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October 26, 2018

Last week, Dodge City, Kansas — an iconic Wild West town (see: Gunsmoke) of 27,000 that is now 60 percent Latino — made national news because Ford County had moved the city's one polling location outside city limits, more than a mile from the nearest bus stop. Then on Thursday, Kansas election officials acknowledged that county officials had sent newly registered voters an official certificate directing them to the old polling location, a notification Kansas Director of Elections Bryan Caskey acknowledged was "confusing." Ford County Clerk Debbie Cox was instructed to try and clean up the mess before the Nov. 6 election.

"I didn't know this could get worse, and it did: 'Hey, let's move the site and not tell new registrants where they are supposed to go,'" Johnny Dunlap, chairman of the Ford County Democratic Party, told The Associated Press. Dodge City officials noted pointedly that moving the polling location out of town was a county decision, not a city one, James Fallows says at The Atlantic, and the city has organized free bus service to the polling location. (Lyft has also offered free rides.)

"Among city and county leaders there's concern many of the stories are missing some of those details, like the fact Dodge City has had only one polling location for decades," reports local ABC affiliate KAKE. "They say voters are used to the crowds running an expected 13,000 plus voters through one polling site will create." The city had multiple polling locations until 2002, AP reports, when the Americans With Disabilities Act imposed new accessibility requirements. Other polling locations in Kansas serve an average of 1,200 voters.

Since the Supreme Court weakened the Voting Rights Act in 2013, 868 polling places were closed nationwide, according to a 2016 report from the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. The top election official in Kansas, Republican Kris Kobach, is also running for governor this year; he is the nation's foremost proponent of restrictive voter ID laws. Peter Weber

December 11, 2018

On Tuesday, the Senate voted 87 to 13 to approve a farm bill that will cost $867 billion over 10 years, legalize the production of hemp, expands farm subsidies to the extended family of farmers, permanently funds farmers markets and farmer-training programs, and doesn't add work requirements to receive food stamps, as House Republicans had wanted. The bill has the backing of President Trump, and it's expected to pass the House in the next week. The legislation will give a boost to farmers harmed by Trump's trade wars, especially with China.

Some Senate Republicans opposed the farm bill because of the extension of some agriculture subsidies to the nieces, nephews, and cousins of farmers, even those who don't work directly on the farm. House Republicans championed this measure, arguing it would encourage more people to become involved in farming. Peter Weber

December 11, 2018

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) may have laid down the law during a contentious meeting with President Trump on Tuesday, but the comments she made after the Oval Office sitdown were even more harsh.

Trump, Pelosi, and Senate Minority Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) sparred Tuesday over border walls and government shutdowns, quickly devolving from a rehearsed press conference into a shouting match. Pelosi, though, later characterized it as a "tirade" that spewed directly from the president, CNN's Manu Raju reports.

During the meeting, Trump interrupted Pelosi no less than 15 times in an attempt to prove he wouldn't sign a spending bill with less than $5 billion allocated for his border wall. Democrats have maintained they won't give up more than $1.6 billion.

After attempting to reason with Trump and shutting down a demeaning comment, Pelosi waltzed out of the Oval Office and into some private meetings. In one, Pelosi suggested Trump's insistence on building a wall is "like a manhood thing for him," a Pelosi aide tells CNN. "As if manhood could ever be associated with him," Pelosi reportedly added. Also in Pelosi-isms:

Pelosi, Schumer, and Trump all tussled over the spending bill set to expire Dec. 21. If a new bill isn't passed by then, the government will shut down. Kathryn Krawczyk

December 11, 2018

At least two people are dead and 11 are injured after a shooter opened fire in Strasbourg, France, French National Police tells NBC News.

The shooting happened near Strasbourg's Christmas market, which was being held under tight security measures after France was rocked by terror attacks in recent years, Reuters reports. A shooter has been identified as someone on a terrorist watchlist, per NBC News. They were shot by an Operation Sentinel soldier, but are still on the run, per AFP. Witnesses tell Reuters the gunshots lasted about 10 minutes, though it's not clear if all those shots came from the original shooter or police returning fire.

The European Parliament has a location in Strasbourg, which is on France's border with Germany, and a parliament member tells Euronews the building is on lockdown. Around 80 people sheltered in place in a nearby McDonald's, and residents around the market have been told to stay inside. France's counterterrorism prosecutor has already launched an investigation into the attack, per BBC.

More than 130 people died in 2015 when terrorists attacked a concert hall and other spots around Paris. In 2016, a terrorist drove a car into vacationers in Nice, killing more than 80. These past incidents led authorities to check bags before visitors could enter the Strasbourg market and unauthorized vehicles were banned from getting close, Reuters says. Kathryn Krawczyk

December 11, 2018

A set of treasured Philippine church bells will soon ring where they belong once again.

On Tuesday, the U.S. returned a set of three bells it stole during the Philippine War back in 1901. Filipinos have long called for the bells' return, and America's ambassador to the country says this signals a solidification of the two countries' friendship, The New York Times reports.

The Bells of Balangiga first hung in a Catholic church in the Spanish-colonized Philippines. But the island nation came under U.S. control in 1898, quickly sparking the Philippine-American war. Balangiga was the site of a particularly harsh killing of U.S. troops, and after winning the war, Americans returned to the town to steal the bells and kill thousands of villagers. One bell has since stood at a U.S. Army base in South Korea, and the other two were at a Wyoming Air Force base, per The Associated Press.

Since then, ambassadors and president from both countries worked to get the bells sent back, America's ambassador to the Philippines tells Fox News. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte demanded the bells be returned last year, calling them a "symbol of our national heritage." He'll be at a ceremony later this week when the bells are officially reinstalled.

Some American veterans and officials wanted to hold onto the bells as "memorials to American war dead," AP writes. But President Trump's administration, namely Defense Secretary James Mattis, said the move would benefit America's national security and strengthen its relationship with the island country. Kathryn Krawczyk

December 11, 2018

It looks like White House Chief of Staff John Kelly might stay in the role a bit longer than expected.

White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway told Fox News Tuesday that Kelly will remain in the White House until "at least" Jan. 2, reports The Washington Post. President Trump specifically said that Kelly would be leaving by the end of the year, but that was before Nick Ayers, Vice President Mike Pence's chief of staff, decided to turn down the job and leave Washington entirely. The New York Times reported that Ayers was Trump's only real choice to replace Kelly and that he had no back-up plan.

When asked whether Kelly might stick around beyond Jan. 2, Conway suggested that's a possibility. "That's up to the president and that's up to the chief of staff, General John Kelly, certainly," she told Fox News. But there will be "a very peaceful and pragmatic transition" to whomever Trump chooses, Conway said. Trump on Tuesday insisted that "many" people want the chief of staff job but said that he's in "no rush" to find his replacement, per The Hill. Brendan Morrow

December 11, 2018

The oldest known wild bird in the world has laid yet another egg, NPR reports.

Wisdom, a Laysan albatross who researchers estimate is at least 68 years old, has laid almost 40 eggs, and she returns to the Midway Atoll refuge to nest year after year. She has mated with another bird, Akeakamai, and laid an egg each year since 2006, later living through a tsunami and flying an estimated total of more than three million miles.

Scientists didn't even know Laysan albatrosses could live past the age of 40 before Wisdom, who was first banded in 1956, the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge says. She has been closely watched by researchers and has taught them quite a bit about her species, per The Guardian, which notes that Laysan albatrosses don't typically breed every year without taking a break, especially not into such advanced age. In that way, she "does seem to be exceptional," one wildlife biologist observed. Brendan Morrow

December 11, 2018

Selena Quintanilla is coming to Netflix in a scripted series developed and produced by the Quintanilla family. Selena: The Series will be "a coming of age story" about the singer's life, per The Hollywood Reporter.

Quintanilla was born in Texas and became a singer, songwriter, model, actress and fashion designer. She was the first female Tejano artist to win a Grammy award, which she won for best Mexican/American album in 1994, and ranks as the best-selling female artist in Latin music history.

The singer's life was cut short when she was shot and killed in 1995 at age 23 by the president of her fan club, Yolanda Saldívar. Saldívar was convicted of murder and is serving a life sentence in jail, per the Reporter.

"Selena will always have a lasting place in music history and we feel great responsibility to do justice to her memory," Selena's sister, Suzette Quintanilla, said in a statement. “With this series, viewers will finally get the full history of Selena, our family, and the impact she has had on all of our lives."

The script will be written and executive produced by Moisés Zamora, along with Campanario Entertainment president Jaime Davila, Rico Martinez, Suzette Quintanilla, Selena's father Abraham Quintanilla Jr. and Simran A. Singh.

The Tejano superstar's story was previously told in the 1997 film Selena, with Jennifer Lopez starring in the titular role. There is no word yet on casting or a release date for Selena: The Series. Taylor Watson

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