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Christian Science Monitor | USA



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'Arm the good guys'? Kentucky and other states weigh adding guns to schools.

Five school shootings so far in 2018 have resulted in serious physical injury or death – including the fatal shooting of 17 students and teachers in Florida.

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Farmers lobby for immigration reform to address labor shortages

The American Farm Bureau is lobbying for better access to foreign workers to meet labor shortages. Many local farmers rely on seasonal workers from Mexico to help them harvest what can't be picked by machines. 

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As midterms approach, will US offer unified defense of its elections?

Lower and middle levels of government appear to be readying defenses against meddling, say experts. Robert Mueller’s indictment shows the United States knows a lot about what the Russians have been doing. The problem right now is the top, say critics.

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Rescue workers aid residents during Midwest flooding

Rainstorms sweeping across the Midwest combined with melting snow, leading local officials in several cities to declare a state of emergency.

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Trump holds listening session on gun violence

Teen survivors from Parkland, Fla., parents of students killed at Columbine and Sandy Hook, and others shared their perspectives during President Trump's listening session at the White House. 

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After Parkland, a new generation finds its voice

Teen activists are pushing for changes to gun laws via marches and walkouts in the wake of the recent shooting in a Florida high school. Their emerging power may be changing the long stalemate in the nation’s debate over firearms, some experts say.

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Billy Graham: a counselor of presidents who eschewed politics

In the pantheon of evangelists from the Apostle Paul to Billy Sunday, no one preached the gospel to more souls than Graham, who used stadiums and mass media as no one before or since.

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Why Adam Schiff wants to 'follow the money'

The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee talked about his ‘memo,’ Russian meddling, security clearances - and a podcast called 'Slow Burn,' all about Watergate.

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Romney, like other Trump skeptics, makes nice – for now

As Mitt Romney launches his bid to become the next US senator from Utah, the former presidential candidate is facing a reality confronting many onetime ‘Never Trumpers’ in the GOP: He and the president need one another.

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As due date nears, Duckworth pushes Congress for greater inclusivity

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D) of Illinois stands to be the first member of the Senate to give birth while in office. In the mean time, she is educating the traditionally minded Senate about accessibility and supporting efforts to expand representation for women in politics. 

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Permanent water restrictions imminent for California

A year with almost no rain has plunged California back into emergency drought status. Water managers are voting whether to reinstate some water restrictions which would prohibit excessively watering lawns and limit washing sheets and towels at hotels.

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The stark message behind Mueller indictment of 13 Russians

The Russian nationals, as well as three Russian organizations, were charged with meddling in the 2016 US election.

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As Mueller moves forward, lingering questions about Comey and Clinton

A review of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server is expected to be released soon by the Department of Justice’s inspector general. It may help answer growing questions among Republicans about possible bias at the FBI – and shed light on the origins of the Trump-Russia probe.

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Black and Latino mortgage borrowers still face subtle discrimination at the bank

Congress originally passed the Community Reinvestment Act as a way to fight urban lending discrimination. But despite following the act's regulations, many banks continue to employ lending practices that reinforce racial disparities. 

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Capitol Hill reaction to Florida shooting follows a familiar script

In the wake of the shooting at a high school in Florida, many Democrats in Congress call for tighter gun laws, while Republicans emphasize mental health.

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Six boys who survived the Florida shooting find strength in friendship

A group of high school students, who lived through the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14, say their connection is their key to finding a way to move forward.

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Utah County Jail culinary program provides skills, bridges divides

A culinary program at the Utah County Jail employs inmates in the jail's commercial kitchen, aiming to change behavior, provide employable skills, and bridge divides between law enforcement and inmates. 

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Will Holder run for president in 2020?

When former Attorney General Eric Holder recently came to a Monitor Breakfast, he seemed to enjoy himself so much that he made news. 

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At crossroads of policing and murder, a long push for accountability

The game began to change in many ways in New York because of the relentless work of the city's community of activists. They are pushing for what they see is a common-sense system of transparency for officers. Part 2 of 2. 

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Florida school shooting: Does 'national emergency' warrant national response?

In the wake of another school shooting, Americans are grasping for a way forward. Many are calling for action from federal legislators. Others say a more distinct sense of common responsibility and communal burden may be more effective.

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Albuquerque rethinks approach to often-absent elementary students

Absenteeism in the younger grades, where students largely rely on parents to get them to school, can be a product of poverty. In Albuquerque, N.M., and elsewhere, schools are starting to track attendance student-by-student to better target support.

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Judge brings officials, lawyers to soon-to-be-closed homeless camp

Known for an unconventional style, the Southern California judge brought lawyers and government officials to the two-mile long riverbed encampment to talk to residents about a plan he is overseeing to move them to motel rooms and other short-term housing. 

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Troubled teen charged in deadly Florida school shooting

An orphaned teenager in Parkland, Fla., open-fired in a high school with a semi-automatic weapon, killing 17, in the deadliest school shooting since Newtown, Conn., in 2012.

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Why so many temporary White House clearances? Adam Schiff wants to know.

President Trump is a manager who appears to thrive on chaos and doesn't sweat details. But in the Rob Porter episode that ethos has run into the by-the-book tradition of security checks. Congressional leaders including Adam Schiff (D) are raising concerns.

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A tale of two cities and murder

Last year, New York saw its lowest murder rate since it began keeping modern records in the 1950s. Baltimore saw its highest in history. With numbers so stark, the stories these two cities tell invite an obvious question: Why? Part 1 of 2.

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Real immigration debate? New senators schooled in how work got done.

Thanks to a promise McConnell made to get a budget deal, the Senate is enjoying the revival of a nearly forgotten legislative process: open debate. But that may not make immigration any less of a problematic issue.

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Urban renewal with a conservative flair

Oklahoma City – one of just a handful of big US cities run by a Republican mayor – has taken a unique approach to revitalizing its downtown, relying on public-private partnerships, paying for projects as it goes, and doing it debt-free.

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Opioid companies paid advocacy groups $10 million

Companies selling opioids spent more than $10 million between 2012 to 2017 to support advocacy groups that promoted their use, according to a recent US Senate report. 

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Revised federal housing subsidies offer mobility to low-income residents

Following a court ruling in December, housing subsidies will now be allocated based on the average rent of ZIP Codes, not entire metropolitan areas. The change provides greater access to higher-cost neighborhoods, which experts say could help fight segregation.

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Seattle proposes taller, denser apartments in affordable housing plan

Supporters say the affordable housing plan will enable middle- and working-class families to stay in the city as tech industry growth fuels rapid real estate development.

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Virtual reality brings deep-sea diving and the farm to the classroom

Simulated field trips with the use of a virtual reality headset means students can be exploring the boreal forest one day and observing animals the next – without long bus rides. Although still relatively rare in schools, VR technology is increasingly more accessible and affordable. 

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Why GOP is largely silent over Trump's deficit-heavy budget

President Trump has led the Republican Party in surprising directions – away from a balanced federal budget being only the latest. A recent poll indicates that's not a concern to most voters.

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As a year on the mainland ends, Puerto Rican college students consider return

Following the damages of hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, several mainland universities offered free or reduced tuition for a year to the island's college students. Now in their spring semester, these visiting students are evaluating what awaits them back in Puerto Rico. 

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Fiscal stimulus is back. So are bigger deficits.

A rapid increase in federal debt is likely to push up interest rates and risk choking the current economic expansion. This could lead to a reckoning when debt payments start to pile up after 2019. 

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Florida bill would offer private school vouchers to bullied students

A proposed Florida bill would offer students who've been bullied a voucher for private school. Supporters of the bill say this program would offer students hope and a safe path to education, while opponents see the move as an attack on the public school system. 

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More than a third of all US ex-cons who can’t vote live in Florida. Why?

A judge found that the vote restoration process in Florida used arbitrary means to decide who is worthy. The state has until Feb. 12 to come up with remedies to the constitutional violations.

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Fishing lures hook Ohio high school on personalized learning

In a small Ohio town, a high school built a program around fishing lures to give students a taste of entrepreneurship by focusing on their individual needs and leveraging community traditions.

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Controversy in Latino American organization reflects evolving political landscape

The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) has called on their president, Roger Rocha, to resign after Mr. Rocha praised President Trump's immigration plan. LULAC has historically supported immigration control, but its political demographics are changing. 

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Trump signs budget bill, ending overnight shutdown

The five-and-a-half hour federal freeze ended with President Trump signing a $400 billion budget deal, passed in the Senate and the House despite opposition from tea party conservatives and liberal Democrats.

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A graduation crisis in D.C. brings questions of ethics to the fore

One-third of the district's 2017 graduating class was found to have attendance and/or credit violations. Observers say the problem goes beyond D.C., and suggest that more support is needed for struggling students and educators who grade and promote them.

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'Calls From Home': How one Kentucky radio station connects inmates and families

Every week, WMMT broadcasts recorded messages from friends and family members of the more than 5,000 men incarcerated in the six federal and state prisons within range of Whitesburg, Ky.

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Rollercoaster ride continues: Dow industrials drop another 1,000 points

Investors are worried about inflation and corporate profits as workers' wages rise, analysts say, triggering a selling spree for stocks in technology companies, banks, retailers, travel companies, and homebuilders. 

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On cusp of budget deal, Congress far from functional

The extreme efforts involved in simply passing a budget, the most basic job for lawmakers, underscore how broken the process has become on Capitol Hill – a place many members now describe as frustrating and joyless.

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Mexico takes the battle for gender respect to the classroom

Incidents of 'machismo' – experienced everywhere from streets to schools – combined with growing violence against women, are lending urgency to calls for discussion around gender relations.

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Record number of transgender candidates enter 2018 elections

An estimated 40 transgender candidates plan to run for office in the upcoming mid-term elections, signaling a tidal shift in LGBT representation in government. Many candidates cite what they see as anti-LGBT policies from the White House as motivation to run.  

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New billionaire L.A. Times owner inspires mix of hope and concern

The latest in a growing trend of powerful business executives buying newspapers, biotech CEO Patrick Soon-Shiong has purchased the Los Angeles Times. The deal coincides with a period of intense change for the paper, whose journalists have just voted to form a union. 

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Memo wars: When secrets get out, what happens next?

The release of the Nunes memo and its Democratic rebuttal have the potential to chill relations between the intelligence community and Capitol Hill, make allied intelligence agencies wary about sharing secrets, and amp up demands by defendants to use FISA documents in their trials.

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In Democrats' strategic strike against gerrymandering, Holder leads the charge

At a breakfast for reporters hosted by The Christian Science Monitor, former Attorney General Eric Holder calls political gerrymandering 'a fundamental affront to our system of democracy.' He's heading a Democratic effort that seeks a more level playing field well beyond the next elections.

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US reexamines cybersecurity after Russian hack

Russian hackers attacked at least 87 people working on advanced US defense technology including drones and rockets, according to an Associated Press investigation. The hackers, identified by the moniker 'Fancy Bear,' largely targeted personal Gmail accounts.

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Town library starts newspaper after local paper shuttered

A small New Hampshire town library offers a model of how others can step in to provide information for communities in 'news deserts.'

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