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Wednesday, Jul 30th

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Israel strikes Gaza mosque as death toll tops 120

Gaza mosque hitIsraeli airstrikes targeting Hamas in Gaza hit a mosque and a center for the disabled where two women were killed Saturday, raising the Palestinian death toll from the offensive to more than 120, Palestinian officials said.

The Israeli military said the mosque concealed rockets like those used in the barrage of nearly 700 fired by Gaza militants at Israel over the five-day offensive, while saying it was investigating claims about the other sites hit. However, the strikes in the densely populated Gaza Strip show the challenge facing Israel as it considers a ground operation in the region and potential further dangers posed to civilians.

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Appeals court upholds EPA's mining restraints

Mountaintop miningA federal appeals court on Friday upheld the Obama administration's environmental protections designed to reduce water pollution from mountaintop-removal coal mining.

In a 3-0 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said the Environmental Protection Agency acted within its authority when it instituted two measures under the Clean Water Act that address damage from surface mining.

Under a process set up in 2009, EPA began screening mining permit applications made to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, initiating discussions with the Corps on proposed mining projects that EPA considered likely to damage navigable waters.

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M6.8 quake hits Japan, triggering small tsunami

Japan earthquakieA strong earthquake hit off Fukushima Prefecture early Saturday, triggering a small tsunami and injured at least one person.

The Japan Meteorological Agency said the 6.8-magnitude quake struck 10 kilometers below the sea surface off the coast of Fukushima at 4:22 a.m. The quake shook buildings in Tokyo, about 250 kilometers southwest of the epicenter.

A 20-centimeter tsunami reached the coast of Ishinomaki Ayukawa and Ofunato, about 50 minutes after the quake. Smaller waves were observed at several other locations along the coast. Changes to the shoreline were not visible on television footage of NHK public broadcaster.

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Christie agency awarded $260m to politically connected New Jersey firm

Chris ChristieNew Jersey governor Chris Christie’s administration has awarded a public subsidy worth more than a quarter of a billion dollars to a politically connected manufacturing firm.

Holtec International, which makes components for power plants, this week secured a $260m tax break from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) – the third-biggest corporate subsidy that the state has awarded.

George Norcross, a powerful Democratic Party “boss” in southern New Jersey, who reportedly struck an important non-aggression pact with Christie, a Republican, during Christie’s re-election campaign, sits on the company’s board of directors.

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Undocumented Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist Trapped At The Border

Jose VargasI write this from the city of McAllen, which sits in the Rio Grande Valley near the border, just across from the Mexican city of Reynosa. In the last 24 hours I realize that, for an undocumented immigrant like me, getting out of a border town in Texas—by plane or by land—won’t be easy. It might, in fact, be impossible.

I flew into the valley Thursday morning to visit a shelter for unaccompanied Central American refugees and participate in a vigil in their honor. Outraged at the media coverage of this humanitarian crisis (these children are not “illegal,” as news organizations like CBS News and the New York Times call them), and frustrated by the political ping-pong centered on border security and increased enforcement, I also came here to share my own story of coming to the United States as an unaccompanied minor from the Philippines. I wanted to help change the narrative of the conversation and, with a camera crew, share stories from the shelter and its volunteers. The visit to the shelter was intense and sobering, watching small kids fight for their lives with nothing more than their spirits.

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League City,Texas bans undocumented children

Texas city bans immigrantsThe League City council passed a resolution on Tuesday night to ban undocumented children from entering the municipality.

League City Council Member Heidi Thiess drafted the measure, which declines to accept federal requests to operate detention or processing centers in the city. "Health and safety" concerns were cited among the reasons for the proposed ordinance.

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Inquiry into US government labs finds flu virus cross-contamination

CDCSenior US science officials have shut down two government laboratories that were the subject of "serious and troubling" safety lapses, and suspended some transfers of potentially dangerous germs.

Dr Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control, revealed on Friday that in addition to the exposure of anthrax and the discovery of insecure smallpox vials, which had already been disclosed, inquiries had discovered the cross-contamination of flu viruses.

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NYC Mayor signs legislation to create municipal ID card, helping 500,000 undocumented immigrants obtain services

NYC MAyorPaving the way for half a million undocumented immigrants living in New York City to obtain identification, Mayor de Blasio signed legislation Thursday to create a municipal ID card.

Though de Blasio originally wanted the card to roll out before the end of the year, it's now scheduled to launch in January. The card will be free the first year, and there will be walk-in enrollment centers - along with online applications - that New Yorkers can access to apply, officials said.

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Israeli strikes kill more Palestinians as death toll surpasses 100

Gaza deathsIsraeli airstrikes on Gaza killed four more Palestinians before dawn on Friday, raising the death toll from the four-day offensive to at least 102, including dozens of civilians, while a Palestinian rocket hit a fuel tanker at an Israeli gas station, causing a blaze. The developments came as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a news conference Friday that Israel will continue its offensive until rocket fire out of Gaza is halted.

"I will end it when our goals are realized. And the overriding goal is to restore the peace and quiet," Netanyahu said, brushing off a question about possible cease-fire efforts.

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