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11 Atlanta Public School Employees Found Guilty In Cheating Scandal

Atlanta cheating scandalEleven of 12 former public school employees in Atlanta were found guilty of racketeering in what is thought to be the biggest cheating scandal in American education, NPR member station WABE reports.

One defendant, teacher Dessa Curb, was acquitted of all charges, according to WSB-TV's Richard Elliot.

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61,000 U.S. bridges 'structurally deficient'

US bridges structurally deficientEven after improvements to some of the nation's bridges, tens of thousands across the United States remain structurally deficient and in need of "significant repair," the American Road & Transportation Builders Association found in an analysis of U.S. Department of Transportation records.

Experts warn the problems at some 61,000 bridges could get worse if dollars continue to be diverted from federal highway and transit funding, which is set to expire on May 31 without congressional action.

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Obama signs order creating new cyber sanctions program

Hacker penaltiesPresident Barack Obama on Wednesday created the first-ever sanctions program to penalize overseas hackers who engage in cyber spying and companies that knowingly benefit from the fruits of that espionage, potentially including state-owned corporations in Russia and China.

"Cyberthreats pose one of the most serious economic and national security challenges to the United States," Obama said in a statement after signing an executive order creating the sanctions.

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Transgender school kids face fresh prejudice by ‘bathroom bully’ bills

transgender kidsWhen Eli Erlick was 8 years old, she would sometimes pretend to be sick, just so she could leave school and go home to use the bathroom. She had asked to use the girls’ bathroom at her school in Mendocino County, California, but she wasn’t allowed to.

“I had no idea why I couldn’t do this,” Erlick said. “I didn’t even know the word ‘transgender.’ I just knew that I was a girl,” she said, and so it didn’t feel right to use the boys’ bathroom. This continued until she was 13, when she began her gender transition.

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Obama Commutes Sentences for 22 Convicted of Federal Drug Crimes

Obama commutes drug convictsPresident Barack Obama commuted the sentences of 22 drug offenders serving time in federal prison, accelerating the administration’s efforts to reduce penalties for many of those convicted of such crimes.

Obama’s decision, announced on Tuesday, more than doubles the number of commutations he has issued, and is the latest sign that the White House is taking aim at a drug war the president has characterized as counterproductive.

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Woman who says she miscarried gets 20 years in prison for feticide

Pro choice protestsAn Indiana judge on Monday sentenced a 33-year-old woman, Purvi Patel, to 20 years in prison on charges of feticide and neglect of a dependent.

Patel is the first woman in Indiana to be convicted under the state’s feticide law. Activists say the case highlights the way that prosecutors across the U.S. are increasingly using laws designed to protect expecting mothers to criminalize women for terminating a pregnancy or allegedly harming an unborn child.

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Tortured for Being Gay in Indiana

Tortured for being gay in IndianaAs he got ready for his first day at Arsenal Tech High School in Indianapolis, Darnell “Dynasty” Young augmented his back-to-school shopping by dipping into his mother’s closet.

“Some of the items he chose included knee-high boots, purses, rings, and bangles,” report court papers subsequently filed by his lawyer.

Dynasty had no reason to believe that the kids at his new school would be any less accepting than those during his first two years of high school in Arizona.

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