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Top eight today

Top eight stories for today including Ukraine was ordered to allow refugees who fled war in eastern regions of the country to vote in local elections where they are living; Texas asked the Supreme Court to keep its near-total abortion ban in place; California could be forced to return millions of misused pandemic relief dollars to the federal government, and more.

National

Texas asks Supreme Court to keep abortion ban in place

Texas fired back at the Biden administration’s challenge to its nearly complete ban of abortions in a response brief filed Thursday asserting the government’s lawsuit was out of bounds, while also suggesting the court take another look at the validity of its landmark abortion decisions Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey

People participating in the Houston Women’s March against the Texas abortion ban walk from Discovery Green to City Hall on Oct. 2, 2021. (Melissa Phillip/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Illegal campaign finance trial of Giuliani’s Ukrainian cronies heads to jury

The campaign finance trial of Rudy Giuliani’s former business associate Lev Parnas approached its conclusion Thursday afternoon as attorneys delivered their closing arguments in the long-delayed criminal trial that was once forecast to expose corruption in the Trump administration’s shady dealings in Russia and Ukraine.

Lev Parnas walks past criminal court on Oct. 18, 2021, in New York. Parnas, a onetime associate of Rudy Giuliani, is accused along with a co-defendant of making illegal campaign contributions. (John Minchillo/AP)

Longest sentence yet given out to Jan. 6 defendant

A federal judge sentenced a Dallas man to 14 months in prison on Thursday for his role in the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot, unimpressed by his claim that he’s the victim of racism and astounded that he didn’t express more remorse for threatening to return to the Capitol two weeks later with a mob and weapons. 

Insurrectionists loyal to President Donald Trump breach the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Regional

Newsom backs tougher rules, buffer zone for oil wells

In a win for environmentalists and social justice organizations, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced new rules Thursday require 3,200 feet of buffer space between homes, schools and hospitals and new oil wells. 

Pumpjacks operating at the Kern River Oil Field in Bakersfield, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

Texas attorney general can’t dodge suit from fired whistleblowers

A Texas appeals court in Austin denied Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton’s request to dismiss a case over his firing of four high-ranking staff members who reported him to investigators on claims he accepted bribes from a campaign donor.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks at the Austin Police Association in Austin, Texas, in September 2020. (Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

Audit: California could have to repay feds millions in misused pandemic aid

A California agency loosely doled out pandemic relief and the state could be forced to return millions of misused funds to the federal government, according to an audit released Thursday.

(Image by Gunjan2021 from Pixabay)

International

Rights court tells Ukraine to let its war refugees vote in local elections

The European Court of Human Rights found that Ukraine is unjustly barring people who've fled the conflict in eastern Ukraine from voting in local elections.

A Ukrainian soldier takes position on the front line in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine in 2019. (Vitali Komar/AP)

European high court: Bulgaria must hear third-party claims over confiscated property

A Bulgarian court acted correctly when it stopped state prosecutors from confiscating cash that might have belonged to the family members of two men charged with drug offenses, Europe’s top court ruled Thursday

The European Court of Justice, based in Luxembourg, is the European Union’s supreme court in matters concerning EU law. (Molly Quell/Courthouse News)

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