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Saturday, Dec 10th

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A grim tally soars: More than 50,000 overdose deaths in US

HeroinMore than 50,000 Americans died from drug overdoses last year, the most ever.

The disastrous tally has been pushed to new heights by soaring abuse of heroin and prescription painkillers, a class of drugs known as opioids.  Heroin deaths rose 23 percent in one year, to 12,989, slightly higher than the number of gun homicides, according to government data released Thursday.

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John Glenn, first US astronaut to orbit Earth, dies aged 95

John GlennFormer astronaut and US senator John Glenn has died in Ohio aged 95.  Glenn became a national hero in 1962 when he became the first American to orbit the Earth.

Hank Wilson of the John Glenn School of Public Affairs says Glenn died Thursday afternoon at the James cancer hospital in Columbus. Ohio governor John Kasich also confirmed the news on Twitter.

Glenn was the third US astronaut in space and the first of them to get into orbit. He circled the Earth three times. The Soviet Union had put a man into orbit a year earlier in 1961.

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Hardee’s, Carl’s Jr. CEO Tapped as Labor Secretary

Trump pick for Dept. of Labor headPresident-elect Donald Trump will reportedly tap Andy Puzder, chief executive of the company that owns the Hardee's and Carl's Jr. franchises, to be the next secretary of labor.

Puzder, a proponent of free-market economics, was one of Trump's staunchest advocates in the business community during the election.

Trump has not officially announced Puzder's nomination, but the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg have reported based on anonymous sources that it will be announced as early as Thursday. The fast-food magnate has long rumored to be the top candidate for the Cabinet post.

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This day in history 75 years ago: Pearl Harbor attacked

Pearl Harbor attackToday marks the 75th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, which prompted America to become involved in World War II.

In the early morning of Dec. 7, 1941 Pearl Harbor was aerially attacked by more than 300 Japanese planes. The attack killed more than 2,000 U.S. military personnel and more than 50 civilians. It was a quick, unexpected attack that only took about an hour and 15 minutes.

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U.S. Supreme Court Hands Down Three Unanimous Rulings

US Supreme CourtThe U.S. Supreme Court handed down three unanimous rulings on Tuesday, including a victory for Samsung in an ongoing patent dispute with Apple. The justices also sent the case back to lower courts for further hearing. In State Farm v. U.S. ex rel. Rigsby, the Court sided with two whistleblowing sisters who accused insurance giant State Farm of misclassifying damage to Louisiana homes after Hurricane Katrina.

State Farm had urged lower courts to toss out the False Claims Act lawsuit because the whistleblowers’ former lawyer had broken a court seal on the case. But the justices disagreed. “It is proper to infer that, had Congress intended to require dismissal for a violation of the seal requirement, it would have said so,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the Court.

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Walter Scott Shooting: Judge Declares Mistrial in Murder Trial of Former Cop Michael Slager

Michael Slager A judge declared a mistrial Monday afternoon in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man at the hands of a South Carolina former patrolman, after the jury said they could not come to a unanimous verdict.

In a statement read by Circuit Judge Clifton Newman, the jury said "We as the jury regret to inform the court" that they were unable to come "to a unanimous decision in the case of the state versus Michael Slager" after a day of questions and deliberation.

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Standing Rock activists stay in place, fearing pipeline victory was a 'trick'

Standin Rock protestsNative American activists at the Standing Rock “water protector” camps vowed to remain in place the morning after the US Army Corps of Engineers denied a key permit for the Dakota Access pipeline, with many expressing concerns that the incoming Trump administration and potential legal action from the pipeline company could reverse their victory.

The Army Corps of Engineers announced Sunday that it would not grant the permit for the Dakota Access pipeline to drill under the Missouri river, handing a major victory to the Standing Rock Sioux tribe after a months-long campaign against the pipeline.

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