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James Ramos, the first member of a California Native American tribe to serve in the state legislature, authored a trio of new laws bolstering the rights of Native Americans in the state.

The measures, signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom in September, will go into effect on Jan. 1. One such law will make it easier for tribes in the state to reclaim sacred artifacts and the remains of their ancestors that have been held by museums and other institutions for decades.

Even though it's been a difficult year with the coronavirus pandemic, a politically-divided country and social unrest, there is a bright spot in one Kentucky town.

Two young girls are encouraging people to come together — using two words "Be kind."

The Department of Transportation said Wednesday it will no longer require airlines to make the same accommodations for emotional support animals as they do for trained service dogs. No more guaranteed free flights for comfort cats and dogs, therapy monkeys or miniature horse companions.

A service dog is trained to do work or perform a task to benefit an individual with a disability. Emotional support and psychiatric service animals function therapeutically. And starting in 2021, it will be up to individual airlines to decide whether or not treat the two the same.

On Monday, armed and masked gangsters attacked the Southern Brazilian city of Criciúma, in Santa Catarina state, just before midnight.

Updated at 4:52 p.m. ET

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer say a $908 billion coronavirus relief proposal should be the starting point for bipartisan aid.

It is the first time Pelosi, D-Calif., and Schumer, D-N.Y., have accepted any COVID-19 legislation other than the $2.2 trillion bill that passed the House of Representatives in October. But their shift to the moderates' plan comes after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., already rejected the bipartisan proposal.

As a tech journalist for the website The Verge, Casey Newton established himself as something of a Silicon Valley institution. Known for a mix of original reporting and gimlet-eyed analysis, his writing has become essential reading for those who want to better understand the industry.

This fall, he quit his steady job at The Verge to start an email newsletter with Substack, a San Francisco-based startup.

Campbell County, Va., is taking a stand against Gov. Ralph Northam's COVID-19 restrictions as its Board of Supervisors endorsed a measure Tuesday night that calls on county agencies not to enforce Northam's crowd-size limits and other orders.

Is a non-unanimous jury verdict in a criminal case ever constitutional?

Just months ago, the Supreme Court ruled for the first time that such verdicts violate the Sixth Amendment's right to a jury trial. But the 6-3 decision applied only to future cases. The justices, apparently divided at the time over whether the decision should apply to past cases, left that question for another day.

For those fighting the COVID-19 pandemic — and those hit hardest by it — a vaccine could be just weeks away, as the Food and Drug Administration weighs emergency approval for two vaccines. On Tuesday, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory panel recommended that the first vaccines should go to health care workers and residents and staff of long-term care facilities.

Early on in the coronavirus pandemic, as governments scrambled to find rapid and reliable coronavirus tests, three states ended up turning to a small public company that just months earlier had no major customers and was losing millions of dollars.

The Afghan government and the Taliban have agreed to forge ahead with substantive negotiations aimed at ending decades of almost continuous war in the country, representatives from the two sides said in near-twin tweets on Wednesday.

Although peace talks ostensibly began on Sept. 12 in Qatar, the negotiations quickly bogged down in procedural matters, like which form of Islamic law should govern disputes between negotiators.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered mass immunization against COVID-19 as Russia races to reverse a surge in coronavirus cases and be the first in the world to distribute its vaccine widely.

Putin issued the order in a videoconference with officials, just hours after health authorities in Britain approved Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine.

The U.N. Commission on Narcotic Drugs voted to reclassify cannabis Wednesday, taking it off the strict Schedule IV list that includes dangerous and highly addictive drugs such as heroin. The U.N. still deems cannabis a controlled substance. But the move, which the U.S. supported, could ease restrictions on research into marijuana's therapeutic use.

People buying their own health insurance have even more to think about this year, particularly those post-COVID-19 patients with lingering health concerns — the "long-haulers," who join the club of Americans with preexisting conditions.

What type of plan is best for someone with an unpredictable, ongoing medical concern? That question is popping up on online chat sites dedicated to long-haulers and among people reaching out for assistance in selecting insurance coverage.

While Democrats remain more likely than Republicans to support new measures aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19, a majority of U.S. adults from both political parties now agree more steps are needed to fight the pandemic, according to the latest results from a large ongoing survey.

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