Georgia candidates decry plan to close voting sites in mostly black county

Georgia candidates decry plan to close voting sites in mostly black countyThe two-member local elections board is expected to vote on Friday on a proposal to shutter seven of nine polling sites in rural Randolph County, located in southwest Georgia, where roughly 60 percent of the 7,800 residents are black. Both Stacey Abrams, the Democratic nominee who is seeking to become the first female African-American governor in U.S. history, and Republican candidate Brian Kemp, who is white and serves as Georgia's secretary of state, urged county officials to drop the plan. "Although state law gives localities broad authority in setting precinct boundaries and polling locations, we strongly urged local officials to abandon this effort and focus on preparing for a secure, accessible, and fair election for voters this November," Kemp said in a statement.



South Carolina woman walking dog killed by alligator

South Carolina woman walking dog killed by alligatorA witness called police to report an alligator was attacking a woman at a lagoon on Hilton Head Island, a popular tourist destination, the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office said in a statement. Police recovered her body and identified the victim as Cassandra Cline of Hilton Head Island. The alligator believed to be responsible for the attack was captured and killed, said Robert McCullough, a captain for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.



Pope vows no more cover ups on sexual abuse in letter to Catholics

Pope vows no more cover ups on sexual abuse in letter to CatholicsPope Francis, facing sexual abuse crises in several countries, wrote an unprecedented letter to all Catholics on Monday, asking each one of them to help root out "this culture of death" and vowing there would be no more cover ups. In a highly personal letter addressed to "the people of God," Church language for all members, the pope appeared to be launching an appeal for all Catholics to face the crisis together and not let it tear the Church apart. The Catholic Church in the United States, Chile, Australia, and Ireland - where the pope is making a two-day visit this weekend - are reeling from crises involving sexual abuse of minors.



U.S. health secretary says agency can eliminate drug rebates

U.S. health secretary says agency can eliminate drug rebatesSuch rebates are negotiated in the United States by pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs) to lower the cost of medicines for their clients, including large employers and health plans that cover tens of millions of Americans. Drugmakers say they are under pressure to provide rebates to the few PBMs that dominate the market, which include CVS , Express Scripts and UnitedHealth's Optum , and that those payers do not pass on enough of those savings to patients - a contention the PBMs dispute. The drugmakers say the rebates force them to raise the price of their therapies over time to preserve their business.



Exclusive: Pentagon raises alarm about sharp drop in Iraqi refugees coming to U.S.

Exclusive: Pentagon raises alarm about sharp drop in Iraqi refugees coming to U.S.The Pentagon is concerned that not providing safe haven to more of the Iraqis, many of whom interpreted and did other key tasks for U.S. forces, will harm national security by dissuading locals from cooperating with the United States in Iraq and other conflict zones, the officials said. In a closed-door White House meeting last week devoted to the Iraqi issue, officials focused largely on the Federal Bureau of Investigation's method of conducting certain deep background checks on the Iraqis, and identified it as a major source of the drop in admissions, said the two officials aware of the discussions, who declined to be named. As of Aug. 15, just 48 Iraqis have been admitted to the United States this fiscal year through a special refugee program meant for people who worked for the U.S. government or American contractors, news media or non-governmental groups, according to data provided by the State Department.





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