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Saturday, Apr 18th

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Fracking Exclusion Not Allowed in Pa. Homeowners Earthquake Endorsements

fracking earthquakesThe Pennsylvania Insurance Department issued a notice telling insurance companies that earthquake endorsements to homeowners insurance policies in Pennsylvania cannot exclude coverage for earthquakes that may be caused by “human activity” such as fracking.

According to the Pennsylvania Insurance Department’s notice issued on April 11, some insurers have asserted that because of an increase in natural gas extraction in Pennsylvania by means of a process commonly referred to as ”fracking,” endorsements should exclude coverage on homeowners policies for earthquakes that are not “naturally occurring.”

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U.S. senators agree on path to fast-track trade bill

ast track okayedU.S. senators said on Thursday they could present a bipartisan bill to move trade deals quickly through Congress as soon as later in the day after reaching agreement on aid for workers hurt by trade.

The move set the stage for a tough fight with critics.

Republican Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch said the legislation, key to closing a 12-nation Pacific trade pact and the Obama administration's pivot to Asia, could be unveiled in the afternoon and ready for full Senate consideration next week.

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How Israel Hid Its Secret Nuclear Weapons Program

DimonaFor decades, the world has known that the massive Israeli facility near Dimona, in the Negev Desert, was the key to its secret nuclear project. Yet, for decades, the world—and Israel—knew that Israel had once misleadingly referred to it as a “textile factory.” Until now, though, we’ve never known how that myth began—and how quickly the United States saw through it.

The answers, as it turns out, are part of a fascinating tale that played out in the closing weeks of the Eisenhower administration—a story that begins with the father of Secretary of State John Kerry and a familiar charge that the U.S. intelligence community failed to “connect the dots.”

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NY Senate leader Dean Skelos, son target of federal investigation: report

Dean SkelosFederal prosecutors have started presenting evidence to a grand jury considering a case against state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his son, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

Prosecutors have been looking into the Long Island Republican and son Adam Skelos regarding possible conflict of interest and violations of federal corruption statutes, an unidentified source told The Times.

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Killer Tulsa Cop’s Gun Training ‘Faked’

Tulsa killer deputy cop Supervisors at the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office were ordered to falsify a reserve deputy’s training records, giving him credit for field training he never took and firearms certifications he should not have received, sources told the Tulsa World.

At least three of reserve deputy Robert Bates’ supervisors were transferred after refusing to sign off on his state-required training, multiple sources speaking on condition of anonymity told the World.

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Georgia governor signs bill to legalize medical marijuana

Nathan DealGeorgia Gov. Nathan Deal, signed a bill Thursday legalizing medical marijuana in the state, but questions still remain about how patients who desperately need the drug will get it.

The bill, which took effect immediately, makes it legal for people who suffer from end-stage cancer and other debilitating diseases to possess up to 20 ounces of cannabis oil with a physician's approval and a state permit. But it's still illegal to cultivate, manufacture and sell marijuana in Georgia, which means patients would have to trek to other states where growing and cultivating is legal, such as Colorado. Since the federal government still outlaws possession of marijuana, crossing state lines could pose significant problems.

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US Army Guardsmen tried to sell guns, ammo, armor to Mexico cartels

US Nat'l guard sold ammo to cartelTwo active duty reservists of the U.S. Army National Guard were arrested in California on Wednesday for allegedly trying to funnel weapons, ammunition and body armor -- equipment that belonged to the U.S. military -- to outlaws in Mexican drug cartels, a federal complaint said.

Jaime Casillas and Andrew Reyes, ages 22 and 34, respectively, are each accused of selling firearms in California without certification. Reyes faces an additional count of purchasing weapons -- including multiple AR-15 assault rifles -- in Texas and transporting them to California.

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Secrecy shrouds decade-old oil spill in Gulf of Mexico

Gulf Oil SpillA blanket of fog lifts, exposing a band of rainbow sheen that stretches for miles off the coast of Louisiana. From the vantage point of an airplane, it's easy to see gas bubbles in the slick that mark the spot where an oil platform toppled during a 2004 hurricane, triggering what might be the longest-running commercial oil spill ever to pollute the Gulf of Mexico.

Yet more than a decade after crude started leaking at the site formerly operated by Taylor Energy Company, few people even know of its existence. The company has downplayed the leak's extent and environmental impact, likening it to scores of minor spills and natural seeps the Gulf routinely absorbs.

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Ex-drug officer says he stole cash, planted drugs many times

Philadelphia Police departmentA disgraced ex-police officer testifying against his drug squad colleagues acknowledged Tuesday that he stole drug money, planted evidence and lied on police paperwork too many times to count.

Jeffrey Walker told jurors that the Philadelphia Police Department drug squad targeted white "college-boy ... khaki-pants types" who were "easy to intimidate."

That matches the description of some of the drug dealers who have testified at the six-week police corruption trial that the squad stole as much as $110,000 at a time during violent, no-warrant raids.

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