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Top eight today

Top eight stories for today including the EU debated slapping sanctions on the head of the Russian Orthodox Church and imposing an embargo on Russian oil; A Massachusetts court ruled the new owners of a defunct church can’t just dig up the bodies in the church’s cemetery and move them; Attorney General Merrick Garland launched the Justice Department’s first-ever Office of Environmental Justice, and more.

National

Succession after Scalia: How the GOP outmaneuvered Roe v. Wade

The American public received a wake-up call this week when a draft opinion overruling Roe v. Wade leaked from the Supreme Court. While the thought of winding back reproductive rights some 50 years was a shock to some, court watchers have been anticipating this moment for years as the collision of constitutional hardball and luck created a conservative supermajority of justices to tackle a long-sought goal. 

Seated, from left: Justices Samuel A. Alito, Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., and Justices Stephen G. Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor . Standing, from left: Justices Brett M. Kavanaugh, Elena Kagan, Neil M. Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett. (Fred Schilling/Supreme Court via Courthouse News)

New federal agency pairs civil rights and environmental activism

Attorney General Merrick Garland launched the Justice Department’s first-ever Office of Environmental Justice on Thursday as part of a strategy laid out in the first month of the Biden administration.

Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks at the Department of Justice in Washington on April 26, 2021. (Mandel Ngan/Pool via AP)

Regional

The church closed. What happens to its graveyard?

A Coptic church that bought a defunct Episcopal church can’t just dig up the bodies in the church’s cemetery and move them, the Massachusetts Appeals Court ruled Thursday. 

(Image by Siggy Nowak from Pixabay via Courthouse News)

Chicago mayor chooses Bally’s for city’s first casino-resort

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Thursday morning that she has chosen a winner in the long-running race to build the city’s first major casino-resort.

In this rendering of its proposed casino, Bally's proposes a large entertainment campus situated along the banks of the Chicago River. (Bally's Chicago via Courthouse News)

International

EU eyes sanctions on Russian oil, church leader as war rages on in Ukraine

The European Union on Thursday was in heated discussions over whether to impose an embargo on Russian oil and freeze the assets of Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, for his statements in support of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

A Ukrainian serviceman walks next to an apartment building destroyed by night shelling in Kramatorsk, Ukraine, on Thursday, May 5, 2022. (AP Photo/Andriy Andriyenko)

Court adviser says EU residents can sue over pollution-related health problems

European Union citizens can sue their governments for failing to meet air pollution standards if their health has suffered as a result, an adviser to the EU’s high court said Thursday.

Smoke rises from a factory as a truck loaded with cars crosses a bridge in Paris in 2018. (AP Photo/Michel Euler, File)

Science

Lunar soil may hold key to better crewed missions to the moon

Chang’e 5 is the fifth lunar mission from the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program. As soon as the spacecraft returned to Earth with a sample, material scientists from Nanjing University got to work.

Impact craters cover the surface of the moon, seen from Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn, File)

Good news: Inbreeding may not doom vaquita porpoise to extinction after all

There are only about 10 vaquita porpoises left today in the world. But there’s a glimmer of hope on the horizon for the small marine mammals. A study published Thursday in the journal Science finds that inbreeding won’t necessarily doom the vaquitas — meaning that if the porpoises manage to procreate, they stand a fighting change of surviving as a species.

One of about 10 living vaquitas, a critically endangered porpoise species endemic to the northern part of the Gulf of California. (NOAA)

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