Colin Dwyer

Updated at 8:16 p.m. ET

Maryland's second-highest court has ruled that Adnan Syed, whose murder conviction served as a subject for the hit podcast Serial, deserves a new trial. The decision issued Thursday by the Court of Special Appeals upheld a lower-court ruling that Syed's counsel in his original murder trial was deficient and ineffective.

Updated 1:10 a.m. ET Friday

More than three weeks after Yulia Skripal was first exposed to a suspected nerve agent, the daughter of a former Russian spy is "improving rapidly and is no longer in a critical condition," U.K. health authorities have announced. The Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust says that "her condition is now stable."

Sources tell the BBC that she is "conscious and talking."

Her father, Sergei, who was poisoned alongside her, is still in critical but stable condition.

Updated at 5:50 p.m. ET

For many elected officials, it's something of a rite of passage: After getting to Capitol Hill, bearing their constituents' hopes and fears on their shoulders, virtually every politician finally decides to take a stand — in front of a painter paid to make their portrait. Some even decide to sit for it.

But either way, for a long time many of those official portraits were paid for by the same patrons: U.S. taxpayers.

Not anymore.

Updated at 3:20 p.m. ET

Louisiana has declined to press charges against the pair of white police officers involved in the 2016 shooting death of Alton Sterling. The state's attorney general, Jeff Landry, announced the decision at a news conference Tuesday, saying that a months-long review of the incident failed to uncover evidence that either police officer could be held criminally responsible for Sterling's death.

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