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5 Things To Know Today



Hostess Union Clings To Hope

A Hostess Brands Inc. union says it hopes a buyer can save parts of the company, as the Twinkies baker was to ask a U.S. judge for permission to liquidate. Frank Hurt, president of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers’ International Union, told The Wall Street Journal he thought there was “more than a good chance” a buyer would buy the profitable parts of the Irving, Texas, company and give his union’s members their jobs back. Hurt’s union counts 5,600 of Hostess’ 18,500 employees as members. The company — owner of 30 American brands, including Hostess, Wonder Bread, Nature’s Pride, Dolly Madison, Butternut Breads and Drake’s — sought buyers for several years as it tried to avoid a second bankruptcy filing, but no buyer came forward, he told the Journal. Liquidation firm Great American Group Inc. and C. Dean Metropoulos & Co., owner of Pabst Blue Ribbon and other beer brands, have said they might be interested in some Hostess brands. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain was to consider Hostess’ request to close its distribution centers and 36 bakeries at a hearing in White Plains, N.Y., Monday.

NYPD Says Same Shooter Behind Shopkeeper Deaths

The shooting death of a New York City shopkeeper Friday is raising the possibility of a three-time killer on the loose, police said. A .22-caliber handgun is the link. ”The same gun was used in all three murders,” said Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne. But police are stopping short of calling the multiple deaths the work of a serial killer.  Ballistics tests on shell casings found at the crime scene indicate the .22-caliber gun used in the slaying of Vahidipour Rahmatollah, 78, at his clothing store in Brooklyn last week is the same weapon used since July in the killings of two other small business owners, also in Brooklyn. Police said Sunday they wanted to talk with four “unknown individuals” seen on videotapes from security cameras in the area of the store between the time Rahmatollah was last known to be alive and the time his body was found.

Black Friday Backlash over Thanksgiving Hours

Retailers with plans to open their doors Thanksgiving night instead of waiting until Black Friday officially begins at midnight or the next morning are facing increasing criticism from employees upset at not being able to spend the holiday with their families. For the second year in a row, employees of retailers including Target, Walmart and Toys R Us have started or signed petitions on Change.org calling for Thanksgiving Day off. As of Friday, Change.org had 91 petitions against Black Friday sales that start on Thanksgiving, said spokeswoman Charlotte Hill. Last year the site ended up having 150 total, and with 10 to 15 new petitions a day this year. Groups of Walmart workers across the country have been walking off the job to protest unfair wages and poor working conditions. The protests, organized by employee rights group OUR Walmart, are expected to continue into Black Friday.

Bible Publisher Wins Stay of Obama Contraception Mandate

A federal court on Friday said a Bible publisher doesn’t have to offer health insurance coverage for contraceptives if it has moral objections, blocking the Obama administration from imposing its contraceptive care mandate on the business for now. Judge Reggie B. Walton said the Obama administration’s contraceptive coverage mandate puts companies that companies such as Illinois-based Tyndale House Publishers in an “untenable position” — either violate their beliefs, or face major penalties for failing to comply. Tyndale House Publishers Inc., a Christian publishing company, said it objects to several types of contraceptives the Health and Human Services Department requires be covered.  After this summer’s Supreme Court ruling upholding the health law, the contraceptive mandate has become the chief legal battleground. The administration argued that allowing employers to be exempted from the contraceptive mandate would harm women’s health and could lead to a patchwork of company coverage. But Judge Walton pointed to tens of millions of people who already belong to plans exempted from the new mandate.

NFL-Retirement Board Paid Millions As League Denied Brain Risks

A lawsuit brought by thousands of former NFL players against the league for allegedly denying any link of gridiron play to long-term brain damage may benefit from information in an investigative report on Friday. The National Football League’s retirement board awarded disability payments to at least three former players in the late 1990s and 2000s after concluding that football caused their brain injuries, according to a joint probe by ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” and the PBS “Frontline” show. The payments of at least $2 million were made as the league’s top medical experts were consistently denying any link between the sport and long-term brain damage, the report said, citing documents obtained in the investigation.  Approvals were outlined in previously unpublished documents and medical records related to the 1999 disability claim of Hall of Fame center Mike Webster and two other unnamed players, ESPN said in an article on its website. In response, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said decisions on disability were made by the board, not by the National Football League or the NFL Players Association.