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A version of this story was originally published by Georgia Public Broadcasting.

Republicans in the Georgia legislature have released legislation that proposes tougher restrictions on both absentee and in-person early voting, among other sweeping changes to election laws after an election in which Democrats won the presidential race in the state and flipped two U.S. Senate seats.

President Biden said Friday he will sign a major disaster declaration that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is requesting, which would open up broader federal aid for immediate and long-term recovery efforts in the state, including for both individual needs and public infrastructure.

Biden and Abbott spoke Thursday night regarding the response.

Texas has been at the mercy of an unprecedented winter storm that has left many of the state's residents without heat, power and potable water for several days. Several people, some homeless, have died in the freezing temperatures.

Texas is slowly coming out of a historic deep freeze that left millions of residents without power and water for several days.

The United States on Friday officially rejoined the Paris Agreement on climate change designed to limit global warming and avoid its potentially catastrophic impacts.

Nearly 200 nations have signed on to the landmark accord and committed to limit their greenhouse gas emissions in an attempt to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius - preferably below 1.5 degrees Celsius - compared to pre-industrial temperatures.

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Updated at 12:45 p.m. ET

President Biden on Friday sought to turn the page on former President Donald Trump's "America First" ethos, declaring "America is back" and vowing to rebuild trust with European allies by working on challenges like arms control, COVID-19 and climate change.

The rift within the Republican Party spilled out into full view this week.

After voting to acquit Donald Trump on an impeachment charge of incitement of insurrection following the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell said unequivocally that the former president is to blame.

The extreme weather conditions in Texas, where a winter storm has caused widespread power outages, should serve as a reminder that climate change is real and the United States not fully prepared to deal with its impact, said White House homeland security adviser Liz Sherwood-Randall on Thursday.

President Biden is set on Friday to announce a total of $4 billion in contributions to COVAX, the vaccine alliance trying to distribute COVID-19 vaccines to 92 low- and middle-income countries, a senior administration official told reporters.

Biden will make the announcement during a virtual meeting of G-7 leaders about the pandemic.

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The Biden administration is taking first steps to reopen diplomacy with Iran. The European Union says it is willing to host a meeting of all the signatories of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, and the U.S. says it would attend. That is just the start of what could be a complicated job of reviving a deal that the Trump administration deserted. Joining us now to talk about this is NPR diplomatic correspondent Michele Kelemen.

Hey, Michele.

MICHELE KELEMEN, BYLINE: Hi there, Ailsa.

CHANG: Hi. So, first of all, just tell us what happened today.

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The GameStop trading saga landed on Capitol Hill today with a House hearing that touched on short selling and restrictions on trading during the middle of the frenzy.

For months, Democrats in Washington have been debating what to do about student loan debt. About 43 million borrowers owe $1.6 trillion in federal student loans.

After four years of former President Trump's immigration crackdown, the Biden administration on Thursday announced new guidelines that are expected to sharply limit arrests and deportations carried out by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Under the guidance, ICE agents and officers have been told to prioritize threats to national security and public safety when deciding whom to arrest, detain and deport.

ICE officials said the guidance is intended to help the agency allocate its limited resources to cases the public cares about most.

Updated at 7:51 p.m. ET

The Texas Democratic Party is calling on Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, to resign or be expelled from office after the Republican lawmaker flew to Cancún, Mexico, for a family vacation in the middle of a deadly winter storm that has left millions of Texans without water and electricity.

Cruz has returned to Texas, calling the trip "a mistake."

In a statement issued Thursday, Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa called the senator's trip to Cancún "deeply disturbing and disappointing."

Congressional Democrats unveiled a sweeping immigration bill Thursday that includes setting up a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States.

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Two brothers who once expected to die in prison are now free — and home in Philadelphia.

Wyatt and Reid Evans spent 37 years behind bars for their part in a car-jacking gone bad. The brothers didn't intend to take a life in 1980. They stole a car and dropped off the driver at a pay phone booth. But the man later died of a heart attack.

The brothers refused a plea deal and were convicted of second-degree murder. Under Pennsylvania law, that meant life in prison.

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The impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump exposed a rift in the Republican Party. Trump remains a dominant GOP figure, even as some in the party want to put him in the past. NPR's Don Gonyea reports.

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Tributes to the conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh poured in on Wednesday following news of his death earlier in the day. He was 70 years old.

Former President Trump praised the talk show host as a "legend."

"He was with me right from the beginning. And he liked what I said and he agreed with what I said. And he was just a great gentleman. Great man," Trump said in a phone interview on Fox News.

The White House plans to increase testing capacity in the U.S. through multiple channels, officials said in a media briefing on Wednesday.

The administration says it will spend $650 million to expand testing for K-8 schools and settings where people congregate such as homeless shelters, via new "hubs" created by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Defense. Regional coordinating centers will work to increase testing capacity, partnering with labs and universities to collect specimens, perform tests and report results to public health agencies.

Updated at 2:57 p.m. ET

The Justice Department announced charges Wednesday against three North Korean hackers for allegedly conducting a series of destructive cyberattacks, computer-enabled bank thefts and cryptocurrency heists around the world.

Conservative broadcaster Rush Limbaugh, who entertained millions and propelled waves of Republican politicians, has died at age 70. He had announced to listeners last year that he had stage four lung cancer.

Limbaugh's death Wednesday morning was confirmed by his wife, Kathryn, at the start of his radio program.

Updated at 6:30 p.m. ET

Nearly 3 million homes and businesses in Texas remain without power, some for a third consecutive day, as severe winter weather continues to pummel the state, forcing some localities to issue boil-water notices and urge residents to reduce their electricity usage.

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The situation for people in Texas is still perilous today.

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