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NATIONWIDE/Jobs scarce for young vets

The unemployment rate last year for young Iraq and Afghanistan veterans hit 21.1 percent, the Labor Department said Friday, reflecting a tough obstacle combat veterans face as they make the transition home from war. The number was well above the 16.6 percent jobless rate for nonveterans of the same ages, 18 to 24. The rate for young veterans was significantly higher than the unemployment rate of young veterans in that age group of 14.1 percent in 2008.

TEXAS/Conservative textbooks

A far-right faction of the Texas State Board of Education succeeded Friday in injecting conservative ideals into social studies, history and economics lessons that will be taught to millions of students for the next decade. Teachers in Texas will be required to cover the Judeo-Christian influences of the nation's Founding Fathers, but not highlight the philosophical rationale for the separation of church and state. Curriculum standards also will describe the U.S. government as a "constitutional republic," rather than "democratic," and students will be required to study the decline in value of the U.S. dollar, including the abandonment of the gold standard. Decisions by the board can affect textbook content nationwide because Texas is one of publishers' biggest clients.

WASHINGTON, D.C./Eyeing charity's finances

A group of GOP senators is questioning high salaries and expensive travel bills for executives at the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, raising issues that could jeopardize millions in federal funding for the national charity. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Jon Kyl of Arizona and John Cornyn of Texas said they were concerned that the chief executive of a charity that has been closing local clubs for lack of funding was compensated nearly $1 million in 2008. They also questioned why in the same year officials spent $4.3 million on travel; $1.6 million on conferences, conventions and meetings; and $544,000 in lobbying fees.


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