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Monday, Feb 08th

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Japan's Sakurajima volcano erupts on southern island of Kyushu

Japan volcanoA fiery volcano on Japan's island of Kyushu erupted Friday evening, sending lava streaming down a side of the mountain. No injuries were reported.

Images of the powerful eruption showed Sakurajima volcano emitting ash and rock into a darkened evening sky, and even flashes of volcanic lightning, Sky News reported.

The eruption occurred around 7 p.m. local time, according to television network NHK, which also aired footage of the blast.

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Bridge case defendants in court seeking Christie office docs

Chris ChristieThe two former allies of Gov. Chris Christie charged in the George Washington Bridge lane-closing case are in court seeking documents the governor's office wants to keep confidential.

Bill Baroni and Bridget Kelly are accused of orchestrating the closures of access lanes to the bridge in September 2013 to punish a local mayor for not endorsing Christie's re-election.

Their trial on wire fraud and civil rights counts is scheduled for mid-May.

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At least 200 million girls and women have undergone FGM

200 million women endure fgmThere are at least 200 million girls and women around the world who have undergone female genital mutilation (FGM), with nearly a quarter of them being under the age of 14 when they were cut, according to a new report released by the U.N. children’s agency (UNICEF) on Wednesday.

Exact numbers are hard to come by, as few of the 30 countries where FGM is practiced keep reliable data on the procedure, relying primarily on household surveys. However, this is the strongest dataset to date, said Claudia Cappa, who led UNICEF’s statistics team on the report.

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The Atlantic Ocean Is Acidifying at a Rapid Rate

Acidification of oceansOver the past 10 years, the Atlantic Ocean has soaked up 50 percent more carbon dioxide than it did the decade before, measurably speeding up the acidification of the ocean, according to a new study.

The paper, published Saturday in the journal Global Biogeochemical Cycles, “shows the large impact all of us are having on the environment,” Ryan Woosley of the University of Miami said in a statement. “Our use of fossil fuels isn’t only causing the climate to change but also affects the oceans by decreasing the pH.”
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Indictment Details Charges Against Ammon Bundy, Other Militants

Ammon Bundy indictmentThe federal indictment of Ammon Bundy and 15 other militants accuses them of conspiracy and using threats and intimidation to maintain their occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, as well as trying to coerce the local population.

For the past week, only four militants have remained at the refuge near Burns, Ore. At least 11 militants, including Bundy and his brother, Ryan, are being held without bail; another militant, LaVoy Finicum, was killed in last Tuesday's arrest operation.

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CTE in the NFL: The tragedy of Fred McNeill

CTE in the NFLThe night before Fred McNeill died in November, he was watching "Monday Night Football." The 63-year-old former Minnesota Viking linebacker and UCLA grad had his gold and blue slippers tucked under his bed. "He loved the game," said his youngest son, Gavin. "He was proud of what he did."

Yet the very same game had robbed so much from him.

McNeill had transitioned from playing 12 years of professional football into family life. He had a wife, Tia, and two young sons, Fred Jr. and Gavin. After playing in two Super Bowls, he spent his last NFL season studying law and eventually became a partner with a firm in Minneapolis.

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New U.S. bill being drafted to reform human trafficking rankings

Trafficking ill rankings to changeA leading U.S. lawmaker on human rights has begun drafting legislation to seek major reforms in how the State Department ranks countries on human trafficking, in response to concerns that the latest annual report was watered down for political reasons.

U.S. Representative Chris Smith said the bill, which he expects to finalize in a month and introduce in the House of Representatives in six weeks, will call for some of the biggest changes in a decade in how Washington grades global efforts against modern slavery.

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Alex Baer: Phil's Fillips

Phil's FillipsIt's easy for a little guy to get lost in a crazed crowd.

No, not Rand "Really, it's Randal, not like Ayn" Paul, or Donald "Stop Calling Me Rumpo" Trump,  or even Rick "Don't Ask Anything or Look Me Up Anywhere" Santorum.  No, we're talking about Pennsylvania's Punxsutawney Phil here, whose annual foray into the spotlight got overrun by a stampede of frothy-mouthed Iowa mammals, mostly baboons escaping their GOP handlers.

While portents of the American future were being expounded upon in definitive, if overly waffling, back-and-fill, sunny-then-wintry descriptive terms by politcos, high atop their own self-made gabbling pedestals and berms, Phil drew his own single-minded throng at Gobbler's Knob, awaiting his forecasted divinations of the nation's weather, and the possibility of any ray of positiveness, or, at the least, Spring.

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Report: Powell, Rice staff received classified emails on private servers

Colin PowellIn a letter obtained by NBC, Inspector General Steve Linick said that a total of 12 classified emails, now classified as "secret" or "confidential," were found to have been sent to the personal email accounts. Ten of them were sent to Rice's aides and two sent to Powell.

Linick added that none of the emails were marked classified at the time, and none were sent from the intelligence community.

In an interview with NBC, Powell downplayed the significance of the emails, saying that the information in the messages, which were sent by ambassadors, should not be classified.

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