A Republican revolt in Kansas

Sun sets on Brownback-onomics “WE HAVE gone too far to the right and are now swinging back to the centre,” says Melissa Rooker, a Republican state representative. Ms Rooker was one of the moderate Republicans who on June 6th joined forces with Democrats in the state house to override a veto by Governor Sam Brownback.…

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Puerto Rico is poised to cast a symbolic vote for statehood

IN 1952 America granted self-rule to the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico, which it had obtained from Spain in 1898. Last year Congress in effect revoked that autonomy, by creating a control board capable of vetoing any item in Puerto Rico’s budget. The reversal was hardly an act of imperial gluttony. The island had issued…

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Climbing without ropes

Alex Honnold rehearsing at El Capitan MOST people get sweaty palms just staring up at the sheer granite bulk of El Capitan, a spectacular rock formation in California’s Yosemite Valley. Alex Honnold’s stayed dry as he ascended the 3,000-foot (900-metre) vertical wall on June 3rd, jamming his hands in cracks and pulling on edges barely…

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How the pain pills were sold

IN 2016 a coroner’s office in Ohio had to store corpses in refrigerated lorries for a week because residents were overdosing on opioids faster than their bodies could be processed. This year has been no better: the coroner borrowed space from a local funeral parlour to stow the dead. Largely because of opioids, Ohio has…

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Evidence from a former FBI boss

Christopher Wray, next man up THE hotly anticipated appearance before the Senate Intelligence committee of James Comey, whom Donald Trump fired as the FBI’s director last month, was scheduled to begin after The Economist went to press on June 8th. But his written statement, released the previous day, offered an explosive preview. In it Mr…

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Immigrants to America are better educated than ever before

JOSÉ ROMMEL UMANO, who is originally from the Philippines, moved to New York last autumn. He came on a family-reunification visa and joined his wife, who had been living in America for some time. This is a typical tale: America gives more weight to close family members when considering immigration applications than some other rich…

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How the China-North Korea equation is changing

ALL serious governments think, hard, about unthinkable horrors. For America, China and other Asia-Pacific powers, few potential events are as grim to contemplate as a war involving North Korea, or that country’s violent collapse. There are reasons why the world does not seek to topple North Korea’s impetuous young leader, Kim Jong Un. For one,…

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Jared Kushner is alleged to have sought a hotline to Moscow

From back-channel to front lawn AFFABLE and portly, Sergey Kislyak seems nevertheless to be an eminently forgettable man. Jeff Sessions, the attorney-general, forgot to mention his contacts with the Russian ambassador during his confirmation hearings. Michael Flynn, briefly Donald Trump’s national-security adviser, seems to have forgotten that he and Mr Kislyak discussed American sanctions, and…

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The case for building a wall to keep Canadians out

AARON HEITKE, who heads the border patrol in Grand Forks, North Dakota, would like the federal government to send more money his way. Just over 2,000 agents patrol America’s northern border, compared with 17,000 down south. Mr Heitke wants some of them to come up and lend a hand. Heidi Heitkamp, a Democratic senator from…

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