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Sunday, Apr 19th

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California used 70 million gallons of water in fracking in 2014

Califoria droughtCalifornia oil producers used 214 acre-feet of water, equivalent to nearly 70 million gallons, in the process of fracking for oil and gas in the state last year, less than previously projected, state officials told Reuters on Thursday.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, occurs when water and some chemicals are injected deep underground at high pressure to break up rock and release oil and gas into wells.

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So What if the Iranians Got Nuclear Weapons?

Uri Avnery editorialI MUST start with a shocking confession: I am not afraid of the Iranian nuclear bomb.

I know that this makes me an abnormal person, almost a freakBut what can I do? I am unable to work up fear, like a real Israeli. Try as I may, the Iranian bomb does not make me hysterical.

My father once taught me how to withstand blackmail: imagine that the awful threat of the blackmailer has already come about. Then you can tell him: Go to hell.

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Sex abuse lawsuit settled against elite NYC prep school

Horace Mann SchoolAn elite New York City prep school has settled a sexual abuse lawsuit filed against it in New Jersey.

Plaintiff attorney Rosemarie Arnold confirmed with the Wall Street Journal (http://on.wsj.com/1F8z8PS) that the settlement with the Horace Mann School had been reached. However, she declined to provide specifics.
The school wouldn't comment.

Arnold represented a man who was in his 50s when he claimed a now-deceased music teacher had sexually abused him in the 1970s.

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Iran nuclear talks produce historic framework for long-term agreement

Iran pactA much-tweeted photo of Secretary of State John Kerry earlier this week showed him looking pensively out the window of his five-star hotel room in Lausanne, Switzerland.

“John, don’t jump,” wrote one Twitter humorist, reflecting concerns that Kerry might be despondent after days of hard bargaining with Iran and the other members of the so-called P5+1— the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia, and China.

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Study: Polar bears can’t thrive on land, amid record-breaking ice loss

polar bears in dangerPolar bears are increasingly feeding on land-based foods instead of their traditional marine prey as climate change reduces the sea ice they use as hunting platforms — a dietary change that has contributed to declining health and survival rates among the species, a team of scientists led by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has found.

“While it’s tempting to think that polar bears could survive by switching to a terrestrial diet, this paper establishes in no uncertain terms that land-based foods do not offer any hope of polar bear salvation,” said Steven Amstrup, the chief scientist for conservation group Polar Bears International (PBI), who is a co-author of the study, which was published Wednesday in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. Scientists with the USGS, PBI and Washington State University participated in the research.

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Alabama inmate to be freed after 30 years on death row

Anthony Ray HintonAn inmate on Alabama's death row for nearly 30 years will go free after prosecutors said there was not enough evidence to link him to the 1985 murders he was convicted of the committing.

Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Laura Petro dismissed the case against Anthony Ray Hinton on Thursday morning, according to local news website AL.com. Three ballistics experts said “they could not conclusively determine” that any of the six bullets used in the murders came from a gun found in Hinton’s home, AL.com reported.

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It's Almost Impossible To Find Data On Oil And Gas Spills In Most States

oil drillingA new report from the environmental group Natural Resources Defense Council has analyzed the data on spills and other violations at oil and gas wells across the country. But perhaps the most interesting aspect of the report is how little data the group was able to turn up.

Based on NRDC's evaluation of dozens of state databases, only three states -- West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Colorado -- have easily accessible, publicly available data on spills and other violations. That's three states out of 36 that have active oil and gas development.

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Iran nuclear deal framework announced

Iran dealThe understanding reached on Iran's nuclear program sets the foundation for a good deal, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said. The deal would see Iran reduce its stockpile of low-enriched uranium by 98% for 15 years and cut its installed centrifuges by more than two-thirds for 10 years, Kerry said.

• Once a final agreement is implemented, the international community will have the confidence that Iran's nuclear program is peaceful and will remain so, Kerry said.

• French President Francois Hollande said France, along with its partners, will monitor the implementation of the terms of the agreement before a final deal by the end of June, "so that the international community can be assured that Iran will not be in position to acquire a nuclear weapon."

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NY branch of Boy Scouts of America hires gay adult employee — defying nat'l leadership

BSAThe New York chapter of the Boy Scouts of America has made history by hiring an openly gay adult — and telling bigotry to take a hike.

They have hired a gutsy 18-year-old Eagle Scout named Pascal Tessier to work as a camp counselor this summer at the Ten Mile River Scout Camp in upstate New York.  And nobody is prouder than his mom.

“I am,” said Tracie Felker, who lives in Hagerstown, Md., when asked about her boundary-breaking boy.

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