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Rahm backs smaller penalties for Chicago pot users

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) said in a release on Thursday that he’s decided to back a proposal that would decriminalize marijuana possession, lowering the penalty for getting caught with up to 15 grams of the drug to a ticket instead of an arrest. Emanuel, President Barack Obama’s former chief of…

Shep Smith rants about Lance Armstrong ‘amped up on V’ from ‘True Blood’

Fox News host Shep Smith on Thursday confused a panel of legal analysts when he turned a discussion about cycling legend Lance Armstrong’s alleged doping into a rant about the HBO vampire drama True Blood. “I wonder if he was taking ‘V’?” Smith seriously asked judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano, referring…

A grieving father struggles to pay off his dead son’s student loans

By Marian Wang, ProPublica A few months after he buried his son, Francisco Reynoso began getting notices in the mail. Then the debt collectors came calling. “They would say, ‘We don’t care what happened with your son, you have to pay us,’” recalled Reynoso, a gardener from Palmdale, Calif. Reynoso’s…

Battle over Guantanamo court attire in 9/11 case

WASHINGTON — The self-proclaimed mastermind of the September 11 attacks wanted to wear military-style camouflage clothes to court but prison officials denied the request as inappropriate, documents show. A series of documents and photographs released by the Pentagon this week show that the lawyers for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four…

Walmart on defensive after PR officer found ‘spying’ on union workers

A public relations officer linked to Walmart posed as a journalist at a press conference held by a labor group highlighting tough working conditions in the warehouses that supply big retailers. Stephanie Harnett, a publicist working for Mercury Communications, which has been retained by Walmart to assist in its effort…

Pentagon announces gay pride celebration in recognition of troops

Less than nine months after the repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell”, the US military has announced that it will participate in this month’s celebration of gay pride. The Pentagon is to organise the first official event to recognise gay and lesbian troops. The move, first reported by Associated Press,…

Obama signs World Trade Center beam

NEW YORK — President Barack Obama stopped at the site of the destroyed Twin Towers in New York on Thursday and inscribed the final beam in the rebuilt World Trade Center with the words: “We remember.” Obama and his wife Michelle Obama — who came to New York to attend…

Scientists slam company for testing ‘ethnic purity’ of Hungarian far-right politician

The European Society of Human Genetics has denounced the company Nagy Gén for genetically testing a member of parliament from the Hungarian far-right Jobbik party to ensure he did not have a Roma or Jewish ethnic background. The company examined 18 positions in the MP’s genome for variants that it…

Clinton sees ‘constructive’ talks with Russia

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday that the United States held “constructive” talks with Russia but urged more action after days of feuding over the bloodshed in Syria. Clinton, who on Tuesday accused Russia of fueling the violence by sending attack helicopters to Syria, said that Deputy…

Vitter brings sex-selective abortion ban to Senate

Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) introduced the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA) to the Senate on Wednesday, less than two weeks after identical legislation was defeated in the House. Under the legislation, a doctor who performed an abortion could face up to five-years in prison if race or sex was a factor…

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