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Thursday, Nov 27th

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U.S. shuts down Silk Road 2.0 website, charges alleged owner

silk road 2.0U.S. authorities said Thursday they have shut down the successor website to Silk Road, an underground online drug marketplace, and charged its alleged operator with conspiracy to commit drug trafficking, computer hacking, money laundering and other crimes.

Blake Benthall, 26, was arrested on Wednesday in San Francisco and was expected to make an initial court appearance in federal court there later on Thursday.

The charges against Benthall carry a maximum sentence of life in prison.

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36 more priests named in new Chicago Archdiocese abuse files

36 priests accused of abuseThe Chicago Archdiocese released the files on 36 more priests accused of sexually abusing children Thursday morning, adding to a list of 30 other priests identified in January.

Cardinal Francis George said the voluntary release of the internal files, coming just two weeks before his retirement, is part of an effort to rebuild trust with the community.

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Feeding the homeless in Florida: Act of charity or a crime?

feeding the homelessDespite being charged with violating a new law by feeding the homeless in South Florida, 90-year-old Arnold Abbott said he's not deterred and even went back out to serve more food at a public park.

The faceoff in Fort Lauderdale over the ordinance restricting public feeding of the homeless has pitted those with compassionate aims against residents and businesses trying to protect their neighborhoods.

Abbott, affectionately known as "Chef Arnold," and two South Florida ministers were charged last weekend as they handed out food. They were accused of breaking the ordinance and each faces up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.

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Think helping to fight ISIS will get you off terrorist list? Think again

Kurdish Workers partyThe role of Syrian Kurds in the U.S.-led fight against the Islamic State has prompted calls for the removal of an affiliated Kurdish guerrilla group from the U.S. blacklist, bringing fresh scrutiny to a terrorist-designation process that some critics call arbitrary and outdated.

So far, the U.S. government’s response to the fighters of the Kurdish Workers Party, the PKK, could be summed up as: Thanks for the help, but you’re staying on the list.

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Amnesty International accuses Israel of war crimes

amnesty accuses Israel of war crimesAmnesty International on Wednesday accused Israel of committing war crimes during its 50-day military operation in Gaza this summer, saying Israeli forces had displayed "callous indifference" in attacks on family homes in the densely populated coastal strip. Israel's government dismissed the report, the latest in a series by human rights organizations questioning Israeli tactics in Gaza.

Israel's "Operation Protective Edge" left more than 2,100 Palestinians dead, the majority civilians, according to Palestinian and U.N. officials. Israel lost 66 soldiers and six civilians in the conflict. A number of human rights groups have since probed the question of war crimes in a conflict in which both sides struck civilian targets. Israeli authorities are reluctant to have their military actions under the scrutiny of international jurists, and threatened last month to abandon future talks with the Palestinian Authority should the Palestinian leadership carry out a threat to refer Israel to the International Criminal Court.

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Elections a 'bloodbath' for environmental policy, advocates say

pollutionJust days after a United Nations panel warned that failure to dramatically and quickly curb the burning of fossil fuels would do "irreversible damage" to the planet, the U.S. electorate on Tuesday voted in a Congress even more committed to the carbon status quo.

Controversial projects such as the Keystone XL pipeline enjoy strong backing by the Republican House and Senate leadership. Some newly elected politicians want gas and oil production boosted to turn America into "the next Saudi Arabia," and have questioned the existence of climate change.

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Texas oil town makes history as residents say no to fracking

Denton bans frackingThe Texas town where America’s oil and natural gas boom began has voted to ban fracking, in a stunning rebuke to the industry.

Denton, a college town on the edge of the Barnett Shale, voted by 59% to ban fracking inside the city limits, a first for any locality in Texas.

Organisers said they hoped it would give a boost to anti-fracking activists in other states. More than 15 million Americans now live within a mile of an oil or gas well.

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Alex Baer: Popping My Cork in Celebration

Popping a cork: Alex BaerFunny-peculiar (not funny-ha-ha) how often we humans get what we most fear.

Well, it's official, not that there was much doubt: A majority of the nation's voters are freewheeling into full-blown psychosis, handing off a fixing of the Senate to those who broke it in the first place, to those who moved heaven and earth to sit on their hands and do precisely nothing for years on end, save work on their skills with barricades, stalls, quashes, and stone-walling.

The pieces of our political system, the Senate-sized ones, be assured, will be pummeled and smashed into finer and finer bits -- the political version of road-gang prisoners making small rocks out of the big ones.

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'Odd' rodent-like skull could help crack mystery of when mammals emerged

Rodent-like skull discoveredScientists have found a complete mammal skull from the time of the dinosaurs – a remarkable find that might offer a window into the dawn of mammals on Earth.

Madagascar, long known for an bizarre assortment of dinosaurs and early mammals, has yielded up another unusual creature – one that could help researchers figure out how long mammals truly have trod the Earth.

An international team of scientists has uncovered a virtually complete skull of an animal they've named Vintana sertichi. Its traits place it within a group of mammals known as Gondwanatheria.

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