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Thursday, Aug 21st

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Anti-immigration convoy cancels Texas event over 'death threats'

Anti immigrant convoyA convoy of anti-immigration activists touring the border with Mexico to defend the US from “invasion” has cancelled an event in Texas because of alleged death threats.

The 30-vehicle convoy aborted a planned rally in El Paso on Sunday over safety concerns, said the convoy organiser, Eric Odom.

“We had to cancel that because of death threats against our crew and convoy,” he told the Guardian, speaking by phone from a New Mexico highway. “We’re not into that. We are a very peaceful convoy and we want to show that the border is very dangerous and open.”

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Toledo mayor lifts ban on drinking tap water

Toledo Mayor CollinsThe ban of drinking water in northwest Ohio was lifted early today, after tests of Toledo water showed safe levels of the toxin microcystin.

Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins announced at a 9:30 a.m. news conference that all tests in the city showed non-detectable levels of the toxin, meaning that a ban of consumption of the water that had been in place since early Saturday morning was lifted. “Our water is safe,” he said.

To demonstrate his confidence, Mr. Collins finished the news conference by drinking a cup of Toledo water.

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1 dead, thousands stranded in S. California storm

California mud slidesThunderstorms that swept across Southern California on Sunday led to the death of one person and caused mountain mudslides that stranded more than 2,000 others, authorities said.  A body was found in a car that was swept into a rain-swollen creek in Mount Baldy and overturned, San Bernardino County Fire spokesman Chris Prater said.

Further east, flash floods brought thick debris flows that cut off access to two towns. About 1,500 residents of Oak Glen, and another 1,000 residents of Forest Falls in the San Bernardino Mountains were unable to get out because the roads were covered with mud, rock and debris, authorities said.

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US Sent Latin Youth Undercover in Anti-Cuba Ploy

Fidel castroFernando Murillo was typical of the young Latin Americans deployed to Cuba by a U.S. agency to work undercover. He had little training in the dangers of clandestine operations — or how to evade one of the world's most sophisticated counter-intelligence services.

Their assignment was to recruit young Cubans to anti-government activism, which they did under the guise of civic programs, including an HIV prevention workshop. Murillo was instructed to check in every 48 hours and was provided with a set of security codes. "I have a headache," for instance, meant the Costa Rican thought the Cubans were watching him and the mission should be suspended.

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Fracking the Farm: Scientists Worry About Chemical Exposure to Livestock and Agriculture

fracking the farmThe fracking boom hadn't begun yet in Pennsylvania when J. Stephen Cleghorn and his wife purchased a rundown 50-acre farm in Jefferson County with the intention of building it up into a certified organic farm selling vegetables and goat dairy products.

Four years later, in 2009, when a big rig started horizontally drilling for gas nearby, Cleghorn began to see the effects of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, on his farm. Those effects included health impacts on a neighbor's collies and a polluted spring - the kind of problems that now farmers in many states are experiencing and are indicative of a myriad of possible pathways for exposure to fracking.

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Once-frozen Arctic sea now gets 16-foot waves

Waves in arctic seaGood news for Arctic surfers? The Beaufort Sea, part of the Arctic Ocean, was long covered in a perpetual layer of ice; not so anymore.

Now, the area has seen waves 16 feet high thanks to warmer temperatures, scientists say in a new study, per National Geographic. The giant waves happened during a storm in 2012, the year the researchers collected their data. Such big waves could themselves contribute to a further reduction in ice. Waves break ice, and that gives the sun a chance to make the ocean even warmer.

Big waves can also result in quicker erosion on nearby shores, and could indirectly boost the release of greenhouse gases in the Arctic.

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US condemns 'disgraceful' shelling of UN school

Gaza school hitA third deadly attack on a United Nations school sheltering people fleeing bombardment in Gaza was strongly condemned by both the UN and the US on Sunday, with UN chief, Ban Ki-moon, calling it a "moral outrage and a criminal act" and pleading for an end to "this madness".

The US said it was appalled by the "disgraceful" attack, which killed at least 10 people and injured dozens just days after the shelling of two other UN schools in Gaza caused international shock and anger.

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Does John Brennan Know Too Much for Obama to Fire Him?

Jphn BrennanWhen John Brennan assured the country that the CIA hadn't improperly monitored the Senate team that compiled a report on Bush-era torture, he fed us false information. That much is clear from Thursday's news that "the C.I.A. secretly monitored a congressional committee charged with supervising its activities."

Either the CIA director was lying or he was unaware of grave missteps at the agency he leads. There are already calls for his resignation or firing from Senator Mark Udall, Trevor Timm, Dan Froomkin, and Andrew Sullivan, plus a New York Times editorial airing his ouster as a possibility.

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Lake Erie's algae woes began building a decade ago

Lake Erie algaeThe toxins that contaminated the drinking water supply of 400,000 people in northwest Ohio didn't just suddenly appear.

Water plant operators along western Lake Erie have long been worried about this very scenario as a growing number of algae blooms have turned the water into a pea soup color in recent summers, leaving behind toxins that can sicken people and kill pets.

In fact, the problems on the shallowest of the five Great Lakes brought on by farm runoff and sludge from sewage treatment plants have been building for more than a decade.

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