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Thursday, Apr 17th

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Toxic coal ash poses persistent threat to US waters

Toxic coal ash"This place was where I first knew God was real," Mr. Adkins drawls, gazing down at a narrow segment of the river known as Draper Landing. That's where he learned to fish and swim as a boy, where he first felt a spiritual connection to nature, he says. Gesturing toward his 2-year-old son, Benson, he adds, "I was planning on teaching him how to fish and swim right here, too.

"Now, I wouldn't let my dog come in here," Adkins adds.

Less than two months earlier, a storm pipe underneath an unlined coal ash basin two miles upstream from Draper Landing ruptured and spewed more than 30,000 tons of coal ash into the Dan. The plume of gray sludge spread 70 miles downstream, depositing toxins along the way.

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Oklahoma Earthquakes: Overnight Swarm Produces State's Strongest Quakes of 2014

oklahoma earthquake swarmA swarm of earthquakes struck central Oklahoma Saturday and early Sunday, producing the state's strongest quakes so far in 2014, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The primary swarm of earthquakes was centered in northwestern Logan County and northeastern Kingfisher County, about 12 miles north of Crescent.

In that cluster, the USGS recorded nine earthquakes ranging in magnitude from 2.6 to 4.3 between 10 p.m. CDT Saturday and 7 a.m. Sunday. The two earthquakes measuring 4.3 on the moment magnitude scale were the strongest earthquakes so far in 2014 in Oklahoma, eclipsing a 4.1 jolt centered near Langston on Feb. 8.

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Spanish journalists freed in Syria after six-month ordeal

Spanish journalists freedTwo Spanish journalists kidnapped in northern Syria last September were freed by their captors on Saturday night, ending a six-month ordeal in the hands of an extremist Islamist group that continues to hold more than 40 other western hostages.

Javier Espinosa, a veteran correspondent for the Spanish daily El Mundo, and Ricardo García Vilanova, a freelance photographer working with him, were handed over to Turkish authorities near the Syrian town of Tal Abiyad, not far from where they were seized 194 days ago.

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Earth Hour 2014: World To Turn Off The Lights For 60 Minutes In Honor Of The Environment

earth hour 2014The Great Wall. Times Square. The Eiffel Tower.

Many of the worlds greatest, and most illuminated, monuments will go dark for an hour on Saturday for the eightth annual Earth Hour. More than 150 countries and millions of people will engage in a crowd-sourced conservation effort from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. local time, highlighting a growing need to protect the environment, while encouraging global action.

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UN science report: Warming worsens security woes

warming globeIn an authoritative report due out Monday a United Nations climate panel for the first time is connecting hotter global temperatures to hotter global tempers. Top scientists are saying that climate change will complicate and worsen existing global security problems, such as civil wars, strife between nations and refugees.

They're not saying it will cause violence, but will be an added factor making things even more dangerous. Fights over resources, like water and energy, hunger and extreme weather will all go into the mix to destabilize the world a bit more, says the report by the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The summary of the report is being finalized this weekend by the panel in Yokohama.

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Report: NSA kept tabs on 122 world leaders

NSA kept tabs on 122 world leadersIntelligence gathering by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) included the creation of a special databank which targeted 122 world leaders, according to new leaks reported on Saturday by German newspaper Der Spiegel and The Intercept, part of the tranche of documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden last year.

The undated document includes the name of Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel, whom the NSA targeted in more than 300 separate reports.

Other leaders listed in the databank include the leaders of Peru, Somalia, Syria, Guatemala, Colombia and Belarus.

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With friends in government, Motorola beats a path to telecom supremacy

Motorola contracts...in 2005, amid a federal push to avoid another communications nightmare like the one blamed for the Sept. 11, 2001, deaths of 125 New York firefighters at the collapsed World Trade Center, Rupf and Plummer joined forces. They set their sights on a new digital two-way radio system so that all of their first responders could talk to each other.

There was, however, a catch.

A notice circulated by Alameda County to gauge vendors’ interest in the project said that the first $5.7 million phase must include a master controller made by Motorola Inc., and the equipment must connect with the county’s aged, proprietary Motorola SmartNet II system.

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Alex Baer: Welcome to These Out-Rage-Us Times

hissy fitWe've become a nation of fleeting snits and hissy fits.

We nurse along so many hurt feelings that we all get emergency Red Cross parcels, plus the thanks from a grateful nation, for our extensive enmity-nursing skills.  Our spending on pets last year was $61 billion -- and that's not even counting what we're willing to pay to keep our pet peeves alive.  We have so many kinds of hairy grudges, it's surprising none of them ever showed up in Dr. Suess books, all raspberry and lime.

But, none of these petty issues includes the stuff that really ignites us in some way, really toasts our scalps, like we've just grabbed hold of some stripped-bare 220 cables long enough to have Tilt or Free Game show up on our foreheads, or to start spitting little lightning bolts, in a sudden show of Looney Tunes solidarity.

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After Christians Distribute Bibles at Elementary Schools, Atheists Ask Permission to do the Same… and Get It

bibleLast fall, the ACLU of Kentucky sent letters to superintendents in the state warning them about how Gideons International, the Bibles-in-your-hotel-room people, were often given access to public elementary school children, “solely for the purpose of actively distributing copies of New Testament Bibles directly to students.”

It didn’t stop Casey County School District Superintendent Marion Sowders from allowing the Gideons into the district’s three elementary schools earlier this year.

If you were a non-Christian group, how would you respond?

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