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Cruise ship crashes into lock wall, up to 30 injured

cruise ship hits lockA cruise ship traveling to Canada through the St. Lawrence Seaway crashed into a concrete wall in the Eisenhower Lock, injuring up to 30 people.

The Coast Guard said the 286-foot luxury liner was carrying 274 passengers and crew when it hit the lock, a narrow manmade canal, about 9 p.m. Thursday. Up to 30 people were injured, two have serious injuries.


US Catholics ready to follow Pope's 'marching orders' on climate change

US Catholics ready to follow pope on climate changeLeaders of the Catholic church in America took their “marching orders” from the pope’s encyclical on Thursday, fanning out to Congress and the White House to push for action on climate change.

The high-level meetings offered a first glimpse of a vast and highly organised effort by the leadership of America’s nearly 80 million Catholics to turn the pope’s moral call for action into reality.


House votes to repeal ObamaCare tax

House votes to repeal obamacare taxThe House voted Thursday to repeal an ObamaCare tax on medical devices that is intended to generate billions of dollars for the law.

The final vote was 280-140, with 46 Democrats voting in favor. Supporters of the bill say the 2.3 percent tax, which affects about 7,000 manufacturers nationwide, is holding back innovation on important devices like X-ray machines and ventilators.


South Carolina is home to at least 19 known hate groups

South Carolina hate groupsSouth Carolina, where the Confederate flag still flies on statehouse grounds, is a hotbed for racist hate groups.

Last night, Dylann Roof, who is white, allegedly walked into Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Church and shot dead nine people. Witnesses told reporters the terrorist sat down with the pastor and State Sen. Clementa Pinckney during the service and opened fire when it concluded, killing him and eight others. He reportedly said, “You rape our women and you’re taking over our country — and you have to go.”


US to pay millions for Agent Orange claims

Agent Orange paymentsEnding years of wait, the government agreed Thursday to provide millions of dollars in disability benefits to as many as 2,100 Air Force reservists and active-duty forces exposed to Agent Orange residue on airplanes used in the Vietnam War.

The new federal rule, approved by the White House Office of Management and Budget, takes effect Friday. It adds to an Agent Orange-related caseload that already makes up one out of six disability checks issued by the Department of Veterans Affairs.


Alex Baer: The Vanishing Art of Disappearing

poofWe are all time travelers.

I have come to this conclusion in a roundabout route, my usual method of making way from A to B, via a few scenic-tour handfuls of multi-cultural alphabets wrought from pen, paper press, and cuneiform tablet.

Art is the key. It is in art where most of us spend our free time, from soaking up opera to hand-tying flies for fishing, or whatever our fancy. We are consumers of all things, now that we make almost nothing in this country, and art -- popular culture, if you'd prefer to call it -- is part of our voracious appetite.


Supreme Court blocks Texas confederate flag plate

Confederate plate blocked by SCStates that sell specialty license plates promoting everything from "Choose Life" to "Conserve Water" can prohibit images like the Confederate flag, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday.

The justices said in a 5-4 decision that Texas' specialty license plate program is a type of government speech, and that the First Amendment does not prohibit the state from rejecting some designs.


Pope Francis sends out strong climate change warning, urges environmental policy

Pope FrancisPope Francis has released his encyclical on climate change, urging for worldwide environmental policy and warning that humans threaten the planet.

Climate change "represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day. Its worst impact will probably be felt by developing countries in coming decades," the Pope wrote.

Francis has called for renewable fuel subsidies and "maximum energy efficiency." He urges the use of public transportation, carpooling and recycling.


Conservative lobbying group ALEC sets sights on local lawmakers

ALEC Moments before Adam Briggle was arrested in early June along with other protesters for blocking the entrance to a fracking site in Denton, Texas, police Sgt. Scott Jenkins approached him with a smile. “He shook my hand and thanked me for my years of service to Denton,” Briggle recalled. “I thanked him as well. And then they put me in cuffs.”

In Denton’s fight against fracking, Briggle, a philosophy professor at the University of North Texas, became an unlikely advocate in the fight for community control over corporate interests. “I hadn’t even heard of fracking until I moved to Denton,” he said. Alarmed, however, by oil industry plans to put fracking wells close to schools, playgrounds and parks, he and other concerned citizens spent the previous four years organizing a grass-roots campaign to get an anti-fracking provision on the city ballot.


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