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Saturday, Jul 26th

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Abortion Clinic Buffer Zones Crumble Around The Country

Buffer zones around abortion clinics disappearTwo weeks after the Supreme Court ruled that Massachusetts' protective buffer zone around abortion clinics violates the free speech rights of protesters, four other buffer zones around the country have already disappeared or been challenged in court.

The City Council of Portland, Maine, repealed its 39-foot buffer zone around a women's health clinic this week, and the cities of Burlington, Vermont, and Madison, Wisconsin, have stopped enforcing their buffer zones. In Burlington, people had been legally prohibited from protesting within 35 feet of the clinic, and Madison had a "floating" buffer zone that prohibited protesters from coming within eight feet of a patient entering or exiting an abortion clinic.

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Snowden Asks Russia to Extend Asylum

SnowdenFormer NSA contractor Edward Snowden has formally asked Russia to extend his asylum there, according to Russian media, as he faces charges in the United States for leaking details of mass government surveillance.

The Russian news service RT quoted a Snowden lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, in reporting that Snowden had requested another year of asylum, a move he had been expected to make. “We have submitted documents to prolong his stay in Russia,” Kucherena said Wednesday.

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George Clooney attacks Daily Mail over 'irresponsible' story on his fiancée

George ClooneyActor George Clooney has accused the Daily Mail of concocting a false and irresponsible story about his fiancée, the human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin.

He issued a strongly-worded statement to the popular American national newspaper, USA Today, following the publication of a Mail article which claimed that Alamuddin's mother, Baria, opposed their forthcoming marriage on religious grounds.

It cited unnamed family members as its source. Clooney wrote:

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Files on UK role in CIA rendition accidentally destroyed, says minister

UK rendition flightsThe government's problems with missing files deepened dramatically when the Foreign Office claimed documents on the UK's role in the CIA's global abduction operation had been destroyed accidentally when they became soaked with water.

In a statement that human rights groups said "smacked of a cover-up", the department maintained that records of post-9/11 flights in and out of Diego Garcia, the British territory in the Indian Ocean, were "incomplete due to water damage".

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NSA Spied on Muslim-American Leaders

NSA spied on Muslim AmericansThe National Security Agency and FBI have covertly monitored the emails of prominent Muslim-Americans—including a political candidate and several civil rights activists, academics, and lawyers—under secretive procedures intended to target terrorists and foreign spies.

According to documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the list of Americans monitored by their own government includes:

• Faisal Gill, a longtime Republican Party operative and one-time candidate for public office who held a top-secret security clearance and served in the Department of Homeland Security under President George W. Bush;

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Citigroup may pay $7 billion to resolve U.S. mortgage probes

CitigroupCitigroup Inc is close to paying about $7 billion to resolve a U.S. probe into whether it defrauded investors on billions of dollars worth of mortgage securities in the run-up to the financial crisis, a source familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

A majority of the settlement is expected to be in cash, but the figure also includes several billion dollars in help to struggling borrowers, the source said.

An announcement of the settlement between the bank and the U.S. Department of Justice could come as early as next week, the source said.

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Death toll mounts in Gaza as Israel bombards Palestinian enclave

Gaza bombedIsraeli air strikes shook Gaza every few minutes on Wednesday, and militants kept up rocket fire at Israel's heartland in intensifying warfare that Palestinian officials said has killed at least 38 people in the Hamas-dominated enclave.

Missiles from the Iron Dome defense system shot into the sky to intercept rockets launched, for the second straight day, at Tel Aviv, the country's commercial capital.

With cries of 'Allahu akbar' (God is great), Palestinians in Gaza cheered as rockets streaked overhead toward Israel, in attacks that could provide a popularity boost for Islamist Hamas, whose rift with neighboring Egypt's military-backed government has deepened economic hardship.

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Chinese President Says Conflict With U.S. Would Be Disaster

Xi China's President Xi Jinping called for greater military communication with the U.S., saying as he opened high-level talks between the two countries that any conflict would be a global disaster.

China needs a stable environment “more than ever,” and it’s inevitable that the two sides will have some disputes, Xi said at the Diaoyutai guest house before the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Beijing.

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What’s Killing the Children in Jadugora, India?

India child deaths from uranium poisoningSanjay and Rakesh live near Jadugora, a town of 19,500 people about 850 road miles (1,370 kilometers) from New Delhi in east India’s Jharkhand state. Once ringed by lush tribal forests, Jadugora is today a troubling portrait of modern India, its outskirts a postcard of pastel-painted mud houses scattered amid tidy rice fields, its center the hub of India’s uranium mining industry that is fueling an unprecedented nuclear power boom.

It’s here that state-run Uranium Corp. of India Ltd. is licensed by the Indian government to gouge hundreds of thousands of tons of uranium ore out of the ground each year, while just over a hill, an easy walk from the village, 193 acres of ponds holding mildly radioactive waste stand largely unguarded save for no-trespassing signs.
Mystery Disease

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