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Saturday, Dec 20th

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Justice Department: Tribal reservations can grow and sell pot

Reservations may grow and sell potTribal reservations in the United States can grow and sell marijuana, even in states where it is still illegal, the Justice Department says.

In a memorandum released Thursday, Timothy Purdon, the U.S. attorney for North Dakota and chairman of a committee on Native American issues, said reservations must follow the same guidelines the department laid down last year for Colorado and Washington when they legalized marijuana sales.

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Oregon GMO labeling proponents concede defeat

Oregon defeats GO labelingProponents of an Oregon ballot measure requiring labels on genetically modified foods conceded defeat Thursday after a judge ruled against them and an automatic recount appeared unlikely to sway the outcome.

The Yes on 92 campaign said there are no legal options remaining that could lead them to victory.

"The labeling movement will continue to grow," the campaign said in a statement. "We draw strength from the fact that we came so achingly close to winning this vote, despite being outspent by more than $12 million."

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Fatal shooting flags concerns of discriminatory policing in Arizona

Police abuseHundreds of activists chanting "I can't breathe" and "No justice, no peace" marched through Phoenix this week to urge justice for black father of four Rumain Brisbon, who was shot dead by a white city police officer in a disputed incident that flagged concerns over what critics say is a history of discriminatory policing in the Arizona capital.

"He was a good friend, a devoted father, a loyal community member … and did not deserve to be killed like he was in front of his family," Brisbon's friend Jenee Polk said as protesters carrying placards reading "Justice for Rumain" and "What happened to peace officers?" gathered in the parking lot of an Elks Lodge in central Phoenix before a recent protest rally.

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House votes to avoid govt shutdown, passes $1 trillion spending bill

House of RepresentativesThe House of Representatives voted to pass a massive spending bill that will keep the government running into next year, narrowly avoiding a shutdown as Republicans and Democrats spent the night at odds over various provisions.

Next, the Senate will vote on the bill – the so-called “cromnibus,” which is part continuing resolution and part omnibus spending bill. If the chamber approves, it will head to President Barack Obama’s desk for his signature. Obama previously said he would support the bill’s passage.

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Congressional staffers walk out over Brown, Garner decisions

Congressional staffers walk out over Brown, Garner decisionsCongressional staff members staged a walkout Thursday in protest of the recent killings of black men by police officers, both of which did not result in grand jury indictments.

They were protesting the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Eric Garner in New York as racial tension builds across the nation.

The walkout comes as both chambers attempt to pass a $1.1 trillion spending measure and avoid another government shutdown.

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The Rank, Reeking Horror of Torturing Some Folks

Gitmo prisoners"Let me put it plainly: these people do not belong on my television. They belong in prison, for the crimes of theft, torture and murder. They shattered the lives of thousands of American soldiers and millions of Iraqi civilians. They savaged the American economy paying for it all, and several of them got very rich in the process.

They should be in orange jumpsuits and fetters, picking mealworms out of their gruel while shuttered in very small, very grim, very inescapable metal rooms."

I wrote that back in June of this year because I thought I knew the whole deal. I saw all the pictures from Abu Ghraib, knew about the so-called "Black Sites" where innocent prisoners were sent to be torn apart, read all the books, and listened to the words of those who endured these seven hells and lived. Quite a crowd of people, including several prisoners who cannot be accounted for to this day, did not survive to tell their tale.

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Study: 5 trillion-plus pieces of plastic floating in ocean. What can be done?

5 trillion pieces of ocean plasticMore than 5 trillion pieces of plastic, weighing nearly 269,000 tons, are littering the world's oceans, according to a study published Wednesday by the scientific journal PLOS One. The study is the first of its kind to gather data from around the world on floating plastic.

For the study, researchers traveled the world's seas on 24 expeditions between 2007 and 2013, collecting small pieces of plastic from all five subtropical gyres, or spots in the ocean where currents converge. From there, using computer models, they extrapolated to estimate global numbers.

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NLRB Judge Rules That Walmart Illegally Punished California Workers For Participating In Protests

NLRB judgmentIn recent years, some Walmart workers have staged public protests about inadequate wages and unfair treatment. A number of these employees claim that management has retaliated against them for expressing their views. Now a court has ordered Walmart to reverse disciplinary action taken against protesting workers and put a stop to future retaliation.

The New York Times reports that a National Labor Relations Board judge found that managers at Walmart stores in Richmond and Placerville, CA, acted illegally by penalizing employees for going on strike, threatening to close a store if many of its employees joined a group demanding higher wages and telling employees that co-workers returning from a one-day strike would be looking for a new job.

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Hong Kong Dismantles Pro-Democracy Protest Camp

Hong Kong protest site clearedHong Kong workers cleared large parts of the main pro-democracy protest site near the heart of the financial center on Thursday, marking an end to more than two months of street demonstrations that have choked parts of the Chinese-controlled city.

The mainly peaceful protests to demand free elections have represented one of the most serious challenges to China's authority since the 1989 pro-democracy demonstrations and bloody crackdown in and around Beijing's Tiananmen Square.

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