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Thursday, Apr 17th

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Drought in California may impact food prices

California droughttProduce and dairy prices may be rising this summer because of the severe drought in California.

Purdue Agriculture Economist Corinne Alexander said California depends on snow during the winter months for water supply in the summer. The drought limited the amount of snow, which may bring problems to California farmers.

“In areas where farmers don’t have anywhere near as much access to water, they’re having to make really hard decisions about what to not plant. We’re seeing lots of farmers in California choosing to leave fields fallow where they’re not planting anything at all,” Alexander explained.

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Ukraine crisis: Deal to 'de-escalate' agreed in Geneva

Ukrain agreementRussia, Ukraine, the US and the European Union have said that all sides have agreed to steps to "de-escalate" the crisis in eastern Ukraine.

Their foreign ministers were speaking at the end of talks between Russia, Ukraine, the EU and US in the Swiss city of Geneva.  Analysts say the outline agreement could stay economic sanctions the West was preparing to impose on Russia.

Ukraine has been in crisis since the toppling of its pro-Moscow president.

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Jews ordered to register in east Ukraine

Ukranian JewsJews in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk where pro-Russian militants have taken over government buildings were told they have to "register" with the Ukrainians who are trying to make the city become part of Russia, according to Israeli media.

Jews emerging from a synagogue say they were handed leaflets that ordered the city's Jews to provide a list of property they own and pay a registration fee "or else have their citizenship revoked, face deportation and see their assets confiscated," reported Ynet News, Israel's largest news website.

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Researchers speak to new study exposing link between SSRIs and autism

SSRIResearchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health are calling attention to a new study linking anti-depressants with autism.

Published online earlier this week in the journal Pediatrics, the study was joint effort between researchers at Bloomberg and at the University of California at Davis' MIND Institute.

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Parents and principal say more than 100 Nigerian girls still missing

Nigeria armyThe principal of the Nigerian school and parents have refuted the military's claims that 121 of the 129 girls have been found, after being abducted on April 14.

Asabe Kwambura, the principal of the state-run school from which Islamist militant group Boko Haram abducted over a 100 school girls earlier this week, said that only 14 out of 129 students had escaped. Managing director of Borno Urban Development Board Yahaya Chibok also confirmed that only 14 girls were free.

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The US is not a democracy but an oligarchy, study concludes

wall streetOligarchy is a form of government in which power is vested in a dominant class and a small group exercises control over the general population.

A new study from Princeton and Northwestern Universities concluded that the U.S. government represents not the interests of the majority of citizens but those of the rich and powerful.

"Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens" analyzed extensive data, comparing nearly 1,800 U.S. policies enacted between 1981 and 2002 with the expressed preferences of average and affluent Americans as well as special interest groups.

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Blast on site of explosives plants kills 1

Blast at explosive plantAn explosion and fire at a Tennessee plant where several ammunition and explosives businesses are based killed one person and left three others injured.

Rescue workers were called Wednesday afternoon to a blast at the plant in McEwen, about 55 miles west of Nashville.

The property where the plant is based is home to several businesses that have federal licenses for ammunition or explosives, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives spokesman Michael Knight said. Knight said it was unclear which plant was involved, and he said agents were still trying to determine exactly what happened.

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Guantánamo judge to CIA: Disclose ‘black site’ details to USS Cole defense lawyers

Gitmo trialThe military judge in the USS Cole bombing case has ordered the U.S. government to give defense lawyers details — names, dates and places — of the CIA’s secret overseas detention and interrogation of the man accused of planning the bombing, two people who have read the still-secret order said Thursday.

Army Col. James L. Pohl issued the five-page order Monday. It was sealed as document 120C on the war court website Thursday morning and, according to those who’ve read it, orders the agency to provide a chronology of the overseas odyssey of Abd al Rahim al Nashiri, 49, from his capture in Dubai in 2002 to his arrival at Guantánamo four years later.

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Here's What Fracking Can Do to Your Health

fracking dangersIf you know one thing about fracking, it might be that the wells have been linked to explosive tap water. Of course, a tendency toward combustion isn't the biggest problem with gas-infused water; it's what could happen to you when you drink it.

Although the natural gas industry is notoriously tight-lipped about the ingredients of the chemical cocktails that get pumped down into wells, by now it's widely known that the list often includes some pretty scary, dangerous stuff, including hydrochloric acid and ethylene glycol (a.k.a. antifreeze). It's also no secret that well sites release hazardous gases like methane and benzene (a carcinogen) into the atmosphere.

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