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Thursday, Sep 03rd

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Scott Walker's immigration policies cause fear in Wisconsin's dairyland

Scott Walker immigrant policyBruenig’s employees look much like the rest of the labor force powering Wisconsin’s $43.4 billion dairy industry, more than 40 percent of which is made up of immigrants, according to a conservative estimate from a 2009 University of Wisconsin-Madison study. Many of them — like Sancristobal and Gonzalez — are undocumented.

The importance of immigrant labor to dairy may come as a surprise to some who have followed Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s trajectory on the issue as he’s gone from a swing state governor to a 2016 presidential contender.  Critics say Walker’s rightward drift reflects a tendency to capitulate to the whims of the Republican party’s base, particularly on social issues, no matter what the realities on the ground may be.

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Islamic call on rich countries to end fossil fuel use

Carbon emissions IndonesiaIslamic environmental and religious leaders have called on rich countries and oil producing nations to end fossil fuel use by 2050.

The Islamic Climate Declaration says that the world's 1.6bn Muslims have a religious duty to fight climate change.  It urges politicians to agree a new treaty to limit global warming to 2C, "or preferably 1.5 degrees."

The Declaration asks Muslims, in the words of the Koran, "not to strut arrogantly on the Earth".

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New breed of investor profits by financing surgeries for desperate women patients

Medical lenders cheat womenIn July 2013, California urogynecologist Andrew Cassidenti received an email from an entrepreneur named Otto Fisher, who had a proposition. Fisher was looking for surgeons to perform operations to remove pelvic mesh implants from women.

Intrigued, Cassidenti responded. In a phone call, Fisher said he needed doctors to operate at outpatient centers in California and Las Vegas. Fisher said he could guarantee Cassidenti $2,500 for every surgery the doctor performed, “whether it took five minutes or two hours,” or even if the doctor did not remove any mesh, according to the surgeon’s sworn court statement recounting the conversation.

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Hillary Clinton breaks with Obama on Arctic drilling

Hillary ClintonHillary Clinton distanced herself Tuesday from President Barack Obama’s decision to approve offshore drilling in the Arctic — a move that quickly drew attacks from the GOP but may shore up her support among skeptical environmentalists.

“The Arctic is a unique treasure,” the Democratic front-runner wrote on Twitter. “Given what we know, it’s not worth the risk.”

The message was signed “H.,” indicating Clinton’s personal endorsement.

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Chelsea Manning allies tell army to drop charges with 100,000-strong petition

Chelsea Manning petitionSupporters of Chelsea Manning delivered an estimated 100,000 signatures to the US army liaison office in Congress on Tuesday, urging the military to drop charges against the whistleblower for possession of unapproved magazines and other material and to “stop harassing” her.

Manning, the US army soldier serving a 35-year military prison sentence for leaking official secrets, was charged with prison infractions for possession of unapproved material earlier this month. Later on Tuesday, she faces a hearing on the charges, which could reportedly result in solitary confinement.

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New EPA Rules Will Aim To Cut Methane Emissions By 40 Percent

EPA rules limit methanehe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will propose regulations on Tuesday aimed at cutting methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 40 to 45 percent over the next decade from 2012 levels, a source familiar with the issue said on Monday.

The regulations on methane are one part of the Obama administration's strategy to curb greenhouse gases and combat climate change.

The targets in Tuesday's proposal are in line with a January announcement by the Obama administration that it wanted to reduce oil and gas industry methane emissions by up to 45 percent from 2012 levels by 2025, the source said.

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IRS hack far larger than first thought

IRS hackedA hack of the Internal Revenue service first reported in May was nearly three times as large as previously stated, the agency said Monday.  Thieves have accessed as many as 334,000 taxpayer accounts, the IRS said.

In May, the IRS reported that identity thieves were able to use the agency's Get Transcript program to get personal information about as many as 114,000 taxpayers.

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White House Announces Program to Combat Rise in Heroin Deaths

Heroin addictionIn response to a rise nationally in fatal heroin overdoses, the White House on Monday announced a plan aimed at emphasizing treatment rather than prosecution of addicts.

The program would initially be funded for $2.5 million by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy through five "High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas" and cover 15 states, administration officials said Monday.

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Two women pass Army Ranger School, become first female graduates

First women rangers graduateTwo women have passed the Army’s Ranger School, becoming the first females to complete the grueling combat training program and earn the right to wear Ranger tabs on their uniforms.

The Army’s Ranger headquarters in Fort Benning, Georgia, says the women and 94 men passed the tough 62-day course that tests their ability to overcome fatigue, hunger and stress during combat operations.

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