Tuesday, Aug 04th

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Missouri had no right to withhold death penalty drug information, judge rules

Judge: execution drugs cannot be withheldA judge in Missouri struck a blow for public transparency in the practice of the death penalty by ruling that the state’s department of corrections had no right to withhold information from the media about the source of its lethal injection drugs.

Judge Jon Beetem, sitting in the Missouri circuit court of Cole County, ruled the state had “knowingly failed, at least in part” to comply with its obligation to act with transparency. He ordered the state to release key details about its supply of deadly chemicals, pending a further hearing on what information should be redacted.


Police: 4 people shot in Maine; armed ex-con in custody

Maine shootingsA former convict sought in the overnight shootings of four people in three northern Maine communities was taken into custody on Friday, state police said.

Anthony Lord, 35, was arrested in Houlton, and a woman being held with him was safe, said Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.

Dozens of law enforcement officers had been searching for Lord, who is believed to have stolen a logging truck before the shootings in the towns of Lee, Benedicta and Silver Ridge.


Sexual Orientation Discrimination Is Barred By Existing Law, Federal Commission Rules

Existing law protects LGBT employeesThe Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has ruled that existing civil rights law bars sexual orientation-based employment discrimination — a groundbreaking decision to advance legal protections for gay, lesbian, and bisexual workers.

“[A]llegations of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation necessarily state a claim of discrimination on the basis of sex,” the commission concluded in a decision dated July 15.


Dozens killed in Nigeria bombings as end of Ramadan observed

Nigeria bombingsAt least 60 people have been killed in separate bomb blasts across northeastern Nigeria in the past 24 hours as local Muslims gathered to celebrate the Eid al-Fitr feast that marks the end of Ramadan.

Friday, two bombs detonated in open-air prayer areas, known as Eid grounds, where worshippers were gathered in observance of the final day of the holy month. Nigerian army spokesman Col. Sani Usman said the two suicide bombers included a 10-year-old girl. Because of the threat of violence, worshipers were being screened before entering the Eid grounds.


Alaska to become 30th state to expand Medicaid under Affordable Care Act

Bill WalkerAlaskan Gov. Bill Walker on Thursday announced his intentions to expand Medicaid in the state under the Affordable Care Act.

The Independent governor sent a letter to the Republican-controlled legislature informing them of his plan to offer expanded benefits beginning Sept. 1. The state legislature has twice quashed Walker's attempts to pass a bill granting the benefits.


U.S. Crude Oil Train Derails in Rural Northeastern Montana

Montana oil train derailsAn oil train derailed Thursday in rural northeastern Montana, prompting the evacuation of some homes and leaving at least two of the cars leaking crude, authorities said.

There were no immediate reports of injury or fire, but of the 21 cars that derailed only two remained upright, Roosevelt County Sheriff Jason Frederick said.

Burlington Northern Santa Fe spokesman Michael Trevino said the train was pulling 106 loaded crude oil cars when it derailed near Culbertson near the North Dakota border just after 6 p.m. MDT.  Police, fire and other emergency responders were at the site of the derailment, which forced the closure of federal Highway 2, the region's main artery.


Israel closes TV station on Palestinian identity

Israel closes Palestinian stationRamallah, occupied West Bank - Israel has ordered a six-month closure of Palestine 48, a new Palestinian television channel funded by the Palestinian Authority and catering to Palestinian citizens of Israel.

"I will not allow for Israel's sovereignty to be harmed or for the Palestinian Authority to gain a foothold in Israeli territory," said Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, who on Thursday signed an order claiming that the channel did not have the authorisation to operate in Israel.


Family questions death of black woman in Texas jail cell

Sandra Bland familyFamily and friends sought more details Thursday about the death of a black woman who authorities say hanged herself in a Texas jail after her arrest for allegedly kicking an officer following a traffic stop, saying the 28-year-old gave no indication she was in such an emotional state that she would kill herself.

However, Sandra Bland had posted a video to her Facebook page in March acknowledging she was suffering from “a little bit of depression as well as PTSD,” or post-traumatic stress disorder.


Watchdogs Reveal Chamber of Commerce 'Blowing Smoke' for Big Tobacco

Chamber of Commerce helping Big TobaccoA new report sheds light on the shadowy and coordinated efforts of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the tobacco industry to use intimidation, pressure, and lies to tear down life-save public health protections around the world.

Released Thursday by Tobacco Free Kids, Public Citizen, Corporate Accountability International, and other watchdog groups, Blowing Smoke for Big Tobacco (pdf) details the sinister joint efforts of these players in Uruguay, Burkina Faso, Moldova, the European Union, and the Philippines.


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