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Arkansas governor seeks fix of religion bill seen as targeting gays

Former Rep. Asa Hutchinson discusses the findings and recommendations of the National School Shield Program in WashingtonBy Steve Barnes LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Reuters) - Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson told lawmakers on Wednesday to revise a bill that rights activists and U.S. businesses said allowed discrimination against gays, and home-state corporate giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc praised his action. The state's Senate took up the challenge late on Wednesday, sending to the House of Representatives legislation that would bring the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) into line with federal statutes. Indiana's governor a day earlier said lawmakers should fix a similar RFRA. In a news conference at the Capitol in Little Rock, Hutchinson, who previously said he would sign the bill, said he was sending the act back to the Republican-controlled legislature to be rewritten so it can better balance tolerance for diversity and protections of religious freedom.


Joni Mitchell fans sending good vibes to hospitalized singer

FILE - Joni Mitchell arrives to the Hammer Museum's "Gala In The Garden" in this Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014 file photo taken in Los Angeles. Mitchell was hospitalized in Los Angeles on Tuesday, March 31, 2015 according to the Twitter account and website of the folk singer and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, but details on her condition have not been released. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP, File)LOS ANGELES (AP) — Joni Mitchell's famous fans are voicing their support and worry for the folk song icon while she is hospitalized in Los Angeles.


Packed with health benefits, coffee gains ground with experts

Scientists have announced recently that three to five cups of coffee daily do not have long-term health risksLong viewed as a controversial dark substance, coffee is gaining ground among medical experts who say it can protect against heart disease, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and diabetes, even if it is decaffeinated. Multiple studies published worldwide in recent years have concluded that coffee can be good for the health. "We looked at all the science," said Miriam Nelson, a professor in the School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, and a member of the committee that wrote the guidelines. "We have found no negative, adverse effects on health when you drink up to three to five cups a day," she told AFP.


California governor orders statewide water cutbacks to combat drought

A boat paddle is shown on the bottom of the nearly dry Almaden Reservoir near San JoseBy Sharon Bernstein PHILLIPS, Calif. (Reuters) - California Governor Jerry Brown, in his most sweeping action to combat a devastating multi-year drought, ordered residents and businesses on Wednesday to cut water use by 25 percent in the first mandatory statewide reduction in California history. The move comes as California's snowpack, which generally provides about a third of the state's water, is at its lowest level on record in a sign the state's drought, now entering its fourth year, is far from over. We're just doing it through the different water districts." Brown said the state would develop rebate plans to help families and businesses remove a planned 50 million square feet (4.6 million square meters) of lawns, and replace old appliances with newer, more water-efficient models. Felicia Marcus, chairwoman of the state Water Resources Control Board, said regulators would not hesitate to issue fines of up to $10,000 a day to water districts that do not succeed in implementing the cutbacks.


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