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In response to bridge investigation, Christie names Seton Hall dean as ombudsman

In response to bridge scandal review, Christie names Seton Hall dean as ombudsman (via NJ.com) TRENTON — In response to the internal review of his office commissioned in the wake of the September lane closings at the George Washington Bridge, Gov. Chris Christie today appointed Seton Hall University Dean Patrick…

FBI facial-recognition program uses low-resolution photos and employment mugshots

The FBI’s Facial Recognition Database Combines Lo-Res Photos With Zero Civil Liberties Considerations (via Techdirt) Another FOIA lawsuit brought against the government by the EFF has resulted in the release of previously withheld documents. The papers cut loose this time detail the FBI’s facial recognition database and other parts of…

California sees Obamacare surge as open enrollment ends for 2014

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Thanks to a final April surge, California’s Obamacare marketplace enrolled a total of 1.4 million people in private health insurance plans, state officials announced on Thursday, beating a federal forecast by just over 800,000 enrollees. The marketplace also signed up an additional 1.9 million in the…

Hotel executive and Democratic fundraiser confesses to illegal campaign contributions scheme

By Nate Raymond NEW YORK (Reuters) – A prominent hotel executive in New York pleaded guilty on Thursday to conspiring to make $188,000 of illegal campaign contributions to three U.S. candidates via straw donors. Sant Singh Chatwal, chairman of Hampshire Hotels Management, pleaded guilty in federal court in Brooklyn, New…

Ex-BP employee accused of insider trading sold $1 million in stock after Gulf oil spill: SEC

Regulators Thursday charged a former BP employee who worked on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill with insider trading after he sold $1 million worth of BP stock days after the disaster. Keith Seilhan, who coordinated BP’s cleanup of the giant oil spill, sold his family’s entire portfolio of BP stock…

Kepler-186f: NASA discovers first Earth-sized planet orbiting in life-friendly zone

By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) – For the first time, scientists have found an Earth-sized world orbiting in a life-friendly zone around a distant star. The discovery, announced on Thursday, is the closest scientists have come so far to finding a true Earth twin. The star, known as…

Pentagon chief: U.S. will send ‘non-lethal’ military aid to Ukraine

The United States will send helmets, medical supplies and other non-lethal military assistance to Ukraine amid fears of another Russian incursion there, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Thursday. Hagel said he had informed Kiev that President Barack Obama “has approved additional non-lethal military assistance for health and welfare items and…

John Kerry slams ‘grotesque’ anti-Jewish pamphlets in eastern Ukraine city

US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Thursday notices were sent to Jews in a Ukrainian city asking them to identify themselves as Jews, a move he condemned as “grotesque”. “In the year 2014, after all of the miles travelled and all of the journey of history, this is…

New Hampshire lawmakers fail to abolish capital punishment after deadlocked vote

BOSTON (Reuters) – New Hampshire’s Senate failed to repeal the death penalty on Thursday, in a vote that capped weeks of emotional debate while focusing attention on the state’s lone death row inmate. The Senate deadlocked 12 to 12 on a bill to abolish capital punishment, meaning it did not…

Iranian murderer set to hang gets a slap in the face from the victim’s mother instead

An Iranian mother spared the life of her son’s convicted murderer with an emotional slap in the face as he awaited execution with the noose around his neck, a newspaper reported Thursday. The dramatic climax followed a rare public campaign to save the life of Balal, who at 19 killed…

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