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Monday, Nov 24th

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Obama declares 'lawful action' to protect 5M immigrants

immigration reformPresident Obama took a historic, legacy-defining step Thursday night when he announced a plan to protect 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation, infuriating Republicans but satisfying immigrants who have fought for years for such relief.

The president's plan will allow undocumented immigrants who are parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents, known as green card holders, to legally live and work in the country for a period of three years. He expanded the pool of undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children who are eligible for protected status.

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US releases five prisoners from Guantánamo Bay detention camp

GitmoFive prisoners have been released from Guantánamo Bay as part of a renewed effort to close the detention center on the US navy base in Cuba, officials said Thursday.

Three men were sent to Georgia and two to Slovakia for resettlement. They were among dozens of low-level prisoners at Guantanamo who were determined to no longer pose a threat and should be released by an administration task force in 2009.

Their release brings the total prison population to 143.

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Federal court allows Mississippi's only abortion clinic to remain open

abortion clinic mississippiA federal appeals court said Thursday that it won’t reconsider its earlier ruling that a 2012 Mississippi abortion law is unconstitutional.

The decision means the law remains blocked and Mississippi’s only abortion clinic remains open.  The law required abortion doctors to obtain admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.

The clinic, Jackson Women’s Health Organization, sued the state to try to block the law as it was taking effect. A federal district judge in Jackson blocked the state from enforcing the law while the clinic tried, unsuccessfully, to get admitting doctors’ privileges.

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Banking culture breeds dishonesty, scientific study finds

banking indusstryA banking culture that implicitly puts financial gain above all else fuels greed and dishonesty and makes bankers more likely to cheat, according to the findings of a scientific study.

Researchers in Switzerland studied bank workers and other professionals in experiments in which they won more money if they cheated, and found that bankers were more dishonest when they were made particularly aware of their professional role.

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Israeli mayor draws fire with vow to bar Arabs from school-building projects

Arab workers barred from Jerusalem construcitonAn Israeli mayor’s decision to bar Arab workers from construction projects at public kindergartens has touched off a firestorm of criticism across Israel.

At least a dozen Israeli politicians, from the leftist opposition leader to prominent right-wing figures, denounced the move by Itamar Shimoni, mayor of the southern city of Ashkelon, as discriminatory, undemocratic, and unjustified despite heightened security concerns following a spate of Arab attacks on Jews.

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House Republicans Pass Bill Forbidding Scientists from Advising EPA on Their OWN Research

GOP stops scientific adviceCongressional climate wars were dominated Tuesday by the U.S. Senate, which spent the day debating, and ultimately failing to pass, a bill approving the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. While all that was happening, and largely unnoticed, the House was busy doing what it does best: attacking science.

H.R. 1422, which passed 229-191, would shake up the EPA’s Scientific Advisory Board, placing restrictions on those pesky scientists and creating room for experts with overt financial ties to the industries affected by EPA regulations.

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US joins Somalia and South Sudan in failing to support child rights

children's rightsSome U.S. lawmakers contend that ratification would allow children to sue their parents. Yet the treaty contains no such provision and leaves this issue to the discretion of ratifying states. Others contend that the treaty prohibits corporal punishment and would interfere with private family decisions. Again, the treaty does no such thing. Rather it seeks to protect children from domestic violence and abuse, a principle already enshrined in U.S. law.

Underlying these objections is a deeper worry that the convention will somehow erode U.S. sovereignty and federalism. This concern is misguided. The U.S. has ratified numerous other human rights treaties — including ones that protect against racial discrimination, torture and genocide — and has not experienced a concomitant loss of sovereignty.

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Swedish court rejects Julian Assange's appeal to rescind arrest warrant

Julian AssangeAn appellate court in Sweden ruled Thursday to uphold an arrest warrant for Julian Assange in connection with a sexual assault case involving two women.

The Wikileaks founder has claimed he is the victim of a human rights scandal and that the charges were inventions to orchestrate his arrest and extradition to the U.S., where is wanted for questioning about the release of thousands of classified cables in 2010.

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Gunman killed after three shot at Florida State University

Tallahassee shootingCampus police last night killed a gunman after three people were injured in a shooting at the library of Florida State University in Tallahassee.

Police locked down the campus as they hunted for the shooter. Students were warned of a "dangerous situation" and told to seek shelter and avoid doors or windows.  Officers finally confronted the gunman on the steps of the library, ordering him to drop his weapon. Instead he opened fire, and was shot dead by police.

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