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Monday, Mar 02nd

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Deadly bacteria release sparks concern at Louisiana lab

primate lab, louisianaA dangerous, often deadly, type of bacteria that lives in soil and water has been released from a high-security laboratory at the Tulane National Primate Research Center in Louisiana. Officials say there is no risk to the public.

Yet despite weeks of investigation by multiple federal and state agencies, the cause of the release and the extent of the contamination remain unknown, according to interviews and records obtained by USA TODAY.

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Algerians suffering from French atomic legacy, 55 years after tests

Algerians suffer atomic test legacyAhmed el-Hadj Hamadi was huddled into a building with the rest of his community by French soldiers early in the morning. They were instructed to lie down, close their eyes and cover their ears. He then remembers a sound like “the world coming to an end” and the windows turning white. A cord above their prone bodies swung erratically until the light bulb it held shattered.

“I thought it was the apocalypse. We all did,” he said. “We all thought we might die.” Later, the French military began tasking out labor to residents in the isolated desert region of Algeria. “They had built a kind of village at the explosion area, and even put animals in it,” Hamadi added. “After the blast we were sent out to gather all the rubbish. The ground was all burned, white, liquid.”

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Chicago White Sox great Minnie Minoso dies

Minnie Minoso diesIn what has been the cruelest of baseball winters for Chicago, Minnie Minoso, the most popular White Sox player ever as the heart and soul of their “Go-Go Sox” teams of the ‘50s, died Sunday, barely six weeks after the Cubs lost their beloved icon, Ernie Banks.

No one was ever quite sure how old Minoso, the major league’s first black Cuban, actually was but the White Sox said he was 90. He was, however, forever young at heart; one of the most exciting players the game has ever known, with an effervescent personality, a perpetual smile and an insatiable love for life and baseball.

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Many South Sudan boys 'kidnapped to be child soldiers'

Ssudanese boy soldiersHundreds of boys in South Sudan have been kidnapped and forced to become child soldiers, the United Nations children's agency says.
The figure is a big increase on the 89 child abductions reported by Unicef last month.

Their latest statement blamed a militia group allied to the government.

South Sudan is in a state of civil war with forces loyal to President Salva Kiir pitted against rebels led by former Vice-President Riek Machar.

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Exxon Settles $9 Billion Pollution Case in New Jersey for $250 Million

Exxon settlementA long-fought legal battle to recover $8.9 billion in damages from Exxon Mobil Corporation for the contamination and loss of use of more than 1,500 acres of wetlands, marshes, meadows and waters in northern New Jersey has been quietly settled by the state for around $250 million.

The lawsuits, filed by the State Department of Environmental Protection in 2004, had been litigated by the administrations of four New Jersey governors, finally advancing last year to trial. By then, Exxon’s liability was no longer in dispute; the only issue was how much it would pay in damages.

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Glacial Melting In Antarctica Makes Continent The 'Ground Zero Of Global Climate Change'

AntarcticaFrom the ground in this extreme northern part of Antarctica, spectacularly white and blinding ice seems to extend forever. What can't be seen is the battle raging thousands of feet (hundreds of meters) below to re-shape Earth.

Water is eating away at the Antarctic ice, melting it where it hits the oceans. As the ice sheets slowly thaw, water pours into the sea — 130 billion tons of ice (118 billion metric tons) per year for the past decade, according to NASA satellite calculations. That's the weight of more than 356,000 Empire State Buildings, enough ice melt to fill more than 1.3 million Olympic swimming pools. And the melting is accelerating.

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Uganda's 'Kill the Gays' Bill Is Back

Uganda's Kill the Gays BillDavid Bahati, the sponsor of Uganda’s notorious Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA), announced this weekend that he intends to reintroduce the bill in parliament, after a court found it invalid for procedural reasons last August.

But this time will be different. President Yoweri Museveni is under heavy pressure not to once again invite international condemnation by supporting it. More importantly, the Ugandan coalition opposing it is broad-based and deep.

In fact, American activists could learn a lot from their Ugandan counterparts.

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Police shooting of unarmed 17-year-old Colorado girl ruled homicide

Denver A medical examiner's report ruled the death of a 17-year-old girl as a homicide one month after Denver police shot her to death.

Jessica Hernandez was killed on Jan. 26. The Denver Police Department said at the time that she had driven a stolen car at two officers in a dark alleyway, hitting one officer's leg and prompting them to shoot several times.

The autopsy report indicates Hernandez died after suffering four gunshot wounds, with two bullets fatally entering the left side of her torso, hitting her heart and lungs, and another two wounds, possibly from the same bullet, in her pelvis and thigh. Denver Chief Medical Examiner James Caruso, who performed the autopsy, notes there was "no evidence of close range discharge of a firearm associated with any of the entrance wounds."

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UN: Iraq violence kills at least 1,100 in February

Iraqi deathsThe U.N. mission to Iraq said Sunday that violence claimed the lives of at least 1,100 Iraqis in February, including more than 600 civilians.

The U.N. Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) said in a statement that 611 civilians were among 1,103 people killed last month, with the rest hailing from the security forces. It said at least 2,280 people were wounded, including 1,353 civilians. January's death toll was at least 1,375.

The most violent city was the capital Baghdad, with 329 civilians killed and 875 wounded, it said.
The U.N. numbers do not include the third of the country held by the Islamic State extremist group.

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