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Sunday, Apr 19th

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Sarah Thomas to become NFL's first female full-time official

Sara ThomasSarah Thomas never viewed herself as a pioneer even now that she is poised to break the gender barrier as the NFL's first permanent woman official.

Thomas, who worked preseason games and the New Orleans Saints minicamp this past spring as a line judge, will become the league's first full-time female official during the 2015 season, a person familiar with her ground-breaking hiring told USA TODAY Sports.

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After Iraqi forces take Tikrit, a wave of looting and lynching

Looting and lynching i TakritOn April 1, the city of Tikrit was liberated from the extremist group Islamic State. The Shi'ite-led central government and allied militias, after a month-long battle, had expelled the barbarous Sunni radicals.  Then, some of the liberators took revenge.

Near the charred, bullet-scarred government headquarters, two federal policemen flanked a suspected Islamic State fighter. Urged on by a furious mob, the two officers took out knives and repeatedly stabbed the man in the neck and slit his throat. The killing was witnessed by two Reuters correspondents.

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Oklahoma deputy 'inadvertently' shot, killed suspect

Eric Harris shot by deputyA 73-year-old undercover Tulsa County reserve deputy "inadvertently" shot and killed a suspect instead of using a non-lethal stun gun during a bust, investigator said.

Robert Charles Bates, a Tulsa insurance executive who was working undercover with the county's Violent Crimes Task Force, told investigators he thought he was grabbing his non-lethal Taser to take down Eric Courtney Harris. Instead, Bates used his pistol. Harris was taken to the hospital, where he later died. Bates was placed on administrative leave.

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AP investigation prompts emergency rescue of 300 plus slaves

fishermen slaves freedAt first the men filtered in, by twos and threes, hearing whispers of a possible rescue.

Then, as the news rippled around the island, hundreds of weathered former and current slaves streamed out, many with long, greasy hair and tattoos. They came from trawlers and villages, even out of the jungle, running toward what they had only dreamed of for years: Freedom.

"I will go see my parents. They haven't heard from me, and I haven't heard from them since I left," said Win Win Ko, 42, who's been gone from Myanmar for four years. His smile revealed a mouthful of missing teeth, kicked out by the Thai captain on his fishing boat with military boots, he said, because Win was not moving fish fast enough from the deck to the hold below.

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Rwanda and Israel discuss contracts-for-refugees deal

Eritreans in IsraelIsrael and Rwanda are discussing a deal in which the East African nation would take in illegal migrants from the Jewish state in exchange for favorable contracts.

Under the proposed agreement, which has come under scrutiny by human rights organizations, Israel would send hundreds of Eritrean and Sudanese nationals, many of them asylum-seekers, to Rwanda in return for favorable deals that include millions of dollars in grants, The East African reported Friday.

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North Dakota GOP governor wants ban on anti-gay discrimination

North Dakota governorNorth Dakota’s Republican governor on Thursday said state lawmakers missed an opportunity to protect gays and lesbians from discrimination when they failed for the third time in six years to pass a measure that would prohibit bias in housing and employment based on sexual orientation.

“Discrimination based on an individual’s sexual orientation is not acceptable,” Gov. Jack Dalrymple said in a statement issued after the North Dakota Legislature killed the proposal.

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With First Nationwide Fracking Law, Germany Approaches A Ban

German fracking banOn Wednesday, the German cabinet approved the country’s first nationwide fracking law, which would set the “strictest conditions for fracking” according to Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks.

The law, which now heads to parliament for debate, would ban fracking in specified regions “to protect drinking water, health and the environment,” according to the environment and energy ministries. The draft law would ban the use of hydraulic fracturing for drilling processes that are shallower than 3,000 meters, or almost 10,000 feet, and any fracking in nature reserves or national parks.

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Long-Awaited ‘Jump’ In Global Warming Now Appears ‘Imminent’

climate changeWe may be witnessing the start of the long-awaited jump in global temperatures. There is “a vast and growing body of research,” as Climate Central explained in February. “Humanity is about to experience a historically unprecedented spike in temperatures.”

A March study, “Near-term acceleration in the rate of temperature change,” makes clear that an actual acceleration in the rate of global warming is imminent — with Arctic warming rising a stunning 1°F per decade by the 2020s.

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As Quakes Rattle Oklahoma, Fingers Point to Oil and Gas Industry

Oklahoma quakesYanked without warning from a deep sleep, Jennifer Lin Cooper, whose family has lived near here for more than a half-century, could think only that the clamor enveloping her house was coming from a helicopter landing on her roof. She was wrong

A 5.0-magnitude earthquake — the first of three as strong or stronger over several days in November 2011 — had peeled the brick facade from the $117,000 home she bought the year before. Ms. Cooper could not get out until her father pried a stuck storm door off the front entrance. Earthquake repairs have so far cost $12,000 and forced her to take a second job, at night, to pay the bill.

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