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Federal Appellate Judges Dismiss Challenge of Wage-Boosting L.A. Law Targeting Big Hotels

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously upheld a law boosting the minimum wage for some hotel workers in the City of Los Angeles. A three-judge panel on the circuit said on Monday that a District Court had been correct last year, when dismissing the challenge to the initiative. The suit was brought by two industry groups: the American Hotel and Lodging Association, and the Asian American Hotel Owners Association. Passed in October 2014, the measure raised the minimum wage in L.A. this year to… Keep Reading

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Fracking and Earthquakes Linked, E.P.A. Tells Texas, In Rebuke of State Rules

The Environmental Protection Agency has told Texas to improve its regulation of fracking, saying the energy extraction method has been linked to seismic activity in the state. An annual agency report to the Texas Railroad Commission, the state body that oversees fracking, concluded that “there is a significant possibility that North Texas earthquake activity is associated with disposal wells.” EPA said the study was based on “findings from several researchers, its own analysis of some cases and the fact that earthquakes diminished in some areas… Keep Reading

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NSA Employed Bulk Collection at Belgian Funeral

According to Belgian intelligence officials, a spy operation conducted by the National Security Agency at a funeral of a suicide bomber led to the capture of a fugitive from last year’s Paris attacks. BuzzFeed News reported over the weekend that the arrest of Salah Abdeslam, the lone terrorist survivor of the Paris assault that killed 130 people last year, was facilitated by signals intelligence collected by the US spy agency on funeral-goers. Abdeslam was nabbed by authorities in March, days after the NSA gathered cellular… Keep Reading

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Justice Dept. Announces Initiative to End Use of For-Profit Prisons

The Justice Department said that it will attempt to cease its use of for-profit prisons, in the wake of a scathing inspector general investigation that found privately-run detention centers are more dangerous and inefficiently run than public sector counterparts. Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates revealed the move on Thursday in a directive ordering department officials to either let corporate prisons’ contracts expire or to “substantially reduce” reliance on their services. The purpose of the initiative is “reducing—and ultimately ending—our use of privately operated prisons,” Yates… Keep Reading

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Defective Helmets Produced for U.S. Military by Prison Laborers Paid Less Than $2/Hour

A controversial government corporation that relies on cheap prison labor was caught producing faulty military equipment that could have endangered the lives of US soldiers. The Department of Justice Inspector General released a damning report on Wednesday, which found that military contractor ArmorSource and it’s subcontractor, Federal Prison Industries, produced tens of thousands of flawed combat helmets that cost the US government more than $19 million. Federal Prison Industries (FPI), also known as UNICOR, is a government-run enterprise that relies on a labor force of roughly… Keep Reading

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McDonalds Could Be Held Liable For Franchise Wage Theft, Federal Judge Rules

A federal judge in California allowed class action wage theft litigation to proceed against McDonald’s, on the grounds that a jury could find it guilty of negligence. Judge Richard Seeborg said Tuesday that the lawsuit against the corporation may continue under the “ostensible agency theory.” The doctrine holds an actor responsible for the fault of another, if victims reasonably believe that the perpetrator committed wrongdoing in the employ of said actor. The case involves McDonald’s franchise co-owners, Bobby and Carol Haynes, who operate eight restaurants… Keep Reading

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Dem Senators from New Mexico Cheer Navajo Lawsuit Against EPA, Contractors for Toxic Dump

New Mexico’s senate delegation came out on Tuesday in support of a Navajo Nation lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency. Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, both Democrats, backed the tribe’s litigation, which was filed earlier in the week. The pair said the EPA has failed to adequately compensate the Navajo for last year’s Gold King Mine catastrophe—the heart of the legal dispute. “The spill was an accident, but the EPA made several serious mistakes, and the Navajo Nation has every right to pursue its… Keep Reading

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Manafort’s Shady Dealings in Ukraine Link Back to Clinton Orbit

While working for ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, Paul Manafort helped transfer more than a million dollars to a high-powered DC lobbying firm led by the brother of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman. The payments began in 2012, according to the Associated Press, while Manafort and his business associate Rick Gates were advising the Ukrainian ruling party. The pair were reportedly involved in the deal, which saw more than $2 million funneled into the coffers of Washington lobbying firms to advance Ukrainian interests in the US.… Keep Reading

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Amid Trump Campaign, Sudden Spike in Americans that Believe in “Widespread” Racism Against Whites

The number of Americans who believe that “racism against whites is widespread” has jumped this year, according to the results of a Gallup survey released Wednesday. Forty-one percent of respondents to the poll told the research firm that they think White Americans suffer from “widespread” discrimination, up from 33 percent in 2015. The uptick comes after the same survey showed Americans increasingly uncomfortable with the idea that whites in the US are victims of systemic bigotry. Between 2009 and 2015, the percentage of Americans who… Keep Reading

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Trump Campaign Blames “Scammers” After Being Busted (Again) For Soliciting Foreign Donations

An Australian Member of Parliament is still receiving messages from the Donald Trump presidential campaign asking for money, more than a month after the illegal solicitations were first reported to the Department of Justice and the Federal Elections Commission (FEC). MP Terri Butler informed The Hill that she received a Trump fundraising email on August 14. It was the latest in a series of automated fundraising messages from the GOP nominee’s campaign that Butler and other foreign lawmakers have received, dating back to June. It… Keep Reading

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Insurance Giant Aetna Walks From Obamacare Exchanges, Hundreds of Thousands of Americans, Amid Antitrust Dispute

About one in seventeen Americans who get their health insurance on state-level Obamacare exchanges will have to find a new provider next year. Aetna, one of the country’s largest health insurance company, said on Monday that in 2017 it will stop offering individual plans through eleven states’ Affordable Care Act exchanges. States impacted by the decision include Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida and Arizona. About 838,000 people are currently insured through Aetna’s individual plans sold on ACA state exchanges. Roughly 80 percent of them… Keep Reading

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