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Obama Seeks Power To Return Immigrant Children

 

WASHINGTON (AP) — Setting up a confrontation with immigration activists, President Barack Obama is asking Congress for increased powers to send unaccompanied children from Central American back from the U.S. border to the countries they're trying to flee illegally.

In a letter to congressional leaders Monday, Obama also is asking for increased penalties for persons who smuggle immigrants who are vulnerable, such as children. The request is part of a broader administration response to what the White House has called a "humanitarian crisis" on the border.

Obama is asking Congress for emergency money that would, among other things, help conduct "an aggressive deterrence strategy focused on the removal and repatriation of recent border crossers."

 

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Justices: Can't Make Employers Cover Contraception

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court ruled Monday that some corporations can hold religious objections that allow them to opt out of the new health law requirement that they cover contraceptives for women.

The justices' 5-4 decision is the first time that the high court has ruled that profit-seeking businesses can hold religious views under federal law. And it means the Obama administration must search for a different way of providing free contraception to women who are covered under objecting companies' health insurance plans.

Contraception is among a range of preventive services that must be provided at no extra charge under the health care law that President Barack Obama signed in 2010 and the Supreme Court upheld two years later.

Two years ago, Chief Justice John Roberts cast the pivotal vote that saved the health care law in the midst of Obama's campaign for re-election. On Monday, dealing with a small sliver of the law, Roberts sided with the four justices who would have struck down the law in its entirety.

 

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Obama Taps Business Exec To Oversee Troubled VA

 

WASHINGTON (AP) — Seeking to turn around a troubled agency, President Barack Obama will nominate former Procter & Gamble executive Robert McDonald to lead a Veterans Affairs department gripped by reports of treatment delays and cover-ups.

An administration official said Obama planned to nominate McDonald to the Cabinet post on Monday. If confirmed by the Senate, the 61-year-old McDonald would succeed Eric Shinseki, the retired four-star general who resigned last month as the scope of the issues at veterans' hospitals became apparent.

McDonald's nomination signals that the president put a premium on management experience as he sought a new VA secretary. McDonald also has a military background, graduating near the top of his class at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and serving as a captain in the Army, primarily in the 82nd Airborne Division.

The administration official insisted on anonymity in order to confirm McDonald's appointment before the president's announcement.

 

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High Court Rejects Google Appeal In Snooping Case

 

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has declined to hear Google's appeal of a ruling that it pried into people's online lives through their Wi-Fi systems as part of its drive to collect information for its Street View mapping project.

The justices did not comment Monday in leaving in place a ruling that Google employees violated the federal wiretap law when they rolled through residential streets with car cameras to shoot photos for Street View.

The federal appeals court in San Francisco said the information picked up from unencrypted Wi-Fi signals included emails, usernames, passwords, images and documents.

Google had argued that it did not run afoul of the wiretap law because data transmitted over a Wi-Fi network is a radio communication that is readily accessible to the public.

 

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