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Monday, Jul 28th

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Deadliest, Rarest Form of Plague Contracted Near Denver

Plague in DenverA Colorado man is infected with the rarest and most fatal form of plague, an airborne version that can be spread through coughing and sneezing.

It is the first case of pneumonic plague seen in the state since 2004, said Jennifer House, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The man, who hasn’t been identified, may have been exposed in Adams County near Denver, health officials said in a statement. While House said the man has been hospitalized and treated, she wouldn’t release other details about his situation.

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U.S. House Appropriations chair: Obama border security request too high

House rejects Obaba request for immigrant fundsdThe Obama administration's $3.7 billion request for emergency funds to bolster U.S. border security and deal with a massive influx of migrant children from Central America is too high and will be reduced, an influential Republican lawmaker said on Friday.

House of Representatives Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers said the amount was "too much money" and a large portion of the funds needed to deal with the problems could be handled through the normal spending bills for the 2015 fiscal year starting on Oct. 1.

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Israel fires into Lebanon after rockets launched over border

Lebanon fires rockets into IsraelRockets fired from Lebanon hit Israeli territory on Saturday and Israel's army responded with artillery fire, Lebanese security sources and the Israeli military said, in the second such incident in two days.

"Initial reports indicate that at least two rockets fired from Lebanon hit open areas north of Nahariya. No damage or injuries, thus far," an Israeli military statement said, adding that Israeli forces had fired artillery toward the source of the rocket fire.

A Lebanese security source said three rockets had been fired from Lebanon.

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World Council of Churches pulls fossil fuel investments

World Council of ChurchesAn umbrella group of churches, which represents over half a billion Christians worldwide, has decided to pull its investments out of fossil fuel companies.

The move by the World Council of Churches, which has 345 member churches including the Church of England but not the Catholic church, was welcomed as a "major victory" by climate campaigners who have been calling on companies and institutions such as pension funds, universities and local governments to divest from coal, oil and gas.

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Republican governors signal shift on gay marriage in bid to attract voters

GOP governorsDeep in the Bible Belt, new signs emerged this weekend of evolving views among Republican governors on gay marriage.

While the Republican Party's religious conservatives continue to fight against same-sex marriage, its governors appear to be backing off their opposition – in their rhetoric, at least. For some, the shift may be more a matter of tone than substance as the GOP tries to attract new voters ahead of the midterm elections. Nonetheless, it is a dramatic turn for a party that has long been defined by social conservative values.

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UN calls for Israel-Gaza ceasefire

Gaza bombardmentThe UN Security Council has called for a ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, as Palestinian deaths continue to mount. All 15 members approved a statement calling for calm and peace talks.

At least 133 Palestinians have been killed since Israel began its operation five days ago, Palestinian sources say.  Israel said it was hit by about 90 rockets on Saturday, and several were intercepted over Tel Aviv after Hamas said it would target the city.

It is the first time since Israel's offensive began that the UN Security Council has issued a statement, with members previously divided on their response.

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Ukrainian jets pound rebels after deadly missile attack on troops

ukranians bomb rebelsUkrainian warplanes bombarded separatist positions along a broad front Saturday, inflicting huge losses, Kiev said, in line with President Petro Poroshenko vow that "scores and hundreds" would be made to pay for a deadly missile attack on government forces.

In exchanges marking a sharp escalation in the three-month conflict, jets struck at the "epicenter" of the battle against the rebels close to the border with Russia, a military spokesman said.  The planes targeted bases from where separatists — using high-powered Grad missiles — bombarded an army-motorized brigade in Zelenopillya on Friday, killing 23 servicemen.

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Expansion of ‘secret’ facility in Iraq suggests closer U.S.-Kurd ties

CIA in IraqA supposedly secret but locally well-known CIA station on the outskirts of Irbil’s airport is undergoing rapid expansion as the United States considers whether to engage in a war against Islamist militants who’ve seized control of half of Iraq in the past month.

Western contractors hired to expand the facility and a local intelligence official confirmed the construction project, which is visible from the main highway linking Irbil to Mosul, the city whose fall June 9 triggered the Islamic State’s sweep through northern and central Iraq. Residents around the airport say they can hear daily what they suspect are American drones taking off and landing at the facility.

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Hospitals continue to shut down in rural America

Hosptial closures in rural AmericaWhen Pungo Hospital, the only emergency health facility in Belhaven, North Carolina, closed its doors earlier this July, barely anyone outside this coastal community took notice. But for the town’s mayor, Adam O’Neal, the shutdown was a matter of life and death.

“Our health and well-being depend on this hospital,” O’Neal said, as he was gearing up for a town council meeting.

Pungo Hospital provided health services to 25,000 people in two of North Carolina’s poorest counties, Beaufort and Hyde. Vidant Health, a nonprofit network that owns hospitals and clinics in eastern North Carolina, decided to replace Pungo with a 24/7 urgent care clinic offering treatment for minor illnesses and non-life threatening injuries. If the clinic cannot serve their needs, Belhaven residents will now have to travel 30 miles to the next closest hospital.

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