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To ventilate a room and make it more comfortable, the louver shutters in many older homes were designed to open allowing air to circulate inside. The louvers were adjustable to protect the interior from too much sun and rain. Today, however, shutters are mostly made of vinyl and used more as decoration to frame windows and add texture and contrast against the...

Criminal defendants in Oregon who have gone without public defenders for weeks have filed a lawsuit against the state claiming a violation of their constitutional rights. The complaint, which seeks a class-action status, was filed in Portland on Monday comes as state lawmakers and the Office of Public Defense Services struggle to address a huge shortage of public defenders. The system to provide attorneys for criminal defendants who can't afford them was underfunded and understaffed before COVID-19, but a significant slowdown in the courts during the pandemic pushed Oregon to a breaking point as a backlog of cases flooded courts.

Gov. Tim Walz and legislative leaders have announced a breakthrough deal on a broad framework for parceling out a massive budget surplus with just a week remaining in the session. The bipartisan deal would devote $4 billion to tax relief, and another $4 billion to spending on education, public safety and health care. It would also leave $4 billion in the bank to guard against downturns. The agreement also calls for $1.5 billion for a public works package known as a bonding bill. Walz told reporters there's a lot of hard work ahead, but the main parameters have been set.

Elisabeth Borne has been appointed France’s new prime minister. She's only the the second woman to hold the post in the country. The 61-year-old Borne succeeds Jean Castex who resigned as expected Monday after French President Emmanuel Macron’ was reelected last month. Macron and Borne are expected to appoint a new French government in the coming days. Borne served as labor minister in Macron’s previous government since 2020. Before that she was transport minister and minister of ecological transition. She is now also expected to take a senior role in Macron's efforts to fight climate change. Some left-wing politicians were upset with the choice of Borne, saying she reduced social payments to 1 million unemployed people.

A one-night count found that San Francisco’s homeless population dipped slightly in 2022 to roughly 7,800 people amid an unprecedented effort to get people off the streets during the coronavirus pandemic. The 2019 count found more than 8,000 residents in 2019 in a city where unhoused people are highly visible. The rest of the San Francisco Bay Area's nine counties are expected to release preliminary data Monday. Alameda County reported a 22% increase since 2019 for a total of nearly 9,800 people. One regional housing advocacy group said the Bay Area “staved off a catastrophic increase in homelessness” over the last three years. 

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