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Wednesday, October 22 2014

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Can you build a wall around 3countries in West Africa? 70 members of Congress support travel ban

Since the death of Liberian national Thomas Eric Duncan in Texas on 8 October and the Ebola infection of two US nurses that treated him, there have been increasing calls by US lawmakers to ban travel from the countries most affected by the virus - Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

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Federal Lawsuit Filed to Challenge Mississippi Ban on Marriage Equality

Today a case was filed in federal district court in Mississippi challenging the state’s discriminatory constitutional amendment banning same-sex couples from marrying. Famed attorney Roberta Kaplan, who successfully argued United States v. Windsor against the federal Defense of Marriage Act before the Supreme Court of the United States last year, will represent two plaintiff couples on behalf of Campaign for Southern Equality. This is the first marriage equality federal lawsuit filed in Mississippi. A case challenging the state marriage ban filed in state court – Czekala-Chatham v. Melancon – is on appeal to the Mississippi Supreme Court after a judge denied a same-sex couple’s divorce petition, citing the state’s ban on recognition of marriages between same-sex couples.

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Detroit's water shut-offs target the poor, vulnerable and African Americans, Says UN Special Rapporteurs

The unprecedented scale of water shut-offs taking place in Detroit is disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable and poorest, most of whom are African American, two United Nations human rights experts have warned today. So far this year over 27,000 residences have had water services disconnected.

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Is Your Politician a "Lap Dog" For the NRA and its Corporate Cash? Do they do Tricks? Roll Over? All for Gun Lobby Treats?

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and Writer, Director and Producer Adam McKay today launched a video, website and scorecard exposing members of Congress for the campaign dollars they have taken from the corporate gun lobby, while blocking life-saving legislation that would keep guns out of the hands of criminals.

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Consumer Federation of America Urges Obama Administration to Appeal WTO Decision on U.S. Country-of-Origin Labeling

Consumer Federation of America today expressed strong disappointment with the decision by a World Trade Organization panel which ruled on U.S. country-of-origin labeling (COOL) requirements for meat.

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MPI Report Offers Most Detailed Analysis Yet of U.S. Deportation System under DHS

Even as deportation of criminals has risen steadily over the past decade, non-criminals represent a majority of the 3.7 million formal removals that occurred between fiscal 2003-2013, and the largest category of criminal removals consists of people whose only convictions were for immigration-related crimes. This pattern is mainly driven by border removals, which surged beginning in 2011 and accounted for 70 percent of all deportations in fiscal 2013. Interior enforcement, in contrast, focuses primarily on people convicted of non-immigration crimes.

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Women Criticize NOW For Taking Money from Chevron In Ecuador Pollution Case

The legal arm of the National Organization for Woman (“NOW”) is under attack from rainforest indigenous villagers and their allies for accepting a large donation from Chevron and then filing a legal brief in favor of the oil company in its campaign to evade an Ecuador court judgment ordering it to clean up extensive oil contamination in the Amazon.

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After Supreme Court Declines to Hear Same-Sex Marriage Cases, AG Holder Announces Federal Government to Recognize Couples in 7 New States

Attorney General Eric Holder announced today that the federal government will recognize same-sex marriages taking place in the states affected by the Supreme Court’s recent decision to decline to review rulings from three federal appeals courts that had struck down bans on same-sex marriage. The Attorney General added that the Department of Justice will work with agencies across the administration to ensure that all applicable federal benefits are extended to those couples as soon as possible.

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EPA Study: Highly Toxic Bee-killing Pesticides Yield Little or No Benefits for Soybean Production

A new study from the Environmental Protection Agency has found that the neonicotinoid seed coatings linked to massive bee die-offs — including the largest bumblebee die-off in history, where 25,000 bees died in a single incident in a Portland suburb — provide little to no benefits for soybean production. Neonicotinoids, highly toxic pesticides, are used as seed coating on 30 percent of the 76 million acres of soybeans harvested every year in the United States. While the EPA study focused on soybeans, millions of acres of other crops, such as wheat and corn, are also subjected to neonicotinoid seed treatments.

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Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Leahy, Senate Democrats Press DHS Against Expansion of Family Detention System

A group of leading Democratic Senators on Thursday pressed Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson on recent plans to expand the immigration detention system, notably the decision to construct a massive new immigration detention facility at the southern border, and urged the administration to ensure the physical safety and due process rights of women and children seeking asylum in the United States.

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CDC Expands Passenger Notification

Based on additional information obtained during interviews of close contacts to the second healthcare worker from Texas Presbyterian Hospital who tested positive for Ebola, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is expanding its outreach to airline passengers now to include those who flew from Dallas Fort Worth to Cleveland on Frontier flight 1142 on Oct. 10.

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The richest 5% of Americans now hold 63% of the country's wealth, and Janet Yellen is worried
Full story: The Guardian UK


Michael Dunn sentenced to life plus 105 years for killing unarmed teen over 'loud music'
Full story: Raw Story


Natural gas boom will not slow climate change, say researchers from Germany, US, Austria, Italy and Australia

The recent natural gas boom due to the use of technologies such as fracking will not lead to a reduction of overall greenhouse gas emissions. Burning natural gas produces only half the CO2 emissions as coal per unit of energy. However, as natural gas becomes abundant and therefore cheap, it adds to the total energy supply and only partially replaces coal, a study published in the journal Nature shows. This market effect erases the advantage of lower emissions from the natural gas itself, according to an unprecedented international comparison of computer simulations.

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Animal Welfare Institute: US Beef Cattle Industry's Animal Care Standards Inadequate

The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) announced today that it has sent a written appeal to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), criticizing and requesting revision of the trade association’s guidelines for the care and handling of cattle raised for beef in the United States.

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Industrial-scale gold mines have left a toxic and costly legacy for taxpayers in South Carolina
Full story: The State


'Sovereign citizen' claims deeply held Christian belief that tax laws don't apply to him
Full story: Raw Story


Lambda Legal Sues South Carolina: State Must Follow the 4th Circuit Ruling and Allow Same-Sex Couples to Marry

Today Lambda Legal, in partnership with South Carolina Equality, filed a federal lawsuit in the United States District Court of South Carolina arguing that South Carolina is obligated to allow same-sex couples to marry. Governor Haley and Attorney General Wilson vowed to continue to apply the laws banning marriage for same-sex couples even after the U.S. Supreme Court let stand the ruling by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals striking down a similar ban in Virginia. Because South Carolina is also within the jurisdiction of the Fourth Circuit, the decision in the Virginia case is binding on South Carolina.

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NSA Documents Suggest a Close Working Relationship Between NSA, U.S. Companies

Newly disclosed National Security Agency documents suggest a closer relationship between American companies and the spy agency than have been previously disclosed.

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CAIR Launches Website Exposing America's 'Islamophobia Network'

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today launched Islamophobia.org, the latest element in the Muslim civil rights organization's work to monitor and challenge the growing anti-Muslim bigotry in American society.

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New LDF Report Looks at Ferguson Through Lenses of Educational and Economic Inequality, Disenfranchisement and Criminal Justice

A new LDF report, Ferguson in Focus, looks at Ferguson through the lenses of educational inequality, political disenfranchisement, economic inequality, and the criminal justice system.

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CDC and Frontier Airlines Announce Passenger Notification Underway

On the morning of Oct. 14, the second healthcare worker reported to the hospital with a low-grade fever and was isolated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirms that the second healthcare worker who tested positive last night for Ebola traveled by air Oct. 13, the day before she reported symptoms.

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Texas Reports Positive Test for Ebola in One Additional Healthcare Worker

A second healthcare worker at Texas Presbyterian Hospital who provided care for the index patient has tested positive for Ebola according to preliminary tests performed overnight by the Texas Department of State Health Services’ laboratory.

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Texas Clinics Closed by Fifth Circuit Can Reopen in Light of Supreme Court Ruling

In a 6-3 order, the U.S. Supreme Court has reinstated an injunction blocking a far-reaching Texas law that had forced all but eight reproductive health care clinics in the state to close their doors. Today’s ruling allows clinics previously shuttered to reopen their doors and offer abortion services while the case is heard by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

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Corporate Sponsors of Senator Inhofe's Cruel Pigeon Shoot Fundraiser Criticized

AT&T, BP, Ernst & Young and American Bakers Association are among a host of corporate sponsors for what is being described as a "disgusting and vile" fundraiser for Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) that featured shooting, stomping and abusing live pigeons while a Mariachi band plays.

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Defenders of Wildlife Takes Feds to Court for Not Protecting Wolverines

Defenders of Wildlife today announced it has taken legal action against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (the Service) for the agency’s decision not to list the wolverine under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

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New Report Shows Mounting Evidence of Millennials' Shift Away from Driving

A new report from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) and Frontier Group shows mounting evidence that the Millennial generation’s dramatic shift away from driving is more than temporary. While the 2000s saw a marked decrease in the average number of miles traveled by young Americans, the study explains that those trends appear likely to continue even as the economy improves – in light of the consistency of Millennials’ surveyed preferences, a continued reduction of Millennials driving to work, and the continued decreases in per-capita driving among all Americans.

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Report: More than 40 percent of outside groups support one candidate

At least 57 outside groups that can accept unlimited contributions have devoted all of their resources to supporting a single congressional candidate this election cycle, according to a Public Citizen analysis released today. These groups, which had reported spending $49 million on this year’s elections as of Oct. 7, make up 42 percent of all unregulated groups analyzed by Public Citizen for this report.

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Private Donors Supply Spy Gear to Cops

In 2007, as it pushed to build a state-of-the-art surveillance facility, the Los Angeles Police Department cast an acquisitive eye on software being developed by Palantir, a startup funded in part by the Central Intelligence Agency's venture capital arm.

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"60 Minutes" Report Undermines DOJ Threat to Jail New York Times reporter James Risen

A report that aired on “60 Minutes” last night put the Obama Justice Department more on the defensive in its ongoing effort to compel New York Times reporter James Risen to identify a confidential source — under threat of imprisonment.

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