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A new poll shows an overwhelming and growing majority of Americans say the U.S. is heading in the wrong direction, including nearly 8 in 10 Democrats. The poll, by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, finds that deep pessimism about the economy continues to plague President Joe Biden.

Eighty-five percent of U.S. adults polled say the country is on the wrong track. Seventy-nine percent describe the economy as poor. The findings suggest Biden faces fundamental challenges as he tries to motivate voters to cast ballots for Democrats in November’s midterm elections.

The poll shows only 39% of Americans approve of Biden’s leadership overall, while 60% disapprove.

President Joe Biden says the U.S. is enhancing its military presence in Europe for the long haul to bolster regional security after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Biden outlined the plan during a meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg at the alliance’s annual leaders’ summit in Madrid.

Biden says “NATO is strong and united.” He says steps taken at the summit will augment its “collective strength.” Biden says the U.S. will establish a permanent headquarters in Poland and send two additional F-35 fighter jet squadrons to the United Kingdom. The U.S. is also sending more air defense and other capabilities to Germany and Italy.

The only surviving attacker from the 2015 terrorist massacre at the Bataclan theater and other sites in Paris has been convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole. That is the most severe sentence possible in France, and very rare. Salah Abdeslam was the chief suspect in an exceptional trial over the attacks, which killed 130 people and were claimed by the Islamic State group.

A jury of seven men and five women have been sworn in for the penalty trial of Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz. Cruz pleaded guilty in October to murdering 17 people at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018, meaning the expected four-month trial will only decide if he receives a penalty of death or life in prison without parole.

European Union countries have reached a deal to eliminate carbon emissions from new cars by 2035 following hard-fought talks that dragged into the early hours of Wednesday. The 27 EU members found a common agreement on draft legislation aimed at slashing EU greenhouse gases by at least 55% by 2030 compared with 1990 rather than by a previously agreed 40%. 

The FBI has opened a widening investigation into sex abuse in the Roman Catholic Church in New Orleans, looking specifically at whether priests took children across state lines to molest them. That’s according to law enforcement officials and others familiar with the inquiry who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Two of Congress’ staunchest conservatives repelled more centrist challengers to lock up Republican nominations on Tuesday. That happened even as the party’s voters chose to turn out a six-term incumbent in Mississippi.

Illinois Republican Rep. Mary Miller, who called the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade a “historic victory for white life” during a weekend rally with former President Donald Trump — her spokesperson said she misspoke — defeated fellow GOP incumbent Rodney Davis.

Another Trump ally, Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert, one of Congress’ most polarizing members, easily beat back a challenge from a more mainstream Republican. Mississippi Republican Rep. Steven Palazzo, a six-term incumbent, lost to Sheriff Mike Ezell.

The U.S. economy shrank at a 1.6% annual pace in the first three months of the year even though consumers and businesses kept spending at a healthy pace, the government reported Wednesday in a slight downgrade from its previous estimate for January-March quarter. 

Police say a Virginia toddler left in a vehicle for hours died and his father was found dead in an apparent suicide at their home. Chesterfield County Police say the department received a call late Tuesday morning reporting that an 18-month-old boy may have been left in a vehicle for several hours. Police soon received information indicating the child’s father was at his home and was making suicidal statements.

U.S. health officials are expanding the group of people recommended to get vaccinated against the monkeypox virus. They also say they are providing more monkeypox vaccine, working to expand testing, and taking other steps to try to get ahead of the outbreak.

New York sued 10 ghost gun dealers for selling parts online.

New York’s recreational marijuana market is beginning to sprout, literally. Thin-leafed plants are stretching toward the sun in farms around the state. In a novel move, New York gave 203 CBD hemp growers first shot at cultivating marijuana destined for legal sales, which could start by the end of the year. Big indoor growers are expected to join later.