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Groups opposed to Maine’s new law expanding abortion access won’t attempt to nullify the statute through a so-called People’s Veto referendum.

Republican Rep. Laurel Libby, leader of the Speak Up for LIFE group, said Wednesday that allies have decided to focus their resources on electing candidates who are opposed to abortions instead of collecting signatures and running a referendum campaign.

“At the end of the day, we want to put our effort into the most effective place possible,” Libby, a Republican from Auburn, told The Associated Press. That means flipping legislative seats, she said, particularly in the Maine House.

Wednesday marked the deadline to notify state officials of a People’s Veto, a constitutional provision allowing citizens to repeal legislation through a statewide vote. To move forward, more than 67,000 signatures would have been needed.

Mills presented the bill expanding abortion access after a Yarmouth woman came forward with her story about having to travel to Colorado for an abortion after learning at week 32 of her pregnancy that her unborn son had a fatal condition that would not allow him to survive.

Critics said the law’s language was broader than necessary if the goal was simply to allow abortions in instances of a fatal fetal anomaly later in a pregnancy. They also said the bill put too much power in the hands of doctors.

Passage was considered a foregone conclusion in the Legislature where Democrats controlled both chambers, and there were enough co-sponsors to ensure passage. But the vote was close in the House after emotional testimony.

Beside Maine, six states leave the decision to get an abortion to doctors and their patients, without restrictions. They are Alaska, Colorado, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon and Vermont, plus Washington, D.C.



Pakistan’s prime minister said Wednesday he is moving toward dissolving parliament, starting a possible countdown to a general election, as his chief political rival fought to overturn a corruption conviction that landed him in a high-security prison over the weekend.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif told lawmakers that he would seek approval from Pakistan’s president to disband the national assembly as its five-year term ends. With such an approval, a formality, a general election would typically have to be held within 90 days.

This year there’s a twist, though. A delay until the spring is possible if Pakistan’s election commission opts for redistricting ahead of an election, based on the results of a recent census.

The uncertainty over the election date coincides with the legal and political drama surrounding Sharif’s predecessor, Imran Khan. The 70-year-old popular opposition leader was convicted by an Islamabad court over the weekend of concealing assets and was immediately sentenced to three years in prison.

Khan has appealed the conviction which effectively removes him from the election campaign, at a time when his party seemed to be doing well in the polls.

The Islamabad High Court, where his appeal is being heard, said Wednesday that it wants to hear from the government and Pakistan’s election commission before making a decision on whether to overturn the conviction and order Khan’s release.

The commission last year disqualified Khan from holding public office for five years, accusing him of unlawfully selling state gifts and concealing assets as premier. Khan was notified of his disqualification again on Tuesday following his sentencing.

The court adjourned Wednesday without setting a date for the next hearing, dealing a blow to Khan’s legal team which has argued he is being held in unacceptably tough conditions at Attock prison, about an hour’s drive from Islamabad. The court’s eventual ruling could be appealed and heard by Pakistan’s Supreme Court.



A Russian court on Monday sentenced seven defendants to as little as three years in prison for distributing methanol-tainted drinks that killed 44 people.

The court in Yekaterinburg, Russia’s fourth-largest city, convicted the seven of charges including sale of goods that do not meet safety requirements and result in the deaths of two or more people; sentences ran from three to six years.

Prosecutors said the seven had illegally sold alcohol since 2020 and that in 2021 they sold drinks containing excessive amounts of methanol, which is commonly used as a solvent. A total of 51 people were sickened by the drinks, of whom 44 died.



Grieving families confronted the Pittsburgh synagogue shooter at his sentencing hearing Thursday, one day after a jury determined that capital punishment was appropriate for the perpetrator of the deadliest attack on Jews in U.S. history.

The hearing at the federal courthouse in Pittsburgh got underway, with some 22 witnesses — survivors of the 2018 massacre and relatives of the 11 people who were fatally shot — expected to deliver victim impact statements.

U.S. District Judge Robert Colville was expected to formally sentence Robert Bowers to death later Thursday.

“Mr. Bowers, you met my beloved husband in the kitchen. Your callous disregard for the person he was repulses me,” testified Peg Durachko, wife of 65-year-old Dr. Richard Gottfried, a dentist who was shot and killed. “Your hateful act took my soulmate from me.”

Mark Simon, whose parents, Bernice and Sylvan Simon, were killed in the attack, testified he still has their bloodied prayer shawl. He said he remains haunted by the 911 call placed by his mother, whom Bowers shot while she was on the line.

“My parents died alone, without any living soul to comfort them or to hold their hand in their last moments,” said Simon, condemning “that defendant” as evil and cowardly and urging the judge to show him no mercy.

“You will never be forgiven. Never,” Simon told Bowers.

Bowers, a 50-year-old truck driver from suburban Baldwin, ranted about Jews online before carrying out the attack at Tree of Life synagogue on Oct. 27, 2018. He told police at the scene that “all these Jews must die” and has since expressed pride in the killings.

Jurors were unanimous in finding that Bowers’ attack was motivated by his hatred of Jews, and that he chose Tree of Life for its location in one of the largest and most historic Jewish communities in the nation so he could “maximize the devastation, amplify the harm of his crimes, and instill fear within the local, national, and international Jewish communities.” They also found that Bowers lacked remorse.

The jury rejected defense claims that Bowers has schizophrenia and that his delusions about Jewish people spurred the attack.

Bowers, who was armed with an AR-15 rifle and other weapons, also shot and wounded seven, including five responding police officers.

He was convicted in June of 63 federal counts, including hate crimes resulting in death and obstruction of the free exercise of religion resulting in death.



X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, has threatened to sue a group of independent researchers whose research documented an increase in hate speech on the site since it was purchased last year by Elon Musk.

An attorney representing the social media site wrote to the Center for Countering Digital Hate on July 20 threatening legal action over the nonprofit’s research into hate speech and content moderation. The letter alleged that CCDH’s research publications seem intended “to harm Twitter’s business by driving advertisers away from the platform with incendiary claims.”

Musk is a self-professed free speech absolutist who has welcomed back white supremacists and election deniers to the platform, which he renamed X earlier this month. But the billionaire has at times proven sensitive about critical speech directed at him or his companies.

The center is a nonprofit with offices in the U.S. and United Kingdom. It regularly publishes reports on hate speech, extremism or harmful behavior on social media platforms like X, TikTok or Facebook.

The organization has published several reports critical of Musk’s leadership, detailing an increase in anti-LGBTQ hate speech as well as climate misinformation since his purchase. The letter from X’s attorney cited one specific report from June that found the platform failed to remove neo-Nazi and anti-LGBTQ content from verified users that violated the platform’s rules.

In the letter, attorney Alex Spiro questioned the expertise of the researchers and accused the center of trying to harm X’s reputation. The letter also suggested, without evidence, that the center received funds from some of X’s competitors, even though the center has also published critical reports about TikTok, Facebook and other large platforms.

“CCDH intends to harm Twitter’s business by driving advertisers away from the platform with incendiary claims,” Spiro wrote, using the platform’s former name.

Imran Ahmed, the center’s founder and CEO, told the AP on Monday that his group has never received a similar response from any tech company, despite a history of studying the relationship between social media, hate speech and extremism. He said that typically, the targets of the center’s criticism have responded by defending their work or promising to address any problems that have been identified.



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