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Thursday, Oct 23rd

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Glaciers Lose 204 Billion Tons of Ice in Three Years

Glaciers losing iceAntarctica is losing so much mass that it’s actually changing Earth’s gravity.

Antarctica is famously a continent capped with ice, but as Earth’s climate changes and the polar regions get warmer, its ancient ice is beginning to melt. The immediate consequence of the melting is the growing instability of ice shelves, places where the ice covering extends into the ocean. However, if we really want to know how quickly Antarctica is losing ice, we need a way of measuring that loss in terms of total mass.

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Hong Kong protesters defiant as deadline approaches

Hong Kong protestsAhead of a Hong Kong government deadline to clear occupied streets, some pro-democracy protesters began moving Sunday evening to the central area of their multivenue civil disobedience campaign.

Other protesters refused to leave their sit-in camps, the South China Morning Post reported.

The city's embattled leader, Leung Chun-ying, has warned that police will "take all necessary actions" to clear occupied streets by Monday, to allow government workers to return to work and affected schools to reopen. The mass civil disobedience campaign, launched Sept. 28 after a week of student class boycotts, has paralyzed several key commercial districts.

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HHS adds four new substances to carcinogens list

CigarettesFour new substances have been added to the official federal list of carcinogens, which is updated each year by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Carcinogens are substances -- chemical, biological, and physical agents -- implicated in the direct causation of cancer, either by damaging the body's genome or altering cellular metabolism.

Of the four new substances, only one is classified as a "known human carcinogen." The other three were given the qualified classification of "reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogens."

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Can this coal plant stop climate change?

Canadian coal plantWhat if you could have all the energy benefits of cheap, plentiful coal, without the planet-warming gases it emits into the atmosphere?  

That dream got a boost Thursday, as Canada’s Boundary Dam plant became the world’s first large-scale coal power plant to capture and store its carbon emissions. The $1.2 billion SaskPower project aims to capture 90 percent of the Estevan, Sask. plant’s emissions, or about 100,000 tons of carbon dioxide a year. That’s the equivalent of removing 250,000 cars from the road, according to the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute.

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Robert Parry: Eyes Finally Open to Syrian Realities

AssadIn late summer 2013, Official Washington was rushing to the judgment that the “evil” Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had launched a barrage of missiles tipped with Sarin gas to slaughter hundreds of civilians in rebel-held neighborhoods near Damascus.

It was inconceivable to virtually every person who “mattered” in Washington that there was any other interpretation of the events on Aug. 21, 2013. Washington Post national security columnist David Ignatius even explained the “big picture” reason why President Barack Obama needed to launch punitive bomb strikes against Assad’s government for crossing Obama’s “red line” against using chemical weapons.

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British hostage David Bolam freed in Libya

David bolamBritish teacher David Bolam has been released after being held hostage by militants in Libya since May.

The Foreign Office said Mr Bolam, who teaches at the International School Benghazi, was "safe and well" and had been reunited with his family.

His kidnapping had not been reported at the request of the Foreign Office and his family.

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New York moves to limit federal deportations of undocumented immigrants

NYC deportationsA proposed New York City law would allow officials to decline requests by U.S. immigration authorities to detain immigrants for deportation proceedings unless a warrant is issued by a federal judge.

Even then, the city would only approve a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention request if the individual has been convicted of a violent or serious crime within the past five years.

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Flag that flew over U.S. Capitol on 9/11 destroyed in memorial fire

Flag destroyed in fireThe flag that flew over the U.S. Capitol on Sept. 11, 2001, was destroyed in a fire at a 9/11 memorial complex in Pennsylvania, authorities said Saturday.

In addition to the American flag, also lost in the fire were personal items of the passengers and crew members who were on board United Airlines Flight 93 when it went down in a field as one of four hijackings by al Qaeda militants on Sept. 11, 2001, the National Park Service said in a statement Saturday.

About 100 'tribute' items left by visitors to honor the passengers and crew killed in the crash were also destroyed by the fire, the park service said.

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Jean-Claude ‘Baby Doc’ Duvalier dead at 63

baby Dic Ducalier diesJean-Claude-Duvalier, the self-proclaimed “president for life” of Haiti whose corrupt and brutal regime in the 1970s and 1980s sparked a popular uprising that sent him into a 25-year exile, died Saturday of a heart attack, his lawyer said.

Reynold George said the former leader died at his home. He was 63.

Duvalier, looking somewhat frail, made a surprise return to Haiti in 2011, allowing victims of his regime to pursue legal claims against him and prompting some old allies to rally around him. Neither side gained much support, and the once-feared dictator known as “Baby Doc” spent his late years in relative obscurity in the leafy hills above the Haitian capital.

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