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Kathy Gannon has reported on Afghanistan for the AP for the past 35 years, during an extraordinary series of events and regime changes that have rocked the world. Through it all, the kindness and resilience of ordinary Afghans have shone through for her – which is also what has made it so painful for her, she says, to watch the slow erosion of their hope. Gannon says she has always been amazed at how Afghans stubbornly hung on to hope against all odds, greeting each of several new regimes with optimism. But by 2018, a Gallup poll showed that the fraction of people in Afghanistan with hope in the future was the lowest ever recorded anywhere. It didn’t have to be this way, Gannon says.

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Kathy Gannon has reported on Afghanistan for the AP for the past 35 years, during an extraordinary series of events and regime changes that have rocked the world. Through it all, the kindness and resilience of ordinary Afghans have shone through for her – which is also what has made it so painful for her, she says, to watch the slow erosion of their hope. Gannon says she has always been amazed at how Afghans stubbornly hung on to hope against all odds, greeting each of several new regimes with optimism. But by 2018, a Gallup poll showed that the fraction of people in Afghanistan with hope in the future was the lowest ever recorded anywhere. It didn’t have to be this way, Gannon says.

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State legislatures will be in the spotlight as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling giving the power to regulate abortion to the states. While overturning Roe v. Wade, the high court's majority said it was time to “return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.” But some question whether gerrymandering has diminished the ability of state legislatures to truly represent the people's will. Analyses of election data show that some state legislatures are skewed to the right or left because of the way districts have been drawn to favor Republicans or Democrats.

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A new poll finds a growing percentage of Americans calling out abortion or women’s rights as priorities for the government in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, especially among Democrats and those who support abortion access. The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll finds 22% of U.S. adults name abortion or women’s rights in an open-ended question as one of five problems they want the government to work on. That’s nearly tripled since December. The poll, which included interviews conducted before and after the Supreme Court’s ruling, finds prioritization of the issues grew sharply following the decision.

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A new poll shows about half of Americans say former President Donald Trump should be charged with a crime for his role in what happened on Jan. 6. The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll finds 48% of U.S. adults believe Trump should be held accountable for what happened during the deadly Capitol attack. The poll was conducted after the first five public hearings from the House committee investigating Jan. 6, 2021, and before Tuesday's surprise hearing with former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson. The explosive testimony proved to be the committee's most damning evidence yet to link the Republican former president to a federal crime.

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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.

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The Supreme Court has ruled that Americans have a right to carry firearms in public for self-defense, a major expansion of gun rights. The court struck down a New York gun law in a ruling expected to directly impact half a dozen other populous states. Thursday's decision came with recent mass shootings fresh in the nation’s mind and Americans emotionally divided on the issue. Across the street from the court, the Senate sped toward passage of its own national legislation, a gun law modest in scope but still the most far-reaching in decades.  Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for the high court's 6-3 conservative majority.

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Last month's mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, have produced a groundswell for change in Congress. Years of mass slayings of children, worshippers and others have not prompted lawmakers to pass significant legislation, until now. Buffalo and Uvalde came just 10 days apart, and the victims were elementary school students, teachers and shoppers engaged in everyday activities. Lawmakers say that's helped prompt a visceral public demand for Congress to finally do something. Feeling pressure to act, bipartisan bargainers produced a compromise gun violence bill that the Senate is moving toward approving later this week. House action is expected sometime afterward.

AP
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Israel’s weakened coalition government has announced that it will dissolve parliament and call new elections. The move sets the stage for the possible return to power of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or another period of prolonged political gridlock. The election will be Israel’s fifth in three years. It will put the polarizing Netanyahu, who has been the opposition leader for the past year, back at the center of the political universe. The previous four elections focused on Netanyahu’s fitness to rule while facing a corruption investigation. Opinion polls project him as the front-runner, but it is far from certain that his Likud party can secure the required parliamentary majority to form a new government.

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President Joe Biden’s top political advisers are bracing for big election losses in November. They know the party holding the White House nearly always losses congressional seats in the first midterm election of a new presidency. They also understand that gas prices racing past $5 per gallon on average, inflation exceeding its highest rates in four decades and crime rising in some areas could intensify historic headwinds. So could Biden’s low approval ratings. Some Democrats nonetheless worry the White House hasn’t fully grasped just how bad things may get and so far has been slow to prepare for that possibility.