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Jury clears top Silicon Valley firm of gender bias, retaliation

Ellen Pao leaves court as her sexual bias trial against fomer employer Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byerr continues in San FranciscoBy Sarah McBride and Dan Levine SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Silicon Valley powerhouse venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield and Byers was cleared on Friday of claims it short-circuited the career of a former partner because she is a woman, in a gender discrimination trial that shook the tech world. A California jury also rejected a claim that Kleiner, the firm that backed Google Inc and Amazon.com Inc, had retaliated against its former partner, Ellen Pao, by firing her after she sued in 2012. Despite days of courtroom drama about affairs, books of erotic poetry and office flirting, juror Steve Sammut, who mostly voted for Kleiner, said the decision came down to Pao's effectiveness at her job. The verdict dashed Pao's hopes for personal vindication, but the trial revealed embarrassing disclosures about how Pao and other women were treated at Kleiner and Silicon Valley's corporate culture and its lack of diversity.


Venezuelan theater chronicles absurdity of life in crisis

Virginia Urdaneta (L) performs during the play “Pa Lante, presented at the Sambil shopping mall in Caracas on March 18, 2015The two characters in Venezuelan playwright Virginia Urdaneta's new play come together doing something that real people in her homeland spend long hours doing, across the country, every day: waiting in line to buy scarce products from barren supermarket shelves. As the South American oil giant has gone from boom to bust in recent years, shortages, violent crime and the temptation to move abroad have become inescapable markers of Venezuelans' daily reality. The trend is an antidote to Venezuela's mainstream theater scene. "Venezuela is living a moment of pure absurdity.


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Arkansas Senate passes religion bill seen as targeting gays
The Arkansas Senate overwhelmingly approved on Friday a Republican-backed bill whose authors say is intended to protect religious freedoms but critics contend could allow businesses to refuse service to gay people. The bill advancing in the Republican-led Arkansas legislature says "governments should not substantially burden the free exercise of religion without compelling justification." Supporters say a business should not be forced to, for example, cater a same-sex wedding if doing so would violate the religious beliefs of the owner. Two of the most powerful companies in the United States, retailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc, which has its home office in Arkansas, and technology giant Apple Inc have criticized the measure. "We feel this legislation is counter to this core basic belief of respect for the individual and sends the wrong message about Arkansas, as well as the diverse environment which exists in the state," a Walmart spokesman said in a statement.
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FILE - In this Jan. 6, 2015 file photo, House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio is handed the gavel from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, after being re-elected for a third term to lead the 114th Congress, as Republicans assume full control for the first time in eight years, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Pelosi is bruising some key liberal allies by helping craft a rare bipartisan accord on Medicare. Lawmakers say it will enhance her deal-making status. And it might help her party avoid being sidelined by majority Republicans on future issues. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)
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