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Wednesday, Apr 23rd

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108 missing, unaccounted for in Wash. mudslide

mudslideMore than 100 people remain missing after a massive mudslide that hit rural Snohomish County, emergency officials said Monday.

Searchers don't expect to find any more survivors from Saturday's slide that killed at least eight people and is estimated to contain 15 million cubic yards of debris.

"We're still in rescue mode at this time, but the situation is very grim," said Chief Travis Hots of Snohomish County Fire District 21. "We have not found anybody still alive on this pile since Saturday."

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Tennessee seeks 10 execution dates; keeps plans secret

Tennessee executionsThe state of Tennessee doesn't want you to know how it will kill the condemned.

It doesn't want you to know who will flip the switch, sending a lethal dose of pentobarbital through the veins of death row inmates. And it doesn't want you to know how it obtained that pentobarbital — which isn't available from any legal drug manufacturer — as well. State correction officials have even banned the media from visiting inmates on death row.

As Tennessee makes an unprecedented push to set execution dates, it is doing so in the shadows, cloaking its plans in secrecy. Legislators passed a bill a year ago that allowed the state to withhold all information about the drugs it plans to use to execute death row inmates. Georgia, Oklahoma and Missouri have enacted similar laws shrouding information about their lethal injection drugs.

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Jimmy Carter on NSA: "If I Send an Email, It Will Be Monitored"

Jimmy CarterFormer President Jimmy Carter says he suspects his communications are being monitored by the National Security Agency.

“I have felt that my own communications are probably monitored,” Carter said in an interview with Andrea Mitchell that was aired Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Carter expressed his support for Edward Snowden in an interview with CNN last June:

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Homeland actor James Rebhorn dies at 65

James RedhornUS actor James Rebhorn, known for roles in TV series Homeland and film Scent of a Woman, has died at the age of 65.

Rebhorn, who had skin cancer, died at his home in South Orange, New Jersey, his agent Dianne Busch said.  His career spanned five decades and saw him appear in TV shows including The Good Wife and 30 Rock, and films such as My Cousin Vinny, Carlito's Way and Basic Instinct.

Diagnosed with melanoma in 1992, he continued working until last month.

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Wash. mudslide kills 3: searchers seek survivors

mud slide Rescue crews searched into the night for survivors from a massive mudslide in Washington state that killed at least three people, after hearing voices from the debris field pleading for help.

The slide of mud, trees and rocks happened about 11 a.m. Saturday morning. Several people — including an infant — were critically injured and at least six houses were destroyed.  Snohomish County Fire District 21 Chief Travis Hots said at a news briefing late Saturday that searchers weren't giving up on finding more people.

"We have people who are yelling for our help, and we are going to take extreme risks," Hots said.

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Michigan gay marriages could fall into legal limbo

Michaigan gay marriageMore than 100 same-sex couples who got married in Michigan on Saturday stand the risk of having their marriages fall into a form of legal limbo if the state refuses to recognize them while appeals are pending, according to an expert on federal law and the courts.

Carl Tobias, a professor at the University of Richmond School of Law in Richmond, Va., said the status of the same-sex marriages in Michigan is not entirely clear while an appeal of a federal judge's ruling declaring Michigan's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional is pending before the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.

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Police phone-tracking contracts often kept secret

police phone trackingPolice across the country may be intercepting phone calls or text messages to find suspects using a technology tool known as Stingray. But they're refusing to turn over details about its use or heavily censoring files when they do.

Police say Stingray, a suitcase-sized device that pretends it's a cell tower, is useful for catching criminals, but that's about all they'll say.

For example, they won't disclose details about contracts with the device's manufacturer, Harris Corp., insisting they are protecting both police tactics and commercial secrets. The secrecy - at times imposed by non-disclosure agreements signed by police - is pitting obligations under private contracts against government transparency laws.

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