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Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald address US campaigners via video

Snowden talks to candidatesEdward Snowden and the reporter Glenn Greenwald, who brought to light the whistleblower's leaks about mass US government surveillance last year, appeared together via video link from opposite ends of the earth on Saturday, for what was believed to be the first time since Snowden sought asylum in Russia.

In Germany, meanwhile, a leading ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel criticised the US for failing to provide sufficient assurances on its spying tactics and said bilateral talks were unlikely to make much progress before the German leader visits Washington next month.

The interior minister, Thomas de Maiziere, one of Merkel's closest cabinet allies, told the German weekly magazine Der Spiegel: "US intelligence methods may be justified to a large extent by security needs, but the tactics are excessive and over-the-top.”


Judge tosses lawsuit over drone deaths of Americans

drone strike suit tossedRepresentatives of three Americans killed in drone strikes in Yemen in 2011—including Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula leader Anwar Al-Awlaki—cannot pursue a lawsuit alleging that the killings violated their constitutional rights, a federal judge ruled Friday.

U.S. District Court Judge Rosemary Collyer dismissed a suit brought on behalf of Al-Awlaki, his 16-year-old son Abdulrahman and alleged AQAP propagandist Samir Khan. Civil liberties groups filed the litigation on behalf of family members of the dead Americans, arguing that they were unconstitutionally deprived of life without due process of law and that the Obama Administration illegally maintained a so-called "kill list" of Americans targeted for death at the hands of U.S. government operations overseas.


22 million years later, hummingbird evolution still soaring

sword-billed hummingbirdA new exhaustive family tree of hummingbirds -- published today in the journal Current Biology -- reveals the remarkable 22-million year evolutionary journey from a single common ancestor to today's assemblage of 338 different species.

It's the story of a tiny bird which begins in Europe 22 million years ago. After making its way to Asia and North America, and the delicate creature suddenly and rapidly flourishes in South America -- its family radiating out into 140 new species amongst the varied terrain and thin air of modern-day Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina.


Senate’s findings on CIA interrogations likely to become roadmap for litigation

CIA interrogationsscathing and still-secret Senate report on harsh CIA interrogations and detentions threatens to drag President Barack Obama into a legal thicket he’d rather avoid.

With its findings that the CIA flagrantly abused some detainees and held some without legal authorization, the Senate Intelligence Committee report now headed for the White House could become a roadmap for future litigation. At the very least, it confronts officials with uncomfortable choices.


Florida Gov. Rick Scott's voter purge violated federal law, court rules

Rick scottFlorida Gov. Rick Scott’s administration was found by a federal appeals court Tuesday to have violated federal law with its 2012 voter purge, an attempt to remove non-citizens from voter rolls just prior to the presidential election.

In June of 2012, just prior to August’s statewide primary election, Scott’s Administration attempted to purge the voter rolls of non-citizens through a comparison of the rolls with state and federal databases. But according to federal law, any systematic removal of voters less than 90 days prior to an election is prohibited.


Hobby Lobby invests in contraception manufacturers

Hobby LobbyWhen Obamacare compelled businesses to include emergency contraception in employee health care plans, Hobby Lobby, a national chain of craft stores, fought the law all the way to the Supreme Court. The Affordable Care Act's contraception mandate, the company's owners argued, forced them to violate their religious beliefs.

But while it was suing the government, Hobby Lobby spent millions of dollars on an employee retirement plan that invested in the manufacturers of the same contraceptive products the firm's owners cite in their lawsuit.

Documents filed with the Department of Labor and dated December 2012—three months after the company's owners filed their lawsuit—show that the Hobby Lobby 401(k) employee retirement plan held more than $73 million in mutual funds with investments in companies that produce emergency contraceptive pills, intrauterine devices, and drugs commonly used in abortions. Hobby Lobby makes large matching contributions to this company-sponsored 401(k).


Marathon bombing: Saudi victim sues Glenn Beck for defamation

Glenn Beck

Last April 19, Glenn Beck told listeners that he had a big scoop for them – maybe, one of the biggest scoops of his career.

What we do going forward from here will determine the fate of our nation,” he said.

Mr. Beck, the conservative talk show host, told the audience that Abdulrahman Ali Alharbi, a young Saudi national who was studying English in Massachusetts, was behind the duel explosions that had ripped through a crowd at the Boston Marathon four days earlier.

And the FBI was covering it all up, continued Beck, on his radio program "The Blaze."


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