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Wednesday, Mar 04th

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Arson eyed in Houston-area mosque fire

mosque arson HoustonA Houston mosque and educational center suffered a severe fire Friday morning, and investigators are trying to piece together what happened, with members of the religious community saying the fire was set on purpose.

The fire started at about 5:30 a.m. in the back of the Quba Islamic Institute in southeast Houston, completely destroying the rear section of the building. No one was injured in the blaze, fire officials said. The facility was closed, according to the Houston Chronicle.

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Governor John Kitzhaber announces his resignation

oregon governor resignsGov. John Kitzhaber resigned office Friday amid allegations of criminal wrongdoing, almost exactly one month after being sworn in for an unprecedented fourth term. Secretary of State Kate Brown will replace him.

His resignation is effective Wednesday, he said Friday in a letter.

"It is not in my nature to walk away from a job I have undertaken," his resignation letter said. "It is to stand and fight for the cause. For that reason I apologize to all those people who gave of their faith, time, energy and resources to elect me to a fourth term last year and who have supported me over the past three decades. I promise you that I will continue to pursue our shared goals and our common cause in another venue."

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Another Argentine prosecutor says will pursue case against president

Cristina Fernández de KirchnerThe investigation into accusations that Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez tried to cover up Iran's alleged involvement in a 1994 bombing will go forward despite the death last month of the prosecutor on the case, authorities said on Friday.

Alberto Nisman was found dead in mysterious circumstances on Jan. 18, a day before he was due to face questions in Congress over his 289-page complaint against the president and her foreign minister, Hector Timerman.

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‘Megadrought’ Coming to U.S.

madrought coming to USThe long and severe drought in the U.S. Southwest pales in comparison with what’s coming: a “megadrought” that will grip that region and the central Plains later this century and probably stay there for decades, a new study says.

Thirty-five years from now, if the current pace of climate change continues unabated, those areas of the country will experience a weather shift that will linger for as long as three decades, according to the study, released Thursday.

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George W. Bush Is Intervening in Iraq—Again

GW BushLate in the evening of Sunday, January 18, an eleven-member delegation of tribal leaders from Iraq’s western Anbar Province arrived in Washington, D.C. Just as their plane was touching down, Islamic State units back in Iraq attacked the compound of one of the delegation’s senior leaders, Sheik Ahmed Abu Risha, killing nine Iraqi police officers and wounding 28 of the sheik’s guards. A nearby Iraqi military unit failed to respond to repeated calls for help.

The brutal attack underscored the purpose of the Anbar delegation’s visit: The tribal leaders believed that they could defeat the Islamic State—but only if the Obama administration would agree to ship them weapons directly, bypassing Iraq’s untrustworthy Ministry of Defense.

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Military approves hormone therapy for Chelsea Manning

Chelsea ManningIn a first for the Army, Chelsea Manning, the convicted national-security secrets leaker, has been approved for hormone therapy for transition to a woman at the Army's Fort Leavenworth prison, according to a memo obtained Thursday by USA TODAY.

Manning remains a soldier as well as an inmate.

"After carefully considering the recommendation that (hormone treatment) is medically appropriate and necessary, and weighing all associated safety and security risks presented, I approve adding (hormone treatment) to Inmate Manning's treatment plan," Col. Erica Nelson, the commandant of the Fort Leavenworth Disciplinary Barracks in Kansas, wrote in a Feb. 5 memo.

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Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf halts death penalty

Gov. of Pa.halts death penaltyTewly elected Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has imposed a moratorium on the death penalty in the state, calling the current system of capital punishment "error-prone, expensive and anything but infallible."

Wolf said Friday the moratorium will remain in effect at least until he receives a report from a legislative commission that's been studying the topic for about four years.

Pennsylvania has 183 men and three women on death row

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At least 19 killed in attack on Shi'ite mosque in Pakistan

mosque blast in PakistanAt least 19 people were killed on Friday in the Pakistani city of Peshawar in a gun and bomb attack on a Shi'ite mosque, the latest sectarian violence to hit the South Asian nation.

Radical Sunni Islamist groups often target mosques frequented by minority Shi'ites, whom they see as infidels.

Police said armed men broke into the mosque, where people were attending Friday prayers, and opened fire, following which three explosions were heard inside the building.

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Nearly two dozen Marines injured in training exercise

Marines injured in training accidentMilitary officials say 22 Marines have been treated for exposure to fire retardant gas at a Southern California desert base after an extinguishing system accidentally went off in an assault vehicle during a training exercise.

Base spokesman Dave Marks says an equipment malfunction caused the release of halon Thursday afternoon at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms. There was no fire or explosion.

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