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Tuesday, Sep 23rd

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Florida court shuts down diploma mill business at request of federal regulators

diploma fraudA U.S. District Court in Florida on Friday shut down a diploma mill business that federal regulators say earned more than $11 million selling fake high school diplomas online.

The court’s order, which came in response to a lawsuit filed by the Federal Trade Commission, puts a temporary stop to business operations of Diversified Educational Resources LLC, based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Motivational Management & Development Services Ltd., based in Nogales, Ariz. Owners of both companies _ Maria T. Garcia and Alexander Wolfram _ also are named as defendants in the lawsuit.

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Officials: 706 babies, 43 employees exposed to tuberculosis at El Paso hospital

Robert RensendesHealth officials said that 706 babies from El Paso, New Mexico and Mexico who were born at Providence Memorial Hospital might have been exposed to tuberculosis.

In addition to the babies, 43 employees also might have been exposed to the disease, officials said Friday at a news conference at the city's Department of Public Health. Officials said the hospital delivers about 3,000 children a year.

The source of the potential exposure was a health care worker at the hospital who was found to have an active case of the disease, health officials said.

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US will not commit to climate change aid for poor nations at UN summit

Climate changeBarack Obama will not be pledging any cash to a near-empty fund for poor countries at a United Nations summit on climate change next week, the UN special climate change envoy said on Friday.

The UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, has challenged the 125 world leaders attending the 23 September summit to make “bold pledges” to the fund, intended to help poor countries cope with climate change.

The UN has been pressing rich countries to come up with pledges of between $10bn and $15bn.

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Sierra Leone's Capital At Standstill As 3-Day Ebola Lockdown Begins

FreetownStreets in the capital of Sierra Leone were deserted on Friday as the West African state began a contested, three-day lockdown in a bid to halt the worst Ebola outbreak on record.

President Ernest Bai Koroma urged people to heed the emergency measures as health workers, some clad in protective biohazard suits, went house to house, checking on residents and marking each doorway they visited with chalk.

Radio stations played Ebola awareness jingles on repeat and encouraged residents to stay indoors.

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Turkey secures release of hostages held by Islamic State

Hostages released to TurkeyTurkish intelligence agents brought 46 hostages seized by Islamic State militants in northern Iraq back to Turkey on Saturday after more than three months in captivity, in what President Tayyip Erdogan described as a covert rescue operation.

Security sources told Reuters the hostages had been released overnight in the town of Tel Abyad on the Syrian side of the border with Turkey after being transferred from the eastern Syrian city of Raqqa, Islamic State's stronghold.

Officials declined to give details of the rescue operation.

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New dinosaur species with giant nose discovered in Utah

New dinosaur As researchers from North Carolina State University and Brigham Young University have discovered, the largest aquiline nose of the Late Cretaceous period most certainly belonged to Rhinorex condrupus, a gentle giant of the duck-billed dino family, or hadrosaurs, that perused estuaries of ancient North America looking for plants and algae to slurp up.

Instead of a giant crest on its noggin, as many hadrosaurs possess, Rhinorex was graced with giant nose. The rest of the dinosaur's body was pretty big too, stretching 30 feet in length and weighing more than 8,500 pounds.

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4 Big Activist Events for New York’s Climate Week

Climate week nycThe People’s Climate March in New York City is the centerpiece of the Big Apple's  Climate Week. But in addition to the march there are several important activist events preceding it, and many events extending past Tuesday’s United Nations Climate Summit.

Some of the other events are officially sanctioned by the Climate March organizers, while others are run by other activist organizations. Many of the vigils, lectures, prayer services, and panels seem very worthwhile, and they’re listed on the Climate March’s events page and the Huffington Post has a generous listing of religious events on its site.  NYC Climate Convergence will hold a series of workshops and teach-ins leading up to the march.

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Obama refuses to grant Ukraine special non-NATO ally status

PoroshenkoThursday was likely a disappointing day for Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, whose requests for lethal aid and special security status as a non-NATO ally were both denied by U.S. President Barack Obama.

Poroshenko delivered an impassioned plea for both at a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Thursday.

When asked whether the U.S. would grant the request for special non-NATO ally status, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Thursday, "I'm not familiar with that specific request."

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Artificial sweeteners may lead to diabetes

artificial sweetenersReaching for artificial sweeteners to avoid sugar may be trading one evil for another, a new study suggests.

For some people, artificial sweeteners may lead to type 2 diabetes as directly as eating sugar does, according to the research, published Wednesday in the journal Nature.

The benefits and risks of artificial sweeteners have been debated for decades. Some studies show no link to diabetes and others suggest there is one. The new research, from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, finds that differences in gut microbes may explain why some people can handle artificial sweeteners just fine while in an unknown percentage of others the sweeteners lead to diabetes.

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