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California Wildfire Sweeps Across I-15 Freeway, Burns Cars

Wildfire LA freewayA rapid-moving vegetation fire broke out Friday afternoon in the Cajon Pass, burning several vehicles stopped on the I-15 Freeway and forcing mandatory evacuations in the area.

Early reports indicated there were multiple injuries.

The blaze, which has been dubbed "North Fire" on social media, was reported at about 2:30 p.m. and had spread to about 3,500 acres by 5:30 p.m., San Bernardino County officials said. and is about 5 percent contained.

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No action on rape kits despite new laws, federal money

rape kits not acted onOver the past decade alone, Congress has approved enough money to reduce the nation's backlog of DNA evidence testing to have tested more than 1 million sexual assault evidence kits.

So far, however, despite evidence that the number of untested rape kits could number into the hundreds of thousands coast to coast, the vast majority of the money is not reaching local and state police authorities where the abandoned rape evidence could be tested and the problem reduced.

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Missouri had no right to withhold death penalty drug information, judge rules

Judge: execution drugs cannot be withheldA judge in Missouri struck a blow for public transparency in the practice of the death penalty by ruling that the state’s department of corrections had no right to withhold information from the media about the source of its lethal injection drugs.

Judge Jon Beetem, sitting in the Missouri circuit court of Cole County, ruled the state had “knowingly failed, at least in part” to comply with its obligation to act with transparency. He ordered the state to release key details about its supply of deadly chemicals, pending a further hearing on what information should be redacted.

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Police: 4 people shot in Maine; armed ex-con in custody

Maine shootingsA former convict sought in the overnight shootings of four people in three northern Maine communities was taken into custody on Friday, state police said.

Anthony Lord, 35, was arrested in Houlton, and a woman being held with him was safe, said Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.

Dozens of law enforcement officers had been searching for Lord, who is believed to have stolen a logging truck before the shootings in the towns of Lee, Benedicta and Silver Ridge.

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Sexual Orientation Discrimination Is Barred By Existing Law, Federal Commission Rules

Existing law protects LGBT employeesThe Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has ruled that existing civil rights law bars sexual orientation-based employment discrimination — a groundbreaking decision to advance legal protections for gay, lesbian, and bisexual workers.

“[A]llegations of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation necessarily state a claim of discrimination on the basis of sex,” the commission concluded in a decision dated July 15.

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Family questions death of black woman in Texas jail cell

Sandra Bland familyFamily and friends sought more details Thursday about the death of a black woman who authorities say hanged herself in a Texas jail after her arrest for allegedly kicking an officer following a traffic stop, saying the 28-year-old gave no indication she was in such an emotional state that she would kill herself.

However, Sandra Bland had posted a video to her Facebook page in March acknowledging she was suffering from “a little bit of depression as well as PTSD,” or post-traumatic stress disorder.

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Obama Visits Federal Prison, A First For A Sitting President

Obama visits prisonPresident Obama toured a federal prison in Oklahoma on Thursday and said the nation needs to reconsider policies that contribute to a huge spike in the number of people behind bars.

In an unprecedented visit by a sitting president, Obama met with half a dozen inmates at the El Reno prison, outside Oklahoma City. The trip was part of a weeklong push by the White House to focus attention on the president's call for criminal justice reform.

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