Top Stories World 

Why it’s so hard to make a better flu vaccine

Every year, flu kills between 12,000 and 56,000 people, the CDC says. This year is shaping up to be on the high end of that range. That’s why teams of scientists are working on what’s called a universal flu vaccine. The hope is to develop a formulation that will recognize something a little deeper than just the “face” of the flu virus — something that doesn’t change from one virus to another, and that doesn’t mutate over time. That could lead to a flu vaccine that people would just have…

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Top Stories World 

Restrictive voter ID laws are no match for this group

As the midterm elections approach, a small army of organizers will be answering calls and knocking on doors in hotly contested districts around the country with a simple question: Do you have what you need to vote? Plenty of groups, including the ACLU, have used the judicial system to take aim against the growing number of strict voter identification laws, attempting to convince the courts they unfairly target certain groups, particularly low-income voters, minorities, senior citizens and people with disabilities. But VoteRiders, a nonpartisan nonprofit based in California, takes a…

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Top Stories World 

Oldest Latino rights group has simple equation for survival: Dump president, keep youth

The young members weren’t alone in pressing for Rocha’s resignation. Calls came out early from a local California LULAC council and from the state council. A cascade of resignation demands followed. Older LULAC members backed their younger members. Joe Enriquez Henry, national vice president of the Midwest, said of the 35 voting members of the board, the majority have received letters from LULAC state directors asking Rocha to step down, including from the director in his home state, Texas. Henry said they have received no letters asking for Rocha to…

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Top Stories World 

Dems expand battleground, target 101 GOP seats

WASHINGTON — House Democrats are stepping on the gas, with plans to target over 100 Republican-held congressional districts in the November midterm elections. At House Democrats’ annual conference Thursday, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, D-N.M., the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, is expected to tell colleagues the committee is expanding the battleground to include 101 Republicans — the largest in a decade, a Democratic source familiar with the matter told NBC News. The seven new targets push Democrats even deeper into Republican territory in South Carolina, Wisconsin and Texas.…

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Top Stories World 

On your marks, get set … Winter Olympics are under way!

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — By the time the 23rd Olympic Winter Games get around to their Opening Ceremony on Friday, hundreds of athletes will already have been in action for a day and a half, starting Wednesday night with a new version of the ice chess otherwise known as curling. The pomp and pageantry of the official Opening Ceremony won’t get under way in PyeongChang until 6 a.m. ET Friday. But by daybreak Thursday ET, the brooms will already have been out for eight games of mixed doubles curling; men’s…

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Top Stories World 

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

There’s no doubt that Democrats are energized for this November’s midterm elections. But there’s more at stake than just the partisan control of state and federal offices for the next few years. Democrats are laying plans for a political reset – and, they hope, a more level playing field – with an impact that would reach all the way to 2031. Leading the charge is a perhaps-unlikely figure: Eric Holder, attorney general under former President Barack Obama. With Mr. Obama’s help, he’s tackling the seemingly dry issue of redistricting, the…

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Top Stories World 

Eric Holder leads Democrats to war on gerrymandering

WASHINGTON — Facing an uphill climb to win back Congress and state legislatures thanks in part to gerrymandering, former Attorney General Eric Holder is leading a new Democratic effort to redraw the lines with President Obama’s backing. The National Democratic Redistricting Committee, created last year, has already raised $16 million through a mix of large donors and online appeals. Its goal is to target races and ballot initiatives in 12 states that would give Democrats an opportunity to create more favorable district maps after the 2020 census. “I expect later…

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Supreme Court won’t block new Pennsylvania congressional maps

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court Monday declined to stop Pennsylvania from having to draw new maps for its congressional elections, turning down an appeal from Republicans who said there wasn’t time to do it ahead of this year’s primary. The state Supreme Court ruled January 22 that the current map is excessively partisan, amounting to a gerrymander intended to permanently disfavor Democrats. As currently drawn, the state’s congressional district boundaries “clearly, plainly, and palpably” violate the Pennsylvania constitution, the state court held. The ruling gave the legislature three weeks…

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Top Stories World 

Retailer with 260 stores files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection

NEW YORK — Bon-Ton Stores, saddled with debt and struggling with weak sales as shoppers abandon traditional department stores, said it filed Sunday for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and was exploring a sale of all or part of the company. The chain, which operates 260 stores in 24 states, largely in the Northeast and Midwest, made the filing in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for Delaware. It had said earlier this year that its holiday sales fell, despite a solid economy in which many retailers did well. Several dozen retailers, including…

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Science 

A Controversial Bill Would Allow Chemical Castration of Sex Offenders in Oklahoma

Only seven states have similar laws More A controversial bill would add Oklahoma to the short list of states that have authorized chemical castration as an acceptable condition of release for convicted sex offenders. Republican Rep. Rick West is sponsoring the bill at the behest of a constituent, the Associated Press reports. If it passes, men convicted of violent sex crimes could be required as a condition of release to take drugs that lower testosterone and sexual libido. It’s unclear how often the option would actually be used, though the…

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