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Thursday, Jul 30th

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Western wildfires threatening homes and disrupting tourism

Glacier national par fireFirefighters braced Thursday for a fresh run by a wildfire that sent tourists fleeing from hotels and campgrounds in Montana's Glacier National Park, while a blaze threatening hundreds of homes in Northern California shot flames 100 feet in the air.

Both states are ravaged by drought, and rising temperatures and strengthening winds greeted newly arrived crews taking aim at the blaze in the Northern Rocky Mountains. It has burned more than 6 square miles along the eastern side of the Montana park during prime tourist season, when lodges and inns have been booked for months.

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Sandra Bland's autopsy may be flawed, second autopsy ordered

Sandra Bland autopsy flawedThere are now questions about Sandra Bland’s autopsy, just one day after video of the arrest was released to the public.

Now, there are reports the autopsy was flawed, and a second autopsy was ordered. Investigators say that's the case, but explain that further testing may be needed to determine what happened to Bland before she was found dead.

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Ted Olson and David Bloies call for new federal LGBT protections

Call for LGBT protectionsTed Olson and David Bloies, the prominent attorneys who helped overturn California’s same-sex marriage ban, are backing a new federal law that would extend anti-discrimination protections to LGBT Americans.

Olson, a Republican former solicitor general under President George W. Bush, and Bloies, who represented Al Gore in Bush v. Gore, are urging Republicans and Democrats in Congress to support the Equality Act, which will be introduced on Thusday. The law, whose language was provided to the Advocate, would amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act and other federal law to protect LGBT people from discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations and other arenas.

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New York State Calls For $15 Minimum Wage For Fast Food Workers

Fast food workersA panel convened by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) recommended Wednesday that the state set a minimum wage of $15 expressly for New York's fast-food workers, a novel regulatory maneuver that would impact many of the lowest earners in the state.

The proposal approved by the state wage board would raise the minimum wage for fast-food workers in New York City from its current level of $8.75 to $15 by 2018. For fast-food workers in the rest of the state, the minimum wage would rise to $15 by 2021. The wage mandate would only apply to workers at fast-food chains that have at least 30 locations around the country.

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Florida transgender woman beaten to death is 10th US trans murder in 2015

Florida transgender murderA 25-year-old transgender woman was found beaten to death on Tuesday morning outside of the University Area community center in Tampa Bay, Florida, in an incident officials are calling a murder.

The death of the young woman, India Clarke, who was described by family as a “very loving person”, is the 10th transgender homicide in the US this year, according to the National Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP), and is being seen as more evidence of what many are calling an “epidemic of violence”.

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Theodore Bikel, 'Sound of Music' star, dies at 91

Theodore Bikel diesActor Theodore Bikel, who appeared in such films as “The Defiant Ones” and “My Fair Lady” and appeared onstage in the musicals “The Sound of Music” and “Fiddler on the Roof,” among others, has died.

Mr. Bikel, who was born in Vienna, played the role of Captain von Trapp in the original 1959 Broadway production of “The Sound of Music” opposite Mary Martin and portrayed protagonist Tevye in the musical “Fiddler on the Roof” more than 2,000 times onstage.

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U.S. Appeals Court OKs Tossing Strict North Dakota Abortion Law

NS aborrtion ban overturned by courtA federal appeals court affirmed a ruling Wednesday that struck down one of the most restrictive anti-abortion laws in the country: a North Dakota law that bans abortions when a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which can be as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with a decision last year from U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland, who ruled the law unconstitutional. The law was approved by the Republican-dominated Legislature in 2013, though it was quickly put on hold after the state's lone abortion clinic filed a lawsuit that July.

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