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Monday, Dec 22nd

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The Fracking Boom Could End Way Sooner Than Obama Thinks

Fracking boom could endPresident Obama is fond of touting America's vast trove of natural gas—and the energy (read: economic growth) it can provide—as a reason to support fracking. "Our 100-year supply of natural gas is a big factor in drawing jobs back to our shores," he told a gathering at Northwestern University in October.

You can hear that same optimism about US natural gas production from Democrats, Republicans, and of course, the industry itself. The conviction that America can fuel its economy by churning out massive amounts of natural gas for decades has become a core assumption of national energy policy. But what if it's wrong?

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In Eric Garner Chokehold Case, Grand Jury Is Said Not to Charge N.Y.P.D. Officer

Eric GarnerA Staten Island grand jury has voted not to bring criminal charges against the white New York City police officer at the center of the Eric Garner case, a person briefed on the matter said Wednesday.

The decision was reached on Wednesday after months of testimony including from the officer, Daniel Pantaleo, who used a chokehold to restrain Mr. Garner, an unarmed black man who died after a confrontation. It came less than two weeks after a grand jury in Ferguson, Mo., declined to bring charges against a white officer who fatally shot an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown.

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Tugce Albayrak funeral: Thousands mourn heroic student in Germany

Albayarak funeralHundreds of mourners paid their last respects today to a young woman hailed as a hero, who suffered fatal injuries after intervening to help two teenage girls being harassed by a group of men.

Tugce Albayrak had been in a coma since mid-November following an early-morning altercation in Offenbach, near Frankfurt. She died on Friday, her 23rd birthday, after her family gave permission to switch off her life support

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Investigation reveals how Florida man ripped off DEA agents in $30m Ponzi scheme

Kenneth Wayne McCleodThe late Kenneth Wayne McLeod was a financial schemer who worked his government contacts and ripped off dozens of DEA agents along the way, a new Justice Department investigation concludes.

In a 90-plus page report, the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General reveals how McLeod snaked his way into law enforcement’s good graces by distributing Super Bowl tickets, charitable donations and more. Until McLeod ended his career by committing suicide in June 2010, officials say he was able to lure into a Ponzi scheme investments totaling more than $30 million from about 130 individuals.

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2014 set to be world's hottest year ever

Hottest year ever - 2014The world is on course for the hottest year ever in 2014, the United Nations weather agency said on Wednesday, heightening the sense of urgency around climate change negotiations underway in Lima.

Preliminary estimates from the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) found global average land and sea surface temperatures for the first 10 months of 2014 had soared higher than ever recorded.

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White House review finds lax oversight of police military equipment

military equipment used by policeFederal agencies spent $18 billion over the past five years supplying state and local police forces with equipment including tactical vehicles and weapons while doing little to guard against potential misuse.

The federally funded gear included the same military-grade equipment that some civil-liberties advocates have blamed for stoking tensions between protesters and authorities in Ferguson, Mo.

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NASA: Antarctic ice loss triples in a decade

Antarctic ide loss tripledThe melt rate of glaciers in west Antarctica has tripled in the past 10 years due in large part to global warming, according to a new study.

That surge means the glaciers lost a Mount Everest-sized amount of water every two years over the past 21 years, at roughly a mass of 91.5 billion tons per year, according to scientists at NASA and the University of California-Irvine.

"The mass loss of these glaciers is increasing at an amazing rate," study co-author and scientist Isabella Velicogna of University of California-Irvine and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory said in a statement.

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Accident at largest nuclear power plant in Europe revealed by Ukraine PM

Ukraine power plant accidentThere has been an accident at a nuclear plant in the southeast of Ukraine, Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk has revealed during the first session of his new Cabinet.

A minor accident occurred at Zaporozhskaya nuclear plant, the largest in Europe, last Friday, according to the facility’s website. A reactor was switched off and put to maintenance as a result.

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Belgium Set To Recognize 'Palestine' State

Belgium set to recognize palestinian stateThe parties that make up Belgium’s federal government have agreed to recognize Palestinian statehood unilaterally, a Belgian daily reported.

The four parties reached an agreement earlier this week, the Le Soir daily reported Wednesday. They intend to submit a motion to parliament formulating support for recognizing Palestinian statehood, which the parties intend to pass in parliament and which the government is planning to implement.

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