AndreyPopov/iStock/Thinkstock(AUSTIN, Texas) — A federal judge in Texas granted an injunction on Thursday that will stop the expansion of medical leave benefits to some same-sex couples.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement that “the Obama Adminstration’s attempt to force employers to recognize same-sex marriages would have put state agencies in the position of either violating Texas law or federal regulations.” Paxton’s office filed a suit against the U.S. Department of Labor over the Family and Medical Leave Act’s revised definition of “spouse” on March 18.

The FMLA would include same-sex spouses if the marriage occurred in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage and allow those spouses to receive family and medical leave benefits even in states that do not recognize same-sex marriage. The rule was slated to take effect on Friday.

The Texas Attorney General’s Office was joined in its lawsuit by the offices of the attorneys general of Arkansas, Louisiana and Nebraska.

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Marcio Silva/iStock/Thinkstock(BAGHDAD) — Iraqi forces were able to repel a number of ISIS attacks this week, despite the fact that much of the attention has been on the Iraqi attempt to retake the city of Tikrit from ISIS militants.

The U.S.-led coalition said Thursday that Iraqi Security Forces defeated four separate ISIS attacks on March 24. The attacks took place near Kisik, Kirkuk, Bayji and Habbaniyah. In the attack on Habbaniyah, the coalition says ISIS “unsuccessfully employed two vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices and 12 suicide bombers.” They were believe to have been attempting to retake a bridge.

The coalition says that ISIS gained no ground in their attacks. “The tables are turning,” Col. Wayne Marotto, coalition spokesman, said. “ISF is gaining ground and their capabilities continue to improve.”

On Wednesday, the U.S. agreed to begin offering support to Iraqi Security Forces in an effort to reclaim Tikrit from ISIS.

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JumpStock/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — More and more disgruntled customers are posting personal horror stories online about their interactions with customer service representatives at call centers.

But former service representatives Mark Pavlic and Jacob Curtis recently told ABC News’ 20/20 that the stress of the job and even the customers themselves are sometimes responsible for those negative experiences.

“You almost never have anything good happen to you at work,” Pavlic, a former cable company agent, told 20/20. “And I think that that makes the job stressful.”

“You’re just entry-level position,” Curtis, who worked for a home security company, said. “You just do what you’re told.”

“The reality is that our negative customer service experiences are far more memorable than our positive ones and we typically embellish those negative events to anyone that will listen, thereby affecting the original source business well beyond that single frustrated customer,” Bill Crutcher, president, National Customer Service Association, said in a statement to ABC News.

He added: “Our Chapter organizations, journal contributors, class attendees and general membership assure us that there are many organizations whose true culture is one of excellent customer service–internally and externally. Small and large employers alike are role-modeling and empowering a staff focus on service excellence through routine and training and consistent messaging; encouraging employees to do what it takes to provide a positive customer experience every time.”

Pavlic and Curtis revealed what they say really went on at the other end of the phone line and why representatives may actually be deliberately antagonizing their customers.

Watch the full story on ABC News’ “20/20” Friday at 10 p.m. ET.

1. There’s a lot of pressure on customer service representatives.

Pavlic and Curtis say the reason customer service representatives have such bad experiences is that it’s one of the worst jobs in the world. They say it’s no surprise that some overworked and lowly paid representatives lash out at their own customers.

“It’s not an easy job, because you’re trying to appease the company that you work for and then you’re trying to appease the angry customer who disagrees with the policies,” Pavlic said.

They say a manager is also often hovering over your shoulder, timing and monitoring calls.

“And then having to do this a hundred times a day; it’s very emotionally draining,” Curtis told 20/20. “And it’s call after call after call. You get maybe 30 seconds, if you’re lucky, in between calls.”

2. They have little to no power to fix issues.

Representatives’ hands are often tied when it comes to fixing the problem in the first place, according to Pavlic and Curtis.

“I mean, the policies are very set in stone, and you can’t really override them,” Curtis said. “What’s also difficult is that it’s not really your fault, and the customer takes it out on you.”

3. Representatives might transfer difficult customers on purpose.

According to these former customer service representatives, unruly customers are dealt with by being transferred from department to department.

“You just transfer them to another department, not your problem anymore,” Curtis said. “Because there’s no repercussions for you as the customer service rep. It’s all of a sudden with one click of a button, ‘Hey, I’m going to transfer you.’ All your problems are resolved. It’s so nice to do.”

“I can say that it has happened, even by people sitting next to me,” Pavlic said. “They’ve transferred people back into the queue.”

4. Good luck getting an actual supervisor on the phone.

“The company does not want you to get to the supervisor, because it takes up the supervisor’s resources and time,” Curtis said.

Pavlic says customers who want to talk to a supervisor might actually be talking to someone pretending to be a supervisor.

“It’s essentially — they have a different job title than us, but they have no real power over a normal customer service representative,” Pavlic said.

“I had the same thing at my company. You were told, ‘You are a supervisor,’” Curtis said. “So you can tell the customer you’re a supervisor. Even though they don’t, they’re not supervising anyone.”

5. Agents are mostly playing the “sell game” instead of helping you with problems.

In their experiences, Pavlic and Curtis say there was a focus on sales over customer service.

“You definitely spend the majority of your time trying to push something on them that they don’t want pushed on them,” Curtis said, “trying to sell them something.”

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Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images(FALL RIVER, Mass.) — The courthouse where the Aaron Hernandez murder trial is being held was evacuated on Thursday morning due to a bomb threat.

ABC’s Boston affiliate, WCVB-TV, reported that no explosives were found and employees were allowed back into the courthouse about an hour after the threat was called in. Superior Court Judge Susan Garsh reportedly told jurors that there was no reason to believe the interruption was related to the Hernandez case.

Hernandez’s fiancee, Shayannah Jenkins, could testify as early as Friday.

Hernandez is on trial for the June 2013 murder of his friend Odin Lloyd, who was dating the sister of Hernandez’s fiancee.

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Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Former Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. was released from federal prison on Thursday, about six months before his original release date.

Jackson, the former Illinois congressman and son of Reverend Jesse Jackson, pleaded guilty to misusing $750,000 in campaign funds in 2013.

He began his sentence on Nov. 1, 2013. He was scheduled for release on Sept. 20, 2015.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Jackson will serve the remainder of his sentence at a Washington, D.C. halfway house.

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Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Former Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. was released from federal prison on Thursday, about six months before his original release date.

Jackson, the former Illinois congressman and son of Reverend Jesse Jackson, pleaded guilty to misusing $750,000 in campaign funds in 2013.

He began his sentence on Nov. 1, 2013. He was scheduled for release on Sept. 20, 2015.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Jackson will serve the remainder of his sentence at a Washington, D.C. halfway house.

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Joe Robbins/Getty Images(INDIANAPOLIS) — According to a media report, the Indianapolis Colts and coach Chuck Pagano will not reach a deal on a contract extension before the season.

Two sources told NFL.com that the team will allow Pagano to see out the final year of the four-year contract he signed in 2012.

Indianapolis has made the playoffs in each of Pagano’s three seasons, going 11-5 last season and reaching the AFC Championship Game, where they lost to eventual Super Bowl champion New England 45-7.

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tarabird/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Thursday was another poor day on Wall Street, with all three major indices posting losses, the fourth consecutive negative day on Wall Street.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 40.31 to 17,678.23.

The Nasdaq posted 13.16 in losses, closing the day at 4,863.36, while the S&P 500 dipped to 2,056.15, down 4.90 from its open.

The U.S. Labor Department reported on Thursday that unemployment claims dropped 9,000 from the previous week. The four-week moving average also dropped 7,750, to 297,000.

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neneos/iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(VATICAN CITY) — The Vatican opened its doors Thursday to the homeless of St. Peter’s Square, allowing the people who usually only see its steps outside to observe its beauty inside, and be greeted by Pope Francis himself.

A group of 150 homeless men and women took a guided tour of the museum and gardens and received dinner in the Vatican Museum’s cafeteria. They also were invited to pray in the Sistine Chapel, where the pope made an unannounced visit.

“This is everyone’s house: it’s your house. The door is always open for all,” Francis reportedly said as he shook their hands.

The Vatican says the pontiff spent 20 minutes with the visitors, meeting each one individually. He asked them to pray for him, saying, “I need prayers from people like you.”

“It was a great surprise meeting him,” said Graziella, one of the homeless visitors, to the Italian news agency ANSA. “The pope was smiling a lot but above all I was struck by his humility. Who else would have done this? Nobody. I always go to church but I have never experienced such humanity and humility.”

The tour passed the Casa Santa Marta, where Pope Francis chose to live instead of the stately Papal apartment, and included a stop at a recently opened room in the museum that houses the pope’s historical carriages.

The invitation is just one of a string of actions taken by the pontiff to reach out to the poor. To mark his birthday in December, Pope Francis had sleeping bags distributed to the homeless in and around St. Peter’s Square. In February, the Vatican built showers and hired barbers for the homeless around the square.

And in mid-June, Francis will lunch with some of Turin’s homeless on a visit there, the Vatican announced Wednesday.

Pope Francis’ outreach to the poor echoes one of the central messages of his papacy. “Do not be afraid to go and to bring Christ into every area of life, to the fringes of society, even to those who seem farthest away, most indifferent,” Francis said in 2013.

The Vatican has called on the homeless to help distribute gospels or prayer booklets to the faithful in the square on Sundays during the Pope’s noontime prayer.

The tour and dinner was organized by the Office of Papal Charities, which regularly distributes meals to the homeless who live in Rome.

The Vatican said Francis did not want any official photos or videos taken of the event.

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US Dept of Defense(DAMASCUS, Syria) — The Pentagon has released a copy of a leaflet that was dropped over ISIS’ defacto capital in Syria earlier this month.

The leaflet drop is part of the U.S. military’s psychological operations to show potential ISIS recruits that they are part of a losing effort.

Some 60,000 of the leaflets were dropped over Ar Raqqa, Syria early on the morning of March 16, officials said.

The leaflets were dropped by a single U.S. Air Force F-15E fighter aircraft carrying a PDU-5B leaflet canister, according to the Pentagon.

Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, told reporters Thursday that the drop was intended to dissuade potential ISIS recruits from joining the group.

“The message of this leaflet is if you allow yourself to be recruited by Daesh you will find yourself in a meat grinder,” said Warren, using the Islamic acronym for the group.

The leaflet shows a room identified by a sign with the arrow as a “Daesh Recruiting Office,” and the meat grinder is labelled “Daesh.”

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