Emily Sullivan

The mottled spots giraffes are known for aren't random, according to a new study that suggests that the patterns are inherited maternally — and that they may impact the chances of a calf surviving its first few months of life.

The roundness and smoothness of a giraffe's spots are inherited through its mother, wildlife biology researchers reported in the academic journal PeerJ last week.

A Missouri judge ruled on Tuesday that state election officials can no longer tell voters they must show a photo ID in order to cast a ballot. The ruling blocks part of Missouri's voter identification law.

Cole County's Judge Richard Callahan said the state cannot advertise that a photo identification is required to cast a ballot. "No compelling state interest is served by misleading local election authorities and voters into believing a photo ID card is a requirement for voting," he wrote in his ruling.

Updated at 5:30 a.m. ET Thursday

Tropical Storm Michael is weakening as it churns across south-central Georgia.

On Wednesday, Michael was the strongest hurricane to make landfall in the continental U.S. in more than a quarter-century, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Updated at 2:00 a.m. ET Wednesday

Hurricane Michael has grown into a Category 4 hurricane, with sustained winds reaching 130 mph, as it barrels toward northwestern Florida, making it a much stronger storm than Hurricane Florence was when it made landfall as a Category 1 storm drenching the Carolinas last month, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The stretch limousine involved in a deadly crash in upstate New York on Saturday had recently failed a state safety inspection and its driver did not have the proper license to drive the vehicle, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday.

The crash killed all 18 occupants of the modified limo and two pedestrians. Federal officials said it is the deadliest transportation accident in the U.S. since a 2009 plane crash.

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