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Sunday, Nov 23rd

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Record-breaking snow hammers Upper Midwest

Central US record coldArctic air continued to surge into the central U.S. on Tuesday, while record-breaking snow buried portions of the upper Midwest.

Temperatures were only in the single digits, teens, and 20s across much of the north-central U.S. as of late Tuesday morning. Temperatures Tuesday are forecast to be 20 to 40 degrees below average for areas east of the Rockies into the Great Plains, the National Weather Service warned.

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Mormon Church admits Joseph Smith had 40 wives

Joseph SmithFor the first time in its history, the Mormon church acknowledged its founder, Joseph Smith, had as many as 40 wives.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which officially disavowed polygamy in the 1890s, has tried to portray Smith as a loyal spouse to his wife, Emma. But the church has been making an effort to be transparent about the more troubling aspects of its history, and finally revealed the truth about Smith's marriages in an essay on its official website.

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U.S., China reach deal on tariffs

US -China trade pactA tariff agreement between the United States and China, reached Tuesday, is being hailed as a breakthrough that could affect $1 trillion in international trade.

The surprise announcement of the deal, which will eliminate tariffs on a variety of high-tech products, came at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Beijing. It paves the way, officials said, for another tariff-cutting agreement when the World Trade Organization meets in Switzerland next month; the final deal would eliminate tariffs on $1 trillion in annual sales of information and communications technology.

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Climate change could cause expansion of ocean dead zones

Ocean dead zonesDead zones in the world's oceans are expected to warm and expand by the end of the century due to climate change, says a new study.

The dead zones, areas of water that are oxygen depleted and unable to sustain aquatic life, are going to grow. The study, published by the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center on Nov. 10 in Global Change Biology, said 94 percent of the ocean's dead zones will see a jump of two degrees Celsius.

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US to defend solitary confinement use before UN

solitary confinementOn Nov. 12 and 13, the practice of holding incarcerated people in prolonged isolation will come under international scrutiny when the U.S. government goes before the United Nations Committee Against Torture in Geneva, part of a periodic review to assess the country’s compliance with the Convention Against Torture and the first U.S. review under Barack Obama’s administration.

This year the 10-person U.N. committee has repeated its concerns about imposing prolonged isolation on prisoners. In a list of issues to be addressed with the U.S. — including the use of secret detention facilities, Guantánamo Bay and the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” — the committee has asked the government to “describe steps taken to improve the extremely harsh regime imposed on detainees in ‘Supermax security prisons,’ in particular the practice of prolonged isolation.”

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Anadarko's $5.15 billion cleanup deal approved by U.S. court

anadarko Anadarko Petroleum Corp's agreement to pay $5.15 billion to clean up nuclear fuel and other pollution received approval from a federal judge on Monday, the final hurdle for the settlement touted by the U.S. Department of Justice as the largest-ever environmental cleanup recovery.

The agreement, reached in April, resolved a lawsuit against Anadarko and its Kerr-McGee unit from creditors of Tronox Inc, the paint materials maker that was once a unit of Kerr-McGee.

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Navy Plans Electromagnetic War Games Over National Park and Forest in Washington State

olympic peninsula war gamesOlympic National Park and Olympic National Forest in Washington State are two of the most beautiful wilderness areas in the United States. Majestic glacier-clad peaks rise above temperate rainforest-covered hills. Gorgeous rivers tumble down from the heights and the areas are home to several types of plants and animal species that exist nowhere else on earth.

These protected national commons are also the areas in and near where the US Navy aims to conduct its Northwest Electromagnetic Radiation Warfare training program, wherein it will fly 36 of its EA-18G "Growler" supersonic jet warplanes down to 1,200 feet above the ground in some areas in order to conduct war games with 14 mobile towers. Enough electromagnetic radiation will be emitted so as to be capable of melting human eye tissue, and causing breast cancer, childhood leukemia and damage to human fetuses, let alone impacting wildlife in the area.

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Israel reportedly set to take 3,000 acres of Palestinian village land near Jerusalem

Israel takin 3,000 acres in E jerusalemIDF soldiers gave out orders Saturday informing Palestinians of Israel’s plans to confiscate 3,176 acres (12,852 dunams) around the West Bank village of Beit Iksa for military purposes, Palestinian media reported.

Beit Iksa residents said to Ma’an news agency that soldiers at a checkpoint distributed the orders, signed by head of the IDF Central Command Gen. Nitzan Alon.

The orders gave the residents until the end of 2017 to leave the land in question. They also said that soldiers informed the Beit Iksa residents that an IDF liaison would come on Monday to explain which parcels of land would be confiscated.

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Uganda planning new anti-gay law despite opposition

Uganda gay lawsUganda plans to introduce a new anti-gay law that will withstand any legal challenge, a government minister has told the BBC.

It will not explicitly refer to homosexuality, but will rely on the penal code which prescribes a life sentence for "unnatural acts", he said.  Activists say the plan is more draconian than anti-gay legislation annulled by the courts in August.

The US and other donors cut funding to Uganda in protest against the law.

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