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TOKYO (AP) — The inclusion of two women among the four candidates vying to become the next prime minister seems like a big step forward for Japan's notoriously sexist politics. But their fate is in the hands of a conservative, mostly male governing party — and the leading female candidate has been criticized by observers for her right-wing gender policies.

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LONDON (AP) — Britons are encouraged these days — though in most cases not required — to wear face coverings in crowded indoor spaces. But Prime Minister Boris Johnson regularly appears in the packed, poorly ventilated House of Commons cheek-by-jowl with other maskless Conservative lawmakers.

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OLYMPIA, Wash. -- The Washington state Department of Health says it will immediately start offering booster doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to certain people after recommendations from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other groups.

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U.S. Census Bureau officials said Friday that they were pondering whether to produce less granular data in the next round of 2020 census data, dealing with housing and family relationships, in a decision that could upset researchers, city planners and others who rely on neighborhood-level information.

A year ago, Robin Bruce never thought she would be living in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and liking it. That was before she took advantage of a program, largely financed by the Walton Family Foundation, that is offering $10,000 incentives to entice new residents to the Ozarks region.

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BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said Thursday that he is hopeful the new conservative majority on the Supreme Court created during his and President Donald Trump's administration will soon overturn abortion rights in the United States.

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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — As a Dallas County commissioner, Elba Garcia represents some 670,000 people — nearly the population of a congressional district. The majority of her constituents are Latino and live in the fast-growing suburbs west of Dallas, where they share worries about managing growth, schools and access to health care.

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Families and patients have a new online tool to compare COVID-19 vaccination rates among nursing homes, Medicare announced Tuesday, addressing complaints from consumer groups and lawmakers that the critical data had been too difficult to find.

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Senators are asking the public to submit proposed maps on new districts in South Carolina based on the 2020 U.S. Census as a special House committee wraps up a series of public meetings on redistricting across the state.

BRUSSELS (AP) — The Belgian town of Aarschot has a vaccination rate of 94% of all adults, but Mayor Gwendolyn Rutten worries her town is too close for comfort to the capital of Brussels, where the rate stands at 63%. But there’s not much she can do about it.

BEIJING (AP) — After almost two years, an unmarried woman suing for the right to freeze her eggs in Beijing is getting her case heard in court Friday in a rare legal challenge against the country's restrictions on unmarried women in reproductive health.

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MIAMI (AP) — Florida surpassed 50,000 coronavirus deaths since the pandemic began, health officials reported Thursday, with more than one fourth of those succumbing this summer as the state battled a fierce surge in infections fueled by the delta variant.

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Republicans and Democrats on an independent commission tasked with drawing new political maps instead drew criticism Wednesday when they failed to agree on what they should look like and released competing versions.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Republican leaders defended their fast-track work to approve Indiana’s new congressional and legislative election districts over the next two weeks, pushing back Wednesday against critics who have argued that the public won’t have enough time to weigh in on the once-a-decade redistricting.

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