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    Chinese leader Xi Jinping will visit Hong Kong to celebrate next week’s 25th anniversary of the former British colony’s return to China following a crackdown on a pro-democracy movement that has inflamed tension with Washington and Europe. The official Xinhua News Agency said Saturday Xi will attend an anniversary gathering and the first meeting of the territory's new government. Xi has avoided trips outside the Chinese mainland since the start of the coronavirus pandemic 2 1/2 years ago. His decision to go to Hong Kong reflects the anniversary's historical importance in the ruling party’s eyes and to the image Xi is trying to construct for himself as leader of a “national rejuvenation.”

      The Arizona Senate’s ethics committee's attorney has submitted a report to the full Senate on a probe of a Republican lawmaker’s online comments that appeared to blame the federal government for a supermarket massacre in Buffalo, New York. The report reaches no conclusions on whether Sen. Wendy Rogers’ comment broke Senate rules. It will be up to the full Senate to decide whether the Flagstaff lawmaker's comment merits discipline. Rogers tweeted: “Fed boy summer has started in Buffalo” as news broke about the May 14 mass shooting in Buffalo. Many thought Rogers was saying the federal government was behind the attack. She denied that was her intent.

        The Supreme Court has stripped away women’s constitutional protections for abortion. It's a fundamental and deeply personal change for Americans' lives after nearly a half-century under the court's landmark Roe v. Wade decision. Friday's new ruling is likely to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states. The ruling by the high court's conservative majority was unthinkable just a few years ago. It was the culmination of decades of efforts by abortion opponents, made possible by an emboldened right side of the court that has been fortified by three appointees of former President Donald Trump. The ruling came more than a month after the stunning leak of a draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito.

          The U.S. Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that had provided a constitutional right to abortion. Friday's ruling is expected to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states. In anticipation of the decision, several states led by Democrats have taken steps to protect abortion access. The decision also sets up the potential for legal fights between the states over whether providers and those who help women obtain abortions can be sued or prosecuted.

            Rep. David Valadao has advanced to a November runoff in a Democratic-tilting district in California’s Central Valley. He survived a challenge from a fellow Republican who faulted the congressman for his vote to impeach then-President Donald Trump. With most of the votes tallied in the 22nd District, Valadao had about 26% of the vote, several points ahead of rival Republican Chris Mathys. Valadao’s advance to the November runoff against Democrat Rudy Salas, a state legislator, caps a list of competitive races in California districts that will play into the fight for control of Congress. Democrats are protecting a fragile House majority.

              The House has sent President Joe Biden the most wide-ranging gun violence bill Congress has passed in decades. The bill that passed the House on Friday is a measured compromise that at once illustrates progress on the long-intractable issue and the deep-seated partisan divide that persists. The Democratic-led chamber approved the election-year legislation with every Democrat and 14 Republicans voting yes. That caps a spurt of action prompted by voters’ revulsion over last month’s mass shootings in New York and Texas. The Senate approved it earlier by a bipartisan 65-33 margin, with 15 Republicans joining all Democrats. The White House says Biden will sign the bill Saturday morning.

                New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said she is bringing state lawmakers back on Thursday to consider gun safety legislation in response to the Supreme Court striking down key portions of the state’s licensing law. The court on Thursday overturned the state law that required that people applying for a concealed carry permit demonstrate a specific need to have a gun in public. Hochul called the decision “reckless and reprehensible” as she announced she will convene a special session. New York officials are considering restrictions on concealed carry in “sensitive locations,” such as government buildings and bars. They’re also looking at implementing specific training for permit applicants.

                While South Carolina is not one of the 13 states with “trigger laws” banning abortion after the Supreme Court's decision to overturn federal protections, lawmakers in the Republican-controlled state are ready to further restrict the procedure. Shortly after the high court's ruling came down Friday, Gov. Henry McMaster said he would immediately work with the state legislature to find "the best solution for protecting the lives of unborn South Carolinians.” A federal appeals court in February blocked the law signed by McMaster last year that banned most abortions after six weeks. The state attorney general's office asked the appeals court to lift its injunction Friday.

                With an eye on the upcoming July Fourth weekend, airlines are stepping up their criticism of federal officials over recent widespread flight delays and cancellations. The industry trade group Airlines for America said Friday that understaffing at the Federal Aviation Administration is crippling traffic along the East Coast. The airlines say they are doing everything they can to keep customers happy, including hiring more pilots and customer-service agents. The airlines are pushing back a week after Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg called them to a virtual meeting and threatened to punish carriers that fail to meet consumer-protection standards.

                Ukrainian officials say their country's forces are withdrawing from a besieged eastern city to move to stronger positions. The industrial city of Sievierodonetsk, the administrative center of the Luhansk region, has faced relentless Russian bombardment. Ukrainian troops fought the Russians in house-to-house battles before retreating to a huge chemical factory on the city’s edge, where they holed up in its sprawling underground structures with civilians. Luhansk Gov. Serhiy Haidai said Friday that the Ukrainian troops have been ordered to leave Sievierodonetsk, which has been reduced mostly to rubble and seen its population decline from an estimated 100,000 to 10,000.

                The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision allowing states to ban abortion is stirring alarm among LGBTQ advocates. They fear that the ruling could someday allow a rollback of legal protections for gay relationships, including the right for same-sex couples to marry. In the majority opinion issued Friday that overturns the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, Justice Samuel Alito said the decision applied only to abortion. But critics discounted that statement. In a separate concurring opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas said the court should review other precedents, including decisions legalizing same-sex marriage and striking down laws criminalizing gay sex. A protester at a Topeka, Kansas, abortion-rights rally said conservatives would not stop with abortion.

                Moroccan authorities say 18 migrants were killed and scores of migrants and police officers were injured in a “stampede” of people trying to cross into the Spanish North African enclave of Melilla on Friday. Some 130 migrants breached the border between Morocco and Melilla on Friday, the first such incursion since Spain and Morocco mended diplomatic relations last month. A spokesperson for the Spanish government’s office in Melilla said about 2,000 people attempted to enter the North African city. Morocco’s Interior Ministry said in a statement that the casualties occurred when people tried to climb the iron fence.

                Democratic leaders across the nation are vowing to help women who travel to seek abortions. They also pledged Friday to shield patients and medical professionals from being pursued by authorities in states where the procedure becomes outlawed after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade. On the West Coast, the Democratic governors of California, Washington and Oregon issued a joint “multi-state commitment,” saying they will work together to defend patients and care providers. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, also a Democrat, emphasized the importance of the November election. In that state, the GOP controls the Legislature but lacks veto-proof majorities to outlaw abortion.

                Doctors across Wisconsin have stopped providing abortions, even as questions remain about the enforceability of a 173-year-old state ban. The state's abortion providers took the step Friday immediately after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that guaranteed the right to abortion nationwide. Wisconsin has an 1849 law that bans abortion, except to save the life of the mother, but whether that law is enforceable is expected to be challenged in court. Planned Parenthood Wisconsin Medical Director Kathy King says nearly 70 women had abortion procedures scheduled for Friday and Saturday, but that the group instead helped those women make appointments for abortions in states where it's legal.

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                “I grew up in Long Island and moved to Whitehall, New York with my family when I was 18 years old. I was not sure what I wanted to do for work. I went to college and was referred to Warren Washington Albany ARC (WWAARC) by my cousin. I started working there as a Direct Support Professional p…

                “I cannot remember a time when I did not want to be a nurse. I have been a Registered Nurse since 1993. Right now, I work full time as a Registered Nurse Care Manager for Hudson Headwaters Health Network, in the Homeward Bound (Pathways) Program. This is a program for patients with chronic i…

                “I was born and raised in Queensbury. I began working in the healthcare field at the age of 20 in the Glens Falls Hospital Pathology Lab.  It was then and there that I realized my place was in healthcare. I had no idea at the time where in the healthcare field I would find my place, but knew…

                “I grew up in Hudson Falls. As an adult, I’ve made my home in Queensbury, where I live with my two daughters, Avary and Mya, my significant other Mike, his daughter Emma, and our dog Marley.

                A judge has ruled that Alaska elections officials do not need to put the fifth-place finisher in this month’s U.S. House special primary on the upcoming special election ballot in place of a candidate who withdrew. Superior Court Judge William Morse issued an order Friday agreeing with the Alaska Division of Elections’ reading of the law. His decision was appealed. The division’s director had said that because independent Al Gross withdrew less than 64 days before the election, state law did not permit the division to put the fifth-place candidate, Republican Tara Sweeney, on the special election ballot in his place. A lawsuit challenging that interpretation was filed by three registered voters.

                Religious Americans are deeply divided in their views on abortion. That is clearly reflected in reactions from faith leaders to the Supreme Court’s momentous ruling overturning Roe v. Wade and the constitutional right to abortion. The decision is being hailed by leading Catholic bishops, even though a majority of U.S. Catholics support abortion rights. It's also welcomed by many evangelical Christian leaders. Some mainline Protestant leaders are decrying the ruling, however. Several Jewish organizations say the decision infringes on Jewish traditions that accept the need for abortions.

                Evidence in the corruption trial of State Auditor Kathy McGuiness suggests that McGuiness expected an employee to handle a controversial contractor payment that is at the heart of the criminal case. But the defense said Friday that McGuiness had no way of knowing the employee tasked with handling such payments wouldn't be available. That's because she decided to quit while on vacation. McGuiness is being tried on felony counts of theft and witness intimidation, and other misdemeanor charges. Prosecutors allege, among other things, that McGuiness orchestrated the no-bid contract in question then deliberately kept the contract payments under $5,000 to avoid having to get them approved by the Division of Accounting.

                South Dakota Republicans are meeting to choose candidates for attorney general, lieutenant governor and other offices with the impeachment conviction and removal of Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg hanging over the convention in Watertown. Former Attorney General Marty Jackley and Division of Criminal Investigation Director David Natvig both want to be considered for the role. Lt. Gov. Larry Rhoden, who is closely allied with Gov. Kristi Noem, faces a challenger from former House Speaker Steve Haugaard, who lost a primary campaign to Noem earlier this month. Delegates also will choose their nominee for secretary of state and will try to forge a united platform after months of Capitol infighting.

                Qatar’s emir has arrived in Cairo, his first visit to the country following years of frayed ties and a boycott of Doha by four Arab states, including Egypt. Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani was greeted at the airport on Friday by President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, a courtesy only granted to leaders of heavyweight allies. The visit comes ahead of President Joe Biden’s anticipated trip to the Middle East next month. The emir’s visit came less than two months after his government announced that it would invest $5 billion in Egypt.

                The Tennessee attorney general’s office has filed an emergency motion asking a federal appeals court to let the state immediately begin banning abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy. The state also has a trigger law that was written to ban nearly all abortions if Roe v. Wade was overturned. That ban cannot take effect until 30 days after Friday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling. But the six-week ban could be implemented as early as next week, if the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agrees to lift a court injunction. Planned Parenthood officials say they plan to keep providing abortions for now.

                Kentucky’s so-called trigger laws means abortion has largely been outlawed in the state upon the U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade on Friday. The state’s only two abortion clinics, both in Louisville, halted abortions Friday. The Kentucky law passed in 2019 declares that abortion would become illegal “effective immediately” if Roe v. Wade is overturned. The measure contains a narrow exception allowing a physician to perform a procedure necessary to prevent the death or permanent injury of a pregnant woman. Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear said the ruling triggers a ban that also includes victims of rape or incest. Republican state Attorney General Daniel Cameron, a candidate for governor, hailed the ruling as “a new era.”

                Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has tested positive for COVID-19. A news release from the governor's office disclosed the positive test Friday. Edwards says he does not currently have any symptoms and will follow recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and will isolate for five days. His office says the Democratic governor is fully vaccinated against the coronavirus and has received his recommended booster doses. A spokesperson says Edwards traveled Sunday to California for a conference and returned to Louisiana on Thursday.

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