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Monday, May 02nd

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Hundreds killed in powerful Ecuador earthquake

Ecuador earthquakeThe death toll from Ecuador's biggest earthquake in decades has risen to at least 235 as rescue teams raced to find survivors in shattered coastal towns.

The powerful 7.8-magnitude quake struck off the Pacific coast on Saturday and was felt around the country, flattening buildings and buckling roads in several western towns.

Officials had previously put the toll at 77 dead and nearly 600 injured.

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Edward Snowden on police pursuing journalist data: the scandal is what the law allows

Snowden on police pursuing journalists' dataEdward Snowden has condemned Australian law enforcement for collecting the communications records of a Guardian journalist without a warrant.

The world’s most prominent whistleblower, who disclosed dragnet surveillance unprecedented in its scale by the National Security Agency and its allies, singled out for critique the Australian government’s contention that it broke no laws in its leak investigation of Paul Farrell, a Guardian reporter who in 2014 exposed the inner workings of Australia’s maritime interception of asylum seekers.

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Philippines candidate Duterte condemned over rape comments

DuterteA video of leading Philippines presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte joking about a murdered Australian rape victim has provoked a storm of protest.

The footage shows Mr Duterte and his supporters making light of the assault by prison inmates in 1989 when he was town mayor.

He said the female missionary was so beautiful that "the mayor should have been first".

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US Election 2016: Ted Cruz wins delegates in Wyoming

Cruz sweeps delegates in WyomingUS Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz has won all 14 delegates in contention at a state party convention in Wyoming.
The delegates were chosen by party members rather than ordinary voters.

Donald Trump - who did not actively campaign in the state - remains the Republican front-runner overall.

However, the billionaire could fall short of the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican nomination for the November presidential election.

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Pentagon: 22 percent of military bases will be excess by 2019

Pentagon to close basesA Pentagon report to Congress found 22 percent of U.S. military bases and facilities will be considered excess by 2019.

Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work said lawmakers should consider a new round of controversial Base Realignment and Closures or BRACs.

"As Department of Defense leadership has repeatedly testified, spending resources on excess infrastructure does not make sense," Work said. "Therefore, we urge Congress to provide the Department authorization for another round of BRAC."

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Third in series of quakes strikes southern Japan, rescue efforts hampered

Third earthquake hits JapanTroops have been deployed to southern Japan after three powerful tremors rocked the region in as many days, leaving a total of an estimated 32 dead.

A major tremor rocked southern Japan on early Saturday in the same region where a quake hit late Thursday, leaving up to 10 dead, according to some reports. Seismologists now believe Thursday's quake, magnitude-6.5, was a "foreshock" leading up to the first of Saturday's two tremors, which had a magnitude of 7.4 on the Richter scale. That quake struck overnight. Hours later, a third tremor measuring 5.3 struck, which seismologists consider an aftershock.

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China releases dam water to ease SE Asia drought

China releases dam to relieve SE Asia droughtChina has been releasing water from a number of its dams in an attempt to help relieve the drought in Southeast Asia.  Much of the region has been struggling to cope with the severe weather which is hotter and drier than usual because of strong El Nino.

Thailand is experiencing its worst drought in more than a decade with 14 out of 76 provinces badly affected.

The situation in Vietnam is not so good either with the country suffering its worst drought in 90 years.

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CUNY Graduate Students Vote for Academic Boycott of Israel

CUNY Doctoral CenterThe Doctoral Students’ Council (DSC) of City University of New York (CUNY) has adopted a Resolution Endorsing the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions, by a vote of 42-19 with 9 abstentions. At the same meeting, the DSC also overwhelmingly adopted the Resolution Calling for Expanded Tuition Remission for Graduate Center Students.

The mission of the DSC includes promoting democracy within CUNY and enabling students to participate in important social, political, and economic decisions that affect their community. The council also advocates for graduate student interests with the Graduate Center administration, university-wide political bodies, the CUNY Board of Trustees, the New York State Assembly, and the Mayor’s Office.

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In a changing US Army, turbans and hijabs allowed

Turbans allowed in US militaryThis week, the Army granted three Sikh soldiers long-term clearance to wear their beards and turbans, in what supporters see as hope for greater accommodation of religious diversity in the ranks.

Sitting in the barber chair as a brand-new cadet at West Point, Simratpal Singh couldn’t watch as the barber cut his hair for the first time in the Sikh’s life.

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