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Thursday, April 24, 2014
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Last Updated: Thursday, April 24, 2014 10:12
National News Clips
U.S. could be caught cold by Arctic oil spill, report says

HOUSTON CHRONICLE: The United States is ill prepared to tackle oil spills in the Arctic, whether from drilling or from cargo and cruise ships traveling through newly passable waterways once clogged with ice, the National Research Council reported Wednesday.

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Polls show red-state Senate Dems still alive

THE HILL: Red-state Democratic Senate candidates are still alive and kicking, according to four new nonpartisan polls. Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), a top GOP target, leads Rep. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) by 46 percent-36 percent in a live-caller poll conducted for The New York Times and the Kaiser Family Foundation. Pryor's approval rating is at 47 percent with 38 percent disapproving, good numbers for any Democrat in a state as conservative as Arkansas.

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Union leaders warn of effort to privatize the postal service

THE HILL: A top postal union is trying to derail a deal between the U.S. Postal Service and retailer Staples, with protests in 27 states planned for Thursday. The American Postal Workers Union members and other activists who plan protests at more than 50 Staples locations in all say that the partnership is bad for both postal customers and workers and would essentially privatize some USPS operations.

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Cruz plays it safe in primaries

THE HILL: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is preparing to navigate the minefield of endorsements this cycle. And he’s so far playing it safe, aware of the fact that taking one wrong step could sabotage the party’s chances in a competitive race and potentially saddle him with part of the blame for losing the Senate this cycle.

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Jeb Bush: I’m ‘thinking about’ 2016 run

POLITICO: Jeb Bush on Wednesday was the most vocal he’s been about considering a run for the White House in 2016. The Republican told a crowd of about 200 people at a Catholic Charities fundraiser in New York that he is “thinking about running for president,” according to an attendee.

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Obama trade push gets thumbs down from Democrats

POLITICO: President Barack Obama’s in Asia this week pushing a deal that almost none of his allies at home want. On the Hill, most of the pushback is coming from the president’s fellow Democrats, who say it undercuts the economic fairness argument that’s a central focus of his midterm strategy.

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Study questions Obamacare impact on canceled plans

POLITICO: Millions of the plans that were canceled because they did not meet Affordable Care Act requirements probably would have been canceled anyway — by the policyholders, a new study suggests. Last fall, as cancellation letters arrived in mailboxes around the country, opponents of the law cited them as evidence that President Barack Obama had lied to Americans when he promised, “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it.”

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The left’s secret club

POLITICO: Some of the country’s biggest Democratic donors — including Tom Steyer and Jonathan Soros — are huddling behind closed doors next week in Chicago with union bigwigs and progressive superstars like Bill de Blasio to plan how to pull their party — and the country — to the left.

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Feinglass: The deadly cost of being uninsured

AL JAZEERA: On average, Americans spend more than twice as much on health care costs per person each year than do people in 34 other countries, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. That’s $8,233 spent on health care costs per individual in the United States, versus $3,268 elsewhere.

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Judge grants Chelsea Manning name change

AL JAZEERA: An Army private convicted of providing classified documents to anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks won an initial victory Wednesday toward living as a woman when a Kansas judge granted a petition to change her name to Chelsea Elizabeth Manning. The decision clears the way for official changes to Manning's military records, but does not compel the military to treat the soldier previously known as Bradley Edward Manning as a woman.

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Ukraine to take on 'aggressors' as Russia threatens retaliation

AL JAZEERA: Ukraine's government on Wednesday announced a renewed security operation to crack down on pro-Russian armed groups, and Russia threatened retaliation for any such moves, as an international deal to defuse their ongoing standoff came under increasing strain. Prompted in part by the discovery Tuesday of the body of a Ukrainian politician, officials in Kyiv decided to renew what they call an "anti-terrorist operation" against militias, many with separatist aims, who have seized control of about a dozen public buildings in eastern Ukraine in recent weeks.

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Justice Department seeks to undo thousands of old sentences

AL JAZEERA: Setting in motion one of the most wide-ranging government efforts to roll back the legacy of harsh anti-crime laws dating to the drug wars of the 1980s, the Justice Department on Wednesday announced an initiative to extend presidential clemency to potentially thousands of federal prisoners who would receive more lenient rulings if they were sentenced and convicted today.

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Civil rights group slams Michigan ban on affirmative action

AL JAZEERA: Civil rights groups on Wednesday blasted a Supreme Court decision to uphold Michigan’s ban against using race as a factor in college admissions – arguing that many public institutions bend the rules to make room for children of alumni, out-of-state students and star athletes. “What this decision is saying is that there is an exception that is made and can be made for every group in the world except for black and Latino students,” George Washington, an attorney at By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), a Michigan-based coalition to defend affirmative action, told Al Jazeera.

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In besieged Gaza, Palestinian unity deal sparks hope, caution

AL JAZEERA: Shock, disbelief, elation and a surge of giddy optimism were among the reactions of Gazans to Wednesday’s news that Fatah and Hamas had agreed to form a unity government that, if implemented, would end the seven-year schism that separated Gaza from the West Bank. An Israeli airstrike on the besieged enclave the same day, however, served as a reminder of the scale of the challenges that lie ahead.

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U.S. regulators to propose new net neutrality rules in May

REUTERS: U.S. regulators are expected to vote on May 15 on a new set of so-called "net neutrality" rules aimed at making certain that broadband providers do not slow down or block consumers' access to legal Internet content. The rules from the Federal Communications Commission, which released its framework in February, are expected to ensure network operators disclose how they manage Internet traffic and do not block any content on the Web.

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FDA moves to ban sales of e-cigarettes to minors

REUTERS: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration proposed rules on Thursday that would ban the sale of e-cigarettes to anyone under 18, but would not restrict flavored products, online sales or advertising, which public health advocates say attract children.

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GM posts lower first-quarter profit after recall costs

REUTERS: General Motors Co on Thursday posted lower quarterly profit after a massive recall due to defective ignition switchs linked to at least 13 deaths, but results still topped Wall Street expectations on strong pricing for its vehicles, especially in North America.

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