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Wednesday, Nov 26th

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HUD’s privatization scheme may herald end of public housing

HUD At a time when a shortage of affordable housing is devastating low-income families, U.S. policymakers appear to have all but given up on the idea of a state-managed public housing system. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) says more than $26 billion (PDF) is needed to repair the nation’s aging public housing, a backlog that has left many residents in deteriorating living conditions.

Yet the notion that the solution lies in improved public funding and support — or that public housing should be publicly owned at all — has become a political nonstarter. Instead HUD is embarking on a sweeping privatization program in the name of renovation.

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Supreme Court lifts hold on gay marriage in Kansas

scaliaThe Supreme Court says same-sex marriages can go ahead in Kansas.  The court on Wednesday denied the state's request to prevent gay and lesbian couples from marrying while Kansas fights the issue in court.

A federal district judge last week blocked the state from enforcing its ban, saying it was in keeping with an earlier ruling by the federal appeals court that oversees Kansas that struck down bans in Oklahoma and Utah.

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US getting near-daily reports of drones flying near aircraft without permission

Drones near US aircraft without permissionThe US government is getting near-daily reports – and sometimes two or three a day – of drones flying near airplanes and helicopters or close to airports without permission, federal and industry officials tell the Associated Press. It’s a sharp increase from just two years ago when such reports were still unusual.

Many of the reports are filed with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) by airline pilots. But other pilots, airport officials and local authorities often file reports as well, said the officials, who agreed to discuss the matter only on the condition that they not be named because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly. Michael Toscano, president of a drone industry trade group, said FAA officials also have verified the increase to him.

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Federal judge strikes down SC gay marriage ban

SC judge strikes down gay marriage banA federal judge on Wednesday struck down South Carolina's same-sex marriage ban as unconstitutional, opening the door to such marriages but also giving the state a week to appeal.

U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel, ruling in the case of a same-sex couple from Charleston who sued to be married, found South Carolina's state constitutional ban "invalid as a matter of law."

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23 K-12 school districts face sexual assault investigations

sexual assult charges agianst school ldistrictsIn May, the Department of Education named 55 colleges and universities facing sexual violence investigations. The unprecedented list – which includes some of America's most prestigious colleges and has since climbed to 86 institutions – circulated widely and proved to be a powerful tool for raising awareness about college sexual assault.

But the list was missing something: the K-12 school districts that also face federal inquiry for how they handle sexual violence.

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Ponzi-Scheming Pastor Fleeced His Flock Out of Millions

Pnzi scheming pastorUsing God's word to gain their trust, Luis Serna stole $4.6 million from 82 people before being caught and convicted in California.

A California pastor was sentenced Tuesday to more than ten years in federal prison for running a $7 million Ponzi scheme funded mostly by misled congregants, community members, and their families. In total, 82 victims lost approximately $4.6 million over the three-year conspiracy.

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Record-breaking snow hammers Upper Midwest

Central US record coldArctic air continued to surge into the central U.S. on Tuesday, while record-breaking snow buried portions of the upper Midwest.

Temperatures were only in the single digits, teens, and 20s across much of the north-central U.S. as of late Tuesday morning. Temperatures Tuesday are forecast to be 20 to 40 degrees below average for areas east of the Rockies into the Great Plains, the National Weather Service warned.

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