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Sunday, Sep 21st

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Hikers evacuated as Yosemite wildfire explodes in size

yosemite wildfireA wildfire that had been smoldering for weeks in Yosemite National Park exploded during the weekend, forcing the park to evacuate hikers by helicopter.

The Meadow fire had grown to about 2,600 acres by Monday morning. The fire, started by lightning in August, had been confined to about 20 acres until wind Sunday spread sparks to areas of dry brush.

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ACLU wants inmates to know their voting rights

ACLUThe American Civil Liberties Union is urging sheriff's offices and supervisors of elections in all 67 Florida counties to ensure people in jail who are eligible to vote are aware of their voting rights.

People with past felony convictions who haven't had their voting and civil rights restored by the state aren't allowed to vote. But those awaiting trial or serving time for a misdemeanor can request absentee ballots, including for local judges.

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Serious respiratory illness hits hundreds of kids

Serious respiratory illness hits hundreds of kidsHundreds of children in more than 10 states have been sickened by a severe respiratory illness that public health officials say may be caused by an uncommon virus similar to the germ that causes the common cold.

Nearly 500 children have been treated at one hospital alone — Children's Mercy in Kansas City, Missouri — and some required intensive care, according to authorities.

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Qatar confirms detention of rights group workers

QatareQatar has confirmed it is holding two Britons who went missing while researching migrant labor issues, saying the men are being questioned for alleged illegal activity in the Gulf nation that is due to hold the 2022 World Cup.

A little-known organization, the Norway-based Global Network for Rights and Development, reported that its researcher Krishna Upadhyaya, 52, and photographer Ghimire Gundev, 36, went missing on Aug. 31 as they were preparing to leave Qatar. It suggested that Qatari security services were behind their disappearance and has called for their release.

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Campaigners: Obama immigration reform delay 'a slap to face' of Latinos

Immigration reform delayedPresident Barack Obama will delay his long-promised executive action on immigration until after the November midterm elections, White House officials said on Saturday in remarks to the press that blamed “Republicans’ extreme politicisation of this issue”.

The president subsequently gave an interview to NBC, scheduled for broadcast on Sunday morning, in which he said election-year politics were “not the reason” for his decision. Instead, Obama said the summer arrival across the border with Mexico of thousands of unaccompanied children from Central America had prompted a change in the public’s outlook on the issue, and thus in his policy.

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In shadow of oil boom, Dakota farmers battle contamination

Dakota spillsLast summer, in a wet, remote section of farm country in Bottineau County, landowner Mike Artz and his two neighbors discovered that a ruptured pipeline was spewing contaminated wastewater into his crop fields.

“We saw all this oil on the low area, and all this salt water spread out beyond it,” said his neighbor Larry Peterson, who works as a farmer and an oil-shale contractor. “The water ran out into the wetland.”

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Bush-Era Wiretapping Memos Released

Bush era memosThe Justice Department released two decade-old memos Friday night, offering the fullest public airing to date of the Bush administration’s legal justification for the warrantless wiretapping of Americans’ phone calls and e-mails — a program that began in secret after the 2001 terrorist attacks.

The broad outlines of the argument — that the president has inherent constitutional power to monitor Americans’ communications without a warrant in a time of war — were known, but the sweep of the reasoning becomes even clearer in the memos written by then-Assistant Attorney General Jack Goldsmith, who was head of President George W. Bush’s Office of Legal Counsel.

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In memoir, Texas' Wendy Davis reveals abortion

Wendy DavisTexas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis discloses in her upcoming memoir that she had an abortion in the 1990s after discovering the fetus had a severe brain abnormality.

In "Forgetting to be Afraid," Davis also writes about ending an earlier ectopic pregnancy, in which an embryo implants outside the uterus.

Davis became a national political sensation by filibustering her state's tough new restrictions on abortion.

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Islamic State beheads 2nd captive Lebanese soldier

Islamic sdtate beheadsThe mother of a Lebanese soldier held captive by the militant Islamic State group said photographs posted online Saturday purporting to show his beheading appeared to be real.

Zeinab Noun said her 20-year-old son, Abbas Medlej, was "sacrificed" after supporters of the militant Sunni group posted images appearing to show a captured Lebanese soldier before and after he was beheaded.

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