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Wednesday, Jul 23rd

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Supreme rejects challenge to law banning gay therapy

supreme courtThe Supreme Court has rejected a challenge to California's law that bars mental counseling aimed at turning gay minors straight.

The justices on Monday let stand an appeals court ruling that said the state's ban on so-called conversion therapy for minors doesn't violate the free speech rights of licensed counselors and patients seeking treatment.

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Blackwater death threat is said to have stifled U.S. inquiry

BlackwaterJust weeks before Blackwater guards fatally shot 17 civilians at Baghdad's Nisour Square in 2007, the State Department began investigating the security contractor's operations in Iraq. But the inquiry was abandoned after Blackwater's top manager there issued a threat: "that he could kill" the government's chief investigator and "no one could or would do anything about it as we were in Iraq," according to department reports.

U.S. Embassy officials in Baghdad sided with Blackwater rather than the State Department investigators as a dispute over the probe escalated in August 2007, the previously undisclosed documents show. The officials told the investigators that they had disrupted the embassy's relationship with the security contractor and ordered them to leave the country, according to the reports.

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Supreme Court: Justices: Can’t make employers cover contraception

Hobby LobbyThe Supreme Court says corporations can hold religious objections that allow them to opt out of the new health law requirement that they cover contraceptives for women.

The justices’ 5-4 decision Monday is the first time that the high court has ruled that profit-seeking businesses can hold religious views under federal law. And it means the Obama administration must search for a different way of providing free contraception to women who are covered under objecting companies’ health insurance plans.

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Supreme Court issues narrow ruling against labor unions

Supreme Court ruling unionsThe Supreme Court ruled 5-4 along ideological lines Monday that home-care workers in Illinois do not have to pay dues to public employees unions.

The opinion by Justice Samuel Alito was a narrow loss for organized labor. It did not overrule the court's "agency shop" precedent applying to all public employee unions.

The challenge to the mandatory union dues, brought by eight home-care workers in Illinois, represented the biggest labor case to come before the court this term -- putting at potential risk the future viability of public employee unions.

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Why We Can't Talk About Gun Control

Dick Metcalf"I pose this question, Mr. Metcalf, as a hunter of birds. I have a concealed carry permit for a pistol. And I think the gun laws that are on the books today are ineffective because they're not enforced."

Dick Metcalf, the historian and long-time individual-gun-rights supporter agreed, nodding from the stage.

"When I got my concealed-carry permit," the man in the audience continued, "one of the questions I had to answer was, 'Are you a fugitive from justice?'"  The rest of the crowd laughed.

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One dead, four wounded in Los Angeles BET Awards party shooting

BET party shootingOne person was killed and four others wounded in an early Sunday shooting at a pre-party in Los Angeles ahead of the Black Entertainment Television Awards show, police said.

The gunman fired several rounds at the gathering at a restaurant and banquet hall about 3 miles (5 km) west of downtown before fleeing, the Los Angeles Police Department said.

One of three people taken to local hospitals by ambulance died, police said. The other two people wounded were in stable condition after seeking their own medical care at area hospitals, police said.

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Bourbon Street shooting leaves 9 hurt

Bourbon Street shootingAn angry-sounding man shot at another man and then emptied his gun into the crowd on Bourbon Street early Sunday morning, according to an eyewitness.

Nine people were reportedly injured in the shooting, seven of them were said to be stable while one woman was listed in critical condition. Police said the condition of the other victim is not known. There has been no word on a description of the suspect.

Police were called to the scene in the 700 block of Bourbon Street around 2:45 a.m.

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