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Thursday, Jul 31st

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Palestinians Say Strikes Hit Gaza Hospital, Park

Gaza hospital hitThe Gaza police operations room and a Palestinian health official say separate Israeli airstrikes hit the compound of Gaza City's main hospital and a nearby park, causing casualties.

The Israeli military had no immediate comment.

Camera crews were prevented from filming the area of impact at Shifa Hospital. Health official Ayman Sahabani says several people were wounded in the strikes.

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UK to accept bids for oil and gas exploration after fracking caused earthquakes

UK to allow frackingThe British government said Monday that energy companies will be able to bid for licenses to explore onshore oil and gas, a move aimed at speeding up shale exploration.

The move comes three years after the shale drilling process caused seismic tremors, which led the government to suspend operations.

Business and Energy Minister Matthew Hancock said shale gas has the potential to increase the country's energy supply but stressed national parks will be protected.

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Immunity lets bad judges off hook for bad behavior

bad judges immune from lawsuitsWade McCree Jr. lost his job, but he won't lose his shirt.

The disgraced judge — who once texted a shirtless photo of himself to a female court bailiff — had an affair with a woman while overseeing her child custody case, had sex with her in his chambers and sexted her from the bench.

But he can't be sued for money damages over any of that because judges are immune from civil lawsuits — a well-established doctrine that has many in the legal profession demanding change, arguing the McCree case highlights a pervasive problem in the justice system: judges getting away with bad behavior on immunity grounds.

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House, Senate appear to have deal on VA care

Vet bill passes CongressTop lawmakers appear to have reached a deal on a bipartisan bill that would allow veterans to seek private care if they face long wait lines at Veterans Affairs' facilities.

An aide close to the negotiations said the compromise addresses both the short- and long-term needs of VA. The aide sought anonymity so as not to pre-empt a formal announcement panned for Monday afternoon.

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U.N. Security Council calls for 'immediate and unconditional' Mideast cease-fire

UN calls for cease fireFollowing an emergency midnight session, the United Nations Security Council issued a presidential statement early Monday calling for an "immediate and unconditional" cease-fire in order for humanitarian assistance to be delivered to Gaza.

Rwanda's Ambassador to the U.N. and current UNSC President Eugene Richard Gassan posted on Twitter that the 15-member Council:

-- "expresses grave concern regarding deterioration in situation as a result of crisis related to Gaza and loss of civilians and casualties;

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Coal-exporting town of Norfolk, Va. fights rising seas

Norfolk rising seaNorfolk is trapped between the causes and consequences of global warming.

The region exports more coal — and the heat-trapping pollution that comes with it — than any place in the U.S. At the same time, Norfolk is already experiencing one of the fastest rates of sea level rise in the country.

Flood walls protect downtown from rising waters. Residents raise houses to escape floods. Yet an endless procession of trains filled with Appalachian coal rumbles into Norfolk every year. They're bound for ships that will take the coal to foreign power plants and factories to be burned.

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Banks accused of rigging silver price

silver price riggingDeutsche Bank, HSBC and Bank of Nova Scotia have been accused of attempting to rig the price of silver, in a lawsuit filed in the US.

The plaintiff alleges the banks, which set the price of silver each day, abused their position in the market.

Deutsche Bank and HSBC have not commented on the filing, while Bank of Nova Scotia told Bloomberg news agency it would "vigorously defend" itself.

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Fire teams battle two fast-moving California blazes

Fires in CaliforniaFire crews are battling two fast-moving wildfires in California that threatened many homes and forced hundreds of evacuations, officials said.

A fire in the Sacramento region had mushroomed to about 4,000 acres by late Saturday, while a blaze that began in the afternoon around Yosemite National Park threatened a small community.

The so-called Sand Fire began Friday in the Sierra Nevada foothills and has since raced through more than 6 square miles of drought-stricken grasslands east of Sacramento.

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U.S. releases images showing Russia firing into Ukraine

Photos: Russia fires into UkraineThe United States released a series of satellite images Sunday that appear to support its claims that Russian forces have fired across the border into Ukraine to support rebels there, suggesting a new level of direct Russian involvement in the conflict.

The images show artillery and rocket-blast signatures inside Russia and craters formed by the artillery strikes in Ukraine.

Washington has accused Russia of arming, training and financing separatists in Ukraine.

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