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Republicans point to blue state election laws, latest Chauvin affair and new Holocaust survivors’ campaign

Hello, NBC News readers.

Republicans doubling voting restrictions say some blue states have tougher laws. This morning we are taking a closer look at these allegations. Plus, why the Derek Chauvin case might turn out to be a tipping point and the new campaign by older Holocaust survivors to remind young people of the dangers of hate speech.

Here’s what we’re watching this Thursday morning.

Republicans, defending voting restrictions, lean on Whatabout-ism blue state

Matt Slocum / AP File

Republicans, under fire from Democrats and big business for their national pressure for new voting limits, defend their proposals by pointing fingers at blue states with laws they deem worse.

Republican leaders have pointed to what they say is a double standard from Democrats and activists who say the bills – and the newly enacted restrictions by Georgia, in particular – are attempts to suppress the votes of the multiracial coalition that fueled President Joe Biden’s victory last year.

Some criticisms are valid: many democratic states have old laws that limit access to the polls.

The difference is that many blue states have pledged to liberalize access to the ballot, while states like Georgia and Texas are actively moving in the other direction, writes NBC News political reporter Jane C. Timm.

Best Thursday Stories

Gilles Mingasson / Getty Images file

Biden to announce executive actions on gun control, names ATF candidate

In response to pressure from Democrats and gun control activists, the president is expected to announce a series of executive actions on gun control and appoint a prominent gun control advocate to lead the ATF at a Rose Garden event on Thursday. By Lauren Egan and Sally Bronston | Read more

The “blue wall of silence” collapses in the trial of Derek Chauvin. Why this case could be a tipping point.

The scathing reprimand from the Minneapolis Police Chief earlier this week against the former murderer accused in the death of George Floyd was rare. But the fact that his burning testimony was joined by a slew of other law enforcement officials is remarkable, legal experts say. By Janelle Griffith | Read more

It started with words: ‘Sensing the world needs a reminder, survivors urge to be aware of how the Holocaust began

Fearing growing intolerance and ignorance of the atrocities of WWII among young people, Holocaust survivors, whose youngest are now in their late sixties, are launching a new awareness campaign. “Sadly, 75 years after the Holocaust, it’s time to remind people what words can do,” said one survivor. Many have turned to virtual events to continue sharing their stories during the year of the pandemic, saying a year of silence was ‘unimaginable’. By Rachel Elbaum | Read more

IN AMERICA PODCAST: The weight of testimony

As testimony in Derek Chauvin’s trial continues, a psychologist in Minneapolis breaks down the long-term impacts of racial trauma and the steps witnesses can take to heal. By Trymaine Lee | Listen now

Buried but not forgotten: unmarked mass graves, a silent symbol of Northern Ireland’s dark past

As Northern Ireland grapples with its history, a forensic archaeologist has made it her mission to search for unmarked mass graves where thousands of children are buried. “All people really want is to be reunited with their families,” said Toni Maguire. “It’s like having a lost child. You can’t settle down until you know where they are.” By Matthew Symington | Read more

BETTER: How to turn your daily walk into a workout or meditation

Want to burn more calories or reduce the stress of life on lockdown? Make the most of your daily walk around the block with these tips. By Tiffany Ayuda | Read more

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A funny thing

Members of the world-famous New York Philharmonic performed their first concert in more than a year on Wednesday for some of the city’s vaccinated health workers.

Socially distant audiences have gathered outside Lincoln Center to hear their muted tones. But you can also take advantage of it. Watch the video here.

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