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Wednesday, Oct 22nd

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Midterm Voters Drown in Dark Money

Dark moneyCrossroads GPS has assailed Democratic Senator Mark Udall for shortchanging Colorado residents with his votes on health insurance; Patriot Majority USA has gone after the Republican Senate candidate in Arkansas, Tom Cotton, for being a supposed shill of the insurance industry and opposing a farm bill.

This is standard fare in the U.S. midterm elections, where spending could exceed $5 billion and outside groups specialize in attack ads. Trouble is that Colorado voters won’t know which special interests may have financed the anti-Udall message nor will Arkansans know which vested interests may have ponied up for the attacks on Cotton.

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Asset seizures fuel millions in police spending

stop and seizePolice agencies have used hundreds of millions of dollars taken from Americans under federal civil forfeiture law in recent years to buy guns, armored cars and electronic surveillance gear. They have also spent money on luxury vehicles, travel and a clown named Sparkles.

The details are contained in thousands of annual reports submitted by local and state agencies to the Justice Department’s Equitable Sharing Program, an initiative that allows local and state police to keep up to 80 percent of the assets they seize. The Washington Post obtained 43,000 of the reports dating from 2008 through a Freedom of Information Act request.

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ISIS Triple Suicide Bombing in Iraq Kills at Least 58

Isis bombs in IraqA triple suicide bombing Sunday killed at least 58 people in Iraq as a roadside bomb killed the police chief of the western Anbar province, authorities said, attacks that dealt major blows to Iraqi security forces struggling to combat the Islamic State extremist group.

The triple attack took place in Qara Tappah in ethnically mixed Diyala province, an official from the Kurdish Asayish security forces said. He said the first bomber detonated an explosives vest at the gateway to a security compound that also houses the office of a main Kurdish political party. Minutes later, two suicide bombers plowed cars filled with explosives into the compound, causing heavy damage, he said.

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Not a drop (of tap water) to drink in San Lucas, California

No drinking water in CA townPosted in the front office of the San Lucas elementary school are the usual notices — a newspaper clipping about a local boy playing college football, an autism flier, a calendar. The warning about nitrate contamination in the drinking water is to the right of the cafeteria menu (Fridays are always pizza) and directly below the note about the sale of school “spirit paws.”

For three years, residents of this unincorporated farming community of about 80 homes in California’s agriculturally rich Salinas Valley have not been able to drink the water. It may seem remarkable that a community in California, one of the wealthiest states in one of the wealthiest countries, does not have safe drinking water. But for the residents of San Lucas, water problems are nothing new.

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CDC confirms preliminary Ebola diagnosis for Dallas healthcare worker

CDCThe Center for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed the latest Ebola diagnosis of a Dallas healthcare worker. CDC officials have interviewed the female health worker and are blaming to her contraction of the deadly disease on a "breach of protocol," although they cannot confirm where or how the breach occurred.

"It is deeply concerning that this infection occurred," CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said during a press conference on Sunday. "We are assessing her possible contacts from the moment she discovered symptoms."

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A look at destruction in Gaza in Hamas-Israel war

GazaHere is a look at the scope of destruction in Gaza during the Israel-Hamas war this summer, based on statistics from the United Nations, other international agencies and the Palestinian government.

HOMES:  About 100,000 housing units were destroyed or damaged to varying degrees, exceeding an initial estimate of 60,000, according to U.N. surveys. Of those, about 20,000 homes were destroyed or severely damaged.

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India lashed by big cyclone; typhoon hits Japan

Cyclone hits IndiaHeavy rains and gusts ripped through a large swath of India's eastern seaboard, uprooting trees and snapping power cables as a powerful cyclone swept through the Bay of Bengal and slammed into the southern city of Visakhapatnam, one of two storms pounding Asia on Sunday.

In Japan, at least 35 people have been reported injured as Typhoon Vongfong, packing winds of up to 180 kilometers (110 miles) per hour, unleashed rains and gusts on Okinawa and was aiming at the next island of Kyushu, where authorities told 150,000 people to evacuate.

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Battle for Kobane: Islamic State tries to isolate the town

Battle for KOBANEAt least 553 people are said to have died in a month of fighting for Kobane, the Kurdish town just inside Syria under Islamic State (IS) attack.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based Syrian opposition body which monitors the conflict, counted 298 IS fighters among the dead.

US aircraft have bombed IS positions as Kurdish fighters cling on to the town's vital border crossing with Turkey.

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Innocent woman freed after 17 years in prison

woman freed after 17 yearsA woman who spent 17 years in prison after being convicted of murder in the death of a homeless man was exonerated Friday by a Los Angeles County judge who said she should not spend another minute behind bars.

The courtroom audience applauded after Superior Court Judge Mark Arnold overturned the conviction of Susan Mellen.

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