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Wednesday, Aug 27th

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State of emergency declared after Calif. quake

California state of emergencyThe magnitude-6.0 earthquake struck around 3:20 a.m., and for some awakened residents the temblor revived memories of the last big quake to strike the San Francisco Bay Area 25 years ago, which did major damage.

Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for Napa, Solano, and Sonoma counties. Schools in Napa Valley were ordered closed Monday.

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6.0 earthquake hits northern California

California earthquakeA large earthquake rolled through California's northern Bay Area early Sunday, damaging some buildings, knocking out power to thousands and sending residents running out of their homes in the darkness.

The extent of the damage wasn't immediately clear. Two major injuries have been reported, and hospitals have been very busy with moderate injuries, Napa Division Fire Chief John Callanan said.

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Veteran Space Shuttle Astronaut Steven Nagel Dies At 67

Steven NagelAstronaut Steven Nagel, who flew on four space shuttle missions in the 1980s and 90s, including two as mission commander, has died after a long battle with cancer, NASA confirms.

Nagel, an Air Force pilot who had logged many hours in fighter jets and as a test pilot, joined the NASA astronaut corps in 1978 in the first crop of trainees selected for the space shuttle program.

Although trained as a shuttle pilot, Nagel's first mission, aboard (Discovery) in June 1985, was as a mission specialist.

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Thousands march in New York over Garner and Brown police deaths

NYC protestrsThousands of people gathered on Saturday in the New York borough of Staten Island to protest near the spot where Eric Garner, an unarmed 43-year-old black man, died last month after white police officers used an illegal chokehold while trying to subdue and arrest him.

As tensions continued to simmer in Ferguson, Missouri, over the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, by a white police officer earlier this month, up to 15,000 people were initially forecast to march in New York and call for justice and fair policing. On Saturday, however, a marshal at the event told the Guardian between 5,000 and 7,000 marchers were expected.

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Obama orders review of U.S. police use of military hardware

Obama to review police mlitarizationU.S. President Barack Obama has ordered a review of the distribution of military hardware to state and local police out of concern at how such equipment has been used during racial unrest in Ferguson, Missouri.

The president ordered the examination of federal programs and funding that enable state and local law enforcement to purchase such equipment, a senior Obama administration official said on Saturday.

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Florida atheists banned from starting public meetings with prayer, county commissioners say

atheists turned away in FloridaCommissioners from a Florida county have effectively banned nonbelievers from starting government meetings with an atheist prayer.

In a unanimous decision, the five members of the Brevard County Board of Commissioners voted Wednesday to continue choosing clergy from its current pool of faith representatives, which includes Catholics, Jews, Protestants, Adventists, Mormons and Muslims — but no atheists.

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Federal judge rules Florida gay marriage ban unconstitutional

Florida gay marriageA federal judge on Thursday declared Florida's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, joining state judges in four counties who have sided with gay couples wishing to tie the knot.

U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle in Tallahassee ruled that the ban added to Florida's constitution by voters in 2008 violates the 14th Amendment's guarantees of equal protection and due process. Hinkle issued a stay delaying the effect of his order, meaning no marriage licenses will be immediately issued for gay couples.

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