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Thursday, Jul 02nd

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Solar plane takes off in 'moment of truth' for longest solo flight in history

Solar planeA solar plane took off for what could be the longest solo flight in history on Monday, with its Swiss pilot confronting the “moment of truth” of a journey around the Pacific Ocean and around the world.

The Solar Impulse 2 set off about 3am from Nagoya, Japan, en route to Hawaii, a trip expected to take five days and nights of continuous flight.

The Pacific crossing represents the most difficult leg of Andre Borschberg’s attempt to circumnavigate the world in a multi-stage flight.

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As euro exit looms, Greece shutters banks and announces capital controls

Greece to close banksGreece's five-year financial crisis took its most dramatic turn to date Sunday, with the cabinet deciding, after an 8-hour session, that Greek banks would remain shut for six working days and restrictions would be imposed on cash withdrawals.

The Athens Stock Exchange would also not open on Monday, financial sector officials confirmed.

A decree published in the official Government Gazette stipulates banks will not open Monday morning and will remain closed through Monday, July 6. The finance minister could decide to short or extend that period.

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Medical marijuana arrives next week in Minnesota – but smoking it is banned

Medical marijuanaThere will be no baggies of pot awaiting patients next week, when Minnesota joins 21 other states in offering medical marijuana. No glass pipes, no plants to tend at home. Instead, the nation’s latest medical marijuana programme is a world of pill bottles and vials of marijuana-infused oil.

For the qualifying patients seeking relief from pain, medical marijuana advocates and some lawmakers, Wednesday isn’t the finish line, but the first step. The state’s restrictive approach, unseen in the industry, is likely to mean high costs, long drives and reluctant doctors.

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California oil spill cleanup continues as state may allow expanded production

Oil spill californiaJust over a month after California experienced its worst oil spill in decades, the state is considering allowing a company to triple its oil production off the coast of Santa Barbara and run the oil through the same pipeline that leaked on 19 May.

Both oil producers Venoco and ExxonMobil had to halt operations in the region this week as crews continued repairing the ruptured pipeline and cleaning the beaches surrounding it. But that didn’t stop regulators at the State Lands Commission from holding a hearing for Venoco in Goleta, California.

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San Francisco, Chicago and New York are among US cities hosting gay pride events

Gpay Pride PradeHundreds of thousands of people on Sunday packed gay pride events from Chicago to New York City, Seattle to San Francisco, with overall attendance expected in the millions for what amounted to a celebration of a freshly endorsed right to marry.

In San Francisco, a parade that at times resembled a rainbow-colored dance party snaked through downtown. Cheerleaders, dancers and proud families of lesbians and gays swooped up Market Street as spectators flocked 10 to 15 people deep along both sides.

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Iran nuke talks set to go beyond deadline

Iran talks to go onA senior U.S. official acknowledged Sunday that Iran nuclear talks will go past their June 30 target date, as Iran's foreign minister prepared to head home Sunday for consultations before returning to push for a breakthrough.

Asked about the chances for a deal, Federica Mogherini, the European Union's top diplomat, told reporters: "It's going to be tough ... but not impossible."

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Escaped NY state inmate Sweat shot and in custody: reports

SweatDavid Sweat, the surviving prison escapee on the run in northern New York, was shot by a state trooper on Sunday, according to three people briefed on the matter. His condition was unknown.

Mr. Sweat, 35, was alive and in custody, according to two of the people.

The shooting occurred after a State Police sergeant saw Mr. Sweat walking down a road toward him, according to one of the people. The sergeant ordered Mr. Sweat to stop, but he broke into a run and the sergeant, a firearms instructor, opened fire, the person said. It was not immediately clear how many shots were fired or whether Mr. Sweat was armed.

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Pro-Flag Supporters Rally in the South

Pro Confederate flag rallyThe controversy over the Confederate flag hit the streets in the Bay area Friday night. Hundreds of supporters donned the flag in the Drive for Pride from Brandon to Tampa and back.

The group rallying for the stars and bars had a few bumps in the ride. During the route, divers had one accident, got 2 tickets, and met some opposition, while driving home their beliefs.

Supporters decked out more than 300 cars with the Confederate flag, they say as a symbol of their southern pride.

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Falcon 9 'suffers anomaly,' fails to reach ISS

Falcon 9 fails againSpaceX's reusable rocket, the Falcon 9, on Sunday suffered its third failed, fiery attempt to launch for outer space and return to land on a drone ship.

The Falcon 9's nine Merlin engines ignited, went through maximum dynamic pressure and went supersonic before the rocket exploded, a SpaceX spokesman said during a live webcast.

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