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Friday, Dec 19th

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Investigators race to find victims of child pornography

Investigating child pornThe expansion of the "Dark Web," where pedophiles hide using websites that encrypt their computers' identifying information, has fueled an explosion of child pornography that has law enforcement in a race against time to find victims before they are abused again.

Investigators follow the trail of images around the world any way they can. They rely on traditional detective techniques, such as interviewing suspects, but they also use modern-day digital methods. They enhance blurry backgrounds for clues to a photo's location. They monitor websites popular with pedophiles. They use social media to blast photos of suspected child pornographers in the hope that someone will recognize them.

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DEA settles suit alleging government lie-detector abuses

DEA settles lie detector law suitThe Drug Enforcement Administration has agreed to pay 14 contractors $500,000 to settle a lawsuit that accuses the agency of illegally requiring them to undergo highly intrusive lie detector tests to keep their jobs as translators.

The settlement appears to be the first time that a federal government agency has settled allegations involving contractors’ lie detector tests since a 1988 law banned the use of polygraph screening for most private employees, said a lawyer for the group.

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Strong earthquake of 6.4 magnitude hits Mexico

Mexico earthquakeAn earthquake of 6.4 magnitude has shaken parts of Mexico, causing buildings to sway in the capital.

The US Geological Survey said it was centred near the town of Tecpan de Galeana in southern Guerrero state, about 190 miles (300km) south-west of Mexico City.

It was also felt in the resort city of Acapulco, the Associated Press says. There are no reports of any damage or injuries but frightened office workers ran into the streets in the capital.
Tremors

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The Next Frontier In The GOP War Over Science

National science foundationThe Obama administration and the scientific community at large are expressing serious alarm at a House Republican bill that they argue would dramatically undermine way research is conducted in America.

Titled the “Frontiers in Innovation, Research, Science, and Technology (FIRST) Act of 2014," the bill would put a variety of new restrictions on how funds are doled out by the National Science Foundation. The goal, per its Republican supporters on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, would be to weed out projects whose cost can't be justified or whose sociological purpose is not apparent.

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New Report Documents Chemical Disasters and Environmental Injustice in the U.S.

Chemical toxicity studyAmericans who face the greatest threat from potential toxic chemical disasters are predominantly from low income and minority communities, a new report released by the Environmental Justice and Health Alliance asserts.

In a first-of-its-kind study, the report, Who’s in Danger? A Demographic Analysis of Chemical Disaster Vulnerability Zones, documents the high-risk factors of living within the vicinity of chemical facilities—including water and wastewater treatment facilities, power plants, bleach production facilities, petroleum refineries and paper mills. The report dubs these hotspots “vulnerability zones,” or “fenceline zones.”

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This American Refused to Become an FBI Informant. Then the Government Made His Family's Life Hell.

Naji MansourIt was after 10 p.m. on July 8, 2009, when Sandra Mansour answered her cellphone to the panicked voice of her daughter-in-law, Nasreen. A week earlier, Nasreen and her husband, Naji Mansour, had been detained in the southern Sudanese city of Juba by agents of the country's internal security bureau. In the days since, Sandra had been desperately trying to find out where the couple was being held.

Now Nasreen was calling to say that she'd been released—driven straight to the airport and booked on a flight to her native Kenya—but Naji remained in custody. He was being held in a dark, squalid basement cell, with a bucket for a bathroom and a dense swarm of mosquitoes that attacked his body as he slept. "You have to get him out of there," Nasreen said. But she was unfamiliar with Juba and could only offer the barest details about where they'd been held. "He's in a blue building. You've seen it. It's not far from your hotel."

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Texas: When fracking comes to town

Texas frackingFor northern Texans who live near gas wells, fracking'€™s promise of cleaner energy is overshadowed by drilling, pollution and fears for their health. Some residents have started to fight back.

Alyse and Lance Ogletree moved to the Meadows at Hickory Creek, a subdivision of modest houses in this fast-growing city 40 miles north of Dallas, in the fall of 2011. They found the home prices attractive and thought the well-regarded school district would be a good fit for their son, Kyle, who had suffered brain damage after contracting encephalitis when he was 8 months old.

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