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NEWS
March 20, 2014 | BY JASON HEALY
  SMOKING. Cigarettes. Two words that provoke an ideological hatred whenever spoken, especially when rolling off the tongue of this country's politicians. Policymakers are terrified of smoking and its effects on public health, and because "cigarettes" remains in the name of our product, they jump to rash decisions regarding electronic cigarettes. It is in this haze of fear that politicians who are lobbying to ban electronic cigarettes end up leaning on preconceived notions, conflicting interests and few scientific findings to base their arguments.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 15, 2014 | By Tirdad Derakhshani, Inquirer Staff Writer
We all know the Academy Awards don't always get it right. For one thing, they snubbed Idris Elba, who gave an understated performance in the Nelson Mandela biopic Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom . Elba ( Luther , Prometheus ) is never less than sensational on-screen, but he has never quite made the A-list in America. Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom , already available for digital download and due on disc on Tuesday, is a solid drama, though its take on the story is a tad formulaic.
NEWS
March 12, 2014 | BY CHRIS BRENNAN, Daily News Staff Writer brennac@phillynews.com, 215-854-5973
CITY COMMISSIONER Stephanie Singer, part of a three-member panel that oversees elections in Philadelphia, has a problem with the way her political party will select a candidate today for a vacant City Council at-large seat. Singer, in an email Sunday to about 4,000 people on her campaign list, questioned the "accountability" and "transparency" in the Democratic process. Singer said in other Pennsylvania counties, candidates for a special election are voted on by a political party's committee members, who are elected by voters.
NEWS
March 6, 2014 | BY STEVE PAUL
  AS MANY as 300,000 West Virginians are still wondering whether it's safe to drink the water, more than a month after the local supply was tainted by a spill of industrial chemicals. In North Carolina, the full consequences are yet to be determined following the collapse of a pipe last month beneath a utility's coal-ash pond, which spewed tons of the toxic substance into the Dan River. Public health officials have warned residents to avoid river water and to forgo eating any fish.
NEWS
March 3, 2014
Arson is a clear-cut crime even when the targets are not religious pacifists. So is assault with a baseball bat, even when the victims are not building a toy store. Such brazen alleged attacks on the sites of a Quaker meetinghouse and a Toys R Us are now the subject of a federal indictment of 10 members of a Philadelphia-based Ironworkers union. But the official leniency shown to a union member after an earlier arrest suggests anything short of such startling allegations wouldn't have caused much trouble for Local 401. Three months before the recent federal indictment, city prosecutors charged one of the defendants, Local 401 official Ed Sweeney, with harassing, stalking, and making terroristic threats against a construction executive.
NEWS
February 28, 2014 | By Howard Gensler
FORMER "AMERICAN IDOL" runner-up Clay Aiken officially filed yesterday to run for Congress in North Carolina, saying that he wants to help end the gridlock in Washington and that no single political party has all the answers. The singer, a Democrat, turned in his paperwork at the State Board of Elections to seek the 2nd District seat currently held by Republican Renee Ellmers. Aiken, who lives in the Raleigh-Durham area, announced his bid three weeks ago and must first try to win the Democratic primary in less than 10 weeks.
NEWS
February 28, 2014 | By Chris Brennan
I N A POLITICAL tug-of-war, with U.S. Rep. Bob Brady and City Council on one end of the rope and Mayor Nutter on the other, guess who usually gets dragged across the line? There were skid marks behind Nutter yesterday after another bout of City Hall dysfunction, this time about whether Philadelphia should officially express interest in hosting the 2016 Democratic National Convention. U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz , chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, sent letters to several cities on Feb. 7, initiating the "very first step" in the 2016 convention process.
NEWS
February 27, 2014 | BY JOHN F. MORRISON, Daily News Staff Writer morrisj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5573
INVARIABLY, when some old friend called Al Williams, it wasn't "How are you, Al?" It was, "How's your mom?" It wasn't that old pals weren't interested in Al's condition; it was just that his mother, Anna Williams, was a special person known to a wide variety of people from all walks of life and professions. There was something about Anna that drew people to her - and once a friend, always a friend. "If you met her, she'd get personal with you right away," said her son Alford J. Williams.
NEWS
February 21, 2014 | By Chris Brennan
CLOUT TODAY explores the intersection of Philadelphia's political community and the criminal-justice system, paths that have been known to cross before. It's been a busy week. Let's run down the interesting stuff: * The Ironworkers Local 401 made news when 10 members, including business manager Joe Dougherty , were indicted on federal charges, accused of conspiring to torch and damage property when the union wasn't given jobs on construction projects. Here, the Pennsylvania Republican Party saw an opportunity.
NEWS
February 21, 2014 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
A politically connected auto-towing and car-repair magnate in Bucks County is making quite a haul from last week's massive pileup on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Robert Leipziger, 58, of Langhorne, who owns Rob's Automotive & Collision Center in Bristol, has contracts with the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission and AAA to provide all towing and repair services on 45 miles of the turnpike, including the scene of Friday's chain-reaction accident that injured at least 25 people and closed the turnpike for eight hours.
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