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Saturday, Feb 25th

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Obama dumps registry for some immigrant men, mostly Muslims

Obama dumps registry for male immigrantsThe Obama administration said Thursday it is officially scrapping a post-9/11 requirement for immigrant men from predominantly Muslim countries to register with the federal government. The U.S. hasn't used the program since 2011, but a top immigration adviser to President-elect Donald Trump has spoken of renewing it.

The decision to end the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System, or NSEERs, comes amid growing international terror fears and Trump's suggestions that he could ban Muslim immigrants from the United States. After a truck attack killed 12 in a Christmas market in Berlin this week, Trump told reporters, "You know my plans."

The program's elimination could make it more complicated for Trump's administration to launch its own registration system for Muslims.

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North Carolina: Vote to repeal 'bathroom bill' stalled by constant recesses

NC 'bathroom' lawNorth Carolina lawmakers gathered Wednesday to vote on repealing the state's controversial "bathroom bill."

House Bill 2, signed into law in March, bans people from using public bathrooms that don't correspond to their biological sex as listed on their birth certificates. Backlash against the law caused huge economic losses for the state.

After a series of recesses, legislators discussed a bill that may anger Democrats and leaders in the city of Charlotte, which just repealed an anti-discrimination city ordinance as part of a deal with the legislature.

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Death penalty slowly disappearing from the US, end-of-year report suggests

Death penalty, executions disappearing in USJudging by all the indicators, capital punishment in America is gasping for its last breath, according to the end-of-year report from the Death Penalty Information Center, a non-partisan authority on the subject.

This year, 20 prisoners have been judicially killed. That’s down from 28 in 2015, and vastly below the peak of 98 executions in 1999 at the height of the panic over urban crime and the crack epidemic.

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‘Scientology’ accuses church leader David Miscavige of physical abuse

Lee ReminiScientology adversaries, Leah Remini and Mike Rinder headed to Seattle, Wash. and Los Angeles, Calif. in Tuesday’s episode of Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, which focused on founder L. Ron Hubbard’s successor, David Miscavige.

Former parishioners Remini and Rinder met with ex-Scientologists Jeff Hawkins, Tom DeVocht and Ron Miscavige, father of the current leader, in part four of the A&E docu-series.

Hawkins and DeVocht discussed weighty allegations of physical abuse in Seattle, while Ron described his experiences at the Church’s international headquarters, dubbed “Gold Base” near Hemet, Calif.

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Former Flint officials criminally charged in water crisis

Flint officials chargedMichigan prosecutors on Tuesday charged four former government officials with criminal conspiracy to violate safety rules in connection with the Flint water crisis, which exposed residents to dangerous levels of lead, the state's attorney general said.

Former state-appointed emergency managers Darnell Earley and Gerald Ambrose and former city employees Howard Croft, a public works superintendent, and Daugherty Johnson, a utilities manager, were the latest to be charged in the case, Attorney General Bill Schuette said.

He told a news conference in Flint that the defendants conspired to operate the city's water treatment plant when it was not safe to do so.

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Obama pardons another 78 federal inmates, shortens the sentence for 153

Pres. Pbama grants more pardonsPresident Obama has pardoned 78 people and shortened the sentence of 153 others convicted of federal crimes, the greatest number of individual clemencies in a single day by any president, the White House said Monday.

Obama has been granting commutations at rapid-fire pace in his final months in office, but he has focused primarily on shortening sentences of those convicted of drug offenses rather than pardons. Pardons amount to forgiveness of a crime that removes restrictions on the right to vote, hold state or local office, or sit on a jury. The pardon also lessens the stigma arising from the conviction.

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U.S. chief justice refuses to force vote on Obama high court pick

Chief Justice RobertsU.S. Chief Justice John Roberts on Monday rejected a New Mexico lawyer's long-shot bid to force a Senate confirmation vote on President Barack Obama's Supreme Court pick, Merrick Garland, after Republican senators refused to act on his nomination.

Steven Michel, a Santa Fe environmental attorney, filed suit in U.S. federal court in August, arguing that the Republican-led Senate's failure to act on Garland's nomination deprived Michel of his rights as a voter under the U.S. Constitution's 17th Amendment, which outlines how senators are elected.

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