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Monday, Jul 25th

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Iowa Supreme Court: No life sentences without parole for convicted juvenile killers

Iowa Supreme CourtThe Iowa Supreme Court ruled Friday that no convicted killers under the age of 18 should be sentenced to life in prison without parole because such lengthy punishment for minors violates the state constitution.

In the 4-3 split decision, the majority wrote that life without parole amounts to cruel and unusual punishment, banned by both the state and U.S. constitutions.

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About 100,000 in U.S. now work for Chinese firms

Americans employed by ChinaIn the tiny North Carolina town of Tar Heel, the Smithfield Foods Packing Co., the world’s biggest slaughterhouse that often smells of pig manure, belongs to a giant Chinese meat-processing company.

Hundreds of movie theaters across the country are owned by the Kansas City-based AMC Theatres chain, which reports to China’s richest man.

And in Miami, a luxury condo tower called One Thousand Museum is rising over Biscayne Bay. Its contractor is a Chinese firm, the largest builder in the world’s most populous country.

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41 Secret Service agents disciplined for leaking Chaffetz personnel file

Secret Service agents disciplinedU.S. Secret Service agents involved in leaking the personnel file of Rep. Jason Chaffetz will face discipline ranging from a reprimand to suspensions without pay, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson announced.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, led a probe of embarrassing Secret Service disclosures which included drinking on the job and intruders at the White House. In response to Chaffetz' investigation, an unidentified Secret Service official encouraged "some information that he might find embarrassing" to be released, a September Department of Homeland Security report by its Inspector General said.

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High court ruling helps federal workers file job bias claims

SCOTUSThe Supreme Court is making it easier for federal workers to file employment discrimination lawsuits after quitting their jobs over conditions they consider intolerable.

The justices ruled 7-1 Monday that workers who bring so-called "constructive discharge" claims have 45 days from the time they resign to begin the process. The court rejected the Justice Department's position that the clock should start running when the alleged abuse occurs.

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Alabama attorney, second man arrested on multiple human trafficking charges

Alabama attorney arrested on human traficking chargesA Lauderdale County grand jury convened by the Alabama Attorney General’s Office has indicted a Florence attorney and a second man on human trafficking charges.

Attorney Edward “Chip” Dillard, 51, and Tim Staggs, 83, were arrested and booked into the Lauderdale County Detention Center on multiple human trafficking charges Thursday.

Dillard is being held on a $500,000 cash only bond and Staggs is being held on a $300,000 cash bond.

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Connecticut Court Upholds Abolishing Death Penalty For Existing Death Row Inmates

Connecticut death penalty ban upheldThe Connecticut Supreme Court has upheld its ruling that extends the state’s 2012 death penalty repeal to the 11 inmates already on death row.

State lawmakers initially made the 2012 death penalty repeal prospective so it would apply only to future crimes. The state Supreme Court’s 5-2 decision on Thursday upholds its 4-3 ruling from last August that extended the repeal to inmates who were already sentenced, thus converting their sentences to life without parole.

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Monsanto Ordered to Pay $46.5 Million in PCB Lawsuit in Rare Win for Plaintiffs

Monsanto loses psb suitYesterday’s 10-2 verdict in St. Louis Circuit Court awarded $17.5 million in damages to the three plaintiffs and assessed an additional $29 million in punitive damages against Monsanto, Solutia, Pharmacia and Pfizer, the St. Louis Dispatch reported.

PCBs were used to insulate electronics decades ago. Before switching operations to agriculture, Monsanto was the sole manufacturer of the compound from 1935 until 1977. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) banned PCBs in 1979, due to its link to birth defects and cancer in laboratory animals. PCBs can also have adverse skin and liver effects in humans. PCBs linger in the environment for many decades.

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