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AP
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Jair Bolsonaro considerably outperformed the polls in Brazil’s presidential election, proving that the far-right wave he rode to the presidency remains a force. Multiple polls had indicated leftist former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was far out front, with some suggesting he could even clinch a first-round victory on Sunday and showing margins that neared or exceeded double digits. In the end, Bolsonaro came within just five percentage points – less than half the margin several surveys showed before the election. He will face da Silva in a high-stakes Oct. 30 presidential runoff.

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Gun rights groups and firearms owners have launched another attempt to overturn Connecticut’s ban on certain semiautomatic rifles that was enacted in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. A new lawsuit was filed Thursday in federal court, citing a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June that overturned a New York law and expanded gun rights. The high court had earlier upheld assault weapons bans in Connecticut and New York passed in response to the school shooting that killed 20 first graders and six educators in 2012. Connecticut Attorney General William Tong says the state's gun laws save lives and he will defend them against the new lawsuit.

AP
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Nearly a dozen candidates are running in Brazil’s presidential election but only two stand a chance of reaching a runoff: former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and incumbent Jair Bolsonaro. Eight of 10 Brazilians say they will vote for one of these two political titans on Sunday, leaving little space for challengers. The election could signal the return of the world’s fourth-largest democracy to a leftist government after four years of far-right politics, a pandemic that killed nearly 700,000 people and a poorly performing economy. Polls show da Silva with a commanding lead that could possibly even give him a first-round victory without any need for a runoff.

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When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of a high school football coach’s right to pray on the field after games, there were predictions of dramatic consequences from across the ideological spectrum. But three months after the decision, there’s no sign that large numbers of coaches have been newly inspired to follow Joseph Kennedy’s high-profile example. The Court ruled 6-3 for the coach on June 27, with the conservative justices in the majority and the liberals in dissent. A new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds that 54% of Americans approve of the decision, while 22% disapprove and 23% hold neither opinion.

AP
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Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has been waging an all-out campaign to shore up the crucial evangelical vote ahead of Oct. 2 elections. Evangelicals helped carry him to power in 2018, and he proceeded to tap members of their churches for important ministries and for a Supreme Court nomination. But in this electoral cycle, Bolsonaro initially found more difficulty winning their favor. The campaign involves the first lady and keyboard crusaders. Influential pastors and politicians are warning their followers, on Facebook and in pulpits, that the race’s front-runner, leftist former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, would close Christian churches. The campaign also involves associating da Silva with Afro Brazilian religions.

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Joan Didion, a master of rhythm and of the meaning of the unsaid, was remembered Wednesday as an inspiring and fearless writer and valued, exacting and sometimes eccentric friend. She was described as a woman who didn’t like to speak on the phone unless asked to or who might serve chocolate soufflés at a child’s birthday party because she didn’t know how to bake a cake. Carl Bernstein, Donna Tartt and Fran Liebowitz were among those attending, along with relatives, friends and editors and other colleagues from The New Yorker and her last publishing house, Penguin Random House.

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Almost three months after Roe v. Wade was overturned, the landscape of abortion access is still shifting significantly in some states, sometimes very quickly. Changing restrictions and litigation in neighboring Indiana and Ohio this week illustrate the whiplash for providers and patients navigating sudden changes in what is allowed where. As of Thursday, 13 states have current bans on abortion at any point in pregnancy and one more, Georgia, with a ban on abortions after fetal cardiac activity can be detected — usually around six weeks, often before women realize they’re pregnant.