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Saturday, Jan 31st

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Charges filed against mayor in kidnapping of 43 students in Mexico

Mexico mayor indicctedThe former mayor of the city of Iguala in southwestern Mexico has been charged with last year’s kidnapping of 43 students who are feared to have been killed, a top security official said on Tuesday.

The charges come amid intense pressure on Mexico's president, Enrique Peña Nieto, to take action in the case. He faces the deepest crisis of his administration over the government’s handling of the investigation, and anger over the case spurred sometimes violent demonstrations around the country late last year. In the U.S., activists called on President Barack Obama to withdraw support for Peña Nieto and criticized him for not broaching the issue publicly during Peña Nieto's recent visit to the White House.

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France arrests 54 for defending terror; announces crackdown

charlie Hebdo sells out 3 million copiesFrance ordered prosecutors around the country to crack down on hate speech, anti-Semitism and glorifying terrorism, announcing Wednesday that 54 people had been arrested for those offenses since terror attacks left 20 dead in Paris last week, including three gunmen.

The order came as Charlie Hebdo's defiant new issue sold out before dawn around Paris, with scuffles at kiosks over dwindling copies of the satirical newspaper that fronted the Prophet Muhammad anew on its cover.

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Confusion, pressure around burial of Jewish Paris victims

Parisian Jews buried in JerusalemAmid reports of confusion over the burial of the four Jewish men killed in last week’s Paris terror attack, Religious Services Minister Naftali Bennett overturned Tuesday evening the decision to charge the families NIS 50,000 ($12,500) for each burial.

Bennett and Deputy Minister Eli Ben-Dahan announced that the ministry would cover the costs.  But the decision came after days of confusion over the funerals, Haaretz reported.

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New Jersey Muslims seek new ruling on NYPD mass surveillance program

NJ Moslems want new surveillance guidaelinesThe 11 plaintiffs in the Hasan v City of New York case are a diverse group: an Iraq war veteran, university students, a coalition of mosques, and the head of a religious school for girls. All are united by their Muslim faith, their residency in New Jersey and the fact they were targeted by the New York Police Department in a mass surveillance program that their attorneys argue was both indiscriminate and unconstitutional.

On Tuesday the US court of appeals will hear arguments over whether the 11 have the right to challenge the program in court. Last February the New Jersey district court dismissed the case in a controversial ruling. Justice William Martini found that the “motive of the [surveillance] program was not solely to discriminate against Muslims, but rather to find Muslim terrorists hiding among among ordinary, law-abiding Muslims”.

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New clout for Warren mind-set: Treasury nominee with Wall Street ties bows out

Elizabeth WarrenA New York banker has withdrawn from being considered for a top US Treasury position, after coming under pressure in an era of heightened concern about the political influence of Wall Street.

As Antonio Weiss bows out of consideration, it’s a symbolic victory for Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) of Massachusetts and others seeking to limit banker clout. She vocally opposed his nomination by President Obama to be the Treasury’s undersecretary for domestic finance.

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Nigeria's Horror in Paris's Shadow

Nigeria horrorAs many as a million people, joined by 40 world leaders, filled the streets of Paris on Sunday in solidarity after two separate terrorist attacks claimed 17 innocent lives last week. The day before, more than 3,000 miles to the south, a girl believed to be around 10 approached the entrance to a crowded market in Maiduguri, a city of some 1 million in Nigeria's Borno State.

As a security guard inspected her, the girl detonated explosives strapped to her body, killing herself and at least 19 others. Dozens more were injured.

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GOP senators move to block Gitmo closing

GOP Senators block Gitmo closingKey Senate Republicans on Tuesday unveiled legislation that would effectively block President Barack Obama from fulfilling his pledge to close the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, before he leaves office in two years.

The legislation from Sens. Kelly Ayotte, John McCain, Richard Burr and Lindsey Graham would prohibit for two years the transfer of detainees designated medium- or high-risk to the United States. It would also ban transfers to Yemen, where dozens of the 127 remaining Guantanamo detainees are from.

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Opponents Of LGBT Protections Forged Signatures Or Everyone In Houston Has The Same Handwriting

HoustonNext week, a judge will begin hearing arguments over the validity of conservatives’ petition seeking to overturn Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), a law that would protect LGBT people and other groups from discrimination but has yet to take effect because of these legal challenges.

The city of Houston rejected the signatures last year on technical grounds; many full pages of signatures could not be accepted because they were not filled out properly by petition circulators as city law dictates. Evidence has now surfaced suggesting that some of the signatures may have also been forged.

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9th Earthquake Rattles Eastern Connecticut

Connecticut earthquakesPlainfield police have received more phone calls reporting an earthquake this morning, the ninth to rattle the area since last Thursday.

The Weston Observatory at Boston College is recording a magnitude 2.1 earthquake and they are calling it an aftershock. Police said they heard a boom and felt the ground shake a little.

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