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Food stamp benefit cut may force a million people into 'serious hardship'

Food stamp cutsFood stamp eligibility rules are tightening in states across the country, causing up to one million current recipients to lose benefits and resulting in “serious hardship for many,” a new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CPBB) suggests.

The swipe on benefits will occur as various states re-impose work requirements they had let lapse in the aftermath of the financial crisis. Able-bodied adults without dependents (referred to as ABAWDs in U.S. Department of Agriculture jargon) are typically only able to access year-round food stamp if they are either working for at least 20 hours per week or participating in a federally approved workfare program. However, states with elevated unemployment levels have the ability to apply for a waiver on these rules.


Hackers recreate fingerprints using public photos

hacking fingerprintsAt a cybersecurity convention in Hamburg last week, the "Chaos Computer Club" demonstrated how it can mimic a fingerprint just by analyzing photographs.

Fingerprints have been recreated from smudges on windows and other smooth surfaces. In the past, forgers have used tape, a scanner, some plastic material and glue to build a gummy fingerprint that can fool scanners.


The Largest, Most Disastrous Trade Deal You've Never Heard Of

Disastrous trade deal comingRepublicans who now run Congress say they want to cooperate with President Obama, and point to the administration's Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, as the model. The only problem is the TPP would be a disaster.

If you haven't heard much about the TPP, that's part of the problem right there. It would be the largest trade deal in history -- involving countries stretching from Chile to Japan, representing 792 million people and accounting for 40 percent of the world economy -- yet it's been devised in secret.


Ex-Va. gov McDonnell sentenced to 2 years in prison

Bob McDonnellFormer Virginia governor Bob McDonnell will spend two years in federal prison after asking for mercy Tuesday at his own sentencing hearing on public corruption convictions.

Judge James R. Spencer revealed McDonnell's punishment after McDonnell was found guilty Sept. 4. on 11 of 13 federal charges filed against him. The former governor, indicted 10 days after leaving office, was convicted of trading access to the power of the governor's office for more than $165,000 in loans and high-end gifts, and prosecutors wanted him to spend more than 10 years in federal prison.


This Letter Could Restart The Case Against Darren Wilson

Michael Brown caseThe NAACP Legal Defense Fund* wrote an open letter to Missouri Judge Maura McShane asking her to investigate Ferguson prosecutor Bob McCulloch and his team for misconduct.

The NAACP notes that, under Missouri law, McShane has the authority to investigate McCulloch and appoint a new special prosecutor to handle the case against Darren Wilson. Such a move would effectively restart the case against Wilson for killing Michael Brown, after no charges were filed against Wilson during last year’s grand jury proceeding.


At Least Six Millionaires to Take Senate Oaths Tuesday

Millionaire senatorsThere's no shortage of statistics to show that Congress no longer reflects the demographics of the nation it represents. That's especially true when it comes to personal finances. Of the 13 newly elected members of the Senate to be sworn in Tuesday, at least six are millionaires. That's a conservative estimate and the proportion is almost certainly higher.

Their arrival in the Senate comes as the wealth gap between the nation's top 20 percent of earners—including many members of Congress—and every other income group in America has reached its widest point in at least three decades, according to a Pew Research Center study released in December. Pew also found in a report released in October that the issue of income inequality is of growing importance to the American public. Forty-six percent of respondents said it's a “very big problem,” while 32 percent said its a “moderately” big problem.


2 More Women Join Defamation Lawsuit Against Bill Cosby

two more sue cosbyTwo Florida women accusing Bill Cosby of sexual offenses decades ago have joined a defamation lawsuit, contending he publicly branded them as liars through statements by his representatives.

The amended federal complaint was filed Monday in western Massachusetts, near where Cosby has a home.

The lawsuit was filed last month by Tamara Green, who said Cosby drugged and assaulted her in the 1970s. The new plaintiffs are Therese Serignese, who said Cosby raped her in 1976, and Linda Traitz, who alleges Cosby groped her in 1970.


1st-of-its kind: Fund-raiser to test Detroit rape kits

Detroit SAIDFor more than 10,000 rape victims in Detroit, justice may depend on the generosity of strangers.

At least that's the goal of an unconventional crime-solving initiative that's under way in Detroit, where authorities are counting on private individuals and businesses to donate to what they believe is a first-of-its kind charity in the country: rape-kit testing.


Slaves freed from SKorean salt farms face misery in shelters

S Korean slaves freed from salt minesLife as a salt-farm slave was so bad Kim Jong-seok sometimes fantasized about killing the owner who beat him daily. Freedom, he says, has been worse.

In the year since police emancipated the severely mentally disabled man from the remote island farm where he had worked for eight years, Kim has lived in a grim homeless shelter, where he has been preyed upon and robbed by other residents. He has no friends, no job training prospects or counseling, and feels confined and deeply bored.


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