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Sunday, Apr 23rd

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Education Department withdraws student loan protections

Betsy DeVosEducation Secretary Betsy DeVos has rolled back protections for student loan borrowers that were enacted by the Obama administration.

She formally withdrew policies outlined in memos issued by former President Barack Obama at the end of his term in office that called for the Federal Student Aid office to strengthen protections for borrowers. The retraction of the policies came in a letter on Tuesday to James W. Runcie, the Education Department's FSA chief.

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U.S. judge finds Texas voter ID law was intended to discriminate

Voter ID laaw in Texas overturnedA Texas law that requires voters to show identification before casting ballots was enacted with the intent to discriminate against black and Hispanic voters, a U.S. federal judge ruled on Monday.

The decision by U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos came after an appeals court last year said the 2011 law had an outsized impact on minority voters. The court sent the case back to Ramos to determine if lawmakers intentionally wrote the legislation to be discriminatory.

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How Alabama’s ‘Luv Guv’ Broke New Ground in a Scandal-Plagued State

Alabama Governor resignsEven after a year of titillating revelations, the release on Friday afternoon of the special investigator’s report on the affair between the 74-year-old governor and his much younger and still-married aide still had the capacity to amaze the most seasoned Alabamian political observers.

The bar was high after a tape came out last March of Robert Bentley, the one-time Sunday school teacher and dermatologist, on which the governor was heard awkwardly cooing into the phone to Rebekah Mason, his then 40-something senior political adviser:

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Lawyers race to save seven Arkansas inmates from ‘execution by assembly line’

Lawyers fight execution assembly lineLawyers representing seven death row prisoners in Arkansas who are all scheduled to die within 11 days of each other starting next week are entering the final stretch of an epic legal battle in which they try to stop the most intense bout of judicial killings in modern US history.

Should the attorneys fail in their mission, two prisoners, Don Davis and Bruce Ward, will be put to death by lethal injection on 17 April. Three days later it will be the turn of Stacey Johnson and Ledell Lee, followed by Marcel Williams and Jack Jones on 24 April, and Kenneth Williams on 27 April.

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Sessions orders Justice Dept. to end forensic science commission, suspend review policy

Jeff SessionsAttorney General Jeff Sessions will end a Justice Department partnership with independent scientists to raise forensic science standards and has suspended an expanded review of FBI testimony across several techniques that have come under question, saying a new strategy will be set by an in-house team of law enforcement advisers.

In a statement Monday, Sessions said he would not renew the National Commission on Forensic Science, a roughly 30-member advisory panel of scientists, judges, crime lab leaders, prosecutors and defense lawyers chartered by the Obama administration in 2013.

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New York approves tuition-free college for middle class

NY Colleges now tuition free for middle classNew York became the first state to waive college tuition for middle-class students with the passage of a bill in its Senate.

Under a plan first introduced in January by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, undergraduate students at State University of New York or City University of New York schools will be eligible for the Excelsior Scholarship if their families earn less than $100,000 a year. By 2019, the income cap will be raised to $125,000. The law will be phased in beginning in September.

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Manhunt for Wisconsin suspect wanted for stealing guns, threatening politicians

Wisconsin manhuntA nationwide manhunt is on for a Wisconsin man wanted for a series of crimes including stealing over a dozen guns and allegedly plotting mass violence targeting law enforcement and political figures.

Over 150 police officers, sheriff’s deputies, and federal agents are on the trail of Joseph Jakubowski, who Wisconsin authorities say is considered “armed and highly dangerous” after he allegedly burglarized a local gun store in Janesville, a city roughly 40 miles south of Madison. Among the 16 weapons stolen were several high caliber handguns, and at least two semi-automatic assault rifles. Police also believe he may possess a bulletproof vest and military-style helmet.

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