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Valley State Prison in California offers a seemingly unlikely program that has been changing the lives of inmates for more than two decades: A beauty school.

As this behind-the-scenes video shows, inmates are not only equipped with new social connections, but also have the opportunity to learn a skill and profession that can help them get back on their feet once they get out. Discuss

South Dakota and Virginia have recently passed new measures, joining Utah as states that now view porn as a public health crisis.

South Dakota’s SCR4 resolution passed unanimously among state lawmakers, saying that children are being exposed to porn “at an alarming rate,” while noting that it is also “linked to a lessening desire in young persons to marry.”

The measure in Virginia calls for more “education, prevention, research, and policy change at the community and societal level in order to address the pornography epidemic that is harming the people of the Commonwealth and the nation.” The measure also says porn is responsible for “lessening desire in young men to marry, dissatisfaction in marriage and infidelity.”

Earlier last year, a Utah measure labeled porn "evil, degrading, addictive and harmful.”

Each of the measures seeks to increase awareness about the dangers linked to porn as well as help lawmakers better understand issues linked to porn consumption. Discuss

Today, actor Ashton Kutcher—who is also the co-founder of the group Thorn: Digital Defenders of Children—testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, advocating for anti-sex-trafficking measures. Thorn builds software that helps combat human trafficking online.

Warning, the testimony isn’t easy to watch. During the 15 minute address, he details how severe the problem of human trafficking—especially when it comes the exploitation of children—has become around the world. He explained how his group helps law enforcements find victims and bring traffickers to justice. He also talked about the need for the government to support efforts and technology that can save children around the world, reform the foster care system and help the most vulnerable.

Kutcher then addressed the refugee crisis, and how it can lead to more human trafficking. He said:

When people are left out, when they're neglected, when they're not supported, and when they're not given the love they need to grow, it becomes an incubator for trafficking, and this refugee crisis, if we want to be serious about ending slavery, we cannot ignore them, we cannot ignore our support for this issue in that space, because otherwise, we're going to have to deal with it for years to come.

Wells Fargo, a lender helping to fund the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, is facing a backlash after the Army Corp of Engineers said yesterday that construction will go forward.

Two cities, Seattle, Wash., and Davis, Calif., who do business with the bank, voted to not renew their contracts with Well Fargo, pulling more than $3 billion from them. Most of it comes from Seattle. Wells Fargo also recently announced that they were making changes after it was revealed that employees created millions of fake accounts to meet quotas.

A Wells Fargo manager told local Seattle news outlet KUOW that moving forward, they would “enhanced our due diligence on projects such as this to include more research into whether indigenous communities are affected and that they have been properly consulted."

Protestors and activists have raised major environmental concerns about the pipeline, which will run just a mile from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe reservation.

In a statement yesterday after the army announced their decision, the Standing Rock Sioux's chairman said, As native peoples, we have been knocked down again, but we will get back up. We will rise above the greed and corruption that has plagued our peoples since first contact." Discuss

More than 100 evangelical leaders, including Tim Keller, Kathy Keller, Ed Stetzer, Ann Voskamp, Eugene Cho and Max Lucado, have signed a letter featured in a Washington Post ad denouncing President Trump's measures attempting to temporarily ban refugees and individuals from primarily Muslim countries.

The full-page letter reads (in part):

As Christians, we have a historic call expressed over two thousand years, to serve the suffering. We cannot abandon this call now ….

While we are eager to welcome persecuted Christians, we also welcome vulnerable Muslims and people of other faiths or no faith at all. This executive order dramatically reduces the overall number of refugees allowed this year, robbing families of hope and a future. And it could well cost them their lives.

You can read the letter in its entirety—and sign it yourself—here. Discuss

Last week, a Kurdish husband and wife and their three children were about to board a flight to the United States from Egypt, when President Trump signed an executive order, temporarily banning people from seven countries from entering the U.S.

After obtaining visas, the couple sold their home and cars, quit their jobs and prepared for a new life in the United States. When they were stopped boarding a U.S.-bound flight last week, they had no home, and were sent back to Iraq with nowhere to go.

This weekend, courts suspended the travel ban, and Fuad Sharef Suleman, his wife Arazoo Ibrahim and their children finally made the trip. They were greeted by a large crowd in Nashville, welcoming them to their new home. The video is touching.

He told the crowd,

Today is a very important day in my and my family's life. It marks my first day of my new life in Nashville, Tennessee, United States of America. But your presence here and the amount of support that you have shown and your open arms make this day a very, very exceptional day for me.

You can watch the moving video of their arrival below.

Discuss