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Tag: Associated Press

Obama Plans To Allow Some Central American Kids To Apply For Refugee Status From Home

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By: Esther YU-HSI Lee

The Obama administration has approved plans to establish in-country refugee processing centers in three Central American countries that have seen an exodus of migrant children fleeing to the United States, most to escape violence, the New York Times reported. In a memorandum to the State Department circulated Tuesday, President Obama outlined plans to allocate a total of 70,000 refugee visas, setting aside 4,000 slots for all applicants from Latin America and the Caribbean. That category includes migrant children among other refugees from the region, but as the Associated Press points out, “the number is a fraction of the number of children who have already crossed the border into the United States and are awaiting deportation proceedings.” The move is aimed at deterring children in Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala from crossing into the United States through Mexico, a treacherous journey that often involves the use of coyotes, or migrant smugglers.  Read the rest of this entry »

Big Tobacco appeals court-mandated anti-smoking advertisements

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By: Victor Li

Tobacco companies have appealed a court order requiring them to admit in advertisements that they lied about the health risks of cigarettes.

On Monday, the Associated Press reported that several tobacco companies have filed an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. In the appeal, the companies, which include the three largest tobacco companies in the United States (Altria Group Inc., RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Lorillard Inc.), claim that the proposed advertisements would force the companies to “shame and humiliate themselves by confessing to past misconduct and by branding themselves as liars.” According to the AP, the companies say they are willing to make corrective statements about tobacco products but think that the advertisements go beyond what is “purely factual.” Read the rest of this entry »

Mentally Ill Inmate In Solitary Confinement Died Of Thirst, Autopsy Finds

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By: Nicole Flatow

Michael Anthony Kerr had a history of schizoaffective disorder, a mental illness that features symptoms of both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, but he was not being treated. He had been held in solitary confinement at a Taylorsville, North Carolina, prison for at least 45 days when he died in a prison van in March.

An autopsy released Thursday finds that he died of thirst. That he had abrasions on his arms “consistent with restraint devices.” And that key details regarding his death such as when he last had food or water were left unanswered by an internal investigation, the Associated Press reports. Read the rest of this entry »

Did any Pennsylvania judges receive ‘porngate’ emails? Chief justice wants to know

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By: Debra Cassens Weiss

Pennsylvania’s chief justice wants to know if any judges were among the state officials who exchanged sexually explicit emails on state computers uncovered in an inquiry dubbed “porngate.”

Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald Castille said any judges who exchanged “grossly pornographic” emails could be violating ethics rules, report the Morning Call, the Associated Press, the Pittsburgh Tribune and the Philadelphia Inquirer in stories here and here. Castille asked for the information after sources told the Inquirer that top judges were among those getting the emails. Read the rest of this entry »

Uproar over Forest Service plan to require media to get permits to take wilderness photos

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By: Martha Neil

A furor has ignited over a U.S. Forest Service plan to require members of the media, as well as commercial photographers, to pay up to $1,500 for a permit before taking video or still shots in some 36 million designated federal wilderness acres.

Amidst criticism from both Democratic and Republican lawmakers, as well as advocates for both the media and the wilderness areas the photo restrictions are supposed to protect, the agency has extended the period for public comment on its proposed regulations under the Wilderness Act of 1964 until early December, the Oregonian reports. An earlier Oregonian article provides more details.

“I am very concerned about the implications this has for Americans’ First Amendment freedoms of speech and the press,” said U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, a Republican from Oregon, in a Thursday letter to the head of the Forest Service. “It is also very troubling that journalists could be held to different standards at the discretion of the issuing officer.” Read the rest of this entry »

Pennsylvania police chief’s daughter among suspects charged in Philly gay-bashing

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By: David Ferguson

One of the suspects charged in the vicious beating of two gay men on a street in Philadelphia is a police chief’s daughter whose Twitter feed is littered with antigay slurs, tweets about binge drinking and blackouts and about how awful it is when your parents write you a check instead of just giving you cash.

The Associated Press reported on Wednesday morning that two of the three suspects wanted in the case surrendered to police after they were identified by social media users who matched their Facebook photos with security footage taken on the night of the attack. Read the rest of this entry »

Justice Kagan performs same-sex wedding, following in the footsteps of Ginsburg and O’Connor

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By: Debra Cassens Weiss

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan performed her first same-sex wedding Sunday when she officiated at the Maryland wedding of one of her former law clerks.

Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg tells the Associated Press that it was the first same-sex wedding Kagan has officiated.

Kagan follows in the footsteps of retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who have also officiated at the weddings of same-sex couples. Read the rest of this entry »

US Justice Department to Look Into Racial Bias in Law Enforcement: Reports

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By: Reuters

The US Justice Department is launching a study into racial bias in law enforcement structures in five American cities, to be selected later, US Attorney General Eric Holder revealed in an interview with the Associated Press.

“What I saw in Ferguson confirmed for me that the need for such an effort was pretty clear,” Holder said Tuesday.

The attorney general noted that the three-year project, which will involve training, data analysis and interviews with community residents, could be a “silver lining” if it helps ease racial tensions and “pockets of distrust that show up between law enforcement and the communities that they serve.” Read the rest of this entry »

Federal judge declares mistrial in Patti LaBelle case because there are no black jurors

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By: Martha Neil

A federal jury on Monday was about to begin hearing a civil case filed against soul singer Patti LaBelle and others over an alleged unprovoked beating of a West Point military academy cadet by her bodyguards. But then the judge overseeing the Houston case called a halt.

Although he wasn’t accusing the lawyers involved of doing anything wrong, U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison said, there were no blacks on the jury. So, after lawyers for both sides agreed, he declared a mistrial and scheduled a second jury selection to begin on Tuesday, according to theHouston Chronicle and KPRC. Read the rest of this entry »

Black Man Killed By Police In Utah Was Reportedly Carrying A Toy Sword

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By: Nicole Flatow

On Wednesday, 22-year-old Darrien Hunt was shot dead by police in Saratoga Springs, Utah, about 35 miles south of Salt Lake City.

For three days, police said nothing about the cause of the shooting while witnesses reported that he was running away as officers shot outside a Panda Express. On Saturday, police issued a brief statement saying he lunged at them with a sword. But Hunt’s lawyersays an independent autopsy shows Hunt was shot in the back and not in the front, and his mother Susan Hunt says the “sword” was a blunt-edged vanity version of a Japanese “Katana” sword he bought at an Asian gift shop. Read the rest of this entry »

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