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Friday, Aug 29th

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Florida atheists banned from starting public meetings with prayer, county commissioners say

atheists turned away in FloridaCommissioners from a Florida county have effectively banned nonbelievers from starting government meetings with an atheist prayer.

In a unanimous decision, the five members of the Brevard County Board of Commissioners voted Wednesday to continue choosing clergy from its current pool of faith representatives, which includes Catholics, Jews, Protestants, Adventists, Mormons and Muslims — but no atheists.

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Palin goes 0 for 2 in Alaska as clout disappears nationally

Sarah Palin clout disappearsSarah Palin has lost the magic. The defeat of her choice Tuesday in a Republican Senate primary in her home state of Alaska capped a primary season in which her favored candidates have stumbled across the nation.

A referendum to restore Palin’s signature achievement from her time as Alaska governor, a state tax on oil companies, was also headed toward defeat following Tuesday’s voting, dealing a double whammy loss to Palin in her home state and highlighting her declining influence.

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Drought is causing Earth's crust to rise in the West

eath's crust risingAbout 63 trillion gallons of water have been lost to drought in the western United States, enough to blanket the region with 4 inches of water, according to a study published Thursday.

Researchers at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, arrived at the conclusion by measuring the level of the earth's crust with a network of GPS stations that is normally used to predict earthquakes.

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White House Rolls Out New Birth Control Accommodation For Nonprofits

Contraception coverageThe Obama administration announced on Friday a new accommodation for religious nonprofits that object to covering the full range of contraceptives in their employee health care plans.

The new accommodation will allow religious nonprofits, such as Catholic schools and hospitals, to opt out of covering birth control by notifying the Department of Health and Human Services of their objections. HHS and the Department of Labor will then arrange for a third-party insurer to pay for and administer the coverage for the nonprofits' employees so that women still receive the contraceptive coverage guaranteed to them by the Affordable Care Act.

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Saudi Arabia beheaded 19 in seven days

Saudis behead 19 Saudi Arabia has executed at least 19 people since August 4, 2014. Local news reports indicate that eight of those executed were convicted of nonviolent offenses, seven for drug smuggling and one for sorcery.

Family members of another man, Hajras bin Saleh al-Qurey, told Human Rights Watch on August 17 that they fear his execution is imminent. The Public Court of Najran, in southern Saudi Arabia, sentenced al-Qurey to death by beheading on January 16, 2013 for allegedly smuggling drugs and attacking a police officer during his arrest.

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Chelsea Manning says she is being denied gender-reassignment treatment

Chelsea ManningA year after being sentenced to a 35-year prison term for giving secret documents to WikiLeaks, US army private Chelsea Manning says the military is continuing to deny her gender-reassignment treatment.

In a letter sent to NBC news and released on Friday, Manning says the Defence Department has not followed through with its promises after the defence secretary, Chuck Hagel, approved a treatment plan that includes allowing her to dress as a woman.

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Iraq militants kill 46 in attack on Sunni mosque

Sunni mosque bombingMilitants targeted a Sunni mosque in a province next to the Iraqi capital during weekly prayers on Friday, killing at least 46 people and wounding over 50 as members of the Islamic State group continue to push through the area, officials said.

An army officer and a police officer said a suicide bomber first broke into the Musab bin Omair Mosque in Imam Wais village in Diyala province, some 120 kilometers (75 miles) northeast of Baghdad, detonating his explosives before gunmen rushed in and opened fire on worshippers.

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Hamas executes 11 it claims are Israeli informers

Hamas executes 11Hamas publicly executed 11 men it accused of collaborating with Israel Thursday in apparent retaliation for airstrikes that killed three Hamas commanders Wednesday.

The alleged informants, all men, were killed in an open area at the Jazawat installation in Gaza city and had previously been sentenced by Gaza courts.  Additional executions were reportedly planned for Friday.

Israel is often able to convince Gazans to inform on Hamas, and the militant group often metes out their punishment under circumstances like Thursday's, when they have been dealt a significant blow.

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Supreme Court case to shape Ferguson investigation

SCThe moment Ferguson, Missouri, police officer Darren Wilson shot an unarmed teenager, a 25-year-old Supreme Court case became the prism through which his actions will be legally judged.

To most people, an 18-year-old unarmed man may not appear to pose a deadly threat. But a police officer’s perspective is different. And that is how an officer should be judged after the fact, Chief Justice William Rehnquist wrote in the 1989 opinion.

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