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Wednesday, Apr 16th

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NSA performed warrantless searches on Americans' calls and emails – Clapper

ClapperUS intelligence chiefs have confirmed that the National Security Agency has used a "back door" in surveillance law to perform warrantless searches on Americans’ communications.

The NSA's collection programs are ostensibly targeted at foreigners, but in August the Guardian revealed a secret rule change allowing NSA analysts to search for Americans' details within the databases.

Now, in a letter to Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat on the intelligence committee, the director of national intelligence, James Clapper, has confirmed for the first time the use of this legal authority to search for data related to “US persons”.

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Louisiana House passes abortion restriction bill

Louisiana House of representativesThe Louisiana House of Representatives on Monday approved a bill to impose new restrictions on abortion clinics, adopting a measure similar to one in other states that have forced clinics to shut down.

Without discussion, the House voted 85-6 to approve the bill, which requires physicians who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at an adequately equipped hospital within 30 miles of the place where the abortion is performed.

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Albuquerque police face hundreds of protesters

Albuquerque protestsA protest over deadly police shootings turned from peaceful into "mayhem," Albuquerque's mayor said late Sunday, as officers in riot gear clashed with demonstrators.

People are angry over Albuquerque police's involvement in 37 shootings, 23 of them fatal since 2010. Critics say that's far too many for a department serving a city of about 555,000.

The U.S. Justice Department has been investigating the department for more than a year, looking into complaints of civil rights violations and allegations of excessive use of force.

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With friends in government, Motorola beats a path to telecom supremacy

Motorola contracts...in 2005, amid a federal push to avoid another communications nightmare like the one blamed for the Sept. 11, 2001, deaths of 125 New York firefighters at the collapsed World Trade Center, Rupf and Plummer joined forces. They set their sights on a new digital two-way radio system so that all of their first responders could talk to each other.

There was, however, a catch.

A notice circulated by Alameda County to gauge vendors’ interest in the project said that the first $5.7 million phase must include a master controller made by Motorola Inc., and the equipment must connect with the county’s aged, proprietary Motorola SmartNet II system.

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Taxpayers fund creationism in the classroom

CreationismTaxpayers in 14 states will bankroll nearly $1 billion this year in tuition for private schools, including hundreds of religious schools that teach Earth is less than 10,000 years old, Adam and Eve strolled the garden with dinosaurs, and much of modern biology, geology and cosmology is a web of lies.

Now a major push to expand these voucher programs is under way from Alaska to New York, a development that seems certain to sharply increase the investment.

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Magnitude-5.1 earthquake shakes Los Angeles

LA earthquakeA magnitude-5.1 earthquake was widely felt in the Los Angeles area and surrounding counties Friday evening, but authorities said there were no immediate reports of significant damages or injuries.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake struck at about 9:09 p.m. and was centered near Brea in Orange County — about 20 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles — at a depth of about 5 miles. It was felt as far south as San Diego and as far north as Ventura County, according to citizen responses collected online by the USGS.

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Republicans Must Turn Over Emails On North Carolina Voting Law, Federal Judge Rules

NC voter suppression Any race-related emails that North Carolina Republicans may have sent in connection with the voter restrictions they passed last summer could soon be public, thanks to a ruling by a federal judge.

Before the Supreme Court's decision to strike down a key portion of the Voting Rights Act, simply demonstrating a discriminatory impact could be enough to overturn a discriminatory law. Now, in order to have North Carolina's voting law struck down, civil rights groups and the Justice Department have to demonstrate that state lawmakers deliberately engaged in racial discrimination against voters.

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