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U.S. court: Companies can't litigate secretly to protect image

By Jonathan Stempel (Reuters) - In a victory for consumers, a federal appeals court on Wednesday directed that litigation about a product linked to the death of an infant be made public, saying the manufacturer could not keep the details secret to protect its image.

Hopes for immigration dim as House speaker says it will be difficult to pass this year

WASHINGTON - Speaker John Boehner on Thursday all but ruled out passage of immigration legislation before this fall's elections, saying it would be difficult for the Republican-led House to act on the issue that President Barack Obama has made a top domestic priority.

U.S. Republican leaders to outline immigration framework - Boehner

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. House Republican leaders will outline their principles for immigration reform at a party meeting this week, House Speaker John Boehner said on Tuesday. Immigration reform advocates, who saw their hopes dashed in 2013 for major legislation, have been waiting for the House Republican leadership to take such a step. Boehner did not give any details of the principles, nor did he promise specific legislative action in the near term.

Slovenia to receive banking bailout bill

Slovenia is to learn later this week if it has enough money to shore up its banks on its own or become the latest eurozone country to need outside help. The government and central bank will publish later this week -- the day is still unclear -- the results of EU-supervised stress tests of its banks. The banks have become weighed down by assets which have lost value as the economy has been gripped by a long recession.

US Senate passes landmark gay rights bill

The US Senate passed a historic gay rights bill Thursday that would prohibit companies from hiring and firing based on an employee's sexual orientation or gender identity. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) passed 64-32, with support from both Democrats and Republicans. "The Senate has clearly spoken to end discrimination in the workplace," said Democratic Senator Jeff Merkely, who led the push to get the legislation approved in the Democratic-led chamber. "Now I hope the momentum will carry to the House."

Legal record clashes with warning on U.S. gay job-discrimination ban

By Amanda Becker WASHINGTON (Reuters) - John Boehner, the top Republican in the U.S. Congress, predicts a wave of litigation if a bill banning discrimination against gay, lesbian and transgender workers becomes law, but states with similar laws report relatively few such complaints. Warnings from the speaker of the House of Representatives about the bill - headed for Senate approval this week - also contrast with how such claims are handled by courts, enforcement agencies and employers, lawyers told Reuters.

Anti-bias gay rights employment bill clears first major hurdle in the Senate

WASHINGTON - The Senate pushed a major anti-bias gay rights bill past a first, big hurdle Monday, a clear sign of Americans' greater acceptance of homosexuality nearly two decades after lawmakers narrowly rejected discrimination legislation. By a vote of 61-30, one more than necessary, the Senate agreed to move ahead on the bill that would prohibit workplace discrimination against gay, bisexual and transgender Americans. Lawmakers could pass the bill by week's end, but its prospects in the Republican-majority House are dimmer.

Anti-discrimination bill sought by gays gains bipartisan support in Senate; test vote Monday

WASHINGTON - Gay rights advocates from both parties are newly upbeat about the prospects for Senate passage of legislation that would bar employers from discriminating against workers on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The outlook for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act reflects the nation's growing tolerance of homosexuality and the GOP's political calculation as it looks for supporters beyond its core base of older voters. The first test vote is Monday.

Thousands in Portugal protest crisis cuts

Thousands of demonstrators protested in Portugal on Friday against salary cuts and public sector reforms planned in the government's 2014 budget under the country's international bailout deal. After nearly three years of belt-tightening, the budget aims to save a further 3.9 billion euros ($5.3 billion), partly through cutting public sector salaries and pensions. Protesters in Lisbon waved signs calling for the government to resign and messages such as "The budget is a theft" and "Get lost, troika" as deputies prepared to vote on a first draft of the budget.

White House threatens veto on bill to promote logging on federal lands

GRANTS PASS, Ore. - The White House is threatening to veto a bill to boost logging on national forests, including a provision aimed at producing more money for timber counties in Oregon. The Statement of Administration Policy issued Wednesday by the Office of Management and Budget says if the bill were presented to President Obama, his senior advisers would recommend a veto. The bill includes a provision developed by members of the Oregon delegation to turn over half the so-called O
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