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Oct 31st

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Human rights monitor

Sri Lanka - More than 400 people were killed and over 1,000 injured over the weekend in what the UN has described as a bloodbath.  The UN estimates that about 50,000 civilians are trapped by the conflict, in a three-sq-km strip of land. Most of this area has been designated by the government as a safe zone which will not be attacked by air or by heavy weapons. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said on Monday he was appalled by the killings and called for an immediate halt to the fighting.
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Champion’s "Ban the Box" bill signed into law

Champion’s State Representative Bobby Champion’s bill addressing employment barriers to people who have criminal records was signed into law this Monday, May 11th by Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty. The public safety policy omnibus bill, House File 1301, features two provisions that begin to address the growing problem of individuals with criminal records finding employment.
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Kenyan Independence War vets renew torture suit

Kenyan Independence War vets renew torture suitMay 12 (GIN) – Lawyers for five veterans of Kenya’s independence war are preparing a claim against the British army for alleged atrocities by UK soldiers, including castration, sexual abuse and unlawful detention.
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Legislation would standardize State law and provide Federal Assistance

Legislation would standardize State law and provide Federal AssistanceWashington, D.C.  – US Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minneapolis) voted last week for the expansion of federal authority in the prosecution of violent crimes known as “hate crimes.”  H.R. 1913, The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 also provides state and local governments with grant money to assist in the investigation and prosecution of hate crimes. Hate crimes are crimes that are motivated by race, color, gender, gender identity, religion, national origin or sexual orientation.
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First Lady celebrates first 100 days volunteering at Capital Area Food Bank

Washington, DC --First Lady Michelle Obama recently stopped by the Capital Area Food Bank – a member of Feeding America, the nation’s food bank network –to help pack bags for the food bank’s Weekend Bag Program, a service that provides 1,000 children weekly with bags of food when they do not have access to school meals.

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Still too soon to judge a president, but Obama gets an A

In an era of instant spin, there is no wonder that people are grading President Obama on his performance in his first 100 days.
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Ellison named to CSIS commission

Ellison named to CSIS commissionWashington, D.C.  – US Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota) has been invited by the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS), one of the world’s foremost policy think tanks, to join the launch of an exclusive commission to develop recommendations for a long-term, strategic U.S. approach to global health.
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Mayor, City Council honor local environmental efforts with Third Sustainable Saint Paul Awards

SAINT PAUL – Celebrating Earth Day, Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and the City Council presented the City’s third Sustainable Saint Paul Awards on Wednesday, created by the Mayor to honor outstanding achievements of individuals, businesses and organization that are protecting and restoring the environment in Saint Paul.
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McCollum commemorates Earth Day, applauds EPA ruling

Washington, DC –  US Rep.  Betty McCollum (MN-04) is commemorating Earth Day by urging Americans to work together to protect and preserve the planet.  She is also applauding the Obama Administration decision to clear the way for U.S. regulation of greenhouse gas emissions.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ruled on April 17th that carbon pollution is a danger to human health and welfare.
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MPR, Met Council reach accord on LRT mitigation

After more than three months of discussion, research and testing, Metropolitan Council Chairman Peter Bell and Minnesota Public Radio President Bill Kling announced today that the Met Council and MPR have entered into an agreement to mitigate the impact of light rail transit (LRT) on the MPR Broadcast Center on Cedar Street.
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Obama Administration announces new campaign to refocus national attention on the HIV crisis in the United States

WASHINGTON, DC - Every 9 ½ minutes another person in America becomes infected with HIV. Officials from the White House, Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced last week a new five-year national communication campaign, Act Against AIDS, which highlights this alarming statistic and aims to combat complacency about the HIV/AIDS crisis in the United States.
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