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Friday, Jul 25th

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Appeals court strikes down Oklahoma gay marriage ban

Oklahoma court stirkes down gay marraige banA federal appeals court in Denver struck down a second state ban on same-sex marriage Friday, ruling that Oklahoma -- like Utah before it - cannot prohibit gays and lesbians from marrying.

The decision by a three-judge panel in the 10-year-old lawsuit is likely to give the Supreme Court a choice: It can use either Utah or Oklahoma as its foil for judging the constitutionality of all such bans, or it can wait for more cases headed its way from Virginia and elsewhere.

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University of Connecticut settles sex assault case with five women

U of ConnThe University of Connecticut has settled a federal lawsuit filed by five women who claimed the school responded to their sexual assault complaints with indifference.

The bulk of the settlement, $900,000 (£530,000), will go to a former UConn hockey player who joined the Title IX lawsuit last December, a month after it was originally filed by four other women. She alleged she was kicked off the team after reporting she had been raped by a male hockey player in August 2011.

The other four women will receive payments ranging from $125,000 to $25,000.

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Edward Snowden urges professionals to encrypt client communications

Edward SnowdenThe NSA whistleblower, Edward Snowden, has urged lawyers, journalists, doctors, accountants, priests and others with a duty to protect confidentiality to upgrade security in the wake of the spy surveillance revelations.

Snowden said professionals were failing in their obligations to their clients, sources, patients and parishioners in what he described as a new and challenging world.

"What last year's revelations showed us was irrefutable evidence that unencrypted communications on the internet are no longer safe. Any communications should be encrypted by default," he said.

The response of professional bodies has so far been patchy.

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Military to begin Manning's gender treatment

Chelsea ManningThe Bureau of Prisons has rejected the Army's request to accept the transfer of national security leaker Pvt. Chelsea Manning from the military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, to a civilian facility where she could get better treatment for her gender-identity condition. The military will instead begin the initial treatment.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has approved the Army's recommendation to keep Manning in military custody and start a rudimentary level of gender treatment, a defense official said Thursday. The initial gender treatments could include allowing Manning to wear some female undergarments and also possibly provide some hormone treatments.

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Strongest typhoon in 40 years slams China

super typhoon hits chinaSuper typhoon Rammasun, one of the strongest storms ever to hit China's coast, roared into southern China Friday afternoon, killing at least one person and packing winds of up to 134 miles per hour.

After causing havoc, widespread damage and at least 38 deaths in the Philippines earlier this week, Rammasun gathered strength as it crossed the South China Sea. It was upgraded early Friday from typhoon to super typhoon status.

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FedEx indicted on drug trafficking charges

FedEx chargedFedEx is facing drug-trafficking charges after a federal grand jury in San Francisco indicted the overnight shipping company, accusing it of conspiring to deliver prescription drugs for illegal Internet pharmacies.

The indictment says FedEx knew for a decade that such pharmacies used their services. FedEx took steps to protect its business by setting up special credit policies for Internet pharmacies so it wouldn't lose money if police shut the sites down, the indictment says.

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Judge OKs gay marriage in Florida Keys

Florida judge okays gay marriageA judge ruled that gays can marry in Florida's most gay-friendly county, siding Thursday with same-sex couples in the Florida Keys who challenged a voter-approved ban as discriminatory. But an immediate state appeal quickly silenced their wedding bells.

Circuit Judge Luis M. Garcia said same-sex couples could get marriage licenses as early as Tuesday in Monroe County, but Republican Attorney General Pam Bondi said the voters' will must be respected. An overwhelming majority approved a constitutional amendment in 2008 that defines marriage as a union solely between one man and one woman. Her notice of appeal creates an automatic stay that prevents any same-sex marriage licenses from being issued, her office said.

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Ukraine rebels say they have most plane recorders

Ujraine rebels have flight recordersEmergency workers, police officers and even off-duty coal miners — dressed in overalls and covered in soot — searched Friday through wreckage and bodies scattered over a wide stretch of Ukrainian farmland after a Malaysian jetliner flying high above Ukraine's battlefield was shot down from the sky, killing 298 people.

Separatist rebels who control the area where the plane went down said they had recovered most of the plane's black boxes and were considering what to do with them. Their statement had profound implications for the integrity of the plane crash investigation.

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Growing wildfire empties Washington town

Wildfires in washington stateA small north-central Washington town and a nearby hospital have been evacuated ahead of a wind-whipped wildfire that has already burned at least 35 homes, authorities said.

Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers said late Thursday he's heard of no injuries from the Carlton Complex of wildfires.

The sheriff issued his highest evacuation notice Thursday for Pateros, a town of about 650 people along the Columbia River. Residents drove south to Chelan. A hospital in nearby Brewster was evacuated as a precaution, with the patients sent to Omak.

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