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Thursday, Jul 30th

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BP Says Limits on Drilling Imperil Oil Spill Payouts

BP warns that drilling ban could stop claims paymentsBP is warning Congress that if lawmakers pass legislation that bars the company from getting new offshore drilling permits, it may not have the money to pay for all the damages caused by its oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The company says a ban would also imperil the ambitious Gulf Coast restoration efforts that officials want the company to voluntarily support.

BP executives insist that they have not backed away from their commitment to the White House to set aside $20 billion in an escrow fund over the next four years to pay damage claims and government penalties stemming from the April 20 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig. The explosion killed 11 workers and spewed millions of barrels of oil into the gulf.

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Focus On The Family: Anti-Bullying Efforts Are A Gay Front

Focus On The Family: Anti-Bullying Efforts Are A Gay FrontFocus on the Family has a message for gay rights activists: stay off the playground. Candi Cushman, an education analyst for the James Dobson-founded group, told The Denver Post this weekend that gay rights advocates have inserted their agenda into anti-bullying efforts, at the expense of Christian values.

"We feel more and more that activists are being deceptive in using anti-bullying rhetoric to introduce their viewpoints, while the viewpoint of Christian students and parents are increasingly belittled," Cushman told the Post.

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Border Patrol agents now board Amtrak train miles from border

Lake Shore Limited allows Border Patrol sweepThe Lake Shore Limited runs between Chicago and New York City without crossing the Canadian border. But when it stops at Amtrak stations in western New York State, armed Border Patrol agents routinely board the train, question passengers about their citizenship and take away noncitizens who cannot produce satisfactory immigration papers.

“Are you a U.S. citizen?” agents asked one recent morning, moving through a Rochester-bound train full of dozing passengers at a station outside Buffalo. “What country were you born in?”

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Civil liberties groups challenge constitutionality of secret U.S. program to target terror suspects for killing

ACLU challenges targeted assassinations of Americans by USThe American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights filed a federal lawsuit Monday challenging the U.S. government's authority to target and kill U.S. citizens outside of war zones when they are suspected of involvement in terrorism.

The civil liberties groups sued in U.S. District Court in Washington after being retained by the father of Anwar al-Aulaqi, a radical U.S.-born cleric who is in hiding in Yemen.

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Fire at proposed Tenn. mosque site probed by feds

Fire at proposed Tenn. mosque site probed by fedsAuthorities are investigating a fire that damaged at least one construction vehicle at a Tennessee site where a new mosque is being built.
Federal investigators won't say whether they believe the fire early Saturday was intentionally set at the suburban Nashville project, which has faced vehement opposition.

Still, a spokeswoman for the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro said the fire has frightened the area's Muslim community.

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Ten Candidates File Suit as 'Massive Improprieties, Tampering' Seen in Shelby County, TN, Election

"Ten candidates filed lawsuit today," the message continued, as she explained that over the past two weeks she and Pynchon "watched as [election officials] wheeled cartloads of computers out of the building. Thousands and thousands of votes don't add up...poll tapes in trash and much more."

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A quarter of Katrina aid money still unspent

One fourth of Katrina money still unspentMore than a quarter of the $20 billion in Housing and Urban Development relief funds that were earmarked for Gulf Coast states after Hurricane Katrina remains unspent five years after the storm, a fact noticed by at least one congressional leader who's eager to spend it elsewhere.

In June, U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, the top Republican on the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, ordered data from the Department of Housing and Urban Development on how much remains unspent from the Community Development Block Grants that were earmarked in hurricane relief funds for Gulf Coast states after the 2005 storms. The answer: about $5.4 billion, comprising $3 billion of the $13 billion earmarked for Louisiana and $2 billion of the $5.5 billion for Mississippi.

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