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Damage to the First Baptist Church of Rockport after Hurricane Harvey hit Rockport, Texas last year. Photo: MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images

The Federal Emergency Management Agency said it has revised its rules to allow private nonprofit houses of worship to be eligible for disaster disaster relief funds to assist with damages from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Why it matters: The move announced on Tuesday comes more than three months after President Trump waded into an ongoing legal challenge by suggesting that churches should be able to get federal disaster relief funds. The suit involves three Texas churches severely damaged by Hurricane Harvey last year that accused the federal agency of religious discrimination, per the AP.

What it means: Religious institutions could now be qualified for assistance as "community centers, without regard to their secular or religious nature," FEMA said.

The rule change would affect properties that sustained damage from a major disaster on or after Aug. 23 2017 or that had unresolved applications pending before with FEMA as of that date.

Facilities primarily used for political, athletic, religious, recreational, vocational, or academic training, conferences, or similar activities are ineligible, the agency said.

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  1. Health: Large coronavirus outbreaks leading to high death rates — Coronavirus cases are at an all-time high ahead of Election Day — U.S. tops 88,000 COVID-19 cases, setting new single-day record.
  2. Politics: States beg for Warp Speed billions.
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  4. 🎧Podcast: The vaccine race turns toward nationalism.

Technical glitch in Facebook's ad tools creates political firestorm

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Photo: SOPA Images / Contributor

Facebook said late Thursday that a mix of "technical problems" and confusion among advertisers around its new political ad ban rules caused issues affecting ad campaigns of both parties.

Why it matters: A report out Thursday morning suggested the ad tools were causing campaign ads, even those that adhered to Facebook's new rules, to be paused. Very quickly, political campaigners began asserting the tech giant was enforcing policies in a way that was biased against their campaigns.

8 hours ago - Health

States beg for Warp Speed billions

A COVID-19 drive-thru testing center yesterday at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. Photo: David Santiago/Miami Herald via AP

Operation Warp Speed has an Achilles' heel: States need billions to distribute vaccines — and many say they don't have the cash.

Why it matters: The first emergency use authorization could come as soon as next month, but vaccines require funding for workers, shipping and handling, and for reserving spaces for vaccination sites.