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Wednesday, Jul 08th

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Red-light camera CEO pleads guilty to bribing officials

bribery admission by redflex CEOThe former CEO of a company that sells and operates red-light cameras told a judge she bribed officials in Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio, to secure and maintain contracts with the cities.

Karen Finley, 55, of Cave Creek, Ariz., pleaded guilty Friday in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Ohio to conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery, and honest services wire and mail fraud.

Between 2005 and 2013, Finley was CEO of Redflex Traffic Systems, a company that sets up cameras at intersections that snap photos of vehicles running red lights.

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Mistrial in case of ex-South Carolina police chief

SC ex-poloice cheif CombsA judge declared a mistrial Friday evening in the retrial of a white former South Carolina police chief who was charged with murder in the shooting death of an unarmed black man, media outlets reported.

Judge Brian Gibbons ended trial Friday evening after a jury deliberated nearly seven hours without reaching a unanimous decision in the case of former Eutawville Police Chief Richard Combs, TV station WLTX19 reported.

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Charleston shooting suspect’s father speaks out

Charleston shooterThe father of Dylann Roof, the 21-year-old suspected gunman in the shooting this week at the historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina that left nine dead, told Al Jazeera on Friday that he and his daughter alerted police during the manhunt for his son.

"My daughter and I called the hotline on Thursday morning to turn my son in," Ben Roof said.  He also disputed an earlier report by Reuters, citing Dylann Roof’s uncle Carson Cowles, that Ben Roof gave his son a .45 caliber gun as a birthday present.

"I did not buy my son that gun. In fact, he used his own money. I did not buy that gun," he said.

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Report: Delaware governor signs bill decriminalizing pot

Delaware decriminalizes potDelaware Gov. Jack Markell has signed into law a bill decriminalizing possession and private use of small amounts of marijuana, following the lead of nearly 20 states that have eased penalties for personal consumption, local news media reported.

The measure will allow individuals in Delaware to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and to use it privately without facing criminal sanctions — though police could still confiscate the drug — according to local news website Delaware Online/The News Journal.

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Juneteenth: 150 Years Ago, Black America Got Its Own Independence Day

JuneteenthIn 1865, enslaved Africans on Galveston Island, Texas, had been declared free two years earlier but didn’t know it. With the United States still divided over the institution of slavery and recovering after the Civil War, members of the Confederacy weren’t eager to spread the word.

Only after Union soldiers, led by Major Gen. Gordon Granger, worked their way South for more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation did word reach Galveston Island. On June 19, 1865, known as Juneteenth—a melding of the day’s month and date—the last remaining slaves in America were declared free. Juneteenth, America’s “second Independence Day,” is now celebrated around the country. It is officially observed in 43 states and is a state holiday in Texas, home of the last to know.

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Cruise ship crashes into lock wall, up to 30 injured

cruise ship hits lockA cruise ship traveling to Canada through the St. Lawrence Seaway crashed into a concrete wall in the Eisenhower Lock, injuring up to 30 people.

The Coast Guard said the 286-foot luxury liner was carrying 274 passengers and crew when it hit the lock, a narrow manmade canal, about 9 p.m. Thursday. Up to 30 people were injured, two have serious injuries.

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South Carolina is home to at least 19 known hate groups

South Carolina hate groupsSouth Carolina, where the Confederate flag still flies on statehouse grounds, is a hotbed for racist hate groups.

Last night, Dylann Roof, who is white, allegedly walked into Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Church and shot dead nine people. Witnesses told reporters the terrorist sat down with the pastor and State Sen. Clementa Pinckney during the service and opened fire when it concluded, killing him and eight others. He reportedly said, “You rape our women and you’re taking over our country — and you have to go.”

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