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01 Jun

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

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Graham, an unconstrained Republican hawk, immigration reformer and firearms enthusiast, will be the ninth Republican to announce a White House bid

The McGlynn: Hilarious!

Lindsey Graham speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Lindsey Graham speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. Photograph: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

Lindsey Graham, the unconstrained Republican hawk, immigration reformer and firearms enthusiast, was due to announcehis presidential bid on Monday morning in his hometown of Central, South Carolina.

Promising voters an uncompromising fight against foreign adversaries and smaller government at home, Graham would become the ninth Republican to announce a White House bid. The GOP field includes three other senators.

Graham, 59, who joined Congress in 1994 and has won re-election to the Senate twice by large margins, spoke to a crowd of long-time supporters in Central, a town of about 5,000, where he grew up working at the pool hall and restaurant his parents owned.

“I’m not going to be the most ideologically pure guy in the primary,” Graham told reporters at a meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition last month. His support for a path to citizenship for undocumented migrants already living in the United States, for example, has been dismissed in some purist circles as “Grahamnesty”.

 

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Supreme court votes 8-1 that Samantha Elauf faced discrimination after company said wearing the head scarf violated its ‘look policy’ for members of sales staff

Samantha Elauf in court in Oklahoma in 2011.

Samantha Elauf, who was denied a sales job in 2008 at an Abercrombie Kids store in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Photograph: AP

The US supreme court on Monday ruled in favour of a Muslim woman who filed a lawsuit after she was denied a job at an Abercrombie & Fitch clothing store in Oklahoma because she wore a head scarf for religious reasons.

On an 8-1 vote, the court handed a win to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), a federal agency that sued the company on behalf of Samantha Elauf. She was denied a sales job in 2008 at an Abercrombie Kids store in Tulsa, when she was 17.

The legal question before the court was whether Elauf was required to ask for a religious accommodation in order for the company to be sued under the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which, among other things, bans employment discrimination based on religious beliefs and practices.

Elauf was wearing a head scarf, or hijab, at the job interview but did not specifically say that as a Muslim she wanted the company to give her a religious accommodation.

The company denied Elauf the job on the grounds that wearing the scarf violated its “look policy” for members of the sales staff, a policy intended to promote the brand’s east coast collegiate image.

 

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Arctic warming appears to be the prime reason behind fluctuations in the polar jet stream that is causing unusual weather, study says

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Arctic is warming faster than elsewhere, triggering changes in the jet stream which will create more extreme weather in western Europe and North America, researchers say. Photograph: Alamy

The string of massive snowstorms and bone-chilling cold on the US east coast, as well as flooding in Britain and record temperatures in Europe, are linked to rapid ice loss in the Arctic, new research appears to confirm.

While the rapidly-thawing Arctic cannot be held responsible for specific weather events like the “snowmageddon” in 2009, Hurricane Sandy, or European heatwaves, researchers at Rutgers university said it appears to be a prime reason why the polar jet stream – a ribbon of winds that encircles the globe – gets ‘stuck’ with increasing frequency.

Western Europe and large parts of North America will experience more extreme weather because of “Arctic amplification” – the enhanced sensitivity of high latitudes to global warming, the team suggested in a paper published in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A.

“We are seeing these extremes because the Arctic is warming faster than elsewhere. The whole lower atmosphere is heating up but the sea ice is the most observable. This is having this effect on the jet stream, making it extend further south and stay longer,” said co-author Jennifer Francis………………..

 

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Privacy advocates are wary of covert legal acrobatics from the NSA similar to those deployed post-9/11 to circumvent congressional authority

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The USA Freedom Act, which passed in the Senate on Sunday night, will ban the NSA from collecting bulk US phone data. Photograph: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images

Privacy advocates fear the National Security Agency will attempt to weaken new restrictions on the bulk collection of Americans’ phone and email records with a barrage of creative legal wrangles, as the first major reform of US surveillance powers in a generation looked likely to be a foregone conclusion on Monday.

The USA Freedom Act, a bill banning the NSA from collecting US phone data in bulk and compelling disclosure of any novel legal arguments for widespread surveillance before a secret court, has already been passed by the House of Representatives and on Sunday night the Senate voted 77 to 17 to proceed to debate on it. Between that bill and a landmark recent ruling from a federal appeals court that rejected a longstanding government justification for bulk surveillance, civil libertarians think they stand a chance at stopping attempts by intelligence lawyers to undermine reform in secret.

Attorneys for the intelligence agencies react scornfully to the suggestion that they will stretch their authorities to the breaking point. Yet reformers remember that such legal tactics during the George W Bush administration allowed the NSA to shoehorn bulk phone records collection into the Patriot Act.

Rand Paul, the Kentucky senator and Republican presidential candidate who was key to allowing sweeping US surveillance powers to lapse on Sunday night, warned that NSA lawyers would now make mincemeat of the USA Freedom Act’s prohibitions on bulk phone records collection by taking an expansive view of the bill’s definitions, thanks to a pliant, secret surveillance court…………………..

 

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We asked you to share your May pictures of the wildlife around the world with which we share our outdoor spaces. Here’s our pick of the best

Mute Swan Cygnets Landscape capture of three newly hatched Mute Swan Cygnets
Photograph: bgarnett777/GuardianWitness

 

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To record the deaths of every person killed by police marks a small but important step in restoring their humanity – and holding the powerful accountable

The Counted illustration

The Guardian has, through its new investigative project The Counted, developed the capacity to count the number of people killed by police. Illustration: Nate Kitch/Guardian

In her biography of Harlem Renaissance writer Zora Neale Hurston, Valerie Boyd explains why it was so difficult to track Hurston’s whereabouts during the novelist’s early twenties. “In 1911 it was relatively easy for someone, particularly a black woman, to evade history’s recording gaze,” wrote Boyd in Wrapped in Rainbows: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston. “If not legally linked to a man, as daughter or wife, black women did not count in some ways – at least to the people who did the official counting.”

The question of who counts and whom is counted is not simply a matter of numbers. It’s also about power; the less of it you have the less say you have in what makes it to the ledger and what form it takes when it gets there. Collecting information, particularly about people, demands both the authority to gather data and the capacity to keep and transmit it. Those who have both the authority and the capacity need to feel that the people on whom they are keeping tabs on matter.

The Guardian has, through its new investigative project The Counted, developed the capacity to count the number of people killed by the police. We think it matters; the debate that has ensued on the issue of police killings and has been forced onto the national agenda through popular protest will be better informed for having easily accessible data.

We think those who have been killed matter; a handful of these deaths make national headlines while the rest barely make a ripple beyond their own families and communities. The data is important. But they are not statistics; they are people. To record their deaths, particularly when the circumstances of those deaths are in dispute, marks a small but important step in the bid to restore their humanity – albeit posthumously…………………..

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