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Political news from WNPR

With his tenure as secretary of state rapidly pulling to a close, John Kerry made an impassioned defense for a two-state solution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on Wednesday.

Kerry said he is concerned that some Israeli politicians are rejecting it.

"If the choice is one state, Israel can either be Jewish or democratic; it cannot be both, and it won't ever really be at peace," said Kerry.

Criminal Justice Reform: What's At Stake?

Dec 28, 2016
Neil Conway/flickr creative commons

The U.S. locks up more people than any other country in the world, with 2.3 million people behind bars. One-third of the U.S. population has a criminal record. 

Here's the biggest understatement of the year: 2016 was the most disruptive moment the mainstream American news media have faced in a very long time.

That's not because so many media outlets misread the presidential election, although that is part of it. And it's not just because so-called "fake news" has become a genuine issue, prompting Facebook and other social media outlets to address fraudulent items formatted to look like legitimate news reports — a long-needed change.

Updated at 6:50 p.m. ET

President Obama and Japanese Minister Shinzo Abe made a historic appearance at Pearl Harbor, 75 years after the surprise attack that prompted U.S. entry into World War II, praising the reconciliation and partnership between their respective nations.

In a somber ceremony Tuesday, the two leaders touted the U.S.-Japan alliance that arose in the aftermath of the bitter conflict and became a "cornerstone of peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region," Obama said.

On Jan. 20, 2016, exactly a year before a new president would be sworn into office, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia announced the court's 8-to-1 decision reinstating the death penalty for two Kansas brothers.

It was the last time the 79-year-old Scalia would announce an opinion. Three weeks later, on a hunting trip in Texas, the conservative icon died in his sleep.

President Obama has promised to take action in response to findings by U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia hacked computers at the Democratic National Committee and other Democratic political groups. And one of Donald Trump's first big decisions as president may be whether to continue down the chosen path.

The Democratic and Republican leaders of the Connecticut Senate say they’ve reached an agreement to share control of their chamber. This comes after both sides ended up with an equal number of seats as a result of the November election.

The director of the Central Intelligence Agency, John Brennan, is warning against in-kind retaliation by the U.S. government for Russian hacking during the presidential election.

In an interview with NPR's Mary Louise Kelly, Brennan said, "They do some things that are beyond the pale," referencing those who would undermine democratic processes, adding:

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

A legal fight heated up last summer between state marshals and the Hartford Parking Authority. The question was whether the marshals could, by law, park their cars illegally while doing their jobs. That fight wound up in state court and the marshals lost. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The Commissioner of Connecticut’s Department of Children and Families said she doesn’t believe her office would benefit from the oversight of an outside ombudsman. 

This week, President Obama announced what he called a permanent ban on offshore oil and gas drilling along areas of the Arctic and the Atlantic seaboard.

In 2014, the Obama administration issued a federal memo aiming to put an end to random deportations of people living illegally in the U.S. who aren't criminals. But a closer look finds that there are still cases where immigration authorities are ignoring these policies, including in Vermont.

President-elect Donald Trump is rounding out his White House team — installing several trusted campaign advisers to senior West Wing positions.

Kellyanne Conway will serve as counselor to the president, the transition team announced on Thursday. Sean Spicer will be press secretary, and Jason Miller has been named director of communications.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

State officials, community providers and youth advocates are continuing their work to reform juvenile justice in Connecticut. The latest efforts have been focused on a plan to close the state’s juvenile jail in Middletown.

This hour, Department of Children and Families Commissioner Joette Katz and Deputy Commissioner Fernando Muñiz join us in-studio to talk about the department’s plan to shutter the Connecticut Juvenile Training School and its other responsibilities as the state’s child welfare agency. 

President-elect Donald Trump is rounding out his White House team — installing several trusted campaign advisers to senior West Wing positions.

Kellyanne Conway will serve as counselor to the president, the transition team announced on Thursday. Sean Spicer will be press secretary, and Jason Miller has been named director of communications.

Next month, a mix of Syrian and Iraqi refugees will begin arriving in Rutland, Vermont. They’ll be the first of 100 that will be resettled there over the next year. Though there's been loud opposition to the plan in the aging, blue-collar city of 16,000, proponents remain optimistic — and many have been volunteering long hours to ensure the plan succeeds.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Dunkin' Donuts Park is on track to be completed for the Hartford Yard Goats home opener April 13, according to the insurance company charged with finishing the minor league baseball stadium.

jglazer75 / Creative Commons

The electoral college voted, and Donald Trump is still President-elect. But that big news paled in comparison to two terror attacks that posed direct threats to relations between European countries, Russia, Turkey and the conflict in Syria. 

Turkey and Russia have launched a joint investigation into the assassination of Russia's ambassador to Turkey at the opening of a photo exhibit in the capital, Ankara, on Monday.

The ambassador, Andrei Karlov, was gunned down as he gave a speech at an art gallery. Turkey has identified the attacker as Mevlut Mert Altintas, a 22-year-old riot police officer, who shouted to the crowd, "Don't forget Aleppo! Don't forget Syria!" He was killed by Turkish special forces at the scene.

It’s hard to avoid the hand-wringing about aging demographics in New England these days. The region's six states have the six lowest birth rates in the country. Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont have the oldest populations in the country, and Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts aren't far behind.

Photo courtesy of United Congregational Church-Bridgeport

A picturesque building that’s been the home of the United Congregational Church in Bridgeport -- for 91 years -- will soon be transformed into a mosque.

This hour, we learn the story behind the Bridgeport Islamic Community Center’s plans to purchase the UCC church and the strong interfaith partnership that will make the purchase possible. 

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

As expected, all seven of Connecticut's presidential electors cast their ballots for Hillary Clinton for president and Tim Kaine for vice president in a ceremony at the state Capitol on Monday.

Wikipedia

The Voice of ​America is a U.S.- funded and independent source of news that airs in societies that don't have a free press. Last week, Congress decided to shift oversight from an independent board to one person chosen by the president. President Obama embraced the shift from an unwieldy part-time advisory board to a professional CEO. Do we trust Donald Trump, a man who has threatened to change libel laws to better control the U.S. press, with this responsibility?

President Obama sees a role for himself in rebuilding the Democratic Party after he leaves office — coach.

DVIDSHUB / Creative Commons

Last year was a landmark year for the U.S. military and its servicemembers. For the first time, women were granted equal access to all military combat roles

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