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  • Legal U.S. Marijuana Sales Hit $5.4 Billion in 2015

    Saturday, February 06, 2016
    The promises of the industry are potentially far-reaching and attracting notice on Wall Street. As more states legalize marijuana sales, analysts are weighing the stock market benefits of new businesses as cannabis goes corporate. Funds are considering the ethics of investing in marijuana. Parents are even debating whether to allow their children to buy the stocks. Lucrative legal side businesses are spinning off, like climate systems for growers and child-resistant marijuana bags.   read more
  • Pentagon Blocks Release of 1,800 Detainee Abuse Photos, Lets Out 198

    Saturday, February 06, 2016
    Robert M. Gates, then defense secretary, appealed to President Obama to reconsider the release of the photographs, warning that it could provoke attacks against U.S. troops in the war zones. Obama changed his mind and obtained legislation from Congress permitting the defense secretary to exempt the photos from disclosure. Current Pentagon chief Ash Carter extended it again in November, but decided that the 198 photos could be made public.   read more
  • U.S. and UK Spy Agencies May be Allowed to Request Online Chat Data and Emails from Media Companies

    Saturday, February 06, 2016
    Talks focused on letting UK agencies, such as MI5, serve orders on U.S. firms demanding data for “live intercepts” in inquiries involving UK citizens. UK agencies might also be able to ask U.S. companies to turn over stored data, such as emails. Rep. Adam Schiff said Congress should monitor any privacy and civil liberties issues, "including making sure these British orders do not cover U.S. persons or individuals within the U.S., do not permit bulk collection, and have due process protections."   read more
  • Displaying Christian Crosses on Police Cars Supported by Texas Governor

    Saturday, February 06, 2016
    Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, offered his support for the crosses in a legal brief, filed in response to a sheriff's office that received a complaint about images of a Christian cross displayed on its patrol vehicles. "In addition to its religious significance, the cross has a long history in America and elsewhere as a symbol of service and sacrifice," Abbott wrote. His office wouldn't say if he also supported the display of other religious symbols on patrol cars.   read more
  • 880,000 Pounds of Metals Landed in Animas River from EPA-Triggered Colorado Mine Spill

    Saturday, February 06, 2016
    The metals may have included cadmium, copper, lead, mercury, nickel and zinc. Tests done after the spill also found arsenic and lead in the wastewater. The EPA said most of the metals consisted of small particles and came from Cement Creek, a tributary that carried the water from the mine to the Animas. An EPA-led cleanup crew inadvertently triggered the spill on Aug. 5 while doing preliminary cleanup work at the inactive Gold King Mine near Silverton, Colorado.   read more
  • Lawyers Three Times More Likely to Become Problem Drinkers than General Population

    Saturday, February 06, 2016
    "Any way you look at it, this data is very alarming," said lead study author Patrick Krill, finding it reveals "an unsustainable professional culture that's harming too many people." Lawyers in their first 10 years of practice were the most prone to problem drinking at 29%. Researchers also found that lawyers find it difficult to overcome the stigma of alcoholism to admit that they need help.   read more
  • Gov. Rick Snyder’s Top Officials Knew of Flint Water Link to Disease Surge 10 Months before Snyder Told Public

    Friday, February 05, 2016
    High-ranking officials in Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder's administration were aware of a surge in Legionnaires' disease potentially linked to Flint's water long before the governor reported the increase to the public last month, internal emails show. When he disclosed the spike in Legionnaires' cases on Jan. 13, Snyder said he had learned about it just a couple of days earlier. But emails show Snyder's own office was aware of the outbreak since last March.   read more
  • Colorado VA Clinic Found to Engage in False Recording of Veteran Wait Times

    Friday, February 05, 2016
    "I've heard nothing but horror stories on the appointments system," said Ken Thibodeau, a Vietnam-era vet who gets VA treatment for diabetes and blindness. He said he's been waiting nearly six months for an appointment for a new prosthetic leg. "It is intolerable that investigations continue to uncover these unacceptable practices at the VA," said Sen. Michael Bennett. Rep. Doug Lamborn said he will call for a congressional hearing into the new report. "We have been deceived," he said.   read more
  • U.S. House Republicans Pass Legislation to Undercut Federal Anti-Fraud Banking Initiative

    Friday, February 05, 2016
    The legislation "would defang the Justice Department," said Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the most powerful Democrat in the House. "Federal prosecutors would be unable to prosecute fraud committed by big banks under FIRREA. This bill on the floor today says you cannot charge banks. The only investigation you can do of banks is if somebody does damage to the bank. Can you imagine that - with all the mortgage fraud that went on in our country?"   read more
  • U.S. Election Official under Fire for “Secretive” Action Imposing Voter Citizenship Requirement in Three States

    Friday, February 05, 2016
    "The way this was done in secret, unilaterally, without consultation, without public review and comment, without any of the normal processes and procedures that would be used for a dramatic change in policy like this, makes it all the more shocking and brazen and wrong," said ACLU's Kubic. He added that the EAC's executive director should be someone who believes in extending and guaranteeing the right to vote — not creating hindrances.   read more
  • Most Top Officials in Texas Town Arrested by Feds for Corruption

    Friday, February 05, 2016
    Almost every top official in the remote Texas city was arrested Thursday under a detailed federal indictment that accuses them of taking bribes from contractors and sending city workers to help an illegal gambling operator nicknamed "Mr. T." Once billed as the "Spinach Capital of the World," Crystal City's logo features a cartoon of Popeye, and a spinach festival with a cook-off and a beauty pageant draws tens of thousands of people each year. But in recent months, the town has been in turmoil.   read more
  • Northeastern Marine Life Found Vulnerable to Climate Change

    Friday, February 05, 2016
    NOAA's report assigned a "climate vulnerability score" to 82 Northeastern fish and shellfish species. It listed types of scallop and quahog and the Atlantic salmon as the most vulnerable in the region, as well as eastern oysters, a $175 million fishery in 2014. Also, certain types of herring, a vital part of the ocean's food web and commercially important as bait, were found to be highly vulnerable to climate change.   read more
  • Federal Court Rules that Hospitals Can be “Urban” and “Rural” at the Same Time

    Friday, February 05, 2016
    Rakoff, who normally sits on the federal district court in Manhattan, said the statute was clear and downplayed concern that hospitals might seek classifications they do not deserve. The law "simply increases the number of situations in which hospitals can be treated as rural for some purposes and urban for others, but there is nothing 'absurd' about such a measured approach," he wrote. "An agency may not rewrite clear statutory terms to suit its own sense of how the statute should operate."   read more
  • U.S. Railroads Unable to Meet Deadline for Installing Safety Technology

    Thursday, February 04, 2016
    Three of the biggest U.S. freight railroads have told the government they won't meet a 2018 deadline to start using safety technology intended to prevent accidents like the deadly derailment of an Amtrak train in Philadelphia last May. After a 2008 train collision that killed 25 people, Congress required railroads to start using the expensive technology on all tracks that carry passenger trains or those used to haul toxic liquids. Four commuter railroads also say they'll miss the deadline.   read more
  • State Medical Boards Falling Short in Protecting Public from Doctor Sexual Misconduct

    Thursday, February 04, 2016
    Reports related to sexual misconduct accounted for just 1% of all reports in the NPDB, suggesting that it's underreported. This could be because victims are unwilling to lodge complaints, given that a majority of reported cases result in no punishment for the accused. Penalizing doctors for sexual misconduct is crucial because such offences are intentional unlike negligence or diagnostic mistakes. Most of the doctors with sexual misconduct reports were aged 40 or older, the study noted.   read more
  • Texas Planned Parenthood Closings Led to Fewer Women Obtaining Contraceptives

    Thursday, February 04, 2016
    A study found that Texas saw a drop in women obtaining long-acting birth control after Republican leaders booted Planned Parenthood from a state women's health program in 2013, which researchers said may explain an increase in births among poor families. The same year Texas barred Planned Parenthood from state family planning services, then-Gov. Rick Perry signed abortion restrictions that shuttered clinics under a sweeping law that the U.S. Supreme Court will review next month.   read more
  • Reviews of Questionable Convictions Lead to Record Number of U.S. Criminal Exonerations

    Thursday, February 04, 2016
    Texas was the top state for exonerations, propelled by conviction integrity units set up in its most populous counties. The state known for its tough approach on crime has also been a national leader in prosecutorial reform. "For the integrity of the system, it is the right thing to do," said Inger Chandler, head of Harris County District Attorney's Conviction Review Section, which had 42 exonerations in 2015. Texas had 54 exonerations in 2015, followed by 17 in New York and 13 in Illinois.   read more
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