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    Conservative and gun-rights groups challenged new federal regulations on pistols with stabilizing braces in court Tuesday, suing to block a gun-control action touted by President Joe Biden after the accessories were used in two mass shootings. Two lawsuits filed in federal court in Texas challenge the move to treat the guns like short-barreled rifles, a weapon like a sawed-off shotgun that has been heavily regulated since the 1930s. The cases argue millions of people have guns with the braces and use them to make firing “more accurate, and therefore safer,” as one lawsuit states.

      Exxon Mobil posted record annual profits in 2022 as consumers globally struggled with high prices for gasoline, home heating and consumer goods. The energy giant brought in $55.7 billion in annual profits. That exceeded its previous record of $45.22 billion in 2008. Exxon’s bounty came as Americans shelled out $4 per gallon for gasoline in the U.S. during the spring and summer. Oil and natural gas prices surged globally after Russia invaded Ukraine and reduced its supply of energy to Europe. The record profits were a marked turnaround from two years ago, when the coronavirus pandemic hit and travel ground to a halt, killing demand for fuels.

        A company working on technologies to bring back extinct species has attracted more investors. Other scientists are skeptical such feats are possible or a good idea. Colossal Biosciences first announced an ambitious plan to revive the woolly mammoth two years ago. On Tuesday, the Dallas company said it wanted to bring back the dodo bird, too. The dodo was a flightless bird about the size of a turkey that lived on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius. The company's CEO expects the genetic tools and equipment developed in the attempt to have other uses, including for human health care.

          The U.S. Justice Department has requested documents from Tesla  related to its Autopilot and “Full Self-Driving” features. The electric vehicle maker cautioned in a regulatory filing Tuesday that if the government decides to pursue an enforcement action, it could possibly have a material adverse impact on its business. Despite their names, Tesla still says on its website that the cars can’t drive themselves. Teslas using “Full Self-Driving” can navigate roads in many cases, but experts say the system can make mistakes, which even CEO Elon Musk acknowledges. A message was left Tuesday seeking comment from the Justice Department.

            Cindy Williams, who played Shirley opposite Penny Marshall’s Laverne on the popular sitcom “Laverne & Shirley,” has died. Williams' family said in statement Monday that she died in Los Angeles Wednesday after a brief illness. She was 75. Williams credits included the films “American Graffiti" and “The Conversation.” But she was by far best known for playing the straitlaced Shirley Feeney on the ABC sitcom “Laverne & Shirley.” The show, a spinoff of “Happy Days” was one of the most popular shows on television in its prime. It ran from 1976 to 1983.

              Gov. Greg Abbott announced Monday the creation of a Texas “border czar” and said he has appointed a recently retired Border Patrol agent to that position who will “tap his expertise to deploy strategies that reduce illegal immigration and keep our community safe.”

                Two monkeys were missing Monday from the Dallas Zoo in the latest in a string of suspicious incidents — including the death of an endangered vulture — that police are investigating. Police said they believe someone intentionally cut an opening in an enclosure and took two emperor tamarin monkeys. The incident comes after the zoo was closed for a daylong search on Jan. 13 when a clouded leopard named Nova went missing. She was eventually found near her habitat, but police said a cutting tool had been used to cut her enclosure. On Jan. 21, an endangered vulture named Pin was found dead, and officials say the death did not appear natural.

                Authorities say a high school student was killed and four others were injured when a person opened fire over the weekend at a hookah lounge in Austin, Texas. Police said Monday that 17-year-old Brayden Bolyard died at the scene of the shooting at the lounge Saturday night. Police said that the four other people who were shot were taken to hospitals. Police say that they have identified a person of interest in the shooting and that the shooter “had prior history with one of the victims.” The school district in Jarrell, which is about 40 miles north of Austin, said in a statement Monday that the district was “profoundly saddened by the loss of one of our students.”

                A new Tampa Bay Rays ballpark will be built as part of a massive redevelopment project in what was once a thriving Black neighborhood. Mayor Ken Welch of St. Petersburg, Florida, chose a partnership Monday between the Rays and the Houston-based Hines development company from among four proposals to transform an 86-acre downtown site where Tropicana Field now sits. The plan also includes affordable housing, office space, retail, hotel rooms, an entertainment venue and a new Woodson African American Museum of Florida. Welch says the idea is to create a destination for people who come to Rays games and to build a new community.

                Authorities say a skull found on banks of the Delaware River in Pennsylvania more than 3 1/2 decades ago has been identified as that of a man long believed slain in New Jersey along with his girlfriend, whose body had been found in the river on the New Jersey side the previous year. Bucks County prosecutors say DNA analysis identified the skull found on the riverbank in Morrisville in 1986 as that of 31-year-old Richard Thomas Alt, who was reported missing in Trenton in early 1985. Prosecutors say Alt and his girlfriend were suspected homicide victims, and her body was found in April 1985 in the river in Trenton.

                SALT LAKE CITY — Nichole Mason first became concerned when she learned administrators at her children’s public school were allowing transgender students to use girls’ bathrooms. Her frustrations mounted when she felt her children’s next school went too far with how they enforced COVID regula…

                Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s pugnacious leadership style was on display this month as he took public aim at two fellow Republicans who crossed him, sending an early message in this year’s legislative session that anyone — friend or foe — who gets in his way will face his wrath.

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                ORLANDO, Fla. — The U.S. population center is on track this decade to take a southern swerve for the first time in history, and it’s because of people like Owen Glick, who moved from California to Florida more than a year ago.

                If Vegas oddsmakers are correct — and there’s a reason those casinos are huge and luxurious — then football fans are in for a treat this weekend. The NFL’s conference championship weekend is here: The Philadelphia Eagles will host the San Francisco 49ers for the NFC title while the Kansas City Chiefs host the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC. Both games are Sunday. The gambling odds are tight for both games, though both home teams have a slight edge. The Eagles are a 2 1/2-point favorite while the Chiefs are favored by 1 1/2 points, according to odds from FanDuel Sportsbook. The winners will meet in the Super Bowl on Feb. 12 in Glendale, Arizona.

                As mass shootings are again drawing public attention, states across the U.S. seem to be deepening their political divide on gun policies. A series of recent mass shootings in California come after a third straight year in which U.S. states recorded more than 600 mass shootings involving at least four deaths or injuries. Democratic-led states that already have restrictive gun laws have responded to home-state tragedies by enacting or proposing even more limits on guns. Many states with Republican-led legislatures appear unlikely to adopt any new gun policies after last year's local mass shootings. They're pinning the problem on violent individuals, not their weapons.

                As mass shootings are again drawing public attention, states across the U.S. seem to be deepening their political divide on gun policies. A series of recent mass shootings in California come after a third straight year in which U.S. states recorded more than 600 mass shootings involving at least four deaths or injuries. Democratic-led states that already have restrictive gun laws have responded to home-state tragedies by enacting or proposing even more limits on guns. Many states with Republican-led legislatures appear unlikely to adopt any new gun policies after last year’s local mass shootings. They're pinning the problem on violent individuals, not their weapons.

                A mobile app for migrants to seek asylum in the United States has been overwhelmed since it was introduced this month in one of several major changes to the government’s response to unprecedented migration flows. New appointments are made available daily. But migrants are increasingly frustrated by a variety of error messages. Many can’t log in. Others are hopeful when they get a date, only to be deflated when the screen freezes at final confirmation. The daily ritual resembles a race for concert tickets when online sales begin for a major act.

                After being held in detention in Texas for months during his legal fight to remain in the U.S., Afghan soldier Abdul Wasi Safi is now a free man as he works to secure asylum in America. Wasi Safi fled Afghanistan following the withdrawal of U.S. forces in August 2021, fearing reprisals from the Taliban. He was arrested in September near Eagle Pass, Texas, after crossing the Mexico border. He was freed earlier this week. On Friday, he told reporters in Houston that he looks forward to one day being able to live the American dream.

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