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Wednesday, Jul 30th

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Massachusetts governor signs law to limit protests at abortion clinics

Massachusetts abortion protest lawMassachusetts governor Deval Patrick on Wednesday signed into law a measure allowing to police to order anti-abortion protesters away from clinic entrances if their presence impedes public access.

The measure comes a month after the US Supreme Court knocked down a 2007 Massachusetts law prohibiting protests within 35 feet (11 meters) of the entrances of reproductive health facilities, a measure that the top court found violated the right to freedom of speech.

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Bogus cellphone charges ‘a billion dollar industry,’ claims Senate report

cell phone companiesA staff report from the Senate Commerce Committee is sounding the alarm about bogus charges on cellphone bills that it says are costing consumers “hundreds of millions of dollars.”

The report takes aim at wireless or mobile “cramming,” where consumers are hit with unauthorized charges for things like ringtones or daily horoscopes.

“For as long as they have been giving outside parties access to their customers’ bills, the major phone companies have assured Congress and the public that they are protecting their customers from billing fraud. ... But this report makes it clear that is not the case,” Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) said in a statement announcing the report.

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CIA interrogation report could be released publicly next week

Interrogation and detentio report A Senate Intelligence Committee report detailing the CIA’s controversial interrogation and detention program following the 9/11 terror attacks could be released to the public as soon as next week, congressional sources in each party said Wednesday.

The document that will be released is a nearly 700 page summary of the full 6,800 page report that was approved a year and a half ago by a committee sharply divided along party lines.

Senators on the committee have indicated the report is critical of the CIA’s treatment of terrorism suspects saying it amounted to torture, something CIA officials have denied. It also finds that those harsh interrogation techniques did not help disrupt future terrorist attacks as many in intelligence community have claimed.

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West Virginians drive water to thirsty Detroit to ease shut-off pain

W Va. activists drive water to DetroitEnvironmental activists from West Virginia on Wednesday delivered more than 1,000 gallons of bottled water to residents of Detroit, where more than 15,000 of the city’s poorest people have had their water shut off — often for being unable to pay their bill — part of austerity measures imposed on the bankrupt city.

Bill DePaulo, with Keeper of the Mountains Foundation, drove a U-Haul truck to carry 1,080 gallons of water paid for by donations from West Virginians. He arrived at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church on Wednesday morning, one of four water distribution centers in the city, giving out about 300 gallons in just a few hours.

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Uganda activists launch legal battle to overturn notorious anti-gay law

Uganda activitistsUgandan activists launched a petition Wednesday at the constitutional court seeking to overturn tough anti-gay laws that have been condemned by rights groups as draconian.

Signed by Uganda’s veteran President Yoweri Museveni in February, the law calls for homosexuals to be jailed for life, outlaws the promotion of homosexuality and obliges Ugandans to denounce gays to the authorities.

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Judge Orders Bank Of America To Pay $1.3 Billion Fine

Bank of AmericaA federal judge has ordered Bank of America to pay a $1.27 billion fine for fraud perpetrated by Countrywide Financial Corp., a mortgage company the bank acquired in 2008.

, a jury held Bank of America liable for bad loans Countrywide sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as part of its "Hustle" mortgage-lending program as the housing market soured in 2007 and 2008.

In his ruling Wednesday, Federal District Judge Jed Rakoff did not mince words.

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U.S. House passes $17 billion veterans healthcare bill, 420-5

Veteran's administrationThe U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a $17 billion plan to ease long healthcare delays at the scandal-plagued Veterans Affairs Department, adding much of the cost to the federal deficit.

The compromise measure was reached on Monday between House and Senate negotiators to provide funds for veterans' temporary access to private medical care, to allow the VA to hire more doctors and nurses and to open more outpatient clinics.

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Cambodia court begins genocide trial of Khmer Rouge leaders

Khmer Rouge trialCambodia's UN-backed Khmer Rouge court has begun a second trial of two former regime leaders on charges including genocide of Vietnamese people and ethnic Muslims, forced marriages and rape.

The complex case of the regime's two most senior surviving leaders has been split into a series of smaller trials, initially focusing on the forced evacuation of people into rural labour camps and related crimes against humanity.

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Federal Review Stalled After Finding Forensic Errors by FBI Lab Unit Spanned Two Decades

FBI errors over decadesNearly every criminal case reviewed by the FBI and the Justice Department as part of a massive investigation started in 2012 of problems at the FBI lab has included flawed forensic testimony from the agency, government officials said.

The findings troubled the bureau, and it stopped the review of convictions last August. Case reviews resumed this month at the order of the Justice Department, the officials said.

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