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Saturday, Oct 25th

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Bogus Congressman Said to Get Backstage at Obama Event

WH Press sec'yAn unidentified man posing as a member of Congress made it into a secure area backstage at President Barack Obama’s appearance at a Congressional Black Caucus Foundation awards dinner in Washington Sept. 27, according to a White House official.

The man entered the backstage area during or just after Obama’s speech at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center as members of Congress gathered there to have their pictures taken with the president, said the official, who asked for anonymity to discuss the incident, which has not previously been made public.

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Triple-digit fall temperatures roasting California

California heatWhile people in some other parts of the country are watching the leaves turn a kaleidoscope of fall colors as they contemplate unpacking winter clothes, California is roasting under an autumn heat wave.

As high temperatures were ranging from the low 100s in Southern California to the 90s in the normally more temperate San Francisco Bay Area on Thursday, National Weather Service forecasters warned that was just a warm-up for what was coming Friday and Saturday.

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Border agent seen punching teen went unpunished

border agent punched teenFor nearly eight months after federal investigators saw videos of a U.S. Border Patrol agent punching a teenager in the stomach, the agent continued to work and went unpunished.

The agent, Aldo Arteaga, a nearly 10-year veteran, is now facing an assault charge in Santa Cruz County.

Arteaga was charged last week with felony aggravated assault, which applies in Arizona when an adult is accused of assault on a minor under age 15. But the charge was reduced to a misdemeanor Thursday because the teen Arteaga is seen punching was 15 years old during the Jan. 30 incident. The boy was deported to Mexico that same day.

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Earthquake Rattles Wichita, Tulsa; 4.4-Magnitude Tremor Felt Widely in Kansas, Oklahoma

Tulsa earthquakeA 4.4-magnitude earthquake rattled a large part of Kansas and Oklahoma Thursday afternoon, just one day after residents had been ducking for cover from tornado warnings and severe thunderstorms.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake struck at 1:01 p.m. CDT. The epicenter was 7 miles east-southeast of Harper, Kansas, or about 43 miles southwest of Wichita, Kansas. There have been no immediate reports of damage. Wichita television station KAKE-TV said officials near the epicenter in Harper County, Kansas, reported no known damage.

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Judge Rebukes US Government, Keeps Gitmo Force-Feeding Hearing Open

Force feedingA federal judge has knocked down the government’s attempt to hold a secret hearing in a case challenging the military’s practice of force-feeding Guantanamo detainees who are on hunger strike.

U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler called the government’s desire to close the proceedings “deeply troubling,” and chastised the Department of Justice for appearing to “deliberately” make the request “on short notice.”

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JP Morgan says 76 million households affected in largest ever data breach

JP Morgan breachJP Morgan Chase, one of the largest banks in the US, said on Thursday that a massive computer hack affected the accounts of 76 million households and about seven million small businesses, making it one of the largest of its kind ever discovered.

The attack was under way for a month before it was discovered in July, and when it was disclosed in August, the bank estimated that about one million accounts had been compromised. But the latest information revealed on Thursday showed the attack was vastly more serious than earlier thought.

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Appeals Court Allows Texas To Enforce Harsh Abortion Restrictions

Rick PerryA federal appeals court Thursday allowed Texas to immediately begin enforcing tough new abortion restrictions that will effectively close all but seven abortion facilities in America's second most-populous state.

A panel of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court in New Orleans stayed a lower judge's ruling while it considers the overall constitutionality of key portions of Texas' sweeping 2013 abortion law, which Republican Gov. Rick Perry and other conservatives say is designed to protect women's health.

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U.S. Special Ops Readied Syria Attack in June

Special OpsMonths before the U.S. started bombing Syria, American commandos made detailed plans to hit al Qaeda planners there. But the targeting packages weren’t even sent to the White House.

In late June, the U.S. military and the U.S. intelligence community had concluded that a shadowy network of al Qaeda veterans in Syria were planning to attack airliners flying to the United States.  

Within the American government, the threat was considered serious enough that the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command—the Pentagon’s elite hunter-killers—prepared detailed targeting packages for the group, with the specific locations of the group’s leaders. But those plans never made it to the White House, according to senior U.S. intelligence and Pentagon leaders.

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Pentagon rules out transferring secret Bagram detainees to Guantánamo

BagramThe Pentagon has ruled out transferring its most secretly held detainees from Afghanistan to Guantánamo Bay, an official told the Guardian, and is signalling it wants to resolve their years-long plight by the new year.

While US military officials scramble to figure out what to do with an estimated 13 non-Afghan detainees they hold without charge on the outskirts of Bagram airfield, “none of the detainees will be transferred to Guantánamo Bay,” Lt Col Myles Caggins, the Pentagon’s detentions spokesman, told the Guardian.

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