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US executions continue despite concerns over secretive drugs

exeuctions in US continueA Georgia inmate convicted of rape and murder has become the first person to be executed in the U.S. since a botched execution left an Oklahoma man writhing on a gurney for more than half-an-hour in April.

Marcus Wellons, 59, was executed by injection Tuesday night after last-minute appeals were denied. A corrections spokesman says he was pronounced dead at 11:56 p.m., more than an hour after the procedure began.

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Trademark board rules against Redskins name

RedskinsThe U.S. Patent Office has ruled the Washington Redskins nickname is "disparaging of Native Americans'' and that the team's federal trademarks for the name must be canceled.

The ruling announced Wednesday comes after a campaign to change the name has gained momentum over the past year.

The decision by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board is similar to one it issued in 1999. That ruling was overturned in 2003 in large part on a technicality because the courts decided that the plaintiffs were too old.

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Stunned Nebraska town devastated by twisters; two dead

Nebraska twistersThe tiny Nebraska town of Pilger was a digging out from tragedy Tuesday, a day after at least two people were killed and dozens more were injured after tornadoes roared through parts of the state.

All the residents of Pilger - some 350 people - evacuated their homes, many leaving for shelters in nearby towns.

"More than half of the town is gone - absolutely gone," Stanton County Commissioner Jerry Weatherholt said. "The co-op is gone, the grain bins are gone, and it looks like almost every house in town has some damage. It's a complete mess."

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GM recalls another 3.4 million vehicles over ignition problem

General Motors recallGeneral Motors has recalled another 3.4 million cars due to an ignition problem, bringing the total number of vehicles recalled by the company this year to more than 20 million.

Like the Camaros recalled only a few days ago, the seven different models recalled Monday suffer problems with the ignition components. And while most of the cars previously recalled had a problem with the ignition itself, the 3.4 million newly recalled vehicles feature faultily designed keys.

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Padres Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn dies at age 54

Tony GwynnTony Gwynn, a Hall of Fame outfielder and the greatest player in San Diego Padres history, died at age 54 on Monday, the Padres confirmed.

Gwynn, a native of Long Beach, Calif., played baseball and basketball at San Diego State University before being drafted by the Padres in the third round of the 1981 draft. He reached the majors the next season and spent 20 years in the majors, all with the Padres, finishing with 3,141 hits and helping the club to its only two pennants in franchise history.

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Obama to sign executive order protecting job rights for gay employees

LGBT protection orderAfter years of pressure from gay rights groups, President Obama is set to sign an executive order that would ban federal contractors from discriminating against employees on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, a White House official has told the Associated Press.

The Obama administration has said it would prefer Congress to pass legislation that broadly extends workplace protections to all US employees. Such a bill passed the Senate last year but remains stalled in the Republican-dominated House.

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Hobby Lobby aims for Obamacare win, Christian nation

Hobby LobbyThe evangelical owners of Hobby Lobby made a fortune selling crafts supplies and made headlines fighting government-mandated birth control coverage. They’re also using their billions to sell the American public on the literal truth of scripture — through a public-school Bible curriculum, a huge museum around the corner from the Smithsonian and public forums on the faith of the founding fathers.

The Green family may be best known in secular circles for their lawsuit against Obamacare, a high-stakes — and highly political — case that could undercut the administration’s goal of setting minimum standards for health care coverage. By the end of this month, the Supreme Court will decide if the federal government can force the Greens to include methods of contraception they deem sinful as part of employees’ health insurance.

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