Following is a summary of current US domestic news briefs.
Georgia lawsuit is latest blow in U.S. fight over voting rights
U.S. voting rights advocacy groups on Thursday sued Georgia's top election official, Secretary of State Brian Kemp, accusing him of putting more than 50,000 voter registration applications on hold to boost his gubernatorial campaign. Kemp is the Republican nominee for governor in one of this year's highest-profile state races, in which Democrat Stacey Abrams is seeking to become the state's first black governor. The lawsuit brought by a coalition of state civil rights groups accused Kemp of attempting to depress minority turnout to improve his chances of victory.
Kanye West defends support for Trump, in front of Trump
(Editor's note: Paragraphs 7 and 8 contains language that readers may find offensive.) Rapper Kanye West, with a stream of consciousness speech in the Oval Office and a burst of profanity, defended his support for President Donald Trump on Thursday, to the great delight of Trump himself.
Trump's lawyers preparing answers to questions in Russia probe: source
President Donald Trump's lawyers are preparing answers to questions for the U.S. special counsel probing Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, a source familiar with the matter said on Thursday. The development, first reported by CNN, appears to show progress after several months of talks between the special counsel, Robert Mueller, and Trump's legal team in connection with the president answering questions in the investigation.
Walmart to pay $65 million to settle lawsuit over seating for cashiers
Walmart Inc has agreed to pay $65 million to nearly 100,000 current and former cashiers in California who accused the retailer of violating state law by refusing to provide them with seating while they worked. Walmart denied any wrongdoing in the nine-year-old case, which was scheduled to go to trial later this year, in a filing in federal court in San Francisco on Wednesday. The settlement must be approved by a federal judge.
Hurricane Michael rips apart Florida towns, seven dead
Dazed Florida residents picked through the wreckage left by Hurricane Michael on Thursday after the near-record-force storm tore apart coastal towns and was blamed for seven deaths. Michael smashed into Florida's northwest coast near the small town of Mexico Beach on Wednesday with screeching 155 miles per hour (250 kilometres per hour) winds, pushing a wall of seawater inland.
Washington state's top court bans death penalty as biased, arbitrary
Washington became the 20th U.S. state to abolish capital punishment when its Supreme Court struck down the death penalty on Thursday, saying in a unanimous decision that its application was arbitrary and racially biased. "The death penalty, as administered in our state, fails to serve any legitimate enological goal," the Washington Supreme Court said, adding it "is invalid because it is imposed in an arbitrary and racially biased manner."
New York man charged with planning suicide bombing in Washington on Election Day
Federal authorities were holding a New York man who they said planned to blow himself up on Washington's National Mall on Election Day in November to promote his ideology that requires government leaders to be randomly selected. Paul Rosenfeld, 56, was charged on Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan with building multiple explosives, including a 200-pound bomb, in his basement in Tappan, New York, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said in a statement.
Regulator ties pipeline work to deadly Massachusetts gas explosion
A NiSource Inc affiliate failed to require contract repair crews to relocate pressure sensors during natural-gas pipeline work, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said on Thursday, resulting in overpressured lines that caused explosions and fires in three Massachusetts communities last month. Overpressurized gas poured through Columbia Gas Co of Massachusetts' distribution system in Lawrence, North Andover and Andover, flooding into homes and businesses and sparking explosions and fires that killed one person and injured 21.
Ronald Reagan hologram greets visitors at ex-president's library
Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan is making a comeback as a hologram at his official library in California. The 3-D image of Reagan began welcoming visitors at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum on Thursday. Guests were able to watch three different scenes that use audio taken from real remarks made during his presidency, which lasted from 1981 to 1989.
Limo company operator in New York crash pleads not guilty, faces threats
The operator of a limousine company that owned the vehicle involved in a crash that killed 20 people in upstate New York has received threats since pleading not guilty to criminally negligent homicide, his lawyer told local news media on Thursday. Nauman Hussain, 28, was charged with one felony count related to the deadliest U.S. transportation accident in nearly a decade. All 20 victims were listed on the charging document.
(With inputs from agencies.)