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Sunday, Feb 14th

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Supreme Court Throws Out Arkansas' Abortion Ban

Arkansas abortion ban tossedIn February 2013, Arkansas passed the Human Heartbeat Protection Act, a bill outlawing abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy if a heartbeat is detected. The new law came at a fine moment for the state's anti-abortion legislators: In recent months, they'd passed a bill doubling the state's mandated abortion waiting period, and had passed a 20-week ban on abortion.

The 12-week ban, however, was at the time the most restrictive abortion ban passed not only in the state, but in the nation. A pair of Arkansas doctors challenged the bill as unconstitutional and two lower courts prevented the ban from going into effect. Today, the Supreme Court rejected Arkansas' bid for reconsideration of the abortion ban. The high court's decision not to take this case, Edwards v. Beck, and to uphold lower courts' decisions to throw out Arkansas' law, could send a signal and help curb early abortion bans in other states.

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The U.S. Pays a Lot More for Top Drugs Than Other Countries

costly drugs cheaper abroadPrices for brand-name drugs are typically higher in the U.S. than other developed countries. The drug industry has argued it's misleading to focus on U.S. list prices that exclude discounts struck behind closed doors with insurers.

A Bloomberg News analysis finds that even after these discounts, prices are higher in the U.S. than abroad. Seven of eight top-selling drugs examined still cost more in the U.S. than most other countries.

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Supreme Court to hear Obama immigration challenge

SCOTUS takes up Immigration appealThe Supreme Court announced Tuesday it will hear a case challenging President Obama’s executive actions on immigration, which could shield as many as 5 million immigrants from deportations.

Activists expected the court to take up the lawsuit. The programs have been on hold since early last year, when a federal judge in Texas stopped them from taking effect.

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Environmentalists warn of disaster for Everglades if oil fracking bill passes

Everglades in danger from frackingEnvironmentalists are warning of a potential ecological disaster for the Florida Everglades if state lawmakers approve a measure that would open the door to fracking in the sensitive wetlands.

On Tuesday, politicians in Tallahassee were debating a proposed new law that would remove the right of local municipalities to pass ordinances or resolutions banning fracking and instead place all regulation and oversight of drilling for oil into the hands of a single state agency.

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Anti-Drone Activist Sentenced To 6 Months In Jail For Peaceful Protest

Anti drone activist sentenced to 6 months in jailA peace activist who was arrested while photographing an anti-drone protest at an upstate New York air base has been sentenced to six months in jail.

Mary Anne Grady Flores, a grandmother of three from Ithaca, New York, was found guilty in 2014 of violating a protection order that barred her and other activists from going near Col. Earl Evans and his workplace, the Hancock Field Air National Guard Base in Syracuse, New York. Evans, mission support group commander for the 174th Attack Wing, requested the order after an anti-drone demonstration at the base in 2012. (Drone missions are operated out of Hancock, and the airfield is home to a drone training center.)

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Auschwitz price-fixing claims: Israel police arrest nine

Auschwitz tickets inflated by Israeli execsNine executives at Israeli travel agencies have been arrested on suspicion of fixing the price of high school students' trips to former Nazi death camps, including Auschwitz.

Police say they are investigating allegations of a secret price-fixing arrangement by companies who organise the trips for students.

Investigators have raided the homes of executives and frozen bank accounts.

At least six travel agencies are accused of violating competition rules. They are suspected of colluding on prices before responding to an education ministry tender to take students to Holocaust memorials.

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Navy SEAL Turns Over Picture of Bin Laden’s Body, Faces Investigation of Business Ties

matthew BissonetA former Navy SEAL who shot Osama bin Laden and wrote a bestselling book about the raid is now the subject of a widening federal criminal investigation into whether he used his position as an elite commando for personal profit while on active duty, according to two people familiar with the case.

Matthew Bissonnette, the former SEAL and author of No Easy Day, a firsthand account of the 2011 bin Laden operation, had already been under investigation by both the Justice Department and the Navy for revealing classified information.

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1 Out of 10 College Graduates Thinks Judge Judy Sits on Supreme Court

1 in 10 grads think Judge Judy is on Supreme CourtAll rise for Judge Judy — the Supreme Court justice?

A new report from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni reveals that nearly 10 percent of college graduates think that the TV personality Judge Judy [real name: Judge Judith Sheindlin] belongs to the highest judicial body in the United States.

Sheindlin, 73, stars in the court reality show Judge Judy, which debuted in 1996 and is currently in its 19th season. Sheindlin is a retired New York City judge and reportedly earns $47 million a year for handling small claims cases on the daytime program.

TVNL Comment: Read the ACTA report here, and weep for the 'exceptional' country some claim we are.

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Bomb threats at more than a dozens schools in U.S. Northeast, Midwest

Schools evacuated in several statesBomb threats were phoned in to more than a dozen schools in New Jersey, Massachusetts, Delaware and Iowa early on Tuesday, forcing evacuations or lockdowns, law enforcement officials and media reports said.

At least nine schools in New Jersey received phone call threats starting at about 8:50 a.m. EST, said Bergen County Sheriff spokesman Anthony Cureton, adding that four had later been given the all clear.

Searches were still underway at five other schools, he said.

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