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Friday, Jul 31st

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90 Dead, 17 Missing in Iraq Car Bombing

Ramado bpmbomgThe toll for a massive suicide car bomb attack carried out by the Islamic State group north of Baghdad rose to 90 dead and 17 missing today.

The top official in Khan Bani Saad, the predominantly Shiite town 20 kilometres (12 miles) north of Baghdad where the attack occurred on Friday, put the number of wounded at 120.

"The toll so far is 90 martyrs and 120 wounded, and we have between 17 and 20 missing," Abbas Hadi Saleh told AFP at the scene.

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California Wildfire Sweeps Across I-15 Freeway, Burns Cars

Wildfire LA freewayA rapid-moving vegetation fire broke out Friday afternoon in the Cajon Pass, burning several vehicles stopped on the I-15 Freeway and forcing mandatory evacuations in the area.

Early reports indicated there were multiple injuries.

The blaze, which has been dubbed "North Fire" on social media, was reported at about 2:30 p.m. and had spread to about 3,500 acres by 5:30 p.m., San Bernardino County officials said. and is about 5 percent contained.

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Pipeline Spill In The Heart Of Canada’s Tar Sands Industry Leaks 1.3 Million Gallons Of Oily Emulsion

Canada pipeline spillAn pipeline spill in Alberta, Canada has leaked some 1,320,000 gallons, or 31,000 barrels, of emulsion — a mixture of bitumen, produced water, and sand — south of Fort McMurray, a hub for Canada’s tar sands mining and refining industry.

The leak, which was discovered Wednesday afternoon, is the largest pipeline spill in the province in 35 years, when a 54,000 barrel oil spill became Canada’s worst-ever pipeline incident.

Nexen Energy, the pipeline operator, and the Alberta Energy Regulator, have not yet identified the cause of the leak, which has been contained. At this point there are no reports of injuries to wildlife or contamination of nearby bodies of water. The spill covered some 170,000 square feet, of four acres, mostly along the path of the pipeline.

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No action on rape kits despite new laws, federal money

rape kits not acted onOver the past decade alone, Congress has approved enough money to reduce the nation's backlog of DNA evidence testing to have tested more than 1 million sexual assault evidence kits.

So far, however, despite evidence that the number of untested rape kits could number into the hundreds of thousands coast to coast, the vast majority of the money is not reaching local and state police authorities where the abandoned rape evidence could be tested and the problem reduced.

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Missouri had no right to withhold death penalty drug information, judge rules

Judge: execution drugs cannot be withheldA judge in Missouri struck a blow for public transparency in the practice of the death penalty by ruling that the state’s department of corrections had no right to withhold information from the media about the source of its lethal injection drugs.

Judge Jon Beetem, sitting in the Missouri circuit court of Cole County, ruled the state had “knowingly failed, at least in part” to comply with its obligation to act with transparency. He ordered the state to release key details about its supply of deadly chemicals, pending a further hearing on what information should be redacted.

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Police: 4 people shot in Maine; armed ex-con in custody

Maine shootingsA former convict sought in the overnight shootings of four people in three northern Maine communities was taken into custody on Friday, state police said.

Anthony Lord, 35, was arrested in Houlton, and a woman being held with him was safe, said Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.

Dozens of law enforcement officers had been searching for Lord, who is believed to have stolen a logging truck before the shootings in the towns of Lee, Benedicta and Silver Ridge.

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Sexual Orientation Discrimination Is Barred By Existing Law, Federal Commission Rules

Existing law protects LGBT employeesThe Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has ruled that existing civil rights law bars sexual orientation-based employment discrimination — a groundbreaking decision to advance legal protections for gay, lesbian, and bisexual workers.

“[A]llegations of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation necessarily state a claim of discrimination on the basis of sex,” the commission concluded in a decision dated July 15.

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Dozens killed in Nigeria bombings as end of Ramadan observed

Nigeria bombingsAt least 60 people have been killed in separate bomb blasts across northeastern Nigeria in the past 24 hours as local Muslims gathered to celebrate the Eid al-Fitr feast that marks the end of Ramadan.

Friday, two bombs detonated in open-air prayer areas, known as Eid grounds, where worshippers were gathered in observance of the final day of the holy month. Nigerian army spokesman Col. Sani Usman said the two suicide bombers included a 10-year-old girl. Because of the threat of violence, worshipers were being screened before entering the Eid grounds.

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Alaska to become 30th state to expand Medicaid under Affordable Care Act

Bill WalkerAlaskan Gov. Bill Walker on Thursday announced his intentions to expand Medicaid in the state under the Affordable Care Act.

The Independent governor sent a letter to the Republican-controlled legislature informing them of his plan to offer expanded benefits beginning Sept. 1. The state legislature has twice quashed Walker's attempts to pass a bill granting the benefits.

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