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Ed Morin / Maine Public/file

Critics: Trump’s Budget Makes Maine’s Economy, Social Problems ‘Gravely Worse’

Advocates for the poor, environmental groups and members of Congress were quick to attack President Donald Trump’s budget proposal, which was released in more detail on Tuesday.

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President Trump had an audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican's Apostolic Palace on Wednesday, receiving messages about peace, the environment and immigrants from the religious leader. The meeting came a year after the pope suggested Trump "is not Christian" because of his plan for a U.S-Mexico border wall.

AUGUSTA, Maine - A key legislative committee has voted against a bill to create a uniform teacher contract across Maine.
 
The Portland Press Herald reports that the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee opposed the bill, 6-5, even after concessions from the bill's sponsor on Tuesday.
 
Republican Gov. Paul LePage says the idea would help rural districts compete for teachers. The sponsor, Republican Rep. Matt Pouliot, called it a "wage equality'' bill.
 

It's a simple, frequently recurring phrase: "The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack." But it raises some questions: Is the claim credible or just an empty assertion, and if it's true, what does "responsibility" actually entail?

Experts who closely follow the Islamic State say that in general when it comes to attacks in the West, an ISIS claim of responsibility usually means there was some sort of connection. But the attack might have been planned, funded and directed by ISIS ... or it could just have been inspired by the group's propaganda.

BATH, Maine - The defense department is a big winner in President Donald Trump's $4.1 trillion budget, but the money isn't necessarily tricking down to Bath Iron Works in Maine.
 
The Trump budget proposal for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 includes money for eight extra Navy ships, including two Arleigh Burke-class destroyers like those built at Bath. It also includes an additional aircraft carrier, two Virginia-class submarines, one Littoral Combat Ship, and two auxiliary ships.
 

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine's Republican governor plans to commute the sentences of some low-risk offenders and help them find jobs.

Gov. Paul LePage's office said Tuesday that the decision is not related to the recently announced closure of Downeast Correctional Facility.

LePage and the state corrections commissioner said the state would move 100 inmates from the minimum-security Downeast facility to other state prisons. But critics of the closure say there may not be enough beds. The Department of Corrections in March testified that it has about 40 secure male beds open.

A bill that would have allowed terminally ill patients to end their lives has failed to pass in the Maine Legislature. Though the Death with Dignity legislation narrowly succeeded the Senate last week, the House voted against it Tuesday with a margin wide enough to end its chances. But supporters say they’ll try again, and may bypass the Legislature.

In her work as a neurologist, Democratic state Rep. Patty Hymanson has seen patients face tough, terminal diagnoses. She told her House colleagues Tuesday that she hears a common question.

PORTLAND, Maine - Maine U.S. Sen. Susan Collins is among a group of senators that is trying to make some types of hearing aids more easily accessible and more affordable.
 
Collins, a Republican, is sponsoring the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017 along with Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Iowa Republican Sen. Charles Grassley.
 
The senators say only about 14 percent of people with hearing loss use assistive hearing technology such as hearing aids, and one of the biggest obstacles is price.
 

LUBEC, Maine - Maine's U.S. senators are on board with a plan to make it easier for seafood dealers to export sea urchins and sea cucumbers outside of the United States.

The senators say unnecessary inspections result in the highly perishable seafood products to be held in warehouses for long periods of time, increasing the likelihood that they will go bad.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins and Independent Sen. Angus King say their proposal would prevent the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from burdening the industry with inspections that they say are repetitive.

Thousands of people in Manchester, England, defied a terror warning, and poured into the streets for a vigil honoring the victims of the Manchester Arena bombing.

A suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert killed 22 people and wounded 59 Monday night.

Authorities identified the bomber as 22-year-old Salman Abedi and arrested another suspect.

Hours before the vigil, British Prime Minister Theresa May announced that another attack could be "imminent."

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