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    Georgia’s governor is extending the suspension of the state’s motor fuel tax through Nov. 11. Gov. Brian Kemp on Monday signed an executive order extending the suspension for a fifth time. Georgia’s gasoline price normally includes a state tax of 29.1 cents per gallon. Motorist group AAA says the average price for regular gas in Georgia is $3.17 a gallon. That’s down about 17 cents in a month, but up a nickel from last week. Kemp signed a broadly supported law in March that suspended Georgia's gas tax through May 31. Under state law, Kemp can extend the suspension if state lawmakers ratify the action later.

      Several media outlets have identified the mysterious woman who allegedly lured dozens of migrants on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ flights to Martha’s Vineyard from San Antonio. She is Perla H. Huerta, a former combat medic and counterintelligence agent living in Tampa. The New York Times, CNN, and the San Antonio Express-News reported her identity based on photos of her that they showed migrants and unnamed sources connected to the Bexar County Sheriff's Office investigation. The Associated Press tried numerous phone numbers for potential matches or possible relatives. The Bexar County Sheriff's Office office declined to confirm any 'persons of interest.’

        A rural county in Nevada where conspiracy theories about voting machines run deep is planning to start hand-counting its mail-in ballots two weeks before Election Day, but the process risks public release of early voting results. Several voting and civil rights groups said Monday they are objecting to the proposal and will consider legal action if Nye County pushes ahead with its plan. Nevada is one of 10 states that allow local election offices to begin tabulating ballots before Election Day, but the machines that typically do that are programmed not to release results. Hand-count tallies are done publicly for transparency, with observers in the room.

          President Joe Biden promises to “rebuild it all” after visiting Puerto Rico on Monday to survey damage from Hurricane Fiona, as tens of thousands of people remain without power two weeks after the storm hit. Biden says he's “committed to this island,” and acknowledges that Fiona was only the latest in a string of disasters that have battered the U.S. territory in recent years. The president says Puerto Ricans "haven’t gotten the help in a timely way.” The damage from Fiona, which came only five years after the even more powerful Hurricane Maria, will test his administration’s ability to help the island of 3.2 million people recover and bolster its defenses.

            Oregon Supreme Court Justice Thomas Balmer has announced that he will retire at the end of the year. Balmer said Monday he wrote a letter to Gov. Kate Brown announcing his retirement, calling it an honor and the privilege of a lifetime to serve on the high court. Balmer has been a member of the Supreme Court since 2001 and was chief justice from 2012 to 2018. He oversaw the statewide Oregon eCourt system project, among others. Brown said Balmer has brought a keen legal intelligence and a deep understanding of the state to the Supreme Court.

              The United Nations says it's ready to work on withdrawing peacekeepers on a mission in Congo, which was the target of deadly protests during the summer. The head of the peacekeeping mission says they're ready to work closely with the government to step up the pace of withdrawal. The U.N. force has over 14,000 troops and police there. Their mission is to protect civilians, deter armed groups, and build the capacity of state institutions and services. But protesters said armed groups were still roaming the east and the U.N. force wasn’t protecting them. The peacekeepers were also accused of retaliating against the protesters, sometimes with force.

                A jury has awarded a 2020 protester more than $1 million in a lawsuit she filed against the city of Salem accusing officers of violating her civil rights. Eleaqia McCrae, a Black woman, sued the city and the Salem Police Department in 2020, also accusing police of intentionally targeting Black people with deadly force during the protest following the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The Statesman Journal reported on Monday that a jury found McCrae proved that Officer Robert Johnston shot her in the eye and chest, and violated her “Fourth Amendment right not to be subjected to excessive force." Salem officials said they appreciated the jury’s work and respect their verdict.

                North Carolina’s State Board of Elections is directing county election officials not to engage in signature matching when reviewing absentee ballot envelopes this fall after a judge rejected the GOP appeal of a state board ruling prohibiting the practice. According to a directive sent to county election directors from the board’s legal counsel Paul Cox, the judge’s ruling maintains the status quo outlined in state law. Superior Court Judge Stephan Futrell ruled from the bench Monday afternoon, denying the party’s motion for a temporary restraining order and preventing the use of signature matching in the 2022 general election, state board spokesperson Pat Gannon said.

                Prosecutors are saying at the opening of the most serious case to reach trial in the attack on the U.S. Capitol that the founder of the Oath Keepers extremist group and four associates planned for an “armed rebellion” to stop the transfer of presidential power. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Nestler delivered his opening statement Monday in Washington’s federal court in the trial of Stewart Rhodes and others charged with seditious conspiracy. They are accused of a weekslong plot to stop the transfer of power from Republican Donald Trump to Democrat Joe Biden. Defense attorneys accused prosecutors of cherry-picking comments from messages and videos and said the government has no evidence there ever was any plan to attack the Capitol.

                Former President Donald Trump's rallies have always attracted a broad swath of supporters. They draw first timers taking advantage of their chance to see a president in person to devotees who camp out for days and follow him around the country like rock band groupies. But after spending much of the last two years obsessively peddling false claims of a stolen election, Trump is increasingly attracting those who have broken with reality. That includes adherents of the baseless QAnon conspiracy, which began in the dark corners of the internet and is premised on the belief that the country is run by a ring of child sex traffickers that only Trump can defeat.

                Missouri lawmakers are close to passing a $40 million package of tax breaks for farmers and other agricultural businesses. The Senate Appropriations Committee on Monday voted for the tax credits. The bill now heads to the full Senate for final approval. The bill is expected to come up for a final vote Tuesday. The bill extends several agricultural tax credits that have expired and creates new ones for biodiesel and fuel mixed with ethanol. It also expands government loan help for farmers.

                Attorneys for Indiana abortion rights supporters say there's no rush to suspend a judge’s decision temporarily letting abortions continue in the state. It’s the latest legal step in the fight over Indiana's recent abortion ban. In court documents Monday, lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana called the state’s motion “hastily filed,” and argued the case does not need to go to the state Supreme Court. The ACLU says lawyers for the state “have not established that an emergency exists" to justify taking the case to the Supreme Court. The Indiana attorney general’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.

                The Supreme Court said Monday it will hear two cases seeking to hold social media companies financially responsible for terrorist attacks. Relatives of people killed in terrorist attacks in France and Turkey had sued Google, Twitter, and Facebook. They accused the companies of helping terrorists spread their message and radicalize new recruits. The court will hear the cases this term with a decision expected before the court recesses for the summer, usually in late June. The court did not say when it would hear arguments, but the court has already filled its argument calendar for October and November.

                More than 1 million Minnesotans have qualified for bonus checks to frontline workers to recognize their work during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the payments will be for less than $500. The state will start sending out the payments Wednesday. The Legislature approved $500 million for eligible applicants, and Gov. Tim Walz signed it into law in April. Nearly 1.2 million applications were submitted this summer. The state approved 1,025,655 of them, which means the individual payments will be $487.45 apiece. Officials originally estimated a final pool of 667,000 frontline workers with payments of about $750 apiece, but applications exceeded expectations.

                The British government has dropped plans to cut income tax for top earners. The move was part of a package of unfunded cuts that sparked turmoil on financial markets and sent the pound to record lows. Treasury chief Kwasi Kwarteng said Monday that he would abandon plans to scrap the top 45% rate of income tax paid on earnings above 150,000 pounds a year. The announcement comes as more lawmakers from the governing Conservative Party turn on government tax plans. The announcement of 45 billion pounds in tax cuts sent the pound tumbling to a record low against the dollar. The Bank of England had to step in to stabilize the bond markets.


                Britain has sent a Royal Navy ship to patrol the North Sea, as Western allies try to increase protection for undersea pipelines and cables after blasts ruptured two natural gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea. The Ministry of Defense said a navy frigate is in the North Sea, working with the Norwegian Navy “to reassure those working near the gas pipelines.” The announcement came after a meeting of the Joint Expeditionary Force group of northern European nations. Undersea blasts that damaged the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines last week have led to huge methane leaks. Nordic investigators said the blasts have involved several hundred pounds of explosives.

                Top regulators are recommending a series of new safeguards to ensure that a growing and unregulated cryptocurrency market doesn’t imperil U.S. financial stability. Regulators are calling on Congress to pass legislation that would address the systemic risks caused by the growth of stablecoins, which are a form of cryptocurrency pegged to the price of another financial asset, like the U.S. dollar or gold. Recent volatility in the cryptocurrency market, especially in stablecoins, has made regulators particularly wary about the need for regulation as usage of the digital asset continues to grow. Members of the Financial Stability Oversight Council met Monday.

                North Carolina’s long-litigated photo voter identification law is now being evaluated by the state Supreme Court. Justices heard arguments Monday on whether it was reasonable for trial judges to throw out the law last year. That lower court determined the 2018 voter ID law was tainted by racial bias and designed to help Republicans retain their grip on the legislature. GOP legislative leaders say there's no such discrimination in the law and point to alterations they argue eliminate any disadvantage Black voters would have had. The Supreme Court didn't issue a ruling, and the case won't affect this fall's election. Voter ID still currently isn't required.

                Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, just five weeks before he is up for reelection, says that if he wins he will propose a 4% increase in funding for local governments each of the next two years. Evers said Monday that the money, totaling more than $91 million over two years, could be used to pay for public safety priorities. His plan includes $10 million in funding for local governments to be spent specifically on police, fire and emergency services costs. Evers also announced that he was immediately providing nearly $3.5 million in federal COVID-19 relief money to the Wisconsin State Patrol and campus police departments.

                The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal by the Connecticut State Police Union in its challenge of a police accountability law that allows public disclosure of certain state trooper personnel files and internal investigation reports. The court issued the rejection Monday and did not comment, under its typical practice. At issue were documents in internal probes that end with no finding of wrongdoing. The union argued the 2020 state law violates the troopers’ contract, which barred such documents from being released. Troopers say the law allows unfounded allegations to be made public and tarnish reputations. State officials say the law answered public calls for more police accountability and transparency.

                Virginia's Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin is calling for expanding nuclear power generation in the state, and reevaluating a recent clean energy law celebrated by environmentalists. His administration laid out those and other goals in a 29-page state energy plan unveiled Monday. The plan also calls for restoring greater authority to state regulators who oversee the state’s powerful utilities. The energy plan carries no force but offers insight on policy choices Youngkin’s administration may pursue. Environmental groups and some Democratic state lawmakers were broadly critical of Youngkin’s plan. They vowed Monday to push back on any attempt to roll back environmental reforms enacted in recent years.

                Ukrainian forces have scored more gains in their counteroffensive across a broad front. The troops advanced Monday in the very areas Russia is trying to absorb. Their breakthroughs challenged Russia's effort to engage fresh troops and its threats to defend incorporated areas by all means, including with nuclear weapons. Ukrainian forces penetrated Moscow’s defenses in the strategic southern Kherson region, one of the four areas Russia is annexing. Ukraine’s advances have become so apparent that even Russia’s Defense Ministry spokesman admitted the gains. He cited Ukraine's numerically superior tank units. Also Monday, Russia released from detention the head of Europe's largest nuclear power plant.

                Officials and witnesses say at least 20 people are dead and 36 others are wounded after extremist fighters targeted a local Somali government headquarters in the Hiran region. The town has been the center of a recent mobilization against extremists. The Somalia-based al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack in the town of Beledweyne. Somalia’s government earlier Monday announced that it and international partners had killed a top al-Shabab leader over the weekend. The Hiran governor survived the extremists' attack and told The Associated Press that the health minister of Hirshabelle state and the deputy governor of Hiran in charge of finance were among those killed Monday.

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