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Tuesday, Sep 30th

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Three New York firefighters die of 9/11-related illnesses, FDNY says

first responders 9/11Three retired New York firefighters who worked at Ground Zero in the days after the World Trade Center attack died on the same day this week of illnesses possibly connected to toxic dust released on 9/11, fire officials said.

Lieutenant Howard Bischoff and firefighters Robert Leaver and Daniel Heglund died on Monday.

“Losing three firefighters on the same day to WTC-related illnesses is a painful reminder that, 13 years later, we continue to pay a terrible price for the Department’s heroic efforts,” FDNY commissioner Daniel Nigro said in a statement.

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Federal Government Sues Companies Over Anti-Transgender Discrimination Claims

federal courthouse in DetroitThe Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed lawsuits Thursday against two companies accused of discriminating against transgender employees, the first time the federal government has brought suit under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to protect transgender workers.

The two complaints, filed in federal courts in Florida and Michigan, are the latest — and most ambitious — steps in a series of aggressive moves taken by the commission in the past several years to advance LGBT rights under existing laws.

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Ex-S.C. trooper who shot unarmed man faces charges

Sean GroubertA former South Carolina state trooper who shot an unarmed man was charged Wednesday with assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature.

Sean Groubert, 31, was booked at the Richland County Detention Center. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

The charges were brought by the 5th Circuit Solicitor's Office, which reviewed the findings of an investigation into the incident conducted by the State Law Enforcement Division.

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EU climate change chief: Obama has six months to take substantial action

EU Climate Change Commissioner Connie HedegaardBarack Obama has six months to deliver on the promises he made in a rousing speech at the United Nations climate change summit, Europe’s climate action commissioner said.

Obama, in a well-received address on Tuesday, promised the United States would play a leading role in reaching an international agreement to fight climate change, due to be finalised in Paris at the end of next year.

Connie Hedegaard, who is responsible for ensuring the European Union meets its climate change obligations, told the Guardian that after the president’s speech raised expectations, other countries, especially the rising economies of China, India and Brazil, will be looking closely at what the US has to offer in six months.

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Appeals court clears way for early voting in Ohio

early voting in Ohio A federal appeals court on Wednesday cleared the way for voters in Ohio to begin casting in-person ballots as early as Tuesday, 35 days before the November midterm election.

A three-judge panel of the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Peter Economus earlier this month that reinstated early in-person voting hours on multiple Sundays and weekday evenings.

The ruling came after an appeal by state attorneys seeking uniform voting hours for all 88 counties argued that the increased cost and chance of fraud outweighed the benefit of extended voting periods.

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Stephen Hawking admits he is an atheist

Stephen HawkingAstrophysicist Stephen Hawking doesn't believe in God, but does believe aliens and space travel are the key to the survival of the species.

In an interview with Spanish paper El Mundo, Hawking spoke on his theories behind the origin of the universe and admitted he was an atheist as his theories do not support the world being created by a deity. Hawking was attending the Starmus festival in the Canary Islands where he and his colleagues gathered for lectures and tours.

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U.S. to pay $554 million to Navajo Nation

navajo code talkersThe Navajo Nation and the U.S. government have agreed to a $554 million settlement of claims that tribal resources were mismanaged.  Ben Shelly, president of the Navajo Nation, said town hall meetings will be held on the country's largest Native American territory to decide how the money should be used.

"The trust litigation has been a protracted battle, and in the end, it was a victory for tribal sovereignty," Shelly said Wednesday. "The Navajo Nation has worked tirelessly for many years to bring this issue to a close."

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Iraqi woman activist killed by Islamic State

Samira Salig al-NuaimiMilitants with the Islamic State group publicly killed a rights lawyer in the Iraqi city of Mosul after their self-styled Islamic court ruled that she had abandoned Islam, the U.N. mission in Iraq said Thursday.

Samira Salih al-Nuaimi was seized from her home on Sept. 17 after allegedly posting messages on Facebook that were critical of the militants' destruction of religious sites in Mosul.

According to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq, al-Nuaimi was tried in a so-called "Sharia court" for apostasy, after which she was tortured for five days before the militants sentenced her to "public execution."

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US-led strikes hit IS-held oil sites in Syria

US atrikes syria oil fieldU.S.-led airstrikes targeted Syrian oil installations held by the militant Islamic State group overnight and early Thursday, killing nearly 20 people as the militants released dozens of detainees in their de facto capital, fearing further raids, activists said.

The latest strikes came on the third day of a U.S.-led air campaign aimed at rolling back the Islamic State group in Syria, and appeared to be aimed at one of the militants' main revenue streams. The U.S. has been conducting air raids against the group in neighboring Iraq for more than a month.

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