in the U.S. and several other countries. Najib said he was disappointed and would appeal to the country's top Federal Court. Read more

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Stocks have advanced in Asia after another broad rally on Wall Street as investors wagered that the new variant of the COVID-19 virus won’t pose a big threat to the economy. Oil prices fell back. Shares rose in Tokyo, Shanghai and Seoul, while Hong Kong was little changed. Japan downgraded its growth estimate for the last quarter to minus 3.6% from an earlier reported contraction of 3.0%. On Tuesday, the S&P 500 rose 2.1% for its biggest gain since March. Some 86% of stocks within the benchmark index made gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.4% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq rose 3%. Smaller company stocks outpaced the broader market.   Read more

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Chicago Blackhawks forward Jujhar Khaira is responsive after he was leveled by New York Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba and taken off on a stretcher. The Blackhawks say Khaira suffered an “upper-body blow” and was taken by ambulance to a hospital for further testing. Khaira’s head was down as he gathered in the puck 6:10 into the second period. He looked up right as Trouba appeared to drive his right shoulder into his chin. The back off Khaira’s head bounced hard off the ice, and there was no sign of any movement from him as the Blackhawks and Rangers scuffled nearby. Read more

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A company once owned by “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli will pay up to $40 million to settle allegations that it jacked up the price of a life-saving medication by roughly 4 ,000% after obtaining exclusive rights to the drug. The Federal Trade Commission announced the settlement Tuesday. The FTC and seven states sued Vyera Pharmaceuticals for allegedly gouging consumers and blocking competitors from creating cheaper generic versions of the drug Daraprim after obtaining exclusive rights to it in 2015. Vyera was owned by Martin Shkreli. The drug treats a potentially deadly parasitic infection. Shkreli currently is serving seven years for hedge fund securities fraud.  Read more

The Supreme Court is hearing arguments in a challenge from parents in Maine who want to use a state tuition program to send their children to religious schools. The parents argue that their exclusion from the state program violates their religious rights under the Constitution. Teacher unions and school boards say a ruling for the parents would be a blow to public education. The case, being argued Wednesday, is the latest test of religious freedoms for a Supreme Court that has favored faith-based discrimination claims. The Supreme Court could use this case to resolve the extent to which religious schools may use public funding for explicitly religious activities. Read more

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Preliminary results show voters in Seattle narrowly in favor of recalling socialist City Councilmember Kshama Sawant. She's the firebrand who pushed the city to adopt a $15 minimum wage, raged against hometown tech giant Amazon for its business practices and angered many with her aggressive political tactics. But because of the mail-in vote, definitive results may not be known for several days. Election results in Seattle are known to swing significantly before final results are posted. If Sawant is recalled, the other eight City Councilmembers would appoint a replacement until a special election next November. Read more