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Georgia Leads A Push To Help Ex-Prisoners Get Jobs

37 minutes ago

In the 1990s, states went on a prison-building binge. Today, millions who spent time in those prisons are back in society — and many are struggling to find work.

Jay Neal is in charge of Georgia's new office of re-entry. Its purpose is clear: "Helping Georgia's returning citizens find training, assisting Georgia's returning citizens find jobs," he reads off the website.

Returning citizens is America's new term for ex-prisoners, ex-cons and former inmates.

The Nidaa mosque in northern Baghdad looks grand, with clean, modern lines swooping up to a blue-mosaic dome. But inside it's squalid, with piled-up mattresses, cooking pots and almost 60 families. Most are Sunni Muslims who fled the western province of Anbar when the self-proclaimed Islamic State advanced against the Iraqi security forces two months ago.

"We suffered a lot in our journey," says Wafaa Ahmed, a widow who walked for days with three sick children. "But the worst suffering was here in Baghdad."

Economists surveyed by Reuters are predicting that employers added about 230,000 jobs to their payrolls. That's less than the month before but still a pretty strong showing.

Because of the Independence Day holiday, the unemployment report is being released on Thursday at 8:30 a.m. ET. It is normally issued on a Friday.

The U.S. economy slowed a lot over the winter, but as the weather has improved so has the job market. On Wednesday, the payroll processing company ADP said private employers added about 237,000 jobs in June — the biggest gain since December.

If you were about to talk to President Obama and suggest that he try adding fresh peas to guacamole, don't. The Twitterverse learned this when someone asked Obama what he thought about a recipe The New York Times published that suggested adding fresh peas. The recipe drew a lot of rotten tomatoes from average folks, and someone asked Obama what he thought.

Cities in drought-plagued California took water conservation seriously in May. Residential water use went down by 28.9 percent in May, according to a press release from the State Water Resources Control Board.

When it comes to premature death and disease, what we eat ranks as the single most important factor, according to a study in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association. Yet few doctors say they feel properly trained to dispense dietary advice. One group, at least, is trying to fill that knowledge gap.

A group of 12 U.S. senators is calling on the Department of Veterans Affairs to help World War II veterans who were exposed to mustard gas, after an NPR Investigation found the VA broke a decades-old promise to provide them compensation.

The Justice Department says it is investigating "possible unlawful coordination" by several major airline carriers. American, Delta, Southwest and United Airlines have all confirmed receiving letters from the Justice Department.

In a statement, American said the department "seeks documents and information from the last two years that are related to statements and decisions about airline capacity."

A United spokesman said the company is complying fully in regard to the probe.

Crime in America may be on the rise again. It's too early to talk about a national trend, but there have been troubling spikes in shootings and murders in big cities such as New York, Baltimore and Los Angeles.

Until recently, crime decreased steadily for two decades, and the national murder rate is half what it was in the early 1990s — so police departments are under pressure to crack down. But at the same time, their tactics are under more scrutiny from the public, and they have to be careful not to appear too heavy-handed.

Oleg Konstantinov, the editor of a news website called Dumskaya in Ukraine's port city of Odessa, pulls up a map on a computer screen in his small, crowded newsroom. It's dotted with red, yellow, orange and green fire-burst icons, indicating where 34 bombings have taken place in the city over the past year or so.

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