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Friday, Nov 21st

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Washington may become model for gun measures

Gun law vote in Washington stateWashington voters decisively backed expanded background checks for guns, a victory for advocates of stricter gun laws who say they will use the momentum from this win to pursue similar measures in other states.

With the passage of Initiative 594, Washington joins six other states and the District of Columbia with laws that require universal background checks for all sales and transfers of firearms, though it is the first to pass such a law through a citizen-driven initiative on the ballot.

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Alex Baer: It May Even Rain Later On This Year

gridlock in WashingtonAs predictions go, here's an easy one: I predict things will get factually bumpy where politicians are concerned. I also predict you'll detect today's Mystery Guest on Spot the Weasel, the game show that offers fabulous conundrums the longer you play!

Are you ready? From the time tunnel of 2009, Clue Number One: "Our top political priority over the next two years should be to deny President Obama a second term." In case there was any confusion about the issue, there was additional clarification right away: "The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president."

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Iran hints at early release for detained Washington Post reporter

Jason RezaianThe family of imprisoned Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian says his health is deteriorating due to “neglect” after 107 days in custody, even as a top Iranian official suggests that he may be free within weeks.

Until now, little news has emerged about Mr. Rezaian – a dual American-Iranian citizen – since his arrest at home in Tehran on July 22 with his wife, Iranian journalist Yeganeh Salehi, and two others Iranian-Americans.

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Thousands of child migrants still lack lawyers

child migrants in USNewly released government data show an immigration court system under stress as judges face pressure to expedite deportation cases even as thousands of child migrants – many under 14 and with no grasp of English — are still without attorneys to represent them.

The fast pace of arraignments has been quite extraordinary, with 11,392 master calendar hearings held from July 18 to October 21 or more than 800 a week. Of the 1542 removal orders issued in the same time period, 94 percent fell on children having no counsel.

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Three ex-marines charged over plot to rig presidential helicopter contracts

marines charged in helicopter fraudThree men face charges in a fraud scheme involving a helicopter fleet that transports the president and vice-president, federal prosecutors said Thursday.

The men are accused of involvement in a bid-rigging plot for Marine Helicopter Squadron One, though the maintenance bid ultimately lost, according to a news release from US attorney Thomas G Walker.

Craig Kolhagen, Dennis Pennington and James Bowling have been indicted on charges including wire fraud and procurement fraud, according to the news release.

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Gay marriage bans in four states upheld on appeal

gay marraige ban upheld in four statesThe same-sex marriage movement lost its first major case in a federal appeals court Thursday after a lengthy string of victories, creating a split among the nation's circuit courts that virtually guarantees Supreme Court review.

The 2-1 ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit reversed district court rulings that had struck down gay marriage bans in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.

More important, it gives Supreme Court justices an appellate ruling that runs counter to four others from the 4th, 7th, 9th and 10th circuits. Those rulings struck down same-sex marriage bans in Virginia, Indiana, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Utah, Idaho and Nevada, leading to similar action in neighboring states.

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Razor Blades, Vodka, Heroin Easy to Smuggle Into NY's Rikers Island Prison: Probe

Riker's Island security breachContraband is so easy to get inside Rikers Island that just about any inmate with money can get their hands on drugs or weapons, a city Department of Investigation probe revealed.

DOI released its findings Thursday after a large-scale undercover investigation into the screening and security protocols at the city’s sprawling jail complex.

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The Case of the Dallas 6: Torture and Retaliation Against Prisoner Whistleblowers

Dallas 6 trialImagine sitting in a windowless 6-foot by 9-foot room the size of a bathroom for 23 hours a day, unable to communicate with family or anyone on the outside. The lights are on 24/7. The only drinking water you have is brown from rust. You constantly hear mentally ill people screaming and harming themselves. Within days of this torturous isolation you may begin to feel mental breakdown. Is this Guantánamo? Abu Ghraib? A torture chamber in some distant land? A torture chamber, yes, but a homegrown one.

This is solitary confinement in a state prison near you. The United States has many like the one in Dallas, Pennsylvania, a modern day dungeon, which imprisons people for years to face abuse and violence out of public view by guards paid with our tax dollars. But men inside also defend themselves and, even locked within their cells, try to fight back. One of those men was my son Carrington Keys.

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Prosecutors plan to throw out 28 drug indictments

FBI crime labFederal prosecutors plan to dismiss charges against 28 defendants in drug cases because an FBI agent may have been involved in tampering with evidence including firearms and narcotics.

The FBI is in the process of investigating the alleged misconduct, according to court papers in the matter.

At a court hearing Thursday for four of the defendants, a federal judge said he will review the government's plan to dismiss the cases without prejudice, which leaves the door open for the government to refile charges at a later date.

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