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a.MKE: The Milwaukee Loop, Caterpillar union, animal cruelty laws and Syria 5.1.13

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The Common Council on Tuesday voted to significantly toughen laws on dangerous animals and cruelty to animals. New laws state that any person, not just the owner or caretaker of an animal, can be responsible for instigating animal fighting and prohibits any person from intentionally being a spectator of animal fighting. The new law also ads the word "neglect" to the list of actions deemed as constituting cruelty to animals.

The union representing more than 800 employees at the Caterpillar Inc. factory in South Milwaukee voted down a proposed six-year labor contract Tuesday that would have frozen wages but also provide additional protection against permanent job losses. Union members will return to work as usual, while the company and union plan their next moves after their contract expired at midnight.

President Obama said during a press conference yesterday, that the use of chemical weapons in Syria could be a "game changer" in the U.S. response to the conflict. Obama is moving toward the shipment of arms but emphasized that they are still pursuing political negotiations.

Milwaukee's Downtown trolley service "The Milwaukee Loop" will begin this year on May 23rd and run through August 31st. The privately funded service will run Thurs - Saturday, 11am to 9pm. Last year, the trolley operated 600 hours and serviced 15,000 riders. Rides are $1 per person, round trip.