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Wednesday, May 06th

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Raw Video: Ball of Flames Engulfs Tanker Truck Carrying 8,800 Gallons of Gas on Calif. freeway

Takner truck explosionA huge ball of flames engulfed a gasoline tanker truck on a freeway outside of Los Angeles on Sunday, sending black plumes of smoke into the air that could be seen for miles and causing a traffic nightmare.

The double-tanker truck was hauling 8,800 gallons of gas on the southbound 710 Freeway when it jackknifed near the Florence Avenue exit in Bell and exploded in flames, California Highway Patrol officials said.

Dozens of firefighters arrived just after 3:30 p.m. to battle the huge fire, which could be seen as far as downtown Los Angeles.

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Stating security concerns, Egypt gags media

Egypt muzzles mediaMohamed Abo Zeid is out of words and hope.

His brother Mahmoud, a photojournalist, has become one of several names symbolizing perils facing journalists in Egypt. Mahmoud’s more than 600-days of captivity without trial or charges has left his family with nothing but despair and bitterness.

"It's been nearly two years and not a single development in the case — just a series of orders extending his incarceration,” Mohamed said. “No one knows why he's in jail. Not us. Not even the prosecutors."

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Chipotle removes all food containing GMOs from its menu

ChipotleChipotle Mexican Grill announced on Sunday that it had completed an initiative to remove all food containing genetically modified organisms (GMO) from its menu. The Denver-based company is the first major fast-food restaurant chain to ban genetically engineered ingredients.

“This is another step toward the visions we have of changing the way people think about and eat fast food,” Chipotle co-CEO Steve Ells told The New York Times, which first reported the story. “Just because food is served fast doesn’t mean it has to be made with cheap raw ingredients, highly processed with preservatives and fillers and stabilizers and artificial colors and flavors.”

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Eyeing Arab ties, Israel to observe nuclear pact meeting

NetanyahuIsrael will take part as an observer in a major nuclear non-proliferation conference that opens at the United Nations on Monday, ending a 20-year absence in hope of fostering dialogue with Arab states, a senior Israeli official said.

Assumed to have the Middle East's sole nuclear arsenal, and having never joined the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Israel has stayed away from gatherings of NPT signatories since 1995 in protest at resolutions it regarded as biased against it.

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How the Trans Pacific Partnership Signals the Death of the Republic

US SenateOn April 22, 2015, the Senate Finance Committee approved a bill to fast-track the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a massive trade agreement that would override our republican form of government and hand judicial and legislative authority to a foreign three-person panel of corporate lawyers.

The secretive TPP is an agreement with Mexico, Canada, Japan, Singapore and seven other countries that affects 40% of global markets. Fast-track authority could now go to the full Senate for a vote as early as next week. Fast-track means Congress will be prohibited from amending the trade deal, which will be put to a simple up or down majority vote.

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The CIA’s black marks on humanity

CIA tortureOne recent afternoon in Arlington, Virginia, I found myself doing pushups alongside a host of military and civilian attorneys, paralegals and other employees of the Office of the Chief Defense Counsel. It is part of the Defense Department’s Office of Military Commissions, which oversees war court proceedings for detainees at Guantánamo Bay, and I was visiting at 1 p.m. — designated pushup time.

That wasn’t my original plan: I’d been scheduled to attend April pretrial hearings in Guantánamo for five high-value detainees (HVDs) accused of involvement in 9/11, but when the hearings were canceled by the case’s military judge, Arlington seemed to be the next best destination.

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Israeli military indicts 3 soldiers for looting in Gaza war

Gaza invasionThe Israeli military announced Sunday it indicted three soldiers for allegedly taking money from a building in Gaza during last year's war against Hamas militants.

The military said that two soldiers were indicted on suspicion they took the equivalent of $605 and another is accused of helping them.

A military police investigation was opened after the soldiers' commander reported them, it said. The military said it repeatedly tried to find the owner of the building but attempts were unsuccessful.

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The oil and gas boom has devastated ecosystems across the US

oil and gas destroy ecosystemsDrilling for oil and gas has caused long-lasting damage to ecosystems across Canada and the US, according to a study published today. The findings lend new weight to longstanding concerns over the resurgence in domestic fossil fuel production, as well as the complex land use regulations that make environmental monitoring more challenging.

The paper, published in the journal Science, examines the impact of oil and gas production on terrestrial plant growth, using a metric called net primary production (NPP). NPP can be used to gauge the health of the ecosystem.

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Is the White House press corps becoming obsolete?

WH press corpsOver the last six years, a confluence of forces have eroded the foundation of the relationship between the White House and the reporters who cover it most regularly.

Financial pressures have reduced the number of news organizations committed to daily coverage of the White House and to participating in its cycle of pools, briefings and trips on Air Force One. And technologies including Twitter, YouTube and livestreaming of events mean the White House can communicate directly with the public without going through the traditional media that still dominates the Brady Briefing Room.

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