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Bipartisanship key to successful voting reform: GOP Sen. Dan Sullivan

Bipartisan efforts are the key to successful voting rights reform, Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”

After Republicans in Georgia passed a sweeping election overhaul, which makes sweeping changes to election law, impacting voters, local election administrators and the board overseeing elections, Sullivan told “This Week” co-anchor Jonathan Karl, that it is vital that the efforts on a national level be bipartisan.

“I think it’s really important to have this discussion on voting rights, on voting integrity, on access to the ballot,” Sullivan said.

As Republican-led legislatures are working on approving measures aimed at restricting voting rights in the name of security, in Congress, Democrats are pushing for a far-reaching solution to counter those attempts. H.R. 1, known as the For the People Act, seeks to abolish hurdles to voting, reform the role of money in politics and tighten federal ethics rules. Among the key tenets of the bill to overhaul the nation’s election system: allowing for no-excuse mail voting, at least 15 days of early voting, automatic voter registration and restoring voting rights to felons who have completed their prison sentences.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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China Leaves Benchmark Lending Rates Unchanged

China left its benchmark lending rates unchanged, as widely expected, on Monday.

The one-year loan prime rate was retained at 3.85 percent and the five-year loan prime rate was maintained at 4.65 percent.

The one-year and five-year loan prime rates were last lowered in April 2020. The one-year loan prime rate was cut by 20 basis points and five-year rate by 10 basis points in April.

The inaction did not come as a surprise since the People’s Bank of China had not adjusted the rate on its medium-term lending facility this month as it did ahead of the past three LPR moves, Julian Evans-Pritchard and Sheana Yue, economists at Capital Economics, said.

The scope for hiking rates this year is diminishing. The PBOC appears to favor quantitative controls on lending instead, they noted. Either way, credit conditions are set to be less favorable this year.

The loan prime rate is fixed monthly based on the submission of 18 banks, though Beijing has influence over the rate-setting. This new lending rate replaced the central bank’s traditional benchmark lending rate in August 2019.

Alabama Shakes Drummer Steven Johnson Arrested For Child Abuse

The drummer for Grammy-winning band Alabama Shakes was arrested last week in Alabama on child abuse charges.

Steven William Johnson, 35, was indicted on charges of willful torture, willful abuse, and cruelly beating or otherwise willfully maltreating a child under age 18, according to reports.

Johnson previously pled guilty in March 2020 to violating a domestic violence protection order in Limestone County, Ala. He received a suspended sentence of a year in jail with 24 months on probation.

Alabama Shakes has been on hiatus since 2018 so lead singer Brittany Howard could pursue a solo career.

He was booked into the Limestone County Jail with a bond set at $21,500. His arraignment date is set for April 7.

 

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Reports: Former No. 1 overall pick Mark Appel looking to make MLB comeback

Once a can't-miss pitching prospect who later burned out before he ever reached the majors, Mark Appel is apparently ready to give baseball another shot.

Appel, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 draft by the Houston Astros, bounced around in the minor leagues for five seasons before announcing three years ago he was taking an "indefinite break" from playing baseball.

However, The Athletic reported Sunday that Appel, now 29, is preparing to report to the Philadelphia Phillies' complex in Clearwater, Florida, for minor league spring training. 

The Phillies designated Appel for assignment in 2017, but still hold his rights because he went unclaimed by any other major league team.