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Thursday, Jan 29th

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'Friendship Nine' to be cleared of civil rights sit-in crimes

Friendship nine  clearedFifty-four years after nine young black men became the first U.S. civil rights protesters to serve jail time for sitting at an all-white lunch counter, surviving members of the group will return to a South Carolina courtroom this month to be exonerated of their crimes.

Their "jail, no bail" strategy helped galvanize the fight against racial inequality in the South and became a model for other protesters. But the "Friendship Nine," as the men became known, endured personal hardships for taking the bold stand.

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Miss Lebanon's selfie with Miss Israel stirs up controversy in Middle East

miss lebanon selfieWhat started as a selfie with several Miss Universe contestants on a tour of South Florida has blown into a political storm.

Miss Lebanon, Saly Greige, is facing backlash back home after she posed for a picture snapped by Miss Israel, Doron Matalon, according to the Beirut-based Daily Star.

Matalon posted the photo to Instagram on Jan. 11 of herself next to Greige, along with Miss Slovenia and Miss Japan. The picture shows the four smiling beauty queens in Miami with the caption "Good morning from us!"

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Islamic State presence confirmed in Afghanistan

isisThe Islamic State terrorist organization has been confirmed to be operating within Afghanistan.

Lt. Gen. Murad Ali Murad, a commander of the Afghan army, said the group has been attempting to recruit soldiers, but also stated the Afghan army was prepared to deal with any enemy.

Al Jazeera's Jennifer Glasse said the Taliban rejected the claim, saying "all mujahideen [self-declared holy warriors] fight under one flag."

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Pope's climate-change stand deepens conservatives' distrust

pope francisConservative distrust of Pope Francis, which has been building in the U.S. throughout his pontificate, is reaching a boiling point over his plan to urge action on climate change — and to do so through a document traditionally used for the most important papal teachings.

For months, Francis has been drafting an encyclical on the environment and global warming which he hopes to release by June or July. Encyclicals are written with the help of a small group of advisers working under strict secrecy. But in a news conference as he traveled last week to the Philippines, Francis gave his strongest signal yet of the direction he'll take.

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Labor can't 'sit on the sidelines' of racial justice fight, AFL-CIO says

Unions and raceOver the weekend, unionists from all over the country gathered in Atlanta, Georgia for the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Civil and Human Rights Conference, organized by the American labor federation AFL-CIO.

For a struggling labor movement, the event is a crucial opportunity to forge bonds with other burgeoning social movements.

The Martin Luther King conference has taken place over Martin Luther King weekend for around two decades, but this year’s event comes at an especially pivotal moment for the AFL-CIO and organized labor more generally.

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Richest 1 percent to own more than rest combined: report

One percent own everythingThe income gap between the richest 1 percent and the rest of America widened to a record last year, new analysis has found.

The top 1 percent of U.S. earners collected 19.3 percent of household income in 2012, their largest share in Internal Revenue Service figures going back a century.

U.S. income inequality has been growing for almost three decades. But until last year, the top 1 percent's share of pre-tax income had not yet surpassed the 18.7 percent it reached in 1927, according to an analysis of IRS figures dating to 1913 by economists at the University of California, Berkeley, the Paris School of Economics and Oxford University.

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Mali's health minister declares country free of Ebola virus after 42 days of no cases

MaliMali's minister of health has declared the country free of the Ebola virus after 42 days passed without a new case.

"Since December 6, 2014, the date on which the last inpatient at the treatment center in Bamako was tested negative, no other confirmed cases of illness from Ebola virus have been recorded in our country," Ousmane Kone said in a statement.

"Also, after 42 days of surveillance without confirmed cases of illness from Ebola virus, in accordance with the guidelines of international health regulations, I declare this day, January 18, 2015, the end of the epidemic of Ebola virus in Mali."

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'Selma' stars including Oprah march in Alabama, honoring MLK

Selma march 2015Oprah Winfrey, fellow actors from the movie "Selma" and hundreds of others marched to recall one of the bloodiest chapters of the civil rights movement on Sunday, the eve of the national holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr.

The remembrance comes after several incidents in which unarmed black men were killed by police in recent months, spurring protests and heightening tensions around the country. In Ferguson, Mo., where one fatal shooting caused weeks of violent protests, leading black members of Congress pressed for further reforms of the criminal justice system in the name of equality.

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Boko Haram stages attacks in Cameroon, Nigeria

boko haramSuspected Boko Haram fighters from Nigeria kidnapped around 80 people, most of them children, and killed three others on Sunday in a cross-border attack on villages in northern Cameroon, army and government officials said.

"According to our initial information, around 30 adults, most of them herders, and 50 young girls and boys aged between 10 and 15 years were abducted," a senior army officer deployed to northern Cameroon told Reuters.

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