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A federal judge has struck down controversial restrictions on early voting in Wisconsin that were passed during the state Legislature's lame-duck session last month.

The restrictions limited early voting in Wisconsin to the two weeks before an election. In recent years, cities including the Democratic strongholds of Milwaukee and Madison have offered several weeks of early voting.

A diver in California has stumbled on an unexpected source of plastic waste in the ocean: golf balls.

As the balls degrade, they can emit toxic chemicals. And there appear to be lots of them in certain places underwater — right next to coastal golf courses.

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Survivors of California's recent wildfires are bracing for the possibility that the utility Pacific Gas and Electric may go into bankruptcy protection by the end of this month. Investigators are looking into whether the company's equipment started the Camp Fire. For victims suing PG&E, a company bankruptcy could impact their compensation. From member station KQED in San Francisco, Lily Jamali has more.

LILY JAMALI, BYLINE: For the last several weeks, California's Butte County has been inundated with TV ads like these.

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Fyre Festival - that is F-Y-R-E - was supposed to be the music festival of 2017.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED NARRATOR: The actual experience exceeds all expectations into something that's hard to put in words.

Updated at 5:47 p.m. ET

President Trump unveiled a sweeping plan Thursday to defend the U.S. and its allies from missile attack.

The plan is the first update to the nation's missile defense strategy in nearly a decade, but in many ways it is reminiscent of President Ronald Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative, a pie-in-the-sky program that was later dubbed "Star Wars."

Iran's foreign ministry is calling for the immediate release of an American-born journalist who works for an Iranian state broadcaster and who is believed to have been detained in the U.S.

"The custody of Iran's reporter in the U.S. is highly political and she should be released immediately," Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was quoted as saying by the Islamic Republic News Agency.

Less than a week after hundreds of Christian protesters descended on the Haifa Museum of Art, clashing with police in a demonstration against a controversial sculpture, the Israeli city's mayor says the object of their outrage is getting withdrawn. Einat Kalisch-Rotem announced Wednesday that McJesus, a work of art depicting a crucified Ronald McDonald, "will be removed and returned as soon as possible."

British Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit plan went down to an historic defeat in Parliament on Tuesday. The next day, she narrowly survived a vote of no-confidence in her government. This Monday, Jan. 21, she'll have to tell Parliament what her Plan B for Brexit is — and will submit that plan to a vote on Jan. 29.

Here's what to know about key issues during this extraordinary and chaotic moment in British politics.

After Tuesday's staggering loss, most politicians would have resigned. Why is Theresa May still in office?

Allison Chang‘s unborn baby was diagnosed with trisomy 18, a rare chromosomal disorder that occurs in 1 in 2,500 pregnancies. Chang and her husband planned to end the pregnancy, but it ended naturally when the child died in the womb.

Chang, a fourth-year medical student at Harvard Medical School, says that she received medical, emotional and financial support from health care professionals in Massachusetts because she had health insurance.

The NFL conference championship games are this weekend and the results will decide who plays in the Super Bowl on Feb. 3 in Atlanta. The NFC title game pits the Los Angeles Rams against the Saints in New Orleans. In the AFC Championship it’s the Kansas City Chiefs hosting the New England Patriots.

The Trump administration is forcing thousands of federal workers to return to work without pay as the government shutdown enters its 27th day. The administration is calling back some workers at the IRS, the Farm Service Agency and the Department of the Interior in an attempt to ease the pain of the shutdown on some of the president’s constituents.

In this growing gig economy, Lyft and Uber aren’t the only big names that rely on contract workers. You should also take into account the United States government.

With the partial government shutdown in its fourth week, hundreds of thousands of federal workers have either been furloughed or have to work without pay.

Updated at 6:57 p.m. ET

President Trump appears to be retaliating against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for suggesting he postpone his State of the Union address amid the ongoing partial government shutdown by postponing at the last minute her planned trip to Afghanistan.

The photograph shows the aftermath of a terrorist attack at a luxury hotel in Nairobi, Kenya. Laptops and plates are still on the table, and four people are hunched over, bloodied and lifeless.

Netflix has a looming challenge with licensing

Jan 17, 2019

Netflix reports its earnings after the closing bell on Wall Street Thursday. Earlier this week, it announced price hikes to help cover its large investment in making original shows and movies. Netflix also spends a lot to license outside content, like "Friends" and "The Office." But increasingly, content producers want to stream those shows themselves.

Click on the audio player above to hear the full story.

Saturn is famous for its lovely rings, but a new study suggests the planet has spent most of its 4.5 billion years without them.

That's because the rings are likely only 10 million to 100 million years old, according to a newly published report in the journal Science that's based on findings from NASA's Cassini probe.

Scientists Find Brain Cells That Make Pain Hurt

Jan 17, 2019

Pain is a complicated experience. Our skin and muscles sense it, just like they sense softness or warmth. But unlike other sensations, the experience of pain is distinctly unpleasant.

Pain has to hurt for us to pay attention to it, and avoid hurting ourselves further.

But for people in chronic pain, the pain has largely lost its purpose. It just hurts.

While it has long been understood how nerves signal pain to the brain, scientists haven't known how the brain adds a layer of unpleasantness.

For nearly a year before family separation became an official and controversial policy of the Trump administration in the spring of 2018, federal immigration agents separated "thousands" of migrant children from their parents. That's according to a government watchdog report released Thursday.

It's impossible to talk about Great Britain these days without talking about Brexit, the United Kingdom's pending departure from the European Union. Of course, it's easier to say you're leaving a longtime partnership than to do it, and two and a half years after the referendum that decided the issue, what leaving means is still unknown.

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This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies in for Terry Gross, who's off this week.

Jilmar Ramos-Gomez served in the Marines and saw combat in Afghanistan. Born in Grand Rapids, Mich., he is a U.S. citizen.

But last month, federal immigration authorities took him into custody to face possible deportation.

Attorneys and immigration advocates in West Michigan are now demanding to know why, and how, that happened.

Fighting doesn't have to be about survival. It doesn't even have to be about pride.

At least, this is what Josh Rosenblatt contends in Why We Fight: One Man's Search for Meaning Inside the Ring. He intends to impress that to fight is to know who you are in a very immediate sense. Fighting, as he sees it, is the pursuit of active self-knowledge through self-endangerment, pain and risk. It's about facing and embracing what is dangerous and, in a way, making it beautiful.

President Trump's former personal attorney Michael Cohen acknowledged on Thursday that he schemed to rig online polls that sought to make Trump seem like a more plausible presidential candidate.

The story was first reported by The Wall Street Journal. In a tweet following the report, Cohen said he sought to help Trump's political aspirations, having been directed by the candidate.

Two-year-old Julen Rosello was with family members on a rural property in southern Spain on Sunday when he is thought to have fallen down a hole more than 300 feet deep.

"I heard my son crying, and 30 seconds later I couldn't hear him anymore," the boy's father, José, told Spanish media. However, Julen has not been heard from since.

Gas is relatively cheap these days. Enjoy those low prices, but don't get used to them, analysts say.

An oversupply of oil on the world market has triggered a steady slide in gas prices, bringing Americans some of the cheapest gas in years as 2019 kicked off.

Nationally, regular was averaging around $2.25 per gallon at the start of January — the lowest price for this time of year since 2016, according to AAA.

It's welcome news for drivers. Just last summer, gas prices were at four-year highs.

Artificial Intelligence matching systems are more and more present in our lives — determining everything from who we see in dating apps to movie recommendations. But when machines learn from humans, they can also learn human biases—including race and gender biases. And that’s a big problem when companies use AI matching to try to decide who to hire, for example. Some recruiting companies are trying to remove categories like race and gender from resumes in order to eliminate bias, but is it enough?

A new law in California allows home cooks to prepare and sell meals out of their personal digs as of January 1. But would-be household hash slingers shouldn't grab their aprons and chef hats just yet. The law — the first of its kind in the country — has a major caveat: counties have to opt in, and so far, none have. But some Bay Area and Central California counties are considering it.

The globalization of pop music has been under way for a while now, with the sounds and sensibilities of K-pop, reggaeton and myriad other Latinx styles serving as major sources of fuel.

Machine-learning the wrong things

Jan 17, 2019

The government shutdown triggers a dearth of data. Congress aims to ban the sale of components to Chinese tech firms Huawei and ZTE amid spying concerns, and the move could hurt Americans' buying power. Netflix has maintained its streaming supremacy, but competitors are trying to dethrone it. We take a brief look at the legacy of late investment giant Jack Bogle.

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