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Thursday, Jul 31st

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Hundreds protest US plans to export fracked gas

Stop fracked gas exportsHundreds of protesters marched Sunday in Washington, D.C., to show their opposition to a planned natural gas export terminal in Maryland that would ship gas fracked in the United States overseas to Asia.

The Stop Fracked Gas Exports rally, backed by more than 40 environmental groups, called on the U.S. Department of Energy and the Federal Energy Regulations Committee (FERC) to halt final approval of a port they say will endanger local health and safety.

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Pope Francis: 1 in 50 clergy are pedophiles

Pedophiles in VaticanOne in 50  clerics are pedophiles, Pope Francis said in an interview published Sunday, in which he also hinted that the mandate of priestly celibacy may one day be lifted.

Francis condemned child sex abuse as a "leprosy" in the Church and cited his aides as saying that "the level of pedophilia in the Church is at two percent." That figure includes priests "and even bishops and cardinals," Italy's La Repubblica daily quoted Francis as saying.

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The Tea Party Isn’t a Political Movement, It’s a Religious One

Tea PartyObama is the Antichrist, Republicans are heretics, and compromise is unholy. Politics can’t explain how the right acts.

America has long been the incubator of many spiritual creeds going back to the Great Awakening and even earlier. Only one of them, Mormonism, has taken root and flourished as a true religion sprung from our own native ground. Today, however, we have a new faith growing from this nation’s soil: the Tea Party. Despite its secular trappings and “taxed enough already” motto, it is a religious movement, one grounded in the traditions of American spiritual revival. This religiosity explains the Tea Party’s political zealotry.

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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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