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Wednesday, Aug 20th

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Uganda anti-gay law declared 'null and void' by constitutional court

Uganda anti gay law annulledGay rights activists in Uganda and around the world are celebrating a decision by the country's constitutional court to strike down a widely condemned anti-gay law on a legal technicality.

A panel of five judges ruled on Friday that the speaker of parliament acted illegally when she allowed a vote on the measure despite at least three objections that not enough MPs were in attendance.

"The speaker was obliged to ensure that there was quorum," the court said in its ruling. "We come to the conclusion that she acted illegally."

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Taiwan gas blasts in Kaohsiung kill at least 25

taiwan gas leak A series of gas explosions in the southern Taiwanese city of Kaohsiung has killed 25 people and injured 267 others, officials say.

The blasts rocked the city's Cianjhen district, scattering cars and blowing deep trenches in roads.  The exact cause of the gas leaks is not clear, but reports say the blasts were caused by ruptured pipelines.

Images of the scene showed major fires, upturned vehicles, bodies covered in debris and streets split in two.

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This Filter Could Bring Clean Water to Everyone on Earth

clean water filterFor years, residents of the developed world have enjoyed access to clean, on-demand drinking water. It's a privilege not shared by those in poorer countries, who often struggle to avoid dehydration and waterborne disease. And as continued climate change and population growth strain supplies across the globe, water scarcity will likely affect 50 percent of the world's population by 2030, including many in Europe and North America.

But a team of Swiss engineering students aim to fight these issues with a new, reusable water filter called DrinkPure. It's a small mouthpiece that screws onto the top of any standard PET water bottle. All you need to do is fill the bottle with non-potable water, screw on the filter, and squeeze. Clean, filtered water is instantly available.

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Israel soldier captured, 50 Gazans dead as cease-fire collapses

Truce collapsesA 72-hour Gaza cease-fire crumbled only hours after it began Friday, with at least 50 Palestinians killed by Israeli shelling and Israel saying one of its soldiers may have been abducted. Israel also accused Gaza fighters of violating the U.S.- and U.N.-brokered truce by firing rockets and mortars.

In the border region between Israel and Gaza, plumes of black smoke could be seen rising from residential areas in the coastal enclave as Israel resumed shelling early Friday morning.

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Israel And Hamas Agree 72-Hour Gaza Truce

Gaza truceThe UN and US say all sides have agreed to an unconditional 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.

In a joint statement US Secretary of State John Kerry and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the truce will come into force at 8am local time.

It called on both Hamas and Israel to act with restraint until that time.

Hamas has confirmed it will abide by the deal.

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The lonely path of Israel’s military dissenters

military dissenterWhen 1st Sgt. A. received a second automated voice message from the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) two weeks ago, he knew it was no longer possible to avoid the inevitable. The next day’s call was not automated: A soldier, speaking curtly, told him it was time to report for duty at an Israeli military base in the south of the country.

A., who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of courting further punishment by speaking to the media, told the caller he refuses to take part in the Israeli army's current operation in the Gaza Strip. He questioned the ethics of an operation designed to root out Hamas infrastructure used to launch rockets on Israeli cities, citing the growing number of civilian casualties in Gaza.

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Sierra Leone declares emergency as Ebola death toll hits 729

Sierra Leone declares health emergencySierra Leone has declared a state of emergency and called in troops to quarantine Ebola victims, joining neighboring Liberia in imposing controls as the death toll from the outbreak of the virus hit 729 in West Africa.

The World Health Organization said it would launch a $100 million response plan on Friday during a meeting with the affected nations in Guinea. It was in urgent talks with donors and international agencies to send more medical staff and resources to the region, it said.

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Ex-aide to UK's Prince Philip accused of sexual assault on 12-year-old girl

aide to prince philip chargedThe former personal assistant of Prince Philip has been charged with sexually abusing a girl while he was working for the royal family in the 1970s, prosecutors have said.

Benjamin Herman, now 79, was the personal assistant or “equerry” to the 93-year-old husband of Queen Elizabeth from 1971 to 1974.

A spokesman for the UK Crown Prosecution Service said Herman would appear in court on Monday.  “He is charged with three counts of indecent assault between 1972 and 1974 on a girl aged around 12,” the spokesman said.

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CIA improperly accessed Senate computers, agency finds

diane feinsteinCIA employees improperly accessed computers used by the Senate Intelligence Committee to compile a report on the agency’s now defunct detention and interrogation program, an internal CIA investigation has determined.

Findings of the investigation by the CIA Inspector General’s Office “include a judgment that some CIA employees acted in a manner inconsistent with the common understanding reached between SSCI (Senate Select Committee on Intelligence) and the CIA in 2009,” CIA spokesman Dean Boyd said in a statement.

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