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Monday, May 25th

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Edward Snowden: NSA reform in the US is only the beginning

Edward SnowdenEdward Snowden has hailed landmark shifts in Congress and the US courts on NSA surveillance but cautioned that much more needs to be done to restore the balance in favour of privacy.

He also warned this was only the beginning of reform of the NSA, saying there are still many bulk collection programmes which are “even more intrusive”, but expressed hope that the Senate would act to curb the NSA, saying retention of the status quo is untenable.

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Dutch cabinet backs partial Islamic burqa ban

Dutch cabinet approves burqua banThe Dutch cabinet on Friday approved a partial ban on wearing the face-covering Islamic veil, including in schools, hospitals and on public transport.

"Face-covering clothing will in future not be accepted in education and healthcare institutions, government buildings and on public transport," the government said in a statement after the cabinet backed Interior Minister Ronald Plasterk's bill.

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Brain-reading implant controls arm

brain implant  controls armA man has been able to control a robotic limb with a mind-reading chip implanted in his brain.  It allowed Erik Sorto, from California, to sip a drink unaided for the first time in 10 years.

The details, published in Science, reveal how complex bursts of electrical signals in his brain could be interpreted into commands for the arm.

Experts said the results made brain-controlled robotics closer to being a reality.

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It’s Time for America to Pardon Martha Stewart

Martha StewartOn Wednesday, five of the largest banks in the world agreed to pay a combined $5.6 billion to the U.S. Treasury and then pleaded guilty to a series of criminal charges that they had operated for years as a secret cabal to manipulate currency exchange rates, in many cases directly ripping off clients in the process.

The new felons are J.P. Morgan Chase (the largest bank in the U.S. by assets), Citigroup (the third largest by assets), Barclays (the largest U.K. bank), UBS (the largest bank in Switzerland) and the Royal Bank of Scotland (a bank in Scotland).

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Ireland set to accept gay marriage in landmark referendum

Ireland to vote on gay marriageThe Irish voted on Friday on whether to allow gay marriage, just two decades after decriminalizing homosexuality, with a strong early turnout likely to favor the 'Yes' side.

With the once mighty Catholic Church's influence ravaged by child abuse scandals, opinion polls indicated the proposal would pass by as much as two-to-one, making Ireland the first country to adopt same-sex marriage via a popular vote.

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Suicide bomber strikes Saudi Shi'ite mosque, many dead or wounded

Saudi mosque bombedA suicide bomber blew himself up at a Shi'ite mosque in eastern Saudi Arabia during Friday prayers, residents said, killing around 20 people and wounding more than 50, local residents and a hospital officials said.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing, the first to target Shi'ite Muslims in Saudi Arabia since November when gunmen killed at least eight people in an attack on a Shi'ite religious anniversary celebration, also in the east where most of the country's minority Shi'ites live.

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Cleveland calmly awaits decisions in 3 killings by police

Cleveland police investigationFor Cleveland's maligned police department, the barrage began with a car chase that ended when officers fired 137 rounds and killed two unarmed black people.

Then late last year, a white, rookie police officer shot and killed a 12-year-old black boy carrying a pellet gun in a park. Around the same time, a U.S. Justice Department report slammed the entire department, outlining a string of excessive force and civil rights violations.

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Federal Judge Says Gay Couples in Alabama Have Right to Marry

Judge GranadeA federal judge has ruled that gays and lesbians have the right to marry in all Alabama counties, but placed her decision on hold until the U.S. Supreme Court issues a ruling on same-sex marriage.

U.S District  said Thursday that Alabama’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional and enjoined probate judges from enforcing it. However, she stayed enforcement of her order citing the expected decision this summer.

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Baltimore Grand Jury Indicts Six Officers in Freddie Gray's Death

Freddie GrayA grand jury in Baltimore has indicted six officers in the death of Freddie Gray, the city's top prosecutor said Thursday.

In a hasty news conference, State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby reeled off the charges handed down by the grand jury against the officers, Garrett Miller, Alicia White, Edward Nero, Caesar Goodson Jr., Brian Rice and William Porter.

She did not explain the charges or take any questions from reporters.

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