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Wednesday, Aug 20th

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Navy ousts 34 sailors for cheating at nuclear power training site

Admiral John RichardsonThe Navy tells The Associated Press that at least 34 sailors are being kicked out of the service for their roles in a cheating ring that operated undetected for at least seven years at a nuclear power training site in South Carolina.

Ten others are under criminal investigation.

Also, 32 other sailors were implicated by investigators but later exonerated.

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Japan landslides: deaths confirmed after homes swept away

Japan landslideAt least six people were confirmed dead and 22 were missing after rain-soaked hills in the outskirts of Hiroshima gave way early on Wednesday in several landslides.

Video footage from the Japanese national broadcaster NHK showed suburban homes in the western Japanese city surrounded by streams of mud and debris, and residents picking their way over piles of rocks and dirt.

Rescue workers suspended by ropes from police helicopters were pulling victims from the rubble as they searched homes stranded amid piles of timber from crushed houses. The fire and disaster authority, citing the local government, said six people were confirmed dead and another 22 were missing as of late morning. It said at least 20 people were injured, one seriously.

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Louisiana court blocks Bobby Jindal from repealing Common Core

Bobby JndalA Louisiana judge on Tuesday swatted down Gov. Bobby Jindal’s attempt to use his executive authority to repeal the Common Core in his state.

Jindal is trying to unilaterally scrap the new academic standards and a related series of exams — a move that’s put him at odds with business leaders, the state superintendent, members of the board of education and many Republican legislators in Louisiana.

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No Charges In 3 Deadly Beatings At Rikers Island, Despite Homicide Rulings

Rikers Island prisonAgitated and hallucinating from alcohol and heroin withdrawal, inmate Angel Ramirez took a swing at a jail guard and missed.

What followed, according to investigative documents obtained by The Associated Press, was a quick punch back from the guard that put Ramirez on the floor. Then he was dragged away, beyond the view of security cameras, and three other guards were called in. Inmates later told investigators they heard screaming and the sickening crack of nightsticks against bone.

Ramirez, 50, died of numerous blunt-impact injuries that included a ruptured spleen, shattered ribs and a stomach filled with blood. When a jail investigator interviewed the guards — eight months later — they insisted Ramirez was struck only once and only in self-defense.

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Wife and son of Hamas leader killed

Hamas family killedAn Israeli air strike in Gaza killed the wife and infant son of Hamas's military leader, Mohammed Deif, the group said, calling it an attempt to assassinate him after a ceasefire collapsed.

Palestinians launched more than 130 rockets, mainly at southern Israel, with some intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile system, the military said. No casualties were reported on the Israeli side.

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Group tweaks Westboro Baptist Church with 'God Loves Gays' campaign

God loves gays"God" has spoken: He loves gays, and he's putting it on a billboard.

That is, the anonymous comedian behind the God Facebook page has launched a fundraising campaign to buy space for a gay rights message on a billboard in Topeka, Kan., the home of the Westboro Baptist Church.

The anti-gay WBC, which has been classified as a hate group by the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center, gets its kicks protesting the funerals of slain soldiers and often carries signs that say "God hates [expletive]."

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U.S. opens Gulf acreage to energy companies

new energy leases in GulfMore than 20 million acres off the coast of Texas were opened up for bidding for energy explorers Wednesday in New Orleans, the U.S. government said.

John Rodi, regional director for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, opened the auction for 21 million acres for oil and gas development in New Orleans.

BOEM said Lease Sale 238 offers more than 4,000 tracts ranging from nine miles to 250 miles off the Texas coast. Water depths range from 16 to more than 10,975 feet.

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Floods force dramatic rescues in Phoenix area

Phoenix floodingWorkers at a farm saw hundreds of cactuses sweep away in a flood. Drivers on Arizona's main north-south freeway watched in shock as muddy waters submerged the road. Rescuers across the state rushed to save people trapped in cars and homes.

The Phoenix area was battered by torrential rain storms Tuesday that caused severe flooding across the desert region. The National Weather Service said some areas received more rain Tuesday than they had all last summer.

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US journalist beheaded; another hostage at risk by Islamic State

journalist beheadedIn a horrifying act of revenge for U.S. airstrikes in northern Iraq, militants with the Islamic State extremist group have beheaded American journalist James Foley — and are threatening to kill another hostage, U.S. officials say.

The White House must now weigh the risks of adopting an aggressive policy to destroy the Islamic State against resisting any action that could result in the death of another American.

It will also confront the potentially necessary step of pursuing the Islamic State in Syria, where President Barack Obama has resisted launching airstrikes or deploying significant American firepower.

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