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Tuesday, Oct 21st

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Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard indicted on 23 felony corruption charges

Mike HubbardMike Hubbard, speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives and a powerful leader in the state Republican Party, has been indicted by a grand jury and charged with 23 counts, including using his office for personal gain and soliciting things of value.

Late Monday afternoon, Hubbard reported to the Lee County Jail where he was booked.

If convicted, Hubbard faces a maximum penalty of two to 20 years in prison and up to $30,000 in fines for each count.

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Another Month, Another Global Heat Record Broken

Global warmingIt sounds like a broken record: Last month again set a new mark for global heat. And meteorologists say Earth is now on pace to tie the hottest year ever recorded, or more likely, to break it.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Monday that last month the globe averaged 60.3 degrees Fahrenheit (15.72 degrees Celsius). That was the hottest September in 135 years of record keeping.

It was the fourth monthly record set this year, along with May, June and August.

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Relief in Dallas as dozens declared Ebola-free after three weeks in isolation

dallas officialsDallas Ebola Dallas officials at a news conference. ‘I’m happy we can tell people they are free and clear of monitoring,’ health commissioner David Lakey said. Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The first wave of people who may have had contact with Thomas Eric Duncan have been declared Ebola-free after 21 days of twice-daily temperature checks, bringing welcome news to a Dallas hospital that was sent into a tailspin by the discovery of the virus.

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U.S. Air-Drops Arms to Kurds in Kobani

US air drops to KurdsdTurkey said on Monday it would allow Iraqi Kurdish fighters to reinforce fellow Kurds in the Syrian town of Kobani, while the United States air-dropped arms for the first time to help the defenders resist an Islamic State assault.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Washington had asked Ankara to help "get the peshmerga or other groups" into Kobani so that they could help defend the town on the Turkish frontier, adding that he hoped the Kurds would "take this fight on".

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Pope Francis condemns 'hostile inflexibility' within the church

Pope FrancisPope Francis continued to call for cultural changes within the Catholic Church on Saturday, despite the council of bishops rejecting the notion of softening the church's stance on homosexuality and divorce.

"No grounds whatsoever exist for assimilating or drawing analogies, however remote, between homosexual unions and God's design for matrimony and the family," says the final report issued by the synod of bishops.

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Jews buy homes in contested Arab area of Jerusalem

Selwan, JerusalemResidents of a hotly contested part of east Jerusalem said armed Israeli guards moved into two buildings in the area before dawn Monday — a step likely to raise already heightened tensions in the disputed neighborhood.

A similar move last month in the same neighborhood of Silwan drew sharp condemnation from the U.S. and created a high-profile spat with Israel.

Ateret Cohanim, an organization that settles Jews in Arab areas of east Jerusalem, said it facilitated the purchase of the two buildings from their Arab owners. Spokesman Daniel Lurie said the buildings contain nine apartment units and that Jewish families and religious studies students would soon move into the properties, immediately doubling the Jewish presence in that section of Silwan.

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Nigeria Ebola outbreak declared over, but others in region still reeling

Nigeria Ebola freeThe World Health Organization (WHO) called Nigeria a “spectacular success story” Monday after it declared the country free of Ebola. It has been 42 days — twice the disease's maximum incubation period — since the last person suspected of contracting the disease tested negative.

The good news, however, was dampened by Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s comments that a “generation of young people risk being lost” in West Africa to the “economic catastrophe” caused by the outbreak.

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Gaza plan 'relieves Israel of responsibility'

gaza PlanA massive U.N.-supervised project to rebuild Gaza got underway earlier last week, but officials in Gaza and Ramallah are already doubtful that it will bring immediate aid to residents of the battered strip. The reconstruction plan calls for a highly intricate monitoring system, with restrictive measures on the import and distribution of building materials.

This comes at the behest of the Israelis, who have long barred the entry of basic construction materials — including cement, metal pipes and steel — into Gaza, insisting that they are "dual use" items that Hamas could use to build underground tunnels for military purposes.

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Expelled Nazis got millions in Social Security

Nazi guardsFormer Auschwitz guard Jakob Denzinger lived the American dream.

His plastics company in the Rust Belt town of Akron, Ohio, thrived. By the late 1980s, he had acquired the trappings of success: a Cadillac DeVille and a Lincoln Town Car, a lakefront home, investments in oil and real estate.

Then the Nazi hunters showed up.

In 1989, as the U.S. government prepared to strip him of his citizenship, Denzinger packed a pair of suitcases and fled to Germany. Denzinger later settled in this pleasant town on the Drava River, where he lives comfortably, courtesy of U.S. taxpayers. He collects a Social Security payment of about $1,500 each month, nearly twice the take-home pay of an average Croatian worker.

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