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Sunday, Dec 21st

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Secret showdown in CIA leak case

CIAProsecutors and defense lawyers in the case of a former CIA officer accused of leaking top-secret information to a New York Times reporter had a secret showdown in federal court recently over what to do about a half-dozen prosecution witnesses whose own employment records show violations of the rules and arguably even the laws governing handling of classified information.

The six witnesses set to testify against alleged leaker Jeffrey Sterling took secret documents home themselves without authorization, according to a recent court filing.

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That Takeout Coffee Cup May Be Messing With Your Hormones

BPA free plastic also toxicMost people know that some plastics additives, such as bisphenol A (BPA), may be harmful to their health. But an upcoming study in the journal Environmental Health finds that entire classes of plastics—including the type commonly referred to as styrofoam and a type used in many baby products—may wreak havoc on your hormones regardless of what additives are in them.

The study's authors tested 14 different BPA-free plastic resins, the raw materials used to make plastic products, and found that four of them released chemicals that mimic the female hormone estrogen. That's not surprising.

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Palestinian woman shot by security forces after 'lightly' knifing Israeli man

palestinian woman shotIsraeli security forces were credited Monday with stopping a knife-wielding assailant near a cluster of Jewish settlements in the Gush Etzion junction.

The incident occurred when an unidentified young Palestinian woman stabbed an Israeli citizen for unknown reasons. Israeli soldiers opened fire on the woman. "Security forces overcame the suspect and transferred her for further medical assistance," the IDF wrote via Twitter.

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U.S. Air Force pilot killed in crash in Middle East

f-16A U.S. Air Force pilot was killed when an F-16 crashed while returning to its base in the Middle East.

The U.S. Central Command, which is in charge of American military operations in the Mideast, said the fighter jet crashed in a non-combat incident late Sunday night while going back to its base shortly after takeoff.

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Hong Kong protesters force closure of government

Hong Kong protestersThousands of Hong Kong pro-democracy activists forced the temporary closure of government headquarters on Monday after clashing with police, defying orders to retreat after more than two months of sustained protests in the Chinese-controlled city.

The democracy movement represents one of the biggest threats for China's Communist Party leadership since Beijing's bloody 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy student protests in and around Tiananmen Square.

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In GMO labeling fight, all eyes on Vermont as suit could set precedent

gmo labelingFood activists and the industry are looking to a court case between Vermont and a major food distribution association as a bellwether for the future of genetically modified foods.

In May, the state legislature voted to require food containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to be labeled as such. If the law goes into effect in 2016, Vermont will become the first state to require such labeling. But first it will have to stand up in federal court: the Grocery Manufacturers Association, which is funded by a coalition of companies including Coca-Cola, Unilever, Starbucks and Monsanto, along with three other industry groups, sued the state shortly after the law passed.

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US cities making it harder to feed the homeless

US cities making it harder to feed homelessFor a lot of people in the United States, Thanksgiving includes volunteering: either filling up a bag of non-perishable food items for a food drive, or volunteering, or sending donations to food banks or hunger charities like Feeding America. If you haven’t, you certainly know someone who has.

And yet a growing array of communities seem intent on making it harder for many of these organizations to serve the still-high homeless population in cities across the United States.

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Fracking risk compared to thalidomide and asbestos: UK Chief Scientist

Fracking dangefrsFracking carries potential risks on a par with those from thalidomide, tobacco and asbestos, warns a report produced by the government’s chief scientific adviser.

The flagship annual report by the UK’s chief scientist, Mark Walport, argues that history holds many examples of innovations that were adopted hastily and later had serious negative environmental and health impacts.

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Online Education: Private companies want to scoop up your child's data.

Online education run amokMassive open online courses, first envisioned as a way to democratize higher education, have made their way into high schools, but Washington is powerless to stop the flood of personal data about teenage students from flowing to private companies, thanks to loopholes in federal privacy laws.

Universities and private companies this fall unveiled a slew of free, open-access online courses to high school students, marketing them as a way for kids to supplement their Advanced Placement coursework or earn a certificate of completion for a college-level class.

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