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Former President Donald Trump struggled during his first year in office to get his nominees confirmed in a timely fashion in the Senate. President Joe Biden is faring even worse. Biden has seen about 36% of his nominees confirmed by the Senate. Trump had a success rate of 38% at the same stage of his presidency. Both marks pale compared with their recent predecessors. Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama saw about two-thirds of their nominees confirmed through early October. The trend is alarming to good government advocates, who say Washington’s ability to meet mounting challenges is being undermined by gaps in leadership.

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This Oct. 19, 2021, photo shows a Confederate monument in front a county courthouse in Nottoway County, Va. Voters will cast ballots in a November referendum on whether to relocate this monument to Confederate soldiers that has stood in front of the county courthouse since 1893. It is a few miles from Fort Pickett. (AP Photo/Robert Burns)

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This Oct. 19, 2021, photo shows a Confederate monument in front a county courthouse in Nottoway County, Va. Voters will cast ballots in a November referendum on whether to relocate this monument to Confederate soldiers that has stood in front of the county courthouse since 1893. It is a few miles from Fort Pickett. (AP Photo/Robert Burns)

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The Guatemalan government has declared a month-long, dawn-to-dusk curfew and banned pubic gatherings in the northern coastal province of Izabal, following two days of protests against a mining project. Thousands of police confronted demonstrators angered by a Swiss-run nickel mine. Protesters say they weren't consulted about the mine, and lobbed stones at police, who responded with tear gas and stones. The country's highest court has suspended operations at the Fenix mine because it ruled that indigenous groups in the area had not been properly consulted about the project, and residents have set up protest encampments and held marches demanding they be included in the consultation.

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After lawsuits alleging racial gerrymandering, Republicans drawing new legislative maps in Texas, Ohio and North Carolina this year say they won't use racial or partisan data in the process. Still, the political maps they're proposing would tilt heavily toward their party. Democrats and civil rights groups say veteran lawmakers don’t need a spreadsheet to know where voters of various races and different parties live in their state. Plus, they say, under certain scenarios, the Voting Rights Act requires the drawing of districts where the majority of voters are racial or ethnic minorities. Republicans complain that they can't win.

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White House counsel Dana Remus made a lasting impression on her colleagues with her calm during the chaotic time after last year’s election when Donald Trump challenged the legitimacy of Joe Biden’s victory. But Remus' toughest task might lie ahead. She's guiding Biden as the White House backs the effort to investigate and hold accountable those involved in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol. But she also wants to avoid setting a precedent that could weaken the office of the presidency for years to come. Before working for Biden, Remus spent years as a judicial and ethics expert in academia. She also was President Barack Obama’s chief ethics lawyer in the final 14 months of his presidency.

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A highly anticipated nonpartisan audit of the 2020 presidential election in Wisconsin did not identify any widespread fraud in the battleground state, which a key Republican legislative leader says shows that the state's elections are “safe and secure.” The report released Friday by the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau did make dozens of recommendations on how the state might improve its elections. Republican state Sen. Robert Cowles, who co-chairs the Legislature's Audit Committee, says he hopes the report leads to bipartisan fixes for the issues the audit identified, but that the state's elections, overall, are “safe and secure.” Wisconsin is one of several states pursuing investigations into the 2020 presidential election.

The Supreme Court has allowed a Texas law that bans most abortions to remain in effect for now. But in an unusual move the justices said they want to hear arguments in the case at the soonest opportunity. Those arguments at the high court on Nov. 1 will help the justices decide whether the law should be blocked while legal challenges continue. The law is the most restrictive abortion law in the nation.

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A federal appeals court says a Turkish bank must face criminal charges that it evaded sanctions against Iran by processing billions of dollars of Iranian oil revenue. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday. It upheld a decision by District Judge Richard M. Berman. An indictment said the bank illegally moved about $20 billion in Iranian oil and gas revenues. It also said the state-owned bank sometimes disguised money movements as purchases of food and medicine so they’d qualify for a “humanitarian exception” to sanctions. A lawyer for Halkbank declined to comment on the ruling.

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The Supreme Court is allowing the Texas law that bans most abortions to remain in place for now, but has agreed to hear arguments in the case on Nov. 1. The justices said Friday they will decide whether the federal government has the right to sue over the law. The court’s action leaves in place for the time being a law that clinics say has led to an 80% reduction in abortions in the nation’s second-largest state. The law bans abortions after cardiac activity is detected, usually around six weeks of pregnancy. That’s before some women even know they are pregnant. Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote that she would have blocked the law now.