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Christian Science Monitor




Study: US abortions now at lowest rate since Roe v. Wade
A survey released Tuesday by the Guttmacher Institute found that the annual number of abortions in the United States has dropped to the lowest rate since 1974. 

Consumer watchdog is a Trump target ... eventually
Republicans are eager to replace the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. But Trump has higher economic priorities, and Democrats are poised to fight for its current head, Richard Cordray.

Trump's big foreign policy change: looser ties with Europe
In a weekend interview that shocked European leaders, the president-elect expressed indifference to EU disintegration and reiterated campaign rhetoric that NATO was 'obsolete.' 

How young activists are reclaiming a more radical version of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Dr. King's disruptive tactics once earned him a reputation for divisiveness among most of the American public.

In urgent race to repeal Obamacare, rifts emerge in push for speedy reform
President-elect Donald Trump and many GOP lawmakers have repeatedly called for an immediate repeal of the Affordable Care Act, but others are urging caution, wary of the political repercussions that could follow a rushed repeal.

Days before Trump inauguration, writers gather to celebrate the power of language
Instead of wielding signs and chanting, the participants in the Writers Resist movement joined around the world to use prose passages and poems as a form of protest.

White House news conferences out of the White House: more access or less press?
The Trump transition team is considering moving White House news conferences out of the building, sparking fears it will diminish the role of the White House press corps. 

Is the new 'silencer' gun bill a matter of public safety?
Silencers, or suppressors, can protect a shooter's hearing while also reducing recoil, advocates say.

How SNL parodied Trump's press conference
Saturday Night Live's cold open sketch, starring Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump, touched on a number of contentious issues surrounding the president-elect's transition. 

Could new 'clip-on' evidence help crack the D.B. Cooper case?
Three amateur scientists given access to the clip-on tie left behind on the hijacked plane found more than 1,000 particles on it, which they say could lead to the true identity of the infamous skyjacker. 

How mentoring helps Aboriginal teens create new futures
Ninety-three percent of AIME’s 12th-grade Aboriginal students graduated from high school, exceeding Australia's overall graduation rate.

NFL Playoffs: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Kansas City Chiefs
The final game of the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs may turn out to be the weekend’s best as the Pittsburgh Steelers travel to Kansas City.

For many, problems with Obamacare are personal, not partisan (+video)
Many Americans are conflicted on Obamacare. They like what it does for others but say it is too expensive and doesn't offer good options for them.

Terror and the Mexico border: How big a threat?
Conservatives and the Obama administration have long disagreed about the threat of terrorists coming across the Mexico border. Data suggest the threat is not insignificant. Now, the Trump administration is poised to make it a priority. 

Are terrorists crossing the US-Mexico border? Excerpts from the case file.
There have been no terror attacks in the US homeland linked to the Mexico border, but the idea of terrorists using the frontier to gain access to the US is not merely hypothetical.

UC Davis: Protests shut down controversial speakers (+video)
Protesters gathered at UC Davis Friday night to condemn speeches from right-wing commentator Milo Yiannopoulos and pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli, prompting a last-minute cancellation.

Why an HBCU marching band will perform at Trump's inauguration
President-elect Trump has drawn no shortage of criticism from civil rights groups. That isn't stopping historically black Talladega College from sending its marching band to the inauguration. 

Changing of the (national) guard: DC commander to step down on Inauguration Day
A political appointee, Army Maj. Gen. Errol R. Schwartz will be removed the moment Donald Trump is inaugurated as president. It's an unorthodox step that may signal the incoming administration's priorities.

Police see shifts in what it means to wear the badge
Many police are starting to think about their jobs differently, so when it comes to police reform, police and civilians are largely on the same page, a survey finds.  

Obama adds southern civil rights sites to national monuments legacy (+video)
On Thursday, President Obama created three new national monuments in Alabama and South Carolina and expanded two others. His goal: 'a more inclusive National Park Service.'

How Chicago could become first test for Trump on police reform (+video)
The Obama administration on Friday put the Chicago Police Department on path toward aggressive reform. But the Trump administration might have the last word.

Why an African-American Lady Liberty graces US Mint's newest coin
The coin will be the first in a series of 24-karat gold commemorative coins produced by the US Mint. They're intended to celebrate a multicultural America – and an evolving vision of liberty.

Armed citizen saves ambushed Arizona trooper: Argument for looser gun laws?
A motorist is being hailed as a hero after coming to the aid of a state trooper. Arizona laws are some of the most friendly to gun owners.

Why Obama shut the 'open door' to US for Cuban migrants
The Obama administration on Thursday reversed the 'wet foot, dry foot' decades-old policy that guaranteed Cuban migrants arriving on US soil a path to legal residency.

Repealing Obamacare: why states may struggle to fill the gap (+video)
Many Republicans say they want to repeal Obamacare to empower states. But there's a catch. To expand insurance coverage, states need lots of federal money.

Obama awards VP Biden the Medal of Freedom in an emotional ceremony
This was the only time Obama has presented the medal "with distinction," also awarded only once by each of the previous three presidents.

Inspector General launches probe of FBI's pre-election actions
Democrats have blamed FBI Director James Comey's handling of the inquiry into Clinton's use of a private email server in part for her loss to Republican Donald Trump.

Obama honors Joe Biden, and Washington will miss him
President Obama awarded the Medal of Freedom to Vice President Joe Biden, whose largeness of heart and common touch made him respected and beloved. 

How Tillerson testimony injects doubt into Trump foreign policy
Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson's testimony diverges substantially from Trump's positions on several key issues. Will he have the autonomy to pursue his views, or will he be marginalized, as Colin Powell was under George W. Bush?

How Michelle Obama's 'Tonight Show' appearance reflects her legacy as first lady
Michelle Obama made her last television appearance as first lady as a guest on 'The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon' Wednesday night.

Can Trump corral GOP on Obamacare?
With Trump's declaration that his administration will present a plan to 'simultaneously' repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, will fractious Republicans be able to unite around one specific course of action?

Internal watchdog to review FBI's handling of Clinton emails probe before election
FBI Director James Comey's handling of an investigation into Hillary Clinton's private email server – including last-minute developments the weekend before the election – have prompted complaints from Democrats upset over Donald Trump's win.

Pacific Pro Football League: A welcome alternative to the NFL?
For players who aren't yet eligible for the NFL, the Pacific Pro Football League could provide a route to meet financial obligations – without sacrificing their education.

Ex-military leaders in cabinet posts: Why lawmakers may give Gen. Mattis a waiver
James Mattis, a retired general nominated for secretary of Defense, does not meet the requirement that secretaries have been retired from the military for seven years. Why some Democrats may give him a pass. 

Did Rex Tillerson just move the US closer to war with China?
Trump's pick for secretary of state said that the US would take aggressive action to stop Chinese installations in the South China Sea.

San Diego police shooting deemed justified: Why?
The officer who shot and killed Alfred Olango in a San Diego suburb last year will not face criminal charges, authorities announced Wednesday.

Senate takes first step toward Obamacare repeal, with no replacement yet
The Senate voted 51-48 on Thursday to approve a measure instructing both chambers' committees to draft legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act. 

Two years after death of Freddie Gray, Baltimore set to announce reform plan
On Thursday, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh and US Attorney General Loretta Lynch will announce details of an agreement to reform the city's police department. 

Secretary of State nominee Tillerson veers from Trump on key issues
The former Exxon Mobil CEO diverged from Trump on nuclear proliferation, trade deals and climate change, but some key Republican Senators still appear concerned about confirming him. 

Ethics official denounces Trump's plan for business
The President-elect's sons will take control of his business empire and will enter new arrangements domestically but not overseas, a walk-back from a promise he made last month that the company would do "no new deals."

Did you watch Trump’s press conference? It was a real production.
In a hint at his media management to come, President-elect Trump’s first real press conference in months was not a staid affair. It was run like a show, with warm-up acts, applause, and a dramatic confrontation. And news.

Where do police officers and reform activists find common ground?
The disconnect between police and the public on racial issues is well documented. But a new report reveals surprising areas of agreement between many members of law enforcement and police-reform advocates.

Chris Christie wants to limit painkiller prescriptions. Will that cut back on opioid addiction?
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has called for emergency curbs on the prescription of opioids, a move that would mirror laws in several other states that have curtailed the length of first-time prescriptions. 

The surprising response to Trump son-in-law's new White House post
When Donald Trump announced that his son-in-law Jared Kushner would be a senior aide, there were obvious ethical concerns. But there was also praise in unexpected places.

How NY cop Steven McDonald moved from tragedy to a lifelong mission for peace
When Detective Steven McDonald was shot on duty at the age of 29, he was told he wouldn’t survive the afternoon. Instead he became an international peace advocate.

Death sentence for Dylann Roof: Charleston grapples with hate and grace
Charleston's black community, especially, has struggled with a special kind of anguish and tribulation with racist roots and recent wounds.

Publisher suspends Monica Crowley book sales: Does this crush her White House hopes?
Monica Crowley has been accused of plagiarism in her 2012 book "What the (Bleep) Just Happened" and in her doctoral dissertation.

How US Supreme Court cases could reshape special education
In a year without many landmark cases, two cases provide the high court an opportunity to significantly reshape how American schools educate students diagnosed with disabilities.

The best lines from Obama's emotional farewell speech
The outgoing president quoted Atticus Finch and highlighted accomplishments such as the legalization of same-sex marriage, health-care reform, and foreign policy work with Iran and Cuba. 

Obama speech signals a post-presidency like no other
President Obama exhorted Americans to get involved if they're frustrated by politics. It seems that he will remain involved, perhaps to an unprecedented degree.