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Tuesday, Aug 30th

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Hundreds evacuated in Detroit suburb after gas explosion

Gas line explosion near DetroitHundreds of people were briefly evacuated from their homes in the Michigan town of Melvindale on Saturday morning after a car hit a natural gas main at a DTE Energy (DTE.N) facility and caused an explosion and fire, police said.

The evacuations were a precaution in case the fire affected natural gas pipelines or underground wires. No one was hurt except for the driver of the car, and residents were allowed to return home a few hours after the fire was put out, police said.

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Judge Blocks Mississippi Law That Allowed Religious Discrimination Against LGBT People

Judge Carlton ReevesA day before it was due to come into effect, a federal judge has blocked a Mississippi law permitting those with religious objections to deny wedding services to same-sex couples and impose dress and bathroom restrictions on transgender people.

U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves found on Thursday the wide-ranging law adopted this spring unconstitutionally discriminated against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and others who do not share the view that marriage is between a man and a woman.

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'Serial' podcast's Adnan Syed gets new trial in murder case

Adnan SayedAdnan Syed, the convicted killer featured in the hit podcast Serial, was granted a new trial Thursday in the 1999 slaying of his former girlfriend.

Baltimore City Circuit Judge Martin Welch vacated Syed's conviction, saying his original attorney "fell below the standard of reasonable professional judgment." Syed's current attorney Justin Brown posted the news in all-caps on Twitter: "WE WON A NEW TRIAL FOR ADNAN SYED!!! #FreeAdnan"

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Federal Judge Blocks Indiana Abortion Law

Indiana abortion law reversedA federal judge blocked an Indiana law Thursday that would have banned abortions sought because of a fetus' genetic abnormalities, saying that the state does not have the authority to limit a woman's reasons for ending a pregnancy.

U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Walton Pratt granted a preliminary injunction sought by Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, which argued that the law was unconstitutional and violated women's privacy rights. The law was set to take effect Friday.

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Miss Teen USA Drops Swimsuit Contest

Miss Teen USA eliminates bathing suit competitionOne of America's highest-profile beauty pageants just traded bikinis for athleisure.

In recent years, competitions have increasingly modernized, featuring women that break the mold of the traditional pageant queen — like Miss Missouri Erin O'Flaherty, who will compete as Miss America's first openly gay contestant this year, and Miss District of Columbia Deshauna Barber, the Army officer crowned 2016's Miss USA. But still, the much-maligned swimsuit competition remains a staple of the major pageants.

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Three crew members missing, one injured after two freight trains collide in Texas near Panhandle

Trains collide in Texas panhandleAt least one person was injured and three crew members are missing after freight trains collided in Texas on Tuesday morning, causing officials to evacuate the area.

The accident occurred near the town of Panhandle, about 25 miles northeast of Amarillo. The collision at about 8:40 a.m. involved two BNSF freight trains, with each train carrying two crew members.

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Judge Rules Mississippi Clerks Can’t Use Religious Beliefs To Deny Same-Sex Marriage Licenses

Same sex marriageA federal judge on Monday ruled that clerks in Mississippi may not recuse themselves from issuing marriage licenses to gay couples based on religious beliefs, despite a bill passed by the state legislature intended to carve out that exception for them.

U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves said that the recusals on religious grounds granted by the state’s so-called “Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act”, or House Bill 1523, violated the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark 2015 ruling legalizing gay marriage.

The Supreme Court’s decision is commonly referred to as the “Obergefell” case after lead plaintiff James Obergefell.

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