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Friday, Dec 19th

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ACLU lawsuit challenges Ferguson-area school board over district voting policies

Ferguson school board The American Civil Liberties Union on Thursday filed a lawsuit challenging a Missouri school district’s board voting policies as part of an effort to increase the representation of black students in a region including Ferguson – the city that this summer became a flashpoint for American race issues.

Simmering racial tensions in the region peaked in August, when unarmed black teenager Michael Brown was fatally shot by white police officer Darren Wilson. The incident sparked international protests that continue across the globe as more broad demonstrations against systemic racism in the US.

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Apple 'failing to protect Chinese factory workers'

Chinese workersPoor treatment of workers in Chinese factories which make Apple products has been discovered by an undercover BBC Panorama investigation.

Filming on an iPhone 6 production line showed Apple's promises to protect workers were routinely broken. It found standards on workers' hours, ID cards, dormitories, work meetings and juvenile workers were being breached at the Pegatron factories.

Apple said it strongly disagreed with the programme's conclusions.

Exhausted workers were filmed falling asleep on their 12-hour shifts at the Pegatron factories on the outskirts of Shanghai.

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Air Pollution Exposure in Pregnancy Linked to Autism in Study

Autism and air pollutionWomen who are exposed to high levels of air pollution during their third trimester of pregnancy may be twice as likely to have an autistic child, a study found.

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health found the risk of autism rises in parallel with exposure to fine particulate matter during pregnancy, with the biggest effect occurring in the final months of gestation. The results appear in the Dec. 18 edition of Environmental Health Perspectives.

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Suspected Boko Haram gunmen kidnap over 100 women, children in Nigeria

Boko Haram takes women and childrenSuspected Boko Haram gunmen kidnapped more than 100 women and children and killed 35 people during a raid on the remote northeast Nigerian village of Gumsuri, a security source and resident said on Thursday.

"They gathered the people, shot dead over 30 people and took away more than 100 women and children in two open-top trucks," Maina Chibok, who did not witness the attack but is from Gumsuri and visited family there shortly after the Sunday raid.

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Feds sue NYC over Rikers Island jail violence

Feds sue NYCFederal prosecutors sued New York City on Thursday to speed the pace of reforms at the Rikers Island jail complex and address what a Justice Department investigation found was a "deep-seated culture of violence" against young inmates.

The move comes a day after Mayor Bill de Blasio visited the 10-jail lockup to announce the end of solitary confinement for 16- and 17-year-old inmates, a policy change initiated after the 2 1/2-year federal probe released in August.

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Abused kids die as authorities fail to protect

Abused childrenAt least 786 children died of abuse or neglect in the U.S. in a six-year span in plain view of child protection authorities — many of them beaten, starved or left alone to drown while agencies had good reason to know they were in danger, The Associated Press has found.

To determine that number, the AP canvassed the 50 states, the District of Columbia and all branches of the military — circumventing a system that does a terrible job of accounting for child deaths. Many states struggled to provide numbers. Secrecy often prevailed.

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Iran unveils monument for fallen Jewish-Iranian soldiers

Iran monument to jewish iranian soldiersIran has unveiled a monument to honor Jewish-Iranian soldiers who fell during the eight-year Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s.

In a ceremony in Tehran on Monday, a senior Iranian parliament member praised the Iranian Jewish community’s ties to the state and its “obedience” to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Ruhollah Khomeini before him.

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New Jersey Paid Fees To Mary Christie's Firm After State Investment Was Terminated

Christie and wife MaryWhen the New Jersey pension system terminated a $150 million investment in a fund called Angelo, Gordon & Co. in 2011, that did not close the books on the deal. In the three years since state officials ordered the withdrawal of that state money, New Jersey taxpayers have forked over hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees to the firm. As those fees kept flowing, Angelo Gordon made a prominent hire: Mary Pat Christie, wife of Gov. Chris Christie, who joined the company in 2012 as a managing director and now earns $475,000 annually, according to the governor's most recent tax return.

The disclosure that New Jersey taxpayers have been paying substantial fees to a firm that employs the governor's spouse -- years after state officials said the investment was terminated -- emerged in documents released by the Christie administration to International Business Times through a public records request.

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Arizona erred in denying dreamers' licenses, Supreme Court says

Jan BrewerThe U.S. Supreme Court has rejected a last-minute bid by Gov. Jan Brewer to keep dreamers from getting licenses to drive.

In a brief order issued this morning, the court denied Brewer's request that it issue a stay to prevent the 9th Circuit from ordering a federal judge in Phoenix to issue an injunction blocking Brewer's edict declaring that dreamers do not meet the requirements of Arizona law. The justices gave no reason for their decision.

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