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Southern Poverty Law Center fires its co-founder, chief litigator

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The Southern Poverty Law Center, the civil rights organization best known for tracking U.S. hate groups, said on Thursday it fired its chief litigator Morris Dees, who co-founded the nonprofit nearly 50 years ago to fight racial injustice.

Dees, 82, was terminated on Wednesday after he failed to meet the organization’s standards, said Richard Cohen, the president of the Montgomery, Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), in a statement.

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“As a civil rights organization, the SPLC is committed to ensuring that the conduct of our staff reflects the mission of the organization and the values we hope to instill in the world,” he said.

The organization did not specify why it terminated Dees, whose biography was removed from its website.

Spokesman Owen Kilmer told Reuters the organization will not disclose the nature of Dees’ infractions, adding that it does not “comment on individual personnel decisions.”

Reuters was unable to reach Dees for comment.

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The chairman of the SPLC’s board of directors, Bryan Fair, was not immediately available for comment.

Dees and another lawyer in Montgomery founded SPLC in 1971 after he witnessed firsthand the devastating consequences of bigotry and racial injustice in the deep south in the late 1960s, according to the organization’s website.

The law center is now a prominent civil rights advocacy organization, which publishes reports on inequality, litigates cases and tracks hate groups across United States.

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Cohen said the law center was bringing in an outside organization to access its internal climate and workplace practices.

“The SPLC is deeply committed to having a workplace that reflects the values it espouses – truth, justice, equity and inclusion, and we believe the steps we have taken today reaffirm that commitment,” Cohen said.

Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Marguerita Choy

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Kellyanne Conway lashes out at Democratic voters as ‘racist and sexist’ at Ohio GOP dinner

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Making an appearance at a Republican Party dinner in Columbus, Ohio, Kellyanne Conway accused Democratic voters of being "racist and sexist," in a diatribe as she tried to boost the fortunes of her boss, President Donald Trump.

According to a report from Cincinnati.com, Conway attacked the leading Democratic presidential nominees before making her claim.

“Their top three candidates are white, career politicians in their 60s and 70s, which I have nothing against except they (Democrats) certainly do,” Conway reportedly told the crowd. “I don’t know why the heck the Democratic party electorate is so racist and sexist. I can’t figure it out.”

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Betsy DeVos’ DOE threatens to cut university funding for positive portrayal of Islam

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The U.S Department of Education threatened to pull federal funding from a Middle East studies course jointly run by Duke University and the University of North Carolina because it portrays Islam too positively.

The DOE ordered the universities to change their program or lose its federal grant money. In a letter to UNC, the department criticized the program, arguing that topics like Iranian art and film have “little or no relevance” to the Middle East studies program. The letter also argues that the program “appears to lack balance” because its programs are not focused on the discrimination faced by “religious minorities in the Middle East," including Christians and Jews.

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Wall Street is ignoring the omens of recession — here’s why

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The Federal Reserve seems a lot more concerned about the state of the economy than it’s been letting on.

The Fed lowered its target interest rate by a quarter point on Sept. 18, the second such cut since July – and the first reductions since the Great Recession more than 10 years ago.

Judging by the words of Fed Chair Jerome Powell, this isn’t that big a deal. In his statement following the decision, he said: “We took this step to help keep the U.S. economy strong in the face of some notable developments and to provide insurance against ongoing risks.”

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