By Patricia Zengerle WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate blocked a measure to extend spy agencies' bulk collection of Americans' telephone records early on Saturday, leaving the fate of the program uncertain days before its June 1 expiration. By a vote of 54-45, the Senate failed to reach the 60-vote threshold needed to advance a bill that would have extended for two months provisions of the "USA Patriot Act" that allow the collection of vast amounts of telephone "metadata." The data collection program, in which the National Security Agency sweeps up vast amounts of Americans' telephone records and business information, was exposed two years ago by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who is now a fugitive in Russia. The vote against the extension came after the Senate narrowly blocked the "USA Freedom Act," a bill that would end the bulk telephone data collection and replace it with a more targeted program.
British anti-slavery chief enlists Vatican in global pact to end slavery
By Chris Arsenault VATICAN CITY (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Britain's anti-slavery commissioner received the backing of the Catholic Church on Saturday for a campaign to push for a global pact vowing to eradicate slavery in the next 15 years. Kevin Hyland, who took up the new role last year, is lobbying world leaders to support a commitment to end forced labor and slavery of all forms in a set of global development goals to be adopted at the United Nations in September. While slavery is illegal in every country on earth, an estimated 36 million people are trapped in modern slavery.
By Jon Herskovitz AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Texas laws that offer a high degree of protection to those who act in self-defense may make it difficult to prosecute the 170 people jailed for a Sunday motorcycle gang fight that left nine dead, with hundreds of weapons seized by police. Texas allows a person to use deadly force with legal arms in self-defense if they believe such force is immediately necessary to protect against someone using deadly force against them. A person can also claim self-defense to protect themselves if someone is prepared to use force against them for a variety of crimes including aggravated kidnapping, sexual assault or robbery.
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