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Portugal’s top court rejects part of government’s austerity plan

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Lisbon (AFP) – Portugal’s Constitutional Court on Thursday rejected part of the government’s austerity measures, but approved a temporary reduction in civil servants’ pay.

The country’s top court rejected a tax of two to three percent on pensions starting at 1,000 euros ($1,300), which was supposed to bring in 372 million euros in 2015, because it did not ensure “fairness between generations”, Joaquim de Sousa Ribeiro, the head of the court, told reporters.

At the same time the court approved cuts to public workers’ salaries of more than 1,500 euros ($2000) a month through next year. But it said that for them to continue into 2016 would be unconstitutional as “prolonging the sacrifice would violate the principle of equality” between civil servants and workers in the private sector, Sousa Ribeiro said.

President Anibal Cavaco Silva had asked the court in late July to make “preventive checks” to ensure the reforms conformed with Portugal’s constitution.

The government had warned against a rejection of the reforms, saying such a move would undermine its goal of reducing the deficit to four percent of gross domestic product (GDP).

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The court had already rejected some austerity measures in May, which were included in Lisbon’s 2014 budget as part of the centre-right government’s ongoing cutbacks.

Portugal exited a three-year international bailout programme in May, after receiving 78 billion euros from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund in exchange for a series of stringent reforms in the eurozone country.

[Image via Agence France-Presse]

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Here’s the ugly racist history behind tipping — and how it still persists today

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On Saturday, writing for Politico, minister and civil rights activist Rev. Dr. William Barber applauded House Democrats' plans to not only raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024, but eliminate the much lower "tipped wage" of $2.13 an hour and require tipped workers to also be paid at least the minimum.

This is important, wrote Barber, because the roots of businesses forcing their workers to rely on tips for a proper wage is deeply rooted in America's history of racial tension.

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Black GOP strategist called on the carpet by Joy Reid for trying to sidestep Trump’s racist rally as ’empowering’ voters

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An "AM Joy" panel on MSNBC descended into talking over each other as host Joy Reid confronted a black GOP consultant over Donald Trump's racist rally in North Carolina.

Presenting the conservative point of view, Republican strategist Lenny McAllister was asked point-blank by the host, "Lenny, hold on a second, because you as a man of color yourself -- do you feel comfortable in a party that does rallies like that?"

McAllister pushed back saying he had walked away from just those type of events, before admitting, "To the greater point. They're using racism as an avenue through which people feel empowered, they lend you the loyalty, they give you the vote. What Republicans need to do is continue to empower people, but not by using racism and not by using phobia."

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Dershowitz and Trump should both be worried what Jeffrey Epstein will reveal when he looks to cut a deal: ex-prosecutor

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On Saturday, Georgetown Law professor and former federal prosecutor Paul Butler discussed the Jeffrey Epstein sex trafficking case with MSNBC's Joy Reid, and the conversation turned to Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz's increasingly furious battle with David Boies, a prominent lawyer representing some of Epstein's alleged victims. Dershowitz has been accused by one of the women of also abusing her at one of Epstein's parties, a claim he categorically denies.

"I've had sex with one woman since the day I met Jeffrey Epstein," said Dershowitz in a Fox News clip Reid played for her viewers. "I challenge David Boies to say under oath that he's only had sex with one woman during that same period of time, he couldn't do it. So he has an enormous amount of chutzpah to attack me and to challenge my perfect, perfect sex life during the relevant period of time."

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