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Russian President Vladimir Putin has started the process of annexing regions of Ukraine, saying he will sign laws to absorb them, defying international law.

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The U.K. government says it is temporarily stopping people from joining the line to file past the queen’s coffin as the wait for those at the back hit 14 hours. A live tracker of the queue said it was “at capacity” and entry was being “paused” for six hours. Meanwhile a diplomatic spat is brewing after a delegation of Chinese officials reportedly was barred from visiting the historic hall where the queen is lying in state. The Chinese ambassador to the U.K. has been banned from Parliament for a year after Beijing sanctioned seven British legislators last year for speaking out against China’s treatment of its Uyghur minority. The office of the House of Commons speaker declined to comment Friday.

A federal judge in Texas — the same one who tried to strike down the Affordable Care Act as unconstitutional in 2018 — has ruled against some of the ACA’s preventive benefits, including the requirement that employers cover medication to prevent HIV. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs tries to make abortions slightly more available to veterans and their dependents. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet, and Joanne Kenen of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Politico join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews KHN’s Lauren Sausser, who reported and wrote the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” installment.

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Democrats have every right to be pleased that they passed another big spending bill, but a lot of them are getting carried away. Longtime Democratic consultant Robert Shrum celebrated the momentum behind the passage of the so-called Inflation Reduction Act by tweeting, “Biden is the most legislatively successful President since LBJ.”

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