Monday, Nov 30th

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Mass grave of Yazidis in Iraq tells horror story

Mass grave of Yazidis in IraqA few thousand people once lived in this tiny Iraqi village 270 miles north of Baghdad. Today, it is a ghost town with few signs of life — and a mass grave nearby where members of the Yazidi sect were slaughtered by Islamic State militants.

It is one of 11 mass graves discovered in northern Iraq by Kurdish residents who fear other undiscovered burial sites exist  in neighboring Syria. Those graves have yet to be unearthed because their locations are under Islamic State control.


Walmart workers group plans 15-day protest leading to Black Friday

walmart workers set to walk outA Wal-Mart Stores Inc worker group that has pushed the retailer to raise pay and benefits is launching a 15-day protest leading up to Black Friday to rekindle the fight for a $15 per hour minimum wage and more opportunities to work full time.

The retailer has been a major target of the national movement to increase wages, and its decision earlier this year to raise wages to $9 an hour has rippled through the retail industry. Walmart has said the wage increase was not a response to the protests but an effort to improve conditions.


HUD proposal would ban smoking in 1M households

HUD ban on smoking in public housingA proposed rule to make U.S. public housing smoke-free could affect nearly 1 million households and require more than 3,100 housing agencies to enforce smoking bans.

Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro and Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy announced the proposal Thursday in Alexandria, Va. It calls for a ban on lit tobacco products in and around all public housing residences.


NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake: ‘I’ve had to create a whole new life’

Thomas DrakeFive years after becoming the first American to be charged for espionage in nearly four decades, Thomas Drake is still trying to rebuild his life.

In 2010, Drake, a senior executive with the National Security Agency from 2001 to 2008, was indicted by the Obama administration for leaking classified information under the Espionage Act after speaking out on secret mass surveillance programs, multibillion-dollar fraud and intelligence failures from 9/11.


Dozens killed, many injured as twin suicide blasts rock southern Beirut

Suicide bombs in southern BeirutTwin suicide attacks in a Shia suburb in southern Beirut have killed at least 41 people and injured more than 200 others on Thursday, the Lebanese health minister says.

Security officials say the explosions occurred in Ain el Sikkeh, next to the Burj el-Barajneh Palestinian refugee camp. The area, located off a main highway leading to Beirut's airport, is a well-known commercial and residential area in the capital's southern suburbs.


Judge denies new trial bid for ex-US guards in Iraq shooting

Contractors denied new trialA federal judge won't give a new trial to four former security contractors convicted in a mass shooting of Iraqi civilians in 2007.

U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth denied the request in an order dated Tuesday, saying the "weight of evidence is heavily against the men."

The guards — State Department contractors for the Blackwater Worldwide security firm — were convicted last year in federal court and given long prison sentences in April.


US troops didn't have eyes on Afghan hospital before attack

US troops did not eye Agfghan hospitalImmediately after the U.S. killed at least 30 people in a devastating airstrike on a charity hospital, Afghanistan's national security adviser told a European diplomat his country would take responsibility because "we are without doubt, 100 percent convinced the place was occupied by Taliban," according to notes of the meeting reviewed by The Associated Press.

More than a month later, no evidence has emerged to support that assertion. Eyewitnesses tell the AP they saw no gunmen at the hospital.

Instead, there are mounting indications the U.S. military relied heavily on Afghan allies who resented the internationally run Doctors Without Borders hospital, which treated Afghan security forces and Taliban alike but says it refused to admit armed men.


Fracking Boom Bonus: Oklahoma Now No. 1 in Earthquakes

Oklahoma first in earthquakesOklahoma may be only No. 12 in college football this year, but the Sooner State is now No. 1 in earthquakes.

A spokesperson for the Oklahoma Corporation Commission — a regulatory body tasked with ensuring the safety of oil and gas exploration in the state — told the Enid Rotary Club that Oklahoma now experiences more earthquakes than anywhere else on planet Earth.

"We have had 15 [earthquakes] in Medford since 5 o'clock Saturday morning," spokesman Matt Skinner said Monday, according to the Enid News. “We’ve got an earthquake issue.”


Earth-like world could be 'most important planet found outside solar system'

earth-like worldA rocky Earth-sized planet that circles a small, nearby star could be the most important world ever found beyond the solar system, astronomers say.

The planet lies in the constellation of Vela in the southern sky and is close enough for telescopes to observe any atmosphere it has, a procedure that could help spot life on other planets in the future.


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