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Saturday, Jul 04th

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Comet lander Philae wakes up after seven-month hibernation

Comet lander PhilaePhilae, the Rosetta mission's lander on Comet 67P, awakened and communicated with the European Space Agency Saturday, after hybernating since November.

It took 10 years for Rosetta to reach the comet and send Philae -- first spacecraft to land on a comet -- down to 67P. Philae ran out of battery and slipped into hibernation 60 hours after landing because it touched down next to a cliff that blocked it solar cells from sunlight.

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Anthony Graves prosecutor who withheld evidence disbarred

Anthony GravesA former Texas prosecutor lost his law license Friday after the State Bar of Texas determined he withheld evidence and falsified testimony to win a capital murder conviction against now-exonerated death row inmate Anthony Graves.

A three-person panel determined Charles Sebesta committed "professional misconduct" when he prosecuted Graves in 1994 for the slaying of six people, four of them children. While the conviction was overturned in 2006, Graves wasn't released until 2010, after spending 18 years in prison, 12 of those on death row.

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Former police chief facing retrial in killing of black man

Richard Combs retrialWhen a South Carolina jury first heard the case of a former small town police chief who shot and killed an unarmed black man, the trial lasted six days and the jurors deliberated for 12 hours before telling the judge they had deadlocked.

On Monday, Richard Combs, the white former police chief of Eutawville, will be retried on a murder charge in the May 2011 death of Bernard Bailey. Bailey died outside the small community's town hall, which also houses the town's one-man police department.

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Israeli veterans group comes under fire amid boycott threat

Breaking the silenceAn organization of former Israeli soldiers dedicated to shedding light on the dark side of the country's military is coming increasingly under fire, roiling a country in the grips of a battle against the burgeoning threat of international isolation and boycotts.

The group, Breaking the Silence, says that without its work, stories of improper or even illegal behavior against Palestinians would remain hidden from an Israeli public that reveres the military. But the group has come under attack from legislators who threaten its funding and say it could help turn Israel into a pariah state.

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Diane Rehm And A Bungled Interview With Senator Bernie Sanders

Diane RehmAnother week, another Bernie Sanders column. And this time the issue is far more serious than repeatedly being called a "long shot."

Listeners are mad, and rightly so, about Diane Rehm's Wednesday interview with the Vermont senator, who is running for the Democratic nomination for president. (For the record, Rehm is employed by WAMU-FM, which produces her show; NPR distributes the show to stations across the country and it is clear from the mail I have received that listeners consider the program to be an NPR show.)

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Giant purple sea slugs slime San Francisco Bay Area beaches

giant purple slimeA giant purple blob from the sea — a slug — is invading East Bay beaches and waterways this summer, and some experts say it may be caused by warmer temperatures near coastal waters.

These California sea hares are harmless plant eaters. But their big size and unusual abundance this year is turning heads at the shorelines in the cities of Crab Cove in Alameda and Miller Knox Regional Park in Richmond, as well as Lake Merritt in Oakland and Tomales Bay in Marin County, the Contra Costa Times reported Saturday (http://bayareane.ws/1IRy5ej ).

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Oregon Becomes Fourth State To Pass Law Guaranteeing Paid Sick Days

paid sick days passes in OregonOn Friday, Oregon’s state House passed a bill that would require most employers to offer five days of paid sick leave to their employees. If the governor signs it into law as advocates believe she will, it will be the fourth state in the country with such a requirement.

Oregon’s bill applies to businesses with 10 or more employees and allows workers to accrue an hour of sick time for every 30 they work. The leave could be used to care for a worker herself, a family member, or donate it to a coworker. An estimated 47 percent of workers in the state don’t have access to paid sick days, including more than 70 percent of low-wage workers.

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Tamir Rice report: witnesses contradict officer on warning to boy shot dead

Tamir Rice reportAn Ohio prosecutor released a comprehensive account of the investigation into the death of Tamir Rice on Saturday, including witness reports that contradict a police officer’s claim that he shouted a warning before shooting and killing the 12-year-old boy last November.

Tamir was shot as he played in a Cleveland park, after police responded to a 911 call reporting a male with a firearm. He was playing with a toy plastic gun. The death and a delay in its investigation sparked public outrage and protests.

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Angry US Republicans tell Pope Francis to ‘stick with his job and we’ll stick with ours’

Santorum angry at Pope FrancisLeading figures on the American right are launching a series of pre-emptive attacks on the pope before this week’s encyclical, hoping to prevent a mass conversion of the climate change deniers who have powered the corps of the conservative movement for more than a decade.

The prospect that the pope, from his perch at the pinnacle of the Catholic church, will exhort humanity to act on climate change as a moral imperative is a direct threat to a core belief of US conservatives. And conservatives – anxious to hang on to their flock – are lashing out.

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