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Christian Science Monitor

Vote counts: In Georgia, questions of fairness remain week after Election Day
Perhaps more than any other 2018 election, the Georgia governor’s race is an example of how the battle for access to voting 50 years after the civil rights movement has emerged as part of a broader struggle for constitutional rights.

Vote counts: In Florida, recount fuels widening electoral distrust
Confidence that elections are being conducted fairly is a cornerstone of a functioning democracy. As Florida undertakes a highly contentious recount, partisan accusations on both sides could have a far-reaching impact.

California utility company noted sparks shortly before fires
The day before the devastating wildfires began in California last week, utility Pacific Gas & Electric Co. requested access to some of its power lines, says a property owner. An investigation is now under way to determine if PG&E negligence was the cause of the fire. 

Breakfast with Tom Perez: why Democratic chair is upbeat about 2020
Tom Perez, chair of the Democratic National Committee, talks up his party's wins in the midterms, strategy for 2020, and his unending faith in the Buffalo Bills with reporters at a Monitor Breakfast.

In Florida Panhandle, resilience battles uncertain ability to rebuild
Poor rural communities inland were caught off guard by hurricane Michael, and lapses in long-term recovery efforts can exacerbate existing inequality, experts say. But there is a strain of resilience that does not lie far beneath the surface.

In bipartisan push, Medicare expands to give seniors in-home support
By next year, Medicare Advantage will offer additional services to seniors – including help with chores, safety devices, and home-delivered meals – in about 20 states. It's a rare moment of bipartisanship, supported by both Republican and Democratic lawmakers. 

Kemp declares victory in Georgia, but Abrams' campaign keeps counting
In Georgia's highly contested election for governor, former Secretary of State Brian Kemp has declared victory, but Stacy Abrams' campaign argues that there are enough outstanding votes to force a runoff. 

Trump administration poised to change asylum protocol
While federal law states that an immigrant can apply for asylum within a year of arriving in the United States, regardless of how they entered, President Trump plans to restrict asylum claims to those who apply only at a legal port-of-entry.

In California, raging wildfire forces thousands to evacuate
The entire community of Paradise, Calif., was forced to evacuate on Nov. 8 as a wildfire ripped through homes, supermarkets, businesses, schools, and other structures. Despite the chaos, firefighters and police worked hard to rescue vulnerable residents.

Democratic chair says Trump is 'absolutely' beatable in 2020
At a Monitor Breakfast, DNC Chairman Tom Perez pointed to Democratic wins in red states like Kansas, and the ouster of incumbent Sen. Dean Heller in Nevada, as indicators of what he calls a "50-state strategy" for the party.

On the stumps and on the march, women broke down barriers in 2018

After Sessions: How Trump move may shift dynamics of Mueller probe
President Trump's critics say the replacing of his attorney general is an attempt to end the Mueller investigation. But any subsequent moves by the acting AG to undercut the special counsel would be hard to conceal.

How a Massachusetts Republican became America’s most popular governor
Gov. Charlie Baker is Mr. Fix-it at a time when politics seems broken. In an era of slamming the other side, he listens to the other side.

In these bilingual classrooms, diversity is no longer lost in translation
When a second language is seen as an asset, not a burden, it can lead to a powerful byproduct: integration. Part of an occasional series on efforts to address segregation in schools.

In Florida, felons regain their right to vote
On Nov. 6, Florida voters passed Amendment 4, a measure restoring the voting rights of felons who have served their sentences. "Every community is impacted by this," says Neil Volz of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition. 

Mass shooting at California bar's 'college night' kills 13
A shooting late Wednesday night at Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, Calif., left at least 13 people dead, including the gunman, making it the most deadly mass shooting in the US since the Parkland, Fla., massacre in February. The motive is still unknown.

As Democrats regain power, will parties find a bridge on issues?
Divided government can lead to gridlock. But it can also open the door to bipartisanship because the parties must work together to accomplish anything. On issues from infrastructure to prescription drug costs, both sides say they see common ground.

Facing new political reality, Trump talks compromise but readies for combat
Can a leader offer compromise with one hand while keeping the other clenched in a fist? As a combative President Trump faced the press Wednesday, his message to congressional Democrats was mixed.

Why a global village thrives in this small Georgia town
Decades of refugee arrivals have reshaped Clarkston, a town on Atlanta’s outskirts. Amid a heated national debate over immigration and asylum, Clarkston’s churches are playing a key role in the integration of newcomers.  

New Mexico to send full delegation of people of color to the House
New Mexico will become the first state to send a delegation made up of people of color to the House. Deb Haaland and Ben Ray Luján will represent the state as Democrats, along with the winner of a close race between Yvette Herrell and Xochitl Torres Small.

Three take-aways from the 'choose your own narrative' midterms
Who won? It depends on which of these results you think is most important and how national politics plays out in months and years ahead.

Letter fom Pittsburgh: Community healing requires more than just voting
How should a community respond to a violent hate crime? Sentiment in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill suggests that politics and elections are a vital yet insufficient means to address society's ills.

As first Muslim women head to Congress, balancing symbolism and service
It'd be easy for a Palestinian-American woman to cast herself as primarily an opponent to the current administration. But she sees herself – and what she can do – as much more than that. 

USA Gymnastics to be decertified after years of turmoil
The US Olympic Committee has moved to decertify USA Gymnastics as the national gymnastics governing body in the wake of the conviction of former team doctor Larry Nassar for sexually assaulting gymnasts and the rapid resignation of three presidents in a row.

A midterm election as fraught as any in modern times

Service to country: In Kentucky, the fight to bring more veterans to Congress
Rep. Seth Moulton (D) of Massachusetts thinks Congress needs more courage. That’s why he’s out stumping for candidates who, like him, have served in the military.

In Midwest swing states, a 'red wall' for Republicans could crack
Two years ago no region proved so pivotal in the presidential race as the so-called Rust Belt. It’s still crucial two years later, in play again as some voters appear to question their loyalties to Trump.

No longer 'protected': A migrant policy shift upends deeply rooted lives
Over the past 20 years, Salvadoran migrant Julio Perez has built a legal life in the United States under government protection. But what seemed secure threatens to come crashing down. Part 5 of On the Move: the faces, places, and politics of migration.

Barnstorming with Trump in the ultimate campaign prop: Air Force One
At a dizzying succession of Make America Great Again rallies, President Trump makes the case for Republican candidates. But really, the crowd is there to see him.

The Real Gun Tragedy
Due to multiple high profile mass shootings, many parents and students fear that a school shooting will happen at their school. But school shootings - and even mass shootings - are statistically rare. This episode, we'll spend some time looking at the biggest culprit of gun deaths in the US: suicide.

On eve of Trump-era midterms, 'everything's at stake'
Democrats are relying on a blue wave to seize control of at least one chamber of Congress, most likely the House. If they do, President Trump could "become a lame-duck president," says one tea party activist. But it's far from certain which side will show up in the greatest numbers.

A border, a bus, then school begins in New Mexico
Schools in some US border towns have long enrolled Mexican-American students living on the other side. This humanitarian policy reveals complexities often missed in the national debate on immigration. 

Former military officials question troop surge at southern US border
Security experts and retired military officials wonder whether the migrant caravan does, in fact, pose a national security threat, and question the utility of thousands of soldiers engaging in border enforcement. 

Trump keeps immigration front and center with new asylum restrictions
As the midterm elections approach and a migrant caravan makes its way slowly to the US border, President Trump has promised a series of new restrictions on asylum seekers. Critics say Trump's speech Thursday was mostly designed to scare. 

Voter ID law may prevent some Native Americans from voting
The US Supreme Court recently upheld a state law in North Dakota that demands voters have ID cards with residential addresses. But many Native Americans do not have fixed addresses, making this law yet another barrier to voting.

Arming election officials: How cyber sensors are boosting ballot security
Russia’s success in 2016, according to some analysts, was to interfere in the election in a way that caused some Americans to doubt the sanctity of their own democratic processes. A new cyberdefense tool not yet widely in use offers promise in combating outside interference.

The conservative Christian college where Muslims feel welcome
Being a tiny minority in a community can amplify differences. But at BYU, a common history of being the "other" leads to a learning atmosphere of empathy. 

Prison where Bulger was killed has long history of violence
Three inmates have been killed at the United States Penitentiary Hazelton in West Virginia in the last six months, most recently notorious Massachusetts crime boss James "Whitey" Bulger. Lawmakers, advocates, and correctional officers have warned of the prison's violent culture, but there is no public record of action to address the concerns. 

In Tennessee Senate race, a clear test of centrism vs. ideology
In an era of political tribalism, does a bipartisan centrist represent the past or the future? That’s the question at the heart of a Senate race in Tennessee pitting partisanship against statesmanship.

For love of strangers: Behind the Jewish legacy of welcoming refugees
For many, the question of whether to accept refugees into the United States comes down to politics. For many Jews – as well as Muslims and Christians – it is “a matter of moral commitment.”

It’s alive! On Halloween, Frankenreads celebrate 200th anniversary of classic
Live readings of Mary Shelley’s Gothic classic around the world are offering a treat and a fresh sense of community for many of the book’s fans this Halloween.

In Congress, the representatives who don’t see ‘compromise’ as a dirty word
Is there a different way to govern in this era of hyperpartisan politics? Twenty-four Democrats and 24 Republicans in Congress think so. And they're staking their careers on it. 

Officials confront social media monitoring dilemma after Pittsburgh shooting
The suspect in the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting posted anti-Semitic rants on social network Gab, and had a neo-Nazi symbol as his cover photo. The discovery has prompted further discussion of what constitutes a threat serious enough for law enforcement action. 

Trump’s rhetorical style again adds scrutiny to power of words

US colleges face scrutiny for financial links to Saudi Arabia
US colleges and universities have received more than $350 million from the Saudi government this decade, according to an AP investigation. But after the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, some schools have decided to cut ties. 

Citing 'invasion' Trump sends thousands of soldiers to US-Mexico border
Even though a large caravan of Central American migrants walking on foot is 1,000 miles away from any US points of entry, the president has dispatched 5,200 military personnel to the border, more than double the troops fighting ISIS in Syria. 

To galvanize base before midterms, Trump suggests revoking birthright citizenship
As President Trump focuses on immigration going into the midterms, he has stirred anxiety about a caravan in Central American and dispatched troops to the border. Now he suggests an executive order could reverse a Constitutional guarantee to citizenship.

US has no domestic terrorism law: recent events cause some to wonder why
Malicious acts of terror in the US in the past week have renewed a debate about domestic terrorism laws. While some believe domestic terrorism belongs on the same "moral plain" as international terrorism, others worry about civil liberties protection. 

‘Lone wolves’ and the rhetoric that fuels them
When acts of shocking violence start to feel commonplace, it becomes imperative to explore what it is about our society that enables hate to flourish.

The subway helped segment Atlanta; soccer at its stations may help unite it
Soccer at the subway? Tie the sport and the transport system together, and suddenly connections form between people who would never have otherwise met.