Friday, May 29th

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Obama’s pipeline safety agency without a permanent boss for 214 days.

No head of PHWM departmentPresident Barack Obama has blown past the legal deadline to name a permanent boss for the agency that oversees the safety of the nation’s oil trains and fossil-fuel pipelines — while potentially life-or-death regulations continue to sit in limbo.

It’s part of a pattern for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, where an internal structure that gives deference to industry has helped stymie safety initiatives for years, even as pipeline accidents have caused more than 170 deaths, 670 injuries and $5 billion in property damage during the past decade. Critics say the agency is in dire need of an overhaul — and want Obama to appoint a leader who’s willing to carry one out.


What's causing Texas earthquakes? Fracking 'most likely,' report says

Texas earthquakes caused by frackingAccording to the U.S. Geological Survey, the Dallas area has suffered almost 40 small earthquakes (magnitude 2.0 or higher) since the beginning of this year, the latest a magnitude-2.7 quake near Farmers Branch on Monday. Many of the epicenters were recorded in Farmers Branch and Irving, with a couple to the south in Venus.

"The quakes don't sound like much to somebody from California," Jim Wells told CNN. "But when you are sitting right on top of them, they are more than noticeable. They will shake the entire house, and you have no doubt about it when you have gone through it. We have in my home perhaps 100 or more wall hangings, pieces of art -- prints, etchings, oil originals -- and none of them are hanging straight."


Nine Georgia deputies fired over death of black college student in jail

Georgia deputies firedNine Georgia sheriff's deputies were fired over the death of a 22-year-old black college student who was placed in restraints in police custody, officials said Friday.

Chatham County Sheriff Al. St. Lawrence said the firings followed an internal investigation and a separate probe by the Georgia Bureau of Investigations into the New Year’s Day death of Matthew Ajibade.


At Vegas trial, Sheldon Adelson faces new scrutiny as documents challenge his testimony

Sheldon AdelsonSheldon Adelson, the multibillionaire casino magnate and key Republican party donor, spent four combative days in a Las Vegas court this week defending his gambling empire from accusations of bribery and ties to organised crime.

By the time the hearing was over, Adelson had argued with the judge, contradicted the evidence of his own executives and frustrated his lawyers by revealing more information than he was required to in response to simple yes or no questions. But most importantly, far from laying the allegations against his Las Vegas Sands conglomerate to rest, the billionaire’s answers threw up yet more questions which he is likely to have to return to court to answer.


Russia stages massive WW2 parade despite Western boycott

Russia WWII displayRussia has staged its biggest military parade, marking 70 years since victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two.

Thousands of troops marched across Red Square in Moscow, and new armour was displayed for the first time.

Many foreign dignitaries were present, but most Western leaders stayed away because of Russia's role in Ukraine.

President Vladimir Putin said global co-operation had been put at risk in recent years. His Ukrainian counterpart accused him of justifying aggression.


Hubble telescope details halo surrounding Andromeda galaxy

AndromedaThe massive halo of gas that surrounds the Andromeda Galaxy, the Milky Way's nearest neighbor, is much larger than previously thought.

New data collected by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope suggest the feature is six times larger and 1,000 times more massive than the last time scientists measured. Hubble's probe of the gaseous halo is offering a chance for researchers to better understand the evolution of spiral galaxies.


Egypt's Mubarak sentenced to three years, may be set free

Mubarak sentencedEgypt's former President Hosni Mubarak and his two sons were sentenced Saturday to three years in prison in an embezzlement case retrial, but the question remains if they will be immediately released due to time served.

The Cairo Court of Appeal ruled the three men would be held without the possibility of parole. Since the men have already spent three years in prison in other cases, there is a possibility they could be set free based on time served.


Gov. Scott concedes that earlier Medicaid support was a ruse

Rick ScottShortly after his mother's 2013 death, Gov. Rick Scott went on TV to explain his startling decision to drop his strongly-held opposition to President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.

The Republican governor said her death had changed his perspective and he could no longer "in good conscience" oppose expanding health care coverage to nearly 1 million Floridians.


Good enough to fight for the US but missing the mark for citizenship

soldier, but not citizenKenyan native John Chombo was studying in the United States to become a nurse when he heard the U.S. Army was looking for people with health care or special language skills.

He was qualified on both counts. He was studying nursing and was fluent in Swahili. In 2013 he was accepted into the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) program, designed for legal noncitizens, such as foreign students and agricultural workers. Since MAVNI began in 2009, more than 4,000 people have enlisted through the program.


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