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Friday, Aug 29th

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Anti-immigration convoy cancels Texas event over 'death threats'

Anti immigrant convoyA convoy of anti-immigration activists touring the border with Mexico to defend the US from “invasion” has cancelled an event in Texas because of alleged death threats.

The 30-vehicle convoy aborted a planned rally in El Paso on Sunday over safety concerns, said the convoy organiser, Eric Odom.

“We had to cancel that because of death threats against our crew and convoy,” he told the Guardian, speaking by phone from a New Mexico highway. “We’re not into that. We are a very peaceful convoy and we want to show that the border is very dangerous and open.”

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1 dead, thousands stranded in S. California storm

California mud slidesThunderstorms that swept across Southern California on Sunday led to the death of one person and caused mountain mudslides that stranded more than 2,000 others, authorities said.  A body was found in a car that was swept into a rain-swollen creek in Mount Baldy and overturned, San Bernardino County Fire spokesman Chris Prater said.

Further east, flash floods brought thick debris flows that cut off access to two towns. About 1,500 residents of Oak Glen, and another 1,000 residents of Forest Falls in the San Bernardino Mountains were unable to get out because the roads were covered with mud, rock and debris, authorities said.

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Fast-food workers fight McDonald's as battle for better wages heads to court

McDonald's workers go to courtRichard Eiker has worked for McDonald's for 25 years. For the last 18 he has been at the same Kansas City restaurant working in maintenance, mopping floors, cleaning bathrooms, scrubbing grease out of the deep fat fryers. He has no illusions about who he works for: McDonald's. The burger chain begs to differ.

Over the last 30 years fast food jobs have come to take an ever larger part of the US labour market. In 2013 3.6 million people worked for fast food restaurants in the US. But most – 76% – worked for franchisees and not directly for the companies whose logos adorn the restaurants. Wages, hours, benefits – increasingly hot topics in this low-paying industry – have to be negotiated with the franchisee. That may be about to change.

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Federal defenders barred from massive clemency drive

federal defenders barred from appealsThe Obama administration’s ambitious plan to extend clemency to thousands of prisoners suffered a serious blow Thursday after the agency that oversees the federal courts said that hundreds of federal public defenders and other court-appointed attorneys were not authorized to represent inmates in the process.

The decision, laid out in a memorandum written by the top lawyer for the Administrative Office of the Courts, effectively bars such lawyers from drafting or submitting clemency petitions because the Constitution does not guarantee inmates the right to legal representation in such procedures.

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Arizona inmate was injected 15 times with execution drugs

Arizona executionAs Joseph Wood lay on the gurney in Arizona’s death chamber, gasping and gulping, prison officials kept pumping execution drugs into the convicted killer’s system.

By the time Wood died, after nearly two hours, he had been injected with 750mg each of midazolam and hydromorphone: 15 times the amounts called for in the state’s execution protocol.

Wood’s death, on 23 July, was the third highly problematic execution in the US this year, following those of Dennis McGuire in Ohio in January and Clayton Lockett in Oklahoma in April, which were also drawn-out and led to accusations that the inmates may have endured a level of distress prohibited by the US constitution’s ban on “cruel and unusual punishment”.

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Colorado begins granting driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants

Colorado drivers licenseImmigrants living in the United States illegally have to go through an interview before they can get a Colorado driver's license, officials said.

About 10,000 people are seeking licenses or identification cards under the law that took effect Friday. Only five Division of Motor Vehicle offices in the state will be processing them.

In addition to the interview, the immigrants must provide more documentation than citizens and legal residents.

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Ku Klux Klan recruitment drive raises old fears in South Carolina

KKK in So. CarolinaSunday afternoon after church, youth pastor Demond Dawson was rounding up a van load of kids dressed in their Sunday best. The group had stopped at the Dollar General in Abbeville for snacks and cold drinks.

As the kids teased each other on the sidewalk outside the store, a weekend rally of the Ku Klux Klan taking place at the very same time in this county was weighing heavily on Dawson’s mind. A recently formed branch of the KKK — the New Empire Knights — held a three-day “KKK Jam” rally over the weekend in an undisclosed location in Abbeville, which it calls its national headquarters.

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