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Court rules wearing unearned military medals is free speech

wearing medals is free speechA U.S. federal appeals court tossed out a conviction of a veteran who wore unearned military decorations, saying it was a form of free speech protected under the Constitution.

The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals made the ruling on Monday in the case of United States of America v. Elven Joe Swisher.

in 2007, Swisher was convicted of violating the Stolen Valor Act, a measure outlawing false claims of military accomplishments. The law was signed by former President George W. Bush in 2006, but the Supreme Court struck it down in 2012 as a violation of the First Amendment.


Pentagon: 2 US Navy boats held by Iran but will be returned

US nave boats taken by IranTen sailors aboard two small Navy boats were taken into Iranian custody Tuesday, but Tehran gave assurances the crew and vessels would be promptly returned.

The two craft were en route from Kuwait to Bahrain when the military lost contact with the vessels, a U.S. military official who was not authorized to speak publicly about the incident told USA Today.


More than 100 people shot in Chicago in first 10 days of 2016

120 shot in chicago in first 10 day s of 20216More than 100 Chicagoans have been shot in the first 10 days of 2016 — a jarring figure three times more than last year.

At least 19 people were shot and killed between New Year’s Day and Monday morning, including someone gunned down just blocks away from the mayor’s home, the Chicago Tribune reported. Another 101 were injured by firearms.

Those shocking figures far surpass last year’s tally: During the same time period in 2015, nine people had been killed and 31 had been injured. By the end of the year, nearly 3,000 people had been shot.


Conservatives: No more Obama nominees

Senate Consdervatives: No more Obama appointeesOn Monday evening, something exceptional happened in the Senate: Lawmakers confirmed a Circuit Court judge nominated by President Barack Obama. Luis Felipe Restrepo of Pennsylvania became only the second Circuit Court judge approved in the past year, and the 12th federal judge overall, an approval rate slower than any time since 1969.

Now, conservatives are demanding that Restrepo — who had a critical booster in GOP Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania — be the last Obama nominee confirmed before the president leaves office.


Mobile clinics, medical teams needed in Madaya: WHO official tells Reuters

Madaya residents starvingThe World Health Organization has asked the Syrian government for permission to send mobile clinics and medical teams to the besieged town of Madaya to assess the extent of malnutrition and evacuate the worst cases, its representative said on Tuesday.

An aid convoy on Monday brought the first food and medical supplies for months to the town, where thousands are trapped and local doctors say some have starved to death.


Another setback for Canadian pipelines

Canadian pipelineThe provincial government of British Columbia said it did not support efforts by pipeline company Kinder Morgan to expand a regional crude oil network.

Kinder Morgan petitioned the federal Canadian government to expand the existing Trans Mountain pipeline network to triple its capacity to around 890,000 barrels of oil per day. The provincial government in British Columbia said it wasn't confident the company had done enough to address spill potential from the system.


Largest Milky Way age map shows how galaxy grew up

Milky WayAn international team of researchers have created the first comprehensive age map of the Milky Way Galaxy.

The map encodes age data from 70,000 stars and encompasses roughly half the galaxy, extending 50,000 light-years across from our solar system. The first map of such magnitude offers a visualization of the galaxy's growth over time.


High court: Florida death penalty system is unconstitutional

US Supreme CourtThe Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that Florida's system for sentencing people to death is unconstitutional because it gives too much power to judges — and not enough to juries — to decide capital sentences.

The 8-1 ruling said that the state's sentencing procedure is flawed because juries play only an advisory role in recommending death while the judge can reach a different decision.

The court sided with Timothy Lee Hurst, who was convicted of the 1998 murder of his manager at a Popeye's restaurant in Pensacola. A jury divided 7-5 in favor of death, but a judge imposed the sentence.


Report charts history of abuse at Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon sexual abuses reportedA new report by a federal watchdog outlines a history of harassment on river trips through Grand Canyon National Park in which male park employees allegedly propositioned female colleagues for sex, touched them inappropriately and made lewd comments.

The report obtained by The Associated Press comes after 13 current and former Grand Canyon employees filed a complaint in September 2014 saying women had been abused over 15 years. It was released Tuesday by the Department of the Interior's Office of Inspector General.


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