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Friday, Jan 30th

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Senate passes bill approving Keystone XL oil pipeline

Senate passes Keystone pipeline billThe Republican-controlled Senate on Thursday approved a bipartisan bill to construct the Keystone XL oil pipeline, defying a presidential veto threat and setting up the first of many battles with the White House over energy and the environment.

The 62-36 vote advanced a top priority of the newly empowered GOP, and marked the first time the Senate passed a bill authorizing the pipeline, despite numerous attempts to force President Barack Obama's hand on the issue. Nine Democrats joined with 53 Republicans to back the measure.

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The Strange Firing Of One Of The Country’s Most Inflammatory Anti-LGBT Spokespeople

Brian FscherOne of the most vocal opponents of LGBT equality, Bryan Fischer, is apparently no longer a spokesman, nor the “Director of Issues Analysis,” for the American Family Association (AFA), an anti-LGBT hate group.

Despite being related to comments Fischer has been making on his radio show for years, the firing seems to serve the purpose of providing political cover to some 60 members of the Republican National Committee who will enjoy an all-expenses-paid trip to Israel on AFA’s bill, as first reported by Rachel Maddow Wednesday night.

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Did Fishermen Find Evidence of an Unknown Group of Primitive Humans?

possible new humanoidIt isn’t everyday that a fisherman’s catch has the potential to alter what we know about extinct species of early humans.

LiveScience reports that a fossilized jawbone discovered in a fishing net off the western coast of Taiwan may belong to a previously unknown form of archaic human that once dwelled in Asia. The lower right mandible, complete with a short row of thick teeth, is thought to be from a hominin that lived between 10,000 and 190,000 years ago.

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Florida woman in 'warning shot' case released from jail

Melissa Alexander freedA Florida woman who says she fired a warning shot at her abusive husband was released from a Jacksonville jail on Tuesday under a plea deal that capped her sentence to the three years she had already served.

Marissa Alexander, 34, was initially sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2012 but her conviction was later overturned. She faced another trial on charges that could have put her behind bars for 60 years before she agreed to a plea deal in November.

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Dozens killed in Afghanistan in attacks on funeral, checkpoint

Afghanistan attacks A suicide bomb attack on a funeral in east Afghanistan killed 16 people and injured another 39 on Thursday, a local official said, an unusually high death toll for a single bombing in a country ravaged by decades of war.

Separately, Taliban militants attacked a checkpoint operated by a group of armed villagers late on Wednesday evening, killing 11 people, according to another official. Seven militants were also killed during the attack, he added.

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Scotland enacts fracking moratorium

Scotland moratorium on frackingThe Scottish government will take a cautious look at shale oil and gas extraction during a moratorium period, the energy minister said Thursday.

"I am announcing a moratorium on the granting of planning consents for all unconventional oil and gas developments, including fracking," Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said in a statement.

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Gas blast at Mexico City children's hospital, dozens injured

Mexico gas blastA powerful gas tank truck explosion shattered a maternity and children's hospital in Mexico City on Thursday, killing at least three people and injuring dozens.

Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera told Milenio television that three were killed, a woman and two men.

He earlier told the Televisa network that at least 54 people were injured, 22 of them children. Most of the injuries were relatively minor, he said, many caused by flying glass.

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Lawyers seek review of ICC refusal to probe Gaza flotilla

ICC refuses Flotilla investigationLawyers are calling for a review of the International Criminal Court prosecutor's decision not to investigate the storming by Israel of an aid flotilla that was heading to Gaza.

A team of lawyers representing the government of Comoros filed a request Thursday for the court to order Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to reconsider her refusal to launch a probe into the May 31, 2010, storming of one of the vessels in the flotilla, which was sailing under a Comoros flag.

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North Dakota jobs boom in danger as oil prices plummet

North DakotaThe shale oil boom of the last five years has brought soaring housing prices to Williston, North Dakota, where a 700-square-foot apartment costs an average of $2,394 a month. Rootless, job-seeking newcomers have occasionally resorted to sleeping in their vehicles, unable to afford the highest rent in the nation.

“We’ve seen people living in their motor vehicles through the last five years, because of housing prices being expensive,” said Williston Police Department’s public information officer, Detective David Peterson.

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