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Friday, Apr 25th

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Jury convicts bin Laden son-in-law on terrorism charges

Suleiman Abu GhaithSuleiman Abu Ghaith, a son-in-law of Osama bin Laden, was found guilty of terrorism-related charges on Wednesday following a three-week trial that offered an unusually intimate portrait of al Qaeda's former leader in the days after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Abu Ghaith, 48, a Kuwait-born teacher, faces life in prison after a federal court jury in New York convicted him of conspiring to kill Americans, conspiring to provide material support for terrorists, and providing such support.

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Secret Service agent drunk, sent home with two others

secret storeThe Secret Service sent three agents home from the Netherlands just before President Barack Obama’s arrival after one agent was found inebriated in an Amsterdam hotel.

The three agents were benched Sunday for “disciplinary reasons,” said Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan, declining to elaborate. Donovan said the incident was prior to Obama’s arrival Monday in the country and did not compromise the president’s security in any way.

Still, the incident represents a fresh blemish for an elite agency struggling to rehabilitate its reputation following a high-profile prostitution scandal and other allegations of misconduct. An inspector general’s report in December concluded there was no evidence of widespread misconduct, in line with the service’s longstanding assertion that it has no tolerance for inappropriate behavior.

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Washington Mudslide: Grief Over Babies & Small Children Still Missing

washington mudslideThe mudslide tragedy in Washington is unbearably sad, and at least 176 of victims are still missing underneath the disastrous debris. Hope is dwindling among rescuers who are working day and night hoping to find survivors. The growing list of potential victims includes many small children and babies who have been missing for over three days now.

Among the missing 176 mudslide victims are many family’s children and babies. Hopefully, rescuers will continue pulling survivors out from under the debris.

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How to Understand Georgia's 'Guns Everywhere' Law: Four Blunt Points

Georgia guns Everywhere lawGeorgia appears poised to enact a so-called guns-everywhere law, making it easier for firearm permit holders to take their weapons into bars, churches, and even airports. Approved last week by the state legislature, the bill awaits the signature of Republican Governor Nathan Deal, a strong gun-rights advocate up for reelection this fall.

His opponent, Jason Carter, a Democratic state senator and grandson of former President Jimmy Carter, voted for the legislation, so enactment seems assured.

Non-gun owners doubtless find all this baffling. Here are four blunt points to sort out what’s going on and how to respond:

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U.S. Court:Kansas can strip Planned Parenthood funding

Kansas Planned ParenthoodA federal appeals court on Tuesday ruled that Kansas can strip two Planned Parenthood clinics of federal family planning money while the organization moves forward with its legal challenge of a state law it says is retaliation for its advocacy of abortion rights.

Kansas is among several conservative states that have sought in recent years to strip Planned Parenthood of funding. At issue in Tuesday's ruling is money distributed to states under Title X, a federally financed family planning program. The Title X money targets low-income individuals seeking reproductive services such as birth control, pregnancy testing, cancer screenings and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases. It cannot be used for abortions.

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Protests mark Supreme Court hearing on contraceptives

protesta at Supreme CourtBraving an unseasonable and wet snowfall, several hundred activists rallied outside the Supreme Court this morning as inside, the Hobby Lobby retail chain argued that it should not have to provide employees with contraceptive coverage — a policy mandated by the Affordable Care Act but opposed by company owners on religious grounds.

"I am an avid believer in our freedom to control our own reproductive system," said Jeannie Deibel, 41, of Taneytown, among those whose signs may have gotten a soaking but whose spirits remained high throughout the dueling rallies. "Birth control is a basic right that a for-profit company, an employer, should not be able to dictate."

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Obama to Propose Changes to NSA Data-Collection

data collection changesThe New York Times is reporting that the Obama administration plans to announce a new proposal that would “drastically overhaul” the NSA’s phone records-collecting program.

The proposed changes will need to be approved by Congress, according to the report. Obama first called for the changes in a speech last January, giving intelligence officials until March 28 to develop the reforms.

At the time, journalist Glenn Greenwald—who first broke the story of the NSA’s phone-data collection programs—called the proposed reforms “cosmetic” and “basically a PR gesture.”

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