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Friday, Jul 03rd

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Episcopal church votes to divest from fossil fuels: 'This is a moral issue'

Episcopal church to divest from fossil fuelThe leadership of the Episcopal church has voted to withdraw from fossil fuel holdings as a means of fighting climate change, delivering an important symbolic victory to environmental campaigners.

Two weeks after the pope’s pastoral letter on the environment, the divestment decision by a major US Protestant denomination underscored that climate change is increasingly seen by religious leaders as a deeply moral issue.

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Former UK ministers urge Obama to free Shaker Aamer from Guantánamo Bay

Shaker AhmerBoris Johnson has placed himself at the head of cross-party group, including a former Tory attorney general and Labour home secretary, who are calling on Barack Obama to secure the release of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident held in Guantánamo Bay.

In an intervention timed to coincide with US Independence Day, six former cabinet ministers have joined leading writers, actors, directors, musicians to warn the White House that the continued detention of Aamer is undermining US standing in the world.

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Shell Arctic oil drilling to commence within weeks

Shell to star Arctic oil drillingOil and gas giant Shell is expected to begin drilling for oil in the Arctic within the next two weeks.

Thirty ships left Dutch Harbor in Alaska on Thursday for the Arctic to support two initial exploratory wells.

The company has already committed about $7bn (£4.5bn) to the controversial project, and is confident it will find huge quantities of oil in the region.

But if the initial wells do not find oil, Shell will contemplate walking away from the region entirely.

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France Rejects Assange’s Asylum Plea

Julian AssangeStill wanted in Sweden over sex allegations, the founder of Wikileaks, Julian Assange asked France's president François Hollande to grant him asylum on Friday. But his request was quickly rejected.

Assange, who denies sex crimes in Stockholm four years ago, wrote an open letter to the French president asking François Hollande to "welcome" him in France.

His plea was published in the newspaper Le Monde on Friday - which marks the birthday of the Wikileaks' founder.

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Boko Haram Kills Scores in Nigerian Mosques

Boco HaramBoko Haram gunmen have killed more than 140 people in three separate attacks on mosques and villages in Nigeria's northeast Borno State.

A government official said that several mosques were attacked in the town of Kukawa on Wednesday night, with at least 97 men, women and children among the victims.

Two other villages were also attacked, with women and children again among the dead.

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Four accused in slave-labor trafficking ring on Ohio egg farm

Ohio slave traffickingFour people were indicted Thursday in a slave-labor ring that smuggled Guatemalan teens and adults into the United States and forced them to live in squalid conditions while working at an Ohio egg farm.

Federal investigators said recruiters enlisted adults and teens in Guatemala, some as young as 14, on the promise of good jobs in the United States and a good education. The laborers were smuggled across the border to Marion, located about 50 miles north of Columbus, where they lived in dilapidated trailers. They were forced to work at a chicken farm where they spent 12 hours a day cleaning coops, debeaking chickens and loading and unloading crates of chickens. The indictment said the workers were threatened with bodily harm if they refused work.

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Hispanic leaders say Republican Party must condemn Trump

Hispanc leaders deand Trump be rnouncedHispanic leaders are warning of harm to Republican White House hopes unless the party's presidential contenders do more to condemn Donald Trump, a businessman turned presidential candidate who's refusing to apologize for calling Mexican immigrants rapists and drug dealers.

Trump's comments, delivered in his announcement speech last month, have haunted the GOP for much of the last two weeks and dominated Spanish-language media. It's bad timing for a Republican Party that has invested significantly in Hispanic outreach in recent years, given the surging influence of the minority vote.

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Ferry capsizes in Philippines; dozens dead

Philipppine ferry capsizesRescuers on Friday retrieved five more bodies from a ferry that capsized just moments after departing from a central Philippine port, raising the death toll to 50.

The bodies were recovered hours after coast guard spokesman Cmdr. Armand Balilo said all 187 passengers and crew members on the M/B Kim Nirvana had been accounted for. The vessel flipped over in choppy waters on Thursday off Ormoc City.

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Solar plane smashes solo flight record over Pacific

Solar planeAn aircraft attempting to circumnavigate the globe powered only by the sun's energy has broken a world record for the longest non-stop solo flight, the project team said.

The Solar Impulse 2, which took off from Japan on Monday on the seventh leg of its journey, has shattered the solo-flight record threshold of 76 hours while crossing the Pacific.

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