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Monday, Sep 01st

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Judge upholds North Carolina voter law for 2014 elections

North Carolia voter lawNorth Carolina's November election can be held under a new voting law approved by Republican lawmakers, a federal judge ruled Friday. The law is considered one of the toughest in the nation and the groups challenging it say it will suppress minority voter turnout.

U.S. District Court Judge Thomas D. Schroeder denied a motion seeking to hold the November vote under old rules, saying the groups failed to show they would suffer "irreparable harm."

"In the absence of the clear showing for preliminary relief required by the law, it is inappropriate for a federal court to enjoin a state law passed by duly-elected representatives," wrote the judge, who was appointed to the federal bench by Republican President George W. Bush.

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Oregon wildfire threatens 740 homes as residents told to evacuate

Oregon wildfiresAuthorities say the wildfire burning in Oregon’s wind-swept Columbia River Gorge has destroyed a home, damaged two others and is threatening 740 more.

Residents of more than 140 homes have been told to evacuate and nearly 600 households have been put on alert in the community of Rowena near The Dalles. The basalt walls of the gorge east of Portland funnel winds that draw wind surfers from afar, but what’s good for recreation gives firefighters fits.

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WHO declares Ebola epidemic an international health emergency

WHO declards Ebola epidemicWest Africa's Ebola epidemic is an "extraordinary event" and now constitutes an international health risk, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.

The Geneva-based U.N. health agency said the possible consequences of a further international spread of the outbreak, which has killed almost 1,000 people in four West African countries, were "particularly serious" in view of the virulence of the virus.

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A Few Bold Members Of Congress Join Fight Against Long-Standing Anti-Abortion Policy

Barbara LeeLawmakers who support abortion rights have long fought against policies that restrict women's access to the procedure, such as gestational limits, mandatory waiting periods and physical building requirements on clinics. But one federal anti-abortion policy has remained virtually untouchable for nearly four decades: the Hyde amendment.

The amendment, which prevents federal funds from being used to pay for abortion, has been passed as an attachment to federal budget bills since 1976. The legislation mainly prevents Medicaid recipients from receiving abortion coverage, except in cases of rape and incest or life endangerment, and it has been repeatedly approved by a bipartisan majority in Congress. Democrats often point to the policy as an assurance that no taxpayer funds are being used to pay for abortions, in response to the claim commonly made by anti-abortion activists.

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U.S. airstrikes underway in Iraq, destroying Islamic State artillery

US hits ISISThe Pentagon confirmed Friday that the U.S. military has begun "targeted" airstrikes against Islamic State terrorists in northern Iraq.

Around 6:45 a.m. EDT on Friday, two U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornet strike fighter jets dropped 500 lb. laser-guided bombs on militant artillery used by the IS (also known as ISIS and ISIL). The strike was launched against an unspecified area near the Kurdish capital of Erbil.

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Rohingya children in Myanmar camps going hungry

Rohingya children starvingBorn just over a year ago, Dosmeda Bibi has spent her entire short life confined to a camp for one of the world's most persecuted religious minorities. And like a growing number of other Rohingya children who are going hungry, she's showing the first signs of severe malnutrition.

Her stomach is bloated and her skin clings tightly to the bones of her tiny arms and legs. While others her age are sitting or standing, the baby girl cannot flip from her back to her stomach without a gentle nudge from her mom.

"I'm scared she won't live much longer," whispers Hameda Begum as she gazes into her daughter's dark, sunken eyes. "We barely have any food. On some days I can only scrape together a few bites of rice for her to eat."

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Israel, Hamas resume fire after 3-day Gaza truce

truce endsGaza militants resumed rocket attacks on Israel on Friday, refusing to extend a three-day truce after Egyptian-brokered talks between Israel and Hamas on a new border deal for blockaded Gaza hit a deadlock.

Israel responded with a series of airstrikes, including one that killed a 10-year-old boy and wounded five children near a Gaza City mosque, Palestinian officials said. Two Israelis were wounded by rocket fire, police said.

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Obama Authorizes Targeted Airstrikes, Humanitarian Aid In Iraq

ObamaPresident Barack Obama announced Thursday night he had authorized the Pentagon to launch targeted airstrikes if needed to protect Americans from Islamic militants in northern Iraq and help Iraqi security forces protect civilians under siege, threatening to revive U.S. military involvement in the country's long sectarian war.

In a televised late-night statement from the White House, Obama also said American military forces had already carried out airdrops of humanitarian aid to tens of thousands of Iraqi religious minorities desperately in need of food and water.

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Impoundments Leaking: Breaking News Reinforces Three Major Reports on Fracking

Frackign studiesFinally, possibly feeling some sting from the thrashing given it recently by Pennsylvania’s Auditor General, Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) has done a little tiny something.

They have issued one (one!) Notice of Violation to Range Resources, one of the most polluting fracking companies known to Pennsylvania and Texas combined. Apparently, the persistent leaks from Range’s fracking wastewater impoundments became too much for even DEP to continue to overlook.

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