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Atheist group’s anti-Noah’s Ark billboard rejected

Ark EncounterA group of atheists based in Northern Kentucky raised $10,000 for a billboard protesting the soon-to-open Ark Encounter amusement park, a place where Christian scripture is taken so literally that a Noah’s Ark replica is being built using ancient measurements called “cubits.”

But two billboard companies have rejected the Tri-State Freethinkers’ interpretation of the story of Noah’s Ark as one of “genocide and incest.”

The proposed billboard design shows a Noah’s Ark with people drowning around it and the words “Genocide and Incest Park: Celebrating 2,000 years of myths.”

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New Jersey judge orders naming of Bridgegate scandal co-conspirators

BridgegateA federal judge in New Jersey on Tuesday ordered the release of a list of unindicted co-conspirators in the criminal case against two former allies of Republican Governor Chris Christie in a 2013 scandal involving lane closures on the George Washington Bridge.

U.S. District Judge Susan Wigenton in Newark ruled in favor of several media organizations that sought the list, saying the public interest in seeing names linked to "Bridgegate" outweighed the privacy interests of those named.

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CDC labs repeatedly faced secret sanctions for mishandling bioterror germs

CDCA laboratory operated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is among the handful of facilities that have secretly had their permits suspended in recent years for serious safety violations while working with bioterror pathogens, according to documents obtained by USA TODAY after winning a Freedom of Information Act appeal.

The CDC's own labs also have been referred for additional secret federal enforcement actions six times because of serious or repeated violations in how they've handled certain viruses, bacteria and toxins that are heavily regulated because of their potential use as bioweapons, the CDC admitted for the first time on Tuesday. Before USA TODAY won access to records of the lab suspension, the CDC had repeatedly refused to answer questions about its own labs' enforcement histories.

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White ex-cop faces federal charges in black motorist's death

Michael SlagerA white former South Carolina police officer charged with murder in the shooting death of an unarmed black motorist who was running away has been indicted on federal charges including depriving the victim of his civil rights.

An indictment unsealed Wednesday also charges Michael Slager, 34, with obstruction of justice and unlawful use of a weapon during the commission of a crime.

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Counseling group says Tenn. law is anti-LGBT, cancels conference

NashvilleIn protest of a Tennessee law they say is an affront to the profession of counseling and the worst legislation the group has tracked in decades, the American Counseling Association has canceled its annual conference scheduled for Nashville next year.

The decision, announced by the organization on Tuesday, comes two weeks after Gov. Bill Haslam signed into law a controversial bill in Tennessee that allows counselors to cite principles to reject patients. Gay rights advocates and the ACA had opposed the legislation.

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100+ Methodist Clergy Come Out as LGBT

100+ Methodist clergy come out as LGBTDozens of United Methodist clergy members came out as lesbian, gay or bisexual on Monday, defying their church's ban on "self-avowed practicing homosexuals" serving in ministry and essentially daring their supervisors to discipline them.

In a public letter posted online, 111 pastors, deacons, elders and candidates for ministry said church rules require "that we not bring our full selves to ministry, that we hide from view our sexual orientations and gender identities."

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Lynch: NC transgender law part of civil rights struggle

Lyncg: Nc law violates civil rights lawsIn suing her home state for discriminating against transgender people, Attorney General Loretta Lynch invoked the defining civil rights struggles of the last century and made clear that the federal government sees its dispute with North Carolina as about far more than bathrooms and showers.

Lynch, a native North Carolinian and the first black woman to run the Justice Department, elevated the profile of her agency's clash with North Carolina over its new bathroom law by placing it in the context of America's Jim Crow era - when signs above water fountains and restaurants fostered race discrimination - as well as more recent efforts to deny gay couples the right to marry.

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