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Wednesday, Jul 23rd

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California severe drought intensifying as Napa wildfire rages on

California drought continuesCalifornia's drought is intensifying, turning more farms to dust, fanning fires, draining fountains and driving “unbelievable” prices at water auctions.

A map released by the US Drought Monitor on Thursday classified nearly 80% of California as in “extreme” drought, the second highest of five categories. Within that area an estimated 36% is “exceptional” drought, the highest category.

After another week of “little if any precipitation” exceptional dryness spread south to afflict Ventura, Los Angeles and Orange counties, according to the monitor report.

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Video shows Arab-American cousin of murdered Palestinian teen being beaten by Israeli police

Arab-American teen beaten by IDFTariq Khdeir, 15, of Tampa, Florida was allegedly beaten and detained by Israeli security forces, according to Palestinian media reports.

Khdeir is the Palestinian-American cousin of Muhammad Abu Khdeir, who was murdered on Wednesday in a suspected revenge attack following the discovery of the bodies of the three abducted Israeli teens.

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Rupture-Prone Oil Trains Keep Rolling After Quebec Crash

oil trains keep rollingWhen Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner sees rail cars full of crude oil rumble down the tracks that criss-cross his Chicago-area town, he often thinks about the derailment that killed 47 people almost a year ago in Canada.

The disaster focused attention on the design of the oil tankers, yet two-thirds of the tank cars in use today are still older models that safety experts say are vulnerable to puncture. The July 6 derailment last year in Quebec and seven other major ones in the U.S. and Canada since then have spilled more than 3 million gallons of oil, with some cars catching fire or exploding.

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My push for disclosure ‘destroyed my entire career,’ ex-CIA employee says

jeffrey scudderHis CIA career included assignments in Africa, Afghanistan and Iraq, but the most perilous posting for Jeffrey Scudder turned out to be a two-year stint in a sleepy office that looks after the agency’s historical files.

It was there that Scudder discovered a stack of articles, hundreds of histories of long-dormant conflicts and operations that he concluded were still being stored in secret years after they should have been shared with the public.

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Hundreds of fuel tanker trucks burn outside Afghan capital

Fuel tanker trucks burnAttackers set fire to hundreds of fuel tanker trucks in a parking lot on the outskirts of the Afghan capital, witnesses said Saturday, prompting angry drivers to block a major highway to demand reimbursement for their losses.

Hundreds of other drivers stood by helplessly on Saturday morning, unable to salvage any property as flames and smoke rose from the area and several fire engines rushed to the site.

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Palestinian teen burned alive, autopsy shows

Palestinian teen- Mohammed Abu Khedair, a Palestinian teenager who was abducted and killed in Jerusalem this week, died from being burned alive and hit with a blunt object to the head, according to Palestinian General Prosecutor Mohammed al-Auwewy, sourcing the medical autopsy.

Al-Auwewy said the autopsy discovered traces of smoke inside the lungs of the 16-year-old , meaning that it was inhaled during the burning.

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BBC staff told to stop inviting cranks on to science programs

BBCBBC journalists are being sent on courses to stop them inviting so many cranks onto programmes to air ‘marginal views’

The BBC Trust on Thursday published a progress report into the corporation’s science coverage which was criticised in 2012 for giving too much air-time to critics who oppose non-contentious issues.

The report found that there was still an ‘over-rigid application of editorial guidelines on impartiality’ which sought to give the ‘other side’ of the argument, even if that viewpoint was widely dismissed.

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Germany arrests BND member on suspicion of spying for US

BNDA new surveillance scandal is threatening to unsettle US-German relations after it emerged that an employee of the Germany's intelligence agency has been arrested under suspicion of acting as a double agent for the USA.

According to several reports in the German media, a 31-year-old member of the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) administration department in Pullach was on Wednesday arrested by the country's federal prosecutor, originally under suspicion of passing on information to Russian intelligence services.

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Reeling from four June killings, trans community calls for understanding

Trandgender activistsEvery week of June this year – a month designated to remember the history and struggle of the LGBT community – a transgender woman of color was found dead.

On June 3, Kandy Hall’s body was found in a field northeast of Baltimore. Eight days later, on June 11, Zoraida Reyes, a 28-year-old Mexican activist involved in Southern California transgender and immigration advocacy groups, was found behind a Dairy Queen. Her death is still being investigated as suspicious. On June 19, the burned body of Yaz’min Shancez, 31, was found behind a dumpster. And on June 26, three days before New York and San Francisco Pride, 28-year-old Tiff Edwards was found shot to death in a suburb of Ohio.

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