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Saturday, May 23rd

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All Las Vegas freeway ramps reopen after 5.3-magnitude earthquake

Las Vegas earthquakeAll Las Vegas freeway ramps have reopened after a 5.3 magnitude earthquake hit about 125 miles north near Caliente, where the temblor rattled windows and dishes.

The quake, which struck at 11:47 a.m. today, was centered about 24 miles south-southwest of Caliente in Lincoln County but was felt across the Las Vegas Valley.

The freeway transition ramp from southbound U.S. 95 to southbound Interstate 15 near downtown Las Vegas was closed after the quake, as was the ramp from U.S. 95 southbound to I-15 northbound and the Martin Luther King on-ramp to southbound I-15, according to the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada. Officials announced at about 5 p.m. that all the ramps were open.

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Senate clears White House-backed trade bill

senate passes trade billIn a victory for President Barack Obama, the Senate passed bipartisan legislation Friday night to strengthen the administration's hand in global trade talks, clearing the way for a highly unpredictable summer showdown in the House.

The vote was 62-37 on the bill, which would let Obama complete trade deals that Congress could approve or reject, but not change. A total of 48 Republicans supported the bill, but only 14 the Senate's 44 Democrats backed a president of their own party on legislation near the top of his second-term agenda.

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Josh Duggar quits Family Research Council after molestation claims

Josh DuggarJosh Duggar, the reality TV star and conservative activist, resigned from his position at the Family Research Council on Thursday after reports surfaced that he had molested underage girls as a teenager. The 27-year-old is the oldest son of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, whose family is the subject of the TLC show “19 Kids and Counting.”

The resignation follows a report from In Touch magazine that detailed multiple instances in which Duggar had allegedly committed acts of sexual misconduct against minors. The magazine obtained a Springdale, Arkansas, police report from 2006 that alleged that Duggar had assaulted four of his sisters and a fifth underage female three to four years earlier.

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Edward Snowden: NSA reform in the US is only the beginning

Edward SnowdenEdward Snowden has hailed landmark shifts in Congress and the US courts on NSA surveillance but cautioned that much more needs to be done to restore the balance in favour of privacy.

He also warned this was only the beginning of reform of the NSA, saying there are still many bulk collection programmes which are “even more intrusive”, but expressed hope that the Senate would act to curb the NSA, saying retention of the status quo is untenable.

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Dutch cabinet backs partial Islamic burqa ban

Dutch cabinet approves burqua banThe Dutch cabinet on Friday approved a partial ban on wearing the face-covering Islamic veil, including in schools, hospitals and on public transport.

"Face-covering clothing will in future not be accepted in education and healthcare institutions, government buildings and on public transport," the government said in a statement after the cabinet backed Interior Minister Ronald Plasterk's bill.

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Brain-reading implant controls arm

brain implant  controls armA man has been able to control a robotic limb with a mind-reading chip implanted in his brain.  It allowed Erik Sorto, from California, to sip a drink unaided for the first time in 10 years.

The details, published in Science, reveal how complex bursts of electrical signals in his brain could be interpreted into commands for the arm.

Experts said the results made brain-controlled robotics closer to being a reality.

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It’s Time for America to Pardon Martha Stewart

Martha StewartOn Wednesday, five of the largest banks in the world agreed to pay a combined $5.6 billion to the U.S. Treasury and then pleaded guilty to a series of criminal charges that they had operated for years as a secret cabal to manipulate currency exchange rates, in many cases directly ripping off clients in the process.

The new felons are J.P. Morgan Chase (the largest bank in the U.S. by assets), Citigroup (the third largest by assets), Barclays (the largest U.K. bank), UBS (the largest bank in Switzerland) and the Royal Bank of Scotland (a bank in Scotland).

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Ireland set to accept gay marriage in landmark referendum

Ireland to vote on gay marriageThe Irish voted on Friday on whether to allow gay marriage, just two decades after decriminalizing homosexuality, with a strong early turnout likely to favor the 'Yes' side.

With the once mighty Catholic Church's influence ravaged by child abuse scandals, opinion polls indicated the proposal would pass by as much as two-to-one, making Ireland the first country to adopt same-sex marriage via a popular vote.

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Suicide bomber strikes Saudi Shi'ite mosque, many dead or wounded

Saudi mosque bombedA suicide bomber blew himself up at a Shi'ite mosque in eastern Saudi Arabia during Friday prayers, residents said, killing around 20 people and wounding more than 50, local residents and a hospital officials said.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing, the first to target Shi'ite Muslims in Saudi Arabia since November when gunmen killed at least eight people in an attack on a Shi'ite religious anniversary celebration, also in the east where most of the country's minority Shi'ites live.

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