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The flagship climate change and health care bill passed by Democrats and soon to be signed by President Joe Biden will bring U.S. taxpayers one step closer to a government-operated electronic free-file tax return system. It’s something lawmakers and advocates have been seeking for years. For many Americans, it’s frustrating that beyond having to pay sometimes hefty tax bills, they also have to shell out additional money for tax preparation programs or preparers because of an increasingly complex U.S. tax system. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says, “It’s definitely something we should do, and when the IRS is adequately resourced, it’s something that will happen."

    Police and court records show the main suspect in the slaying of four Muslim men in Albuquerque has committed regular acts of violence in the six years since he resettled in the United States. Police believe 51-year-old Afghan refugee Muhammad Syed tracked the movements of his victims before ambushing them late at night, motivated seemingly by interpersonal conflicts. He is charged in the deaths of two men and is the primary suspect in the slayings of two others. Syed has denied involvement in the killings. Members of Albuquerque's small, close-knit Muslim community are coming to terms with the idea that maybe they never really knew Syed.

      Republican Roy Moore of Alabama has won a defamation lawsuit against a Democratic-aligned super PAC over campaign ads dating to his failed 2017 Senate bid. A jury awarded Roy Moore $8.2 million in damages Friday after finding a Democratic-aligned super PAC made false and defamatory statements with a TV ad during the U.S. Senate race in Alabama. Moore called the ruling a vindication. The Senate Majority PAC argued the ad was substantially true and planned to appeal. Moore is a former judge known for backing public display of the Ten Commandments and hardline stances against same-sex marriage. Misconduct allegations against Moore rocked his 2017 race, which was won by a Democrat.

      CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin says he's leaving the network, nearly two years after the Zoom incident that derailed his career. Toobin had stepped away from CNN after exposing himself in a Zoom call with colleagues from The New Yorker magazine, which fired him. CNN kept him off the air for eight months, but he returned in 2021 to provide commentary on trials and court decisions. In a tweet on Friday, Toobin said he had decided to leave. He said he was glad to make his final appearance on the network with colleagues Wolf Blitzer, Anderson Cooper and Don Lemon.

      Court papers show that the FBI recovered documents  labeled “top secret” from former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. The papers released Friday indicate the seized records include some that were marked top secret and also “sensitive compartmented information,” a special category meant to protect the nation’s most important secrets and those that if revealed publicly could cause “exceptionally grave” harm to U.S. interests. The court records did not provide specific details about what information the documents might contain. Trump backed the warrant’s “immediate” release, but contended the government could have had them any time by asking.

      Dozens of firefighters are battling a large wildfire in a rural area of Hawaii's Big Island. No homes are threatened. Gusts and arid conditions are making it difficult to contain the blaze. The fire started in the western reaches of the U.S. Army’s Pohakuloa Training Area, which is above the town of Waikoloa and between Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea volcanoes. The fire has burned more than 39 square miles as of Friday. Strong winds have been recorded across the area, some in excess of 30 mph.

      Pennsylvania Senate candidate John Fetterman is acknowledging he is lucky to be alive as he officially returns to the campaign trail. He's been sidelined for more than 90 days after suffering a stroke that threatened the Democrat's life and political strength in one of the nation’s premier Senate contests. Fetterman spoke Friday for nearly 11 minutes, haltingly at times, as he addressed several hundred voters packed inside an Erie convention center. The 52-year-old lieutenant governor says: “Tonight for me, it’s about being grateful — just grateful. Three months ago my life could have ended.” Republican opponent Dr. Mehmet Oz has railed against Fetterman's prolonged absence throughout the summer.

      A Southern California freeway has been closed and nearby homes are evacuated as a chemical reaction inside a railroad tank car threatens to cause an explosion. The tank car is parked on a spur off a main rail line alongside Interstate 215 in Riverside County, about 57 miles east of Los Angeles. Authorities said Friday that the evacuation zone extends a half-mile in all directions and that it includes 170 residences. The area has a mix of businesses and undeveloped land between the small city of Perris and sprawling March Air Reserve Base. County fire officials identified the chemical as styrene, which is used to make foam products.

      The Idaho Supreme Court says Idaho’s strict abortion bans will be allowed to take effect while legal challenges play out in court. The state's highest court made the ruling late Friday afternoon. A doctor and a regional Planned Parenthood affiliate sued the state earlier this year over three anti-abortion laws, all of which were designed to take effect this year now that the U.S. Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade. Under the new ruling, a near-total criminalizing all abortions takes effect Aug. 25. The law says anyone performing or assisting with an abortion may be charged with a felony, but physicians can attempt to defend themselves by saying the procedure was necessary to save a life.

      A former candidate for Yakima County commissioner has pleaded guilty and was sentenced to probation for her role in the Jan. 6 insurrection. KIMA-TV reports 50-year-old Lisa Homer pleaded guilty this week to one count of illegally demonstrating inside the U.S. Capitol, a misdemeanor. As part of a plea deal, prosecutors dropped charges of illegally entering the capitol and disorderly conduct. She was sentenced to three years of probation, community service and fines. A report by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force says video evidence shows Homer participating in chants led by members of the far-right Proud Boys. Homer, formerly of Yakima, also entered the Capitol Building, according to the report.


      Content by Brand Ave. Studios. The annual Amazon Prime Day is coming July 12 and 13, and per usual will offer discounts on many of your favorite things.

      Content by Brand Ave. Studios. The annual Amazon Prime Day is coming July 12 and 13, and per usual will offer discounts on many of your favorite things.

      A sheriff says a 48-year-old man has been charged with open murder in connection with a fatal assault at the General Motors assembly plant in Orion Township. Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said Friday that a magistrate authorized a warrant charging the suspect with a crime that could result in a life sentence in prison if convicted. The suspect was expected to be arraigned Saturday morning. He was being held in the Oakland County Jail. Gregory Lanier Robertson, 49, of Pontiac died in the Thursday slaying. The Oakland County Medical Examiner’s Office says Robertson died of multiple blunt force injuries.

      The family of country singer Naomi Judd filed an amended court petition to seal police reports and recordings made during the investigation into her death. The family said Friday the records contain video and audio interviews with relatives in the immediate aftermath of her death and releasing such details would inflict "significant trauma and irreparable harm.” Judd died at the age of 76 on April 30 at her home in Tennessee. The court filing also included details about how Ashley Judd found her mother alive after she shot herself. Ashley stayed by her mother’s side for 30 minutes until help arrived.

      Kansas’ elections director says the state will go along with a request for a hand recount of votes from every county after last week’s decisive statewide vote affirming abortion rights, even though there was a 165,000-vote difference and a recount won’t change the result. Melissa Leavitt, of Colby, declined to comment to reporters Friday evening about her request for a recount. Kansas law requires her to put up a bond to cover the cost. Also seeking a recount is state Sen. Caryn Tyson, who is trailing state Rep. Steven Johnson in the Republican primary for state treasurer by about 400 votes out of nearly 434,000 cast. She is asking for a hand recount in about half the state’s 105 counties.

      A pipeline carrying diesel has cracked open and spilled more than 45,000 gallons of fuel in a rural area of eastern Wyoming. The ruptured line is owned by a company that is being sued by federal prosecutors over previous spills in North Dakota and Montana. Joe Hunter with Wyoming's Department of Environmental Quality says that cleanup work is ongoing from the spill that was discovered July 27 on private ranch land near the small community of Sussex. The line is operated by Bridger Pipeline, a subsidiary of Casper, Wyoming-based True companies. Federal prosecutors have alleged in a pending federal court case that previous spills on the companies' lines violated environmental laws.

      A federal judge has sentenced a San Diego man to 18 years in prison for piloting a small vessel overloaded with 32 migrants that smashed apart in powerful surf off San Diego’s coast last year, killing three people. U.S. District Judge Janis L. Sammartino said at Antonio Hurtado's sentencing Friday that it was the “most egregious case" he's seen in his courtroom. Prosecutors say Hurtado drove migrants into pounding surf while high on drugs and then jumped overboard, abandoning the passengers. More than two dozen people were injured. Hurtado's lawyer could not be reached for comment.

      Leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention say that several of their denomination’s major entities are under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice. The SBC’s statement gave few details about the investigation, but indicated it dealt with sexual abuse. The SBC, the largest Protestant denomination in the U.S., has been plagued by problems related to clergy sex abuse in recent years. Earlier this year, an SBC task force released a blistering 288-page report from outside consultant, Guidepost Solutions. The firm’s seven-month independent investigation found disturbing details about how denominational leaders mishandled sex abuse claims and mistreated victims.

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