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US lawmakers call for action to curb Internet child trading

Internet child tradingU.S. lawmakers called Tuesday for federal action to prevent parents from giving unwanted adopted children to strangers met on the Internet, and the Illinois attorney general urged Facebook and Yahoo to police online groups where children may be advertised.

The demands come as nations whose orphans have been adopted by Americans contend that the U.S. government isn't doing enough to stop the practice, known as "private re-homing."

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Patriot Act author prepares bipartisan bill to curb NSA

Jim SensenbrennerThe conservative Republican who co-authored America's Patriot Act is preparing to unveil bipartisan legislation that would dramatically curtail the domestic surveillance powers it gives to intelligence agencies.

Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, who worked with president George W Bush to give more power to US intelligence agencies after the September 11 terrorist attacks, said the intelligence community had misused those powers by collecting telephone records on all Americans, and claimed it was time "to put their metadata program out of business".

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Abortion coverage for Congress under health law?

Abortion coverage for congressIt's an issue lawmakers may not want to have to explain at town hall meetings back home:

An attempt to fix a problem with the new health care law has created a situation in which members of Congress and their staffers could gain access to abortion coverage, something that currently is denied to federal employees who get health insurance through the government's plan.

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Credit rating Industry wrote provision that undercuts credit-rating overhaul

Moody'sMoments before the Senate overwhelmingly passed a bill to overhaul the credit ratings industry seven years ago, Republican and Democratic sponsors took turns touting its promise for ending an entrenched oligopoly.

The bill, they said, should break the vicelike dominance of three agencies – Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services, Moody’s Investors Service and the smaller Fitch Ratings – in an industry that serves as a crucial watchdog over the nation’s financial system.

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30 Democratic House members on trip to Israel paid for by AIPAC offshoot

Patrick MurphyDemocratic U.S. Reps. Lois Frankel, Patrick Murphy and Joe Garcia of Florida are in Israel for the week along with more than 30 other Democratic House members — trips paid for by an arm of a powerful lobbying group.

Next week, freshmen Republicans head off on the same trip, paid for by the American Israel Education Foundation, which Frankel in a news release described as an “independent, nonprofit charitable organization.”

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House GOP Defunds ACORN Yet Again, Even Though ACORN Does Not Exist

JOhn BoehnerThe House GOP quietly blocked funding for ACORN last week, even though the anti-poverty organization has long since been both defunded and disbanded.

The legislative assault on ACORN, which shut down in 2010, was included in a Department of Defense appropriations bill that cleared the House on Thursday. Although the bill passed by a broad, bipartisan margin of 315-97, it garnered attention for an amendment proposed by Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) that would have stopped the government from collecting masses of phone call metadata without reasonable suspicion.

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US House votes against NSA limits

House rejects NSA limitsThe US House of Representatives has narrowly voted to continue collecting data on US phone calls in the first legislative move on the programme.

In a 217-205 vote, lawmakers rejected an effort to restrict the National Security Agency's (NSA) ability to collect electronic information. The NSA's chief had lobbied strongly against the proposed measure.

The vote saw an unusual coalition of conservatives and liberal Democrats against the programme.

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