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Friday, Aug 22nd

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Fracking 'a huge load of hype', say Friends of the Earth

Fracking hypeThe government claims that tight restrictions in the new licences that have been made available to frack for shale gas across vast sheaths of the UK means areas of outstanding natural beauty and national parks will not be drilled, unless there are 'exceptional circumstances'.

A number of incentives to help kick-start the industry have also been included including tax breaks, payments of £100,000 per site plus a 1% share of revenue to local communities.

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Qatar World Cup stadium workers earn as little as 45p an hour

quatar migrantMigrant workers building the first stadium for Qatar's 2022 World Cup have been earning as little as 45p an hour, the Guardian can reveal.

The pay rate appears to be in breach of the tournament organisers' own worker welfare rules and comes despite the Gulf kingdom spending £134bn on infrastructure ahead of the competition.

More than 100 workers from some of the world's poorest countries are labouring in ferocious desert heat on the 40,000-seat al-Wakrah stadium, which has been designed by the British architect Zaha Hadid and is due to host a quarter-final.

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GOP Senate Candidate Caught Saying States Can Nullify Laws

GOP candidat : states can nullify“You know we have talked about this at the state legislature before, nullification. But, bottom line is, as U.S. Senator why should we be passing laws that the states are considering nullifying? Bottom line: our legislators at the federal level should not be passing those laws. We’re right…we’ve gone 200-plus years of federal legislators going against the Tenth Amendment’s states’ rights.

We are way overstepping bounds as federal legislators. So, bottom line, no we should not be passing laws as federal legislators—as senators or congressman—that the states would even consider nullifying. Bottom line.”

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China regulator announces anti-monopoly probe of Microsoft

China targets MicrosoftA Chinese regulator said on Tuesday it is conducting an anti-monopoly investigation into Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) over its Windows operating system, in the latest in a growing number of competition probes that have unnerved Western firms in China.

China's State Administration for Industry & Commerce (SAIC) was also investigating a Microsoft vice president and senior managers, and had made copies of the firm's financial statements and contracts, the agency said on its website.

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Israel bombs Gaza's only power plant as Netanyahu promises 'prolonged campaign'

Gaza power plant hitIsraeli missiles destroyed Gaza's only power station early Tuesday, the latest in the increasingly volatile conflict between the Israeli government and Hamas.

Hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned citizens the ongoing conflict against Palestine will be part of a long campaign against Hamas, Israel launched 76 strikes Monday into Tuesday, attacking Gaza's only source of electricity for 1.8 million Palestinians and targeting key pillars of infrastructure.

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A third of Americans delinquent on debt

Americans in debtMore than a third of the country is in trouble when it comes to paying debts on time; 35% of Americans have debt in collections, according to a study out Tuesday from the Urban Institute, which analyzed the credit files of 7 million Americans.

That means the debt is so far past due that the account has been closed and placed in collections. This typically happens after the bill hasn't been paid for 180 days. It also means the debt has been reported to credit bureaus and can affect someone's credit score.

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Exposing Monsanto: Herbicide Linked to Birth Defects - the Vitamin A Connection

MonsantoMonsanto's herbicide Roundup, with glyphosate as the primary ingredient, has recently been linked to a fatal kidney disease epidemic ravaging parts of Central America, India and Sri Lanka. A leading theory hypothesizes that complexes of glyphosate and heavy metals poison the kidney tubules.

El Salvador and Sri Lanka have adopted the precautionary principle and taken action to ban the herbicide. In the United States, glyphosate is coming up for review by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in late 2014. Monsanto claims a low risk to human health, but the research is showing something very different. Will these health concerns be enough for the EPA to put restrictions on the herbicide - or to ban it altogether?

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Obama to 'unlock' cellphone rights: How free will you be?

lockinh cellphoneA bill passed by Congress and waiting to be signed by President Obama represents a big win for consumers, who have long sought ability to "unlock" cellphones – allowing them to be used on any carrier's plan. But it does not mark the end of the battle and could be only a temporary victory.

The issue may seem obvious on its face: If consumers buy phones, why should a telecom giant be able to tell them how to use it? But the Library of Congress backed the patent office in 2012, saying that most unlocking amounted to illegal tampering according to US copyright law.

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Appeals Court Strikes Down Virginia's Gay Marriage Ban

Virginia gay marriageThe U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit ruled Monday that Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

The 2-1 ruling upheld a previous decision issued earlier this year by a Virginia district court, which struck down the state's ban on gay marriages.

"Virginia has failed to advance a compelling state interest justifying its definition of marriage as between only a man and a woman," reads the ruling. "Virginia's laws declining to recognize same-sex marriage infringe the fundamental right to marriage and are therefore unconstitutional."

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