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US Must Release Detained Migrant Children, Mothers, Says Federal Court

A United States federal court ruling against the Obama administration’s detention of migrant families ruling is a significant step toward protecting the rights of children, Human Rights Watch said today. Under the decision, announced on July 24, 2015, the government may not hold children with their parents in prison-like facilities, and mothers who do not present a flight or security risk should be released with their children.

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9.5M LGBT Adults Nationwide Would Be Protected under New Comprehensive Non-Discrimination Bill

A new comprehensive non-discrimination bill introduced today in Congress would provide protections to an estimated 9.5 million U.S. adults who identify as LGBT, according to Gary Gates, Williams Institute Blachford-Cooper Distinguished Scholar and Research Director.

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Consumers Union: "Why would anyone want to keep consumers from knowing what's in their food?"

Consumers Union, the advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, today said it will press the Senate to oppose legislation that would prohibit states from requiring labeling of genetically engineered food, following a House vote in favor of H.R. 1599, the misleadingly-named "Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015." The House bill now goes to the Senate.

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A Humane Approach Can Work: The Effectiveness of Alternatives to Detention for Asylum Seekers

Today, the American Immigration Council and Center for Migration Studies release A Humane Approach Can Work: The Effectiveness of Alternatives to Detention for Asylum Seekers by Mark Noferi. The paper argues that widespread U.S. detention of asylum seekers is not only harmful, but unnecessary. It summarizes empirical research that asylum seekers fleeing persecution arrive uniquely inclined to appear for court hearings, and will do so if they are treated humanely and fairly—i.e. released instead of detained, and provided legal assistance before their hearing.

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Anthem to buy Cigna to create biggest U.S. health insurer, accelerating consolidation of industry from 5 national players to 3
Full story: News Daily

La. gunman was a Tea Partier who hated Obama, admired Hitler and wanted women to shut up in church
Full story: Raw Story

House Ignores Will of the People in Passage of Anti-labeling DARK Act, Says Center for Food Safety

Center for Food Safety today expressed deep disappointment in the House of Representatives’ passage of H.R. 1599, a bill that preempts state and local authority to label and regulate genetically engineered (GE) foods. Instead the bill, backed largely by House Republicans, codifies a voluntary labeling system approach, blocks FDA from ever implementing mandatory GE food labeling, and would allow food companies to continue to make misleading “natural” claims for foods that contain GE ingredients. The bill passed 275-150.

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Obama administration moves to block release of Guantanamo force feeding tapes

The Obama administration last night asked a federal judge to reconsider her order to release the Guantánamo force-feeding tapes.

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Lambda Legal Applauds Introduction of Federal Nondiscrimination Bill in Congress

Today Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley and Rhode Island Representative David Cicilline, together with lead co-sponsors Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), introduced the Equality Act, a bill to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, housing, credit, education, and jury service. It also prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex by those receiving federal funding and in public accommodations.

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House Coal Ash Bill Passes, Obama Administration Threatens Veto

Today, by a vote of 258 to 166, the House passed H.R. 1734, a bill that removes, weakens and delays critical safety protections established in the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s long-awaited and first-ever national coal ash rule.

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"You're fundamentally wrong on civics": Rachel Maddow schools Rick Santorum on the Constitution (VIDEO)
Full story: Salon.com

Federal Appeals Court Permanently Blocks Most Extreme Abortion Ban in the U.S.

After permanently striking Arkansas’s ban on safe and legal abortion services at 12 weeks as unconstitutional earlier this year, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit today (decision attached) permanently blocked North Dakota’s ban on abortion at around six weeks of pregnancy.

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Lawsuit Challenges Loopholes in New EPA Rule Exempting Wetlands and Streams From Clean Water Act Protections

Conservation groups filed a lawsuit today challenging last-minute exemptions for industries in the new “waters of the United States” rule that could open the door to more pollution of wetlands, streams and other waterways. The rule, finalized in May by the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, defines which waterways can be protected against being destroyed, degraded, or polluted without a permit under the Clean Water Act.

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Report Shows Dodd-Frank's Unfulfilled Promises

On the fifth anniversary of the enactment of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, key provisions of the law still have not been implemented or are inadequately enforced, a new Public Citizen report (PDF) shows. The report, “Dodd Frank Is Five: And Still Not Allowed Outside the House,” documents the poor implementation of the law.

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1.7 Million More Children Live in Low-Income Working Families Today Than in Midst of Great Recession

About 1.7 million more children live in low-income working families today than during the Great Recession, according to the newly released 2015 KIDS COUNT Data Book from the Annie. E. Casey Foundation. In 2013, one in four children, 18.7 million, lived in a low-income working family in the United States. Nearly a third of children are living in families where no parent has full-time employment. And even when parents are working full time, wages and benefits are often not sufficient to adequately support a family.

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Planned Parenthood Outlines Pattern of Unlawful Harassment By Extremists Behind Video Fraud

Planned Parenthood today told a Congressional committee that an elaborate fraud related to tissue donation for medical research is part of a decade-long pattern of illegal harassment by extremists whose focus is banning abortion and preventing women from accessing preventive health care at Planned Parenthood health centers.

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UN human rights experts reiterate their call to visit the US to advance criminal justice reforms

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture, Juan E. Méndez, and the Chairperson of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, Seong-Phil Hong, today called on the United States Government to facilitate their respective requests to carry out an official visit to the country to advance criminal justice reform.

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Ignoring Objections of Major Medical Groups, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker Signs Cruel Ban on Abortion at 20 Weeks of Pregnancy

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed a measure into law today which bans safe and legal abortion after twenty weeks of pregnancy with an extremely narrow exception for medical emergencies.

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Children of imprisoned parents have health problems

Children whose parents are in prison have worse health, poorer school performance and are at a greater risk for depression, anxiety, asthma and HIV/AIDS, according to a policy brief released by the Center for Poverty Research at the University of California, Davis.

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Report Finds Border Patrol Deporting Children Without Proper Screening

The United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report on Tuesday detailing their audit of the DHS’s care of UACs. The report found that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Border Patrol agents who screened the children “have not consistently applied the required screening criteria or documented the rationale for decisions resulting from the screening.” Significantly, the report found that because of this inadequate screening, CBP repatriated “about 93 percent of Mexican UAC under age 14 from fiscal years 2009 through 2014 without documenting the basis for decisions.”

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Victims of Human Rights Violations Launch Tribunal in D.C., Highlight U.S. Culpability in War Crimes in the Philippines

In the first day of an International Peoples’ Tribunal in D.C. yesterday, victims and expert witnesses to torture, enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, forced evacuations, and violations of international humanitarian law gave testimonies drawing strong connection between the U.S. and Philippine governments’ collaboration and culpability in perpetrating these abuses.

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Court Rejects Chiquita's Bid to Hide Terror Payment Records

In an important victory for transparency and corporate accountability, a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., has ruled that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) should release to the National Security Archive 9,257 pages of records produced by Chiquita Brands International to the SEC as part of an investigation of the company’s illegal payments to a Colombian terrorist organization, the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), a group responsible for egregious acts of violence during Colombia’s civil war.

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New EEOC Ruling Protects Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Employees

The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission today issued a decision that employment discrimination based on sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination that is outlawed by existing federal law.

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Oil Train Derailment in Montana Closes Highway, Forces Evacuations

Three tank cars continued to leak crude oil on Friday in rural, northeastern Montana in the wake of a 21-car derailment that downed a power line, closed a major highway and forced the evacuation of a town. Emergency workers responding to the Thursday evening derailment said cleanup of the leaking crude could not begin until the arrival of a Texas-based Burlington Northern Santa Fe hazardous materials team. The wreck is the latest in a string of derailments this year exposing the still-unchecked dangers that crude-oil trains pose to people and the environment, and how unprepared communities are to deal with the threat.

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Gun Violence Dominates the Headlines While Congress Takes a Long Weekend

The two stories dominating news headlines across the country both center on the issue of gun violence – an epidemic that kills 89 people in America every day, and injures hundreds more. Congress’ response to a grieving nation: another three-day weekend.

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Merkley Announces Bill to Stop Arctic Drilling

Today, Oregon's Senator Jeff Merkley announced the Stop Arctic Ocean Drilling Act of 2015, a major piece of legislation to stop offshore Arctic drilling. The legislation would prevent any new or renewed leases for the exploration, development, or production of oil, natural gas, or any other mineral in the Arctic planning area.

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Al Gore criticizes Obama on climate change and 'insane' Arctic drilling
Full story: The Guardian UK

Environmental Justice Becoming Just a Platitude at EPA, Says PEER

The proposed new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency “Action Agenda” for environmental justice contains precious little action and continues to marginalize disadvantaged communities beset by disproportionate pollution burdens, according to comments filed today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). The EPA plan focuses on symbolic steps that will do little to lift the pollution burden off the poor.

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Jewish Peace Advocates Support Iran Nuclear Deal

Jewish Voice for Peace, a national, grassroots organization dedicated to a U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East based on human rights and democracy, strongly supports the negotiated deal between world powers and Iran. Along with an overwhelming majority of Americans – including a majority of American Jews – we believe that a negotiated agreement is the only way to alleviate international concern about Iran’s nuclear program and avert war.

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Iran Agreement a Major Advance for Global Security, Says Plowshares Fund

The global security foundation Ploughshares Fund hailed today’s Iran nuclear agreement as a groundbreaking triumph for U.S. diplomacy and security, strongly urging Congress to support this historic step to prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb.

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