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On a rather frigid night in New York City, hours after sundown, a constellation of the U.S. publishing industry's bright lights gathered at the National Book Awards to honor their brightest this year — and to put forth a fiery defense of the possibilities of their medium.

"In our inexorable pursuit of freedom and human rights, books serve us as weapons and also as shields," declared the ceremony's MC, a shaggy-bearded and shaven-headed Nick Offerman. "They are perhaps the greatest creation of humankind."

A ruling by a federal judge last month seemed like it would end a long legal battle between Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and tens of thousands of student loan borrowers waiting to have their debts canceled. But as of Tuesday, there is a new round of litigation.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is blocking a bipartisan effort to protect special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of the Russia attack on the 2016 presidential election — prompting retiring Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., to pledge he will block progress on confirming judicial nominees.

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Why A 'War On Children' Could Get Worse

6 hours ago

Two weeks ago, 10-year-old Sara was sitting up in her bed at a hospital in Hodeidah, Yemen.

Some of the other children in the ward had their moms or other family members by their side.

But Sara was all alone.

She was recovering from a rare bacterial infection, called diphtheria, which had paralyzed part of her body. A small hole sliced into her throat was helping her breathe.

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After a marathon meeting at 10 Downing Street, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May announced that her cabinet is backing a controversial withdrawal agreement with the European Union.

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