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Congressman Kucinich to visit Syria, Lebanon

WASHINGTON — A US lawmaker strongly opposed to US military involvement in Afghanistan and the Libyan conflict is on a “fact-finding” visit to Syria and Lebanon, his office said Monday. Democratic Representative Dennis Kucinich was expected to meet with Presidents Bashar al-Assad of Syria and Michel Sleiman of Lebanon during…

Supreme Court upholds $270 million award to smokers

WASHINGTON — The US Supreme Court rejected an appeal request made by American tobacco companies on Monday in a class-action lawsuit that awarded 500,000 smokers a total of $270 million in damages. Without comment, the highest US court dismissed the appeal of a 2009 Louisiana court decision that ruled the…

Supreme Court to hear warrantless GPS tracking case

WASHINGTON — The US Supreme Court agreed on Monday to decide whether police can attach a GPS tracking device to a suspect’s vehicle without obtaining a search warrant. The Obama administration is seeking to have the top US court overturn the ruling of a US appeals court in Washington which…

Georgia court suspends anti-immigration law

ATLANTA, Georgia — A federal judge has blocked an immigration bill in the southern US state of Georgia which would have allowed law enforcement officials to verify the migratory status of suspects stopped even for a minor traffic offense. US District Judge Thomas Thrash’s 45-page ruling Monday determined that the…

Senator Sanders tells Obama: Don’t let Republicans blackmail you again

Independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont called on President Barack Obama to stand up for the middle class by not compromising with Republicans on the national budget. “At a time when the richest people and the largest corporations in our country are doing phenomenally well, and, in many cases, have…

New Jersey police misuse and abuse informants: ACLU report

The use of confidential informants by New Jersey police leads to violations of civilians’ rights and botched investigations thanks to inconsistent polices and insufficient oversight, according to a study by the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey and ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project. The report (PDF) found that some…

TSA denies telling elderly woman to remove adult diaper

The Transportation Security Administration has denied claims that its security officers at the Northwest Florida Regional Airport told a wheelchair-bound 95-year-old woman to remove her adult diaper during a pat down search. “While every person and item must be screened before entering the secure boarding area, TSA works with passengers…

Blagojevich guilty of trying to sell Obama’s Senate seat

Former Democratic Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was found guilty on 17 of 20 counts Monday, including trying to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama. Prosecutors broke down the former governor’s case into five shakedown schemes, telling a mostly female jury that he was motivated by his…

Wisconsin cuts Planned Parenthood, denying 12,000 women needed care

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R) signed a $66 billion budget yesterday that reduced funding for education and health care, cutting off all state and federal funding for nine Planned Parenthood clinics state-wide. Loss of the clinics, which provide preventative health screenings, reproductive education and abortion services, will leave over 12,000…

Microsoft patent application opens door to spying on Skype

A U.S. patent application filed by Microsoft in 2009 specifically mentions “Skype” and “Skype-like applications” as being likely candidates for software that would give government spies easy, official access to any and all communications, public documents show. While back doors in software for “legal intercepts” are not uncommon in the…

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