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Thursday, Apr 24th

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Obama To Sign Executive Orders On Equal Pay

equal pay executived orderPresident Barack Obama will sign two new executive orders on equal pay for women Tuesday, Politico reports. The executive actions coincide with "Equal Pay Day" -- the date that symbolizes how far into 2014 women must work to earn the same amount of money men earned last year.

Both executive orders mirror provisions of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which Congress has twice failed to pass. One would prohibit federal contractors from retaliating against employees who share their salary information with each other. The provision is inspired by Lilly Ledbetter, the namesake of the first bill Obama signed on equal pay in 2009, who worked for nearly 20 years at Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. before discovering that men in her same job with equal or lesser experience were earning significantly more money than she was.

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Alex Baer: Note to a Friend

happy and sadFor some insane reason, I am still able to find occasional laughter, and am not always intensely angry.  Usually, but not always.

Like those who realized they would not live to witness Dems appoint sane people to The Supreme Court, once Bush slid in, both times, I have the distinct feeling I will not be around when the historical cycle shifts, and allows the U.S., whatever is left of it, to move away from the extreme right wing psychosis of the last 30 years, sharpened to a hurtful point, from 2000 to 2008, and from which we have yet to recover.

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Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald address US campaigners via video

Snowden talks to candidatesEdward Snowden and the reporter Glenn Greenwald, who brought to light the whistleblower's leaks about mass US government surveillance last year, appeared together via video link from opposite ends of the earth on Saturday, for what was believed to be the first time since Snowden sought asylum in Russia.

In Germany, meanwhile, a leading ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel criticised the US for failing to provide sufficient assurances on its spying tactics and said bilateral talks were unlikely to make much progress before the German leader visits Washington next month.

The interior minister, Thomas de Maiziere, one of Merkel's closest cabinet allies, told the German weekly magazine Der Spiegel: "US intelligence methods may be justified to a large extent by security needs, but the tactics are excessive and over-the-top.”

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CIA torture report: Nancy Pelosi blames Dick Cheney

CIA torture reportA senior Democrat has fuelled an acrimonious row over a Senate report into torture by the Central Intelligence Agency, by blaming the abuses on former vice-president Dick Cheney.

Nancy Pelosi on Sunday raised the stakes over the landmark study by shifting responsibility from the agency to Cheney, who steered much of the Bush administration's response to the September 11 2001 attacks.

The House minority leader said Cheney, a Republican, set the tone of CIA actions during an era of harsh interrogation methods, a controversy which has flared anew in the runup to congressional elections in November.

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Pro-Russians storm offices in 3 east Ukranian cities

Ukranian city offices attacked Pro-Russian protesters have stormed government buildings in three eastern Ukrainian cities.  In Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv they clashed with police, hung Russian flags from the buildings and called for a referendum on independence.

Ukraine's acting president called an emergency security meeting in response.

The unrest comes amid tensions between Russia and Ukraine over the removal of pro-Moscow President Viktor Yanukovych and Russia's annexation of Crimea.

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CBS' '60 Minutes' admits to faking Tesla car noise

TeslaWhat is it about Tesla and its ability to make major media outlets look like fools?

The latest example came a week ago today when CBS' 60 Minutes aired a report on Tesla and its amazing electric car. It was basically the kind of coverage that any automaker would kill to have (and must have left flummoxed General Motors executives wondering why they never got it for the plug-in Chevrolet Volt).

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Heroin addicts face barriers to treatment

Heroine addictsAs the ranks of heroin users rise, increasing numbers of addicts are looking for help but are failing to find it — because there are no beds in packed facilities, treatment is hugely expensive and insurance companies won't pay for inpatient rehab.

Some users overcome their addictions in spite of the obstacles. But many, like Salvatore Marchese, struggle and fail.

In the course of Marchese's five-year battle with heroin, the Blackwood, N.J., man was repeatedly denied admission to treatment facilities, often because his insurance company wouldn't cover the cost. Then one night in June 2010, a strung-out Marchese went to the emergency room seeking help. The doctors shook their heads: Heroin withdrawal is not life-threatening, they said, and we can't admit you. They gave him an IV flush, and sent him home.

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Scientists develop dissolvable electronics

dissolvable electronicsA materials scientist at Iowa has developed electronics and materials able to dissolve on command.

Reza Montazami, assistant professor of mechanical engineering Iowa State University, calls the technology "transient materials" or "transient electronics." He says it could be used to create medical devices that disappear inside the body and are disposed of once they've done their jobs. Or the materials could be used by the military to send and receive top secret information.

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2 priests, Canadian nun abducted in Cameroon

2 priests, nun kidnapped in CameroonsArmed groups on Saturday abducted two Italian priests and a Canadian nun working as missionaries in northern Cameroon, Italy's government and Catholic church officials said.

Italy's foreign ministry identified the priests as Giampaolo Marta and Gianantonio Allegri, but declined to give other details, including the Canadian's identity, to avoid compromising efforts for the missionaries' release.

A Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Ciro Benedettini, said Pope Francis was praying for the three and "expressed hope for a solution."

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