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Standardized Teacher Training Initiatives Re-Emerge

The Obama Administration formally announced an initiative to improve teacher trainings across the U.S. on Friday morning. The initiative was previously introduced by Education Secretary Arne Duncan in 2012, but is now being drafted for implementation within the next year.

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Washington State Governor Issues Moratorium on Death Penaty

Washington State Governor Jay Inslee announced a moratorium on the death penalty in Washington State.      

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Obama Launches "My Brother's Keeper" Initiative

On Thursday, February 27, President Obama launched the “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative to “unlock the full potential” of young men and boys of color. The initiative will help not only the at-risk demographic but the nation as a whole, said the president.  

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What's Behind Ukraine's Political Crisis?

For three months, Ukraine has been distressed by anti-government protests leading to violent protests with no ending in sight. Prior to the ignition of the protests, Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych claimed he was committed on singing a historical trade pact with the European Union. However on November 21, he decided to end talks with the European Union.

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Senate Narrowly Avoids Debt Limit Crisis

The Senate met on February 12, 2014 to pass a bill that would suspend the debt limit through March 2015. Republican Senator Ted Cruz demanded a filibuster requiring 60 votes from the Senate in hopes of spurring a debate about government spending. Even if all Democrats voted to bypass the filibuster, they needed five Republicans to push it through.


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New Headaches for Gov. Christie and Administration

Several staff members and political appointees of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) are under fire for orchestrating a massive traffic problem in Fort Lee, New Jersey that led to the closing of the busiest motor vehicle bridge in the world. Christie’s Deputy Chief of Staff and Press Secretary as well as three of his senior advisors to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey were alleged to be involved in covering up these actions.

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Budget Committee Passes Bill; House to Vote

After ending the government shutdown, Congress was tasked with creating a budget. This was not a new task: Congress is required to pass a budget annually.

The shutdown-ending agreement in Congress funded the government through January 15, 2014, but a real budget bill needs to be passed to avoid more devastating sequestration cuts and another federal shutdown.

The agreement also mandated the creation of a Budget Committee made of 28 House and Senate members. In mid-December 2013, the committee came to a bipartisan budget solution. Headed by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), this bipartisan bill averts another shutdown and partially replaces across-the-board sequestration cuts.

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Detroit Qualifies for Municipal Bankruptcy

On Tuesday morning, Dec. 3rd, Federal Judge Steven W. Rhodes officially told the city of Detroit that they could move forward with filing for bankruptcy.  This bankruptcy will affect thousands of employees and retirees who are trying to keep their pensions protected, as well as investors and creditors. Rhodes says that he will not “rubber stamp a restructuring plan that shreds benefits.” The bankruptcy protection case was filed on July 18th and is the largest municipal case in U.S. history. The retirees that are worried about their pension cuts will not get direct answers until the cuts are viewed on a more broad spectrum, which is the overall bankruptcy case.

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How Wall Street — not pensioners — wrecked Detroit

While clueless elites continue to blame "reckless public pensions," a new report tells a very different story.

By David Sirota

Originally published on Salon.com

Perhaps the least discussed factor is the financing cost associated with a series of Wall Street-engineered debt deals back in 2005 and 2006. These schemes crafted by UBS and Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch were supposed to reduce pension fund obligations by using derivatives to try to “synthetically” convert variable-rate interest instruments into fixed-rate contracts.

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Typhoon Haiyan Strikes Philippines

Last week, the Philippines city of Tacloban suffered one of the most disastrous tropical storms ever recorded. The storm made landfall on Friday and raged until Monday, leaving thousands of fatalities and injuries in its wake. News reporters were warning the country prepare for the storm and said that it was 3.5 times more powerful than Hurricane Katrina, which the U.S. suffered through in 2005.

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