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GE Crops and Neonicotinoid Insecticides Finally Kicked Off Wildlife Refuges

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will phase out the use of genetically engineered (GE) crops to feed wildlife and ban neonicotinoid insecticides from all wildlife refuges nationwide by January 2016. The FWS decision, announced via internal memoranda obtained by Center for Food Safety (CFS), follows a longstanding grassroots, legal, and policy campaign by CFS and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) to end the harmful practices. This announcement builds on a previously announced decision to eliminate neonicotinoid pesticides from refuges in the Pacific Region.

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Groups Ask Federal Court to Block Deportation Hearings for Children Without Legal Representation

The American Immigration Council, American Civil Liberties Union, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, Public Counsel, and K&L Gates LLP have asked a federal court to immediately block the government from pursuing deportation proceedings against several children unless it ensures those youth have legal representation. The move comes as immigration courts are speeding up deportation hearings against children in an expedited process sometimes referred to as a "rocket docket."

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'Fracking' in the dark: Biological fallout of shale-gas production still largely unknown

In the United States, natural-gas production from shale rock has increased by more than 700 percent since 2007. Yet scientists still do not fully understand the industry's effects on nature and wildlife, according to a report in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.

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KKK calls for 'shoot to kill' policy against undocumented immigrants
Full story: Aljazeera America

House Fails To Pass Immigration Bill, Asks Obama To Act Alone
Full story: National Memo

Ruth Bader Ginsberg: Male Supreme Court justices who voted against her in the Hobby Lobby case have "blind spot" when it comes to women
Full story: Yahoo

153 Groups: Executive Action on Immigration Should Protect Workers and Uphold Labor Standards

In a letter sent to the Obama administration, a broad coalition of 153 civil rights, faith-based, and labor groups urged that any executive action on immigration uphold workers’ ability to press for their rights on the job.

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Interview: Rabbi Henry Siegman, Leading Voice of U.S. Jewry, on Gaza: "A Slaughter of Innocents"
Full story: Democracy Now

Over Two Dozen Civil Rights and Legal Groups Demand Florida Counties Halt Enforcement of Unconstitutional Immigration Detainers

A coalition of civil rights, immigrants' rights, religious and legal groups has sent letters to officials in 62 Florida counties calling for an end to local law enforcement agencies detaining people for alleged civil immigration violations at the request of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

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Strengthening Community Forest Rights is Critical Tool to Fight Climate Change, Says Major New Report

Strengthening community forest rights is an essential strategy to reduce billions of tonnes of carbon emissions, making it an effective way for governments to meet climate goals, safeguard forests and protect the livelihoods of their citizens, according to a major new report.

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National Latino, Asian Pacific Islander, Labor and Faith Leaders Release 2014 National Immigration Score Card

National Latino and Asian American and Pacific Islander groups as well as labor and Evangelical leaders have announced an unprecedented alliance and civic engagement initiative, beginning with release of the 2014 National Immigration Score Card that shows how Congress failed on the issue of immigration reform.

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Penn Scholars: Hobby Lobby Decision a "Setback for Women's Health Care"

The recent Hobby Lobby U.S. Supreme Court decision is "a setback for both the ACA's [Affordable Care Act] foundational goal of access to universal health care and for women's health care," say two University of Pennsylvania professors writing in the new issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Strikes Down Virginia's Ban on Marriage for Same-Sex Couples

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit today affirmed a district court ruling striking down Virginia's ban on marriage for same-sex couples. The decision will not take effect immediately, but will go into effect in 21 days, unless the defendants file a motion to stay the ruling. The ruling will also be stayed if the defendants ask the full court of appeals to review the case.

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US: Surveillance Harming Journalism, Law, Democracy

Large-scale US surveillance is seriously hampering US-based journalists and lawyers in their work, Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union said in a joint report released today. Surveillance is undermining media freedom and the right to counsel, and ultimately obstructing the American people's ability to hold their government to account, the groups said.

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Songbirds dying from DDT in Michigan yards; Superfund site blamed

Jim Hall was mowing the town's baseball diamond when he felt a little bump underneath him. "And there it was, a dead robin," he said.

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Not in my backyard: US sending dirty coal abroad
Full story: Modesto Bee

New U.K. Report Marks "Beginning of the end" of Wood Pellet Boom and Harvest of Native Southern U.S. Forests for Pellets

A report released today by the chief science advisor to the United Kingdom energy agency on the carbon effects of burning wood biomass for energy will significantly change UK energy policy with significant implications for the rapidly expanding wood pellet industry in the southern United States. Already in response to the report, the U.K. Department of Environment and Climate Change (DECC) announced that beginning next year, government subsidies will not be provided to wood biomass sources that do not meet a carbon reduction target.

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Avalanche of Local ICE Detainer Limits Underscores Need for Federal Policy Reform

Across the United States, county after county continues to alter policies to limit compliance with immigration detainers because of constitutional concerns. A spate of federal rulings found that detainers were not mandatory, so local officials increasingly seem to be coming to the conclusion that honoring detainer requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which ask officers to hold people for 48 hours past when the person would have been released, are not worth the risk. "Very simply, it's a violation of the 4th Amendment," said Nevada attorney Jerry Stuchiner, a former immigration officer.

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House Majority Votes to Harm Millions of Citizen and Latino Children

The conservative-led U.S. House of Representatives voted Friday to deny the refundable portion of the Child Tax Credit (CTC) to as many as 5.5 million children — children who are mostly U.S. citizens and Latino — while permanently expanding the tax credit for higher income households.

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Meat Plant Previously Passing USDA Audits Now Implicated in Chinese Food Safety Scandal

In light of the recent scandal in China involving Shanghai Husi Foods Company consumer advocacy organization Food & Water Watch has sent a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack asking him to stop all activities that would pave the way for China to export their poultry products to the U.S. The company, which sold expired meat and poultry products to Chinese fast food restaurants and exported some of those products to Japan, had been audited by the USDA in 2004 and 2010—in an effort to establish equivalency status with U.S. processing plants and pave the way for imports.

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Nearly one-third of hourly workers nationwide earn less than $10.10 an hour

Among all employees nationally, 56 percent are hourly workers, and 32 percent of these, or more than 21 million, earn less than $10.10 per hour, according to University of Virginia researchers in the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service's Demographics Research Group.

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Court Decision Allowing Antibiotics in Animal Feed Puts Public Health at Risk

Today, the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals denied an appeal that would require the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to end the use of penicillin and tetracyclines in animal feed unless drug manufacturers can prove such use is safe. The decision was made despite overwhelming scientific evidence linking the continued misuse of antibiotics in food animals to rising antibiotic resistance in humans.

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Fukushima Accident Underscores Need for US to Seek Out New Information About Nuclear Plant Hazards, Says New NAS Report

A new congressionally mandated report from the National Academy of Sciences concludes that the overarching lesson learned from the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident is that nuclear plant licensees and their regulators must actively seek out and act on new information about hazards with the potential to affect the safety of nuclear plants. The committee that wrote the report examined the causes of the Japan accident and identified findings and recommendations for improving nuclear plant safety and offsite emergency responses to nuclear plant accidents in the U.S.

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Feinstein, Portman Introduce Bill to Ensure Homeless Children, Families Are Eligible for Assistance

Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) today introduced the Homeless Children and Youth Act, a bill to expand the definition of homelessness used by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), a change that would allow approximately 900,000 homeless children and families nationwide to access federal assistance programs. Reps. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio) and George Miller (D-Calif.) introduced similar legislation in the House of Representatives.

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Pay-Cut Clock Documents Billions of Dollars Lost by Minimum-Wage Workers

Today, on the fifth anniversary of the last increase in the minimum wage, the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) debuts a pay cut clock to show how much, down to the second, minimum wage workers continue to lose as long as the wage remains frozen at its current level.

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Reporter describes gruesome scene of Arizona execution
Full story: AZ Central

Thousands Outraged After Wyoming GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Taylor Haynes Proposes Drilling and Mining at Yellowstone National Park

Thousands of nature-lovers are protesting statements by Taylor Haynes, a Republican gubernatorial candidate who suggested he would open public lands in the state for mining, drilling, and grazing. That includes iconic natural areas such as Yellowstone National Park. The Care2 petition, which has nearly 20,000 signatures, asks Haynes to reconsider his stance and his campaign promises.

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As Communities Fight Back Against Tar Sands, Expansion Far From Inevitable

Last night, the City Council in South Portland, Maine approved an ordinance that would keep tar sands out of the city by prohibiting the bulk loading of crude oil, including tar sands, onto tankers, as well as new related infrastructure in the city.

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Playing with Fire (2014)

Climate change is producing hotter, drier conditions in the American West, which contribute to more large wildfires and longer wildfire seasons.

The risk to people and their homes is rising as a result, a growing danger made worse by the increasing number of homes and businesses being built in and near wildfire-prone areas. Past fire suppression and forest management practices have also led to a build-up of flammable fuel wood, which increases wildfire risks.

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Senators Press for Additional Firefighting Funds for West

As wildfires spanning nearly 600,000 acres burn across Oregon – with lightning storms predicted for the next 48 hours – Oregon's Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden led 10 other senators today in sending a letter to Senate leaders calling for swift passage of President Obama's emergency supplemental funding request, which would allocate $615 million – accessible immediately – to fight wildfires. The Senators also called for a vote on the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act, a bill sponsored by Wyden and Merkley that would fix the broken system of stealing funds from prevention to fight fires that are already burning.

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