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Friday, Mar 06th

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UNICEF: 89 Boys Abducted in South Sudan

Sudan boys abductedAn armed group in South Sudan has abducted at least 89 boys in a northern state, the U.N. children's agency said Saturday.

The boys, some as young as 13, were abducted near Malakal, the capital of Upper Nile state, according to a UNICEF statement.

Malakal, which is currently under government control, has recently seen intense fighting between rebel forces and government troops who accuse each other of violating multiple peace agreements.

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Student behind 'laser cat' yearbook photo takes own life

Laser cat student takes own lifeSchenectady High School senior Draven Rodriguez, whose fearless creativity earned him international fame last year, took his own life Thursday evening, according to multiple authorities familiar with his death.

Rodriguez, the teenager responsible for the laser-cat yearbook photo that became an Internet sensation in the fall, committed suicide in his home, authorities said. He was 17.

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US considering slowing exit from Afghanistan

Slower exit from AfghanistanThe United States is considering slowing its military exit from Afghanistan by keeping a larger-than-planned troop presence this year and next because the new Afghan government is proving to be a more reliable partner, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Saturday.

Carter, on his first overseas trip since starting the Pentagon job Tuesday, also said the Obama administration is "rethinking" the counterterrorism mission in Afghanistan, although he did not elaborate.

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Thousands of Detroit homeowners face new wave of foreclosures

Detroit foreclosuresTens of thousands of Detroit homeowners are facing possible foreclosure in the next year as the county cracks down on back taxes owed, which activists say are often extremely inflated because the county assesses property taxes on the basis of their value before the city fell into financial crisis.

When Wayne County officials opened the Cobo Center convention hall in early February to property owners hoping to work out payment plans to save their homes from tax foreclosure, more than 6,000 people streamed through the doors.

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Tobacco giants resist harsh public admissions about smoking

Tobacco companies deny dangersNever underestimate the staying power of big tobacco.

In 2006, U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler ordered the nation's largest cigarette makers to publicly admit that they had lied for decades about the dangers of smoking.

The basis for the punishment: Testimony from 162 witnesses, a nine-month bench trial and thousands of findings by the judge that defendants engaged in what the largest public health organizations in the country have called a massive campaign of fraud.

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US charges Duke Energy with illegal pollution from 5 coal ash dumps

Duke enrgy chargedFederal prosecutors have filed criminal charges against Duke Energy with years of illegal pollution from coal ash dumps at five North Carolina power plants.

The three U.S. Attorney's Offices covering the state on Friday all charged Duke with felony violations of the Clean Water Act. The prosecutors say the nation's largest electricity company engaged in unlawful dumping since at least 2010 at coal-fired power plants in Eden, Moncure, Asheville, Goldsboro and Mt. Holly.

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New York Towns Threaten Secession Over Gov. Cuomo's Ban On Fracking

fracking ban NYFifteen New York towns that are upset at Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s decision to ban fracking have threatened to secede from the state and join neighboring Pennsylvania, where fracking is allowed.

The towns, all members of the Upstate New York Towns Association, have expressed interest in secession, Conklin Town Supervisor Jim Finch told The Huffington Post. The association is compiling a report to assess the feasibility of joining Pennsylvania.

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Waterless, the first planned Palestinian city sits empty

RawabiA year ago the construction of the first 700 housing units of the first planned Palestinian city, Rawabi, north of Ramallah, was completed. But none of the apartment owners have moved into their purchased homes since the newly built city has no access to water.

Why? It seems that the Israeli government is delaying the connection of the city to a water pipeline. Why? That’s difficult to explain.

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Former Virginia first lady Maureen McDonnell sentenced to prison term

Va, former first lady gets one year, one day in jailFormer Virginia first lady Maureen McDonnell was sentenced Friday to one year and one day in prison for her role in a bribery scheme that destroyed her husband’s political career.

U.S. District Judge James Spencer sentenced McDonnell on eight public corruption counts. Prosecutors had asked for an 18-month sentence. Defense attorneys requested probation and 4,000 hours of community service.

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