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Thursday, Jul 31st

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Congressional staffer arrested for bringing gun to Capitol office

Ryan ShucardCapitol Police arrested the press secretary of a Republican congressman Friday when he entered a House-side office building carrying a handgun.

Ryan Shucard, the press secretary for Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., was found carrying a 9mm Smith & Wesson pistol and magazine when he tried to go through security at the Cannon office building at approximately 9:15 a.m., said Capitol Police spokeswoman Lt. Kimberly Schneider.

All people entering buildings on the Capitol Hill complex are required to pass through metal detectors and send bags through an x-ray belt, although members of Congress are generally allowed to pass through without a check.

TVNL Comment:  Yeah, sure....you can carry a handgun and magazine 'by mistake.'  Geez.

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Federal judges approve early release for thousands of drug convicts

Holder Drug offenders now in prison will be eligible for early release under a unanimous decision Friday by the U.S. Sentencing Commission.

No inmates will be released under the revised guidelines until November 2015, the commission said. Congress has until this November to change the decision.

The commission, an independent judicial agency, said all decisions on early release will be reviewed by a judge with prosecutors being given an opportunity to object. But it is somewhat broader than the guidelines sought by Attorney General Eric Holder, who argued that only inmates who have not committed violent crimes and are not linked to major drug organizations should be eligible.

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MH17: rebels block access to part of site of crash as evidence against them grows

rebels block crash siteA unit of heavily armed rebels blocked the 30-strong team from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), cordoning off a large part of the crash site. The inspectors retreated after an hour-long standoff, having been unable to gain access. They were sent on their way by warning shots fired by the rebel unit commander.

"We will keep coming back tomorrow and the next day and the next day," said OSCE spokesman Michael Bociurkiw. "Tomorrow will be a crunch day. There are a lot of experts from the Netherlands and Malaysia gathering in Kiev as well as relatives. The bodies are starting to bloat and decay. An expert team is clearly needed. There is a lot to be done in a short amount of time."

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1 in 5 of Gaza dead are children

Gaza children dyingSobbing and shaking, Ismail Abu Musallam leaned against the wall of a hospital Friday, waiting for three of his children to be prepared for burial. They were killed as they slept when an Israeli tank shell hit their home, burying 11-year-old Ahmed, 14-year-old Walaa and 16-year-old Mohammed under debris in their beds.

His personal tragedy is not unique: the U.N. says minors make up one-fifth of the 299 Palestinians killed in 11 days of intense Israeli bombardment of the densely populated Gaza Strip, where half the 1.7 million people are under age 18.

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What Happens When Detroit Shuts Off the Water of 100,000 People

Detroit water crisisIn a city where the median household income is less than half the national average, 38 percent of residents live below the poverty line and 23 percent are unemployed, it comes as no surprise that at least 40 percent of customers are delinquent on their bills.

The water shut-offs have taken no prisoners. Since this year's shut-offs started at the end of March, at least 15,000 Detroit households have had their water turned off. But the campaign, a tactic designed to pressure Detroiters into paying their water bills, began with little or no publicity last year, when 24,000 homes had their water shut off, says Darryl Latimer, the deputy director of the water department.

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Committee To Protect Journalists Urges Israeli Military To Stay Away From Media Buildings

Gaza invasionIsraeli military must steer clear of areas housing journalists while launching its attack on Gaza, the Committee to Protect Journalists warned on Friday.

At least three journalists have been injured so far by Israeli airstrikes that hit buildings with news outlets inside, CPJ reported. The organization called the threat to media a "violation of international law" and demanded they stop.

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White House to issue order on LGBT federal contractors

barack ObamaPresident Barack Obama will on Monday sign an executive order barring federal contractors from discriminating against workers on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, a senior administration official said Friday.

The action, which amends two existing executive orders, will also formally prohibit discrimination against federal workers on the basis of gender identity.

With Congress unable thus far to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act – which would apply to most employers nationwide – LGBT activists had for years been calling on the president to take action where he could, and to sign an executive order opposing discrimination at the 24,000 companies employing 28 million workers who have government contracts. But it does not have an exemption for religious employers — something that religious groups had asked the White House to include in the measure.

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Crash claims top AIDS researchers heading to Melbourne

AIDS experts on Maylaysia planeAbout 100 of the 298 people killed in the Malaysia Airlines crash were heading to Melbourne for a major AIDS conference, conference attendees have been told.

Delegates at a pre-conference in Sydney were told on Friday morning that about 100 medical researchers, health workers and activists were on the plane that went down near the Russia-Ukraine border, including former International AIDS Society president Joep Lange.

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Appeals court strikes down Oklahoma gay marriage ban

Oklahoma court stirkes down gay marraige banA federal appeals court in Denver struck down a second state ban on same-sex marriage Friday, ruling that Oklahoma -- like Utah before it - cannot prohibit gays and lesbians from marrying.

The decision by a three-judge panel in the 10-year-old lawsuit is likely to give the Supreme Court a choice: It can use either Utah or Oklahoma as its foil for judging the constitutionality of all such bans, or it can wait for more cases headed its way from Virginia and elsewhere.

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