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Civil Rights Groups Seek Review of Texas Schools

NAACP challenges Texas schoolsTwo civil rights organizations are seeking a federal review of public school education in Texas, accusing state school administrators of violating federal civil rights laws after curriculum changes approved earlier this year by the Texas Board of Education.

The request to the U.S. Department of Education made by the Texas NAACP and Texas League of United Latin American Citizens on Monday contended that the curriculum changes passed in May "were made with the intention to discriminate" and would have a "stigmatizing impact" on African-American and Latino students.

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Death Penalty Use and Support Near Record Lows, Report Finds

Death penalty losing supportEnthusiasm for the death penalty continued to ebb in the United States during 2010. As Christmas approaches — a season of quiet in America's execution chambers, as death takes a holiday — there have been 46 inmates executed, down from 52 in 2009.

That's fewer than half the number put to death in the peak year of 1999, when 98 prisoners walked the last mile. Meanwhile, the number of new death sentences imposed in 2010 remained near the lowest level in 35 years.

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Monitoring America

Monitoring AmericaNine years after the terrorist attacks of 2001, the United States is assembling a vast domestic intelligence apparatus to collect information about Americans, using the FBI, local police, state homeland security offices and military criminal investigators.

The system, by far the largest and most technologically sophisticated in the nation's history, collects, stores and analyzes information about thousands of U.S. citizens and residents, many of whom have not been accused of any wrongdoing.

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U.S. Widens Insider Probe to Companies With 4 Arrests

US Attorney Paul BhararaThree people who worked at technology firms including chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices Inc. were arrested along with an “expert networker” as federal prosecutors expanded a probe of insider trading to companies.

A fifth man, Daniel DeVore, formerly a supply manager at Dell Inc., pleaded guilty in federal court in New York on Dec. 10 to conspiracy to commit securities fraud and wire fraud as part of the probe, prosecutors said today in a statement. He is cooperating with the investigation.

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As Mexico drug violence runs rampant, U.S. guns tied to crime south of border

US guns linked to drug deaths in MexicoNo other state has produced more guns seized by police in the brutal Mexican drug wars than Texas. In the Lone Star State, no other city has more guns linked to Mexican crime scenes than Houston. And in the Texas oil town, no single independent dealer stands out more for selling guns traced from south of the border than Bill Carter.

Carter, 76, has operated four Carter's Country stores in the Houston metropolitan area over the past half-century. In the past two years, more than 115 guns from his stores have been seized by the police and military in Mexico.

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Daniel Ellsberg Says Boycott Amazon

Daniel Ellsberg says boycott AmazonI’m disgusted by Amazon’s cowardice and servility in abruptly terminating today its hosting of the Wikileaks website, in the face of threats from Senator Joe Lieberman and other Congressional right-wingers. I want no further association with any company that encourages legislative and executive officials to aspire to China’s control of information and deterrence of whistle-blowing.

For the last several years, I’ve been spending over $100 a month on new and used books from Amazon. That’s over. I ask Amazon to terminate immediately my membership in Amazon Prime and my Amazon credit card and account, to delete my contact and credit information from their files and to send me no more notices.

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Government reports violations of limits on spying aimed at U.S. citizens

ACLUThe federal government has repeatedly violated legal limits governing the surveillance of U.S. citizens, according to previously secret internal documents obtained through a court battle by the American Civil Liberties Union.

In releasing 900 pages of documents, U.S. government agencies refused to say how many Americans' telephone, e-mail or other communications have been intercepted under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act - or FISA - Amendments Act of 2008, or to discuss any specific abuses, the ACLU said. Most of the documents were heavily redacted.

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