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Saturday, Apr 18th

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Judge in Texas blocks federal rules change for gay couples

Texas judge blocks federal lawA federal judge in Texas has blocked temporarily federal rules that would have expanded medical leave benefits to some gay couples.

In a 24-page ruling filed Thursday in Wichita Falls, Texas, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor granted a preliminary injunction that stays expansion of the definition of “spouse” under the Family and Medical Leave Act to include same-sex couples.

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New York buildings collapse after explosion in Manhattan

NYC buildings collapseAt least 19 people have been injured after an explosion caused two buildings to collapse in New York City.  On Thursday afternoon, more than 200 fire-fighters converged to battle the resulting blaze that affected four buildings.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said there were no reports of missing persons, but noted that the situation was fluid.  Officials said they believe work was being done to the building's gas utilities before the blast.

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Executive for Weapons Manufacturer Admits Publicly That 'Perceived' Threats Are Great for Business

General DynamicsAlthough unemployment is finally starting to fall, the economy overall remains sluggish, as many Americans struggle to regain their economic footing after the Great Recession. There is one industry, however, that has boomed throughout: defense contractors. A recent internal investor call hosted by General Dynamics explains part of the reason why: fear.

In the company's fourth-quarter 2014 conference call with investors, which took place on Jan. 28, 2015, Erin Linnihan, vice-president for investor relations, took questions from a variety of investors about topics relating to the firm's fiscal outlook.

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Cartel funded DEA agent sex parties

DEA sex partiesFor years, Drug Enforcement Administration agents posted abroad engaged in sex parties involving prostitutes who were supplied by local drug cartels, a Justice Department review found Thursday.

The Justice inspector general's inquiry, which examined how federal law enforcement agencies handled sexual misconduct and harassment reports, concluded that seven of 10 agents allegedly involved admitted attending the parties in Colombia where a local police officer often stood guard, protecting the agents' firearms and other property.

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Confessions of a Prosecutor Who Sent an Innocent to Death Row

Justice deniedGlenn Ford spent 30 years on death row for a murder he did not commit. Sentenced to die in the electric chair, he was sent to a Louisiana penitentiary in 1985. "My sons, when I left, was babies,” he said. “Now they’re grown men with babies.” Earlier this month, he was released at age 64, but his story doesn't end happily.

He has stage-four lung cancer. He is expected to die within months. And the state of Louisiana doesn't want to pay the $330,000 it owes for destroying his life, as The Shreveport Times noted in an editorial denouncing the state's behavior.

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Gen Con threatens to move convention if Gov. signs religious freedom bill

Gen ConThe organizers of Gen Con, the city's largest convention in attendance and economic impact, are threatening to move the event elsewhere if Gov. Mike Pence signs controversial religious freedom legislation that could allow business owners to refuse services to same-sex couples.

"Legislation that could allow for refusal of service or discrimination against our attendees will have a direct negative impact on the state's economy, and will factor into our decision-making on hosting the convention in the state of Indiana in future years," said Adrian Swartout, owner and CEO of Gen Con LLC, in a letter sent to Pence just hours after lawmakers sent the measure to his desk.

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Oklahoma Senate considers nitrogen gas as execution method

Oklahoma statehouseOklahoma is one step closer to being the next state to allow alternate methods of execution as correctional departments increasingly run out of lethal injection drugs.

The Oklahoma Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday sent a bill to the full Senate that, if passed, would allow the state to execute death-row inmates using nitrogen gas.  The legislation, sponsored by Republicans Rep. Mike Christian and Sen. Anthony Sykes, advanced with a 8-0 vote without any debate in the committee.

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