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Monday, Oct 20th

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UK MPs pass motion to recognize Palestine as a state

UK MP's pass two state solutionThe British parliament voted in favor of a symbolic move to recognize Palestine as an official state, answering impassioned pleas by pro-Palestinian ministers and activists.
The vote, which took place on Monday evening, saw 274 MPs come out in support of the motion, while 12 voted against.

"This House believes that the Government should recognise the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel as a contribution to securing a negotiated two-state solution," the motion reads.

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North Korea leader makes 1st appearance in 40 days

Korean leaderAfter more than six weeks of global speculation, the people of North Korea can at last relax: their beloved leader has finally been seen in public once more. State media reported early on Tuesday local time that Kim Jong-un visited a newly built residential district and the Natural Energy Institute of the State Academy of Sciences.

“Our scientists are patriots who are devoting all their lives to building a rich and powerful nation,” he was quoted as saying.

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Catholic bishops show new tolerance toward gays

Catholic bishopsCatholic bishops expressed unprecedented tolerance toward homosexuality and divorce in a document released Monday, a remarkable shift led by Pope Francis that could end the church's rigid stance on those issues.

The new openness to gay unions, though not gay marriage, is considered groundbreaking by supporters and critics alike. It expands on the tolerant tone Francis struck last year when he said, "Who am I to judge?" whether gay and lesbians could be good Christians.

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The Truth About Columbus Day: Why Are We Celebrating?

Columbus DayWe should all be celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

Today, while millions across America are celebrating Columbus Day, the city of Seattle is celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

That’s because last week, the Seattle city council unanimously passed a resolution to honor the contributions and cultures of Native Americans on the second Monday of October.

While Seattle’s decision may seem unusual, it’s actually part of growing trend.

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Cuomo administration edited and delayed key fracking study

CuomoNew York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration edited and delayed a fracking study commissioned by the state, according to a review by Capital New York.

The New York news outlet reported Monday that the Cuomo administration had altered a report on the natural gas extraction technique commonly referred to as fracking. The report was commissioned in 2011 and was “going to result in a number of politically inconvenient conclusions” for the governor. A comparison of the original draft of the report, which was put together by the U.S. Geological Survey, and the final version, showed that some of the original descriptions and mentions of fracking-related health and environmental risks were “played down or removed.”

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Probe of silencers leads to web of Pentagon secrets

pentagonThe mysterious workings of a Pentagon office that oversees clandestine operations are unraveling in federal court, where a criminal investigation has exposed a secret weapons program entwined with allegations of a sweetheart contract, fake badges and trails of destroyed evidence.

Capping an investigation that began almost two years ago, separate trials are scheduled this month in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va., for a civilian Navy intelligence official and a hot-rod auto mechanic from California who prosecutors allege conspired to manufacture an untraceable batch of automatic-rifle silencers.

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Airbase Falls to Islamic State as U.S. Warns of Baghdad Threat

Airbase falls to ISISIslamic State came closer to gaining full control of Iraq’s strategically key province of Anbar after it seized a military base to the west of Baghdad that had been one of the government’s few remaining outposts.

Militants took the base after heavy fighting with soldiers, according to Ahmed al-Dulaimi, a Sunni tribal leader. The capture of the facility, located near a major highway that stretches from the Iraqi capital to the border with Syria, increases the threat to another military base known as Ayn al-Asad. That installation controls the approach to Iraq’s second-largest dam and Ramadi, Anbar’s capital.

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Hong Kong pro-democracy activists reinforce barricades at protest site

Hong Kong protestsPro-democracy demonstrators in central Hong Kong have used cement to reinforce the barricades defending a protest site after being attacked by counter-protesters on Monday afternoon, raising the stakes in a student-led movement which has paralysed huge swaths of the city for the past 16 days.

Hours after police began removing barricades across the city on Monday morning, hundreds of men – some of them wearing surgical masks to hide their faces – stormed various protest sites, assaulting protesters and dragging away remaining barricades themselves. Some were armed with crowbars and cutting tools, according to media reports. “Open the roads,” they chanted. Police at one point formed a human barrier to keep the two sides apart.

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Turkey denies new deal reached to open airbases to US in fight against Isis

Turkey denies bases agreement with USTurkey has not reached a new agreement to let the US use its Incirlik airbase in the fight against Islamic State (Isis) militants, and talks are continuing on the subject, the Turkish prime minister’s office has said, in comments that run contrary to a statement made by US national security adviser Susan Rice on Sunday.

The prime minister’s office said an agreement had been reached to train moderate Syrian rebels on Turkish soil, but it was not yet clear “where [and] in what way” that would happen.

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