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'Friendship Nine' to be cleared of civil rights sit-in crimes

Friendship nine  clearedFifty-four years after nine young black men became the first U.S. civil rights protesters to serve jail time for sitting at an all-white lunch counter, surviving members of the group will return to a South Carolina courtroom this month to be exonerated of their crimes.

Their "jail, no bail" strategy helped galvanize the fight against racial inequality in the South and became a model for other protesters. But the "Friendship Nine," as the men became known, endured personal hardships for taking the bold stand.


Labor can't 'sit on the sidelines' of racial justice fight, AFL-CIO says

Unions and raceOver the weekend, unionists from all over the country gathered in Atlanta, Georgia for the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Civil and Human Rights Conference, organized by the American labor federation AFL-CIO.

For a struggling labor movement, the event is a crucial opportunity to forge bonds with other burgeoning social movements.

The Martin Luther King conference has taken place over Martin Luther King weekend for around two decades, but this year’s event comes at an especially pivotal moment for the AFL-CIO and organized labor more generally.


'Selma' stars including Oprah march in Alabama, honoring MLK

Selma march 2015Oprah Winfrey, fellow actors from the movie "Selma" and hundreds of others marched to recall one of the bloodiest chapters of the civil rights movement on Sunday, the eve of the national holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr.

The remembrance comes after several incidents in which unarmed black men were killed by police in recent months, spurring protests and heightening tensions around the country. In Ferguson, Mo., where one fatal shooting caused weeks of violent protests, leading black members of Congress pressed for further reforms of the criminal justice system in the name of equality.


Two More Planets May Be Behind Pluto

Panets behind Pluto???It might soon be time to change all those grade-school dioramas of the solar system again: Astronomers think at least two more planets exist, reports Universe Today.

In two studies from the UK and Spain, scientists say the planets' existence is the only way to explain why objects are behaving as they are in the nether regions beyond Neptune (and recently demoted non-planet) Pluto, reports Smithsonian.


Anonymous donor gives families of slain NYPD officers large donation

NYPDAn anonymous donor from Hong Kong has given the families of slain NYPD officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos $1 million.

Liu's father will get $100,000 a year for five years and Ramos' children now have a $500,000 education fund.

"In every tragedy, there are individuals who step forward and step up to the plate, and that's what this story is all about here today," said Michael Palladino, president of the NYPD's detectives union during a ceremony at union headquarters.


Prison program aims to produce business-savvy inmates

Prisoners business programStanding in a prison chow hall, Richard Chavez Jr. outlines his past: violent felon, former gang member, the fourth member of his family to go to prison. Then his future: owner of a mobile counseling youth service that goes where the troubled kids are.

Arching a tattooed eyebrow, Chavez credits an innovative program run out of the Cleveland Correctional Facility, about 50 miles northeast of Houston, with helping him gather the skills to operate a business – from character-building and how to carry himself to writing a business plan and finding financing.


Cops Shot Blacks’ Mugshots as Practice

Cops shot blacks mugshotsUS police officers have been criticised for using mug shots of black suspects for target practice in Florida.

The images used by North Miami Beach Police were discovered by a female soldier who used the firing range after a police training session.  Sgt Valerie Deant recognised her brother as one of the target images, according to NBC Miami.

Police Chief J Scott Dennis said that his officers had used poor judgment but denied racial profiling.


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