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Tuesday, May 26th

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Court rules NSA phone surveillance program is illegal

NSAThe federal government's bulk collection of Americans' telephone records after the Sept. 11 terror attacks exceeds what Congress has allowed, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday.

A three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan said the case brought by the American Civil Liberties Union illustrated the complexity of balancing privacy interests with the nation's security.

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Pentagon workers used gov't credit cards for gambling, prostitutes

Pentagon credit cards used for gamblingA federal audit has found that some employees at the Pentagon used government-issued credit cards to pay for things like gambling and prostitutes, a source close to the investigation reportedly said.

The audit, reported by Politico on Wednesday, was conducted by the Pentagon's inspector general and found that a number of defense employees used the cards for such activities.

The inspector general's office is expected to release findings of the audit later this month.

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Oklahoma governor signs 72-hour abortion wait time measure

pro choiceLegislation making Oklahoma the fourth state in the nation to require women to wait at least 72 hours before receiving an abortion has been signed into law.

The measure was signed Wednesday by Republican Gov. Mary Fallin. It increases from 24 to 72 hours the amount of time a woman must wait after a doctor provides her with details about an abortion, including the age of the fetus, risks involved and that ultrasound and heart monitoring are available.

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Chicago agrees to pay $5.5m to victims of police torture in 1970s and 80s

Chicago torture paymentsChicago approved an unprecedented deal on Wednesday to compensate victims tortured in police custody in the 1970s and 80s under the regime of a notorious former police commander, in an attempt to close a dark chapter in the city’s history.

A historic package of reparations will be paid out to living survivors, in the first gesture of its kind in America.

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Baltimore asks Justice Department to investigate police practices

Baltimore callss in DOJThe mayor of Baltimore called on federal investigators Wednesday to look into whether the city's beleaguered police department uses a pattern of excessive force or discriminatory policing.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said even though complaints of excessive force and lawsuits alleging misconduct are down over the last few years, "we all know that Baltimore has a fractured relationship with community."

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Missouri Senate Overrides Veto Of Welfare Restrictions Bill

Jay NixonThe Missouri Senate voted on Monday to override Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of a bill that severely restricts welfare eligibility, potentially cutting benefits to thousands of low-income families.

Nixon, a Democrat, on Thursday vetoed the bill, which calls for reducing the time families may receive aid from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program from five years to three years and nine months. It also would impose strict work requirements.

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Oregon Bill Passes Expanding Background Checks for Gun Sales

background checksOregon Democrats have muscled through legislation expanding background checks to cover nearly every private firearm sale in the state.

House lawmakers passed a bill Monday making it illegal to transfer a gun to someone who is not a close relative. Private sales would have to take place in front of a licensed gun dealer who can run a background check.

The bill would make Oregon the eighth state with universal background checks. It goes to Democratic Gov. Kate Brown, who has indicated support.

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